Sadly, scammers are charging unsuspecting victims large amounts to build essentially useless cookie-cutter online stores. These sites contain Amazon.com widgets and banner ads without any real content or value.
If they do by chance include any content, it’s generally generic and poorly written. Sadly, this results in little or no sales. These sites are usually worth no more than the cost of registering a domain name.
These scammers are bilking unsuspecting victims out of large amounts of money. This can amount to hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Tragically, the scam victims are often vulnerable in society who do not have a lot of money, to begin with. Oftentimes, people who are disabled, unemployed, or old-age pensioners.
I think it’s important that I assure you that the Amazon Associates program is definitely not a scam. This affiliate program is completely free to join. It is a one-hundred percent legitimate method to make money online.
The Phone Call
Let me tell you how the Amazon affiliate program website scam works. One day minding your own business you receive a phone call from a representative of one of these scam companies.
You are offered a business opportunity that seems too good of an offer to resist. This is the promise of unlimited earnings from the Amazon Associate program. They will do this for you by creating your very own website. Here, you will be promoting products through the Amazon Associates program.
Many of these companies will tell you that they are affiliated with Amazon.com. Some, believe it or not, are even so brazen to say that they are Amazon.com.
This could not be further from the truth. Amazon.com is a reputable, well-established company. They would never in a million years affiliate themselves with scammers.
Overinflated price for a useless website worth no more than the cost of the domain
These despicable scammers will often use high-pressure sales tactics to pressure you into purchasing what amounts to a useless cookie-cutter website. This typically ranges anywhere from $149-$499 US.
These scam companies make thousands of these websites that are all pretty much the same. A lot of the time, but not always, they’re just a shell website.
These websites will not only waste your hard-earned money but your precious time as well. They’ll do this by requiring you to spend hours upon end copying and pasting code. This will be for banner ads and widgets linking to Amazon.com.
Signs that your website has been build by these scammers
All too often with these scam companies, you’ll be paying a highly inflated amount of money for web hosting. This can be anywhere from $25 to $30 a month. You should be paying no more than $100 a year for web hosting.
These companies a lot of the times will have multiple names. In an attempt to avoid detection, it’s not uncommon for them to frequently change their name. By doing this, it makes it harder to find complaints online about their scam company.
Interestingly, a lot of these scam companies are based out of Nevada or Arizona.
Scam companies often exaggerate commission paid to Amazon Associates
Many times, these scammers will highly exaggerate the commissions that the Amazon Associates program pays.
In one case, a scam company was telling victims that Amazon.com would pay them a 15 percent commission. This would be for any sales made through their affiliate links.
In reality, the Amazon Associates program pays you a one to ten percent commission. This is for products or downloads that were purchased on the Amazon.com website through your affiliate links.
These websites convert very poorly making very little money if any at all
These useless websites are just filled with widgets and banner ads for individual items that are sold on Amazon. Sadly, they make little money, if any at all, for a variety of reasons.
Why these websites don’t do well for traffic or profit
Let me tell you what is probably the biggest reason why these cookie-cutter sites make so little money. This is because why on earth would buy an item from your site when they can get it directly from Amazon.com?
I know what I would do if I had a choice to shop at one of these amateur hour websites versus going to the Amazon.com website. With certainty, I can tell you that I would choose the latter.
Without hesitation, I can guarantee that 99.9% of consumers would do precisely the same thing.
Another reason why these pathetic excuses for websites convert so poorly is that they have very little actual content. For this reason, they do not rank well. Even worst, often they are delisted from search engines, such as Google.
Sites that do well with the Amazon Associates program typically have a combination of reviews, how-to articles, etc. They contain actual content that is helpful and useful to people.
These companies attempt to sell you advertising, marketing or training often for thousands of dollars
Soon after you discover that the site you paid so much money for gets very few, if any visitors, and makes virtually no sales things go from bad to worst.
What comes next is a phone call from these relentless, unscrupulous scammers with high-pressure sales tactics.
These parasites try to convince you to purchase advertising, marketing, or training. This often amounts to thousands of dollars.
It is not uncommon for you to hear from a different company than the one you initially purchased the website for advertising, marketing, or training. The companies may or may not be affiliated with each other. The cost of these useless services can range anywhere from $500 to $15,000.
In return for your investment, you get useless traffic that doesn’t convert to sales
Sadly, all too often all you get in return for your investment is what amounts to useless traffic.
The traffic that you do get is from black hat SEO (search engine optimization) techniques.
This includes pop-ups and pop-unders as well as comment and forum spam. This type of traffic more often than not converts very poorly for sales. Worst yet, these unscrupulous SEO techniques can get your site delisted or outright banned from Google.
These scam companies often promise a full refund but only after six months. However, the truth of the matter is that more often than not these companies do not honor that promise.
Oftentimes, once you start their money back, these scam companies simply stop communicating with you. Not surprisingly, these scammers stop returning your phone calls and/or emails.
I read of one scam victim who used what I thought was a very clever tactic to at least be able to talk to employees of the company.
He would leave messages with these scammers saying that he wanted to invest more money. All of a sudden these shysters weren’t so shy after all. They’d call this clever man back after just five minutes! Sadly though, even using this tactic, he didn’t have any luck getting his hard-earned money back.
With these scammers making you wait six months to request a refund, often by this time there’s recourse for you to get your money back from the credit card company. Generally, a dispute can be only be filed for a credit card charge within 60 to 90 days after the purchase.
You’re often not even signed up directly with the Amazon Associates program
With many of these scam companies, you are not even signed up directly with the Amazon Associates program. The company often takes the liberty to sign you up for the Amazon Associates program on your behalf. Even worst, they might not even bother to sign you up for the Amazon Associate program.
All too often, you won’t even have access to your Amazon Associates account. This is where you normally would go to keep track of your sales, earnings, and conversion rate among many other things.
If by some chance you happen to luck out and get a sale through your website more often then not you are not paid your commission directly from Amazon.com.
Instead, the scam company takes the liberty to pay your commission. Sadly though, there is no guarantee that these scammers will pay you the money you so rightly earned.
Most likely, you’ll have access to data on your affiliate sales for your website through the “back office.” This is assuming you’re even able to access it.
I’ve sadly read one too many stories of scam victims who were unable to access their “back office.” This was even after multiple phone calls to the scammers.
The tragic story of a pensioner robbed of $10,495 from one of these scam companies
I read a story on the Arizona Better Business Bureau website where one poor gentleman lost $10,495 from one of these particular scam companies.
How it started from an unsolicited email from one of these scam companies. It offered him a work at home opportunity that sounded too good to be true. You know what the saying is about that; “If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is.”
Anyways, back to the email. If was offering him a work at home opportunity with a “small” investment of $399 (it was regularly $599 but on “special.) In return, the gentleman was promised an income of $1500 a month.
The elderly pensioner, who desperately could use the extra money, signed up for this “opportunity”. Tragically, in return for his $399 all he got was one of these useless cookie-cutter websites. It was just filled with advertisements for Amazon.com products.
A couple of weeks later he received a phone call from an employee of the scam company. The scammer urged him to invest additional money for marketing. In exchange for the investment, he was promised a return of investment of 125%. He was told that the more money he spent the greater the return.
He was then given three options. That was to invest $10,000, 12,000 or $15,000. He declined at first but finally relented and invested a further $10,000. That was after multiple calls with high-pressure sales tactics.
When all was said and done, six months down the road from his initial investment and nary a single penny earned.
The scam victim attempted to contact the company to demand a refund.
Not surprisingly, his voicemails and emails went unanswered. Not only that, but soon thereafter his phone number was blocked from the customer service representatives (a sorry excuse for customer service at that.)
He was now left with a $399 charge on his credit card on top of a $10,000 loan that he took out from his bank. This was to pay for his “business investment.”
Being a pensioner on a limited income struggling to make ends meet, he could not afford to pay either back. The poor gentleman was left with paying compounding high-interest rates. This ultimately left him spiraling deeper and deeper into debt.
Disabled veteran scammed of over $10,000
Here’s yet another of one just of many tragic stories of victims of this scam. It is a story of a disabled war veteran, who like the previous scam victim, was living on a pension.
This unfortunate elderly gentleman was scammed out of over $10,000. This time it was by two of these scam companies.
He was convinced into paying an undisclosed amount to the first of these two scam companies.
This was for one of these overpriced websites where he was promised to make a fortune from the Amazon Associates program. In reality, all he was getting was an essentially useless cookie-cutter website. This website had no real content, sadly pretty much not having any value.
From all that I’ve read, people typically pay this scam company anywhere in the range of $100 to $499 for their website.
After getting close to no traffic from his site and not a single affiliate sale, he was contacted by a second company. This scam company promised the elderly pensioner a 125 percent return of investment in exchange for an advertising package. This amounted to a whopping $10,000.
Sadly, he charged the $10,000, on top of his initial investment, to his credit card.
Even after spending this huge amount of money, the scam victim didn’t have a single affiliate sale. After some time he went and contacted the second company attempting to get a refund for his money.
They informed him that they do not give refunds for advertising. The scammers went on to tell him that they would re-run his advertising campaign. This campaign sadly though was essentially useless.
I do not know if this was successful in getting his money back from these companies. From the complaints that I have read from other scam victims of these particular companies, it is doubtful though.
Is the Amazon.com Associate program a scam?
After reading this or perhaps being scammed yourself you might now be wondering if the Amazon Associates program is, in fact, a scam. I have made money from the Amazon Associate program. I can assure you that the Amazon Associates program is far from being a scam.
It is a completely free and a viable way to make money online. With certainty, I can assure you that the Amazon Associates program is no way whatsoever affiliated with these scam companies.
It is, in fact, one of the oldest affiliate programs on the Internet, starting in the early days of the world wide web, way back in 1996.
How to Make Money as an Amazon Associate
Interested in becoming an Amazon Associate and wanting to know how you can make money this way? I highly recommend that you consider purchasing and downloading the eBook on Kindle called How to Make Money as an Amazon Associate. The price is certainly right too at less than $1.00.
This eBook will guide you step by step how to make money with the Amazon Associates program. How to Make Money as an Amazon Associate is absolutely ideal for someone absolutely new to blogging/website building.
However, readers with website building/blogging experience and have perhaps even made a few bucks with the Amazon Associates program will find gems of information in this Kindle eBook.
The author, Chris Guthrie, certainly knows a thing or two about the Amazon Associates program too as he has made well over $100,000 with this affiliate program.
I have found How to Make Money as an Amazon Associate so helpful that I have actually read it twice and have implemented many of the strategies in this eBook. And this is coming from someone who is famous for starting several books at or about the same time and not finishing any of them.
The author, Chris Guthrie, certainly knows what he is talking about too as he has made well over $100,000 as an Amazon Associate. Two of the chapters that I have found particularly helpful are How to Make Money with Amazon.com: Linking Strategies and How to Write Content for your Blog.
Please CLICK HERE to purchase and download How to Make Money as an Amazon Associate now.
What to do if you think you have been scammed
- The first thing that you need to do is call your credit card company ASAP, to have the charges removed if at all possible, or at the very least stop future payments.
- The number two thing that you need to do is call the company that sold you their so-called services and requests a refund. If requesting a refund doesn’t get you anywhere demand a refund. Tell them you’re going to take legal action and report them to the Attorney General.
- It is also important that you file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau
I want to wish you the best of luck
If you are a victim of these scam companies I want to tell you that I am so sorry that you were taken advantage of this way and wish you the best of luck. I truly hope that you have found this page helpful.