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Amazon launches Product Preview to Associates

Posted By Darren Rowse 12th of October 2006 Affiliate Programs 0 Comments

The Amazon Associate Program emailed their publishers today to let them know that they are officially launching their ‘Product Previews’ service to all Amazon publishers.

This has previously only been a beta test with a select group of publishers.

The ‘Product Previews’ allow you to promote Amazon products and give your readers more information about the product that you’re linking to without them leaving your site through a small popup window that opens up when readers hover the cursor over Amazon text or image links. Here’s a screen cap of an example (click for full size).


To add Product Previews you need to a script to your page’s templates and it will automatically convert image and text links that you’ve already got on those pages.

I’m not really a fan of any type of ad that pops up over a page although these ones are not nearly as bad as some other pop up ads which the user has little or no control over. At least with these ads the reader can make them disappear after they open up.

I’ve included the information page on Product Previews that Amazon provides publishers below instead of regurgitating all of the information.

Product Previews Page

Have you ever wondered how to give visitors to your site more information about the Amazon products you merchandise – without taking up more space? Or how to keep visitors on your site until they’re ready to buy? If so, Product Previews is the product for your site!

What are Product Previews?

Product Previews are a portal into – directly on your Web site. When users hover over a preview-enhanced link, either a text link or image link, a small window appears containing valuable content and information about the product you’re advertising. Our test results show that visitors who see a Product Preview have high click-through and conversion rates — helping you earn more fees.

Simply click here to see the Product Previews live.

Product Previews FAQ

1. How will Product Previews work?

When a visitor hovers over an enhanced text or image link for 400ms, a small window will appear next to that link. That window is the Product Preview. When a user’s mouse is within the window, the window will remain visible. When they move their mouse outside of the window, the window will disappear. If a user clicks on the window, the window will remain visible until the user clicks the window’s “Close” button. Users can also click and drag on the top border of the window to move it around your web page. Please note that the 400ms delay is a common period for triggering user-activated events on web pages, and is the same timing we use on our retail site for similar features.

2. How do I add Product Previews to my Web page?

Currently, Product Previews only work with Basic Display Product Links (text and image only). Support for other link types, including served links, may be added in a future release.

To build Basic Display Product Links, go to Associates Central >> Build Links >> Product Links. Search and select the product you would like to add. Choose “Image Only” or “Text Only” links. Follow the instructions on the page to add new links. The script you will need to add to the page to activate the links is the last step listed on the page. The code should go after your content and before your closing “body” tag. If your site is built using templates, you can paste this code into the “footer” or other end-of-page template, just as long as it comes after your content and before the final “body” tag. Once the script is added to the page, all Basic Display Links on the page will be activated.

3. What link decoration will my visitors see on my Web site?

Product Preview Links match the style of the other links on your website.

4. Will Product Previews affect my page’s performance?

Our testing indicates that several hundred links can be counted and decorated within the maximum time we allow the link enhancer script to run, 2 seconds. Since the script will be located at the bottom of your web page, it will not affect the rendering of any other elements on the page. Your visitors may notice their browser continuing to “work” after your page has loaded. This will only happen the first time a visitor comes to your page and loads the libraries required to support the link enhancement functionality. After the first download, a visitor’s browser will only download the libraries again if there is a newer version available on our servers or if they expire or are deleted from the user’s browser cache.

5. What happens if someone clicks on a text or image link enhanced with a Product Preview?

A click on an enhanced link will behave exactly the way it was designed when you built the link, sending the visitor to the site.

6. What are the privacy implications of Product Previews?

A visitor’s web browser automatically sends any Amazon cookies on their computer when a Product Preview is displayed in that visitor’s browser. That happens because the content in the Product Preview is served from the domain. does not share any personal information we may collect about customers who view, click, or purchase through Associate links with third parties – including Associates – except as described by the Privacy Notice governing the website.

The link enhancer script you add to your Web pages will make a call to Because we are hosting the script on a different domain than the retail domain,, we do not receive a customer’s cookies when the script runs, but rather only after the product preview appears.

7. What do visitors to my Web site need to do to see Product Previews?

Product Previews are rendered using JavaScript. Therefore, visitors to your site must have JavaScript turned on in order to see them. If visitors to your site don’t have JavaScript enabled in their browsers, they’ll simply see standard links; the display of your Web site will not be affected. Your visitors will also need to have cookies enabled.

8. Where will I be able to find Product Preview performance data?

Product Preview performance data will be added to all relevant Associates Central reports.

9. What browsers do Product Previews work in?

Product Previews are certified to work in Internet Explorer 5.5 and higher (Windows XP only), Firefox 1.07 and higher (Windows XP, Macintosh OS X, Linux), and Netscape 6 and higher (Windows XP, Macintosh OS X, Linux)and higher.

10. How do I remove Product Previews from a page or Web site?

Simply remove the code that adds Product Previews to that page or to your Web site.

11. What other technical information do I need to know?

Frame Support: Due to restrictions imposed by DHTML, Product Previews cannot cross frame borders.

Mouse Handlers: Some Web site publishers prefer to have alternate text display in browser status bars when users hover over the hyperlinks on their page. Many Web site authoring tools, as well as Web site owners, do this by setting different mouse handlers for their hyperlinks, such as ‘onmouseover’ and ‘onmouseout’. When these properties are set, client-side JavaScript is executed to display and hide status bar text when a user scrolls their mouse over, and then off of a link.

Product previews are generated via client-side JavaScript as well. Since hyperlinks can only have one ‘onmouseover’ and ‘onmouseout’ handler, if you’ve already added ‘onmouseover’ and/or ‘onmouseout’ properties to your links, those links will not generate Product Previews. Try removing the ‘onmouseover’ and ‘onmouseout’ handlers from your links to get previews to display.

NAME Attribute: Product Previews are not generated for links with a pre-existing NAME attribute.

Support for sites built using Microsoft FrontPage: Many sites built using Microsoft FrontPage include a script called animate.js. We’ve seen this script cause a JavaScript error in Firefox, preventing additional JavaScript on the page from executing. Since product previews are generated using JavaScript, users who visit sites containing the animate.js script will not see Product Previews unless the animate.js script is located after the link enhancer script at the bottom of the page.

Malformed HTML: Product Previews will not display on Web sites containing invalid or malformed HTML.

12. How do I provide feedback on Product Previews?

We’re eager to hear what you think of Product Previews. Send comments, suggestions, questions, and issues directly to our development team at [email protected]

Sign up for the Amazon Affiliate Program

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, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • It would be much better, in my opinion, if they simply offered the affiliate/associate ads in that format directly instead of the format they give us right now. It’s tall and narrow, whereas I would prefer them to be larger and less tall, like what you are showing us now.

  • I actually found out about this before I got the e-mail and added them to my page a few days ago. Sales from them haven’t gone up but the clicks seem to be higher. But, I also have no traffic so the clicks could be based on many other factors.

  • These new ads look amazing! I haven’t even got my blog setup yet and I’m looking forward placing them on the site!

  • mmm…
    Good article. Let me try..

  • Great coverage, Darren.

    I have some more hands-on info in my post on the Amazon Product Previews from a couple of days ago.


  • Amazon is great but 4-6% – it’s too small …

  • TicTap Contextual Ads does everything that Product Previews does and more.

    It works across all Amazon domains like,,

    It shows reviews and similar products.

    It shows products based on keywords you select. has a working demo. It is also available as a WordPress plugin.


  • I hate ads like this! Not much better than pop-up windows ,in my opinion. If I come across any sites with these hover-over ads, I close them straight away.

  • Hey Darren, I realize this post is really old, but I was wondering if you know of a work-around for a problem I’m having with the product preview script in Safari and Google Chrome browsers.

    Basically, the Amazon product preview pops up just fine, but when it disappears the link to the product stays behind, covering up the text behind it (which makes everything unreadable).

    If there isn’t a work-around for Safari or Chrome, is there a way to disable the script so that it doesn’t create a pop-up for Safari and Chrome visitors?

    Here’s a link to the post I’m having issues with.

    Thanks in advance! Love your blog.