Amazon India is a tricky one!
Amazon.in is a huge storefront, serving a massive population, and with significant growth expected in the coming years, but the Amazon India Associates program requires a local bank account for paying out commissions (unlike the programs in N. America and Europe) due to government regulation. And, from our research, to open up a local bank account you need to create a local business entity and that gets complicated and expensive fast. This challenge keeps most creators and affiliates from taking advantage of monetizing their India based audience and thus leaving money on the table. Uggg!
This has frustrated us for quite some time as well and after years of research and looking at various processes, I’m happy to announce we’ve found a way for non-India based clients to not only earn commissions for sales on Amazon.in but to also get those commissions paid out directly to their local banks!
We’ve partnered up with a service called Cuelinks* to achieve these goals!
Cuelinks* is a “super affiliate” aggregator, similar to Skimlinks or VigLink, where you can use their tools to leverage many different affiliate programs without actually having to sign up for and manage the links for each. Think of them as having great “breadth” (supporting lots of different retailer’s affiliate programs) where Geniuslink is focused on “depth” (focused on only a few retailers but supporting all of the regional affiliate programs). Cuelinks is based in India and is focused on the Indian market. They can also make payments to their clients even if they are international!
At a high level, you would continue to use Genius Link as you always have - swap out Amazon links for a geni.us link that will localize and affiliate, when possible, with each click for a shopper’s local Amazon storefront. But now, by introducing Cuelinks, we have an easy process to first, get set up with an Amazon.in affiliate tracking ID and second, get paid out for the commissions you earn.
Before you ask, the answer is “Yes!”, we’ve been in very close contact with the Associates team at Amazon.in to ensure this process doesn’t violate any of their terms of service. We will also continue to send them monthly updates to provide complete transparency and ensure a good working relationship.
Okay, ready to start monetizing those clicks to Amazon.in? Follow the step by step directions below to get set up. Additional notes and a short FAQ can be found at the bottom but it's important to state upfront that there are significant taxes and some fees associated with getting commissions out of India. Full details are in the FAQ section below.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out any time with questions / comments / feedback!
Step 1: Signup & Verification
Click to go to Cuelinks and start the super quick signup process (additional details like address, etc. come later).
Once you have signed up you are done for the day! Cuelinks typically takes about 24-48 hours to review /approve the account. Maybe the whole weekend if you signed up late on a Friday. Ping us if it’s been more than three days though and we’ll try to figure out what’s wrong!
Please note that you’ll get one email (subject: “Confirmation instructions”) right after signing up and a second email (subject: “Cuelinks - Your account verification was successful.”) a few minutes after clicking the link in the earlier email. You’ll get a third email (subject: “Cuelinks - Your account has been approved.”) once you’ve been approved. Besides confirming your email address via the first email you can ignore the content of the second two emails.
Step 2: Getting Your Amazon.in Tracking ID (One time Activity)
Once you’ve been approved, aka received the “Cuelinks - Your account has been approved.” email, then you are ready for this next step.
Go back to Cuelinks*, click Login in the upper right hand corner, and enter your credentials. Once you are logged into the Cuelinks dashboard you’ll want to click or copy / paste this URL into your browser: https://www.cuelinks.com/campaigns/amazon-india-affiliate-program#CPS
This will pull up the offer page for the Amazon.in program. From here click the bring green button to “GENERATE LINK” in the middle of the page.
Take that “linksredirect.com/…” link and drop it into a browser and fire it off. After a couple quick redirects you’ll land on the Amazon.in webpage. From there click back on the address bar and you should see something like this:
Copy this full URL, you are going to need it in the next step!
Step 3: Add to Genius Link
Now that you have that full Amazon.in URL in your clipboard you need to jump over to the Affiliate page inside your Genius Link account.
Click on the big blue “Connect an affiliate program” button, then paste the full link into the box that pops up. From there you’ll need to be sure to select “India” in the drop down.
The link will be verified then you should see the India flag added in your list of affiliate tracking IDs and the same tracking ID that was in your previous link.
And now you are good to go!
All of the links in your Genius Link account will start using that affiliate tracking ID anytime they redirect to Amazon.in and you’ll start earning commissions from those referrals.
Step 3: Getting Your Amazon.in Commissions
After you've waited the necessary 60-75 days for your Amazon.in sales to validate you will see an amount of approved commissions in the upper left hand corner of your CueLinks dashboard.
Once you have earned at least $50 USD / 3,300 INR in commissions you'll have the option to "Transfer Now" and raise an invoice. Currently that process for international payments requires sending email to email@example.com for Non-Indian publishers (though they are working on automating this process).
The first time through this process CueLinks will require some documentation for the tax work necessary (see below for a breakdown of taxes). The two primary documents required are:
- Certificate of Residency (see example file attached below)
- NO PE Letter (see example file attached below)
Once your commissions are approved, an invoice is raised, and all documents are in place, transfer of funds would happen within approximately 15 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
What reporting do I use?
Because the Amazon.in Tracking ID you've added to your account actually belongs to Cuelinks (so they track your earnings and payout) you won't be able to see any click or earnings data within your Amazon.in Reports.
Instead, you’ll want to use your Genius Link account to continue to monitor your click based reports, and you can view the commissions earned via the Cuelinks dashboard.
Please note that some of the reporting in Cuelinks will look funky, like clicks and conversion rate, as they aren’t recording any of the clicks, just the commissions (via the Transactions and Earnings reports).
What are the fees / taxes?
Unfortunately, it’s expensive getting money out of India. While it’s better than nothing, there are management fees and multiple taxes that must be deducted from your commissions before they can be transferred directly into your account. In general you will be able to pocket just over 50% of the commissions earned. The basic math is as follows:
Payout to publisher (-20% tax)
Payout on existing commissions?
From now until May 31st, 2018, on a case-by-case basis, Cuelinks is able to work directly with the Amazon India affiliate program to do a one-time transfer of commissions already earned. Please know that it requires significantly more work for all parties but is currently available. Please contact us to get the process started. Note that the one-time transfer of funds will still incur the same fees and taxes outlined above.
*- It’s important to note that Cuelinks offers an affiliate program and we are participating in it. The links above are affiliate links and by no way impact the taxes or fees associated with earning commissions from Amazon India or Cuelinks. To the best of our knowledge this is the only scalable way to get affiliate commissions out of India. Please ping us if you find a better solution!