Amazon links for other countries? August 8, 2016 9:27 AM   Subscribe

I swear I've seen this asked before, but a cursory search didn't turn up anything so I'll ask again anyway just in case. I spend way too much money on Amazon - but in my case, I'd love to give you guys my 4%+ affiliate income. Can you please setup amazon affiliate accounts in other locations than the US so I (and other non-USians) can give you guys free money? Since I can't use my own affiliate link, I'd much rather give it to metafilter than whatever other random referral link I clicked last that currently owns my cookie.
posted by cgg to Feature Requests at 9:27 AM (8 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

It's come up in passing a couple times, yeah. The historical situation was that setting up referrer support for multiple Amazon regions has been a fiddly manual process requiring separate affiliate accounts for each; that was why Matt hadn't ultimately pursued it.

I've been meaning to revisit that and see if things have gotten any saner in the last little while; if it turns out to be relatively manageable to do this these days, I'll happily look into making it happen. If it's still kind of a cluster, it may be worth doing a couple more affiliate setups the hard way for the (pretty distant, but not-nothing) second- and third-place domains by link frequency, which I'm pretty sure are and but we'd want to do a little bit of analysis in any case.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:33 AM on August 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

I support this sort of thing. I shop on Amazon UK way too much and I donate to Metafilter way too little so this would help balance that out in some little way.
posted by like_neon at 4:10 AM on August 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Another Canadian here who wouldn't mind supporting MetaFilter in this way.
posted by Fizz at 5:59 PM on August 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's been a while since I've done this, but IIRC, US, UK, and CA were fairly easy to do at one time. I'm less sure of other countries.
posted by instamatic at 10:16 AM on August 10, 2016

(Not bad from the perspective of setting up the tags on Amazon. I didn't mess with trying to autodetect and serve the right link, just published a static link for non-US areas.)
posted by instamatic at 10:18 AM on August 10, 2016

Yep, I'm diving in this morning and on the one hand it's just as much of a weird mess as I remember and also not too terrible all told to get a couple additional referrer codes set up once you consign yourself to managing multiple independent accounts for the same kind of service from the same company using the same interface and etc. etc.

So I'm going to optimistically predict we'll get and .ca referrer links added to the Fund MetaFilter page soon.

The rest of it is likely complex enough that we're still in the "is it worth the effort" stage, not the "when will it be done" stage. There's a few different levels of functionality here, with escalating degrees of effort required:

1. Provide a general affiliate-coded link for CA and UK members and readers to hit up on the way to Amazon in order to give us credit for purchases, like the one we have now for US/.com already. Then those members and readers would be able to hit that up if so inclined, and generate a bit of revenue based off the Amazon shopping they're already doing.

This should be pretty easy to do, and is a work in progress already.

2. Attach CA- and UK-specific affiliate codes to .ca and links that people add in comments. We do this on .com links already—any existing affiliate code is removed from a link, and mefi's code is added—so doing so going forward would (hopefully!) just be a matter of duplicating/expanding the existing code, and would mean future links to those domains would generate a little bit of revenue for the site.

This shouldn't be too bad, but we need to sanity check it. It is also likely to represent a tiny fraction (more below) of new Amazon links compared to the dominant .com links we see people using, which means the new revenue from this would be pretty minimal in all likelihood.

3. Retroactively apply the affiliate transformation to all existing and .ca links in the database. The code that does this at comment submission time could in principle be adopted to a bulk pass on those existing links, but it's a bit more fiddling than in the previous step to setup, test, run, and verify. Would be a once-and-done task, though, once it's finished.

In sheer numbers, that'd be a small additional percentage to our existing affiliate-coded links. A rough search suggests we have something on the order of 3K total links and 1K total .ca links in the Ask archives; that's compared with about 100K for .com. So about a 4% increase in raw number of existing revenue-generating links in the archives. Not nothing, but also not a huge increase in revenue in the best estimates.

4. Serve Amazon links dynamically based on a reader's region: store a core product id of some sort and at page-rendering time choose the most appropriate reader's region and serve up the appropriate affiliate coded link.

This would in theory be a helpful solution: every Amazon link a reader in the UK saw would serve up with an link and affiliate code; the same link for a reader in CA would come up with the .ca version. We have significant shares of readership in both regions, so that could in theory lead to a significant bump in passive revenue.

But it's also an absolute bear, compared to any of the preceding. The potential increased rendering time for pages would be an issue; writing the code to handle the dynamic writing/rewriting of the links would be a bunch of work; identifying region successfully would be doable as a user preference for members but would require at best some sort of real-time IP-based geolocation guessing for driveby visitors; correctly matching product availability/similarity/etc. of a given product across different Amazon market regions would be a whole headache unto itself.

Those are probably solvable (and I'm sure by someone, somewhere, solved) problems but they're non-trivial and the likelihood that we'd be able prioritize rolling something like that out internally is pretty low. It'd take more than me poking around a bit with our existing assets and code to get there, for sure, even if we came to the conclusion that it was a good idea worth pursuing.

So, yes! That's a more detailed current state of things. I've gotten the .ca setup more or less done this morning, and I can probably get the equivalent stuff done in the time it took to write this up if the process doesn't end up taking any weird turns by comparison. I'll get that taken care of and do a little testing, and we can go from there.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:45 PM on August 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

Cool, thanks cortex! #1 and #2 sound great, that's exactly what I was hoping for! I didn't even think of retrofitting the archives -- sounds like a decent rainy day project. Obviously whether it's worthwhile depends on how many times those links are clicked and your Amazon conversion rate vs effort required.

For #4 -- I agree it's a bear. I've been looking into doing something for my own site, most likely a redirector of some sort (i.e. and then that service does all the geoip stuff and other mangling before redirecting to Amazon... but there are issues with that too. We'll see if I ever get it done.
posted by cgg at 6:25 PM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

It never occurred to me before, but one could search Metafilter specifically for any amazon links related to a product you're planning to buy. Will do this for Christmas this year.

Yay for .ca, by the way!
posted by Kabanos at 12:12 PM on August 12, 2016

« Older Bug and bad UI in 'blank link' detector   |   Vote the quidnunc kid #1 Tolkien limerick... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments