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We have officially discontinued the Amazon book affiliate remnant ads, since despite our best efforts they don't perform well for our audience and cannot be made to perform well.

We've often wondered, Would it be a problem if all Amazon links were converted to affiliate links?

I'm thinking this isn't a problem; it has gotten lots of support historically. So we're going to go ahead and do it, so the company Amazon account is still getting some use, and we benefit a little.

To be clear: from this point on, all Amazon book links posted on all sites will automatically be rewritten to add our affiliate link. We have a clever affiliate redirect that geolocates the IP and redirects to the appropriate regional Amazon store (amazon.uk, amazon.ca, et cetera).

If you have any feedback on this, or suggestions, as they say … speak now or forever hold your peace!

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great to see this is working (blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/11/…). what happens if I put my own affiliate link in - will you strip it out? and how much have you made from Tony The Pony so far : amazon.com/dp/1933988363 ? –  Simon Nov 5 '09 at 22:47

10 Answers 10

Jeff,

I think this is a fantastic idea.

I would love, love, love to see the affiliate-link conversion migrated over to the Stack Exchange platform. Can you make sure that your affiliate ID is in an easily configurable location so, hopefully, the Stack Exchange folks can integrate that functionality into their release?

I would like to request this feature over at Stack Exchange.

Thank you.

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yes! very much so :) ..I use my affiliate links on my sites - but don't share them elsewhere (unless they don't "earn" me anything (like the old getfirefox campaign) –  warren Oct 23 '09 at 3:06
    
It might be worthwhile to even support using so's affiliate and give people a discount towards their hosting costs, if they don't want to use their own? –  David Schmitt Nov 13 '09 at 11:05

Should there be an easier "add book" function that would do the cover image and an amazon link?

Now that SE extends beyond programmer-programmer long tail technical questions recommending a book (eg in the English.se site) is going to be a lot more common AND you will ave more users who can't as easily work out how to make a clean amazon link or get a book cover image

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It seems comments aren't processed for Amazon links. Would it be too difficult to include them?

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I just think this should be in the faq somehow. This kind of behavior should be transparent to new users in my opinion - if you don't agree, don't post. I think users have the right to know what you're planning to do with their data - or a jQuery box saying "this link is going to be SOfied. Click here for more information".

Actually, I do believe some other information about the system should be in the faq and not "dispersed" here in meta. Is there any plan to complement the faq?

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I think I agree that this particular piece of information should be in the FAQ, I don't necessarily agree with putting everything in there. What you don't want is pages and pages of FAQs that nobody reads and therefore everybody ignores the "rules". Have the important stuff there with links out to specific questions here on meta or a search for posts tagged faq –  ChrisF Nov 6 '09 at 21:58
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I didn't said to put everything in faq... Your solution to put various links for example in the faq with some important information linked here in meta is a good one in my opinion. I just think all information related to content/copyright and user's content usage by SO should be in the faq. I was concerned about this in this topic too: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/24611/…. –  GmonC Nov 7 '09 at 3:13

So it's OK for people to post helpful links that also make you money but not themselves? That doesn't seem fair. Why not only replace affiliate links a percentage of the time? That way everyone gets rewarded.

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you can post whatever affiliate links you like in your user profile page. This has never been allowed in questions and answers. –  Jeff Atwood Nov 6 '09 at 16:52

Jeff,

Could you please announce this on the SO site. I'm getting downvoted by people who don't know that this is now in place and think that I'm trying to point people myself. Yep, I know, they should just look at the redirected URL.

TIA.

cheers,

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Add a link in a comment, to this question, or the other one meta.stackexchange.com/questions/10948/… to every answer that has a link to Amazon. –  Brad Gilbert Nov 2 '09 at 15:19
    
@Brad, cheers good idea. –  Rob Wells Nov 4 '09 at 23:08

Test book link.

Cool, it works now! I was mostly curious which Amazon site it would send me to (based on geolocating my IP). Answer: default http://amazon.com.

I already own the above trilogy, so I won't need to buy it again through the affiliate link, sorry Jeff. :)

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does Amazon have a New Zealand site? –  Jeff Atwood Oct 26 '09 at 2:40
    
No, unfortunately they don't. Nor do they have an Australian site, for that matter. So amazon.com is fine. –  Greg Hewgill Oct 26 '09 at 21:21
    
That link takes me to Amazon.co.uk - which is correct :-) –  Techboy Nov 6 '09 at 11:52
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As someone living in Europe (latvia), I would prefer .co.uk site, not .com, as they do not ship most stuff to me. –  Papuass Oct 21 '13 at 8:15

Works for me. Do you care about links to Amazon created from URL obfuscators (tinyurl, bit.ly, etc)?

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Obfuscated links are bad enough, without also being affiliate links... –  Shog9 Oct 22 '09 at 21:16
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Replace the obfuscated link with an SO affiliate link. –  squillman Oct 22 '09 at 21:19
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Ah, misunderstood what you were suggesting! Yeah, that'd be nice. As would simply replacing all obfuscated links with real ones. –  Shog9 Oct 22 '09 at 21:37
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we're not doing anything with minified links at the moment –  Jeff Atwood Oct 23 '09 at 5:56
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It might be worth considering outlawing URL obfuscators altogether (at least, the sites that we know about). –  Ether Oct 24 '09 at 0:48

I don't have an affiliate account anywhere, but I wonder: do you also replace affiliate accounts if someone includes their own? Would that be ethical?

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Yeah, I was wondering about that also. Many "Can you recommend a book" questions I would think get answered with affiliate links. I think it would be appropriate to maintain the poster's affiliate link, since it is their referral and all. –  squillman Oct 22 '09 at 20:59
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we don't allow affiliate accounts, any more than we allow people to post overtly commercial links to their own stuff. In your own profile, you are free to do that of course. –  Jeff Atwood Oct 22 '09 at 21:00
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Or does the whole "it's their referral" thing become null and void with the cc-wiki license? –  squillman Oct 22 '09 at 21:02
    
Thanks, Jeff. Good enough. –  Joel Coehoorn Oct 22 '09 at 21:05

I think that's a great idea. I'm glad you're implementing it.

I make a habit (though this will sound like Hero-worship) of buying books that you tell me about through your blog affiliate link. I also do this with any site that tells me about a book I later buy.

I think the same thing should happen for Stack Overflow. It's a business model that is both sensible and compatible with the nature of the Internet.

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