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Questions, I Get Questions…

Questions, I Get Questions…

From time to time I get questions on various aspects of AOM that do not merit a full post, but should receive some sort of answer (otherwise I get them over and over again).  So I will attempt to catch them up here, in no particular order. Some questions come from this blog, but most are asked either in the forum, or through support.

1. How can I make my site look like the demos?

The demo sites are not meant to be copied exactly as they appear. You can download the control panel settings file (cfg.saved.php) and insert this into the /aom directory folder of your site. Note that if you do this, it will erase any previous settings for your store. On some of the sites, you can also download the header image, and use it in your store. But some of the demos have specialized coding, such as extra CSS and custom header files, that may not be easy for a novice to use. They are meant only as examples of what can be done. It’s recommended that you use them just as starting points for your own customization. When templating is available for AOM, the demos will be updated with themes you will be able to use in your own store, if you wish.

2. What does this error message mean?

Zero Sized Reply

Squid did not receive any data for this request.

Squid is a PHP caching proxy, used to speed up server response time by caching web pages that are frequently requested.  It’s similar to the caching of Amazon pages that AOM already does.  Squid and AOM do not appear to be compatible. There are no plans to investigate why they don’t get along. If you want to use AOM, you should either disable Squid or use AOM on a server that is not running Squid.

3. How can I change the look/colors/CSS of the reviews in the iframe?

The reviews in the iframe are like a window into Amazon. As such, all the content you see in the frame is sent directly from them. It’s technically not a part of AOM at all. It’s like a ‘hole’ that they display reviews in. As such, there is no way to control the formatting to match your AOM site. You cannot use any CSS or HTML to alter the text or colors. Your only options are to change the size of the frame, or turn it off completely.

4. The instructions are too hard; why don’t you have any install videos?

Video tutorials of some Associate-O-Matic features has been considered, but currently there are no plans to produce any. It’s not ruled out in the future, however. The two main constraints are finding compatible easy to use (and possibly free) screen capture software, and the time to learn the software, plan the tutorial, & produce the final product. We would also be happy to review any YouTube-compatible videos to feature on this blog, in place of the one currently shown (but not in English).

Also, some people have commented that it would be easier to learn various aspects of the program, such as installation, if a video were available. Our view however, is that if people can’t read instructions and/or ask for assistance, a video will not help. They’ll just ask for clarification on some point in the video. Making a video about the video seems redundant. But if we can find the time, video tutorials may be available at some point.

5. Can I change the rewrite rules so “/1-245654-product_name.html” comes out as “/product-name.html”?

The short answer is no. The various parameters (such as CatID, Category Node, ASIN, etc.) are required so that the proper category/subcategory/item, etc. can be displayed. The key word is required. While various tweaks of the mod_rewrite rules may be possible for various scenarios, we do not offer custom versions. You’re welcome to play around with them on your own if desired.

6. Can I get a custom version of AOM with this or that feature?

Now and again, people offer to pay extra for a customized version of AOM with a particular feature added or tweaked in some way. We do not do custom versions. The reasoning is this: If we do it for one person, we will be obligated to do it for everyone who wants it (or is willing to pay for it). So at some point in the future, besides the normal version of AOM, there might be 50 or 100 custom versions floating around on the Net. When it comes time to upgrade the software, we would then have to upgrade each custom version separately. Even if we charged a premium price for this service, the time constraints would be immense, and would have serious impacts on other areas, such as R&D for new features, and support response times.

So however much you might want your own copy with a small tweak to suit your particular needs, we are unable to accommodate you. Hopefully the explanation above will allow you to understand why we cannot do it.

7. How can I stop customers from clicking through the reviews to Amazon and leaving my site?

There has been some concern that visitors to your site will click through the review iframe into Amazon, then purchase items without you getting commission. This appears to not be the case. If you hover your cursor over a link in the review frame, you will see various URLs appear at the bottom of your browser. You should see your Amazon associate ID in the URLs. This would indicate that customers who click through will have your ID attached to any order they make. In this way, going through the review frame would be no more different than a static text link to Amazon. As I write this, the iframe is too new to say with 100% certainty that this is what happens, but it’s certainly how it appears to be.

8. What does ‘Feature TagsSummary (or MultiOperation) is deprecated’ mean?

This means you are using a version of Associate-O-Matic that is older than v4.5. Prior versions contained various features such as the Tag Cloud and the Auto Parts Finder that have been discontinued by Amazon. So the error message means, “I’m trying to use this feature, but I can’t find any data for it”. You need to upgrade to a newer version of the software.

9. Why can’t I download a previous version of AOM?

Prior versions of the software are not available, mainly because they are keyed to old versions of Amazon’s data feed (the API). As this is changed to add new features (or remove old ones), provide for new categories, etc., AOM is changed as well, to accommodate the new version. If a new category is added for example, it will not be available in an older version of AOM. The next upgrade will include  the new category for you to use. Versions older than v4.2.0 do not use the public & private AWS keys, so they don’t function at all anymore. Versions older than v4.5 contain depreciated features such as the Tag Cloud, and customer reviews without an iframe, none of which will function after November 9th, 2010. So there’s no point trying to get or use an older version. Sometimes a particular version will function for quite some time, depending on the features involved, but upgrading is the only way to make sure you’re using a version that’s designed to take advantage of the most current API.

10. I’ve bought a website that uses your software, and now I have a problem. What do I do?

One of the problems with being popular is that everybody wants a slice of the pie. We are aware of several misuses of AOM around the globe. One webhost is selling websites for around $10 a month using the FREE Lite version. The sites are plastered with AdSense ads that benefit the host, not the customer. Another host on the other side of the world is selling illegal copies of the Full version (yes, the lawyers have been called in).

If you have purchased a website through eBay or Flippa, etc.  that uses the Full version, you will not be able to upgrade as new versions are released.

Support for Associate-O-Matic is reserved for our customers only. Meaning users who have signed up through the AOM site (and purchased a valid license for users of the Full version). If it is determined that you are not registered with AOM, we reserve the right to refuse to offer support. There are legitimate resellers for Associate-O-Matic, but they do not need to hide that fact, and their customers are registered through us. Any outfit who changes the logo on the control panel login, or evades the question of selling software without consent, is not working with AOM. As such, we cannot waste our resources subsidizing them.

It is unfortunate that the users of these services are probably unaware of the real situation; but our priority has to be with those customers who have registered with AOM, and/or paid directly for the license.

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One thought on “Questions, I Get Questions…

  1. Thank you for the Q&A. I’ve wondered about some of these as I’m working on my sites. One of the great things about AOM is the ability to make it look unique. I’d rather have some colors that don’t quite match than to try a just copy some other site.

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