If you published an Amazon affiliate link online today, would it still work if somebody clicked it in, let’s say, 10 years down the line?
Or do Amazon affiliate links expire?
If that’s something you’ve ever been curious about (and if you’ve ever been curious about the cookie duration of Amazon affiliate links) then we’re confident you’re going to enjoy this post.
That’s because in this post we’re going to explain exactly how long Amazon affiliate links last, whether or not they expire & what the Amazon affiliate link cookie duration is.
So let’s dive straight in.
Do Amazon Affiliate Links Expire?
No, Amazon affiliate links don’t expire – meaning if you published an Amazon affiliate link online today, you could still stand to earn a commission from it many years down the line.
That is, providing the following 2 criteria are met:
- Your affiliate account is still in good standing (and hasn’t been suspended)
- Amazon hasn’t updated the URL structure for their affiliate links
You see, unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t allow link cloaking.
This means that whilst with other affiliate programs you could simply cloak your affiliate link to make sure it redirects to the right place even if the affiliate URL structure changes, with Amazon, you can’t.
All you can do is simply cross your fingers & hope that they never change it.
Or hope that if they do change it, they redirect all old affiliate links through to their new URL structure so that you can continue earning affiliate commissions.
And the good news is that it’s essentially in Amazon’s best interests to want to do this because if they don’t, they’d end up losing visitors from all the dead links.
So, technically Amazon affiliate links could expire – but they never should expire.
How Long Do Amazon Affiliate Links Last?
Providing your Amazon affiliate account remains in good standing your Amazon affiliate links will last forever.
Amazon has no interest in setting a time limit on your links because ultimately they want you to earn good money through their affiliate program.
The reason for that is that if you’re earning good money through their program then you’re less likely to promote a competitor instead.
They want the business & their business is built off the back of affiliates so they want to keep you happy.
They do, however, set something known as cookie durations but this is not done to purposely make you earn less. It’s done to protect their program from “cheats”.
I’ll explain why (and what the Amazon cookie duration is) below but first let me explain what cookie duration actually means & why it’s important.
What Is Cookie Duration?
Most affiliate programs place a small text file known as an affiliate tracking cookie on a user’s device whenever they click on an affiliate link.
This text file simply contains the affiliate ID of the affiliate that shared the link, the date that the cookie was created & an expiration date in the future.
And this file is created so that in the instance that somebody doesn’t make a purchase right away & instead comes back later to do so, the affiliate can still be rewarded a commission.
The affiliate program just checks for the tracking cookie on the user’s return visit & if it exists, they grab the affiliate ID back from it again.
But as I mentioned, the file has an expiration date – meaning you only have a set window (as defined by the particular affiliate program) before the cookie expires.
If the user makes the purchase after it’s expired, you won’t get the commission even though it’s highly likely you technically generated the sale.
So essentially, the longer the cookie duration, the higher the chance you have of earning money as an affiliate.
And the typical cookie duration for most programs is 30 days.
But what is Amazon’s cookie duration? Let’s take a look.
How Long Does The Amazon Affiliate Cookie Last?
The Amazon affiliate cookie lasts 24 hours, meaning you have up to 24 hours for a user to make a purchase after clicking your link in order to earn a commission.
If they don’t happen to make a purchase within that 24-hour window you won’t earn a commission & you’ll need them to click your link again to stand a chance to earn.
At a glance, that may seem like a very short cookie duration when you compare it to most other affiliate programs that typically have a ~30-day cookie duration.
But the good news is that because Amazon is such a mammoth site & so trusted, most sales happen faster because people don’t tend to “mull it over” or look for alternatives.
They generally already have their payment details in there so Amazon is a nice, easy option.
There is, however, some additional good news. There’s a way you can extend the Amazon affiliate cookie duration up to 90 days.
Ears pricked? I thought they might have! Let’s discuss it below.
What Is The Amazon 90-Day Cookie?
If a user clicks on your Amazon affiliate link they must complete the purchase within 24 hours for you to earn a commission, unless they add it to their cart.
If they add the product to their cart, you get an additional 89 days for the sale to happen & during this period you can still qualify to earn a commission.
So, if they add the product to their cart at the end of the 24 hours, that in addition to the 89-day extension would make for a 90-day cookie duration.
But there’s an important caveat here.
Whilst Amazon typically pays out on ALL items in a user’s cart, this is only the case if they complete the purchase within the first 24 hours.
If, however, they don’t complete it that fast & they add the item to their cart & make the purchase on, say, day 10 then you will only stand to earn from the particular items they added to their cart within the first 24 hours.
So let’s say they added 3 items to their cart within 24 hours of clicking your link but then added 7 more on the 10th day when they completed the purchase, in this instance, you would only qualify to earn from the 3 items that were initially added.
Still, a 90-day cookie duration overall is pretty neat & not to be sniffed at.
But you might be wondering, why the 24-hour cookie? Well, let us explain.
Why Is Amazon’s Cookie Duration So Short?
Every new affiliate is always really hyped to discover that they can promote products from Amazon but that hype is generally short-lived once they discover their affiliate cookie only lasts for 24 hours.
So, what gives? Why is Amazon’s affiliate cookie duration so short?
Well, the reason is primarily to protect against something known as cookie stuffing.
And this is essentially a dirty, underhand tactic that’s used by rogue affiliate marketers to “steal” commissions that essentially weren’t rightfully theirs.
I won’t go into the actual method of cookie stuffing in too much detail as we’ve already written about it but in short, the longer a program’s cookie duration, the more at risk they are of cookie stuffing.
And cookie stuffing costs programs (especially programs as big as Amazon) a LOT of money.
So the initial short cookie duration of 24 hours is essentially there to protect their bank balance & make sure that the honest affiliates get the commissions instead.
The Bottom Line
Amazon’s 24-hour affiliate cookie duration may seem short but given that they provide the option to extend it to 90-days as explained above & the fact that Amazon makes payments so easy, it’s actually not too bad.
The Amazon affiliate program can still prove to be VERY lucrative indeed & that’s why we recommend it to all of the new students in our free affiliate marketing course.
The key to success with Amazon’s affiliate program is simply encouraging your visitors to make quick purchases (by giving them all the info they need) & encouraging them to get the item in their cart if they don’t have the funds available there & then.
Anyway, we really hope that you found this post insightful & of course if you happen to have any additional questions or comments then please don’t hesitate to leave them below.