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Monday, November 25, 2013

GeoRiot: An Alternative to A-FWD for Creating Universal Amazon Affiliate Links

http://www.georiot.com

In the last few days I have been trying out a new (and free) web-based tool called GeoRiot.

Like A-FWD, which I have mentioned on this blog before, GeoRiot is designed to provide a solution to the problem of how to direct visitors to your website to their own national Amazon store. With Amazon's own links, you can only send people to one store, e.g. Amazon.com or Amazon UK. If you send them to the "wrong" store they won't be able to buy there and you won't receive any affiliate commission.

Both A-FWD and GeoRiot let you create a single link that will automatically direct visitors to the appropriate page of their home store, with your affiliate code embedded if you have one for the store in question. This should help maximize your Amazon affiliate income.

Like A-FWD, GeoRiot does not charge users, but it takes a proportion of clicks via your link as "payment". If these individuals make any purchases, the service in question rather than you will receive the commission.

The way the two sites do this is somewhat different, however. In the case of A-FWD, 1% of visitors/clicks are tagged with their affiliate ID instead of yours. A-FWD say they will also add their ID if you don't specify one for a certain Amazon store your user is redirected to (if you run an English-language website, for example, you might not consider it worthwhile to join the affiliate program for Amazon France or Amazon Germany).

The rules for GeoRiot are a bit more complicated. I've copied the relevant details from their info page below...
You assign up to 15% of the clicks we help you earn to GeoRiot. That doesn't include the revenue you're already earning in your base country. You always keep 100% of that. In fact, we go to lengths to help you maximize your affiliate revenue.

Our Clicks As Currency payment model involves Passive Click Share and Active Click Share.

Passive Click Share

We start by earning our clicks where you can't. There are always countries from which you don't see enough traffic to make it worthwhile to go through the affiliate process. Maybe it's Japan or Brazil. We earn our clicks from these countries first, taking 100% of the affiliate revenue. If collectively, those clicks add up to 15% of your total affiliated clicks- and they often do for our clients- you're done. If they don't, Active Click Share kicks in.

Active Click Share

With Active Click Share, we earn clicks from the affiliate programs you've signed up for. So, for example, if your base country is the United States, and you're signed up in Canada, we get a portion of the clicks you earn through the Canadian program. However, we never employ Active Click Share on accounts earning less than 100 clicks in a 24-hour period in order to help you maximize earnings. Again, once a total of 15% (between the passive and active clicks) is reached, you're paid up in full.
Calculating which of these services offers the best deal overall is not straightforward, as it depends in part on the distribution of the clicks you get. To take an admittedly extreme example, if all of your clicks come from your home country, you would never have any clicks taken by GeoRiot, whereas 1% would be taken by A-FWD.

On the other hand, if (like me) most of your clicks are divided between Amazon UK and Amazon.com, then if you get over 100 clicks a day you would probably be better off with A-FWD. But with under 100 clicks a day, again, GeoRiot would offer the better deal.

Of course, there are other considerations too, and both services have their pros and cons.

Taking A-FWD first, this scores for simplicity and ease of use. All you have to do is enter your affiliate ID for any Amazon stores you are signed up with, and the ASIN (unque Amazon product identifier) for whatever you want to link to. Your link is then created instantly for you.

On the minus side, the A-FWD links are rather long and ugly (though you can of course put them through a URL-shortener such as TinyURL). In addition, no stats are provided, so you won't get any feedback on who is clicking on them.

GeoRiot is a more "professional" looking tool than A-FWD. You get various stats and reports on who is clicking on your links. This is valuable information to have when planning and fine-tuning your campaigns. I have copied below a couple of sections from the GeoRiot dashboard concerning the link to my Kindle e-book Three Great Techniques for Plotting Your Novel or Screenplay (and yes, that IS the GeoRiot link in question!).



As ever, if you click on these images you can view a larger version. Use the Back button on your browser to return here.

Incidentally, I was interested to see the high proportion of clicks/visitors to Amazon.com compared with UK (where I am based), and also that I was getting some clicks that resolved to non-English language sites.

Other advantages of GeoRiot include the fact that the links are short and don't need passing through a URL-shortener, and they take visitors straight to the relevant sales page (A-FWD links take users to a search results page which they then have to click through to get to the main sales page - you can see an example here).

One other plus regarding GeoRiot is that as well as Amazon you can also create universal links to products in the iTunes Store and the App Store. This is not something I have tried personally, but it would obviously be useful if you promote products from these stores.

On the minus side, I have not found GeoRiot as user-friendly as it ought to be. There is no quick and simple option to add ASINs, as provided by A-FWD. Rather, you have to go through a somewhat laborious process of adding product-specific links, and trying to ensure that these are in a form the software likes. Amazon store links, as anyone who has ever tried to promote them will tell you, come in a wide range of shapes and forms.

I also found the process of adding my affiliate IDs a bit hit-and-miss. The first time I did it a message congratulated me on adding them successfully, but it transpired that they had not been incorporated into my GeoRiot links. On my second attempt everything worked fine, but there have been one or two incidents like this that suggest to me that not everything at GeoRiot is working as smoothly as it should. Of course, it is still early days where this service is concerned.

Overall, these are both valuable services to anyone who promotes Amazon products, and I have certainly noticed an increase in my commissions since I started using A-FWD a few months ago. Admittedly, now is the best time of year to be promoting your Amazon links but even so, compared with previous years, my results have been significantly better.

For the time being I will continue to use both services for my Amazon links and monitoring which gives me the best results overall.

If you have any comments or questions about GeoRiot (or A-FWD) please do post them below and I will do my best to answer them!

http://a-fwd.com/uk=nickdawswriti-21&com=freelancewr0f-20

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15 Comments:

Blogger Simon Bozeat said...

That's very interesting Nick, didnt know about the new service. The click commissions seem high though compared with a-fwd.

Plus I find a-fwd really easy to use as once you have your first link, all you have to do is change the asin and away you go. You never have to actually visit a-fwd again.

add to the mix a spreadsheet script that automatically generates a shortlink and you're away.

I was actually looking for one that does the global redirection but does not use an affiliate code - one that we can include inside our books without falling foul of the Amazon rules.

Great article and analasis, thanks!

Glyn Williams
www.bestsellertactics.com

1:20 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Thanks, Glyn. I agree with you regarding the simplicity of A-FWD. I like it very much, and have a permanent link to it on my bookmarks toolbar.

Although GeoRiot sounds more "expensive", in many cases it will not be. Although A-FWD only charge 1 percent of clicks, they do take all of your unallocated clicks as well (with GeoRiot these are set against the maximum 15% they charge).

Also, GeoRiot don't take any clicks at all from your base store, and they only take from others if you get more than 100 clicks in any 24 hour period.

That being said, I would guess that heavy users such as yourself might be a bit better off with A-FWD, but this needs to be set against the other advantages of GeoRiot, e.g. the fact that visitors are sent directly to the Amazon sales page of the product concerned.

Overall, I find it quite hard to choose between the two services, which is why for the time being I'm sticking with both!

2:04 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Interesting comment about using these universal links in Kindle books. You could, of course, create links in either A-FWD or GeoRiot without your affiliate IDs, but in this case the services would presumably attach their own affiliate codes. Whether this would put you in breach of Amazon's rules I'm not sure.

2:12 PM  
Blogger Jesse Lakes said...

Nick, Thanks for your honest and informative write up.

There are a couple of things you mentioned in your review, which I wanted to elaborate on.

First, I’m thrilled to hear that you’ve been using GeoRiot! That said, I’m sorry to hear of your troubles when using the dashboard. We strive to develop services that will simplify your affiliate-linking efforts – after all, we all know the affiliate space is complicated enough as is. That said, parts of GeoRiot are still in beta and so, we urge our clients to let us know if they ever find something that’s less than perfect. Feedback (both good and bad) is the key to making the service better.

One point mentioned in your review was about having an account. We strongly feel that one of the benefits of our approach is providing a central place to store all of your affiliate-related information, manage your links and have a safe place to review your data. Additionally, the ability to edit or “manage” existing links and affiliate tags via your dashboard is quite helpful as Amazon introduces new storefronts and affiliate programs or links change. Our approach is aimed at making link “maintenance” a thing of the past and simplifies your workflow as updates via the dashboard are automatically reflected within your links in a matter of minutes, no matter where those links live on the web.

With regards to our link-building tools and workflow, this is intentionally done to simplify the link creation process as a whole. Instead of requiring our clients to find the multiple ASINs from various regions we’ve designed the process with the goal of reducing the work required by our clients to create globalized links. Our solution is focused on clients providing us with a single "base" link that we can then do all of the remaining translation, behind-the-scenes, saving you time and maintenance.

However, if you want to build links with a spreadsheet, or programmatically, we fully support that too via our “Quick Build” link format.

Finally, you went into a fair amount of detail regarding our Click Share payment model. Thank you. While at first it can seem complicated it’s been designed to build long-term, win-win relationships, with our clients (as cliché as that may sound). The model is focused around transparency, but helps ensure our service continues at 100% uptime, allows us to provide top notch client support, enables links to resolve as fast and accurately as possible, and puts us in a position where we can continue to innovate in the space.

Our mission is to simplify your affiliate marketing and help you increase your earnings with more sophisticated, globalized links than are available from Amazon or Apple’s affiliate programs alone. We love what we do and we love working with our clients to help them get the most out of our service. If you, or your readers, have questions about anything GeoRiot-related, or if you’d simply like to chat about the space, shoot me a note and we can set up a Skype call.

Thanks again for trying our service.

Cheers,
Jesse Lakes
CEO / Co-Founder of GeoRiot

7:49 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

Thank you for your in-depth response to my review, Jesse.

I note all your comments, and certainly agree that having all your links in place is a useful feature (as is the ability of your software to monitor and update links if Amazon changes the sales page URLs).

I do still think it would be good if users could create a new link simply by adding an ASIN (as is the case with A-FWD). I don't really understand why you require a complete sales page link in order to do this.

Another feature I would like to see personally is a bookmarklet or some such that lets you quickly create a GeoRiot link from any Amazon (or iTunes) sales page.

Overall, I do think that GeoRiot is a very promising service that all Amazon affiliates should check out at the very least.

9:50 AM  
Blogger Jesse Lakes said...

Good to know that you feel strongly on building a link with an ASIN, we'll get that onto the engineering schedule.

The beauty of requiring a link is that it's one "string" that has both the ASIN and an indicator of the "base" country which saves us processing time and keeps [Imports] from showing up. For the ASIN based links we'll also need the related country/storefront to be identified.

I'll also add a note to our project list for the bookmarklet.

Thanks again for the great feedback!

9:44 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Thanks again, Jesse. That all sounds excellent to me!

I do find that identifying a suitable link for GeoRiot isn't always straightforward, as Amazon seems to have a variety of URLs that lead to the same sales page. In a couple of cases I used a link that worked on GeoRiot but failed to produce a thumbnail, so there was no way (short of testing it) to know what book it referred to. I think a simple ASIN would work better, therefore, though I take your point that you would need to know which Amazon store the ASIN had been taken from.

Speaking of which, I think it would be good if people could choose their "base" store. Speaking personally, although I live in the UK, I get a lot more affiliate sales from the US, so it would make sense for me to nominate Amazon.com as my base store.

Thanks again for your comments and clarifications.

Nick

9:50 AM  
Blogger Jesse Lakes said...

Thanks again for the feedback. A few quick notes:

With GeoRiot, the "base" country is defined by the actual link. For example if you give us an Amazon.com link then the US is your base country while if it's an amazon.co.uk then the UK is the base country.

Yes, Amazon has a number of URL formats, which of course makes things harder to parse on our end, but the idea is to let us deal with that complication and keep it as simple as possible for our clients to build links.

Thanks for the note on the thumbnail. We didn't have logic in the dashboard added for grabbing the ASIN on those formats of links. I just chatted with an engineer and she is looking into it now.

Cheers!

7:49 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Thanks again for the clarifications, Jesse. I appreciate you taking the time to respond to the points I have made.

9:29 PM  
Blogger Ken Nguyen said...

Thank for the post. I get better ideas of using the link.

For anyone want to start the Amazon Affiliate, you can check it out at :

Getting started with Amazon Product API

8:37 AM  
OpenID sallyjenkins said...

Hi Nick - I've been meaning to get to grips with GeoRiot for some time now. I am not currently an Amazon affiliate and simply want links that I can use on my blog, in my e-books and elsewhere to direct people to my e-book product pages in their own country rather than having US readers landing on the UK page or having to provide a list of alternative Amazon links. Therefore there will be no affiliate commission for GeoRiot to collect. Do you know if this will work?
Many thanks.

8:08 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

Hi Sally

Certainly, you can do this. One of the big attractions of GeoRiot is that one single link will take any visitor to the relevant page of their own national Amazon store (as long as your book is available there). You don't need to be an Amazon affiliate to use the service.

What I would say is that in this case GeoRiot may attach their own affiliate code to some of the links during the redirection process. This means that they will collect any commissions accruing as a result of these visitors. Of course, that makes no difference at all to your royalties income. It just means that some money which would otherwise have gone to Amazon will go to GeoRiot instead!

I hope that answers your question, but let me know if not. I'm actually a little bit surprised you are not an Amazon affiliate, as this can potentially boost your income from book sales considerably. If you use GeoRiot to create your links, you only have to enter your own Amazon affiliate code once, and after that GeoRiot will automatically incorporate it in all your shortlinks.

Anyway, good luck, whatever you decide!

Nick

9:34 AM  
OpenID sallyjenkins said...

Thanks very much for the advice, Nick. Maybe I should look into becoming an affiliate but I know that not all money-making schemes are allowed on free wordpress blogs. I will investigate! But good to know that I can use GeoRiot anyway.

8:10 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

No problem, Sally. I see where you're coming from now!

I understand your caution, but my understanding is that affiliate links to relevant, reputable merchants (such as Amazon) are allowed and even encouraged on Wordpress.com. Here's a link to one of their help pages that appears to confirm this: http://en.support.wordpress.com/affiliate-links/

So I really can't imagine you'd have any problem using affiliate code in your Amazon GeoRiot links. Actually, the code wouldn't even appear on your website, strictly speaking, as it is applied by GeoRiot during the redirection process.

Anyway, good luck again, and all the best :)

Nick

9:52 AM  
Blogger Suchitra Biswas said...

Thanks Nick for the very useful post and all the relevant conversation in the comment section. Got the over all gist of georiot much better now.Thanks again.

6:24 AM  

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