They say you learn something new every day.

I have an Amazon Associates account. I’ll put my hands up and admit it – sometimes I try to make some money. Sue me! (Well, don’t that would be a bit ironic, seeing how as what I’m trying to do is get some money, not lose it). Maybe the internet doesn’t think too highly of this, and it makes me a bit of an advertising weasel. But hey, we’re all those these days, whether we like it or not.

The good thing with Amazon Associates is that it’s not blatant marketing. You just put a link to an Amazon product and if anyone buys it, you get a small percentage of the sale.

Some of you may be thinking that this could produce a conflict of interests, since it’s in your interests to say “this is great, oh and by the way, here’s a link to buy it on Amazon, which you should totally do if you’re not an idiot.” However, Amazon sells everything. So if you’re writing about something you like anyway, you’ll be able to find it on Amazon, so as long as you do it that way, rather than linking to the most expensive thing you can find on Amazon.

However, the problem is, I’m very lazy. And converting the standard Amazon link to an Associates link is sometimes a bit of a pain.

So I thought I’d have a look at the Associate links and figure out how they work. It seems each item on Amazon has a 10 digit alpha-numeric ID number.

For example, the link to the book I’m reading at the moment (Emma Forrest’s Your Voice in My Head, which really is very good and I strongly recommend it), is:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Your-Voice-Head-Emma-Forrest/dp/1408808218/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1326224120&sr=8-1

 And the ID number is 1408808218

To convert this to an associate link (so I get a teeny, weeny little bit of the money), you need to add that ID into this template link, (twice):

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/ 1408808218 /ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=imagedisse-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN= 1408808218

That’s neat. However, I’m not quite sure it’s simple enough. In actual fact, during the course of writing this, I discovered Amazon have an Associates bar you can turn on, which allows you to click to generate the links while searching Amazon.

Amazon already let you do this

So that, in fact, is problem solved. However, now I’ve started looking at this, I thought I’d finish off my learning. As Jeff Atwood says:

Don’t Reinvent The Wheel, Unless You Plan on Learning More About Wheels

Well, I’ve come this far, maybe it wouldn’t be too bad to learn a bit more about wheels. Always helps if you ever need to fix one.

I’ve noticing an increasing number of sites saying “drag this button onto your bookmark bar”.

There's loads of these around!

I know it takes advantage of some sort of weird javascript hack, but I thought it was time to see if I could create my own today.

In actual fact, it was easier than I thought:

// You need to begin with javascript and then a colon
javascript:

// This gets the URL of the current document
var url=document.location.href,

// This trims out the link to leave just the product ID
id=url.substr(url.indexOf(‘dp/’)+3,10);

// Echos out the new link
alert(“http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/” + id + “/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=imagedisse-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=” + id)

You need to put it all onto one line, but other than that you’re away. And once you’ve got this there are loads of possibilities for extending it further.

In actual fact, now that I’ve realised the Amazon associates bar does this for you, I probably won’t bother with this, but I’ll definitely look at doing something with this in the future.

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