Saturday, June 1, 2013

Amazon Associates: Pass on Flash

A while back, I enthusiastically referenced my adoption of Amazon Associates advertisements within my blog.  Indeed, I still like the idea of selecting what will be advertised within the space of my blog.  Contextual advertising such as Google's Adsense is quick and easy to implement, but a blog such as MyTurnQuips which has a very eclectic approach to subject matter is definitely a challenge to the logic used to choose the ads and frankly sometimes it just gets it wrong.  For example, I was a bit horrified to take a peak at my post regarding Long Term Care insurance in which I clearly expressed that this insurance is not for me only to find an advertisement for Long Term Care insurance... hmm, I've stated that commercial motivation is not my major reason for blogging, but I'd prefer not to look foolish.

There are many things that I like about Amazon Associates such as:
  1. Ability to choose specific products.
  2. Appearance - the widgets look professional and are visually appealing.
  3. Low pay out - you only need to earn $10 to get paid.
As the saying goes, "there is no such thing as a free lunch," and such is the case with Amazon Associates.  First, it should be clearly noted that it is much more difficult to get someone to actually buy a product (which is required to earn with Amazon) versus merely click an advertisement (which is the case with Adsense).  Due to this basic truth, I continue to evaluate whether I should re-focus on Adsense or continue to focus monetization efforts with Amazon.

A second area to consider with Amazon may not be readily apparent to all bloggers.  Namely, many of the "flashiest" Amazon widgets rely on Flash.  Two of the most appealing widgets that I explored with Amazon Associates was the "Deal of the Day" widget and the MP3 Clips widget, both of which rely on Flash.

The novice may say, "so, what's the big deal?"  The big deal is that Flash is proprietary, a product of Adobe and has not been fully embraced by all.  Further, with the advent of HTML 5, other technologies are identified as the future for web media.  Popular Apple products such as the iPhone and iPad do not support flash. The Google Nexus 7 also does not support Flash out of the box (there is a workaround circulating to permit those so inclined to install an older version of Chrome, but likely many will not choose this route.)

Google Blogger users should take a careful look at their Stats, Pageviews by Operating System (similar stats are available from other providers).  When I review my stats, I see that Windows continues to dominate, but there is a notable number of page views by iPhone, iPad and Android and these devices represent the fastest growing sector.  Unfortunately, any Flash based widgets that are deployed on your blog will not be seen by users of these devices.  At one point I thought it would be cool to deploy the MP3 Clips widget so that readers could play some "mood music" while they read my posts.  It was a nice thought, but a quick peak on my iPad will verify, no mood music for you... Ultimately, I pulled my MP3 Clips widget, although I did keep the Flash based Deal of the Day widget.

It is my hope that perhaps Amazon will hear our impassioned plea and please update these widgets to HTML5 so that I can bring some mood music to all my readers.

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