At last it's here! On July 3rd, Amazon introduced a long awaited and oft-rumoured new feature of its affiliate program – OneLink.
For those unaware, OneLink is the first stage in Amazon helping us redirect our users to their local store.
Right now, it works with US based Amazon.com links and will send people automatically Amazon.co.uk or .ca if they're in one of those two countries. This will allow us earn more commissions from international visitors.
Is this revolutionary?
We've had the ability to redirect our site visitors based on their location for some time. I used the retired Amazon Link Localizer plugin back in 2013 and additionally, EasyAzon and Geni.us have been the prominent leaders in Amazon link localization.
At the same time, OneLink only works between the US, the UK, and Canada, and only with Amazon.com links (it doesn't work both ways, but that shouldn't matter if you make sure you use .com links every time).
However, despite the fact it doesn't currently work with all countries, it is definitely something to be celebrated.
Not having to pay for EasyAzon Pro or rely on Geni.us is a good thing. The more tools that Amazon give us for free, the better.
This also shows evidence (that I argued about in the past) that Amazon are still very much committed to improving things for their affiliates, despite many people arguing to the contrary.
Additionally, this is clearly only the beginning.
It's a huge task to roll out something like OneLink, which maps products a lot more accurately than third-party tools did, and this is the first step.
Amazon has released a free plugin in the past year or so, and has now introduced OneLink. It's clear to me that a year from now, we'll have even more features.
It Might Not Be New, But Is It More Accurate?
When I first published this post, I made the mistake of saying OneLink did manual mapping and would therefore be more accurate than EasyAzon and Geni.us. However, I don't think that was correct (Amazon surely uses an algorithm too, given how many new products are added every day).
Geni.us were also curious about this, and they put this post together explaining whether or not OneLink is more accurate than them. The initial results favor Geni.us for accuracy, among other things.
Remember though, Amazon's biggest desire is to make sure customers are getting the best experience possible, which means they will have to make sure OneLink works exactly as intended and as seamlessly as possible, so stay tuned on that front.
So Is Now The Time To Switch Away From Geni.us or EasyAzon?
That's a good question.
If you're not a fan of either, then yes I would say you should probably start using OneLink. I'm sure most of your traffic will be from the US, Canada and UK anyway, so it shouldn't matter to you that you can't geo-locate to other Amazon countries yet.
At the same time, with plugins like AAWP or the free Amazon plugin, you don't necessarily have a need for EasyAzon anymore, unless you love using it.
For us, we'll continue to build sites for our customers using EasyAzon Pro, but we will also consider turning off EasyAzon's localization feature and relying on OneLink instead.
How To Set Up OneLink In WordPress
A few people have been a bit confused by the Amazon instructions on where to place the code. Us WordPress users get confused about “Footer tags” and other scary HTML things easily.
Fortunately, there are two easy ways to install the code without hacking up your theme.
1.) Use the Theme settings where possible.
Many themes have a section in their settings that allows you to place code in the footer or header. All you do is just copy that Amazon code and place it in the right section. Here's an example from a WPZoom theme:
2.) Use a Plugin.
If your theme doesn't have that section in its settings, you can just use a plugin that lets you insert the script in a similar manner. This one is a good example (I know it's not been updated in a while, but it still works fine).
Who knows, maybe Amazon will incorporate this feature into one of its plugins in the future too (hint hint).
Let's have a look.
I tested a few Amazon link-heavy pages with a few of my sites, and here's what I found.
Note, I tested each page twice, because the caching plugin present usually affects the score.
So what can we conclude from this test?
Well first of all, pingdom isn't the most accurate page speed checker in the world and you should run multiple tests on your site if you use a caching plugin.
There's a pretty good FAQ page inside the Amazon affiliate area here. One thing I wanted to bring to your attention is point number 8, which states that normal Amazon links and shortlinks will redirect fine, but ones shortened with a third party software (such as EasyAzon or PrettyLinks) don't work (yet).
So if you are going to use EasyAzon and OneLink, make sure you turn off EasyAzon's shortener feature.