Today, in the Invent Like An Owner Podcast, Dave speaks with Shawn Haynes. They discuss how the Amazon Associates team built and grew the affiliate marketing program. Shawn grew the team from several hundred initial affiliate marketing websites to more than 500,000 by the time he moved on. He shares how the learnings from early Associates economics, such as focusing on cost per new customer rather than margin on individual sales, helped inform the Premium Associates and Megadeals that Amazon pursued later.
Shawn Haynes was the first Amazon Associates Program Manager and later was a Director of Product Development for Electronics.
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Memorable Quotes from the Interview, discussing helpful topics for entrepreneurs then and now:"We needed to Get Big Fast. There were hundreds of companies that could have dominated e-commerce, so it was imperative that Amazon become the first place that customers go to buy books." — Shawn Haynes Click To Tweet "Jeff Bezos realized when Amazon did its first 3 Megadeals (with Yahoo, AOL and Excite) that real estate would never be that inexpensive again online. And that was spot on." — Shawn Haynes Click To Tweet "The high hiring bar was a concept instilled from my first day at Amazon. I probably spent 2-3 hours every day in the recruiting process, trying to hire great candidates." — Shawn Haynes Click To Tweet
Fun Photos and Memorabilia
Shawn shared these early Amazon.com Bookmarks that were sent in early customer shipments.
What to Listen For:
- 00:00 Intro
- 02:39 Amazon Associates Affiliate Marketing
- 04:07 Why work at Amazon?
- 07:51 Hired to grow the Amazon Associates program
- 10:57 How innovative affiliate marketing was back in 1996
- 13:09 Commission rates third party sites could earn
- 17:24 Amazon Associates Getting Big Fast
- 21:15 Initial challenge after joining Amazon Associates
- 25:35 Seemingly simple components that needed a new system
- 31:30 Associates Central is still working and serving customers
- 33:31 Different types of Associates site
- 36:32 Crohn’s Disease specialist leaving a review on their own book
- 39:19 How the Associates program supported megadeals
- 43:07 Promoting Amazon’s Best Seller list drove huge customer demand
- 44:37 Tips for new entrepreneurs to be more innovative
- 46:24 Many early deals were based on ad impressions
- 49:20 Amazon’s Core Values that stood out for Shawn
- 52:02 The David Breashears story