Turkey Trouble on Amazon
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Stone and Silt
by Harvey Chute

$2.99
Kindle Edition published 2013-08-14
Bestseller ranking: 713665

Product Description
Big Al's Books & Pals 2014 Readers' Choice Awards: Young Adult Nominee

A ruthless murder and a stolen shipment of gold.

At school, sixteen-year-old Nikaia Wales endures the taunts of bullies who call her a “half-breed.” At home, she worries about how her family will react if she reveals her growing feelings for the quiet boy next door.

Those are soon the least of her troubles. Nikaia discovers a hidden cache of gold, and when police find a corpse nearby, her father becomes a suspect. Worse, Elias Doyle is circling, hungry to avenge his brother’s death.

Nikaia desperately searches for clues to save her father. In her quest to find the killer, she learns about the power of family, friendship, and young love....

Author Topic: New FREE book promo tool for Indie Authors, all because of a Writers' Cafe post  (Read 14725 times)  

Offline thewitt

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Each participating site is using an IFRAME, which literally means that they are putting a small segment of his site into theirs. He controls the content of his site that appears in the IFRAME, and he is putting his affiliate code on his site. This is no different from me framing part of any other Amazon affiliate's site on my site, whether using an inline frame or a regular frame. My choice to do that does not mean the affiliate is putting their code on my site. This would only be a violation if Amazon either did not understand the technology (not likely) or ignored it (with what motivation?).

This is directly against the Operating Agreement - though it's no point in arguing intent. Amazon may or may not choose to enforce this.

When you select an affiliate link, the referring site information is captured.

When you signed up for your affiliate account, and agrees to the TOS in the OA, you told them WHERE you would be linking your affiliate link.  They allow any site that YOU control the content directly, disallowing everything else.

If you go search the Affiliate Forums on Amazon, you will find dozens of posts from people who LOST their affiliate accounts forever for violating the TOS - and I'm not talking about people who create  fake search engine capture sites and build dynamic links on the fly.

You also cannot include an affiliate link in an email, or embed it in an Adwords or Facebook advertisement, however we all know that this is done every day.

I'm just pointing out that this is in direct violation of the OA. Do what you want with the information.

Author of The Traidine Saga: An Epic Fantasy
Timothy Bond | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | TakeAHike

Online Crenel

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When you select an affiliate link, the referring site information is captured.

First, that cannot be done reliably. I would be surprised if Amazon is foolish enough to trust the HTTP_REFERER value since it is widely known to be not trustworthy.

Second, a click on a link in an IFRAME will show different HTTP_REFERER values depending on what browser is used. It's quite possible, depending on the browser, that Amazon will see Gerald's site as the referring site, which is technically correct and obviously not a TOS violation.

You can see for yourself what your browser passes when clicking a link in an IFRAME. This simple test is intentionally not fancy.

When you signed up for your affiliate account, and agrees to the TOS in the OA, you told them WHERE you would be linking your affiliate link.  They allow any site that YOU control the content directly, disallowing everything else.

"Where" is a very nebulous concept on the Web. What appears in a browser window and what is served from a server are not the same thing. As already stated, the links with Gerald's code are being served from Gerald's site. This is not debatable, it's a technical fact. Gerald is in control of the display of his site contents; again, clearly not a TOS violation.

I'm just pointing out that this is in direct violation of the OA. Do what you want with the information.

So you say, without addressing my original point. Unless you can explain the technical basis for your assertion, this is not "information." It is just an unsupported opinion.

(Edited to add link to testing tool.)
« Last Edit: June 01, 2015, 02:24:11 AM by Crenel »

Offline thewitt

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Like I said, I'm not going to argue Amazon's TOS with you.  You can read it yourself in the OA, ask your questions on the Affiliate Forums, and then ask Support any specific question you want for verification.

Using an affiliate link in this manner is in direct violation of the OA.  Period.

You may only display affiliate links to content on a website that you control.  They include your Facebook page and Twitter tweets in this list, howevr that's it.

No exceptions.

It's really not ambiguous.

The penalty, should they wish to enforce it, is loss of revenue paid and loss of your affiliate account for life.

Author of The Traidine Saga: An Epic Fantasy
Timothy Bond | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | TakeAHike

Online Crenel

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Using an affiliate link in this manner is in direct violation of the OA.  Period.

You have yet to explain how Gerald using his codes on his site is a violation of the terms, and you have yet to acknowledge how framing works, so I'll assume that you're either unaware of the facts or intentionally ignoring them. Others can draw their own conclusions.

Edited to add:

To keep this discussion fact-based, the following are true and can be verified by anyone:

1. The "Associates Program Linking Requirements" document makes no reference to framed links.

2.The " Associates Program Operating Agreement" document makes no reference to framed links.

3. The "Associates Program Participation Requirements" document references framed links -- and specifically exempts them from the prohibition against framing Amazon's content::

Quote
You will not frame the Amazon Site, or any part of it, within your site, including by display within an integrated web browser (e.g., WebView) within a Mobile Application. However, displaying a Special Link on your site, including results from the AMA API, in accordance with the Operating Agreement will not be considered a violation of this Participation Requirement.

My analysis: There is no factual basis for the assertion that allowing Special Links to appear in an IFRAME -- which no affiliate can prevent -- is "a direct violation."
« Last Edit: June 01, 2015, 07:56:53 AM by Crenel »

Offline MyraScott

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I didn't see this post- apparently using your own affiliate code is an upcoming feature.  :)


This is just for the BETA TEST.

For the FINAL SITE there will be a few additions:
1. Your website will be verified automatically. If the code is not running on your site then none of your books will show up on other author sites.
2. You will be able to filter by category, assuming we have enough book up there.
3. You will also be able to add an affiliate code if you have one.


You should be able to plug in your own affiliate code into the code snippet on your own site, making it not only compliant but rewarding the people with more traffic with more affiliate sales. That makes sense.

Gerald definitely ought to be compensated for the work he's put into it- said as someone who's created and supported many tools and was never compensated for it. Ultimately, paid work wins out in the priorities.

If it doesn't generate affiliate income for someone, then it doesn't work.  As it stands, I think people really want their books to show up on other people's sites... but since there's no reward for sales made from their own site, the boxes are not very prominently displayed. This strategy only works if people actually buy books through those links. 

Just some thoughts.

Online Crenel

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You should be able to plug in your own affiliate code into the code snippet on your own site, making it not only compliant but rewarding the people with more traffic with more affiliate sales. That makes sense.

Gerald definitely ought to be compensated for the work he's put into it- said as someone who's created and supported many tools and was never compensated for it. Ultimately, paid work wins out in the priorities.

It's already compliant -- at least, the only evidence presented so far indicates compliance. As for compensating him, how do you envision that happening if he no longer gets affiliate revenue? I'm willing to donate some page real estate to help other writers, and I'm happy if Gerald gets a cut. If this became a paid service, however, I would necessarily stop participating.

Offline Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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I didn't see this post- apparently using your own affiliate code is an upcoming feature.  :)

You should be able to plug in your own affiliate code into the code snippet on your own site, making it not only compliant but rewarding the people with more traffic with more affiliate sales. That makes sense.

Gerald definitely ought to be compensated for the work he's put into it- said as someone who's created and supported many tools and was never compensated for it. Ultimately, paid work wins out in the priorities.

If it doesn't generate affiliate income for someone, then it doesn't work.  As it stands, I think people really want their books to show up on other people's sites... but since there's no reward for sales made from their own site, the boxes are not very prominently displayed. This strategy only works if people actually buy books through those links. 

Just some thoughts.

I don't have an affiliate link on my website. I think I looked into it some time ago and it seemed to be beyond my technical know-how. I would be happy for Gerald to use his link on my website.

Fiction, family saga, humour, short stories, teen, children's
Jan Hurst-Nicholson | author website

Offline thewitt

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Again, I'm not going to debate semantics on the OA.  Ask Affiliate Support if you wish a definitive answer.. The OA is very clear. You may only place affiliate links on websites where you control the content of the site. Not the content of the link, the content of the site. Running your framed links on someone else's website is a violation of the TOS, as you do not control the website content. If you don't believe me, ask them yourself.

Author of The Traidine Saga: An Epic Fantasy
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Online Crenel

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Again, I'm not going to debate semantics on the OA.  Ask Affiliate Support if you wish a definitive answer.. The OA is very clear. You may only place affiliate links on websites where you control the content of the site. Not the content of the link, the content of the site. Running your framed links on someone else's website is a violation of the TOS, as you do not control the website content. If you don't believe me, ask them yourself.

Not trying to "debate the semantics" of Amazon's terms, but this thread is not the place to try to educate you about frames enough that you will recognize that "only [placing] affiliate links on websites where you control the content of the site" is exactly what Gerald is doing. Continuing to state your opinion without any evidence and without addressing the evidence that has been presented is just a pointless distraction. Regarding your opinions, I will leave it to others to judge and will not reply further unless you can actually present some evidence to back up your claim.

Offline geraldmkilby

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I built this site because to seemed like a good idea at the time -- a way for Indie Authors to sell more books. I have my affiliate code in so I can cover the cost of running this. Much as I would like to retire on the income, that's never going to happen. Let me give you some figures so far:
290 books, 75 sites, 1500 views per day, 149 clicks to amazon so far, 5 books sold. Total income generated $2.37. Even if it's ten times the size I might make $50 a month, just about enough to cover the cost of the server. So there's no croak of gold at the end of the rainbow. I can do this because I run my own web development business building high end commerce sites, have access to all the fancy servers and I enjoy it. I had considered allowing authors put in there own code but, as you can see, there isn't the revenue in it to do this yet. And authors can do this anyway by using one of the widgets amazon provides.

So, the way I see it is this;  the win for authors is a free way to promote / sell books, the win for readers (site visitors) is they view related books in context, the win for me is the enjoyment and getting my costs covered and the win for Amazon is they get more people on to their site.

That's what it is. If I really wanted to turn this into a business then it would be subscription and lots of marketing messages being spat out in emails. But I wouldn't enjoy that, some people do but I don't. I'm an engineer at heart, that's what I love, that's why I write science fiction and techno-thrillers.

If you want to use the service then you're more that welcome. If you don't want to, well that's fine too.



« Last Edit: June 02, 2015, 07:56:16 AM by geraldmkilby »

Offline geraldmkilby

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As it stands, I think people really want their books to show up on other people's sites... but since there's no reward for sales made from their own site, the boxes are not very prominently displayed. This strategy only works if people actually buy books through those links. 

I've been giving this a lot of thought for some time now. How to reward someone who has the books block prominently displayed as opposed to someone who just sticks it in some dark corner of their site. There is also the issue that some sites are much busier than others. So how to be 'fair' to all. My thinking is to track clicks. So you would see both views and clicks beside your books. I could then calculate the ratio of clicks to views for each site. The higher the ratio the higher the rank and a site with a higher rank would have their own books distributed more often, so more exposure would be the reward. Hence there would be an incentive to make the book block more prominent.

This is quite a complex bit of coding and increases the load on the server as it has to do a lot more thinking before serving out a book block. But I do like the challenge of it.

Just a thought.

Offline TromboneAl

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I built this site because to seemed like a good idea at the time -- a way for Indie Authors to sell more books.


That's the best kind of motivation. Thanks, G.

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Offline geraldmkilby

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@thewitt To be fair, you have a point. I had a long read through the Zon T&C's and you are correct, they do not like this sort of thing. I did not know this, so thanks for pointing it out before they hit me over the head with a large hammer. However, I don't see any issue with authors putting their own affiliate code so it looks like that's the way to go. (Correct me if I'm wrong.)

This definitely has the feel of a first draft. The basics are there but it needs tweaking.

So here's my thinking now. I have taken off my affiliate code and will put in a field for author to add their own. This would be an extra incentive to promote the books. However, I still need to cover the costs of all this at some point. I'll leave for the moment as see if it gains further traction. Maybe I'll put in a donation button or some basic subscription model.

Offline geraldmkilby

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I had an insane idea  :o

Maybe to join the network you have to buy my book? Ahhh... that's just crazy talk!

Offline Debbie Bennett

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You should find *some* way to compensate yourself for the work.....













Psychological thriller/crime & fantasy writer

All ebook formats and paperbacks available.
www.debbiebennett.co.uk

Hamelin's Child currently FREE in most ebook stores
Rat Run coming soon ...

Online Crenel

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@thewitt To be fair, you have a point. I had a long read through the Zon T&C's and you are correct, they do not like this sort of thing.

I don't blame you for being careful with your account. The amount of caution you exercise is absolutely your call.

However, he's demonstrably not right about the terms. Did you ever have direct access to the code of somebody else's site, and use that access to put your affiliate-coded links there? (That naturally does not include suggesting code for people to optionally paste in to their site, any more than me saying "put <em>Hello world!</em> on your site" is actually placing Hello World! on your site.) As long as the answer is "no," and as long as the content that I (and others) choose to show in an IFRAME is a part of your site, then you're not violating their terms any more than he is. For this to be a violation, they would need to change their terms, and put every single associate at risk (because nobody can fully prevent their sites from being framed).

Offline thewitt

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Crenel, rather than debating me - and I understand exactly how the technology works, thank you -  just ask Amazon Affiliate Support. They will answer the same way I did.  Having your affiliate links displayed on someone else's website is in violation of their Operating Agreement.  It's just that simple. Don't take my word for it, by all means ask them.

I'm not trying to keep Gerald from being fairly compensated, far from it. I just don't want to see him lose his Affiliate account because he violated the TOS.

Gerald, allowing authors to use their Affiliate links would be fine.  You might consider charging for that aspect of your program.  Subscriptions or donations might also work, but you are absolutely correct about return being based on visibility, and some people - myself included - don't have high website traffic yet, and may in fact never have a high enough volume to see more than a few clicks a month.

I know my own affiliate banners only get about a hundred clicks a month each.  Pretty low volume. My old ecommerce  store banners did 10,000 a day.

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Offline geraldmkilby

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I don't blame you for being careful with your account. The amount of caution you exercise is absolutely your call.

You are probably right about it being OK to run it in an iframe. And, generally amazon is pretty OK as long as your are upfront about it. I don't think bookpromocoop would bother them too much. However, I decided to ditch my aff code so that Authors can use their own. I think it's a good feature and would motivate them to make the book block more visible. I've been tracking views from sites and some have put the code in the darkest corner they could find.

I think authors like the concept overall, and I can see it will help to sell a book or two, so my strategy is to get as many authors on board as I can. I will have a new version out later this week that will have the author aff code, responsive design, and will automatically pause books from authors that have not put the book block where it gets some traffic.

I think all these things combined will take it to a new level, we'll see where it goes from there. ;D
« Last Edit: June 02, 2015, 04:30:28 PM by geraldmkilby »

Offline geraldmkilby

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Gerald, allowing authors to use their Affiliate links would be fine.  You might consider charging for that aspect of your program.  Subscriptions or donations might also work, but you are absolutely correct about return being based on visibility, and some people - myself included - don't have high website traffic yet, and may in fact never have a high enough volume to see more than a few clicks a month.

I know my own affiliate banners only get about a hundred clicks a month each.  Pretty low volume. My old ecommerce  store banners did 10,000 a day.

I actually think the whole affiliate code thing is a bit of a red herring. Unless you're getting serious high traffic the returns are minimal.

The point of bookpromocoop it to have your books visible across a wide range of sites, so all together they add up to a fair amount of traffic. Most authors have low traffic websites but the traffic they do get is mainly from readers, our target market.

Even with the limited run I've been doing with this five books have sold. That said, nobody's going to hit the best seller lists but it does work, it surprised even me.

So for the moment I'm going to see where I can take it. If it does take off, well I'm sure there are plenty of ways to cover the costs. In the meantime I'm enjoying it... and I might even sell a few books. ;)
« Last Edit: June 03, 2015, 03:56:17 AM by geraldmkilby »

Offline TromboneAl

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You should find *some* way to compensate yourself for the work.....

I've got it: You display your own book more often than the other books in the barrel. I wouldn't mind--seems fair.

Al Macy | Web Site | Facebook | Twitter

Offline geraldmkilby

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OK, after a lot of comments and suggestions I've made some major updates to http://bookpromocoop.com

Firstly, you can now add in your own Amazon code and it will tag on to the link on any books displayed on your site.

Secondly, you must have the code running on your website now, or your books will not be promoted across the network. Login and check the it says 'Active' in the top right of the page. If it says 'Paused' then you either need to add the book banner code to your site or put it on a page that gets some traffic. If it's in a dark and dusty corner it won't work.

Thirdly, I've made a load more updates; new FAQ, mobile enabled, etc.

Finally, this is completely free to for Authors to use to promote their books. However, if you would like to help the upkeep and development you can by making in a donation (see button at the top when you login) or you can even buy my book ;)

As always, comments and suggestions welcome.
 
« Last Edit: June 09, 2015, 02:55:11 AM by geraldmkilby »

Offline M R Mortimer

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The site is really looking good now :) You have done a wonderful job. Thanks again!

I notice in the FAQ you will be putting in an Authors tab, listing all of us who are members :) I like this idea!
« Last Edit: June 09, 2015, 02:47:43 AM by M R Mortimer »
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Offline Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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OK, after a lot of comments and suggestions I've made some major updates to http://bookpromocoop.com

Firstly, you can now add in your own Amazon code and it will tag on to the link on any books displayed on your site.

Secondly, you must have the code running on your website now, or your books will not be promoted across the network. Login and check the it says 'Active' in the top right of the page. If it says 'Paused' then you either need to add the book banner code to your site or put it on a page that gets some traffic. If it's in a dark and dusty corner it won't work.

Thirdly, I've made a load more updates; new FAQ, mobile enabled, etc.

Finally, this is completely free to for Authors to use to promote their books. However, if you would like to help the upkeep and development you can by making in a donation (see button at the top when you login) or you can even buy my book ;)

As always, comments and suggestions welcome.
 

Thanks so much. Now we must start promoting it  :).

Fiction, family saga, humour, short stories, teen, children's
Jan Hurst-Nicholson | author website

Offline geraldmkilby

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Thanks Jan.
I've sent a few tweets and will do a blog post but that's about it for my marketing empire, so any help is greatly appreciated.

BTW, Authors tab is now on the site so you can see who's active on the network.


Offline hardnutt

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Late to the party! Just signed up!


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