HOWTO: Create Intelligent Amazon Associates Ads

In Create Intelligent Blog Ads Part 1 and Part 2 we used a little bit of PHP magic to make our ads work a little bit harder and become just a bit more relevant to our audience. We used cookies, search engine referrals and even the visitors geographical location. In this post I will show you an experiment I have been testing using Amazon Associates.

Amazon is one of my favourite affiliate schemes. Because most people have an Amazon account and they pay out if the customer buys something from your referral even if it isn’t the thing you pointed them to, there is often an opportunity to earn just by getting random people to click .. anything. A lot of your visitors will buy something eventually, it’s just a matter of time. So the trick is to get them to take a look using your associates cookie.

The problem is Google does not like you using contextual ads alongside Adsense, they want to be the only contextual advertising in town. Amazon has a contextual product which would be ideal otherwise, and if it worked I guess.

How can we make Amazon banners relevant without manually pointing to a bunch of products? That problem is exactly why I developed this cunning plan.

Looking through the various link options I happened across a banner that shows products based on a search query. This banner will show random products that match the query. Give it a good enough start phrase and the results are quite good, certainly seem to be generating a fair few curiosity clicks so far for me. Obviously I will still link to individual products too but for space-filler ads these seem to work quite well.

To stop the same old products appearing over and over I decided to rotate the search phrases. Then I thought I could have a whole bunch of these ads on the homepage, increasing the chance someone will see something they want to click on. In the end I came up with the following solution.

print ““;


(Replace ASSOCIATECODE with your associate ID)

First we generate a list of keywords, then randomly select one phrase. This phrase is inserted into Amazon supplied code snippet as “search=$search”. You will notice I am using the Geo IP code from before to determine whether to show the version or the

My next phase in the scheme is for me to make it even more contextual, I have some ideas …

This of course will work for any affiliate scheme that takes search parameters, I would love for you to try it and let me know how well it works or if there are any flaws in my plan!

7 thoughts on “HOWTO: Create Intelligent Amazon Associates Ads

  1. Hi

    Is it possible to use all the modes (categories)?

    So instead of “&mode=electronics-uk” in your code above having something like:

    “&mode=electronics-uk+books-uk+baby-uk” etc so that the rusults would come from all amazon categories?

    I have struggled to get this to work for some time with little success 🙁

    Many thanks

    Mr M

  2. The only way I have found is to search for proxies in the location you want to test, not ideal I know!

  3. I’ll third that this is super cool.

    Do you know any way to test a geo-ip script so that you can see the different country outputs it would give? For example, I’m based in Thailand, and I’d like to see what appears on screen for users in the UK and US. My hack of your script appears to be working fine, but it’d be good to double check.

    At the moment I have resorted to badgering friends in the UK to check a test URL 😉

    I tried searching on geolocation ip emulator and the like but had no joy.

  4. Yeh, it is cool.

    I think it also demonstrates what knowing the basics of a programming language like PHP can do for your productivity/income — it’s not essential by any means, but it sure as hell helps to know how to hack a module/template to your liking…

  5. Thanks Jill, I just hope it works for attracting more affiliate sales!

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