In case some haven’t noticed, Amazon.com has discontinued their affiliate program for sites in states that are taxing referral revenue aside of what we already pay in income tax. It appears to still be an option for larger sites that can change server locations, but for smaller webmasters, we only still have product links up because there is nothing to replace it.
Information and content heavy websites often get “where to get…” email from our readers. We liked being Amazon affiliates especially when they expanded beyond books because that answered the question and made us look good. Now that it’s gone, many of us still show the links (and make Amazon money) because our readers haven’t suddenly stopped needing books or hard to find supplies.
An example, I wrote a page on how to make real coffee sometime ago. Problem is, where does someone find a cezve/ibrik (Middle Eastern coffee pot)? Even many people in Los Angeles can’t find them unless they get lucky. Amazon.com has merchants who sell them though…nice ones, and a wide selection of them. So this is why I still have their links up. For some items, they’re the only place people are going to find them because they allow the tiny shops in the middle of nowhere to sell their goods.
So now there’s this hole in the market. Over time, people are going to shift to doing direct advertisement for businesses because the Amazon links aren’t making them anything. If not, they’ll just not have links to where people can find the products. That’s what I did before Amazon. I just told people what the things were and where they were most likely to find them.
I noticed that Google has a feature called Google Base that makes it easier for people to find products through search. Businesses can upload their catalogs, and if someone is searching for that product, they get to it much more quickly than the old way of just spidering pages. It’s really neat, and could be applied to Adwords.
If Adwords advertisers could upload their catalogs with an ad blurb and small photo for each product, then the blurbs could display as ads. I think readers would like those ads better because it would bring them specific things they want, with less hassle than going to a site that may or may not have what they’re looking for in stock.
Google should make product boxes. That would make for attractive ads, happy readers, and more money for Adsense publishers and Adwords advertisers.