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Amazon aStore in iFrames

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:

  • It’s hosted on Amazon’s domain which doesn’t look that integrated with your site
  • There’s no link back to your site from the store

One of the more creative ways I’ve seen the aStore used in the last two days (and I’ve seen a few of them) is by John Jantsch from Duct Tape Marketing who has added a store to his site using iframes. This enables him to put the store on his own domain (see his aStore here) and also to put his own header and footer around the store with whatever links he wants back to his own site.

I haven’t seen anything on Amazon’s site saying that this is against their terms of service but it could be worth checking if you’re going to give it a go.

found via a comment in a previous post by 5 Star Affiliate Programs

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. Lucky Dog says:

    The iframe is a bit better, but Amazon needs to improve a few things.

    Also as you can read on BlogTopper.com Amazon is not taking the best care of affiliates.

    I am excited more about Chitika.

  2. That is an interesting approach to use the iframe. Hopefully we will hear more from Amazon on whether this is officially permitted.

    For the time being, I created a store and tried to match the color scheme as well as possible and added an image to the header. It would be nice if Amazon would allow the image link in the header to point back to our main site.

  3. Krista says:

    The ads they serve up (ie not aStore) work because of iframes, so they don’t seem to be opposed to the concept. It will be interesting to see what they say.

    For the most part, the iframe looks good embedded into the site. My biggest concern, though, is that you have to specify the height of the iframe, which means that if you

    1) set it too big, there’s lots of white space at the bottom or
    2) set it too small, you get scrollbars

    I’ve been trying to find a javascript that will set the height of the iframe automatically, based on the page size, but apparently this is next to impossible to do if you’re not hosting the page displayed within the iframe.

    I’d love to hear suggestions if anyone found a way around this.

  4. The main problem with Iframe is for Search engine optimization.

    The URL who will be indexed (if google and others are indexing iframes) will be the Amazon URL and not your own URL.

  5. John Jantsch says:

    I certain Amazon is okay with the iframe approach since I got the idea from Amazon. They don’t say much about it but they clearly reference it as a way to display the store.

    From the Amazon web site:
    “How do Associates add the link to their sites?

    The “Get Link” step of the configuration process will provide a single line of HTML code which needs to be copied to the Associate’s website. The HTML code can be integrated into an iframe on the website or placed directly in a page with sufficient space to render the complete store. ”

    Krista – the easiest option for the size issue is to add a scrollbar=”auto”, this way if you need the scroll it appears but if you don’t, it doesn’t.

  6. Krista says:

    John – thanks for responding. I currently am using the auto scrollbar feature. My issue (minor annoyance) with that is that on some pages, it gives you a horizontal scrollbar as well as a vertical – even when one isn’t really needed. (Yes, I’m being picky. I think I’ve just conditioned myself to believe all horizontal scrollbars are bad.) I’ve tried resizing the iframe, but it seems like no matter what I do, I get one occassionally. I notced I occassionally get one on your site too, so it seems to be just one of those things.

  7. Frank Johnson says:

    One of the problems with using iframes is that the user never sees the secure lock symbol in their browser. That doesn’t mean the session is not secure, because it is. But to the extent that users look for the secure lock symbol, they won’t see it.

    I’m not sure how much people look for the symbol these days, plus the association with Amazon conceivably gives some credibility that may outweigh the absence of the symbol, but it’s something to keep in mind.

  8. Chris says:

    I agree with Frank, the lack of the padlock in the browser gave me a little pause. I went ahead and wrapped my site around my amazon store, I will wait and see if this becomes a problem.

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

  9. Dear Daren, as always a very interesting and helpfull post!

    Dear Krista what you need is a Floating iFrame which of course is a javascript. The problem with the scripts available is that they do the job right only IE5+ and Opera 7+. But does not resolve the issue that Frank mentions – which I believe is the essential for your customers’ trust!

  10. CyberCoder says:

    Another benefit I have not heard from anyone else is the ability to use a little coding and pass variables to the store instead of having to show just the 9 products you have as featured.

    Example :
    http://www.cybersmusic.com/musicstore.php?a=Jimi%20Hendrix

    Note : The IFrame is allowed by Amazon, they suggested it to me in an email.

  11. Frank Johnson says:

    If Amazon suggested the use of iFrames in an email (as a couple folks have noted), I wonder if they would see the wisdom of including some sort of symbol on the page so at least it could be displayed to the user (albeit not in the traditional spot)? I’m thinking along the lines of what RightCart is doing when you click the Checkout button in their solution – a small lock symbol within the actual page.

    The combination of such a symbol on Amazon’s pages, along with the Amazon name, might give enough credibility for the customer to proceed (although I’m not sure I would do it if I were Amazon because it would seem to open up the possibility of someone spoofing an Amazon page when it wasn’t really secure).

  12. Hi! I think that the only way to be successful with the Amazon aStore is to use frames like I did (just click on “Amazon aStore” above to see the result). I included some ads on the right and I am currently testing how customers response is. Basically this is a much better way to earn money than Self-Optimizing-LInks are because they don’t really work in reality.

  13. Staska says:

    iFrame shmisframes…. don’t really care. The main broblem with aStores is that I can have only one on the same account. I run multiple sites and want to put a store on each of them. Can’t do it it seems. I have one link to the store with one associate id… Damn…

    If there’s a way around it i’d like to hear

  14. Amazon actually suggests doing this is with an iframe and give you the code. But there is A LOT they don’t tell you about how to do it right. Here are some tips and tricks to optimize this new affiliate marketing concept that Amazon does not tell you.

    Check out my 5 Star Internet Marketing Book Store
    http://www.5staraffiliateprograms.com/internet-marketing-books.html

    Below are some tips I came up with while building my little store that may help you leverage your aStore for more success.

    Click a book on my site as if you were going to order and then add to cart. Notice since everything is in an iframe, it appears you are still on my site but in reality you are on Amazons secure server. HOWEVER a consumer would not know this. They may look and see that “add to cart” and “check out” is not on a secure page on your site. So I added some copy to the top of the page to let shoppers know the purchase is secure.

    Tip #1 – Add some copy about the secure shopping process to the top of your aStore if you embed it on your own site. Here is the copy I added. “Order Internet Marketing Books Here. All orders go through Amazon’s secure order server.” If I really wanted to sell stuff to consumers I would probably add a link to bottm of page to explain more about why there is not an https in the address or a “lock” icon showing the site is secure.

    Tip #2 – Since the iFrame does not provide any spiderfood at all, I did a copy and paste of the titles in my store and put them in plain text below my store for spiderfood. Check my source code to see why this is important.

    Tip #3 – Be sure to select the widget that adds their “Amazon Wish List” to the sidebar. That way even if they don’t buy one of your recommended products, you could remind them of something they have been wanting to buy and get commission for that sale! ;-)

    I was never an Amazon affiliate and joined just to try out aStore. I had also never used iframes before so it took me a little time to format it right to fit into my site. If I already knew what I was doing, I could have set this store up in about 2 minutes.

    Have fun setting up your aStore!

  15. I’ve written a spiderable aStore script called ASTORE-SEO.

    The script available for FREE DOWNLOAD at http://www.adbabel.com/astore-seo/ and is very easy to set up.

    Just edit your Amazon ID and URL suffix (.com, .co.uk etc.) in the script, copy to your server and open astore-seo.php in your browser!

    The script runs on PHP and transparently provides spiderfood by placing Amazon’s HTML as alternate text for an iframe. Humans visitors with iframe compatible browsers see the aStore in an iframe while spiders and non-frames browsers will see a spiderable version of Amazon’s HTML linked from your aStore. You can see the human view and the spider view at: http://www.adbabel.com/astore-seo/demo.php

    ASTORE-SEO been tested with US stores ( http://www.adbabel.com/astore.uk.php ) and UK and ( http://www.adbabel.com/astore.uk.php ) and is designed to be compatible with aStores from all Amazon locations.

    Development is on-going so please let me know what you think and I’ll try to include your ideas in future versions.

  16. Note: typo in post above – US store link in 2nd to last paragraph is incorrect. Correct text is:

    “ASTORE-SEO been tested with US stores ( http://www.adbabel.com/astore.php ) … ”

    ProBlogger Moderator, if possible, please edit the link and delete this one :-)

    Thanks and best regards
    AdBabel

  17. Darren or others, what do u think about this kind of implementation of the aStore

    http://tips4blogger.eu/tips-for-blogger-astore/

  18. J says:

    Instead of putting “yes” or “no” for the scrollbars I put “maybe”, and now the scrollbars don’t appear unless they are needed. Weird. Anyway, here’s the script:

    [iframe src="http://astore.amazon.com/yourstorename" width="825" height="950" frameborder="0" scrolling="maybe"][/iframe]

    Replace [ ] with .

  19. Saikaew says:

    I learn that iframe astore is prohibit for blogger.com theme. Is it corrected or not?

  20. aStore Proxy says:

    Even with the iframe approach, there are several disadvantages with an aStore. These disadvantages and a solution are provided at astoreproxy.com

  21. sir jorge says:

    Astore is working well with my site, i use it for skateboarding, and this month I’ve gotten 15 sales. The astore is tied into my website that is all about skateboarding. I love skateboarding, so the astore is never the focus, just an after thought, and it works out quite nicely.

  22. dedmondson says:

    I use my own server side java scripting to proxy an astore. My solution goes way beyond that offered by astoreproxy.com but does demostrate the what can be achieved once you break out of the limitations of iframes.

    See my Nikon DSLR camera store and notice the diifferences. Check the source

    Cheap Nikon Deals

  23. suade says:

    The question is, is anyone making any money with the astore. I just signed up yesterday and have been searching to see if people are actually profiting. I mean 4% doesn’t seem like a lot of money.

  24. dedmondson says:

    My site is only a couple of months old and made me $300 last month from an average of 150 visit per day.

    4% of a $2000 camera or plasma tv is worth earning. However you have to sell an awfull lot of books and dvds to make any serious money.

  25. The question is, is anyone making any money with the astore. I just signed up yesterday and have been searching to see if people are actually profiting. I mean 4% doesn’t seem like a lot of money.

  26. Sergey Yurov says:

    Iframes is not he best solution for problems described because all links in aStore remains hosted by Amazon. Proxy, rewriting links is much better approach but high quality programming is required. Both approaches require hosting. Fortunately free public on-line service StoreBrander has been created recently. The service allows not only give own domain name to Amazon aStore but benefit from various Google services like Webmaster Tools, Analytics, AdSense, etc.

  27. Evangelos says:

    I really liked the solution of dedmondson. It is very clever to use server side java scripting to proxy the astore. Anybody knows how I can do this also to my astore website?

  28. salisy says:

    I try to put astore in blogspot, and that is not bad .. :). http://the-titles.blogspot.com. yes that is a hardwork for full 1 days to setup that such that look beauty .. :))

Trackbacks

  1. [...] While reading Problogger’s article about Amazon aStore in iFrames (Link), we said to ourselves — “Hey, that makes sense. We should support that for our CPC-based Chitika | ShopLinc right out of the box” .. (Oh yeah — we read the comments too!) [...]

  2. [...] It looks like a new trend that the merchants provide the tool for affiliate to “embed” the merchant site within the affiliates’, so the visitor can complete a commissionable action without leaving the affiliate’s site.  With HTML “iframe”, all this is possible!  The next step is for merchants and network to provide an easy way for the affiliates to use it.  Amazon’s aStore recently launched is using this concept; our merchant Photobucket’s Jwidget as well. Add to del.icio.us internet internet marketing affiliate marketing affiliatenetwork [...]

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