Live in a Nexus State - Read up!
Shortly after signing-up for InfoBarrel I attempted to join Amazon's affiliate program, only to learn that Amazon does not allow people who live in states that passed the Nexus Law to become affiliates. Without going into the law's details, the unfortunate result for InfoBarrel writers is that the built-in Amazon-ID and "page-imbedded" Amazon product links become useless. In short, there's no way for InfoBarrel writters to make money through Amazon - unpleasant news when considering that Amazon is the internet's largest marketplace.
Nexus Law States in the U.S. where one cannot be an Amazon affiliate are:
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
Circumventing the Nexus Law
One obvious way around the Nexus Law dilemma is to use an out-of-state address, perhaps one held by a relative or friend. (When adopting this strategy it's wise to make sure the contact is trustworthy!) On the other hand, however, some people have legitimate ethical hesitations about this skirting of the law. Regardless, InfoBarrel writers do have completely reliable and ethical alternatives to Amazon. And while there isn't a one-stop replacement (remember, Amazon is the biggest online marketplace), affiliate programs can be broken-down into those for books and non-book products.
Book Alternatives to Amazon - ABE Books
Having begun in 1996, for over 10 years this once Canadian based company held a consistent niche in the used, rare, and out-of-print book industry. As of 2008, however, the company has been under Amazon (so it's not a true Amazon alternative). No longer can it be heralded as an Amazon alternative for those concerned about their domination of the market (as it was in this writer's college days: "support ABE Books... they're the small-business alternative to Amazon!"). But even though ABE Books is now owned by Amazon, InfoBarrel writters and other online income folks listen up: ABE Books is not effected by the law because they are Canadian based, making them a Canadian "work-around" for would-be Amazon affiliate marketers living in Nexus States.
How to become an ABE Books Affiliate?
First, join Google's Affiliate Network. From there, visit the ABE Books Affiliate Program Page. At that point, the process should be more or less easy. The one thing to note is that contextual links need to be put directly into the HTML. For some reason, the link creator feature on IB's editor messes up the code (do share if any of you tech-gurus understand why). But the company does make it fairly easy to contribute to their affiliate program, and it's certainly somewhat of an answer to predicaments caused by the Nexus law.
How ABE Affiliate Links work
Different from the way Amazon's affiliate network links work with InfoBarrel and perhaps other revenue-writing sites, it's necessary to hyperlink book text generated from their affiliate-page link creator (see previous paragraph). This means that you won't see any visual images of books displayed on your articles. Instead, when you write about an author or a book simply link it through their link creator.
As an example, in an article about affiliate marketing I could link the subject text "affiliate marketing" to bring readers to a general result page for affiliate marketing, or I could link a book title text such as the relevant Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss to bring readers to a specific book page (though, in this case, the link brings readers to results for the search for the book, which shows the different editions, used, new and other options for buying the text).
With that said, if you have a blog or other site with affiliate links, it is possible to create book-image advertisements and general ABE Book advertisements through their affiliate marketing tools, similar to the Amazon adds seen on InfoBarrel articles. While not directly helpful for InfoBarrel articles, this information should help with other avenues of online affiliate marketing.
Amazon Alternatives for non-book Products
Amazon's affiliate program is convenient because most all types of products are sold through the site. For folks living in states affected by the Nexus law, and for those looking to widen their affiliate marketing scope, the digital products group Clickbank offers a generous affiliate program. (Really generous... up to 75% of sales) And while they don't yet have a referral program for referring affiliates, they do have one for referring vendors. So if you're reading and have a digital product(s), such as an ebook, but you're a bit overwhelmed by the ins and outs of the selling process, why not sell through ClickBank?
Coming closest to a true Amazon alternative, Nextag is another large online market place. Like ABE Books and Clickbank, residents of Nexus law states can participate in Nextag' affiliate program.
Regardless of which, if any, affiliate program fellow InfoBarrel choose to utilize, don't despair when learning potentially rough news about not being able to participate in Amazon's affiliate program. And even for those participating in Amazon's affiliate program, first consider yourself luck, then consider broadening your horizons to Amazon affiliate alternatives to increase your passive income.