Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Can I Use Amazon Affiliate Links in YouTube Videos?

There is currently confusion in the YouTube community as to whether the creators are allowed to post Amazon affiliate links in the video descriptions. I was wondering about that too, since I recently started Mermaids and Gems underwater modeling channel where I post Amazon affiliate links to my books and photo gear I use.

Yes, you can post Amazon affiliate links in YouTube video descriptions because: 1) YouTube Terms of Service ToS do not prohibit it and 2) YouTube emailed me to confirm it. I will now elaborate on both of those points.

1.YouTube ToS do not prohibit affiliate links. 

My law practice is centered around eCommerce and software, which is why I have drafted and reviewed hundreds of Terms of Service for various types of platforms. YouTube ToS confuse users because Section 4.D states:

“You agree not to use the Service for… the sale of advertising, sponsorships, or promotions placed on or within the Service or Content.”

This does not prohibit Amazon affiliate links. It only prohibits the sale of advertising (e.g. if you were to create an ad that says smth like “Your Ad Could Be Here”). YouTube is in the business of selling advertising, so that’s why they don’t want users to use YouTube for a directly competing service. Amazon affiliate links to products do not sell “advertising, sponsorships, or promotions.” They sell products. That’s why Sec 4.D does not prohibit the affiliate links that do not sell ads. 

Also, if you use affiliate links to sell your own products (in my case, it’s books I self-published), then you are further protected by Sec 4.E that states “Prohibited commercial uses do not include… promot[ing] your business or artistic enterprise.”

2. YouTube email confirming that Amazon links are allowed.

I emailed YouTube customer service to clarify their stance on affiliate links and they emailed back saying "You can use Amazon affiliate links in the description of your videos. However, please make sure that your content adheres with our Community Guidelines."

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