Warning: Amazon Blogger Integration Broken

 

Blogger (Google) and Amazon it seems have collaborated and introduced a way for people using Blogger to monetize their blogs using Amazon.
I wonder if Google is making some money as a 2-tier affilaite referring so many affiliates to Amazon

Anyway the implementation is broken for average users

This is what the interface looks like

amazon-blogger

Seems very simple

  1. You search for something
  2. Click buttons
  3. Code is inserted into your post

Perfect… not!

Average Users

An average blogger blogspot user will see

This as a nice text link

Kindle Wireless Reading Device (6" Display, Global Wireless, Latest Generation)

This as a nice image link

Kindle Wireless Reading Device (6" Display, Global Wireless, Latest Generation)

This as a nice text with image

Update: it doesn’t get stripped out the same way with WordPress but leaving it “broken” here anyway (in the feed)

Oops!

If your readers are reading from an RSS Feed that nice text with image gets stripped out, and the same would be true of emails created from an RSS feed.

This is just the same as happens with Javascript, which is why Google had to implement Adsense in a different way for RSS feeds. Amazon & Google need to do the same for Amazon ads, or use an alternative method such as flash embeds.

This is the code they currently insert


<iframe src="http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=freeadver0cef-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=B0015T963C&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr" style="align:left;padding-top:5px;width:131px;height:245px;padding-right:10px;" align="left" scrolling="no" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" frameborder="0"></iframe>

Which is meant to appear like this

amazon-kindle-iframe-image

Blogger & Amazon should really get rid of the link+image option, or code it in such a way that something appears in the RSS feeds, even if it is just a link back to the permalink of the post to suggest clicking through – better would be a dynamic image which Google certainly know how to create for Adsense for Feeds.
At a minimum tell bloggers that it won’t appear in feeds and they might need to include alternatives of their own.

If you see someone using this code on Blogger / Blogspot, warn them about this as it might be costing them revenue

You can link to this post with the following code

<a href="http://andybeard.eu/2609/amazon-blogger.html">Warning: Amazon Blogger Integration Broken</a>

Update: hopefully code fixed in my RSS feed

Update 2

I have just received this comment from Rick Klau formerly of Feedbirner and now Program Manager for Blogger

Andy – you make a valid point, namely that if a large number of your readers read via feeds, then the iframe will not render in the feed reader. But “broken”? This is how Amazon’s Associates program has worked from day 1. That is, these are the same options an Associate has had from Amazon directly for incorporating Amazon links into their content. And it’s not at all hard for the blogger to insert a link (or image) independently of the iframe so that it will show in the feed.

–Rick Klau
Blogger PM

I have major problems with this logic

Google have their own very well known Adsense product – it is javascript based either direct calls or in the case of Adsense for search, divs which are replaced on page load using javascript.

For years it was known that you couldn’t include Adsense within the body of blog posts unless it was limited to only display on a blog, and not within a feed. WordPress has lots of special plugins for inserting Adsense code specifically to address this problem.

On Blogspot you don’t have that option with Adsense, you have 2 options for Adsense

  • Within template areas, which can include at the top or bottom of a post, but not within the actual content, in the sidebar etc
  • Special Adsense for feeds via Feedburner which is image based, as was Feedburners own feed monetization platform before it was purchased by Google 2 years ago.

A button to insert Adsense within post content would be broken functionality, but in some ways the Amazon integration is worse.
Adsense is never the focal point of a blog post, in fact you are not allowed to encourage people to click Adsense.

If someone was writing a book review, they would want to include an image and/or link to Amazon to hopefully make some money. If they chose the link+picture option, anyone reading from a shared review isn’t going to even see a link to buy something, or even that there is one on the page if they click through to the blog.
This is not only when the content appears on Blogger, but when it gets reposted maybe to Facebook, other syndication, shared with friends, in emails etc.

Blogger is mass market – the average blogger user wouldn’t have a clue that when they inserted an Iframe within a post, it wouldn’t appear within the feeds and emails.

Anything that works contrary to what an average user might expect is broken and either needs to work a different way, or to have the functionality limitations explained clearly in the interface.

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Andy – you make a valid point, namely that if a large number of your readers read via feeds, then the iframe will not render in the feed reader. But “broken”? This is how Amazon’s Associates program has worked from day 1. That is, these are the same options an Associate has had from Amazon directly for incorporating Amazon links into their content. And it’s not at all hard for the blogger to insert a link (or image) independently of the iframe so that it will show in the feed.

    –Rick Klau
    Blogger PM

    • says

      Andy I agree!! And Rick yes .. it’s Broken for your users.. It’s the first thing I noticed when I saw the new integration.

      “And it’s not at all hard for the blogger to insert a link (or image) independently of the iframe so that it will show in the feed.”

      How many of your bloggers could design a clean blog that showed both the iframe and an image/link to appear in the feed?

      Knowing that the iframe will disappear from all feeds, I would add an iframe with a hidden div containing the image with the link together. This would allow the readers of both web and feed portions to see the optimized content for them..

      Doing all that is not “Push Button”.. but it could be with a couple of quick changes to the integration. As for “This is how Amazon’s Associates program has worked from day 1″.. good for them but it should work smoother for your customer base.

  2. says

    If I were a first time subscriber of a blogger blog via RSS and initially saw that stripped image along with its link, I’d definitely get rid of the blog on my RSS reader because it can somewhat produce a bad impression instead of helping the blogger gets some revenue that even takes months to generate and reap.

    It’s pretty obvious that there’s selling going on although it’s not at all bad because everybody needs one but would it be better if it’s a little discreet?

  3. says

    Hi Andy,
    I’ve been agonising for hours about how to include amazon ads into my blog on the sidebar, not within the text. it used to be my formatting troubles were over when i used Microsoft Live Writer but with amazon (i just got my amazon associate ID), i’m having to use blogger’s text editor and when i insert an amazon product, it is not aligned.
    would you have the right html to wrap around text and with enough space in between amazon’s image and my blog? is there a way to put amazon products in the sidebar instead of within my blog?
    thanks

  4. Javon says

    Andy I agree!! And Rick yes .. it’s Broken for your users.. It’s the first thing I noticed when I saw the new integration.

  5. says

    Personally I would never want to use blogger to launch a blog. At the end of the day you don’t have any control over your blog, Google does. If they wanted to shut it off they could.

  6. says

    I use Amazon affiliate ads for my blogs all the time. I think they can be a little quirky sometimes, especially when using it in WordPress. I honestly use text links instead because they are easier. If I use text links, I get to put a bigger picture of the product I’m reviewing, so people can get a better feel for the product.
    Or, I just use an aStore and build niches of them, like the one I have here: http://www.magazinecove.com . I just use an iframe to integrate the store on a page.

  7. says

    I bet all my money that Google is getting paid as a 2-tier affiliate. Even with .05% commission, they would make a lot.

    I guess depending on the niche, this would be better than AdSense.

  8. says

    “Anything that works contrary to what an average user might expect is broken and either needs to work a different way, or to have the functionality limitations explained clearly in the interface.”

    I agree. That statement sums it up perfectly for me. Very well said and thanks for being an advocate for those affected by this.

  9. says

    These are the same options an Associate has had from Amazon directly for incorporating Amazon links into their content. These are the options Amazon already have used. I don’t think it’s a good run by google. It’s pretty obvious that there’s selling going on although it’s not at all bad because everybody needs one.

  10. says

    Actually, average users will not have much RSS traffic and they are happy with their a few extra dollars coming from Amazon. For me, this is not really a big issue since I always check the final HTML code before publish. Does anyone know a good Amazon & WordPress integrator with the same functionality?

    • says

      What you are not considering is how RSS is used

      Google Buzz – that is RSS – often full content
      Imported as a note on Facebook – again RSS