Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Affiliate Programs and Geo-targeting

Both Amazon and Smashwords have affiliate programs, where you are paid a percentage of a book's sale price to promote that book. This is good for you as you can get other people to promote your book (Smashwords will even allow you to give some of your profit from the book to an affiliate to make marketing your book more attractive). But as well as some free marketing you also get tools that will help you market your own books.

The books shown on the left here are my main eBooks, all sold via Amazon for their kindle platform. If you have an account on Amazon then you can easily become an affiliate. This gives you tools for creating individual ads like these, rotating ads and text link ads. In all these ads, your own affiliate link is embedded so that, if someone buys an ebook by following one of these links the affiliate income from that sale is credited to your account. Think of it as being paid twice.

But, as each Amazon store is isolated from the others and you are selling your books at and, say, you have to create a different ad for each territory you want to target. This also means that you either have to show two or three or four ads for each book, or you only target a single territory that you might consider to be the main market for your book.

At first glance, it looks as if this is what I have done with the books show here. You are seeing just a single view. However, the ads are embedded onto this web page via a small piece of code that I run on my main website.

The code that I added to this blog page is this:

<div style="float: left; width: 120;">
<iframe frameborder="0" height="240" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" scrolling="NO" src="" style="border: none;" width="120"></iframe>

iframe is the html code for an inline frame that allows you include an external web page in another web page. So, here, code run on my website is embedded in this page. The 'div' bit defines how large the page I am embedding is and it also defines that the iframe should be aligned left on this page, which is where the formatting comes from.

All I am doing here is calling a script called 'barbecue-ebooks' on my website. This has the code in it for displaying the ad shown here, which I get from Amazon. The code also tells the web page to embed  the add in the iframe on this page.

Now, I mainly sell on and, the code I am calling includes the links for the US and UK advertisements for all the eBooks shown above:

But you only see one ad... how come? Well, if you are in the UK you see the UK ad. If you are anywhere else in the world you see the US ad. But how is that done?

Well, I am using something called geo-targeting. The internet uses something called IP Adresses to define the computer or router that the visitor to your site comes form. Something like: As these adresses are given out by agencies in the US, Europe, Africa and Asia-Pacific each address an be decoded to the region and country in the world from where it came. As a result, you can know from where your main site visitors originated. You can get free databases and even flatfiles from the internet that will allow you to look up an IP adress and map that to a country code (I use the flatfiles from to do this and either use the flatfiles directly or load into a database for quicker querying.

Once you have a country code its a simple matter to write a script, something along the lines — if a visitor is from the UK or IE display the ad, otherwise display the ad. Use a simple redirect to ensure the correct ad displays to your visitors. You have geo-location enabled and instead of having only one static ad delivered to your site visitors you have ads targeted based on their location.

You will see that I also have the same kind of thing in the right toolbar of this pate. In this case though I randomly choose which ad to display. Every time a visitor refreshes the page they will see a new ad. I also have the technology to rotate through the ads. Which is excellent for blog pages.

If you are interested in this technology, but either do not have your own website to host the code or do not have the technical knowledge to be able to produce geo-targeted ads like these I can help. Hosting of ads from my site starts from $20, depending on requirements and complexity for a single display ad (that ad can be as complex as you like). If you want further information or a more detailed quite contact me at Celtnet Sales.

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