Some months back we updated the original Secret Key of Amazon to reflect changes in the method used to obtain the two AWS keys required (one public, one private). At that time it was strongly hinted that this was going to be a stopgap way of doing things. Now we seem to have arrived at another step in what may be an ongoing process of development to keep the keys secure. Perhaps too secure, since some associates seem to have trouble finding the keys. So this month we will update the process yet again, to hopefully keep people from tearing their hair out while attempting to get these important text strings.
To begin with, we will assume that you have either signed into your Amazon associate account and clicked on the blue Product Advertising API tab at the top of the screen, or gone directly to the AWS sign in screen. If you’re going from the blue tab, your next step would be Manage Your Account under Resources, then Click Here under Access Identifiers. Either method should land you here:
You would then log in here, and proceed to the next page, where you may see this popup on the screen:
If so, click on the I understand box and continue to remove the popup.
What you don’t want to do is click on the Access Credentials link in the middle of the page. This is now depreciated and will not help you to either generate a new set of keys, or view your currently active Private key (it will show you your currently active Public key, however. But that won’t be much help by itself).
Instead click on the Your Security Credentials link, as highlighted above in the red box. This will lead you to the following page:
From here, you click on the plus sign next to Access Keys (Access Key ID and Secret Access Key), as shown. This will open a dropdown section that will allow you to view your currently active key sets (if any), the dates they were generated, and most importantly, a button that will create a new Public/Private key set. You can also deactivate and/or remove any keys that are no longer needed.
Note that the system will not show any existing Private key (the Access Key ID shown is actually the Public key). This is a security measure that cannot be defeated. If you have lost or forgotten your current Private key, you will need to generate a new set. To do so, click on the Create New Access Key button. This will bring up another popup that looks like this:
At this point, you have two options:
- Show Access Key – If you click on this link, the screen will display your new Public and Private keys. You would need to copy/paste the text strings, or make a screenshot to save the information.
- Download Key File – Clicking this button will download a .csv file containing the two keys. You can save this to your computer.
It’s important to note that if you close or cancel this window without saving the keys, you will not be able to view the Private key again. You will have to generate a new key set if you did not save the information. Therefore it is strongly recommended you download the .csv file containing the key sets.
Once you’ve downloaded or otherwise saved your key set, you can log out of the AWS system. If you have deactivated or deleted a currently existing set of keys, make sure that none of your Associate-O-Matic sites are using the deactivated/deleted keys. The sites will not function without an active set of keys.
Many people have difficulty with installing their keys into their AOM site, because the copy/paste function can sometimes add an extra space to the text string. You may not see the space, but the program can, and it will cause an error message, suggesting the keys are not valid. If you could see the space, it would look something like this:
Note the blank space between the ‘L’ and the final quote mark. That’s all it takes to jam up the system. One way to make sure there are no spaces appended to the end of string like this is to copy the key, then paste it into a basic .txt editor like Notepad. Don’t use a Word Processing program like Word or even Wordpad.
Once you paste the text into Notepad, highlight it with the cursor to see if the extra space appears. If it does, edit it out and re-copy the text minus the space directly from Notepad. You can now paste the key into your AOM control panel.
Not everyone will need to follow these steps, but if you do have errors with keys that you know are good, this is a handy method that can save having to regenerate a new key set (and possibly have the same problem all over again).