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Amazon aStore First Impressions Review

Astore-Beta-Logo-AnnouncemeAmazon have in the last day released a new beta test for their associates to try out – aStore.

Put most simply – this is a way to add a shop to your blog (similar to Chitika’s shoplinc – the main difference being that Shoplincs are CPC (cost per click – you get paid if someone clicks) and aStores are CPA (cost per action – you get paid if someone buys something) The payment amounts and methods are the same as normal for Amazon associates.

The other difference is that you can host shoplinc’s on your own domain and aStores are on Amazon’s.

Here’s one I quickly set up a few minutes ago as a ProBlogger bookstore. It took me three minutes to make (I’ll need to customize it so don’t be too harsh) so it’s obviously a very quick and easy set up. There are options for different templates and customizations as well as the ability to include virtually any product in Amazon’s database.

There’s the ability to add different categories and pages to your blog and a variety of widgets that you can add to make it more your own.

First Impressions

My first impression is that it’s pretty good. Very simple to set up, nice to look at, easy to navigate and not too hard to integrate into the rest of your blog in terms of how it looks.

It’d be great to be able to run it on your own domain name (I haven’t seen any ability to do this mentioned) and to have even more control over the look of your page (as I’m sure once everyone has one that they’ll look a little common.

Also I’d love to be able to have multiple aStores per affiliate account so that those of us with multiple sites could have multiple aStores.

Lastly I’d love to be able to choose products in categories and sub category pages. While you do have some control over this by picking keywords there’s no way of selecting specific products on these pages like you can on your front/featured page. This means you could be seen to be recommending products that you might not want to promote.

I suspect it’s early days for aStore. Hopefully they’ll continue to develop it. It is only in beta so I guess it’s not too bad for a start from Amazon.

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.

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Comments

  1. bernard says:

    this astore type thing was in fact first developped in Belgium about 10 years ago… at that time I worked at a company called Fronstage (the same people behind the soft of the bookshop Proxis.be). These full adaptable stores became quite popular for our business back then and delivered lots of sales. It surprises me that it took amazoon such a long time… For the record Fronstage stopped its activities after Kinepolis took it over and screwed up things majorly by not paying distributors… anyhow, this aside, if well done, it can work very well for your shopsection on your own site.

  2. Razib Ahmed says:

    “It’d be great to be able to run it on your own domain name (I haven’t seen any ability to do this mentioned) and to have even more control over the look of your page (as I’m sure once everyone has one that they’ll look a little common.”
    Yes, I agree with you. Well, I am not good at understanding this kind of thing.However, I am happy that bloggers have a new tool to earn some extra money.

  3. Tom says:

    What is needed immediately is a link back to ones own site from the store.

  4. I think it is not bad considering how easy it can be to set a shop up.

    Not sure how good for search engines it will be and as noted some way of highlighting your main site would be good.

    I’ve had a go at:

    http://astore.amazon.co.uk/thisfrenchlif-21/

    Couple of observations:

    My header image is 490 pixels wide which knocks out the formatted shop title, would be nice if this disappered if you pick a header.

    As you can see I’ve mentioned my main site in the graphic.

    I’ve left a note with UK Amazon asking for some way of creating a About Me page, or even better, a side column widget.

    Also noticed the catoegories are displayed alphabetically so you might want to consider how you describe these to ensure more popular ones are nearer the top.

    And I can’t see a way of any inserting any stats package.

    All the best

    Craig

  5. I too wish that it would link back to my site :(
    But I do think it fits my blog nicely, and lets me have my own shop.

  6. Chris says:

    Do you think implementation of the store wrapped into my site works? I think this is a great start for Amazon, not that I have made a bunch with their program to begin with, but we’ll see how this works.

    http://www.greenspade.com/component/option,com_wrapper/Itemid,51/

  7. biz-story says:

    Very easy to implement and would be a good basic structure for small blogs. There is a limitation of 9 items to add to your featured products category, but you can add other categories and subcategories controlled by key words.

    For a site hosted solution I still prefer the AssociateOMatic application.
    my blog about it: http://biz-story.com/biz-stories/amazon-a-store/

  8. Chris says:

    What are the advantages and disadvantages of creating an aStore, compared to using the standard affiliate links?

  9. Kris says:

    A link back would be good, but I don not think Amazon will allow that.

    One way of compensating is to force the bookstore to open in a new window. If the surfer closes the bookstore, the window with your blog is still there. (Just add a target=blank)

    check it out:

    http://gaijindo.com/blog/2006/08/11/learn-katakana-bookreview/

    best,

    Kris (what’s this? are all bloggers called Chris today?)

  10. Hi guys,

    John over at DuctTapeMarketing integrated his store into his site using an iFrame and links to an article showing you how. VERY slick! When I 1st saw it ,I expected clicking “add to cart” to take me off his site to Amazon, but by using the iframe it would look to a consumer as if you were buying from his site.

    DuctTape Built-in Amazon Store:
    http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/small-business-books.htm

    John’s blog about how to do it:
    http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/weblog.php?id=P700

  11. Kathleen says:

    Excellent, thanks for the info, Darren; you’re articles are always so informative & helpful. Much appreciated.

    I like the iFrame implementation on some of the sites in the comments – particularly GreenSpade – looks excellent.

    Interested to learn more about the AssociateOMatic program. Will have to do some research. Anyone have any (further) info or resources about it?

    Kx

  12. citeblogger says:

    Amazon Rocks! This is sooo cool..

  13. Ian says:

    Using iFrames (mentioned above) is pretty cool and the aStore is very simple to set up. However, I still have a few items on my want list. For example, after I created the store, I was not able to go back and change the title. I am unable to create more than one aStore with a single account. As noted above, it would also be a great improvement if we were able to select individual products to the pages. I am also wondering about the future impact on search engines when hundreds of thousands of these stores are live.

    However, overall, this seems like it is a nice little add on to a blog or website.

    My site took a few minutes to initially set up, but I went back and created sub-catagories for each main catagory which took a little longer. If you want to check it out:

    http://astore.amazon.com/popstarsplus-20

  14. Holch says:

    I am not sure if using the store within an Iframe is allowed or well seen by Amazon.

    However, it looks much nicer and would be good if it would be allowed.

    On the other hand, if the store seems to be run by you, you also have more responsabilities. I would make clear that the contract is with Amazon, not with you.

  15. John Hood says:

    Here’s mine.

    http://astore.amazon.co.uk/designby-21

    I like the fact that it’s relatively easy to maintain a consistent look and feel (brand experience) with other sites, which you may own.

  16. aaron says:

    aStore is great. I have created a fitness store called http://www.xigle.com

    The new version of aStore will include the following features

    Build and maintain multiple aStores using a single Associate ID
    Specify products to feature on Category and Sub-Category pages
    Create multiple instances of individual categories and sub-categories (e.g. Beatles Music and Rolling Stones Music)
    Feature up to 54 products on the front page of your store rather than the current limit of nine
    Write longer custom product descriptions
    Better control the layout and design for use in frames by providing the capability to remove the store header and category navigation

  17. After having my own issues with aStore’s feature set, I decided to enhance it on my own. I setup aSensibleStore.com, which tracks statistics, allow you to ad AdSense ads and allows you to include your aStore directly in your code without iFrames.

    Please use the contact form on the website if you have any questions or new features you’d like to see.

  18. rowie says:

    I believe you can now pick individual items to include in your aStore.

  19. markowe says:

    The idea is a good start, I reckon, but the whole thing is still rather inflexible. For example, it would be good if you could have greater control over the size and shape of the a-store. At the moment it is rather clunky – if you use the built-in navigation menu, to take you to your sub-stores (which you seem to have to if you want a search window to appear anyway), the width gets especially great, i.e. takes up most of the screen, leaving no room for your all-important site content, especially if you want to have your own navigation menu outside the i-frame.

    It would be great if you could decide the size of the store, I would prefer it to be 2 x 4 products perhaps… And for the size of the window to be determinable within A-store, so that it would break the product detail window (which is the main reason you need the stupid great 4000 pixel-high a-frame…) down into smaller pages.

  20. I will add my two cents about Amazon’s aStore. First off it was incredible easy to set-up. Adding a custom logo was simple, and adding content is incredibly simple. My only complaint is that there is no way to set-up the home page with separate categories.

    Here is my store: http://astore.amazon.com/accesstoawareness-20

    I do think it is an awesome service from Amazon – hopefully a win-win!

  21. pradit18 says:

    It very excellent. I start aStore today. I will try make seo for this aStore. and I will back report once

  22. Beef Jerky says:

    I set up not 1 but 2 seperate aStores on my own domain. 1 for purchasing Beef Jerky and the second to purchase the Dehydrators used in making homemade beef jerky.

    Easy to say the least.

    Problems revolved around the 4000 pixel height dimension required for inframe coding.

    I just started, it looks like a great system, but I keep asking “Why wouldn’t everyone just go to Amazon.com to purchase the goods instead of doing it through my site?

    Granted my traffic is highly targeted, but really…

    … isn’t there more to it than redirecting organic traffic to one of the biggest sites online?

  23. Anime Figure says:

    What i need is a traffic for my astore

  24. twinky says:

    StoreBrander.com free aStore proxy provides ability to have AStore under own domain name. Also you can customize aStore appearance to meet your site design, add custom <head> tags, use various Google Services with it.

Trackbacks

  1. Create your own Amazon aStore step-by-step…

    For those who want to build their own Amazon aStore check your Amazon affiliates aStore area. It is beta and you need to be an Amazon affiliate (associate) for that link to work. The aStore generator received top billing inside the associates area this…

  2. [...] Two of the main critiques of Amazon’s new aStore (the new beta test from Amazon that allows you to make your own Amazon store) that I’m hearing from publishers are: [...]

  3. [...] Amazon have emailed participants in the aStore beta test (my review here) with a sneak peak of what will be included in the next version of aStores. Here’s the list: [...]

  4. [...] The Amazon Associate’s aStore By Curly Tree Amazon Associates is Amazon’s affiliate program, which allows web publishers and webmasters to receive referral fees from their users who buy stuff from Amazon through their sites. Very recently, Amazon came up with the aStore, which is a nice way to set up targeted items on your site in a manner that is seamless and well integrated. You get to choose Featured Products on the first page, configure categories and subcategories, select the right look and feel for your aStore and incorporate various Amazon features such as a Search box, Listmania, Similar Products, your Wishlist and Reviews. To give it your site’s identity, you can even add a logo and use your site colors. To incorporate the aStore to your site, you can do so via [...]

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  6. [...] I’ve long been a member of Amazon’s affiliate program, ever since I published my first book. One of the new features available via the Amazon Associates program is the Amazon aStore, which Darren Rowse already reviewed, but here’s the quick summary: an aStore is an Amazon-hosted website that displays Amazon products chosen by the associate. It can be customized to a certain degree to let the visitor also see categories of products, but it really needs more customization capabilities. All product information comes from Amazon’s databases, of course, and any purchases made through an aStore earn the affiliate a commission. The idea is to make it easy to build a featured set of products and include it on an associate’s website with no programming required. (If you’re willing to invest some time and do some programming, however, you’re better off looking at Amazon Web Services, you’ll get much more control that way. You may be interested in the series of articles I wrote for IBM on using AWS as a starting point.) [...]

  7. [...] I’ve long been a member of Amazon’s affiliate program, ever since I published my first book. One of the new features available via the Amazon Associates program is the Amazon aStore, which Darren Rowse already reviewed, but here’s the quick summary: an aStore is an Amazon-hosted website that displays Amazon products chosen by the associate. It can be customized to a certain degree to let the visitor also see categories of products, but it really needs more customization capabilities. All product information comes from Amazon’s databases, of course, and any purchases made through an aStore earn the affiliate a commission. The idea is to make it easy to build a featured set of products and include it on an associate’s website with no programming required. (If you’re willing to invest some time and do some programming, however, you’re better off looking at Amazon Web Services, you’ll get much more control that way. You may be interested in the series of articles I wrote for IBM on using AWS as a starting point.) [...]