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Introducing Amazoner: Create Amazon Associate Links with ease

Update (30/10/2005)
There's a new version of this tool available. This tool also has a dedicated site from now on. For the latest version downloads and information, go to this URL:

A while ago I posted about a little tool that I used to create Amazon Associate links on my blog. If you're not sure what that is, associate links are links to Amazon stuff I recommend. If you purchase them, I get a little bit of money for it. I always recommend stuff I stand behind, so that people can trust my reviews and recommendations.
Anyway, the tool I did back then was pretty un-usable. you had to find the product page in amazon, paste it into the tool and copy the link it generated for you (which was not always successful). You then had to use the link in a specially formatted HTML segment on your blog or wherever you needed it.
As part of my getting to know .NET 2.0 and my re-acquaintance with VB.NET, I've decided to create a tool that I would actually use without breaking a sweat. That's how Amazoner came to be.
The idea is simple: It uses Amazon's Web Services to allow you to query for the book you want to recommend (search by title) and then simply right click and copy an HTML ready link to your blog.
Here's what it looks like:
Download is available in two versions:
  • Simple version (145k): Just the executable and a readme file.
  • Full version (710k): includes installer and the source code for the application.
All downloads require the .NET 2.0 Beta 2 re-dist. to run properly.
Here's a sample of a link for a good book I'll be writing about soon, created with it:
From the Readme file:
Amazoner was designed to make one thing very easy if you're a blog writer who's also an Amazon Associate:
The ability to recommend books that you like using your associate ID so that you'll get a pittance whenever someone actually buys them.
The main form allows you to enter a search query for a book's title (or part of it).
You'll then get a list of the first 10 books that match that title along with their authors and a small screenshot of the book cover.
That should be enough information for you to select the book you wanted to recommend.
The next step is to create an associate link from the book you chose. That's very easy.
Simply right click on the row of the book you want and select one of three choices.
  1. Copy title as link: Copies to the clipboard an HTML link with the title as text and the link referring to the book's homepage along with your associate ID
  2. Copy image as link: the same as the first only instead of the title text, you get the small cover image as a link with your associate ID
  3. Copy both as link: Creates a center-aligned HTML with the book image and title below it as a link with your associate ID.
Now simply go to your favorite HTML editor (Can be a WYSIWYG editor as well) and simply PASTE (CTRL-V) into the place you want.
Important notes:
1. This application uses the Amazon Web Services account for me: Roy Osherove.
I encourage you to create your own amazon web services account at amazon
and changing the Web Service account ID for this application to your own.
You can do this by going to Options->Change Web Service Credentials.
If you're going to use my account -please be respectful and don't
hammer any servers with it, or I'll be the one screwed over by your actions!
2. You can only search books, and only by title.
That's all I needed so that all I created.
3. Change the associate ID at the bottom of the form to your own ID, or I'll get all the credit for someone purchasing your recommended books.

Early experiences from .NET 2.0 Winforms

My Agile talk at Ireland Devs group finally has permanent links