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Journeys End - My Amazon Affiliates Journey

Discussion in 'My Journey Discussions' started by anonm, Jan 19, 2015.

  1. anonm

    anonm Newbie

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    Hi all,

    I've been a lurker on this forum since July last year and thought it might be interesting to other members to read about my journey so far and why I've decided to move on. I'm a professional software developer by day (Microsoft stack, SQL server, c# etc) but am always tinkering with sideprojects in my spare time. This recent project has consumed most of my time recently which is why I've decided to move on to other things.

    Having read lots of posts on this forum, I decided to have a shot at marketing Amazon affiliates links. My original idea was to promote Amazon product links through Twitter and blogs and watch the commission roll in! How wrong I was :) I've completely automated the marketing process and in front of a SQL Server database are a number of components of the system:

    Component A
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    Depending on the profile of the 'user' connects to Amazon's (UK and US) autocomplete service to identify popular products at the moment. These can be prefixed so to search for all the popular xbox games I can set a prefix of 'xbox' and the system does the rest and creates a massive list of popular products to search for.

    Component B
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    Searches for the products using the Amazon API and retrieves product details (including reviews) about a product and depending on the profile creates Tweets using customisable templates or blog posts or both. If the profile has twitter accounts, it also follows / unfollows users, retweets and copies tweets that are relevant to a product and replaces any URL's with my own.

    Component C
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    Takes any generated tweets or blogposts by the previous component and publishes them to twitter or blogger via various accounts.

    Component D
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    Retrieves statistics about posts and clicks on links etc for analytics.

    URL Shortener
    ---------------
    It became clear that a service like bit.ly was not going to be adequate for gathering stats about who was clicking on what, there was also the big problem when a US user would click on a UK link which meant they were unlikely to order from a non US site. So I rolled my own with a few extra features. Having access to the DB gave me all the stats I needed. I later added google analytics in to get some decent drilldown and visualisation. The best feature is auto geolocation redirect, which will search for the product on the user's own Amazon country site and redirect them to the appropriate product with the affiliate code so even if they clicked a UK link they would get redirected to the US site and the same product!

    Up until recently I was getting a number of impressions per day (~1 million sessions per month, but most are probably bots/crawlers) and orders were dripping in about one a day on average. Once up and running, it ran itself, but it was hardly enough to retire to a beach with! I tried scaling up the twitter accounts and adopting various strategies. I tried building up a follower base for users, retweeting lots and focusing on a certain product category but nothing really improved the order throughput. Interestingly, I seemed to get more orders just by firing random products in to twitter every minute or two. I also toyed with advertising with many advertising platforms like ad.fly. So when a user clicked on a link they would be taken to an interstitial advertising page for 10 seconds, then to Amazon, but that saw the orders drop and the ad revenue was no where near anything decent.

    Recently I have been playing with adwords and bing ads. I developed a strategy that was, up until a couple of days ago, rocking in about 150 orders a day for little advertising cost. I thought I'd made it! Then Amazon closed my affiliates accounts! Breach of terms, fair enough, I should have checked before I went ahead with the ads. So now I'm thinking of giving up. I have toyed with the idea of turning the software I've written so far in to a sellable product but I think that these sorts of products have a short shelf life and you are continually battling with bypassing twitter spam detection etc and being such a black art that people think is easy money, I'd imagine you get hassled with support etc.

    I'm wondering whether to try blacklisting Amazon's IP ranges in adwords and cloaking their IP's in my URL shortener but that probably won't bypass their detection mechanisms and if it did, it probably wouldn't be sustainable for long...

    So that's my (rushed) story so far. It's been an interesting journey and I've learnt lots about internet marketing, social media, advertising etc so not a total waste of time!

    Cheers for reading...
     
  2. fastlearner

    fastlearner Newbie

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    Wow, that is an amazing journey, I have learned a lot from your journey, so what is next now? :)
     
  3. richestmaninbabylon

    richestmaninbabylon Junior Member

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    Wow, all good things come to an end lol :sorry:

    I am also excited to hear what will be your next Journey

    Good luck my frined