This post is a follow up of yesterday's, where I was talking about smart links. Another author on my writer's group, Scribophile, mentioned in my post that she'd heard of an author getting their Amazon account closed due to using smart links. She couldn't remember her source, she was still trying to find it, and I searched on Amazon's help page and was unable to find anything about the use of smart links. So I went right to the source, and emailed Amazon's customer service department directly.
I suspect, if this is true that Amazon discourages the use of third-party smart links, that this may have something to do with the pay-per-click type of a thing that the third party site offers. I haven't delved into that department yet. Though my source on Scribophile did mention something about the links not connecting to the proper Amazon store, and that may have to do with the quality/reputation of the site creating the links. But I will, of course, post as soon as I find out anything from Amazon directly.
UPDATE: Here is a partial update and some information I got from the CEO of Georiot. The use of smart links to Amazon products is okay as long as you specify you are sending them to Amazon to purchase an item. So saying 'get this at Amazon by clicking here', you can put your smart link in and you're okay. Saying 'click here to visit my Facebook page' and linking to Amazon instead is NOT okay. This has to do with the fact that people who are Amazon affiliates and advertise for Amazon on their website can claim a monetary commission for referring a customer to Amazon, even if said customer didn't purchase YOUR product on that visit. Check out Georiot's blog post for more details.
Unfortunately, I've learned that my state of Missouri is one of a handful that are not allowed to become Amazon affiliates. The reason why is unclear to me, but I'll ask Amazon if they return my email. I've also sent a follow up message to the CEO of Georiot, asking if I'll still be allowed to use the smart links his website created, even though I'm unable to affiliate. I'll post an update on his reply as well.