Don’t Use The Amazon Site Stripe To Create Links To Non Product Pages

by on January 1, 2010

I’ve been an Amazon Affiliate for almost a year and a half, not on this site (although I really should add some links to books down the sidebar there someday) but on a couple of other sites.  Last year before Amazon basically killed the practice, I was doing what is generally called Affiliate Arbitrage, where you could buy advertising somewhere like Google Adwords for popular product keywords and send the people directly to Amazon without needing to build a website in between.  As long as you make more in commissions than in advertising, you make money.

That practice was killed by Amazon about 10 months ago, and I stopped advertising and started focusing on my niche product review sites.

Amazon lets you create up to 100 custom affiliate tags per account to help you track which links people are making purchases through.  If you click on a link and buy something, I could tell which link you clicked on and thus which links were working the best.  Rumor has it that if you wrote to Amazon Associates support, they would create up to 1500 affiliate tags per account for you to help with tracking, but I’ve never bothered.

Looking back at my sales figures over the holidays this year, I noticed a strange thing.  Some of the tags I had used to track purchases made from advertising over a year ago were actually making sales and thus commissions during the holidays.

At first I thought I must have made a mistake and used an old tag somewhere, but when I searched my sites, I found nothing.  Those tags had not been unused for a year.

Then it hit me, people had bookmarked my Amazon Affiliate links!  Somewhere out there were multiple people who had browser bookmarks to Amazon with my tag in them, and everytime they clicked their bookmark bought something, I make a commission off it.

What is and what does this have to do with the Amazon Site Stripe you ask? The Site Stripe is something that appears at the top of the Amazon web pages for people who are logged into the Amazon Affiliate program.  It looks like this:

Well, if you use the Site Stripe to make links to non-product pages at Amazon such as a Search result or a Category home page, your tag does not end up in the final URL and thus you will never get credit for sales by anyone who bookmarks that link.

Look at these two links below.  One was generated from the Site Stripe using the Link To This Page function, and the other by adding my tag directly to the URL from Amazon proper:

PlayStation 3 Search – Not Site Stripe Generated

PlayStation 3 Search – Site Stripe Generated

See the difference?  No?  Well, the first one is a direct link.  The second one contains a REDIRECT call from Amazon that takes you to the page but WITHOUT your affiliate tag in the URL.  It still counts when someone clicks through it and buys something, as the redirect takes care of tagging it as potentially your sale but if they happen to bookmark it your tag is not in the URL.

How did I make that first link that has my tag in it?  Simple.  I took the original URL from a search at Amazon:

and I jammed one of my Affiliate Tags into it:

Simple.  My tag is playstation19-20, so I find the first & (or any &, doesn’t matter really) and I add this directly before it: &tag=youraffiliatetaghere, in my case it’s &tag=playstation19-20

Honestly, I find just grabbing the URL and adding my tag easier than using the Site Stripe anyway.  Just make sure you get the tag correct or you won’t get credit for any sales.  Go to the official Amazon Affiliate Link Checker to make sure any links you create are giving you proper credit.


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

chai September 17, 2010 at 2:06 pm

I think, that not real. I have heard some one still have link to product page and can make money back.

Steve Sherron December 5, 2010 at 11:15 am

Thought I would let you know this article helped me greatly. I have Hubs that I wanted to link to product search pages instead of a particular singular product, and I could not figure the proper linking until after I read this post. Thanks a lot.

JamestheJust on Elance December 16, 2010 at 7:29 am

Great tip! I had a similar discussion at my blog and you did me a solid (I’m still learning, about 2 years behind you at this point). Anyhow, Dave from pointed it out (your comment on his blog became one on my blog..).

All that to say: great tip! I had no idea that was so easy. (And NEVER would have figured that out!)

Dave December 16, 2010 at 11:35 am

Got referred here via a comment on my site. Thanks for the interesting post. Definitely food for thought. Don’t know if I could face going back through the hundreds of links I already have but will certainly bear it in mind for the future.

Clare December 17, 2010 at 5:25 am

I was just reading the Saga of the Site Stripe over on James’ blog and wanted to stop by and say thank you for sharing this little snippet of very useful knowledge. I’ll be going back through my key reviews and modifying my links to make sure there are no redirects in them!


indra kurniawan December 25, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Dude, you are the man!!!!
That’s why my amazon banners has no activity on the report.
for more than a year :(

David April 28, 2011 at 5:16 am

Dude. You rule. Talk about attention to detail. Your Marine Corps Drill Instructor would be proud… (Am I right?) ;)

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