What is the connection between authors’ super URLs and Amazon links? These extended links are known as “super URLS,” and independent authors and publishers all over are using them when they shouldn’t.(Thank you Gwendolyn Kiste for this amazingly useful tutorial on how to “tweak” your Amazon link for better results for your publicity, book sales and standing with Amazon.
Originally published on www.gwendolynkiste.com as “How Writers Ruin their Amazon Links Yes You Probably Do It Too.”)
Using Authors’ super URL’s can get authors busted by Amazon
The links are not only long and ugly, but also include a certain string of numbers that follows the letters “qid.” These numbers mark the exact time you performed the search. At first blush, that doesn’t sound like a huge deal. So what? Your readers can track when you did the initial search. Well, the people over at Amazon can track it too. They realize that the dozens (or maybe hundreds) of people who click on your link after you post it couldn’t have all searched at that exact same time, especially if their purchases come days or weeks after this “qid” (which acts as the Unix time stamp, marking the number of seconds since January 1st, 1970).
So in a strange roundabout way, this can jeopardize your reviews. Ever hear about Amazon removing reviews because the reviewer knows the author? Well, these “super URLs” are likely one of the ways Amazon figures it out. As the theory goes, if the reviewer purchased a book from that “qid,” then Amazon knows the individual probably got the link from the author. So on the one hand, it’s nice to know Amazon isn’t going through our stuff when we’re out, figuring out which reviewers are our acquaintances and which aren’t, but it’s still somewhat distressing to realize how many writers (and publishers) are making this mistake.
There’s also at least some speculation that because the “qid” indicates a single session, the Amazon algorithm will count all the books sold from that URL as a single sale. Yes, you’ll get paid for each book purchased, but even if you sell a hundred (or a thousand) copies from that link, the algorithm might only see it as one session and one sale, thereby hurting your search results. Major bummer, right?
So easy to fix..delete everything after the ASIN
So what can you do to fix it? In the end, this turns out to be one of those great problems because the solution is insanely simple. Just delete everything after the ten-character ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number). That’s it. Really. It’s super simple and will take you no more than two seconds. A TWO-SECOND FIX. If only everything in life was this easy.