I've been selling with Amazon for years now, but it's mostly been with the affiliate program and with someone else as the lead. My friend set it all up initially as a way for us to create revenue for churches and schools. He signed up for it, but he also allowed me to have access and add my own websites to the mix. I made a few "sales" a month through my own sites, meaning people would click through and buy something. Not profitable or meaningful, but something, so my friend would buy beers whenever we hung out.
When I started my own business, I wanted to set up my own Amazon Associates account so that I could promote my own Kindle items and make some of my own sales based on ads on my own sites. It would not be set up for charity (at first), and it would be about making real money just for me, presumably so I could buy my own beer. However, the process was not as simple as one might think. I have learned one very important lesson that might interest bloggers out there, especially if you've been denied an account like myself.
My first attempt was early in the year and the next was late in the same year, but I made the same mistake both times: I tried too hard and I didn't ask questions. When you sign up for an account, you can add up to 50 websites that you want to use with the account. I wanted to look good to the company, so I added about 15 websites, all of which I'd built. It meant that I had various ways of marketing myself and what I could do for Amazon. A week later, after I'd set up a bunch of ads, I was denied. The denial said there was no appeal process and that my sites were not updated and mostly ads. Of course, if you've seen my main blog sites, this simply is not true, especially compared to many blogs I've seen, and compared to what my friend and I had set up years ago. I figured it was an error, or that Amazon's standards had changed a lot. With no chance for a review, I gave up.
The next attempt came in December of the same year. Amazon actually invited me to sign up for an affiliate account because I had been selling Kindle books for some time. I figured that meant I was good as gold. They WANTED me as an associate this time. I signed up again (it's a good half hour to do that) and then I started changing ads on my sites again to make them my own. Four hours, at least. A few days later, I was denied once again. So, a total of about ten hours wasted on two attempts to sell items for them. This time, I'd added even more websites to the list of blogs I have created and update. Once again, I was told there was no review process, but I was a bit peeved, so I sent an email to support. The response was very nice, and the Amazon employee, understanding my problem, actually got the company to run my request again. I figured I was all set with a real person helping.
Unfortunately, I was still denied the next day, but I did learn an interesting secret in the process. I was told that the system that looks over applications searches ALL sites on the list, meaning if you have ONE site that is updated a lot (like this site), you stand a better chance of being approved than if you add every website you may or may not keep updated. That's completely the reverse logic that I had anticipated. McNewsy, with hundreds of my writings from high school and college, and sitcomlifelessons, with almost no articles yet, counted against me. The blog I set up just to promote my other sites also looked useless to Amazon.
Now, the last test is to see if my latest attempt will work. I focused on Satisfamily, since this is the blog I update the most. The content is original, engaging, and new. And there's a lot of it. Therefore, I assume I will be approved. But this is a good lesson to other bloggers out there looking to monetize a site or multiple sites: just pick your best. If you happen to have three sites you update weekly, that's fine, but if you just set up sites and are waiting to create content for after you have ads to throw on there, then you will look like you're not creating useful content, and you will be denied, even if one of your sites is a legitimate blog.