Way, way back in February of 2006, I added the block of Amazon products to my blog (and frankly, I'm surprised it was that long ago—who knew?). At the time, I was picking one of the “keywords” (which I keep for all entries, and are more like phrases than actual words) at random from all the entries on the page being displayed. Over three years later (September of 2009, no blog entry about this) I changed to just picking a random “keyword” from the top entry on the page. My thought for that change was that since the ad block always appears next to the top entry, I might get a better response from readers if the book selections from Amazon matched the topic of the entry they were next to.
Okay, there were still the odd problems, like when the keyword “dead zombie languages rising from the dead” was picked (I don't blame Amazon for giving up and displaying a generic ad when given that as a search term). But it was better than before.
Then in January of this year (again no blog entry about this) I thought it might be better to actually pick the “keyword” I sent to Amazon instead of having it picked at random. That might actually improve the selection process a bit more, so I added some code to handle that.
Which brings us to today.
I have noticed over the past month or so that Amazon is always displaying a generic “Shop at Amazon” banner and try as I might, I could not get a list of books (or any other product) to show up. I wondered if the link changed (but Amazon is pretty good about keeping links working) so I checked and no, pretty much the only ads you can run now are either the generic ads like I'm getting (and that's all you can get at the size I use) or ads for a particular product.
Well … darn.
Here I went to the trouble to try to target specific items (mostly books) to readers, and Amazon has finally said, “Nope. Not gonna do it.”
So that's that. The Amazon block is gone. Besides, it wasn't worth it anymore, as I haven't earned enough for a cup of coffee from Starbucks since my last payout (whenever that was, it's been that long). And it sucks, since when it was working, the books being shown were relevent to the post and could (in theory, if my blog were a bit more targeted towards a demographic or topic) benefit both me and Amazon with a sale. That's one thing that I really haven't seen outside of GoogleLinkedMyFacePlusInSpaceBook—well done targeted advertising (inside GoogleLinkedMyFaceBookPlusInSpace? Scarily targeted advertising).