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Amazon Link usage question

  • David_the Real


    Hi Paul,
    I came across your plugin, but haven’t tried it yet because I am unsure about a couple of points (and don’t want to destroy my high-traffic site):

    – Has this been rectified yet? http://wordpress.org/support/topic/plugin-amazon-link-conflict-with-shortcode-exec-php-plugin
    (I use that plugin too)

    – After seeing what another user posted here, I went to https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/gp/advertising/api/detail/main.html
    (am new to “api” things), and now I am unsure:
    Wouldn’t those api credentials be more suitable for Amazon Link? Why sign up to AWS and pay for lookups if as Amazon advertiser they give us free lookups, no?

    – Most worrying for me: “Individual WordPress users can also add their own tracking IDs to their User profile.” – Why on earth would a website owner want this? (unless it’s some kind of multi-author site)
    –> Using Amazon Link would mean that anyone signing up to my site can generate MY amazon commissions??
    I don’t see why you implemented that feature, and even if, why you not then made it an option?

    Not sure if this is the reason for the comparatively few reviews and downloads of Amazon Link? As nemoprofeta said, your plugin sounds like the TOP amazon plugin!
    So, basically I am confused.


Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 55 total)
  • Plugin Author paulstuttard


    Hi David,

    Thanks for your interest in the plugin!

    I tried the shortcode exec plugin on my site and had no problems, and posted a reply to Chris on my site ‘http://www.houseindorset.co.uk/plugins/amazon-link/#comment-2478‘ but he did not reply so don’t know if he resolved his issue.

    Generally features get added as people ask for them, so someone must have wanted multi-user support. I can make it optional if you like – User trasking ID’s are only used when that user authors a post, seems fair that they should get the commission if it’s their content?

    You need AWS access keys to use the Amazon Advertising API, you should not have to pay to get AWS keys as far as I am aware.



    David_the Real


    Hi Paul,

    First, you deserve highest acclaim on wordpress.org because you are actually looking at the “support” link questions (most don’t) AND answer them lightening fast! Thanks so much! 🙂

    Also great to see that you have your own site (didn’t realize this, sorry) with massive interest in the plugin. I’ve searched your site but didn’t get any hits for my keywords. Basically, what I was thinking of using Amazon Link for would need the following (and since you know your plugin best, maybe you can confirm yes/no?):

    When visitors click a link they are (still) redirected to an Amazon site depending on detected IP (like currently, using geoposty redirects), but instead with Amazon Link they can also select a prefered Amazon site from your dropdown list? – You say ‘multinational popup’, does it have to be a popup? Because most people have popups blocked, and they are annoying anyway. So, is there a dropdown list option? Can be tiny. Just the two-letter country codes. Doesn’t even need to be next to every link, could be ONE on the screen eg using css fixed screen position.

    Related question: Under “screenshots” of your plugin (when clicking “add new plugin” from wordpress.org) exactly this ‘multinational popup’ screenshot shows that it’s completely misplaced (take a look yourself please). Is this rectified yet?

    Do you happen to know ie have you experienced whether the ip2nation ip db is “good”? (geoposty uses some “maxtor” or so)

    Also, would you have links to any sample sites that show off some of the great features of your Amazon Link plugin? I couldn’t find any such links on your site?

    Thanks again! Awesome developer!

    Plugin Author paulstuttard


    Hi David,

    I’m not normally so quick to reply, just happened to be checking my email!

    In answer to your questions:

    Yes – The plugin supports localisation of the links, using the ip2nation database, I have not seen or heard of any problems with it to date. The localisation has its limitations as I point out in the FAQ.

    Yes – The multinational popup allows them to manually select an amazon site. The popup isn’t a popup as you probably guessed it is a css div element that gets populated when you hover over a link using javascript (So it should not be blocked by an adblocker, but will not work if javascript is disabled). The intention was for it to appear next to the mouse pointer but getting this to work 100% across all browsers and themes is near impossible.

    It is possible to create a template in the plugin that contains links to all amazon sites and so you could have a static or (using the appropriate css) a drop down menu that you designed yourself – I haven’t tried this though!

    If you can think of a more useful way to present the link options, let me know and I can put it in the plugin.

    Have to admit I do not keep track of who is using the plugin – ideally it should be hard to tell if a site is using it. I guess some of the people who have put comments on my site are still using the plugin though?



    David_the Real


    Aha, sounds clever and better with css. Great.
    I will set up a test subdomain on my site and install Amazon Link to see how it goes. Will certainly leave you feedback when reviewed, and donate too if it’s any good. Am still a bit unsure, probably because “seeing is believing” so I’d have liked to see it live in action somewhere.
    Also a bit careful because after a year of tinkering the ip redirect using geoposty finally works like a charm.
    Hence the subdomain installation and testing soon! Will get back to you! 🙂

    Plugin Author paulstuttard


    Good luck, I think trying it out is the best thing to do, please post any problems you have.

    I’m concerned the options page is getting a bit too complicated and is putting some people off using the plugin. So any initial feedback on getting it going on your site would be useful.



    David_the Real


    Hi Paul,

    I promised to get back on this, and here I am. I’ve installed your Amazon Link plugin on a testdomain.

    First impression: Amazon plugin is Amazing plugin! 🙂
    I haven’t yet tested it enough to go into much detail, but I noticed a couple of points that I couldn’t find answers for in your plugin description pages. Maybe you want to update them (rather than replying here, where only I would see it..)?

    -> The setting Global Defaults?
    -> The tickbox Use Defaults?
    -> In Add Amazon Link, the +, Insert, and Upload buttons have hover descriptions, but the -, +, Search, and X button above, have not. Apart from Search (which is clear) it would help users to understand what the buttons do!?

    So far, overall, I’d say your plugin seems to be exceedingly powerful! Sooo powerful that it leaves me confused (and I’m PhD academic, so I wonder how others must feel!!). Maybe a plugin user needs to be an “Amazon-Expert” before using it – I am not. Hence I struggle eg with your massive amount of “templates” – and the topic/purpose of “Channels” I don’t even want to raise.

    But I don’t want to give up, because from what I tried so far (inserting simple text links per Amazon Product ID) your plugin works like a charm! Also very cute the national flags upon hovering, and they link perfectly to the national Amazon sites. So, this part is exactly as my basic requirement, when considering whether to “upgrade” from my current geoposty-based solution.

    However, another point I noticed is, when a product id is NOT “available” in one Amazon locale, the plugin links to Amazon saying: “Looking for something? – We’re sorry. The Web address you entered is not a functioning page on our site.”

    While currently, with geoposty, I can simply enter MULTIPLE (functioning) product id’s for the SAME link text (works all with a link like “http://websitename.com/go/productlinktext”).

    I assume your plugin CAN handle this problem somehow different, but it’s not obvious how, or if at all. One way may be the AWS Live data setting – however I have activated that, but I have the problem nonetheless.

    My feeling is, the plugin can “kill 6 flies with one stone” – Incredible what you’ve coded there! 😉

    David_the Real


    Edit: Instead of the last “->” entry:
    -> Rank is great info, and so would be Rating (which always shows “-“), it could show Reviews number instead, no?
    -> The Amazon link the plugin generates is different to the link Amazon itself supplies. Example: Plugin generates:
    while Amazon supplied:

    Plugin Author paulstuttard



    Excellent feedback, thanks very much!

    Bit pressed for time, but thought I’d acknowledge your post:

    I’m in the process of reworking the contextual help (the help tab on the admin pages), the readme.txt (the pages on WordPress extend/plugins) and the pages on my site.

    Will ensure I take your comments into account – have completely forgotten about the helper widget on the post/page edit admin screen.

    I’ll give you a proper reply when I have more time,


    Plugin Author paulstuttard


    I appreciate the comment about it being too complex for someone who just wants a simple text link to the Amazon site, it has slowly grown as people have asked for different and sometimes conflicting enhancements.

    I am reorganised the admin pages and hope to add some more guidance notes, which should help!

    The ‘not available’ issue I have struggled with for sometime, to check its existence for every Amazon local would slow page load times to a crawl, so I originally had it check using the live data option…

    Unfortunately I rewrote this area and the links themselves are generated using static data so bypass the ‘is it available’ check! The original version returned a search link instead of the product details link if the ASIN was not available at that Amazon site.

    However it is possible to specify different ASIN’s for different Amazon sites by putting them in the shortcode. The format is:


    Any not specified will either default to the one for the ‘default country’ or if you select ‘Search Link’ in the Settings page it will generate a link to the Amazon search results page for the items ‘Title OR artist’.

    As you have noticed Amazon have stopped providing the Rating details in the data returned via the Web Service (I guess it was being abused?).

    I could not see any other useful data that could be returned _directly_ from the Amazon Web Service (try experimenting here: http://associates-amazon.s3.amazonaws.com/scratchpad/index.html).

    Most of the good material is only provided via ‘iframe’ links.

    The plugin links used to be the same format as those returned using the Amazon Associate tools, I guess they have updated them again!

    1. Associate ‘Link To This Page’ format:


    2. Link as returned via the Amazon Web Service:


    3. My link format:


    The ‘creative’ element looks like it changes depending on how the link was created so for our purposes is irrelevant. The ‘camp’ element changes depending on locale (amongst other things), seems a bit of a minefield. Suffice to say as long as the ‘tag’ is correct the ‘clicks’ seem to track okay.

    However to ensure that sales are tracked back to the product advertising API usage we are supposed to use the the second Format (See https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/gp/advertising/api/detail/faq.html). Obviously if you are not using the ‘live’ version of the Amazon data this is not relevant. If you are then you need to make at least $2300 worth of sales to change your ‘request’ quota. If you are using caching of any sort then the base quota should be more than sufficient!

    The AWS query does return links that can be used but obviously they are specific to one locale. To be honest it’s an area I have been putting off looking into!

    Any further questions or observations let me know!


    David_the Real


    And excellent, quick reply! Thanks very much.

    I can give more feedback on the Amazon Link plugin but have to go to work in a minute. But after I posted the above feedback I noticed more points, so maybe this is becoming a running list…

    1) The simple text links work great, incl the multinational popup! But the template “iframe image link” strangely does NOT show the multinational popup. I am using a massive amount of iframe image links from Amazon (because they are not too big but still show the price info needed), and just for that one “template” the popup is missing. Pity!!
    Plus, the target=”_blank” doesn’t work here. Oh, and ideally all links should also get a rel=”nofollow”.

    2) When we choose the template, instead of your hover text “Choose which template is used to display the item”, it would help (beginners) enormously if the hover text instead was a brief description of the particular template (eg for “Image – Localised Image Link” the description “shows huge image of that item”…). Otherwise, experimenting with the different templates takes forever.

    3) For people who build massive websites (like mine) and hence publish large amounts of pages/posts via the CSV Importer plugin (or similar solutions), the problem could be: Amazon Link plugin works with shortcodes (instead of redirects), so in the CSV/Excel cells we wouldn’t have the actual post content. Likewise, any other plugin that processes the page/post content (like eg for search) may not even be able to find the link texts(!) – unless they work AFTER your shortcodes have been transformed (which I can’t tell).

    4) Is it possible to change the thumbnail image size in template thumbnail? To only show the NEW price in the iframe image link template? etc. All the fine adjustments we can make when we use “manual” Amazon links.

    So much for now! 🙂

    Edit: Oh, btw, do the AWS API requests cost us money? Your hint above leaves this unclear.?

    David_the Real


    Hi Paul,

    If I now post more of my review, I hope you will still reply to the few points raised above as well? (because they ARE still relevant).
    I only thought it’s more efficient for you if you can put all in one/the same reply.

    Basically, I’ve come up with a comparison of the two different solutions to the “problem” (or are there more than two? 😉

    “Redirect-based solution” -v- Amazon Link-based solution.

    I wanted to paste it as an image here, but I can’t see that we may insert images here. So, if you can’t see the LINKED image, let me know and I have to think of another way to show you.

    <img src=”http://automation.all-time-best.com/images/Comparison-of-Redirect-and-Amazon-Link-solution.gif”>

    So, basically you see I’d LOVE to see if you can clarify some of the rather “critical” points so that I could move forward (with Amazon Link). ?

    Plugin Author paulstuttard



    Keep it coming, I’m busy this weekend so may not get chance to reply till monday!

    Not trying to discourage you at all but please bear in mind that Amazon Link plugin is just a pet project of mine. It is not backed by a company or professional organisation. I have no _intention_ of giving up support, but if your website is your livelihood I realise this might be an important factor when deciding on your final technical solution to how you produce your website.


    David_the Real


    Nee, it’s a pet project too,in fact not yet making any money at all.

    But I think the list I prepared can prove very useful when you think about how to improve/size down your pet (as you mentioned you wanted). Sometime an outsider’s view is what we need. 😉

    Plugin Author paulstuttard



    Got some time, so I’ll try and answer some of your points!

    1) The ‘iframe image’ and a number of other javascript based templates are actually generated by Amazon itself so I have no real control over the content unfortunately. They are based on the ‘Widget Source’ item on the Associates Site – have a look to see what options there are.

    I guess it might be possible to scrape the content of the iframe then create your own HTML template (using the Amazon style sheets and images) that would give you more control over the content?

    2) Fair point I have been wondering about this myself along the lines of a preview section, but that would only work for users with valid AWS keys and would involve ajax queries and more complexity that I could do without at the moment!

    Back to your original request. I have to admit I wasn’t aware that I could add a tooltip to the selection drop down options themselves so I _can_ do what you suggest.

    The Templates already have a ‘Description’ which is currently appended to the Template name in the Selection. Are you suggesting I add a new ‘Detailed Description’ to each template that is rendered as a tool tip? Or would it be better to just update all the descriptions to be more more ‘descriptive(!)’ and _just_ have it rendered as a tool tip?

    3) Have to dig deeper on this one, not familiar with CSV import plugin.

    Although you could just create WYSIWYG content for import and just use Amazon Link to create the links (no templates, etc.).

    Can’t find anywhere that specifies if filters are applied to ‘query content’ – from my experiments it looks like it isn’t. Looking at the WP core code the query is applied to the raw database content so doesn’t look like we can search on ‘post Amazon Link’ processed content.

    Obviously things like Google CSE will work as these operate on the served content – but obviously big lag on current content with indexed content.


    a) The plugin displays the image returned via the AWS query this is different for each item but typically has:

    Small (SL75) – This is the current %THUMBNAIL% image
    Medium (SL150)
    Large (Full Size Image) – This is the current %IMAGE%

    Sometimes they contain image sets containing more variety, e.g. a lookup on ASIN: 0893817449 provides

    SL30, SL75, SL75 (again!), SL110, SL160 and the original image

    The SLXX indicates the Height of the item in pixels.

    If you can think of a way to map these results to a nice generic template item I can probably implement it.

    Obviously you can scale the images on the client side with CSS.

    b) Again the iframe content is delivered by Amazon so not a great deal of control on that.

    The AWS queries do not cost money or eat into your commission, but they are subject to the limits mentioned in the link above (1 per second?).

    Had a look at your comparison spreadsheet and I think you have captured the differences very well, didn’t see anything wrong with your assumptions.

    Can’t offer a direct solution, although another user has asked for an ‘uninstall’ option that will convert all Amazon Link shortcodes to static content.
    – This would stop localisation working but would allow WordPress to correctly search the content?
    – Also if the plugin/localisation/AWS failed then you would still serve the static content.

    I have also pondered the link shortening/obfuscation side of things a couple of times but there must be other plugins that just do this for all external links?

    If I did introduce this it would be relatively easy to create a redirect that contains most of the shortcode data presented as arguments, e.g. something like:


    Then the localisation is done on redirect.

    Or would full obfuscation be better, e.g:


    I would then have to have a database linking the reference ‘aW5fgD’ to each shortcode created – no easy task!

    e.g. On each user ‘post’/’edit’ scan the content for shortcodes and add to a database, also a cron task doing the same but that also flushes out old links.

    Food for thought!


    Plugin Author paulstuttard



    I’ve had a bash at creating ‘redirection’ style links as it seemed like an interesting challenge!

    Its in the development version of the plugin amazon-link.zip

    I’ve done it as an extra plugin so you need to install it to work – on the Amazon Link Extras Settings page.

    Base link is of the form www.domain.com/al/XXXASINXXX/ which will redirect using your default options to the appropriate Amazon site.

    To force a particular link type append either an ‘R’ for reviews or ‘S’ for search.

    To force a link to a particular Amazon locale append the country code ‘de’, ‘fr’ ‘us’ etc.

    Or you can simply append the shortcode settings.

    www.domain.com/al/3548602045/R/de/ will take you to the German product review page.

    www.domain.com/al?asin[fr]=2020479893&asin[uk]=0340993782&asin[de]=3548602045&search_links=1&live=1 will redirect using the supplied shortcode parameters (i.e. To different Amazon locales using the specified ASIN or for domains without a specified ASIN will link to a search page).


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