elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Noticed some differences in LiveJournal outbound links? This time Amazon seems to not be at fault!

Probably many on my friends list know that (it's on my disclaimer and I have also a monthly post about it) I'm enrolled in two Referrals Programs, for Amazon and 1 Romance Ebooks. The main result is that I can monitor the out clicks from my posts to the linked pages, and so I can monitor, for example, if, after reading a review, someone clicked on the Amazon details page. I can't monitor, obviously, who that person is, but it's a good way to understand if people like or not a book, or a movie, or everything else I linked.

The side and nice effect is that, if someone buys the product, I have a referral fee: it's nothing big, more or lesst 5/10 dollars a month, but I decided to receive gift vouchers, meaning that I can use that money to buy other books, and I use that money to buy print books from Amazon, books that otherwise would be too much expensive due to the shipping costs... (all right, don't let me tell you that, using 25 dollars of a 6 months referrals fees, I spent 100 dollars in total! mmm, I have the vague idea that, in a way or the other, I always spend too much...).

Anyway in the last month I noticed something strange: my referrals fees are suddenly stopped, meaning that no one apparently bought books, and the out clicks also drastically dropped. To be clear, when I monitor an out click the report Amazon gives me monitors also the other clicks from the landing page, if you click from me to Amazon landing on a book details page, I count one click for that book, and then, if you click on another page from the details page, Amazon counts another click for the second book and so on. Now it seems that I'm able to count only the first out click and nothing else, and obviously no click to buy the book.

I was wondering what had happened when I noticed another thing, the link to a tag for a LiveJournal page also changed. Example, before the change to link a tag you had this code:


now you have:


So I took a look to the links to Amazon I put on my posts. Here is what is happening. This is a typical post:


as you will notice there are several links to Amazon. One is to The Lure by Felice Picano. My link is (at the end of the post):


where "XXX" is my Associate ID (it's fake, I don't know how sure it's to put my real Associate ID out there, even if you can easily see it on the links) 

but if you click on it you are redirected to:


and the landing page is:


My Associate ID "XXX" is substituted by "5336432744". If someone procede to buy the book, obviously the sell is computed to this last associate ID "5336432744", that is not mine. If someone links to another page, the out click is again computed to that Associate ID and not to me. I contacted both LiveJournal than Amazon on the matter (BTW the problem is ONLY with links to Amazon, for example, my other links to 1 Romance Ebooks are properly working).

LiveJournal reply was that I probably have a spyware problem on my pc! No sorry guys, that is not the problem at all.

Amazon was a little more helpful:

"I confirmed that when I clicked the link provided in your e-mail message it tagged to your account correctly. However, when I clicked any of the links in your LiveJournal post, they all tagged to that other ID. I tried posting some links on my own LiveJournal profile and these also tagged to the other ID. This suggests that the problem may lie with the way LiveJournal is handling Associate links."

As I supposed, the problem seems to be on LiveJournal side, they changed something with the last release, probably the same change that now links in a different way the tagged pages, and this is resulting in a strange "behaviour" with the ALL the tags to Amazon (the Referrals Program works with a tagging system).

I think that "5336432744" is not even a real Associate ID, but if it's (and I hope it's not a LiveJournal ID...), they are collecting all the fees of people who have a LiveJournal account and an Associate ID with Amazon.

My "geeky" ability ends here, if someone of my friends is more "technical" and can help me, please do so, it's not much the fees I'm losing (I can live without 5/10 dollars per month), it's more that I hate to not be able to really see how the trend in the publishing world is moving. And in any case, I also thought that other in my friends list would like to know.
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