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February 28, 2013

Amazon Associate (Affiliate) Program and APIs

Category: Affiliate Programs — Answers 2000 @ 2:58 pm

Disclosure: Our company is an Amazon.com Associate and uses the Amazon API. The links to Associate Engine are affiliate links, and we may earn commission if you buy after following one of these links.

Somebody asked today about Amazon’s APIs and how this fits into their affiliate program, so I thought I would write a little note about the topic, and explain what it is all about.

First of all, I need to summarize I need to explain what Amazon’s affiliate program is: Basically it’s a way for other websites to earn money by promoting sales of Amazon products. The websites place special hyperlinks to Amazon on their pages, and Amazon pays a commission based whenever visitors click on these links and subsequently buy a product from Amazon. Amazon provide a ton of different linking options, such as text links, graphic links, aStores (which are like a frameable Amazon mini-store website), etc.

Amazon refer to their affiliate program as the “Amazon Associate Program”, and just so you know, there are different versions of the Amazon Associate Program for each of the Amazon sites: Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca, Amazon.de, etc. Our company, Answers 2000 Limited, currently participates only in the Amazon.com Associate program.

The other thing I need to explain is what an API: API stands for “Application Programming Interface”, and in this context what it means, is a way in which Amazon provide services which can be utilized by other websites and software programs. Amazon provide a ton of different APIs for all sorts of “cloud services” - which websites can use for pretty much any purpose. Some of the APIs are free to use, but many have fees associated with them. To be honest, with one exception (which I’ll come to a minute), I haven’t really explored them.

One of the APIs that Amazon provides (and is free to use) is API for getting data for Amazon Associate advertising. The idea is that a script can be installed on a website that downloads latest product descriptions and details from Amazon and display’s them on the associate’s website. That way product details and pricing are always up to date, and new products, etc. can be made to appear automatically on the associate’s website when Amazon adds them to their inventory. You should note that this is much more powerful that the aStore option - since a script can select products based on any criteria you choose, display information in your template on your own domain (not a framed page of Amazon’s site), and integrate with other features you might have on your website, etc.

Amazon provides full documentation on their APIs, so if you have the skill and inclination, you can write your own scripts for your site(s). This is what we did, especially since we had some unusual requirements, but it was a non-trivial exercise. Our script is about 3,000 lines of fairly dense programming code.

If you don’t want to write your own Amazon Associate script, then there are some off-the-shelf scripts you can buy, for example, Associate Engine. Buying an off-the-shelf script, means that you can be up and running quickly, even if you don’t have programming skills. And while it true that buying an off-the-shelf script may not give you every last ounce of flexibility that is offered as compared to programming your own, the best scripts (such as Associate Engine) do include configuration options covering all the common requirements (and many less common requirements too).

Finally one final little niggle that I will mention when buying or using an off-the-shelf script: In order to use Amazon’s APIs, you need to get a Developer Key (it’s like an alphanumeric password) from Amazon. Don’t worry it’s free! However you do need to keep it secret once you have it. The purpose of the key is exactly like a password - it only allows authorized users and websites to access Amazon’s API services. The reason you need to key it secret is that if somebody else uses your Developer Key they could in theory run-up chargeable services in your name!


• • •

February 8, 2013

ClickBank Vendor Graphics - Turbo-charge your sales letters and pitch pages

Disclosure: Our company is a ClickBank Vendor and Affiliate. We earn money by selling our own products through ClickBank, as well as earning affiliate commission on other products sold by ClickBank, including ClickBank’s own products/services.

If you want to sell a product online such as an eBook, software. or access to a private member’s site, then becoming a ClickBank Vendor is one of the most effective ways to automate your sales process, and boost your marketing efforts… our company has been a ClickBank vendor for nearly 14 years for this reason!

Advantages of using ClickBank include:

  1. Customers can pay you via credit card, debit card, or using PayPal, including in multiple currencies.
  2. Easy to setup.
  3. Compatible with most web sites/hosts.
  4. Reliable and pays regularly - up to weekly if you choose direct deposit, or biweekly if you choose to be paid by check.
  5. You never need to directly expose your own PayPal account to customers around the world. I personally feel more comfortable with this given all the reports of people having trouble with PayPal locking accounts because of customer-fraud and so forth.
  6. ClickBank handles all the complicated ecommerce SSL stuff for you
  7. ClickBank handles all the complicated stuff about US sales taxes, VAT rates, etc. You sell to them (they act as the retailer), and they deal with the tax complications of selling to end-user customers in different locations.
  8. ClickBank has an extremely good anti-fraud systems
  9. ClickBank has a huge network of affiliates who will promote your product in return for a percentage commission. ClickBank handles all the complicated affiliate tracking, and pays affiliates reliably (this is important as it takes a hassle of your hands, plus since affiliates are confident they will be paid, they are prepared to promote harder).

To get started selling your own products with ClickBank you need 3 things:

  1. A product you can sell, such as an eBook or software (if you don’t have one, you could start by using a resell rights product.
  2. A ClickBank Vendor account.
  3. A website to promote your product - containing the sales letter (known in ClickBank’s terminology as the “Pitch Page”), and the web-pages that deliver the product (known in ClickBank’s terminology as the “Thank you Page”).

How much can you sell through ClickBank? There’s no limit, but the amount you sell will depend on three main factors:

  1. The quality and value-for-money of your product
  2. The amount of targeted traffic you can get (the number of people who see your sales-letter on your pitch-page)
  3. The quality of the your pitch-page - so effective copywriting and a killer-presentation are absolutely crucial.

The new ClickBank Vendor Graphics Pack can go a long way to improving your ClickBank pitch pages. It contains over 1,000 ready-to-use graphics files specifically chosen for ClickBank vendors, including:

  • Add-to-cart buttons, order buttons, join now buttons, order buttons, Belcher buttons, etc.
  • Guarantee badges and seals
  • Membership card graphics
  • Sales, special offer, and price, labels and stickers
  • Feature and alert notices
  • Money clip-art, stars, arrow, bullet points, check marks
  • And much more…

Here’s one example graphic:

…but you can see a lot more examples, and a lot more detail, by going to the page about the ClickBank Vendor Graphics Pack.

Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank vendor: Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank affiliate:

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In Association With Amazon.com
Answers 2000 Limited is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
In Association With Amazon.co.uk
Answers 2000 Limited is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk.
As an Amazon Associate, our company earns from qualifying purchases. Amazon, the Amazon logo, Endless, and the Endless logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

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