One of the first income streams I experimented with on my blogs was Amazon’s Associates program.
I’ve written extensively on my tips with making money through this affiliate program in my Ultimate Guide to the Amazon Affiliate Program. But today I want to update you on the results of experimenting with their OneLink feature.
One of the challenges bloggers with international audiences face is the number of Amazon stores around the world.
While it originated in the US, Amazon now has localised sites in Canada, Brazil, France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Mexico, India, Germany, China, Australia, Italy, Japan and the Netherlands.
Unfortunately, none of their affiliate programs are linked, which can be challenging when your audience is scattered across different countries. You have to either choose which store (or stores) to link to, or try to manage the process with plugins.
Last July, Amazon announced OneLink to help affiliates deal with this problem. It lets you put a script onto your site that sends anyone clicking on your Amazon affiliate link to their local Amazon storefront.
At first it worked only with their UK and Canadian stores. But they’ve now opened it up to include:
- Amazon UK
- Amazon Canada
- Amazon Italy
- Amazon France
- Amazon Spain
- Amazon Germany
- Amazon Japan
Here’s how it works on my Digital Photography School site. If someone goes to our Review of the Nikon D850 DSLR and clicks the text link in the first paragraph, they’ll be sent to their closest Amazon store.
The link in our post is to the camera on the US Amazon store. But because we installed the OneLink tag:
- visitors from the UK (or surrounding countries) will forwarded to the UK Amazon store.
- Canadians will end up on Amazon Canada
- Japanese visitors will be taken the Japanese Amazon site.
Note: This only works for text links. While we also have some widgets pointing to Amazon that look like this…
… they won’t send visitors to their local store.
In fact, it’s a bit of a pain because to use OneLink you need to sign up for each local affiliate program. Amazon currently has seven participating stores (along with the US store) so to participate fully you need eight separate affiliate accounts.
I signed up for all of them to fully test how it converted. But if I did it again today I’d look at my Google Analytics and sign up for only the countries I’m getting more traffic from.
As you can see, the US is my number one source of traffic (42% of Digital Photography School‘s traffic), with the UK number two at 10%.
Two other countries in the program appear in my top 10 traffic sources – Canada and Germany. If I did OneLink again today I’d just link up the UK, Canada and possibly Germany to see how they went before bothering with the rest.
So choose the countries you want to sign up for, and then head to the Associates page for each one listed below.
Note: Some of these pages aren’t in English, so you may want to use Chrome as your browser so it can translate them for you.
The sign up process for each one is almost identical, so it will get quicker once you get the hang of it.
As you sign up for each one, take note of the store ID you’re given, because you’ll need them later.
Once you’ve signed up at the local stores you want to promote, log in to your US Amazon Associates account. Then head to the OneLink Page, where you’ll see the three steps you need to go through.
Step 1 is to link your accounts. And this is where you need the store IDs you were given when signing up for each local account. It will then check to see if you’re set up – if you are you’ll see a green ‘VERIFIED’ note in your status.
Do the same for each local store you want to link.
Here’s what it looked like after I entered the French store ID and it was verified.
(If you’re a WordPress user, there’s a plugin available to make it easier. Here’s a walkthrough of that process.)
Once the code is installed and loading correctly on your blog, any visitors who click your Amazon Associates text links should be now being directed to their local store.
Note: You can play with some other options in ‘Additional Settings’, but I left mine set to ‘default’. You’ll learn more about these settings (and how to set it up) on Amazon’s Associates help area. They also have a helpful FAQ page that will answer a lot of your questions about OneLink.
My Earnings with Amazon OneLink
So how has OneLink worked for me since I installed it at the end of November last year? It was a bit of an effort to set up, so was it all worth it?
Here’s a breakdown of how much I’ve earned in each store since installing OneLink three and a half months ago. (I’ve converted earnings of each to USD.)
- Amazon UK – $841
- Amazon Canada – $375
- Amazon Germany – $172
- Amazon Italy – $44
- Amazon France – $34
- Amazon Spain – $32
- Amazon Japan – $12
- Total – $1510
As you can see, they rank in almost the same order of the traffic I get from each of the countries.
It’s worth noting that I earned $9853 from the US store for the same period. So compared to the overall figure it’s not a massive figure. But it still earns us around $6,000 a year, which isn’t too bad considering it took me about an hour or two to implement.
Final thoughts on Amazon OneLink:
1. Juggling Affiliate Accounts
Another painful part of this whole approach is I now have eight Amazon affiliate programs to manage. And I’ll have payments coming in from eight different countries.
It not sound painful, but not being in the US means I don’t have the option of direct deposit and so have to be paid by cheque. I have to physically bank each one (which can take more than six weeks to clear because it’s an international cheque), and pay a $40 fee. Multiply that by eight, and I doubt some of the smaller countries will be worth it.
To counter that I’ve set the payment threshold of each country quite high. But I really wish Amazon would join the 21st century and pay their non-US affiliates by direct deposit or even PayPal (like every other affiliate program I work with).
2. Text Links Only
While most of my links to Amazon are text links, I’ve started experimenting with some of their widgets, particularly the ‘Native Shopping Ads’ I highlighted in our Nikon D850 post earlier. They convert well for me, but I wish they worked with OneLink because right now I’m sending people to the US store who are unlikely to purchase. Hopefully they’ll add this feature in the future.
3. OneLink Doesn’t work with Link Shorteners
OneLink only works on Amazon Affiliate links. So if you use link shortener tools or plugins it won’t pick them up.
One critique I’ve seen levelled at Onelink by a lot of people is that it’s not always accurate. For example, a UK reader who recently clicked one of our links to a photography book we recommended was directed to a different book by the same author.
I’m not sure how widespread this issue is.
Amazon’s OneLink Page has an option to ‘Check matching products’. I just ran a few products through it, and about half of them gave me errors in quite a few countries.
It’s definitely a weakness.
The problem seems to be that not all products are listed in every country’s site. And the names of some products vary from country to country.
5. Other Options
A number of WordPress plugins and other services try to do similar things to OneLink. I’m hesitant about recommending any of them because I haven’t used any of them. I’ve investigated a few in the past, but the setups were just as painful and they all took a cut of your earnings. What I liked about OneLink is it worked with Amazon directly.
6. The Seven Unconnected Amazon Stores
Finally, it’s worth noting that Amazon currently has 14 stores around the world, but only seven are included in the program. As someone with significant Indian and Australian traffic, I’d be very interested in seeing these countries added to the program.