Lowest Amazon earnings in months

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  1. theraggededge profile image96
    theraggededgeposted 5 years ago

    We have another thread connected to this, but no-one from the staff side has responded. The recent changes in the structure of Amazon commission seem to have had a detrimental affect. While the number of sales has not decreased, earnings have halved this month.

    89 shipped sales (103 total sales so far) has earned $55. Last month, on a pro-rata calculation, 89 sales made me $115. They are, more or less, the same type of items. Bear in mind that the change took place sometime in July.

    In June my total sales was, coincidentally, 89 items, giving a commission of $178. That's a massive difference when compared with this month's paltry $55.

    So this is not working out in our favor, is it? Can we go back to the old system, please?

    1. timmartin profile imageSTAFF
      timmartinposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Hi theraggededge,

      Thank you for expressing your concerns. I think lobobrandon and Natalie Frank explained it well. Before authors would earn full commission on 60% of the sales, now authors earn 60% of the commission on 100% of the sales. Before you were only shown the 60% of sales that you were earning a commission on. Now we show all the sales associated with your articles. As Brandon says there is a bit less of a "lottery" aspect to the new system. Before if a big ticket item was sold you might get lucky and earn the full commission on that item and HubPages would get nothing. Or it could have been the other way around and HubPages would get lucky and get the full commission. Now we always share the big (and little) ticket commissions.

      I'd echo what others have said about looking at the product mix of items you have sold. It could be seasonality or Amazon could have updated some of the products you link to.

      Overall author Amazon earnings for August appear to be pretty close to previous years. Historically things really pick up October through December.


      1. theraggededge profile image96
        theraggededgeposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        Thanks for responding, Tim. I do understand the 60/40 split over all items.

        The items sold are a pretty eclectic mix, but generally low ticket price and unseasonal. Over the last few months they more or less evened out, give or take.

        It's the fact that there is such a massive difference this month. The items are the same old stuff. The sales are of a similar number, but for there to be such a huge difference in earnings is just... well, odd.

        I know that Amazon changed their commission rates, but that was last year.

        Obviously, there's nothing I can do about it. But... it's disappointing.

        1. eugbug profile image96
          eugbugposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          Did you notice a reduction in traffic this month on any of your articles that could have been generating the Amazon sales?
          My traffic dropped 50% on a high traffic hub after the August 1st Google search algorithm update.

          1. lobobrandon profile image88
            lobobrandonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            Which niche website is this drop on? I've checked stats on SEMRush and all I checked gained from the August 1st update. I looked into dengarden, owlcation and caloriebee.

            1. eugbug profile image96
              eugbugposted 5 years agoin reply to this

              On Dengarden. Only one of my articles was affected, but there's a definite downward trend starting after the 1st August. Could be just coincidence.


              1. lobobrandon profile image88
                lobobrandonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

                Dengarden is one of the niche sites that would be hit last with that update. It was termed the Medic update and was mainly focused on YMYL sites. It's most likely a coincidence. My traffic has been going down on Dengarden because of the end of the gardening season. And your traffic on 29th July and 3rd Aug are very similar. Also, the 1st and 2nd when the update rolled out seem to be high peaks.

                1. eugbug profile image96
                  eugbugposted 5 years agoin reply to this

                  The article is about electricity, so even though it's on Dengarden it's more of an educational tutorial. Most traffic comes from India and the US, so any seasonality could be due to school vacations. This is the traffic for last year. The sudden drop in traffic occurred when HubPages switched it from the "home appliances" to "home improvement" category in July this year.


                  1. lobobrandon profile image88
                    lobobrandonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

                    Wow... Did it recover? August is vacations in India it's a semester break. Not high schools though. High schools begin around June after the summer break. That drop is just crazy makes me wonder whether you have views in the 10s or 100s.

              2. eugbug profile image96
                eugbugposted 5 years agoin reply to this

                This is a better representation showing that I wasn't reaching the high midweek peaks in traffic I was getting before August.


          2. theraggededge profile image96
            theraggededgeposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            No, traffic is up. Hubpages Ad prog earnings are up. They are helping to soften the blow hmm

  2. lobobrandon profile image88
    lobobrandonposted 5 years ago

    I disagree completely. My Amazon earnings are 40% lower, but that's because of more sales on low priced items. I made 10 sales two days ago and got a commission of USD 4. I get more than that on one sale usually. I see that you say you have compared products etc. But mostly the same is not the same as exactly the same.

    It does not make logical sense that the current method gives you a 50% drop. Rather than winning a lottery on the best priced items on your 60%, you now have 100% of the sales in your name and you earn 60% on each sale.

    From a mathematical perspective considering probabilities and the economies of scale that HP has (the whole 8% thing) there is no way you should be losing out. Maybe plus or minus 5% each month on average across the year.

    My request to HP would be to retain the system as it is and not make any changes. Unless you can prove that the mathematics doesn't work out.

    1. theraggededge profile image96
      theraggededgeposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Of course, it's not going to be exactly the same, but there is definitely something amiss. I wouldn't even notice if it were just $10, $20, $30 (I'd put it down to seasonal variation) but comparing 89 sales in August with similar 89 sales in June shouldn't produce such a huge difference of $123. That's not 5% is it?

      And yours is 40% down?

      I agree, that the current system should be working well, but it isn't. And I'm not the only one who is concerned about this.

      1. lobobrandon profile image88
        lobobrandonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        Mine is down 40% because the gardening season has ended, my traffic is down 60% compared to the last months too.

        But if you take a look at your sales and see the price of the item and the commission you get is there anything amiss? I don't see anything wrong in the calculations unless some sales are not showing at all and thus not giving me any commission. If that's the case, that is something HP will have to fix, but it is not a problem of the way they split the income.

        I read the other thread, but was on vacation so didn't comment as I couldn't check my stats properly at that time. If I remember right, that thread was more along the lines of seeing a lot of sales and then having it drop down. Again, not a problem with the way they split the income.

        I personally do not see a problem. But if you say there is one, I would ask HP to find out why the system isn't working fine even though the method being used should work fine rather than having it scrapped.

      2. Natalie Frank profile image91
        Natalie Frankposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        I am not an authority on this as I rarely make any Amazon sales but isn't there also a difference in the percentage based on the type of item or niche or something along those lines?

        1. lobobrandon profile image88
          lobobrandonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          Yup, you're right.

        2. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image88
          TIMETRAVELER2posted 5 years agoin reply to this

          Yes.  The percentage you earn is based on the item type...some pay twice as much as others.

        3. EricFarmer8x profile image96
          EricFarmer8xposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          Yes. Some things like electronics have a much lower commission than other items.

  3. theraggededge profile image96
    theraggededgeposted 5 years ago

    Just did the same pro-rata exercise on May's earnings. 89 sales comes out at $126. April is lower at $91. March was $132 for 89 sales. So this drop to $55 is pretty dramatic.

    I don't really have significant seasonal variations as my articles are non-seasonal. Of course sales are higher in the pre-holiday month/s but usually they are pretty consistent. They are usually on the increase in the latter part of the year.

    A couple of months ago, I had to keep contacting staff because the totals of each day's sales didn't add up to the total daily amount shown on the general earning's report... they put this right. But I haven't been checking since.

    1. Natalie Frank profile image91
      Natalie Frankposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      I am sure you have done this but as opposed to just saying 89 sales = this amount earned, have you looked at the items sold, seen which bracket they are in then calculated the different brackets to see if anything is off in the math?  I get that you're saying you've made comparisons from before the switch to after the switch and something isn't adding up right.  But given there was no transparency before in terms of which items went to HP vs. us and what bands the items were in to determine commission it won't be possible to know what kinds of absolute differences there were before the change.  The best you can do is make sure the commission for  the total amount of items sold is correct then take 60% of it so you can determine your earnings now are correct.

  4. Beth Eaglescliffe profile image97
    Beth Eaglescliffeposted 5 years ago

    I've just checked my stats and I too have seen a drop in income for the same number of items sold in June compared to July.

    I've looked at the items sold and I seem to be selling more electrical items and food items than I did before. Both of these categories have a lower commission rate (4% instead of 10%). Also some items that previously attracted the higher rate seem to have been moved (by Amazon) into the 4% band.

    So I point the finger of blame at Amazon rather than HubPages.

    1. theraggededge profile image96
      theraggededgeposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Maybe that's it. I haven't got the energy to go through all the commission percentages.

      If this is the case, then HubPages, too, would have a significant drop in their Amazon share? Would still like some clarification.

  5. Beth Eaglescliffe profile image97
    Beth Eaglescliffeposted 5 years ago

    I agree, it would be good to hear from HP on this.

    In my view, the stricter policy towards Amazon links and capsules over the past months would indicate they have been anticipating tightening of commission by Amazon and a drop in income from this source. HP-Maven have made no secret of the fact that they have been diversifying their income stream.

    1. lobobrandon profile image88
      lobobrandonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      No that's not true. They just want to make sure that the Amazon ads are relevant and help the user for a better user experience and also to please the big G. Google supposedly does not like many affiliate links. I personally do not see this as the case on my website, but this is what HP believes. Can't blame them though and from my experience, HP does not remove any links that are actually helpful, so I don't mind.

      1. Beth Eaglescliffe profile image97
        Beth Eaglescliffeposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        Lobobrandon: How do you know it's not true? Until there is a comment from HP staff, we just don't know. The merger with Maven is mega and is bound to affect us writers long-term. If HP was a viable business on its own, there would have been no need for it to have combined forces.

        Don't get me wrong, I think HP staff have done a great job for the site to survive for as long as it has, but we all know Google hates content sites and HP has to adapt to survive. Other hubbers have already expressed concern about the way HP pages are being used to drive traffic to Maven. For example https://hubpages.com/community/forum/33 … c-to-maven

        The way I see it, readers are put off by too many links and adverts, so it makes sense for HP-Maven to reduce those where they only get 40% income and increase the links where they get 100%. Increasing Maven profitability gives it a better chance of growing in spite of knockbacks from Google (and Amazon).

        1. lobobrandon profile image88
          lobobrandonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          HP staff have said this a lot. As long as the Amazon product is relevant to the article, you provide insight that is not directly on the product page and have personally used it or done enough research to recommend it, it is allowed. Also, the product needs to be relevant to the user in the sense that readers may actually decide to buy after reading your article. Having a product of tomato seeds on harvesting tomatoes is not acceptable for example.

  6. EricDockett profile image97
    EricDockettposted 5 years ago

    I agree that something appears funky and it would be great if HP would respond to Hubber concerns in this thread or the other one.

    My sales for this account are generally lower-priced items, and this month seems roughly on track.

    However, one of my other accounts where I make regular higher-value sales seems to have been affected by the change. I don't want to get into exact earnings, other than to say that things just seem lower than they ought to.

    As I said in the other thread, this may be due to some other factor, but the numbers are certainly lower compared to other months, and the same time last year. Since other Hubbers are reporting similar issues, this has me a little concerned.

    While I agree with Brandon that this system should be better than the old, we have no way of knowing if errors are occurring. There is no way to know if we missed out on one or many sales.

    We need to know that HP is getting it right, and that we are getting credit for everything we should.

    The silence is troubling.

    1. lobobrandon profile image88
      lobobrandonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      From what Bev posted, the numbers seem consistent and similar to what she expects, if I understood her right. So I assume we are getting the right stats.

      But as Beth says, it could be due to a lower commission rate. Maybe you could check on the comission rates you are receiving on the higher ticket items over the past month compared to say 3 months ago?

      Of course, a reply from staff can clear this up, like always.

      1. EricDockett profile image97
        EricDockettposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        How would you know if you are not getting credit for something you should?

        You wouldn't see it in the stats, and you wouldn't see evidence that it is not there. It would be totally omitted.

        Therefore, the errors causing lower earnings may not have anything to do with percentages or any other stats we can see for ourselves.

        That was my whole point in the other thread. We have to take HP's word for it that everything is okay. I can't possibly know if I am really getting credit for everything I should, but I have always trusted HP to get it right.

        To me, things seem a little off right now. HP staff saying, "We looked it over and can verify it is working as it should," would go a long way toward restoring my confidence.

        1. lobobrandon profile image88
          lobobrandonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          I'm basing it on statistics of what Bev posted the 89 sales in those months and my stats: traffic/sales ratio. This month I see a lot more than the average. And yes, a word from the team helps as I already said.

  7. lobobrandon profile image88
    lobobrandonposted 5 years ago

    I must add that my commission rate is a max of 4% across the board for all items. It was usually up to 10% on some things. Either the HP - Amazon deal has ended or the move to our own Amazon affiliate ID has voided this deal.

    1. Butterfly67 profile image88
      Butterfly67posted 5 years agoin reply to this

      That's interesting. I am definitely getting higher rates - are all of your sales in lower commission categories?

      1. lobobrandon profile image88
        lobobrandonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        Oops yup you are right. This category is now capped at 4% sad Just got another sale at 8.48%.

  8. Butterfly67 profile image88
    Butterfly67posted 5 years ago

    Unfortunately I can't really compare as I only switched to HP Amazon in the middle of last month but already my earnings for August are above what they would have been for the whole month previously (although my views are up a bit too so that may take account of some of that increase).

  9. theraggededge profile image96
    theraggededgeposted 5 years ago

    I've had a quick look at one of my top income-producing hubs and I saw that the 5* rated item I originally linked to has changed to a sub-par 1* rated one. So perhaps that is the problem... Amazon has switched out the item for that product ID?

    Bearing in mind that the number of sales are still on a similar level to previous months.

    I dunno. I give up.

    1. EricDockett profile image97
      EricDockettposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      While I appreciate Tim's reply I'm not sure it accounts for what we are talking about in this thread. On my big account my Amazon earnings are down significantly from the same time period a year ago. Thankfully the extra ad revenue is making up for some of it.

      From what I can tell, I am seeing fewer big-ticket sales, especially since the new program has been implemented. I should be seeing more, since I should now see all of them. It's like they just aren't happening now.

      There must be another explanation, I suppose, and I am glad HP responded to your thread.

  10. paradigmsearch profile image60
    paradigmsearchposted 5 years ago

    Some speculations:
    A. More and more consumers are becoming aware that Amazon doesn't provide the best deals anymore.
    B. The traditional retailers are finally becoming internet savvy and more coordinated in the internet arena. And their prices don't have to cover any commission expenses.
    C. I would imagine there will come a day where websites start showing Amazon the same door they showed eBay.

  11. theraggededge profile image96
    theraggededgeposted 5 years ago

    And, as if by magic, today I have had 17 sales and the lowest commission percentage rate is 8.47% Lots of small sales and one decent higher ticket item. More than my average and, hopefully, it has broken the run of $2 piddliness that has occurred over the last month.


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