One of the most common ways to make money online is via affiliate marketing – getting paid commissions for promoting different products.
The biggest company that makes use of affiliate marketers has to be Amazon, by a huge margin. After all they are the biggest online retailer in the world.
It is odd then that it feels like Amazon has only just started showing affiliates some proper care and attention.
First off they released their own WordPress plugin to help affiliates list Amazon products on their websites. Admittedly, it’s not the best out there, but it shows promise and if they keep developing it and listen to the marketers who use it, it might actually become decent.
Recently, Amazon also announced the OneLink – a new method of maximizing affiliate commissions with very little work.
If you own a website using Amazon links, or if you’re considering getting started with an Amazon niche site, then you really need to know about the OneLink and its pros and cons.
What is OneLink?
Websites are global so it’s highly likely that you will get traffic from everywhere, not just the country you’re in.
For most affiliate programs this isn’t an issue, but Amazon are quite strict. If a person likes what they see but are transferred to Amazon.com for example, but then head over to Amazon.co.uk, because they’re from the UK, then you miss out on the commission.
This is quite a sucky thing, so third party software (Easy Azon for example) uses geo-location technology to redirect Brits to the UK site, Canadians to the Canadian site and so on.
As long as you’re signed up with the different Amazon associate accounts for each locale, you can make money on this wider audience.
Amazon’s OneLink is their answer to this problem.
The idea is that you add a small script to your website and it will automatically (magically= detect the visitors location and change your links to the correct locale.
The code works with any Amazon link that they supply (so the basic links and their shortened links), but not with links shortened by third party services like Bit.ly.
Right now OneLink is limited to the US, UK and Canada and needs to be set up from the US account. My guess is that if it proves successful enough they will expand the reach of this to the other regions.
Pros of OneLink
There are some really good reasons why you’d want to look into this.
It’s really easy to set up
Just a few clicks in your account, and then copying and pasting some code. The hardest bit is knowing where to paste it.
It just works
Works with existing Amazon links so no need to change anything, which is perfect for existing sites with large numbers of links.
Cons of OneLink
Nothing is perfect and OneLink does have some issues.
It doesn’t work with third party link shortening services. Which is understandable as these could be against Amazon terms anyway if it’s not clear where the visitor is being sent to.
USA, USA, USA!
You need a US account to use it. This isn’t a big deal as most serious affiliate marketers will have the US account already, and signing up for one isn’t that hard.
As you need to add code to make it work, you need to be in control of the site, so you can’t use OneLink on sites like FaceBook or YouTube.
It currently only works in 3 countries out of the 11 available. Hopefully this will only be temporary and they expand to more countries soon.
Setting Up One Link
Getting set up to use Amazon’s OneLink is pretty simple, so let me show you how.
#1 – Sign Up to Amazon Associates
If you haven’t done so already you’ll need to sign up to Amazon Associates in the US, UK and Canada.
#2 – Sign up to OneLink
Log in to your Amazon Associates (US) account and go to Tools > OneLink.
There you’ll be shown the Getting Started options.
Click the “click here to link” in Step 1 Link Your Accounts.
On the next page you’ll need to use your UK and Canadian store ID (your affiliate tag) in order to link them to your US account.
Add your tag and click the Link Store button.
Click the Validate link and sign in if needed and it will be linked.
Do this for both the UK and Canada.
After the validation go back to the OneLink page and click the “get the code here” link in Step 2 OneTag
This code can then be placed on your website to enable OneLink.
If you’re unsure where to place the code then there are two options:
- Check your theme settings to see if there’s a Scripts section and if so add it to the Footer option.
- Use a plugin such as Header and Footer to add the script. Again make sure it’s added to the footer area.
That’s it, easy right? Now that the code is installed your links will be automatically modified if a visitor from the UK or Canada visit your site.
Back in the OneLink page there’s a few additional tools that you can use should you want to.
Not every product available in the US is available in the UK or Canada. As such you can set whether you want the links to change only if there is an exact match or if there’re is a close match.
The default is close match and that’s usually good enough but it can cause confusion if a visitor is expecting to be sent to a product and they end up on an Amazon search results page as there is no exact match.
You can also set this on a per affiliate tag basis which is handy.
Check Matching Products
This tool can help you find out if a particular product has a matching counterpart in the other regions. It’s handy but very manual so only really useful for high value items or if you have a touch of perfectionism!
The Bottom Line
There’s a lot of chatter I’m hearing that Amazon is really focusing on their affiliates at the moment and have plans to bring out more features and tools for us to use and OneLink is a great step forward making our lives easier.
Unless you have a very particular set up or use third party link shorteners/cloakers, then there’s really no reason not to use Amazon’s OneLink system – the possibility of making more money should interest everyone!