The Amazon Associates Link Builder plugin is being discontinued, and your links will need to be replaced. If you used the plugin, learn all the details here.
Did you get an email from Amazon that said this?
We would like to inform you that all of your applications making calls to Amazon’s Product Advertising API version 4.0 (PA API 4.0) will need to upgrade to Amazon’s Product Advertising API version 5.0 (PA API 5.0) by March 9, 2020.
PA API 5.0 is a more simple, granular, and consistent API that enables you to quickly and easily link your content to Amazon.
You may continue to use both PA API 4.0 and PA API 5.0 without disruption through March 9, 2020. After that date, we will shut down PA API 4.0, and any application calling it will no longer be able to retrieve Amazon product information.
If you did, you're probably wondering what in the heck that means and why you received it.
Many of you may have ignored it thinking that you never used the API. Well, you might have and just didn't know it.
What is an API?
API stands for Application Programming Interface. It's what allows two different computer systems to “talk” to each other.
What's happening with the Amazon API?
Amazon is coming out with a new version of their API.
When will this change take place?
The old version, Product Advertising API version 4.0 (PA API 4.0), will be discontinued on March 9, 2020 when the new one, Product Advertising API version 5.0 (PA API 5.0), becomes effective.
Does this change affect me?
For the vast majority of bloggers, this isn't an issue that we need to worry about because most of us don't use APIs to communicate with Amazon.
But if you use the Amazon Associates Link Builder (AALB) plugin, this will have a big impact on you.
Because AALB uses the API version 4.0, it will no longer work after March 9, 2020.
Instead of updating the Amazon affiliate link builder, the company decided to discontinue it. Here's what they said about the decision.
3. Why will AALB be discontinued by Amazon? We first launched Amazon Associates Link Builder (AALB), a plug-in for WordPress, to help you link Amazon products to content on your WordPress sites. As customers’ needs continue to evolve, we have been investing in content creation tools with wider applicability. Due to limited applicability, we have decided to discontinue AALB. There are many existing tools on Associate Central that are popular among our associates. Hence, we have decided to discontinue download and support of AALB. We will continue to improve our tools and services offerings in the coming year to help you integrate Amazon products into your sites.https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/resource-center/how-to-use-the-amazon-link-builder-plug-in
If you didn't use the Amazon Associates Link Builder plugin, you're good–there's nothing you need to do.
But if you did use the link builder, two things will happen on March 9th.
You'll need a new way of getting Amazon affiliate links.
First, you will not be able to use the plugin for new affiliate links.
Amazon does offer several alternative ways to create new affiliate links.
I've always used the Amazon Site Stripe. It gives me the ability to use different Amazon tracking codes.
All you do is go to the product you want to promote, then click either Text, Image, or Text + Image on the top left side of your screen.
Note: You can also use Site Stripe to create Amazon affiliate links on your phone. Open your browser, go to the Amazon website (not the app), and request the desktop version of the site. You'll then see the Site Stripe at the top.
But the Site Stripe is not the only way to get Amazon affiliate links.
From your Amazon Associates dashboard, click on Product Linking to see other options for creating affiliate links.
You'll need to convert all of the links you created with the Amazon Associates Link Builder plugin.
The second and most important thing that will happen is that none of the links you created with the Amazon Associates Link Builder will work anymore.
Here's what Amazon said:
10. How can I fix all the product links in my WordPress site before deleting the AALB plug-in? You can use Associate tools to create links to products you are advertising using AALB shortcodes. You can replace each shortcode link with an actual link to the product.https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/resource-center/how-to-use-the-amazon-link-builder-plug-in
Update your posts on every page that contains AALB shortcodes by replacing those shortcodes with product detail page links using the format:
There are no formal tools to transfer existing AALB based sites to other alternative tools.
In other words, Amazon is saying that you'll have to manually replace all of the links you built with their Link Builder.
Fortunately, there's a better way! The folks over at The Blog Fixer have you covered.
They have a solution that will convert all of your Amazon links built with the Link Builder into permanent affiliate links on your site. That means they aren't dependent on a plugin, so you never have to worry about this again!
Why wasn't Amazon more clear about this?
Frankly, I'm not sure why Amazon hasn't been more clear in notifying the folks who are using the plugin.
The only email that has been sent out (to my knowledge) is about the API change and doesn't clearly state that the plugin is being discontinued. Most of us would simply ignore the email thinking, “I don't use an API.”
In addition, Amazon's resource center page about the plugin looks like this:
When you first land on the page, you don't see anything that would indicate that you can no longer use this plugin.
I had to click my “Page Down” key 5 times to get to the FAQ section where it addresses the discontinuation.
If you don't read the FAQs closely, you just might miss the part that tells you the plugin is being shut down.
What if I only used the plugin on a few posts?
If you only used the plugin for a few posts, it may not make sense for you to use The Blog Fixer's service. Instead, you may just want to check your site for broken links on or after March 9, 2020.
I know this is a real issue for those who earn income using Amazon Associates affiliate links, so I hope this post has given you useful information. If you learn anything else about this, please leave a comment, and I'll update it.
P.S. Don't forget the solution to this problem is easy! Just contact The Blog Fixer to convert all of your links for you!