Amazon recently emailed its affiliates (called Amazon Associates) to let them know that “sites targeted at children under 13 are not eligible to display links and advertising from the Amazon Associates program.”
Amazon sells children’s clothing, toys, games, etc.
So why would the company do this?
The reason is simple: potential legal liability.
There’s a U.S. law known as the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA). This makes it difficult to legally do business online with websites that target (directly or indirectly) children because there are many extra requirements for doing so. If your website violates the law or related regulations, chances are you’re exposing yourself to lawsuits and government investigations by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other consumer protection agencies.
If you’re an Amazon affiliate, the company doesn’t want to end up being liable for you putting ads on a site that violates COPPA.
What if your site isn’t targeted at young children?
You probably ought to make that clear on your site, both in your content and the website’s legal documents. That’s why the customized site documents I draft for clients (privacy policies, terms and conditions, etc.) and my legal forms generated by Website Legal Forms Generator software (http://LegalFormsGenerator.com) inform visitors that a site is not intended for children and imposes limits on how minors can use the website with parental involvement.
What if you do have a children’s website?
Have a qualified Internet business lawyer review your site to ensure you’re not violating COPPA. Let’s face it. If Amazon thinks there’s a legal risk, chances are you don’t want to violate that law either.