6
Apr

Attention Amazon Associates – No More Direct Linking Via Paid Search

I just got an email at 5:01 this morning from the powers that be at Amazon.com letting their associates know that as of May 1, 2009 they will no longer allow direct linking from paid search ads. If you are an Amazon affiliate and have been making a bit of cash this way, as I have, you’ll have to wrap everything up by the end of this month.

Ever since eBay made a similar change, I guess it was about a year and a half ago, Amazon became one of the only all inclusive affiliate programs that still allowed direct linking. By all inclusive, I mean that with Amazon there is hardly a product in the world you can’t get through them, thus giving affiliates in almost any niche the ability to direct link. Being able to direct link to Amazon via paid search left the possibilities wide open for anyone that knew ppc fairly well and wanted to make some easy money. No matter the product, model number, color, size, shape or whatever, you can get it at Amazon and affiliates could send customers directly to any page right from Google, Yahoo, MSN and other paid search platform. Unfortunately, that will no longer be allowed.

This is a serious bummer since I’d been doing this exact thing for the last several months earning a few hundred dollars in commissions on a monthly basis and had been planning to scale this up quite a bit. It’s not the end of the world since I’m learning to take everything in stride, it just seems to be the nature of the affiliate game. You have to learn how to constantly adapt in this business or you’ll find yourself out of work.

Update: I thought I’d add the content of the email below:

Dear Amazon Associate:

We’re writing to let you know about a change to the Amazon Associates Program. After careful review of how we are investing our advertising resources, we have made the decision to no longer pay referral fees to Associates who send users to www.amazon.com, www.amazon.ca, or www.endless.com through keyword bidding and other paid search on Google, Yahoo, MSN, and other search engines, and their extended search networks. If you’re not sure if this change affects you, please visit this page for FAQs.

As of May 1, 2009, Associates will not be paid referral fees for paid search traffic. Also, in connection with this change, as of May 1, 2009, Amazon will no longer make data feeds available to Associates for the purpose of sending users to the Amazon websites in the US or Canada via paid search.

This change applies only to the Associates programs in North America. If you are conducting paid search activities in connection with one of Amazon’s Associates Programs outside of the US and Canada, please refer to the applicable country’s Associates Program Operating Agreement for relevant terms and conditions.

We appreciate your continued support and participation in this advertising Program. If you have questions or concerns, please write to us by using the Contact Us form available on Associates Central.

Sincerely,

The Amazon Associates Program

Now that direct linking to Amazon from paid search is gone at the end of the month, it just makes being an affiliate all the more interesting. Share your thoughts, especially if you are direct linking to Amazon.

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28
Aug

Make Money With StoreStacker Affiliate Store Builder

 Visit StoreStacker.com

For the last few weeks I’ve been toying around with a new store building script called StoreStacker that I believe has potential even though I had quite the adventure installing it. Yes, StoreStacker has potential, but if you don’t have the right hosting that includes Zend Optimizer and the ability to easily run cron jobs, this could be one seriously frustrating install for you.

StoreStacker is a script that you upload and install on your server that grabs products and feeds from eBay, Amazon, YouTube, Clickbank, Overstock, RegNow, HotelClub and any RSS feed that mashes everything up into a nice little store that could have anywhere from 50 pages to 1,000’s of pages. With the exception of  products featured on your home page, StoreStacker creates an individual page for every single item in your store. For instance, I created this digital camera deals web site with products from eBay and Amazon, photography videos from YouTube and photography books from Clickbank and Amazon, with every product having its own page.

As you go to each product or video page, StoreStacker grabs the product description, tags and other pertinent info along with automatically mashing up different products, books and videos related to the content on the page, giving you unique content for search engines to index. I installed the digital camera site as a test only 3 weeks ago or so and as of this post I have 11 pages indexed by Google so far.

While StoreStacker does create a lot of content for you, I would never suggest you just throw up one of these stores and not add any of your own original content. There’s just too much garbage on the net today and we certainly don’t need to add to the cyber-landfill that spammers and spolgs have created. StoreStacker allows you to add content to any page just by navigating to each one and adding your own product description or whatever you want and I suggest you do this to as many pages as you can (my store still needs a lot of work).

Since your store will change over time because of updating you will do through a cron job, you probably aren’t going to want to add content to your individual eBay pages. They will obviously change once your store updates. What you can do is add content to your home page, each individual category page and to pages that will be permanent such as product pages from Clickbank, videos from YouTube and some Amazon pages.

Now for hosting StoreStacker. I have to be totally honest with you because that’s why I call this blog Affiliate Confession. Installing this script was a huge pain, no joke. It’s probably more the fault of my hosting company 1and1.com rather than StoreStacker, but it took me 3 days to get this thing working correctly and I was almost to the point of dropping the entire project. However, I see the potential of something like this to make some decent cash and I decided to stick with it.

I think the problem is that 1and1 doesn’t have Zend Optimizer installed and doesn’t use cPanel as as the default interface once you log into your hosting account. Most hosts either have Zend Optimizer installed or will do it for you because it is not something most companies want you to try on your own. After trying to install Zend with no luck on my own and a few emails to tech support pleading with them, they finally installed it for me and I was able to complete the installation of StoreStacker.

Another obstacle I ran into was the ability to run cron jobs at 1and1. Amongst many other things, cPanel allows you to easily set up cron jobs which will automatically update your StoreStacker Store with new products as eBay, Amazon, Overstock and other sites update their products (of course it is especially important for you to be able to update eBay at least once a day). Since 1and1 doesn’t have cPanel, it is a little more complicated process to run cron jobs there. You can still update your store without running a cron job by going into your store interface and updating each category page by hand.

I think StoreStacker can be a nice product for building a quick affiliate store or 2 or 3 (actually you can build as many stores as you want for the price of admission), but you definitely don’t want to host with 1and1 if you decide to use it. If you do get StoreStacker, make darn sure you write to tech support at your hosting company and ask them if Zend Optimizer is installed (or if they will do it for you, for each store) and ask if they use cPanel or have a way to easily set up cron jobs.

Pricing for StoreStacker is $97 for the script and includes the Amazon and eBay plugins. Additional plugins for Clickbank, Overstock, YouTube and others are $25 each. However if you are one of the first few customers some of the plugins will be free, but I’m not sure how many.

Check out StoreStacker and see if it’s for you.

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