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Friday, September 23, 2011

Blogger / Amazon integration is finished - what are our options now?

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This article is an update about the interation between Blogger and Amazon, and what options Blogger users have instead.


Blogger and Amazon working together ...

In December 2009, Blogger announced integration with Amazon (which was actually only integration with Amazon.com).

At the time, there were hints that this was only the first of many new money-making  options and programmes for Bloggers.

These features were added to Blogger to support the integration:
  • Ability to sign up for Amazon.com on the Monetize tab
  • Existing Amazon.com users link their Blogger and Amazon account on the Monetize tab
  • A tick-box on the Monetize tab that let "amazon-integrated" bloggers turn on the Amazon-product-preview  without having to install the code
  • Amazon Product Finder (APF) - a gadget that bloggers could use in the the Post Editor, to make a link to a product from Amazon.com without leaving the Post Editor screen
  • A range of gadgets from Amazon were added to the list  in Add a Gadget 

... but not any more?

For months, there have been complaints in Blogger-help-forum that existing Amazon.com associates couldn't  link their Blogger and Amazon.com Amazon.com accounts on the Monetize tab any more: the function just returned an error, or appeared to work, but didn't actually storing the connection.

Now, with the release of Blogger's new interface, the Monetize tab has been renamed Earnings.  There's no mention of Amazon on it, and no sign of the Amazon Product Finder (APF) in the Post-editor.   And there are reports in Blogger-help-forum that people who had APF turned on in "old blogger" find that it's gone in the new interface - and is broken even if they switch back to the old interface.


On the Amazon.com site their official Amazon-Associates blog is now made with TypePad.   I know that I recently saw instructions about putting things (widgets?) into Blogger, that that these commented that blogger has a new look.   However the instruction were still based on the old interface.   And today, I can't find them at all.

There has been nothing said (that I've seen anyway) by either company.  But I think it's safe to assume that the Blogger / Amazon integration has been abandoned.


Why Did This Happen:

My guess is that there are two big issues.

Firstly, Amazon.com is a lot more than just a bookseller:  Google and Amazon are competitors in some areas (eg document storage), so there's bound to be some friction, even though they managed to agree a compromise in 2009.   And possibly that compromise wasn't profitable enough for either of them.

Second, and possibly more importantly, there is an internationalisation issue.

Blogger is a multi-lingual, multi-country platform:  different languages and cultures are catered for within the same platform and subject to the same terms and conditions.  Blogger users all live with the same rules, that are based on American law (eg the 13-year age limit, which is most probably based on America Children's Online Privacy Protection Act).

Amazon, on the other hand, have different platforms for different countries (even amazon.ca for Canada, vs amazon.com for the USA+rest of the world).   This is understandable, because countries have  vastly different laws about on-line selling and taxes, so Amazon's rules need to be quite different in different places.  Even in the European Union,  we see regular updates to the terms and conditions that basically amount to the addition of new countries/languages - Amazon.es (for Spain) was the latest one - and these come with small rule-tweaks too.  These big differences mean that integration with a multi-national product like Blogger is not easy:   there would be lots of on-going issues with making the sites work well together.

My guess is that these two factors combined have killed off the integration.


What can bloggers do instead

You can still sign yourself up for Amazon.com (or Amazon.co.uk, or .ca or whatever-other country), and make the links to products and Amazon-widgets yourself.   Personally, I think this better anyway, because it gives you control ove the look and feel (colours, backgrounds, tracking-IDs) used on the ads, and choices about where to install the HTML on your blog.

There is no alternative for the Amazon Product Finder gadget - except opening Amazon in a different tab, and making the links there as you need them.  It's little bit more work - but only just.

There are still Amazon.com gadgets in the Add a Gadget list  (from Layout in the new interface, Design > Page Elements in the old one) - you can find them under the features tab.



For now at least, it looks like Blogger's monetize tab is limited to AdSense , and it is a money-making option that you can sign up for from within Blogger.  (Even though there are a few vital extra steps that you should take, even though Blogger hasn't told you about them, like blocking certain ad-categories, and stopping malicious use of your AdSense ID).

And there are, of course, many other advertisting programmes and affiliate programmes that you can consider if AdSense doesn't work for your blog.



Related Articles:

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Signing up for Amazon.com

Alternative advertising programmes

Stopping malicious use of your AdSense ID
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Making links to products and Amazon-widgets yourself

Changing colours and design of Amazon.com advertisements

Installing the Amazon Product Preview code

Amazon / Blogger integration is with Amazon.com only

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14 comments:

  1. Nice, imforative post. I just wrote one up as well. My main issue is that it's fine if they want to do away with the Amazon thing. It would just be nice if they would let us know.

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  2. Thanks for the information. I've been adding links the way you suggested for awhile now. I now know about the gadgets thanks to you. It's weird how no one from blogger or Amazon announced or explained this.

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  3. Thank you for this update, I work on blogs on both wordpress and blogger and I suddenly found that the amazon tab had disappeared on the blogger blogs, was wondering what happened when I hit your article here.

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  4. I agree with Matthew, some form of warning prior to removal of the Amazon Associates option would have been nice :/

    ReplyDelete
  5. I can't seem to get this to work. Every time I try to paste a link from Amazon Associates I get"

    "URL may not contain'<'"

    Any ideas? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Stanley, where are you trying to put the code you get from Amazon? In the post-editor, t doesn't go into the "link" field, you actually need to edit the HTML and paste the code in there.

    ReplyDelete
  7. If I add the "Amazon Contextual Product Ads" gadget does that use my Amazon Affiliate link?

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  8. I have a doubt...... does amazon pay you on the same account adsense pays you or u will have to give a different account..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are two totally different products, so you sign up to them separately.

      Amazon.com can only pay to an American bank account, or by cheque that they post to you. You can deposit it to your local bank account, but it will be in American dollars so there may be a fee and a delay at your local bank.

      AdSense, on the other hand, seems to be able to pay to bank accounts in many countries, and by Western Union to others.

      Delete
  9. Help! I put the Amazon product link in my post by changing to HTML and it's there but my content starts at bottom of it and I have a blank space next to link. I just know there has to be a way to make my content show along the right side next to the book link, but I can't seem to find an answer any where, any ideas? Have tried using both image and link tabs but it just doesn't seem to work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Check out the information in this article:
      http://blogger-hints-and-tips.blogspot.com/2011/01/putting-text-and-pictures-side-by-side.html

      It should give you enough clues about how to structure the code to put an image link and text alongside each other, anyway.

      Delete
  10. nice post body,
    so we can manage our amazone to blogger manually..

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks for the info, but a lot of these add ons give error message :(

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I've noticed over the last few days that image links are not working correctly. I've had success with re-generating the code from Amazon and this tie choosing image-and-text as the type.

      Delete