This month we’re going to briefly touch on some news and information relevant to Associate-O-Matic in various places around the globe. Some of it may be relevant to users in areas not affected, but it will still be of interest to many. There are changes to Amazon’s shipping methods in the UK, upgrades to the AWS key process and the opening of a new locale; the biggest one since China. The flag symbol pictured may give you a clue…
Last month, Amazon.co.uk announced changes to their SuperSaver Shipping method. Books, DVDs, Blu-rays, music, video games and software will still qualify for free shipping, regardless of how much the total comes to, just as always. However, all other items will now require a minimum spend of £10.00 GBP. If your order includes any of the items above, then the minimum does not apply. So if someone purchases a memory card for £6.99, SuperSaver shipping will not be available. But if they also add a book, then they can use S/S, even if the combined total of the order is less than ten pounds.
For some AOM users in Great Britain, this might be a great way to increase impulse purchases, by stressing that if they add a book, DVD, video game, etc., then they may be eligible for free shipping.
This has all the hallmarks of being a pilot scheme, so if it’s successful in the UK, don’t be surprised to see it rolled out to other locales at a later date. Note that other shipping methods, such as Amazon Prime, are unaffected.
Amazon in general are in the process of changing their method of obtaining the public and private AWS keys that are required for use in AOM. In a previous post on this site (“The Secret Key of Amazon”), users were directed on how to reach a page where the keys could be found and changed, if need be. This page is now being referred to by Amazon as a ‘Legacy page’, which would suggest that at some point it will be removed and replaced with another method.
Their current system uses something called an IAM Management Console, and the public key can be found on a new page called Security Credentials. From here you can access the Legacy page if you need to copy or change the private key.
A more thorough step-by-step guide to navigating this new system (including relevant screenshots) will be the subject of an upcoming post on this blog later this year. If possible, a new video to accompany this guide will also be released. For now however, what’s important to know is that you can still access the public and private keys via the Legacy page.
Also, some users (and potential users) have reported lately that it’s been difficult to get approval from Amazon for signing up as an affiliate. During the signup process, when asked for the applicant’s web site, many people enter the URL to their Associate-O-Matic store, which at this point isn’t up and running because they don’t have the affiliate ID to plug in. Amazon then turns down their application for not having a functioning website. It would appear to be a classic Catch-22 situation.
What’s important to remember is that by far, the bulk of Amazon affiliates use text links and banner ads on their sites, not direct API access like AOM provides. So probably nine times out of ten, they expect to see a blog or a forum, not an up and coming web storefront. Anyone interested in applying to Amazon may want to consider putting ads on a non-AOM site first, then use the affiliate ID to power their stores.
The big news is that Amazon.in has opened up as the newest locale (joining the US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, China and Japan). The API is live, and as such, Associate-O-Matic will be amended to allow users to set up sites in this potentially huge market. Currently, there is no timetable for the release date of the next upgrade. As is always the case with upgrades, it will include new features and bug fixes, so it’s not simply a matter of adding the support for the Indian market and shoving it out the door. The language file is being translated into Hindi, as it is by far the most common language spoken in the country. Locale-specific graphics will also need to be created, and of course the coding of the software needs to be updated to deal with having a new market to choose from.
Once everything is at a point where a release date can be considered, information will be made available on the AOM Forum. Please do not open a Support ticket to ask when the upgrade will be ready. It will take as long as it takes.