Since January 2018, I’ve bought, sold, and brokered over 30 individual Amazon Associate monetized websites. As an experienced website flipper, I would coin Amazon Affiliate sites as the “gateway” into the world of website flipping. The sites are product-focused making them easier to startup, hire content writers, and scale.
In this write-up, I cover all you need to know about the Amazon Affiliate sites you see for sale. The topics covered include:
- Where to buy Amazon Affiliates Sites
- Benefits and disbenefits of the model
- Specific due diligence techniques
- Common questions
Let’s get into it!
Where To Find Amazon Affiliate Sites For Sale?
There are plenty of options for places to buy affiliate sites. You can find done-for-you agencies that build Amazon sites to brokers that sell established sites. Here we will discuss brokers where five in particular stick out.
For more insights into each of these, check out the write-up on the top website brokers.
Empire Flippers has a reputation for being one of the big go-to names when it comes to buying and selling profitable websites. There are many different types of money making websites, including affiliate sites.
The vetting process makes sure that a site not only hits a minimum average, but that it consistently hits that minimum $500/month number. While they are more focused on high earning online businesses, there are still deals to be found with Amazon-based affiliate sites.
- More established sites for sale due to $500/mo minimum
- Strong seller and deal verification process
- Many listings in various niches at various price points
- Reliable and trustworthy broker
- Many affiliate sites are decent earners, meaning there may be fewer sites for sale that have easy wins to improve and flip
- Large budget required
Motion Invest does a good job of filling that “middle space” between very expensive high-earning websites and the mess of barely earning anything starter sites.
There tend to be less sites available for sale, but the thorough background of each site’s traffic and earnings is a major pro that saves you a lot of time. However, make sure to do your own due diligence because at times, I’ve seen errors.
- Great background check and filter before putting websites on sale
- Occasionally some very good site candidates for buying, improving and flipping at inexpensive prices
- Need to act very fast to get a chance at inexpensive sites that are good “buy and flip” candidates
- You will be buying at the high end of valuations
- Limited selection of sites
Flippa has a bit of a reputation as the “wild west” marketplace for buying and selling websites. Generally speaking, Flippa will have the most Amazon affiliate sites for sale, and plenty of potential because of the many relatively low earning sites that are also available.
That means potential hidden gems. However, there are also plenty of scams on Flippa and that means you need to proceed with caution. Verification of earnings is definitely a weak spot on this platform.
- Many sites available at lower than market average multiples
- Websites available at all price ranges
- One of the more likely places to find Amazon affiliate sites that are “hidden gems”
- Many, many scams on the site with no recourse if you buy a scam site
- A lot of fudged numbers – the verification process of earnings just isn’t there like on other brokerages
- No support on the technical side of things (except directly from the seller)
- Not a great spot for true beginners
Investors.Club is a recent addition to the website brokerage, as of early 2020. Buyers need to have proof of funds for even a basic membership, and although not necessary the one time $747 fee for VIP status is recommended for buyers.
VIP Investors.Club members get to see listings immediately, while basic members see what is available five days after initial listing. The vetting process for sites is very in-depth, and allows sellers to buy in confidence.
- Organization of sites by niche is a nice touch
- The free legal contract draw up is a nice bonus
- Great customer service
- They buy the site themselves for fair valuation if no members purchase it
- Owned and managed by website flippers and investors
- The VIP upgrade for $747 is almost a necessity to find the best deals and can be cost prohibitive to beginners
- Proof of $10,000 in funds is necessary even for opening a free account
- Fewer diamond in the rough options – focus is on quality established sites
The Website Flip Brokerage
The Website Flip is a boutique brokerage that I run. My team and I have been buying, selling, and brokering sites for 10+ years now. We run a newsletter where every Monday we send out a detailed analysis of public listings from other brokerages, and also send out any private deals we have for sale exclusively.
The newsletter is free to join; no fees involved. Sign up here.
Here is a snapshot of our recent deals we’ve brokered that are Amazon Associate sites:
|Niche||Sale Time (days)||Sale Price||Sale Method|
6 Benefits of Amazon Affiliate Sites
Amazon affiliate sites can provide a steady monthly income. If you see potential to improve the site’s earnings and then sell it, you could make a tidy profit. Amazon is a trusted brand that also gives credit for any sales made through your link for 24 hours.
Even if Amazon changes rates over time, if you have enough traffic, you have other opportunities to further monetize the site (e.g., display ads, digital products).
Here are the major benefits:
- Amazon is a trusted retailer meaning conversion rates are high (average of 8%, peak of 25%)
- Affiliate payouts for any products in the shopping cart, not just the product itself
- Large number of niche categories
- Access to pretty much every type of physical product
- Repeatable process that can be scaled once you know what you’re doing
- High-demand from buyers once (and if) you are ready to sell the site
6 Issues with Amazon Affiliate Sites
While Amazon affiliate sites can be great, they come with a downside, as well. Your income can be held hostage by Amazon or Google. One change in the Amazon commission rate or Google’s algorithm can ruin your site’s earnings.
If you’re going to look at buying sites monetized through Amazon you need to be aware of these potential issues:
- Relatively low commission rates in most niches
- Long-term trend of cutting commissions
- Cookies only last 24 hours (unless products are adding directly to shopping carts)
- Value of site can change drastically with one commission update or Google update
- Commission levels vary drastically by niche depending on what country/territory you’re in
- Amazon’s return policy is great for customers but is also often abused, meaning negative commissions are an issue
My Due Diligence Tips for Amazon Affiliate Sites
Make sure to read the overarching website due diligence framework as well.
I’ve picked up a few unique due diligence techniques specific to Amazon sites over the years. Here are the most impactful ones:
Is the owner using the same Amazon affiliate tag on multiple sites?
Many Amazon Associates have multiple niche sites earning for them. It’s good practice to give each site its own tracking code. When you are buying an Amazon site you need to make sure the numbers being quoted for valuation are only for sales from the site you’re buying, not the entire Amazon account, or a combination of multiple sites.
To catch this issue, you can do a simple calculation with some rough assumptions:
- [Pageviews]: Obtain Google Analytics access to get the number of pageviews over a certain time period of your choice
- [CTR]: Assume 20% CTR from site to Amazon
- [CR]: Assume a 5% conversion rate for people buying
- [AOV]: Estimate the average order value (AOV) of typical products in this niche
- [COMM]: Find the commission rate from here for your niche
Now, do this calculation:
For example, if you have 1,000 pageviews, CTR of 20%, a conversion rate of 5%, AOV of $100, and a commission rate of 4%, then your revenue estimate will be $40.
If the seller is claiming they are making $200, this can act as a red flag since your estimates show it to be much less. However, if you are overestimating, then that’s a good sign that the numbers provided by the seller are more or less OK. Still you need to do further due diligence to ensure it all makes sense.
Does the P&L show adjustments based on Amazon Associate commission rate changes?
If a site was in a 9% Amazon affiliate niche that was updated to only paying 3%, that’s valuable information. The site is now going to earn 67% less and should be valued on the new earnings, not what it could have earned in the past.
Note: In April 2020, Amazon changed their commission structure. Some categories dropped from 8% to 3%. Therefore, when buying a site, any earnings prior to April 2020 should be discounted to match the new rates. Jon Gilham over at WebsiteIncome.com created a spreadsheet where you can drop in an Amazon Associates product report, and get the adjusted revenue numbers.
Is the owner’s Amazon account closed?
If the owner’s Amazon Associates account was closed, this can be a red flag. Amazon is not so forthright in letting owners know which site violated the ToS or what the issue really was.
So make sure to analyze the site and follow the Amazon ToS to ensure it abides by all the rules.
Is the site violating Amazon Associates terms of service?
Just because a site isn’t penalized doesn’t mean that they’re not breaking the terms of service for Amazon. They may just not have been caught yet.
Common violations include:
- Not having a clear statement of being an Amazon Associate,
- Mentioning price in the review,
- Using cloaked links, or
- Using Amazon’s photos instead of using the API or Site Stripe
Common Questions about Amazon Affiliate Sites for Sale
What’s the typical valuation multiple I should pay?
You want to get the best deal you can when buying.
The general rule of thumb for years prior to 2020 was 20x-36x monthly earnings with 30x being a common average. However, since 2020, the market has heated up with 35x-40x being a very common selling point now.
How to value a site with a Custom Rate Card from Amazon Associates?
After the April 2020 Amazon Associates commissions cut, many owners with large portfolios were placed on “custom rate” cards. In short this meant their commission rates were not reduced in certain categories where they were driving significant earnings for Amazon. This was great for the owners!
However, If you are wanting to buy a site and you find out the seller is on a custom rate card, beware! Just buying an individual site DOES NOT give you the custom rate card on your account. You would need to buy the entire business the Amazon Associates account is associated with to get the rate card.
Takeaway: If you find that a site is earning more revenue than it should, make sure to ask the seller if they have a custom rate card.
Which niches are best for Amazon Associates?
Is the Amazon Associates Program going away?
No one knows the answer to this question for sure except for Jeff Bezos. That said, rumors of the Amazon Associates program going away have been around for over a decade. While it’s certainly possible, and some would argue likely, that eventually it will go away there’s no way to know for certain.
As of right now, there are no known plans for the program to go away.
Will Amazon Associates continue reducing commissions?
Over the long haul, the answer is likely, yes. The last change in commissions was in April 2020.
While there are times that a certain niche gets pushed up to a high commission percentage for a short time, this is always temporary. Over the long term, the commissions have kept declining.
Unfortunately, there’s no reason to believe that’s going to change.
As a website flipper who has done 175 website flips to date (see data here), a large majority have been Amazon Affiliate sites. This is because they are simpler to start, and there is a large following of people looking to buy such sites.
There are plenty of places to find Amazon Affiliate websites for sale. However, doing proper due diligence is key. You are buying a legitimate content media business. Take it seriously!