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The Secret Key of Amazon

The Secret Key of Amazon

With the release of version 4.2.0 for Associate-O-Matic, we move into a new phase. One of the landmark changes in this upgrade is a head start on Amazon’s requirement for increased security and more accountability. In order to reduce the number of server calls and general abuse of the system (which make it run slower and less efficiently for everyone), all requests for the data feed (API) must be accompanied by two keys to identify the user. Server calls after August 15th, 2009 without the keys will be refused.

The upshot of this requirement for AOM users is that after this date, all previous versions of AOM will no longer function. You must update to V4.2.0 or later in order to continue using Associate-O-Matic. Since more casual users of the software may wake up on the 16th to find their stores dead in the water, this post will explain the process of getting the Amazon API keys needed to keep your sites active.

It’s actually a very simple procedure. I will assume that if you are reading this, then you already have an Amazon Associate ID. So to begin, log in to the Associate site (where you check your sales reports). Note the blue tabs at the top of the page:api1

Click on the Product Advertising API tab. This will take you to a second screen:

api2

If you have not signed up for API keys before, click on the Sign Up Now button located on the right side of the page. This will lead you through the signup procedure (if you are already signed up for keys, scroll down this page until you see the Manage Your Account link).

You will then be asked to log in again. This will take you to another screen which shows your contact information, asks you about the website you plan to use the API keys with, and a copy of the API License agreement which you are required to read and agree to. Once you do this, you’re pretty much approved. It’s a process very similar to the one you followed to become an Amazon Associate in the first place.

Eventually, you wind up here:

api3

Which is the Manage Your Account page alluded to previously. The area you want at this point is Access Identifiers. Click where indicated. This will take you to the page where you can actually get your keys:

api4

Note that there is a public and a secret key involved. The public key is generally not encrypted when included in a server call to Amazon. The secret key however, should always be encrypted. Amazon takes great pains to point out that you should never divulge your secret key to anyone. If you feel your secret key has been compromised, you can generate a new one, as shown in the image above. Plus, if you have sites in different countries (such as the US and UK), you can use the same keys in all your sites, unlike Associate IDs themselves, which are country-specific.

And that’s how you obtain your Amazon API keys. You would then copy and paste these keys into the appropriate boxes in your AOM Control Panel, under the Amazon tab:

api5

Click on the save button, and you should be good to go. I should mention at this point that sometimes as Tech Support, we might need access to your Control Panel. This could mean logging into your admin.php file (with your permission of course; we don’t have access unless you give us the login details). Or we may request a copy of your cfg.saved.php settings file.

If so, we will not have access to your secret key. The key is encrypted in a separate file, just like your Username and Password. Also as you can see from the image above, the characters of the secret key are replaced by asterisks. We can’t see your key, nor do we need to.

Another point to mention is that included in the API license you had to agree to in order to get the keys, is a mention of requiring the following on every page of your AOM site:

CERTAIN CONTENT THAT APPEARS ON THIS SITE COMES FROM AMAZON SERVICES LLC. THIS CONTENT IS PROVIDED ‘AS IS’ AND IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE OR REMOVAL AT ANY TIME.

This particular version is from Amazon.com; there are slight regional variations for each Amazon locale. You can create an image with this text and display it on your site if you don’t want this to count against your site in terms of duplicate content. This and a few other requirements pertaining to pricing will be built into V4.2.0 and subsequent versions of AOM.

So to summarize:

  1. Log into your Amazon Associates account and click on the blue Product Advertising API tab at the top of the page.
  2. Click the Sign Up Now button and follow the steps, including agreeing to the API License Requirements.
  3. Go to Manage Your Account and click on the link in the Access Identifiers box.
  4. Get your public and private keys, then paste them into the boxes under the Amazon tab of your AOM control panel.

And remember that while you can follow this procedure at any time after the release of V4.2.0, any AOM site not upgraded by August 15th, 2009 will no longer be able to access Amazon’s data feed.

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27 thoughts on “The Secret Key of Amazon

  1. Hello,

    I run multiple domains. Do we need separate keys for each site?

    Thanks,
    gestroud

  2. Mike

    No; like your Associate ID, you can use the same keys on all your sites.

  3. We are using AOM for other sites which are non-Amazon Related.

    http://uberseek.com being one. The content is really Text and help files with the store not being a factor.

    Is there a way not to enter the Public or Secret Keys?

    Using newest version.

    Thanks

  4. Mike

    Based on what I’ve seen during testing, I’ll say that the software should probably work without the keys. But you will not be able to access Amazon’s data feed. If you’re not pulling product anyway, it shouldn’t matter to you. Obviously the bulk of the testing done was in relation to displaying product, for which the keys are required.

  5. Hallo,

    I used AOM Lite v4.2.0. I hv filled in amazon access key id and amazon secret access key at AOM control panel.

    I hv also save above two keys during registration on aws.

    But I still find this notice as below :

    Application Error: Please make sure your Amazon Access Key ID and Amazon Secret Access Key are valid.

    CERTAIN CONTENT THAT APPEARS ON THIS SITE COMES FROM AMAZON SERVICES LLC. THIS CONTENT IS PROVIDED ‘AS IS’ AND IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE OR REMOVAL AT ANY TIME.

    Would appreciate prompt reply.

    Rgds,
    Hendra Subrata
    http://www.digitalphotography-camera.com

  6. peacestone

    Thanks for this easy to follow instructions.

  7. I think I am having a similar problem to Hendra. I have a valid public and secret key from Amazon; yet I am getting the following errors (see below) with your application.

    Any idea how I can fix this problem?

    Thanks!

    Application Error: AWS.InvalidParameterValue: CGHACjuVUWfG5XaoBNnip386ZQ3vXgxTKP/bZtY1wSY= is not a valid value for Signature. Please change this value and retry your request.

    Application Error: AWS.InvalidSignature: The request signature we calculated does not match the signature you provided. Check your AWS Secret Access Key and signing method. Consult the service documentation for details.

    Request URL: http://ecs.amazonaws.com/onca/xml?Service=AWSECommerceService&Version=2009-07-01&AWSAccessKeyId=0F6JRX1R42TVE95XX1G2&AssociateTag=conneconvetec-20&Operation=ItemSearch&SearchIndex=Blended&ItemPage=1&Condition=All&ResponseGroup=ItemAttributes%2CSalesRank%2CImages%2COffers%2CTracks%2CTagsSummary%2CReviews%2CEditorialReview%2CVariationSummary%2CCollections%2CSearchBins&Keywords=kindle&App=AOM&Timestamp=2009-08-18T02%3A58%3A14.000Z&Signature=CGHACjuVUWfG5XaoBNnip386ZQ3vXgxTKP%2FbZtY1wSY%3D

  8. mcarp555

    Hendra was using V4.2.0, which was not working as well as V4.2.1. If you have the ‘most gifted box’, try turning it off. Also, some users have reported better results if they upgrade from PHP 4 to PHP 5.

    If you’re still having trouble, the best thing to do is open a support ticket on the AOM site.

  9. DR

    Mike W, I’m having the exact same problem. I’ve opened a support ticket and it’s been sent to level 2, but I’m still waiting. Have you found a solution?

  10. MrAaa

    hey, i am using your warez version of associate matic on 1262 domains, now i have to wait for another warez nulled version.. fuck amazon, they make me crazy with their security key.

  11. mcarp555

    Mmm… now that your ‘1262 domains’ don’t work any more because you can’t cough up the price of a license, I feel for you. 😀

  12. fiuh thanks god I now my site is working again… thanks for the guide.

  13. Hi does this means that we need to have Amazon Associate ID on each amazon website?
    We have multiple domains too and each domain has different amazon sites I developed, (different products) I’m wondering if on each website it needs different Amazon Associate ID?

    if its only one then where will we monitor the sales on each site?

  14. mcarp555

    You don’t need different IDs for each site, but it’s obviously easier to tracks sales from the different domains if you do. The post ‘A Click is Just a Click‘ will explain some of the Amazon tracking reports used.

  15. Still dont know where to get the access id key. please advise

  16. text link “show” there not respond, how i can Secret Access Key ???

  17. mcarp555

    You would need to contact Amazon if the ‘show’ link does not work for you.

  18. Irwan Sinaga

    Hi all friends…

    My website has been already running, you can find the access key id and secreet access key through account manage. 1. you login to you affiliate associate then you click the tab developer resources and then click manage your account on the part resources. When you on the page manage your account then choose the access identifiers roling down page then you find the access key id and access secret key, do not forget to write on the procedure. copy them to your web on the amazon page in your control panel, I mean cp of associate-o-matic then saving all. refress you website on a browser then it will be working.

    Thanks AOM for the solution.

    Sorry my english is bad.

  19. Irwan Sinaga

    I used the Associate-o-matic V4,3,0 it’s great friends..nice to know you all.

  20. Thanks for secret key tutorial 🙂

  21. Borre

    I’m using AOM v4.5.
    I have finished Amazon setting in AOM, but when i try to browse my website, there is a massage :
    The following error was encountered:

    Zero Sized Reply

    Squid did not receive any data for this request.

    Pls advise ..

    thanks.

  22. Do you think its possible that amazon could make a more confusing website. The user experience is confusing as hell. Where do I get this secret key. It seems like every 5 mins I am having to relogin or create another account. Im logged in but it still says signup.

    So I am looking for a video and found one on this page, and the guy is mixing arabic with english.

  23. I’m with John on his thing about the tutorial video except that I think that the guy is mixing some Bantu in with the Arabic.
    Is there any way that Amazon could redo that video so that it could be understood by English speaking people??
    Thanks

  24. mcarp555

    Amazon didn’t do the video; if anyone can find a better one on YouTube, I’d love to put it up instead.

  25. I’m trying Associate-O-Matic_v5.0.2_LITE, whether can test on localhost first?

  26. Please note that I have made my own video tutorial on obtaining the Amazon AWS keys. Click on the ‘Videos’ tab at the very top of this page. New videos will be added over time.

  27. Thanks a lot, it was easy to follow.

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