amazon-inAmazon India has officially launched its affiliate program, Amazon Associates, in India, although had gone live last month. Amazon Associates is an affiliate program for website marketers and online publishers to monetize their content by advertising contextually relevant products and referring visitors to Amazon.in.

For an introductory period, it will payout commission rates of 5% on consumer electronics and 10% on all other products, which includes Kindle devices. The program will also allow associates to earn commission on all products that visitors buy following the links on associate sites and not just for the specific products that were promoted on marketer’s website. Amazon claims that it offers 17 million books, more than 10,000 DVDs & audio CDs, consumer electronics, and Kindle devices to carry out a contextual ad on their website.

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Publishers can promote products on their site by adding “tag=[your-tag-id]” to the URL of that page e.g. http://www.amazon.in/Nokia-Lumia-520-Black/dp/B00CE2LO8Y?tag=[your-tag-id]. This allows publishers to include banner links, product links, and link to any page. Amazon also provides widgets for your picks, search, contexual, flash, among others that one can just embed to their site. Amazon notes that it pays out to marketers through Cheque. Users need to fill out home address, PAN card details, and minimum payout to receive the payment.

Earlier this month, online shopping marketplace, Flipkart hiked affiliate payout fees to marketers on all categories that it offers, in competition with Amazon, and probably in anticipation of the launch of Amazon Associates.  Flipkart is offering 10% payout on books as opposed to 6% that it offered previously, and  has increased the affiliate payout up to 10% on all of the categories that it is currently offering on its marketplace. Flipkart affiliate pays out to marketers via gift card or EFT.

Infibeam also offers 5% affiliate payout fees on books, 10% on eBooks, 5% on lifestyle products, 1% on gold & silver coins, among others. Snapdeal also had its referral program (Rs 100 per user referral, so apparently only for new customer acquisition, rather than affiliate sales), but it apparently faced some issues last year with misuse from some of its affiliate:

“There were few users who acted smart and tried to earn their living (almost literally) out of this program. They made tons of fake accounts and started accumulating SD cash. At the time of purchase, they ordered for mobiles, perfumes, even refrigerators using pure SD cash. We couldn’t have let that happen.”

Amazon India timeline

February 2, 2012: Amazon launches Junglee.com in India  as an advertising service for product ads, thereby acting as an aggregator for Indian online retailers, pitting retailer against retailer for similar products.

February 14, 2012: Amazon India gets an approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to set up a wholly owned subsidiary (WoS) in the country to undertake the business of online market place operator and retailer inter-alia courier services.

August 22, 2012: Amazon has launches the Kindle Store for the Indian market on Amazon.com, which will feature e-books available for purchase in Indian currency.

March 4, 2013: Amazon.com subsidiary, Amazon Seller Services appoints the IT distributor Redington India as a national distributor for its Kindle devices.

April 19, 2013: Amazon announces its Android Appstore in the country competing with with Google’s Play Store and third party app stores such as Getjar.com, Opera App Store, Mobango, Slide Me, among others.

May 23, 2013: The Android appstore goes live in India.

June 5, 2013: Amazon India goes live with its Marketplace with Books, movies and TV shows.

June 13, 2013: Amazon India launches its Kindle eBook readers and tablets in the country. These devices will be available from Amazon.in as well as retail store such as Croma, Reliance Digital, E-Zone and Vijay Sales in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Gurgaon, Kolkata, Hyberabad, and Ahmedabad.

July 8, 2013: Amazon India  launches Associates, their popular affiliate program for bloggers and website owners in India.