Better Amazon Links

Some time ago, I signed up for Amazon’s Associates Program. I doubt I’ll ever sell anything, but it seemed like A Thing To Do at the time. I do occaisionally write about books that I’ve read; I try to provide Amazon links as well. Might as well be prepared on the off chance someone buys something on my recommendation.

One thing that I disliked was the linking process. Most of the tools Amazon provides for creating “associate” links include pictures, html, or both. All I want is simple, text-only inline links to use in the occaisional blog post. With some looking, I found a tool to create a text-only link; and the link structure is simple enough to adapt from a regular Amazon link, once you know the layout. Here’s an example link to one of my favorite web books, Zeldman’s Designing with Web Standards. The link looks like a standard Amazon book link, with my associate ID appended. If you follow the link however, you don’t get the product page for the book, you get a “You clicked this, here’s some similar items” page. This has always irked me. Just let me send people to the product I want to show them.

Today while reading something at Zeldman’s site, I clicked a link to a book, and got the Amazon product page. A look at the link url confirmed that his associate id was present, but also included something extra. Here’s another link to the same book, only this one goes straight to the product page. Just add ref=nosim to the ‘path’ after the ASIN number and before the associate ID.

It’s possible that you can do this directly with Amazon’s current tools, but I’ve never figured out how. I always learn something when I visit Zeldman’s site.

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3 Responses to “Better Amazon Links”

  1. dugh Says:

    here’s a method…<br/>

    log on to the associate’s page. click on the “build a link” link under “more to explore” on the left side. in the new page, if you scroll all the way to the bottom there’s an option to “build a link to any page” which is what i use for the books, music and videos i link to on the right side of my main page, using images i acquire elsewhere. theoretically there’s blosxom plugins that do this for us, but i’ve never been able to make any of them work.

  2. Jason Clark Says:

    Link to Any Page<br/>

    Doug,

    I hadn’t seen the “build link to any page” feature. That’s pretty handy, especially since some non-book products don’t always have ASINs. I found that if I browse or search for a book, and come up with a “detail” url (it has tg/detail in the url instead of ASIN), then this tool gives me a direct url. If I use an “ASIN” url (url contains the word ASIN), it gives me the “you clicked… these are similar” page. ASIN urls are generated by the other tool, and I think by ASIN/ISBN searches.

    I’ve never gotten around to trying the blosxom plugins for Amazon, but the URL scheme (for books at least) doesn’t seem to tough to hack.

  3. dugh Says:

    i think the problem i had with the blosxom plugins (asin, wishlist, amazonwish) has to do either with unresolved plugin conflicts (nothing in the debug log to indicate that specifically) or perl modules that aren’t part of the standard installation with osx and that i couldn’t get installed. it does seem that the URL formula would be easy to hack into, however. this is a project for the future, though! first to install fletcher’s new writeback plugin…