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Amazon Beta Tests Product Previews

Posted By Darren Rowse 19th of November 2005 Affiliate Programs 0 Comments

Amazon have started beta testing a new feature with their affiliates that is something between Chitika’s eMiniMalls and Vibrant Media’s Intellitxt. It’s called Amazon Product Previews.

The feature allows publishers to add some javascript code to the bottom of their pages that makes any text links to Amazon products that appear on the page open up little windows when readers put their cursor over the link. Here’s what the window looks like. It has a product picture, title, price and an option to ‘buy now’ and add the product to your shopping basket.

The window disappears when you take the cursor away.

During the beta test only 50% of readers to sites testing the feature will see the ads – it’s some kind of controlled test.

To participate in the program you just need to be an Amazon affiliate as far as I can see – log into the associate’s page and you should be invited to join the beta test.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. I think it’s pretty snazzy. And it’s really easy to add to your site – you need to paste a couple of lines in your footer, basically. The only problem I ran into was with the link format I’ve used for most of my product links – it doesn’t seem to recognize them. I only got it to work after using alternate product URLs. I wrote them an email, but haven’t heard back yet (it’s only been a few hours).

  2. Does it add your affiliate code if the link doesn’t have it?

    If so and they are OK with forums, that is something (or it is LIKE something), I’ve been wanting people to make a phpBB hack for for some time…

  3. I’m seeing strange results. I tested in IE, Firefox and Opera. In IE, nothing happened. In Firefox and Opera I don’t get the popup, but when I mouse over certain other text in the article it gets underlined. Quite strange, acutally.

  4. Try removing Amazon’s cookie from the cache — see my blog for the details.

  5. All well and good, but it’s not going to do much for increasing revenue. I’ve had enough people click thru my Amazon ads (in fact Amazon ads have my highest click thru count of all my ad forms), but none have purchased – well, at least not through my link. Maybe in a later life they have.

    So although this looks snazzy, I can’t see it increasing sales much.

    And I don’t see it as a Chitika killer as Nick said over at Performancing.

    Gimme pay-per-click anyday.

  6. amazon associate program has had it’s day, people want to paid for there hard work through CPC. They want all your traffic for nothing that suxs

  7. I like the new Amazon preview boxes. I think that it has been a long time since Amazon has done anything exciting with their affiliate program and this was a timely step. They are not going to “kill” any of the other advertising options, but it is certainly a good way to step up in an increasingly crowded market.

    The thing I like best about this new system is that the links only take up the real estate of a text link but they spring to life in an interactive way. I tend to use Amazon basic product links because I never liked those ugly rectangles. Now, just by adding the script to my template, all the old text links have been instantly converted to these new preview links.

    I don’t know how effective they will be, but I know that they have motivated me to start adding more product links to my sites. We will see how they do this holiday season.

  8. Turns out my problem was caused by a badly formatted bit of HTML before the amazon link.

  9. I have put this feature into a few of my blogs and it seems easy enough to do but I am also not to sure how much money will be made but it should definitely help the clickthrough. What I have done to add this to my blogs in movable type is the following:

    1. Take a copy of the script to be added for the new Amazon type ads. (it has your Amazon associate ID embedded into it.
    2. Go to the “individual entry archive” template and add it near the bottom of the page.
    3. test be clicking on some of your pages that have Amazon links on them. Remember only every second page will show the link.

    I tried adding the small script ot my main and other archive pages but it seems to break as it will try to run the script twice on each page and gives some kind of IE error every time a page loads, so don’t try it.

    The one thing that I have to say is that all of this renewed competition in the ad space has definitely got the marketers at these companies hopping and the advertising vehicles are definitely a lot more interesting.

  10. How is this different from Context Sensitive advertizing? Can amazon ads be added to the pages where Google Context Sensitive Advertizing is enabled without violating Google T&Cs?

  11. Pawan – its not contextual at all and relies upon publishers to manually add a link to a product on their page. As a result you can use it without problem with other programs.

  12. I guess I will take a look, although I think I’ve only made something like $16.84 in my lifetime from them in commissions since 2001 .. so it couldn’t hurt.

    I like this concept. Have you ever visited that http://www.dontclick.it/ website? Except for the splash page, there is no clicking anywhere. I always wondered that if this was the future – what would happen to all the click-to-pay ads? Maybe something like this with the mouseover?

  13. Can you post a clear screen shot ?

  14. Darren – Thanks for the clarification. I intend to try this out!

  15. They’ll give $5 for beta testing !

  16. Interesting when you consider that Amazon was one of the first ecommerce sites to have an affiliate strategy. They now have over 1,000,000 associates.

    Looks like a good tool for bloggers.


  17. yeah – and for Amazon! :-)

  18. yeah – nice one

  19. Is Beta testing affects the website PR. How is it different from simple testing techniques

  20. I tried it the new Amazon Omakase (yes, I know it’s in beta testing). I have a highly optimized website. Not one product matched, yet I am able to do a search using regular Amazon and found some for my niche market.

  21. Amazon finally launched Product Previews this week. Take a look at the full description of the launched product.

  22. Richard says: 11/20/2006 at 8:21 am

    I hovered over the example on the Amazon site and nothing happened but put a couple of links on my site and for me nothing happens but I do have as blockers. I will have to ask friends if they can see them or not.

    I tried Netscape and Firefox Opera Maxthon and IE and no luck so guess they are not very compatible or just do not work with simple ad blockers.

    Someone mentioned how they get a lot of Amazon clicks but not many buys. Seems to me there is no incentive for someone to use my site as they can go direct to Amazon for the same thing and suppose they figure the price or shipping will be better,

  23. Richard says: 11/20/2006 at 8:26 am

    I forgot to say that the other companies that do similar adds like this that open a small window on mouse overs work just fine on all my browsers so it is not my ad blocker but their system

    I wanted to put some of the other companies links on but they require a minimum of 500,000 in traffic and I do not have the much

  24. Richard says: 11/20/2006 at 11:05 am

    OK – got the tictap one to work – I have many small JS running for tracking and menues and one must have been a conflict

  25. I got in earlier today. I posted some information about how it works at http://www.thejunglemap.com/post/186 if you want to check it out.

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