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Thursday, June 7, 2007

Changes at Amazon’s aStore

Razvan Antonescu, 28 years old and from Romania, has graduated the Faculty of Psychology in 2002 and has been working as Search Engine Marketer and information architect ever since.

Amazon’s aStore is one of the newest affiliates tool provided by Amazon and one of the most successful if we take into consideration profits and the enhancements that are periodically added. Here’s the gist of AStore (in their description):

Associates can configure an aStore in Associates Central by navigating through a forms-driven set up process. The store can be built and configured within minutes and Associates only need to copy a line of html code into their web pages. All data will be served from Amazon Web Services and therefore will always be up to date. Once set up, it does not require any maintenance from the Associate.

Recently (and very quietly in fact) they have launched 2 new features:

  1. First is a small one, and is a feature that allows you to optionally add to the navigational menu an “About Us” page. Even though is not specified it allows basic HTML formatting to the text (inserting links for example). Basically I see no purpose to that, and perhaps what you could do with that is to provide descriptions to your categories and insert links to some products.
  2. The great thing is the addition of “aStore Widgets”. Those are JavaScript ads based on your aStore products that can be embedded in other sites. Right now they come in 8 formats and are as customizable as Google’s AdSense for example. What do you need to know is the fact that the ads will provide products from your aStore’s homepage. If no homepage is set, than the ads will be generic Amazon Ads not related to your store. What is great about the widgets is that on most cases, discounted products are presented and that is made very clear, by that increasing the chance of creating a buy.

Best practice with aStore Widgets

Even though aStore is great and has a pretty good conversion rate (might depend on your niche though) is not as efficient as Adsense. Because of that, I suggest you not to waste your space with the widgets, but to use it as an alternative to Adsense’s Public Ads.

In order to do that, prepare a blank page that:

  1. Has the background of your AdSense Ads (as you might know by know, in general try to blend the ads in your page background)
  2. Create a centered aligned div where you will place the aStore widget.
  3. Upload the created page to a server and provide the link to that page when you generate your AdSense code.
  4. Due to the constraint that you can display on the widgets only products from the aStore’s Homepage, make sure that you vary its content until you find the most attractive one.

An alternative to this is to use Openads, and to attach to a zone both Adsense and aStore Widgets.

By doing this you’ll have the following benefits:

  1. You increase your revenue chances by removing those pesky Adsense public ads.
  2. You decrease banner blindness by varying the content.

This new enhancement comes as a big hit to small companies like Blogger Kit that provided similar features through revenue sharing with the users.

Example of implementation of aStore & aStore Widgets

Metal & Rock Videos has an attached aStore that sells metal and rock music related products (CDs, DVDs, Accessories). AStore widgets are added to all the AdSense areas. For example you can look at this page (Q-S) and if is not visible just browse through more obscure bands and you’ll have the chance to see them in action.


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