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Amazon Usage Restrictions Updated

Amazon Usage Restrictions Updated

Amazon has made some changes recently that can have an impact on AOM sites. Not everyone may be aware of the new conditions, so we will discuss them here. As is often the case with API updates, it can be seen as a mixed bag, with some changes possibly better for some, and others perhaps having a more negative impact. How the changes will affect you will depend on your sites.

On September 3rd of this year (2012), Amazon changed the method used to calculate usage restrictions. The previous method would grant users about 2,000 requests per hour, with additional requests added in depending on your sales in a rolling 30-day period. If you exceeded your quota, requests to Amazon would be blocked, with sites displaying an error message similar to: Account limit of 2175 requests per hour exceeded. Generally after the hour, the quota would be reset and the error message would go away. Many AOM users would find to their dismay that their sites had been harboring hidden bot traffic that would and could drain their usage allowances in a matter of minutes, keeping their sites blocked and unable to display product for long periods of time.

Now the rate has been changed to one per second, and the basic limit raised from around 2,000 to 3,600 requests per hour. In addition, you can receive an additional request per second (up to a total of 10) for every $4,600 in revenue per hour in a rolling 30-day period.  Amazon defines the formula used as: Calls per second limit = 1 + round ([last 30 days shipped Sales])/$4,600).  Here’s the chart from their site that compares the old and new models:

New Usage Restrictions ChartAmazon says they have made these changes to reduce the time that sites are blocked, and to increase the threshold Associates have before blocking occurs. Certainly a great many API users have become more diligent regarding wasteful traffic, and as they put methods into place to control the ‘bad bots’ that can paralyze a store (and waste Amazon’s resources as well), anything that can reduce the time a site is ‘dark’ is welcome.

Sites that are not in USD will use the currency conversion rate in effect for the date the product is shipped.

In addition, it’s noted that there is a floating limit for traffic bursts, so if you have a sudden explosion of requests (say for multiple sites all using the same Associate account), then you are given a bit of leeway before receiving a Request from … is throttled error message.

There are also three requirements to make sure your requests are tracked correctly:

  1. You are using the only links provided by the API when linking back to Amazon.
  2. Your Associate Account and Product Advertising API account are created using the same Amazon Account (or email).
  3. You are passing your Associate tag in all your requests to the API.

If you have the correct Account ID and AWS keys set up (under the Amazon tab of your AOM control panel), then AOM handles the rest of this for you automatically.

In other Amazon news, they’ve also updated the list of excluded products (items you do not receive commission on). The list includes the following items:

  • Apple iPod touch 16GB Black (4th Generation) CURRENT MODEL; ASIN:B0097BEF0O (Effective from October 1, 2012);
  • Apple iPod touch 16GB White (4th Generation) CURRENT MODEL; ASIN: B0097BEFEU (Effective from October 1, 2012);
  • Apple iPod touch 32GB Black (4th Generation) CURRENT MODEL; ASIN: B001FA1O18 (Effective from October 1, 2012);
  • Apple iPod classic 160GB Black (7th Generation) NEWEST MODEL; ASIN: B001F7AHOG (Effective from October 1, 2012);
  • Garmin nüvi 50LM 5-inch Portable GPS Navigator (US and Canada); ASIN: B005HSDL8S (Effective from October 1, 2012);
  • Garmin nüvi 50LM 5-Inch Portable GPS Navigator(US); ASIN: B0057OCDQS (Effective from October 1, 2012);
  • Breville BJE200XL Compact Juice Fountain 700-Watt Juice Extractor; ASIN: B000MDHH06 (Effective from October 1, 2012);
  • Keurig B70 Platinum Brewing System; ASIN: B000GTR2F6 (Effective from October 1, 2012);
  • Keurig B60 Special Edition Brewing System; ASIN: B000AQSMPO (Effective from October 1, 2012);
  • Breville 800JEXL Juice Fountain Elite 1000-Watt Juice Extractor; ASIN: B0002VAFVG (Effective from October 1, 2012);
  • Breville BJE510XL Ikon 900-Watt Variable-Speed Juice Extractor; ASIN: B000QBFFU8 (Effective from October 1, 2012);
  • Breville JE98XL Juice Fountain Plus 850-Watt Juice Extractor; ASIN: B003R28HWQ (Effective from October 1, 2012);
  • LG Cinema Screen 47LM7600 47-Inch Cinema 3D 1080p 240Hz LED-LCD HDTV with Smart TV and Six Pairs of 3D Glasses; ASIN: B006ZH0KVG (Effective from October 1, 2012);
  • LG Cinema Screen 55LM7600 55-Inch Cinema 3D 1080p 240Hz LED-LCD HDTV with Smart TV and Six Pairs of 3D Glasses; ASIN: B006ZH0M9Q (Effective from October 1, 2012);
  • Panasonic VIERA TC-P50ST50 50-Inch 1080p 600Hz Full HD 3D Plasma TV; ASIN: B00752VKW8 (Effective from October 1, 2012);
  • Panasonic VIERA TC-P60ST50 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz Full HD 3D Plasma TV; ASIN: B00752VKBY (Effective from October 1, 2012);
  • Pampers Baby Dry Size 4 Diapers Economy Pack Plus 192 Count; ASIN: B004Q8FFJS (Effective from October 1, 2012);
  • Pampers Swaddlers Diapers Economy Pack Plus Size 1, 234 Count; ASIN: B004Q8FFTS (Effective from October 1, 2012);
  • Cascade ActionPacs Dishwasher Detergent, Fresh Scent, 60-Count Container; ASIN: B002KYB7UQ (Effective from October 1, 2012); and
  • Braun Thermoscan Ear Thermometer with ExacTemp Technology; ASIN: B001FWXKMM (Effective from October 1, 2012).

Also any Kindle merchandise that requires a subscription, such as newspapers or magazines, etc.

The entire list (including items not available through AOM anyway), can be found here.

Finally, it appears that Amazon has shut down Endless.com and integrated its product lines into the normal Amazon site. Items on Endless were also not available through AOM.

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