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I have to admit that one of the reasons for my “January Recommendations” posting was to experiment with the associates program. Associates earn up to 10% of the purchase if they drive traffic to and the customer actually places an order. Not that I was  expecting to make any money of this, but I was interested in seeing what the experience is for an associate if s/he needs to create a collection of links, and how good the tools are for tracking the results.

It appears that my readers are not going to earn my dinner for me: of the almost 2000 people that saw the positing only 63 actually clicked on one of the links to visit the product page at And none of you actually ordered something…

This is the summary from associates central:

As you can see 3.2% of you actually looked at the product detail pages referred to in the January recommendations posting. The last four columns are conversion, items ordered, items shipped, and referral fees. Sadly they are all still 0 (Conversion is the percentage of clicks that results in an order)

I am having great fun though with the tools at associates central. There is lots of trending tools and other reporting that allows you to build a real business out of being an associate.

It also gives you many more ways to collect referral fees than just direct product links. There are different sizes of banners for promotions in different categories, search boxes, and recommended product links.

The link above here is what will produce dynamically as recommended products for the keywords “service oriented architecture” in the books category. Next project is to see how easy it would be to integrate this into the weblog feeds…

update: the recommendation code generated by the associate program uses an iframe and as such the dynamic code doesn't show up in some of the feed readers. In the feeds I have replaced it with an image for the moment to show what it should have looked like.