Questions, I Get Questions II

Questions, I Get Questions II

From time to time there are snippets of information that probably need to be mentioned for future use, but aren’t complex enough for a full post. So every once in a while it’s good to round some of them up and combine them. It’s been awhile since the last such grouping, so to end the year, here’s a collection of miscellaneous items.

1. Error message – “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.”

Here are some things to try – 1) Delete the cfg.secretkey.php file located in the /aom directory folder. Then open the AOM control panel, go to the Amazon tab and re-enter the private 40-character AWS key. 2) When copying and pasting the AWS keys, sometimes a blank space will be added. Even if you can’t see it, the system can, and will tell you the request signature does not match. To check this, after you copy the AWS key from your Amazon associate page, paste it into Notepad and see if there is a blank space between the end of the text string and the cursor. If there is, re-copy the text from Notepad, making sure not to copy the blank space. 3) You can generate a second set of keys from your Amazon associate site to use. Amazon will allow you to have two sets of keys at any one time. Please note however that if you end up removing a set of keys, anything that might be using those keys (like another AOM site you might have) will no longer work properly.

2. Problem – “The loader is an old version and won’t work on my new AOM site. My host won’t upgrade ioncube.”

When v5.5.0 was released, it used a new version of ionCube that was tied in to their v4.4.4 loader files. Some webhosts (most notably HostGator) were running v4.2.2 and would not upgrade (users were told they had to instead pay for an upgrade to a VPS server running PHP5.4 and the later version of ionCube). After some discussion with IC, the AOM files were re-encoded with a “legacy” version of ionCube that would be backwards-compatible with older loader files.

So if you are encountering this problem, you may just need to re-download the AOM files to get the “legacy” version of ionCube. But be forewarned that some reports suggest even the “legacy” version won’t work with very old forms of ionCube, such as v3.x.x. If this is the case, then you may need to consider a change of hosts.

3. Question – “Can AOM display shipping rates, etc.?”

Not at this time. AOM can only use whatever information Amazon chooses to provide in their data feed (the API). Since shipping costs are not included in the API, there’s nothing there for AOM to display.

 4. Question – “I’ve signed up, but never got an activation email. Can I download the program?”

Many times this is due to the email getting caught in a spam filter on your side. Take a look at wherever the filter dumps messages (such as your email’s ‘Trash’ folder) to see if the activation reply is there. If you can’t find it, try logging into the site anyway. As long as you can sign in, you shouldn’t need the email.

5. Problem – “Amazon wants to see my site before approving me as an affiliate. But I need the associate ID to set the site up!”

It’s a vicious Catch-22 scenario, where you need the ID to activate the site to get the ID…  Amazon has a large and robust affiliate network, but by far most of their traffic comes from ads (banners, text links and widgets) that are placed on blogs, forums and other kinds of static websites. And a functional site, not one ‘under construction’. The percentage of online stores such as AOM is tiny in comparison. So that’s what Amazon is expecting to see.

Most people will have some sort of site already up and running. The logical thing to do would be to use your blog or forum or gallery or info-site to secure your Amazon affiliate status. Then you can use the ID to create an online store. If you don’t have any kind of online presence already established, well…

 6. Question – Can I display a custom box only on the Advanced Search and Sitemap pages?

You can. Internally, AOM considers the Advanced Search and Sitemap pages as Categories (as opposed to Custom Pages). So you would need to check only the Categories option for the custom box. But in order to not display the box on the ‘typical’ categories, you would need to put the category IDs (CatID) into the pink box under Category Display Rules:

Custom Box Detail

If you include all the categories, then the only pages the box will display on will be the Advanced Search and Sitemap pages. As there is no valid CatID for these pages, you can’t have a box display on one, but not the other. It’s both or neither.

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