Monday, August 1, 2011

From Amazon to

When California adopted its budget last month, it required sales tax on Internet sales. The next day Amazon notified me by email that our marketing affiliate relationship was over.

How I wept! I'd just set up a gay film blog and a gay book blog with nice links to Amazon so readers could purchase a DVD or book they'd read about on the blog. Perfect product placement. It worked, too. I'd already sold a book on Amazon. The blogs sat idle while I figured out a way to monetize future traffic.

The answer: Replace the Amazon Associates program with Linkshare and I read that it was possible, but it took me a few hours to figure out how to make it work. does not have its own affiliate program. It does affiliate marketing through Linkshare. If you want an alternative to Amazon to provide products, here's how to do it.
  1. Set up an account at LinkShare today! (Of course, I make some money if you press that link and sign up, thank you).
  2. Linkshare has a notion of Marketing Channels (look under the My Accounts tab after you've successfully logged in). You probably want to set up a marketing channel for each site or blog you will populate with links.
  3. Once you have Marketing Channels set up, select one. You select one of your Marketing Channels with a pulldown at the top right, next to your Site ID. If you only have one Marketing Channel, its already set to that Channel.
  4. Select the Programs tab on the Linkshare page. You can find advertisers by category here. To request an affiliate relationship with, enter "" into the Advertiser Search in the top right, then click through the approval process.
  5. Repeat steps 3. and 4. for each Marketing Channel. After you've set up a relationship with for each Marketing Channel, you're ready to add products from
  6. To create an advertising link for a product available on, go to the Individual Product Link Builder page on
  7. In the Product Link Builder, enter your 11 Digit Publisher Code from Linkshare. Unfortunately, Linkshare doesn't provide a simple way to find this Code. Go to the Links tab on the Linkshare site. Generate a Link Code by selecting an advertiser (e.g. "LinkShare Referral Program" or ""), selecting a link type (e.g., "Banners / Images"), selecting any link and pressing the "Get Link" button. A pop-up will display the link code at the bottom. Look for the 11 characters following "?id=". That's the Linkshare 11 Digit Publisher Code you place in the Product Link Builder page. Whew! A couple of hints. Make sure you've selected the proper Marketing Channel on the Linkshare page (see Step 3 above – ­­­each Marketing Channel has a different 11 Digit Publisher Code). Also, copy the Publisher Code somewhere where you can find it quickly so  you don't have to go through this excruciating process again.
  8. Next, in a new browser tab, search for the product you want to advertise. Copy the URL of the product, and paste the URL into the Product Link Builder.
  9. If you just need a URL and not HTML code, you don't need to enter anything else. Press the Create Link button at the bottom.
  10. If you want the HTML code for a text link, fill in the text you want, and press the Create Link button at the bottom. You don't need to enter the Sku.
  11. If you want the HTML for a picture link rather than a text link, skip the "text you want displayed" and enter the Sku number from the product page you found in Step 8. Then press the Create Link button at the bottom. Hint, if the product you found doesn't have a graphic or photo, you  can use the Sku from another product that looks similar.
And that's all there is to it!

As a Blogger user who was used to the simplicity of the Amazon Associate interface, this is a let down. The interactions between Linkshare and are clunky, to be polite.

If you follow these directions, though, you should be able to get your Linkshare account set up and create your first product link in under a half hour.

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