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Business Consulting For The 21st Century Via A Holistic & Intelligent Approach

Amazon, affiliates, URL shorteners and “Be careful”

Consumed => “Amazon Tweaks Its Affiliate Links Policy: What Does the New Operating Agreement Mean for URL Shorteners?” by Jack Busch on Groovy Post.

http://www.groovypost.com/news/amazon-associates-bans-url-shorteners

=> My answer…

@Steve Krause

The dark side of URL shorteners is they mask the true endpoint. It sounds like Amazon wants to maintain a level of clarity for the clickers.

The upside is that the affiliate can use the analytics of a shortener (e.g. bit.ly) to track their clicks. A smart affiliate would probably add URL tagging parms and keep a log of URLs, where they were placed, when, etc. Perhaps that empowerment is also a concern of Amazon? They are known for throwing their weight around, yes?

One would hope that as long as you use bit.ly and it returns a link using amzn.to that everything would be OK.

Otherwise, (and pardon me for getting technical) you could have shortened links go to your own site (e.g. mysite.com/amazon?tagging-parms-go-here) and then redirect that request in the .htaccess to the full length URL on Amazon. That would give you shortener analytics but look like a full length request to Amazon.

*I think* this will work. There may be something passed that tells Amazon the visit is via a redirect. None the less it should at that point show as coming from your site and not for example, bit.ly. Or perhaps this strategy violates the Amazon agreement in some other way?

You might also be able to use a grow-your-own URL shortener using something like http://YOURLS.org. But again, don’t hold me to this. I’d have to do some thorough research on what a redirect passes when it redirects.

This came at a good time. I’ve been meaning to look into becoming an Amazon affiliate. When I mention a book (e.g., “Web Analytics”) or other Amazon product and provide a link, I might as well make it an affiliate link, eh?

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