Coding For Online Success

Understanding the Amazon Product Advertising API


I’ve been working on some Amazon store fronts. With the recent chatter about the EPN Quality Click Pricing, I thought it would be good to focus on a few other sites while the dust settles. I have confidence that everything with EPN will work out, but this is a good reminder that one should stay diversified.

I’m basically working on a few things. The first priority was to get my existing sites working after the signed authentication change which happened on August 15th. The next priority was to find a new blog plugin that would handle Amazon products nicely. I found ReviewAzon, which fits my needs perfectly for posting products, but I needed a good ‘store front’ script or way to include this with my ReviewAzon sites.

I found Amazon Niche Store, which is free, and it looks similar to my various store fronts, but I wasn’t happy about the results being returned from the author’s server. So I figured I need to modify the plugin and do the lookup and presentation on my own. The author also displayed his tracking code 10% of the time (which he states). This was a fun project, since I’ve never worked on a plugin and it seems lately I’ve been doing a lot of WordPress stuff.

I wanted to state that finding good documentation about the Amazon AWS or Product Advertising API is somewhat difficult (not sure why), but since I found the proper docs, I wanted to post them here. The Product Advertising API Developer Guide is must have link if you’re going to be doing any work with the API, it gives you a complete run down of the Operations needed to ask the appropriate questions to Amazon and return products.

I was able to rewrite that plugin and include it within my ReviewAzon sites by creating a category ‘stores’ within the blogs. One immediate challenge I had with that plugin re-write was the ability of returning more than 10 products, which appears to be a very common problem. My solution, and not sure if it’s the best, is to loop through the requests to get multiple pages and adding them to a array. To save on additional calls I serialized the array and stored it in the WP options table based on keyword searched with a timestamp. If the timestamp is expired, it will do another lookup, etc.

If any of you have dealt with this in the past and has a better solution, please let me know!


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