Amazon just changed their API rules :(

43 replies
Yup Amazon just changed the rules.

Code:
Dear Product Advertising API Developer,    
On November 8, 2010  the Reviews response group of the Product Advertising API 
will no longer return customer reviews content and instead will return a link to  
customer reviews content hosted on Amazon.com. You will be able to display 
customer reviews on your site using that  link. Please refer to the Product 
Advertising API Developer guide found here     for more details. 

The Reviews response group will continue to function as before until November 8 
and the new link to customer reviews is available to you now through the Product 
Advertising API as well.  

 Thank you for advertising products for sale on Amazon.com.  

 Sincerely, 
 The Product Advertising API Team
That sucks. So much for autoblogs posts growing as user reviews grow.
Plus it will make autoblogs look really thin since the reviews are not located on each article/post.

Kinda sucks. I think CTR on links will be less, but I'll have to monitor it.



Cheers
Reinhardt
#amazon #api #changed #rules
  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by RGallowitz View Post

    Yup Amazon just changed the rules.

    Code:
    Dear Product Advertising API Developer,    
    On November 8, 2010  the Reviews response group of the Product Advertising API 
    will no longer return customer reviews content and instead will return a link to  
    customer reviews content hosted on Amazon.com. You will be able to display 
    customer reviews on your site using that  link. Please refer to the Product 
    Advertising API Developer guide found here     for more details. 
    
    The Reviews response group will continue to function as before until November 8 
    and the new link to customer reviews is available to you now through the Product 
    Advertising API as well.  
    
     Thank you for advertising products for sale on Amazon.com.  
    
     Sincerely, 
     The Product Advertising API Team
    That sucks. So much for autoblogs posts growing as user reviews grow.
    Plus it will make autoblogs look really thin since the reviews are not located on each article/post.

    Kinda sucks. I think CTR on links will be less, but I'll have to monitor it.



    Cheers
    Reinhardt
    My guess is that this is what spurred the change.

    It's one thing to scrape product descriptions for post content.

    It's another to scrape user reviews and post them as original user comments on your autoblog.

    If I'm a serious buyer for a Widget 1000, go searching for reviews, and find the exact same comments from the same people on half a dozen different splogs, then find those same comments as user reviews on Amazon, it seriously dilutes the value of those reviews.

    Amazon deserves a pat on the back for protecting the value of the asset they built.

    And before someone jumps in with the old line about "look how much product autoblogs sell", I can pretty much guarantee you that, like the "Google Cash" Adwords buyers before you, it's a relatively minor number in the grand scheme of things.
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    • Profile picture of the author NicheMayhem
      Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

      My guess is that this is what spurred the change.

      It's one thing to scrape product descriptions for post content.

      It's another to scrape user reviews and post them as original user comments on your autoblog.

      If I'm a serious buyer for a Widget 1000, go searching for reviews, and find the exact same comments from the same people on half a dozen different splogs, then find those same comments as user reviews on Amazon, it seriously dilutes the value of those reviews.

      Amazon deserves a pat on the back for protecting the value of the asset they built.

      And before someone jumps in with the old line about "look how much product autoblogs sell", I can pretty much guarantee you that, like the "Google Cash" Adwords buyers before you, it's a relatively minor number in the grand scheme of things.
      Ditto, and one can only hope that actual effort and unique quality content will continue to become the aim of every big business out there who notice the utter crap people get away with producing on their web properties.

      The day where it is a requirement to put some time and rational thought into the advertisements which make you money is fast approaching I think, and I am glad. Nothing has ever beat unique quality content and total transparency for sales but that sure doesn't stop people from taking as many short-cuts as possible. Down with auto-blogs, and way to go Amazon, IMO. :p
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      • Profile picture of the author BrittyBritt
        Originally Posted by NicheMayhem View Post

        Ditto, and one can only hope that actual effort and unique quality content will continue to become the aim of every big business out there who notice the utter crap people get away with producing on their web properties.

        The day where it is a requirement to put some time and rational thought into the advertisements which make you money is fast approaching I think, and I am glad. Nothing has ever beat unique quality content and total transparency for sales but that sure doesn't stop people from taking as many short-cuts as possible. Down with auto-blogs, and way to go Amazon, IMO. :p
        I couldn't agree with your more and hope this is a sign of more changes to come. Good move on Amazon's part.
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    • Profile picture of the author tjmiller
      Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

      If I'm a serious buyer for a Widget 1000, go searching for reviews, and find the exact same comments from the same people on half a dozen different splogs, then find those same comments as user reviews on Amazon, it seriously dilutes the value of those reviews.
      Ok, I have to ask, what is a splog? I'm sure I have the general idea from the context of your post, but that is one I've never heard before.

      Teresa
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  • Profile picture of the author TheNewGuy2010
    Good for Amazon..........


    I guess IMer's have to do some real work now!

    Originally Posted by RGallowitz View Post

    Yup Amazon just changed the rules.

    Code:
    Dear Product Advertising API Developer,    
    On November 8, 2010  the Reviews response group of the Product Advertising API 
    will no longer return customer reviews content and instead will return a link to  
    customer reviews content hosted on Amazon.com. You will be able to display 
    customer reviews on your site using that  link. Please refer to the Product 
    Advertising API Developer guide found here     for more details. 
    
    The Reviews response group will continue to function as before until November 8 
    and the new link to customer reviews is available to you now through the Product 
    Advertising API as well.  
    
     Thank you for advertising products for sale on Amazon.com.  
    
     Sincerely, 
     The Product Advertising API Team
    That sucks. So much for autoblogs posts growing as user reviews grow.
    Plus it will make autoblogs look really thin since the reviews are not located on each article/post.

    Kinda sucks. I think CTR on links will be less, but I'll have to monitor it.



    Cheers
    Reinhardt
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  • Teresa, A splog is a Spam Blog
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  • Profile picture of the author tjmiller
    Ok, thanks! I probably had heard that before, but it wasn't coming to mind when I read it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Franklin
    This is why I've never been a fan of autoblogging when it comes to Amazon, especially with the user reviews. I think it was very smart of Amazon to do this.

    You can still work with the Amazon reviews but now it'll take a little more effort. If you have your own manual Amazon site, this should not affect your process in any way.
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  • Good move by Amazon. Glad to see it.
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    [DELETED]
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    • Profile picture of the author Michael Franklin
      Originally Posted by yukon View Post

      Michael Franklin,

      Good to see you post about this!

      Looks like less competition for us. I think most folks that run an autoblog would give up before doing the manual work.

      Good job Amazon!
      Yukon,

      If you think about it, the manual work is really not that bad when it comes to the reviews....Wouldn't you agree?
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  • Profile picture of the author AnniePot
    Great move by Amazon. This can do nothing but favor the folk who put in the hard work to produce review sites full of valuable, self written content. The internet is drowning under the seemingly self perpetuating auto blogs, all populated with the same content. They are frightening people away from Amazon. Start following Paula and Wanda's advice in their Amazonian Profit Plan. Be an individual. Be unique!
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    • Profile picture of the author jan roos
      Originally Posted by AnniePot View Post

      Great move by Amazon. This can do nothing but favor the folk who put in the hard work to produce review sites full of valuable, self written content. The internet is drowning under the seemingly self perpetuating auto blogs, all populated with the same content. They are frightening people away from Amazon. Start following Paula and Wanda's advice in their Amazonian Profit Plan. Be an individual. Be unique!
      Thats it right there. Great Advice!
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  • Profile picture of the author michael_dans
    If its a splog then it can create a blunder, too many people and their too many review, all can be affected by this news. Bad, too bad.
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  • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
    Originally Posted by RGallowitz View Post

    That sucks. So much for autoblogs posts growing as user reviews grow. Plus it will make autoblogs look really thin since the reviews are not located on each article/post.
    So here are some bits and pieces to take away from this.

    If you build a web site based on your ability to get information from someone else's web site...

    And that person decides not to give out that information anymore, for whatever reason, as is his right...

    The web site you built isn't the same anymore, and you may have to go fix it.

    So if you build a massive horde of several hundred web sites based on this ability, guess what?

    You may at any time have to go fix several hundred web sites.

    If you are lucky, you will get an email and some advance notice.

    If not... well, I hope you're closely monitoring all your hundreds of web sites, because the only way you'll find the problem is to go look at them.

    You can mitigate this risk by using multiple sources of content. If one source disappears, the others keep right on working, and it's unlikely you'll lose all sources at once. You'll still have to update hundreds of blogs... but it won't be quite as critical that you do it RIGHT NOW.

    Risk analysis is important to any business. If you're not doing any, you have a problem, whether you know it or not.
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  • Profile picture of the author reapr
    Looks like sploging for dollars is out ...
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  • Profile picture of the author debra
    Well, actually in my experience I haven't seen where using the reviews as the comments has increased the roi at all.

    I've had much better click through by adding content then pulling in a product to match the content.

    I've also noticed that a lot of the reviews were short and read as bad as some of the commenting I delete out. And when you have a lot of those short commentary reviews it tends to mess up the page load time.

    In short...I'm glad to see it coming.
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    • Profile picture of the author Blogmudgeon
      So, the wife asks me last week, "how come you are not developing the product domains you bought, and out buying lots of new ones to load with Amazon?" I said that I believed this sort of thing was going the way of the pure static HTML page...:p

      Although I just jumped into marketing a month ago--I have been a site developer for about 15 years off and on. As anyone who has been reading my posts or blog know, I am at this doing research, testing, and development about 14+ hours a day, 7 days a week. It did not take too very long to see that the handwriting is on the wall for thin affiliate sites, and backlink spammers. Google does not like them. Directories do not like them. Legitimate affiliate programs like Amazon do not like them. And increasingly, web users do not like them. It was just a matter of time.

      I feel some pain for those who have built and maintain countless thin affiliate sites. Some weeks back I threw away $50 on reviewAZON--a product that is not quite ready for Wordpress 3+ sites and many native 3.0 themes. Far too many issues. I guess that the point is moot now, and that Brad will have to re-evaluate the upcoming v2 plugin...

      There are some other changes in the wind too. Not to worry--those of us who are busy with community, social, and other Web 2.0 properties are already on the new curve up. I am busily taking down a few Wordpress sites--and replacing with Joomla platforms. Much more robust and extensible--and easier to build interactive user experiences around.
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  • Profile picture of the author ChickenMan
    Wait, this one affect Easy Paycheck Formula will it? It's article marketing and I was actually enjoying the course and hoping to implement it.

    Plus, I generally get info about a game or DVD from reading reviews and info page off Amazon. Helps me decide on a purchase.
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    • Profile picture of the author Sara Young
      Originally Posted by ChickenMan View Post

      Wait, this one affect Easy Paycheck Formula will it? It's article marketing and I was actually enjoying the course and hoping to implement it.

      Plus, I generally get info about a game or DVD from reading reviews and info page off Amazon. Helps me decide on a purchase.
      Hi ChickenMan - just saw your post here. This does not affect Easy Paycheck Formula at all. We are not using the Amazon API (and not doing anything to make Amazon unhappy either).
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  • Profile picture of the author RGallowitz
    Many of you here argue against the autoblogs yet I can put my money on the majority of you have operated an autoblog at some point.

    Let me give you a quick idea of what a FAT autoblog site is:

    1. Unique article content covering the pillars of the site
    2. Video integration with and around all content
    3. Product listings and user reviews pulled from amazon
    4. Email subscribe box that updates people on coupons - you can then offer them stuff from other affiliate programs - great at christmas time.

    Please don't think that what I was trying to say in my OP is that I'm running SPLOGS.

    FAR FROM IT.

    I have drilled it down to a science and my sites are fatter than 100% manual laboured sites are because I combine the world of content automation with original content.


    So for me, the Amazon api rule change sucks. Period.
    If you have built autoblogs like I have, you will see why my commission checks look the way they do and why I would be upset about something like this.

    But as a smart marketer I would just have to ADAPT


    Cheers
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Jordan
    Thanks for this info Reinhardt. I like it - this is a good move by Amazon.
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  • Profile picture of the author Harrison Ortega
    Well, this is just one change added to the other 17 that is going to happen on October 15 (https://affiliate-program.amazon.com...tail/main.html). IMO the removal of the reviews may actually aggravate the situation because now we will see thousands of blogs/sites creating fake reviews in order to replace the ones removed. Buyers will see a set of very good reviews on the blog but when arriving at the Amazon products page will see something totally different. It seems the end of the AWS API is approaching. I actually think this is what they want. They're probably improving the aStore and will probably stick with that only.
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  • Profile picture of the author cashcow
    It's only the customer reviews that won't be pulled in, not the products so you can still make pretty effective autoblogs or pull in products automatically if you want.

    FAT autoblog site
    I love this term... gonna start using it myself if you don't mind.

    Anyway, combining content syndication whether it be articles, videos or products and unique content in an informative blog is the way to go - I bet plenty of big name sites do it.

    I'd rather see someone just pull in a product and description of such than write a fake "unique" review on a product they never actually used anyway. But that's just me.
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  • Profile picture of the author KirkMcD
    You still get the url to the review. You could always scrape them.
    It's just a little harder.
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  • Profile picture of the author Latsyrc
    Oh my. I might be guilt of spamming my own blog? I used Amazon autposter to create a category on my actual blog. As an affiliate, I could not for the life of me figure out how to embed an A-store in my blog. So, I just used the Amazon autoposter to make a category of products. Is that considered spam?? How is it different than an Amazon widget?
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    • Profile picture of the author CBSnooper
      I'm glad this has come now. I'm in the middle of writing my own store using the API. I'm going to roll this out and replace all my Wordpress blogs. I wouldn't want to have gone live with it and then they changed it.

      As JohnMcCabe said, this is an inconvenience rather than a major problem, but we'll adapt. We always do.

      So, what's this new kabobbins that Google are doing.....?
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by counselormom View Post

      Oh my. I might be guilt of spamming my own blog? I used Amazon autposter to create a category on my actual blog. As an affiliate, I could not for the life of me figure out how to embed an A-store in my blog. So, I just used the Amazon autoposter to make a category of products. Is that considered spam?? How is it different than an Amazon widget?
      Personally, I don't consider using an autoposter to add one category to a blog with other content as spam.

      The sites I consider 'splogs' have no other content than product listings and I do have a problem with posting Amazon's user reviews as original comments on the splog. They offer nothing that isn't on Amazon's product pages already.
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  • Profile picture of the author faylo
    Does it means that wp-robot cannot be used anymore to pull out the amazon content automatically to our blog??
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    • Profile picture of the author Alan Petersen
      Hey Reinhardt, you're doing it right but most do not and that's why Amazon has to make these changes.

      This happens all the time with all these "systems". Think Google Cash era, then the AdSense "sites" years ago when it was so easy put up a lot of those sites in a day and make money. Then came eBay and software like BANS and auto blogs now and in the end every time those folks who do nothing but pull "auctions" or "listings" from eBay and Amazon and don't even bother to add an iota of value to the end user are toast.

      History keeps repeating itself. That's one of the reason I didn't touch the auto blog craze with a ten foot pole.

      I'm not saying I don't use tools to build my sites, I do. I use plugin's for eBay and Amazon sites but you do have to add some value to the equation.

      If you do when stuff like this happens it might be an inconvenience since we might have to adapt or make changes but it's not a site killer like those kicking out splogs.
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    • Profile picture of the author Michael Franklin
      Originally Posted by faylo View Post

      Does it means that wp-robot cannot be used anymore to pull out the amazon content automatically to our blog??
      Well at least for automatically pulling reviews....But it could be just the tip of the iceberg!
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  • Yeah I think it's because of all the duplicate content on the internet, they're trying to protect their original reviews which is the main value-add of amazon for a lot of their product listings
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    • Profile picture of the author gearmonkey
      I'm sure there is a work-around for this delima. After a couple of hacks, I doubt this will affect any of the software that auto pulls Amazon reviews.

      And I doubt it will be against the TOS since Amazon will allow <iframe> reviews on the websites.

      I don't see this really being an issue, really.
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  • Profile picture of the author Art Turner
    So if Amazon didn't want the reviews used elsewhere, why did they put them in the API in the first place?
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    • Profile picture of the author gearmonkey
      Originally Posted by Art Turner View Post

      So if Amazon didn't want the reviews used elsewhere, why did they put them in the API in the first place?
      They wanted their reviews to be used elsewhere. They still want their reviews to be used, they just don't want their reviews to have Google (or SEO) credit to their affiliates.

      That's why I think a coders will use a work around from the <iframe> to allow their script to still post reviews in the comment section, because it's not against the TOS... yet.

      Amazon can't have it both ways.
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  • Profile picture of the author sidpoudyal
    RGallowitz,

    It really all depends on how much you were depending on those Amazon reviews. If you have articles, flickr images, youtube videos, shopzilla, oodle, yahoo answers, yahoo news, clickbank, ebay Et cetera then you would not be affected very much. As far as CTR goes you can always simply link to the reviews (affiliate link of course) with anchored text such as "real reviews from recent buyers" or whatever you like.

    Your time on page may sulk but I don't see this as the end of autoblogs at all. I set one up a year ago with a real nice domain name and I haven't even touched it in months but it still brings in ~$160/month. Not bad for my first and last attempt huh?

    Regards,
    Sid Poudyal
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    • Profile picture of the author Stephen Crooks
      Yep, well done Amazon! One more nail in the autoblog coffin. It is time the lazy marketers out there realised that they have to actually offer some value to their visitors rather than just scraped content.
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      • Profile picture of the author rich_henderson
        Personally I have been using autoblogs for years and yes I use tools that used to pull reviews as content but about a year ago I stopped pulling the comments because they were reducing my CTR quite considerably so Amazon doing this is fine by me and like others don't blame them in the slightest.

        For all you autoblogging haters out there this move by amazon will probably only encourage autobloggers with amazon because if they see what I saw from my testing, their results are going to be better than ever. Shame huh!
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  • Profile picture of the author snapcontent
    Originally Posted by RGallowitz View Post

    That sucks. So much for autoblogs posts growing as user reviews grow. t
    It sucks indeed, if you use a plugin that relies on Amazon reviews for comments.

    You can get relevant comments for any post using the snapcontent plugin, of course. (shameless plug). We are working on an Amazon WP plugin to compliment our autoblogging product, and definitely won't be relying on Amazon for the comments. More news later!
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    Autoblogging with unique content and comments.
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