This past week, Amazon gave me the option of trying out their somewhat new “Publisher Studio” management tool. The tool went online this past November and the name is totally ridiculous because it doesn’t give you a clue to what it’s all about. (Which might be why I didn’t notice it before.)
What it does is turn your website / blog images into affiliate links for related products with a small “Shop now” button in the corner. This example is from my TV site. To make it work, I had to install a special toolbar (not so thrilled about that). You also have “enable” the toolbar – another pain. Apparently clearing my cache, which I do regularly, turns off the toolbar so I have to go back to Amazon every time to turn it back on.
You do the actual linking on your posted page, not in the admin. You can work in Page or Theater mode. Page mode pops you options as you scroll over images on the page. Theater mode gathers all of your images into a gallery so you can easily code each one.
The roll over pops a search box, type in your key word – in my case The Following – and you’re given a list of products to choose from. The search engine did a good job of offering appropriate links. Make the connection and you’re done. When readers scroll over the button they get this:
As much as I dislike the toolbar fuss, this is far easier than creating text links by hand. I know there are plugins to help with that but I’ve never had much luck with those.
The big story here isn’t the affiliate linking – that’s old news. What’s newish is the concept of converting your images into ads. Images are the trend nowadays, so why not squeeze everything you can out of them? They make your text pages more inviting. There are SEO benefits if you label them correctly and now they can act as mini-salesmen.
One caveat: it’s easy to get carried away. Resist the urge to link all your photos or your site will look like one of those old school hyperlink farms. Yikes.
Just after my test run with Amazon, I found a New York Times article about a company called Kiosked. They’re tool monetizes images and video in a very similar way. They’re tool is even more sophisticated because you can use it to add multiple links to an image.
Their more traditional ad is a scroll of options that opens down the side of an image. You can also easily embed either type of ad in YouTube and BrightCove videos.
I’m sure Amazon and Kiosked aren’t the first or only people to monetize images but both companies are making the process very easy and very mainstream. The fear is that it will become so easy and mainstream that 90% of the images on the web will be screaming SHOP NOW when all I really want to do is read the article.
As of right now, I think it’s a neat way of both monetizing and making your videos and images more interactive. We’ll see if I’m still using Amazon’s tool a month from now.
Have you tried image monetization? I’d like to hear about your experience.