Link Globalization

Nat Russo How-To, Marketing, Platform, Publishing, Social Media 27 Comments

[UPDATED – 7/22/2015]

Did you know there is more than one Amazon.com store? Don’t worry. If you didn’t know there is an amazon.co.uk, or an amazon.de, or even an amazon.co.jp, you’re not alone. In fact, many are unaware there are at least 13 international Amazon storefronts. But until you’re aware of this (and do something about it) you may be sending potential customers to the wrong store, losing untold sales in the process!

Link globalization is something you need to be aware of if you’re attempting to direct people to an Amazon storefront. If you give an Amazon.com link to someone in the UK or Australia, for example, that person will not be able to purchase the product you’ve linked without going through a lot of trouble.

First, they’ll have to navigate to their own Amazon store. Then, they’ll have to manually search for your product. Finally, they’ll have to click the “Buy Now” button.

Link Globalization will send them straight to the store they need so all they’ll have to do is click “Buy Now”.

Image of the Earth.

Image taken from nasa.gov

 

 

What Is Link Globalization?

It’s simple. Link Globalization is the process by which you take an Amazon.com link and convert it to a “smart” link that will redirect a person to the correct Amazon store based on their geographic location.

Sound like a mouthful? Yeah, I know. But it’s a lot easier than it sounds, believe me. It’s easy because you don’t have to do this on your own. All you have to do is select a service that will do it for you. And I’m willing to bet you’ve already used a similar (in concept) service without even knowing it!

Have you ever used a link shortener (e.g. Bitly)? If so, you already know everything you need to know in order to successfully create a globalized link!

Where Do We Begin?

First, a confession. I don’t pretend to know everything there is to know on this subject. It’s been a learning process over the last twelve months, and I learn something new every month. But I do know enough to get you started. There are two services that I’m currently aware of, and both will help you based on your specific needs. The interesting thing is that they’re now owned by the same company (Geniuslink, formerly GeoRiot)! They are:

Geniuslink

Booklinker

Until recently, I used Geniuslink’s free service. Based on a Twitter conversation between Rayne Hall and myself, Jesse Lakes—the CEO of Geniuslink—was kind enough to contact us and walk us through the differences in their services. As it turns out, Booklinker had been struggling and wound up doing some odd things (like sending people to an ad page if the link creator hadn’t subscribed to a paid plan yet). Geniuslink acquired Booklinker and put a stop to that [abusive] practice. But I digress. 

So what are the differences?

I’ll boil it down to this:

– Geniuslink offers a tiered pricing plan that starts off free up to 1k clicks per month. Beyond that, it’s $10 per 10k clicks. [Please check site for current pricing.] Whether you use the free service or the paid service, you have access to a full suite of metric analysis tools to track your link’s performance. You can add tracking tags and everything! If you’re in need of a professional global marketing tool, this is the link globalization service for you.

 

 

Booklinker– Booklinker is permanently free. I’d highlight its simplicity and ease of use, but that would incorrectly imply that Geniuslink is not simple and easy to use. Booklinker also allows you to customize the shortened global link, which is wonderful. For example, if you want to find my novelette “The Road To Dar Rodon” on an international Amazon store, you simply have to navigate to http://mybook.to/TRtDR! Want to find “Necromancer Awakening” instead? No problem! Navigate to http://mybook.to/Necro1!

No matter which service you choose, both allow you to enter your Amazon affiliate ID (you have one of those, right?) so you’ll also earn residual income on referrals.

How Does It Work?

By that, I assume you mean “How the heck do I make it work” as opposed to “Please tell me all of the technical specifications and functional requirements so that I can develop my own algorithms and form a start-up company to compete with Geniuslink.” Am I right? 🙂 [Oh stop…you know I had to goof off at least a little!]

I mentioned earlier that if you’ve ever used a link shortening service, you already know all you need to know to make this work. It’s as simple as taking your amazon.com link (the link to your book or other product on Amazon) and pasting it into a text box on the link globalization service you’ve chosen. The link globalization service will do all of the heavy lifting for you and spit out a link that is both shortened and globalized! From that point on, whenever you want to share a link to your book or product, share the globalized link instead of the original link.

It’s really just that simple.

Which Service Do You Recommend, Nat?

Simply put, I recommend both. But which you select should be based on your specific needs and budget. [Note: As of this writing, June 27, 2017, the pricing structure has changed for GeniusLink. Please check their site for current rates. Booklinker remains permanently free.]

– If you don’t expect to receive more than 1000 clicks per month, either service will suit your needs.

– If you expect to receive more than 1000 clicks, but you really can’t afford to subscribe to a service, take a look at Booklinker.

– If you expect to receive more than 1000 clicks, can afford a small monthly subscription fee, and you really want to dig into some analytics to track your link performance, take a close look at Geniuslink.

But regardless of your budget and needs, if you’re trying to market your products/books to a global audience, you are losing sales if you’re not using link globalization! Stop that! You’re hurting yourself!


Q & A From Comments (added April 19, 2015)

I’m starting to receive some great questions in the comments below that ought to be highlighted here. I’ll paraphrase the questions and answers for streamlining, but please see the comments thread for the original versions.

Question: [From jenanita01] What the hell is an affiliate ID?

Answer: Amazon has a program, called the “Affiliate Program”, that is designed to give members a small cash incentive to advertise products. When you join the program, which is free, you’re assigned an “Affiliate ID”. You can append your ID to any product in the Amazon store (or, indeed, to the main Amazon link itself). From there, any time a person purchases an item that had your Affiliate ID attached, you get a small percentage of the sale as an advertising fee. It’s not much, but it’s something. I average about $30 per quarter, but then I’m not a huge advertiser. Point is, IT’S FREE MONEY!! So sign up! You can do so at the following link: https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/

Question: [From Ryan Doughan] How do I take the html link that amazon gives you to match up with my id and then globalize that for better sale use?

Answer 1: The answer to this comes in two parts. Part 1 is short: Take the entire link to your product, which should include your affiliate ID, and paste it into the link globalizer. Voila! Part 2, however, is a bit longer, because I think I misinterpreted Ryan’s question.

Answer 2: It occurred to me, after the fact, that Ryan may have been asking how to take the output of the Affiliate link generator (which is HTML) and use it as input to the link globalization process. That’s an awesome question, and requires a more detailed answer. You can do this in 6 steps: 

1. Navigate to the page you want to create an affiliate link for.

2. Click the “Link to this page…” button at the top left (assuming you’re logged in and don’t have the affiliate toolbar hidden. If it’s hidden, just click the tiny arrow next to the Amazon logo, and it should reappear.)

3. Where it says “Customize and Get HTML”, I find it best to click the “Text Only” tab. It generates less code to deal with.

4. HTML code will be generated. Here’s an example of the full block of HTML generated for Necromancer Awakening:

a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JLVOU0U/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00JLVOU0U&linkCode=as2&tag=naaruajowithc-20&linkId=S66JUPX7DH6QC5O6″ rel=”nofollow”>Necromancer Awakening: Book One of The Mukhtaar Chronicles

5. Extract the link, and only the link. Notice how it starts with “http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JLVOU0U/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00JLVOU0U&linkCode=as2&tag=naaruajowithc-20&linkId=S66JUPX7DH6QC5O6

6. Paste that extracted link into the Booklinker link shortener/globalizer, and you’re finished!

[7/22/2015 – I had reduced the above to 4 steps, using the Amazon short link instead. Geniuslink (who, remember, also owns Booklinker) reached out to me to let me know the short link will not work on Booklinker. So, for now, the above 6 steps are guaranteed to get you the globalized link you’re looking for on Booklinker. If you’re using Geniuslink, you can shorten the above list by using the “Get Short Link” feature on your Amazon Affiliate toolbar.]

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About Nat Russo

Nat Russo is the Amazon #1 Bestselling Fantasy author of Necromancer Awakening. Nat was born in New York, raised in Arizona, and has lived just about everywhere in-between. He’s gone from pizza maker, to radio DJ, to Catholic seminarian (in a Benedictine monastery, of all places), to police officer, to software engineer. His career has taken him from central Texas to central Germany, where he worked as a defense contractor for Northrop Grumman. He's spent most of his adult life developing software, playing video games, running a Cub Scout den, gaining/losing/gaining/losing weight, and listening to every kind of music under the sun. Along the way he managed to earn a degree in Philosophy and a black belt in Tang Soo Do. He currently makes his home in central Texas with his wife, teenager, mischievous beagle, and goofy boxador.

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      That’s fantastic, Sandra. Now you at least know you’re doing everything you can to bring potential readers to your book product page. They’re only one click away from a purchase now!

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  1. Hi Nat, Thank you for this useful information. I have a question: every time I try to do this, an error pops up: invalid url. I am copying it from my book page on Amazon. What am I doing wrong? Thank you!

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      Hi Joanie!

      I have some questions for you that may help get to the bottom of the problem:

      – Where are you getting the invalid URL message? Is it when you attempt to globalize it, or is it the globalized link itself that generates an invalid URL?

      – Is the original book link an Amazon.com link or is it from one of the other Amazon storefronts?

      What I do when creating these links is remove anything in the original link after the ASIN. For example, when I visit my book page on Amazon, the link usually looks like this at first:

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JLVOU0U/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00JLVOU0U&linkCode=as2&tag=naaruajowithc-20&linkId=UWGJLVRMVU2QJ6KI

      And sometimes it’s even longer if I get to the product page by way of a search!

      However, you can trim that link down to this and have it still be valid:
      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JLVOU0U/

      I usually globalize the shorter version. I don’t know if it really matters, but that’s the course I usually take. I figure fewer characters is less complex for a link parser to handle.

    2. You can trim it down even further, another blogger taught me: The syntax is always http://amazon.com/dp/ plus ASIN for US, http://amazon.co.uk/dp/ASIN for UK etc. The ASIN is listed on the product page, it’s easier to copy/paste that single number than taking apart the long URL where it’s also embedded.
      Only problem I had with that is affiliate links. If I add them with a & to that URL, I only get an error message from Amazon. :-/

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      Thank you!

      Amazon has something called an “Affiliate program” that anyone can join. Basically, if you share a link to an Amazon product with your affiliate ID, any time someone purchases the product you get a small percentage of the sale. So, if you attach your affiliate ID to your book links, not only will you receive the agreed upon royalty, but you’ll also receive a few cents as an affiliate.

      I strongly recommend joining the program if you haven’t already. It’s not a lot (though it potentially can be). I make an extra $30 per quarter, on average, from my affiliate links.

      The nice thing is that once a customer gets to the Amazon store from your affiliate link, if they keep browsing Amazon, your affiliate ID is still attached to their purchase! So even if they navigate away from your book to some other product, you’ll get a few cents for that sale.

    2. Nat, Your ongoing information for writers is fantastic. Thanks for all that you do and share. I do have a question about link globalization with the Amazon Affiliate program. How do I take the html link that amazon gives you to match up with my id and then globalize that for better sale use? If I’m going about the whole thing wrong, please just let me know. Completely open to guidance. Thanks.

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      Great question, Ryan! I’ll add this interchange to the main post for future readers.

      As an example, the full link to my book Necromancer Awakening, with affiliate ID, is the following:
      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JLVOU0U/?tag=naaruajowithc-20

      The part that reads “naaruajowithc-20” is my affiliate ID. All you have to do, on Booklinker, is copy the entire link, affiliate ID and all, into the textbox above the “Create Universal Link” button. Booklinker will encode the entire thing as a single link, using whatever preface you choose in the drop-down control (i.e. “mybook.to”, “viewbook.at”, or “getbook.at”).

      For GeoRiot, if I remember correctly, there is a section under your account/profile controls to enter all of your affiliate IDs. Then, whenever you create a globalized link, it appends the two together before going through the globalization process.

      Hope this helps!

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      I just realized I may have answered the wrong question. Let me try again. You may be asking how you extract the actual link from the HTML that the affiliate “Link to this page…” tool generates. If so, you can follow these steps:

      1. Navigate to the page you want to create an affiliate link for.
      2. Click the “Link to this page…” button at the top left (assuming you’re logged in and don’t have the affiliate toolbar hidden. If it’s hidden, just click the tiny arrow next to the Amazon logo, and it should reappear.)
      3. Where it says “Customize and Get HTML”, I find it best to click the “Text Only” tab. It generates less code to deal with.
      4. HTML code will be generated. Here’s an example of the full block of HTML generated for Necromancer Awakening:

      a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JLVOU0U/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00JLVOU0U&linkCode=as2&tag=naaruajowithc-20&linkId=S66JUPX7DH6QC5O6" rel="nofollow">Necromancer Awakening: Book One of The Mukhtaar Chronicles

      5. Extract the link, and only the link. Notice how it starts with "http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JLVOU0U/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00JLVOU0U&linkCode=as2&tag=naaruajowithc-20&linkId=S66JUPX7DH6QC5O6

      6. Paste that extracted link into the Booklinker link shortener/globalizer, and you're finished!

  2. I wish I had know this sooner! Until this article my two previous (non-fiction) books were sold with just a US affiliate link, and they had decent sales. Clearly I lost a bit of money. 🙁

    Anyway, thanks to this article I’m switching them to use Link Globalization today. Also doing that with the dark fantasy book I released yesterday.

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      Best of luck with your book, Daniel!

      I wish I would have learned sooner as well. I didn’t learn about link globalization until long after Necromancer Awakening had hit “long tail” sales.

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  4. Hey Nat, thanks for the great tips. Could you confirm that the address bar (for the page someone would be directed to) after a booklinker globalized link has been used doesn’t actually show your original amazon associates affiliate code (I’m assuming it’s integrated but want to be sure). I’m in Europe but make any digital purchases through .com rather than .co.uk as location isn’t an issue for digital purchases so one downside would be that globalized links will direct people outside of the US to amazon sites that can have little to no reviews by comparison to the same products listed on .com. I know they show the review stats for .com right down near the bottom of the page but doubt everyone sees them and impact could be lost. Necromancer Awakening has 114 Reviews on .com but 9 on .co.uk for instance, but in general the globalization links do seem a great idea. Thanks again, Rob.

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      You’re very welcome, Rob!

      In my own experiments, the globalized link resolves to include your Amazon associates ID (providing you’ve entered the ID in the appropriate place when creating the link).

      I definitely hear you, regarding the review issue. I wish they would do a better job of linking reviews. It’s not a different product just because their legal issues require them to have an international storefront.

  5. Thanks Nat, I’ll have to run some experiments of my own 🙂 I did just notice booklinker has a My Account section where it look like maybe you input affiliate codes although it uses the word tag (under a heading ‘for affiliates’). Also came across info that indicates that to avail of associates program in diff amazon territories that you have to sign up to associates program separately for each territory – wasn’t aware of that or if that would mean using globalisation links would lose you the referral credit for redirects to amazon locales you haven’t done this for.

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  7. Hello There,

    I am using Astute Links for quite a while now and it is working great for me. It also has Amazon OneLink Support. I have used Easy Azon Pro before but I prefer Astute Links as it does not affect the loading time of the blog.

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