John Chow recently wrote why he didn't utilize Amazon for affiliate marketing, the primary reason being the commissions are quite low. I'm about to join John for a different reason.
Amazon makes it nearly impossible to use their Associates package. It's absolutely insane every time I go in there for a link, I can't get it. Here's an example. I recently purchased Herd: How to Change Mass Behaviour by Harnessing our True Nature (by Mark Earl) after reading about it on Hugh MacLeod's blog – gapingvoid.
- I login to Amazon.com Associates Central.
- I go to Build Links.
- I select Product Links since I know the name of the product already.
- I enter Herd with the product category as Books.
- I get back 10 results. Of the 10, Mark's book is the only one actually called “Herd” but it is number 3 on the list. Number 1 is The Elephant's Secret Sense. Thanks Amazon!
- Now I have to click “Get HTML” which brings me to a terrible page to make my link:
- If I select a different Affiliates-ID now, the page wipes out all my selections and I have to start all over again. Arrgh.
- I copy and paste the code into WordPress and post it.
- The image doesn't show up. I figure out that Amazon is not including a relative path to the image via their domain. They email me back and tell me that's because I should be hosting the image on my server. Are you kidding me? Isn't Amazon the home of S3?
Update: If you're still struggling with building your links, I'd highly recommend using Amazon Associate's SiteStripe!
Some Product Improvement tips for Amazon:
- Put a “Get Links” form of some sort on the Login Landing page.
- Let me build my favorite template and save it in my account (I only use 1 layout).
- When I do a search for the item, respond with the template HTML that I designated in step 2)
- Don't say it's the HTML unless it really is the HTML. The HTML you provide does not contain the right URI to the image!
- Please take the image tracking pixels out of your simple text links. Geesh. It hoses up my layout. Take a look below where I have an Amazon link to “Ajax”. Notice the gap after it?
This would take my 20 minutes to find the darn code and take it down to under a minute. In all honesty, I don't think the design of this affiliate service has changed since its inception. The link builder even still does post backs (Amazon – look up Ajax in your book selection). It was terrible on day 1 and it's terrible now. So… not only is the commission low, the interface sucks.
PS: A link to Herd is now included on my Reading Page. I'm looking forward to this one!