Author Topic: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS  (Read 6252 times)  

Offline jsbangs

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Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« on: May 16, 2017, 01:55:44 AM »
Hello, KBoards! This is my first post here. I've been a self-published author for about a year now, but never ventured over this way... but this post isn't about that. This post is about something that I made to address my frustrations with the default AMS dashboard, and a tool that I made which should be of great help to anyone who uses it.

Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS

Machete is a Google Chrome plugin which gives you one-click history graphs, keyword analysis, and a complete campaign history, all within the context of your existing AMS dashboard. It's currently only available for Google Chrome -- sorry users of other browsers!

Home page: https://machete-app.com

Install it directly through this link.

Install it, and on your dashboard a little gold icon will appear in several cells of your active campaigns. Click on it to see how that metric does over time.



Click through to the campaign details page, and you'll have two new tabs. One of them is called "Keyword Analytics", and it shows you a visual representation of your keyword performance.



You also get a number of reports showing your best and worst keywords. Keywords can be modified directly in the reports and can be updated in bulk.



You also have a "Campaign History" tab which contains a graph showing all of your metrics, with selectable ranges and a variety of other features.



This tool is free for your first 3 most recent active campaigns, but you can upgrade to get access to more campaigns.

I've been testing this for a while, but if you encounter any difficulty please let me know at jsbangs@gmail.com, or here in this forum. I'm also extremely open to feature requests and suggestions.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2017, 02:10:32 AM by jsbangs »

Online Jim Johnson

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2017, 06:30:25 AM »
None of my active campaigns show up as gold icons. They're grayed out. How does the free work for active campaigns?

Offline edwardgtalbot

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2017, 06:59:24 AM »
I dropped an email to the support email on the site and it was bounced back. I have two questions to start. The first is housekeeping. We're giving this tool the right to our AMS accounts. When you try to install, it specifically says that. I know for me, I'd like to have a lot better sense of why I should trust it than a single page web site.

Second question is how are you getting and maintaining the daily data? AMS doesn't provide it. I have some theories on how you might be doing it but I'd like to hear the details. Note - I do understand that there may be certain highly technical details you don't want to share, though honestly the challenge in a tool like this is not protecting proprietary methods but developing and supporting it.
Edward G. Talbot thrillers: Sometimes, everyone IS out to get you.

Offline PamelaKelley

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2017, 09:11:51 AM »
I love the idea of it, but not comfortable sharing my Amazon login info, so will have to pass.

Offline LFGabel

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2017, 09:14:13 AM »
I'd imagine it works almost like a scraping tool, refreshing the data at regular intervals (to prevent logout) and collecting it. As far as sharing login information, Book Report does this, although not with a Chrome plugin.

Offline Mike_Kraus

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2017, 09:29:08 AM »
Just wanted to point out that you can always set up a separate Amazon account, add that account as a Manager for your AMS account and then probably use the tool under the manager account. That way the tool can't access/change anything else about your main account except for manipulating the ads.

Offline edwardgtalbot

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2017, 09:36:25 AM »
I'd imagine it works almost like a scraping tool, refreshing the data at regular intervals (to prevent logout) and collecting it. As far as sharing login information, Book Report does this, although not with a Chrome plugin.

Right, but what if I don't login for 2-3 days? Or don't have my browser open? With sales data, Book report can just get itself up to date as long as more than  90 days haven't gone by (though at this point book report works slightly differently). With AMS, there is no daily data so it likely is being calculated based on a differential. I have an Access database and queries with which I am doing exactly this with the files I download once a day. But what I can tell you is that the logic I had to write to get the daily values as accurate as possible if I miss a day or more is complicated AND I have to set up my ads in a certain way to get it to be as accurate as possible.

That's why I want to know what this app is doing, because as someone who designs stuff like this for a living I am pretty sure that it's going to have some limitations in its accuracy and I want to know what those are.

Book report does use an Amazon login (though it doesn't know my password), but book report doesn't get the right to make changes to my KDP stuff. This app explicitly says it gets the right to make changes on AMS. I'm sure this is because the app offers a feature to update the bids on keywords, but that also opens up to any other changes I can make in AMS. If I were the developer, I'd remove that functionality at first because most authors (I hope) will be wise enough not to open themselves up this way. Or else create two versions of it, that is easy enough to do.

Regarding Mike's suggestion about a manager account, it's not that I'm worried about my main account. The tool has no rights on that. It only has rights to AMS. But that is of major concern. Even if I weren't concerned about the fact that the tool is from someone I've never heard of, with no reviews, I would be concerned about my exposure to hackers. How secure is the tool? Chrome plugins (like web sites, etc) can be vulnerable to a number of different forms of attack if they are not designed properly. A hacker could start new campaigns and put in high bids. Just to screw with people - many hackers love to prove a point that things aren't secure.
Edward G. Talbot thrillers: Sometimes, everyone IS out to get you.

Offline Mike_Kraus

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2017, 09:43:29 AM »
Oh absolutely. I wouldn't touch this with a ten foot pole until we hear more from the developer than "hey this awesome tool that solves all your problems exists" but for those who are on the fence that might be a way to make them feel marginally more comfortable.

That bulk bid update thing is just... man. I want that. But yeesh. Not feeling comfortable with the developer dropping in once and not replying to any questions.

Offline edwardgtalbot

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2017, 09:59:18 AM »
Oh absolutely. I wouldn't touch this with a ten foot pole until we hear more from the developer than "hey this awesome tool that solves all your problems exists" but for those who are on the fence that might be a way to make them feel marginally more comfortable.

That bulk bid update thing is just... man. I want that. But yeesh. Not feeling comfortable with the developer dropping in once and not replying to any questions.

He may have a day job, so I'm not worried about lack of response yet. Certainly I'm more than happy to give him a day or two to give us good answers!

As for the keywords, I'm not so concerned with bid update myself. I'd just create a new ad. What appeals to me most is the keyword analysis. Downloading daily numbers and loading them into my database takes very little time. But the keywords have to be done for each campaign, and that takes a lot of time.
Edward G. Talbot thrillers: Sometimes, everyone IS out to get you.

Offline LFGabel

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2017, 11:28:32 AM »
That's why I want to know what this app is doing...Even if I weren't concerned about the fact that the tool is from someone I've never heard of, with no reviews, I would be concerned about my exposure to hackers. How secure is the tool? Chrome plugins (like web sites, etc) can be vulnerable to a number of different forms of attack if they are not designed properly. A hacker could start new campaigns and put in high bids. Just to screw with people - many hackers love to prove a point that things aren't secure.

Excellent points. I wasn't going to install this (gut feeling), but the issues you raise sealed the deal.

Offline TripEllington

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2017, 11:30:01 AM »
Just took a cursory look at the source code and everything looks legit (and nicely commented code for a new project!). It uses the AMS API to retrieve much of the data for analysis and runs as a background instance to ping AMS at regular intervals to collect data - this means you don't manually have to visit AMS but you would need to keep your computer awake with the Chrome process running for this to continue to collect that sort of data from what I can tell. In this instance, it is at least coded to do what it says it should do and I didn't see anything nefarious, but I didn't go through each line with a fine comb, so take my word as you will.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2017, 11:33:07 AM by TripEllington »

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Offline jsbangs

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2017, 11:33:21 AM »
I'm here :). Among other things, I'm in Eastern Europe, so my responses won't happen during the middle of my night, which is the afternoon for most of you in US timezones. This evening I happened to be in a meeting for several hours and couldn't respond.

So let me clarify two things:

Login with Amazon

Machete does not see your Amazon password, and has no direct access to any part of your Amazon account. Login with Amazon works the same way as Book Report, mentioned above, or any number of other sites that allow you to log in with your Google or Facebook account. Your actual login happens on an amazon.com URL, and Amazon passes Machete a secure token that lets me get your email address and name for bookkeeping, but nothing else.

Machete Plugin

The plugin starts up when you visit ams.amazon.com, and it queries the  same datasources that Amazon itself uses in order to get a snapshot of all of your campaigns. It then starts up a background process that repeats this query once an hour. The data is stored at machete-app.com, so that when you click on one of the history icons it queries machete-app.com and gets a complete time-series.

However, Machete is tied to your Amazon session, so we can't gather data under any of the following conditions:

  • Your computer is turned off
  • You have logged out of Amazon
  • You have closed the browser and have not allowed Google Chrome to run in the background
  • You don't have an internet connection

You can close the browser tab with the AMS dashboard, and Machete will continue to update in the background until your Amazon session expires. I find that if I leave my computer on, it'll go about 24 hours before I need to refresh. Machete will put up a notification when the session times out to remind you to log in to AMS again.

And if you want to check on me, you can always look at the source: https://gitlab.com/jaspax/ams-unlocked

Offline jsbangs

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2017, 11:53:34 AM »
None of my active campaigns show up as gold icons. They're grayed out. How does the free work for active campaigns?

Jim, do you have closed campaigns which are more recent than your active campaigns? The quota currently applies to your campaigns sorted by order of start date. I would like to change this so that completed campaigns are never counted against the quote, but that will require a little bit of work due to the screwy way that Amazon reports on campaign status.

Offline Mike_Kraus

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2017, 11:56:03 AM »
Thanks for the info! Couple of comments/questions.

I'm getting errors on the page you linked whenever I click on any of the milestones. I'm not a gitlab user, though, so am I just doing something wrong?

What data is stored on the server, and how is it protected? I think it's pretty obvious that keywords and campaign data are extremely valuable. Having that information stored on your server would make anyone with successful campaigns nervous. I understand that for that amount of data you have to store it externally, but that doesn't sit well with me and I'm sure with a lot of other people. How can you make us feel better about that?

Offline edwardgtalbot

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2017, 12:00:36 PM »
Thanks for the response!

Machete does not see your Amazon password, and has no direct access to any part of your Amazon account. Login with Amazon works the same way as Book Report, mentioned above, or any number of other sites that allow you to log in with your Google or Facebook account. Your actual login happens on an amazon.com URL, and Amazon passes Machete a secure token that lets me get your email address and name for bookkeeping, but nothing else.

But it does give you the right to make changes in AMS, correct? When I clicked on the link, it said I was agreeing to that. I do understand that this is necessary for you to offer the features you offer, I just wanted to confirm and find out more.
Machete Plugin
However, Machete is tied to your Amazon session, so we can't gather data under any of the following conditions:
  • Your computer is turned off
  • You have logged out of Amazon
  • You have closed the browser and have not allowed Google Chrome to run in the background
  • You don't have an internet connection

So if I am away for several days and I don't leave my computer on, when I get back how does it figure out the daily data? Does it simply calculate an hourly or daily rate based on the difference in the timestamps between the queries of the data? I know what I've written for myself takes into account the start date and end date as well, though that has its own accuracy issues.

Overall it seems very useful, I just wish there were an option where you only had read access to my AMS even if I had to give up the keyword bid update feature.
Edward G. Talbot thrillers: Sometimes, everyone IS out to get you.

Offline jsbangs

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2017, 12:23:49 PM »
But it does give you the right to make changes in AMS, correct? When I clicked on the link, it said I was agreeing to that. I do understand that this is necessary for you to offer the features you offer, I just wanted to confirm and find out more.

I actually can't turn that off, because it's a feature of Google Chrome and is separate from Login with Amazon. The plugin operates as a "content script", meaning that some extra JS is injected into the pages that you give it permission to run on, which has to include ams.amazon.com. Injecting any JS at all requires read/write access to that domain. So Chrome doesn't actually let me specify "read-only" access to ams.amazon.com.

(Note that BookReport has this same characteristic, though it works on a slightly different mechanism. There is nothing in principle that keeps BookReport from unpublishing all of your books.)

Quote
So if I am away for several days and I don't leave my computer on, when I get back how does it figure out the daily data? Does it simply calculate an hourly or daily rate based on the difference in the timestamps between the queries of the data? I know what I've written for myself takes into account the start date and end date as well, though that has its own accuracy issues.

Right now it just does an average over the gap between points in the time series. If you're gone for 3 days, and when you come back AMS reports 30 new sales, it'll just assume 10 sales/day.

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2017, 12:47:02 PM »
Jim, do you have closed campaigns which are more recent than your active campaigns? The quota currently applies to your campaigns sorted by order of start date. I would like to change this so that completed campaigns are never counted against the quote, but that will require a little bit of work due to the screwy way that Amazon reports on campaign status.

Nah, just two current ones. I removed Machete and then replugged it and it seems to be working now.

Offline edwardgtalbot

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2017, 12:53:26 PM »
I actually can't turn that off, because it's a feature of Google Chrome and is separate from Login with Amazon. The plugin operates as a "content script", meaning that some extra JS is injected into the pages that you give it permission to run on, which has to include ams.amazon.com. Injecting any JS at all requires read/write access to that domain. So Chrome doesn't actually let me specify "read-only" access to ams.amazon.com.

(Note that BookReport has this same characteristic, though it works on a slightly different mechanism. There is nothing in principle that keeps BookReport from unpublishing all of your books.)


Thank you very much for the answers. Having never programmed a chrome extension before I was afraid there might be something like that. Logically I actually am not sure how chrome could really work differently since the difference between read and write is effectively on the server side. Chrome wouldn't know whether an action/event triggered a change on the back end. I appreciate you being specific about this.

This tool seems valuable, I'll just have to decide on the risk level for myself. Certainly you have given us reason to feel more comfortable about it. I checked out your author site - it's not my normal genre but I love your covers. Also read some of your blog articles on Romania :)

Thanks again.
Edward G. Talbot thrillers: Sometimes, everyone IS out to get you.

Offline Mike_Kraus

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2017, 12:59:03 PM »
JSBangs, thanks for the additional info.

Could you let me know about the couple of questions I had pertaining to your source code and the protection of our data on your servers?

Thanks!

Offline novelist11

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2017, 01:06:38 PM »
How do I update the reports in bulk? I don't see that anywhere under my Keyword Analytics.

Offline C.F.

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #20 on: May 16, 2017, 02:25:33 PM »
This looks like it could be awesome! Thanks for responding to everyone's questions so courteously. I'm excited to give this a try.

Offline jsbangs

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2017, 01:20:00 AM »
Mike:

I fixed the issue with the Milestones, I think. I had set the project to public, but I needed to also set the issue tracker to public visibility.

Regarding security:

* All traffic to machete-app.com goes over HTTPS
* machete-app is hosted on Heroku, so it uses their industry-standard security and encryption on the backend
* The privacy policy is here: https://machete-app.com/privacy.html
* One thing mentioned in the privacy policy is "anonymous aggregate reports". This hasn't actually been implemented yet, but a planned future feature would be something like a keyword suggester which draws from all of the keyword data we've collected.

Offline BlueGen

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2017, 05:36:19 AM »
I'm keen to try this out. But I'm getting this message when I even attempt to look at upgrading. Chrome won't let me anywhere near your site.

Your connection is not private

Attackers might be trying to steal your information from machete-app.com (for example, passwords, messages or credit cards). NET::ERR_CERT_COMMON_NAME_INVALID

Offline jsbangs

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #23 on: May 17, 2017, 05:52:45 AM »
Yikes! That shouldn't be happening. I'll take a look at it as soon as I get home.

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Offline jsbangs

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #24 on: May 17, 2017, 05:56:02 AM »
Ok, I see that my domain provider screwed something up so the site isn't working now. I'll be chopping heads and get it back up ASAP.

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Offline edwardgtalbot

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #25 on: May 17, 2017, 07:10:23 AM »
Attackers might be trying to steal your information from machete-app.com (for example, passwords, messages or credit cards). NET::ERR_CERT_COMMON_NAME_INVALID

BlueGen - that is almost certainly an error with the setup of the security "certificate." Unfortunately, chrome gives you the same message whether there is a setup error or whether someone has purposely left it out. It does mean he needs to get it resolved and certainly a reason to wait for that. But this can happen when setting up sites. It has happened to me in the past :)

Note - it is theoretically possible in some cases that this error is the result of hackers having compromised a site. But that is not likely in this case.
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Offline jsbangs

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #26 on: May 17, 2017, 07:18:25 AM »
I have fixed the DNS settings, so machete-app.com should be working again without SSL errors. It may take a bit for the changes to propagate to everyone's computers.

What happened

I was working with my domain name registrar to get email working on my site. Unfortunately, making the changes that they recommended caused the site itself to break. This proves that I need to get a new domain name provider, alas, since the one that I have can't actually handle the setup that I want.

Apologies to everyone affected by the outage.

Offline Mike_Kraus

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #27 on: May 17, 2017, 08:22:11 AM »
Are you sure everything's back up? I'm not getting SSL errors, but instead getting 404-looking pages indicating that nothing exists at machete-app.com. Happening in two different regions (checking at home and on a VPS) and not cache related.

The app at this point is unusable since it can't reach your site.

Offline Keith Dixon

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #28 on: May 17, 2017, 09:16:08 AM »
When I had the app working last night (not working currently in France, 6.00 pm), it made it very hard to choose the Free option. So when I clicked the gold icon the dialog would come up saying that reports for my campaign weren't available for my current subscription and I had to click a link to be taken to a subscription page ... where the Free account button wasn't chooseable. If I went back to the AMS ads page and refreshed, it seemed to work again for a while until, I guess, it timed out.

At the moment, clicking the greyed icon produces the same dialog box and clicking the Login and Upgrade link that appears leads nowhere, specifically to this: https://machete-app.com/login, where the https is crossed through with a red bar and the tab says 404 error.

Just so you know.  :)

Offline DavidMustWrite

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #29 on: May 17, 2017, 10:02:23 AM »
So on AMS i have noticed, 'Ended' and 'Rejected' always show up top of the sorted campaigns column. This means if you have 3 or more of those, you will not get the free 3 campaigns. Can you change your limits to maybe 6 or so? Unless the coding is too hard to adjust for campaign types. I want to test it before I buy. And most people have rejected and ended campaigns.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2017, 10:07:00 AM by DavidMustWrite »

Offline Daniel Roy Greenfeld

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #30 on: May 17, 2017, 10:20:05 AM »
I love the idea of it, but not comfortable sharing my Amazon login info, so will have to pass.

I used my backup email address to create a new Amazon login. Then in AMS I added that person as a user. This way I could use Machete without worrying about them getting the login info for my main account.

It's a little bit of work, but now that I've got the Machete data I feel it was completely justified. It's a very good way to get more insight into how your campaigns are doing. So far I'm very happy.


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Offline novelist11

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #31 on: May 17, 2017, 10:21:49 AM »
How do I update the reports in bulk? I don't see that anywhere under my Keyword Analytics.

Offline brianna515

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #32 on: May 17, 2017, 10:28:10 AM »
The website is down. Says it's under development and not available!

 :o

Offline BlueGen

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #33 on: May 17, 2017, 10:33:08 AM »
Thank edwardgtalbot and jsbangs. The app seems to be working perfectly now and all those scary messages have disappeared.

I'm looking forward to playing around with this!

It's a great idea for an app, and much needed.

Offline jsbangs

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #34 on: May 17, 2017, 10:46:05 AM »
And.... we're back. Two DNS updates later and we've gotten back to the original state, where the email is broken but at least the site is up.

Well, sort of. I can't see it on my Windows laptop, but I can see it on the Linux VM, and accessing it through a US-based proxy seems to be working. This usually means that we need to wait for the DNS information to propagate. If you're still seeing either the security errors (when using https) or plain-looking 404 pages (when using http), you probably just need to wait a little while for the new DNS records to reach you.

I'm going to be transitioning away from this domain service as quickly as possible, since it was their bad advice that got me into this mess. When I do so, I'll announce it ahead of time and try to schedule any downtime during an hour when few people will be affected.

Meanwhile, I'm extending the subscriptions of everyone that already paid by one week as an apology, meaning your next change will be in one month + one week from now.

Offline jsbangs

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #35 on: May 17, 2017, 10:59:32 AM »
So on AMS i have noticed, 'Ended' and 'Rejected' always show up top of the sorted campaigns column. This means if you have 3 or more of those, you will not get the free 3 campaigns.

The sort order that you see in your AMS dashboard is not necessarily the same as the one that Machete uses. Machete picks your three free campaigns based on their start date, excluding all campaigns that have an end date. This means that campaigns which ran for a specific time or which you manually terminated will never count against your quota. However, campaigns which are "Paused" or "Rejected" can count against your quota, since they don't have an end date. I am going to change this for version 1.1 so that these campaigns don't count either, but this will take a little work because the way that Amazon reports on campaign status is kind of weird and I need to do a little extra programming to work with it.

Offline MarilynVix

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #36 on: May 17, 2017, 02:00:11 PM »
Thanks for putting this up JSBangs. I was looking for something to help assist in my AMS campaigns. I'm really looking forward to the keyword functions, and it recommending keywords that work. I'm trying out the free option with my current campaign. Will let you know how it goes. Love the fact that you're letting us know about it, and letting us be like beta users. Happy to work out kinks for you. People on this board are amazing!

You totally passed all the tech questions that the crucible of members put you through. Some new people that join our board don't realize that they will get grilled for any product posted. But that we LOVE a tool that will help us as writers and our management of marketing our writing, if you pass the tests.  ;) WELCOME! Hope you're able to post and participate in other threads. Looking forward to reading your expertise in other subjects. :D

Offline funthebear

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #37 on: May 17, 2017, 08:25:41 PM »
Like novelist11, I'm not seeing bulk update.

Offline Mike_Kraus

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #38 on: May 17, 2017, 09:41:55 PM »
Couple of questions:

- Can we get a feature to bulk update ALL of our keywords to a new cpc? I know this might require a several-minute long operation since we can have up to 1k keywords but this would make my life so much easier when I'm copying/modifying campaigns. Seriously, this would be a killer feature for me.
- On the keyword front, why don't i see over/underperforming keywords or options for those on the keyword tab in a campaign, even with a day's worth of data collected? Is there some minimum threshold that has to be met for that to happen so that I can adjust budgets for keywords that are over/underperforming?

Offline jsbangs

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #39 on: May 17, 2017, 10:16:41 PM »
- Can we get a feature to bulk update ALL of our keywords to a new cpc? I know this might require a several-minute long operation since we can have up to 1k keywords but this would make my life so much easier when I'm copying/modifying campaigns. Seriously, this would be a killer feature for me.

Yes, that's quite straightforward. I have it planned for version 1.1. If you're interested at looking at the feature list for the next release, it's here: https://gitlab.com/jaspax/ams-unlocked/issues?scope=all&utf8=%E2%9C%93&state=opened&milestone_title=1.1

- On the keyword front, why don't i see over/underperforming keywords or options for those on the keyword tab in a campaign, even with a day's worth of data collected? Is there some minimum threshold that has to be met for that to happen so that I can adjust budgets for keywords that are over/underperforming?

Hmmm, this is probably an instance of a problem that some people are having with uploading their keyword data. Keyword analysis doesn't depend on history at all, so it should be available immediately. This is the same issue that novelist11 and funthebear are seeing.

Offline Mike_Kraus

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #40 on: May 17, 2017, 10:54:36 PM »
Ah, okay. This is what I'm seeing: http://imgur.com/a/PLnSx

Do you think a fix for this will be coming soon?

Also thanks for the link to the feature list; that looks awesome!

Offline mlryan

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #41 on: May 18, 2017, 03:41:08 PM »
I have a problem similar to Jim's:  I added Machete, and when I went into AMS, the first three ads that had the gold icon were paused ones, and the greyed out one was the ad I am currently running.  I terminated two of the paused ads (I wasn't planning on running them again anyway), removed Machete and re-added it, but there are now 2 ads with icons, one gold and one grey (still the same one as before).

Any suggestions how to get the two ads that are not terminated or ended to display the gold icons?
M.L. Ryan
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Offline C.F.

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #42 on: May 18, 2017, 04:57:09 PM »
I have a problem similar to Jim's:  I added Machete, and when I went into AMS, the first three ads that had the gold icon were paused ones, and the greyed out one was the ad I am currently running.  I terminated two of the paused ads (I wasn't planning on running them again anyway), removed Machete and re-added it, but there are now 2 ads with icons, one gold and one grey (still the same one as before).

Any suggestions how to get the two ads that are not terminated or ended to display the gold icons?

I'm having the same problem.

Offline Nikko

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #43 on: May 18, 2017, 06:16:57 PM »
I signed up for this, paid the $10 or whatever for a month.
From what I understand, it only collects data from the moment you install it, and you need to have your internet on, the extension running, and logged into your AMS account for it to actually work.
So, for those of us with laptops, no bueno. Am I correct?


Offline jsbangs

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #44 on: May 18, 2017, 11:38:21 PM »
So, for those of us with laptops, no bueno. Am I correct?

I use a laptop, too :).

It just depends on how long you leave your laptop on. Machete will update once an hour, so if your laptop is on for at least a few hours a day, you'll get data points during that time. If you have to close your laptop frequently, you might not get a very complete set of hour-by-hour data, but your day-by-day reports should be plenty accurate.

Offline jsbangs

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #45 on: May 18, 2017, 11:44:58 PM »
To everyone whose most recent campaigns are paused or ended: This is turning out to be a more widespread problem than I had anticipated. I'm going to maybe make some adjustments to the pay structure to help people evaluate the service better, but I'll be back once I have it ready.

Offline Shawn Inmon

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #46 on: May 19, 2017, 10:32:51 AM »
I tried sending you a message and got this reply:

Delivery incomplete
There was a temporary problem delivering your message to support@machete-app.com

This app has some potential use (that's why I subscribed initially) but it feels buggy and incomplete to me, like it was brought out too soon, without adequate testing. That's why I have unsubscribed now.

Here's one of the things that bug me: when I click on one of the charts for the info, it swings me up to the top of the page, so I have to scroll back down to see the information. Since I have 20+ ads running, it's often hard for me to then tell which campaign the box was associated with.

Shawn Inmon | Website | Facebook

Offline jsbangs

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #47 on: May 19, 2017, 11:21:21 AM »
Shawn:

Thanks for pointing out the problem with the popup charts on large data sets. I've added that to the backlog for version 1.1.

Offline jsbangs

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #48 on: May 19, 2017, 12:19:59 PM »
Pricing Change

Due to some early feedback, it seems that the existing free plan doesn't provide enough information for many people to really see what Machete does for them. Therefore, effective immediately, we're now offering the first month free on all subscription plans.

This means that if you want to test out the Pro or Premium subscription, you can sign up now and will not be charged for an entire month. You have that month to evaluate the service, and you are free to cancel at any time.

I have also pushed back the billing date of people who have already been charged, so for example if you signed up on 5/18 you won't be billed again until 7/18.

Thanks to everyone who has used Machete so far.

Offline C.F.

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #49 on: May 19, 2017, 02:24:54 PM »
Pricing Change

Due to some early feedback, it seems that the existing free plan doesn't provide enough information for many people to really see what Machete does for them. Therefore, effective immediately, we're now offering the first month free on all subscription plans.

This means that if you want to test out the Pro or Premium subscription, you can sign up now and will not be charged for an entire month. You have that month to evaluate the service, and you are free to cancel at any time.

I have also pushed back the billing date of people who have already been charged, so for example if you signed up on 5/18 you won't be billed again until 7/18.

Thanks to everyone who has used Machete so far.

Awesome! I just signed up. There were actually some surprises when I looked at all the data the plugin provides. I had expected it to be merely a time saver, but it caught some keywords that were doing better than I thought.

Offline jsbangs

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #50 on: May 20, 2017, 03:57:00 AM »
Heads up: I'm traveling internationally from May 21-23, so I won't be able to respond to emails or support requests during that time.

Offline mlryan

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #51 on: May 20, 2017, 06:41:58 AM »
I signed up too! Thanks for the prompt response.
M.L. Ryan
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Offline C.F.

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #52 on: May 27, 2017, 11:25:38 AM »
I have an ad that has 58 clicks, but under "Keyword Analytics" it's only showing a single dot on the graph with one click. It's been like this for days. I even started this ad after I got the plugin to try to avoid any problems. Any idea what would be causing it?

Offline jsbangs

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #53 on: May 28, 2017, 06:22:51 AM »
How many keywords do you have? Keyword Analytics don't take time to populate, they just look at the most recent numbers for each keyword, so it should be accurate from the first moment.

What I suspect is happening, instead, is that most of the keywords are getting filtered out of the chart. Keywords which have a number of impressions below a certain threshold (scaled to the total number of impressions for the ad) aren't included in the bubble chart, in order to reduce noise and make the chart more readable. The way to check would be to scroll down and look at the table "Keywords with few impressions", which shows the keywords with too few impressions to be included. If most of your keywords are in that list, that's why.

Offline C.F.

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #54 on: May 28, 2017, 07:51:13 AM »
How many keywords do you have? Keyword Analytics don't take time to populate, they just look at the most recent numbers for each keyword, so it should be accurate from the first moment.

What I suspect is happening, instead, is that most of the keywords are getting filtered out of the chart. Keywords which have a number of impressions below a certain threshold (scaled to the total number of impressions for the ad) aren't included in the bubble chart, in order to reduce noise and make the chart more readable. The way to check would be to scroll down and look at the table "Keywords with few impressions", which shows the keywords with too few impressions to be included. If most of your keywords are in that list, that's why.

It's almost the exact opposite (if I'm understanding correctly). The only keyword showing on the bubble chart is one that has only 9 impressions and 1 click, or at least that's what it says in the bubble. Turns out it has 322 impressions and 1 click according to the main chart. I have 203 keywords, 34 of which have had at least 1 click. 11 of the keywords that have had a click have over 1,000 impressions, yet only that 1 bubble is showing. 

Offline jsbangs

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #55 on: May 29, 2017, 06:37:41 AM »
I've been seeing an intermittent server error which might be related to this. I'm going to do some experiments and see if I can work it out.

Updated: Deployed a small server change. Let me know if you see any difference on your end.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2017, 07:27:19 AM by jsbangs »

Offline C.F.

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #56 on: May 29, 2017, 09:14:01 AM »
I've been seeing an intermittent server error which might be related to this. I'm going to do some experiments and see if I can work it out.

Updated: Deployed a small server change. Let me know if you see any difference on your end.

So far there's no change.

Offline Rickie Blair

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #57 on: May 29, 2017, 12:30:20 PM »
Due to some early feedback, it seems that the existing free plan doesn't provide enough information for many people to really see what Machete does for them. Therefore, effective immediately, we're now offering the first month free on all subscription plans.

This means that if you want to test out the Pro or Premium subscription, you can sign up now and will not be charged for an entire month. You have that month to evaluate the service, and you are free to cancel at any time.

Does this mean that users must pay to evaluate the program? (I installed it, but it only gives data for three campaigns and since all of the three it selected are "paused," there's no data for it to find.)

This puts the onus on the user to pay first and then--if unhappy--cancel and apply for a refund. if you forget to cancel, you'll still be charged. Negative option billing, in other words. Or am I missing something?
« Last Edit: May 29, 2017, 12:35:39 PM by Rickie Blair »


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Offline jsbangs

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #58 on: May 29, 2017, 12:54:06 PM »
Does this mean that users must pay to evaluate the program? (I installed it, but it only gives data for three campaigns and since all of the three it selected are "paused," there's no data for it to find.)

This puts the onus on the user to pay first and then--if unhappy--cancel and apply for a refund. if you forget to cancel, you'll still be charged. Negative option billing, in other words. Or am I missing something?
You need to create an account and pick a plan, but you don't actually get charged until the end of your first month. If you cancel in the first month, you never pay a thing. (And the cancellation link is on the profile page, so it should be simple enough.)

Sent from my ALE-L21 using Tapatalk


Offline Rickie Blair

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #59 on: May 29, 2017, 01:01:51 PM »
You need to create an account and pick a plan, but you don't actually get charged until the end of your first month. If you cancel in the first month, you never pay a thing. (And the cancellation link is on the profile page, so it should be simple enough.)

Sent from my ALE-L21 using Tapatalk

Good to know! Thank you.


In Leafy Hollow, murder is always in season!
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Offline C.F.

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #60 on: May 29, 2017, 01:13:31 PM »
(And the cancellation link is on the profile page, so it should be simple enough.)

What do you mean on the profile page? I can't find a way to cancel. I've looked on AMS and on the machete-app.com site.

I love the concept of this, but so far the bubble chart has only worked on 1 of my campaigns out of three. I started them all after installing the plugin specifically to test it.

Offline jsbangs

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #61 on: June 14, 2017, 07:56:42 AM »
Hey, everyone! I've been on vacation for the past three weeks, but I've found a little time to release version 1.1 of Machete. It has the following:

A way to bulk-updated ALL of your keywords
Paused and canceled campaigns no longer count against your quota (makes it easier for people on the free/pro plans)
A link to your Machete profile in the top bar of the AMS dashboard, since a lot of people had trouble finding their profile again after they first signed up

And a bunch of smaller bugfixes, security enhancements, and performance improvements.

If you haven't installed it before, check it out here. The changes to the free accounts make it easier than ever to try it, and all paid subscriptions come with the first month free.

People who have already installed, you should be updated automatically by Chrome in the next few hours. Note that the server has been updated at the same time, so there's a chance you'll see some weirdness if you're using it before the new version comes down.

« Last Edit: June 14, 2017, 08:03:57 AM by jsbangs »

Offline novelist11

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #62 on: June 14, 2017, 10:57:50 AM »
I have version 1.1 but I don't see where you can bulk update all your keywords.

Offline jsbangs

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #63 on: June 14, 2017, 11:11:37 AM »
I have version 1.1 but I don't see where you can bulk update all your keywords.

Click on the "Keyword Analytics" tab, then back to the main "Keywords" tab.

However, this shouldn't be necessary. I'll look into shipping a patch later today.

Offline jsbangs

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #64 on: June 14, 2017, 08:19:40 PM »
The patch is done and should get to everyone shortly. You shouldn't notice anything, except that the "update all" control appears where it should have been all along.

Offline novelist11

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #65 on: July 12, 2017, 10:05:34 AM »
Isn't this free anymore? I login but it forces you to buy.

Offline jsbangs

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #66 on: July 12, 2017, 01:07:01 PM »
It's free for your 3 most recent active campaigns, and that hasn't changed. Where are you seeing the upgrade notice?

Offline novelist11

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #67 on: July 12, 2017, 01:26:24 PM »
It's working now. I had login and it was showing a blue icon and when I clicked on it it told me to upgrade. But now it's showing the gold icon.

Offline jsbangs

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #68 on: July 12, 2017, 02:06:43 PM »
You were probably logged out. As a security measure, once you've created an account, even a free account, your campaign data is only available while you're logged in to Machete. Otherwise it would theoretically be possible for people to snoop on other free users' data.

Offline novelist11

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #69 on: July 12, 2017, 02:18:40 PM »
The thing is I did login. Oh well it's working now. I will keep an eye on this everytime I login.

Offline jsbangs

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #70 on: July 15, 2017, 07:01:18 AM »
Just uploaded version 1.2, which should make its way to your browser over the new few hours.

Big updates include the ability to choose explicit ranges on the Campaign History page (useful for seeing what your stats were on a particular date or in a particular period), and the ability to download your campaign history as a .csv file.




Additionally Product Display Ads are now fully supported, though they don't have keyword analytics (since they don't have keywords).

Finally, we revamped the Keyword Analytics bubble chart by changing around which metrics are on which axis. I find the new version more informative, but please let me know if you prefer the old version.


Offline IreneP

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #71 on: July 15, 2017, 09:16:14 AM »
Am I crazy in thinking I used to be able to see Machete in IE as well as Chrome?

Offline novelist11

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #72 on: July 15, 2017, 09:18:20 AM »
Mine is showing a gold icon on a terminated ad. I thought that wasn't suppose to happen.

Offline jsbangs

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #73 on: July 15, 2017, 10:12:55 AM »
Actually, that's a recent upgrade. If you have extra capacity in your plan, meaning that you have fewer active campaigns than your current subscription allows for, then your most recent terminated campaigns will also show up with gold icons. For example, this allows you to download the full history for a recently-completed campaign for offline storage or analysis.

Offline IreneP

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #74 on: July 25, 2017, 05:51:05 PM »
FEATURE REQUEST!!!!

I would LOVE (love-love-love-love) to be able to download a merged keyword report So, basically the same report you can download for each individual campaign, but with all the keywords and all the campaigns in one place. (This feature requested after I just tediously did it manually, and to get updated info I'll have to do it again).

And I know, this is the teeniest bit extra work, because to be usable you have to not just merge the info, but add a column specifying the campaign for each keyword.

But - OMG - would be AWESOME to have with the click of a button.

Offline jsbangs

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #75 on: July 26, 2017, 07:41:39 PM »
That *is* a good idea, and it'll fit nicely in the next release, which is focused on providing nice aggregate views and stats for all of your campaigns.

Offline CarolynVMurray

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #76 on: July 27, 2017, 03:30:00 PM »
Please get rid of the Machete pop-up. It's relentless.
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Offline jsbangs

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #77 on: July 29, 2017, 11:25:16 AM »
It's useful for people like me who want to avoid big gaps in their data. But I'll add a "Don't bother me again" button for people who don't want to be reminded.

Offline P.T. Phronk

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #78 on: August 09, 2017, 05:52:51 PM »
This look great, and I can't wait to try it next time I'm at a computer. But I just wanted to compliment the clever name. Chopping through the Amazon with a machete. Nice.

I'm slow to pick up on things like this though. I also just realized that Matchbook has meaning beyond "match" and "book" in the context of the Kindle.

Offline jsbangs

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #79 on: September 08, 2017, 02:46:24 AM »
I just released a... I guess it's a minor update, since it doesn't add any new features, but it represents several weeks worth of work on the backend and a major overhaul on the way Machete generates graphs. Things you might notice:
  • The login prompt appears much less frequently, and will stop appearing if you close it without clicking
  • Extra columns in the keyword reports to better contextualize things
  • Faster loading times and less stuttering on the keyword analytics page
  • Spinners and the like to let you know when data is loading

No big new functionality, but I'm now in a place to roll out upcoming features much faster.

However, the biggest item is the introduction of the referral program. Here's the short version: If you're logged in to Machete, you can visit any page at https://machete-app.com and see a "Referral link" in the lower-right corner. You can use that link to share links to the Machete front page, or any other page on the site, and you'll get a $10 credit for every person who signs up through a link that you shared. Full details are here: https://machete-app.com/referral.

I hope that the explanation given at the link above is pretty complete, but please let me know if you have any questions.

Online TimothyEllis

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #80 on: September 08, 2017, 06:37:02 AM »
I ran a few AMS early in the year and they appeared to be a completely useless waste of money. I gave up.

I dont really see any use for this tool, unless you've done a lot of ads, or are actively doing ads.

Can this help me do an effective ad, based on zero data?

Offline jsbangs

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #81 on: September 08, 2017, 07:32:53 AM »
Machete doesn't right now have the things that can help you make an AMS ad profitable from day 1. There are some future plans for things like keyword research which could help, but those are still a ways out.

The main thing that Machete does is it gives you a clearer view of what your keywords are doing, and it includes a bunch of time-saving features to help you adjust your bids and identify which keywords are actually working and which aren't working. This can greatly increase the speed with which you iterate on your campaign and hone in on your best options, but it doesn't remove the need for experimentation and exploration.

Offline LFGabel

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Re: Machete - Your tool for cutting through AMS
« Reply #82 on: September 08, 2017, 09:38:41 AM »
I ran a few AMS early in the year and they appeared to be a completely useless waste of money. I gave up.

Read Brian Meek's book, Mastering Amazon Ads. Really opened my eyes.

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