Amazon Super URLs: They Might be Killing Your Reviews!

Amazon-Super-URL

There’s a strategy that a lot of people are talking about.  It sounds wonderful, and it makes a LOT of sense…but guess what…it’s not good!

Maybe you’ve heard about it?

It’s a link that people think you should use.

But in truth…

It’s quietly killing your books and I believe is quickly becoming one of the reasons why so many decent and legitimate reviews are disappearing.

What’s worse is some people are actually using it without even knowing it.

It’s called the Amazon Super URL.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • What an Amazon Super URL is
  • How to find out if you are using them – even if you don’t know it
  • Why you SHOULD NOT use them
  • One special tactic you SHOULD use

What Is An Amazon Super URL?

This:

what-is-Amazon-Super-URLAn Amazon Super URL is a link that was created by going to Amazon, searching for your book using a keyword, clicking on your book, and then copying the link at the top.

Creating a Fake Super URL 2Okay…But What’s So Super About That Link?

That may sound innocent and probably something you already do when you are quickly looking for a link to send someone when they ask, right?

But here is where it gets bad and spammy, and why Amazon probably dislikes these links:

Many authors use them to cheat the system.

You see, the Amazon A9 search engine wants to list the products that bring them the most money for that search query.  So, according to Amazon, if a higher percentage of people type in a specific keyword, and purchase your book over others, then your book will rank at the top since it proves to Amazon that YOUR book makes the most sales for that keyword.

There are other super awesome factors that help improve your Amazon rankings, and you can get in on those secrets in my free book here.

Because of this ranking factor in Amazon, many authors have started sending Amazon Super URLs to their fans, thinking that these URLs trick Amazon into thinking that the person didn’t click the link…but instead went to Amazon on their own volition, typed in the keyword, found your book, and bought it.

They believe this because, as you can see, the Keyword term is in the link and that was the link that was constructed when THEY did the search:

Super-URL-Make-Extra-MoneySo, why is that bad?

Why Amazon Super URLs DO NOT Work

In my post on Amazon Link Anatomy, I showed you the secrets to the Amazon link and what it means.  I highly recommend you check that out.

But, let’s break down that Amazon link above and discuss the parts that are important in debunking the Super URL theory:

QID:  The QID is the number of seconds since January 1, 1970.  Yup…that’s right, there is a time stamp inside of the above link.   Each time you create an Amazon link using keyword searches, Amazon marks and tracks it.

Amazon-Super-URL-with-QIDBook Rankings Number: This shows where the book ranks for that keyword search at the time of the search.  In this case, when I did a keyword search for “Make Extra Money,” Nick Loper’s excellent book showed up as the 22nd book in the results.  Because a book’s ranking changes all the time, this set of numbers creates what mathematicians would call a check-sum.  It validates whether or not the link is true based on the rank at the particular time it was created and that someone hasn’t manipulated the link.

Super-URL-Book-Ranking-NumberSo, what does this mean?

  1. Amazon tracks when searches are made – so you’re not fooling anyone.
  2. Amazon knows if you messed with the link – some people actually recommend you remove the QID or book rankings numbers…haha…oy.

As you can see, Amazon won’t be fooled, and the rest of the link structure ensures your attempt to manipulate (if that is what you were intentionally doing) your rankings with this trick won’t work.

If you don’t believe me, then here’s a modern day example.  In the news story, notice that Amazon tracked the bad reviews from one link that was posted in Reddit….and boy did they act!

Time stamp? Yup.

High percentage of certain type of review from a link? Yup

Chance that link is producing biased reviews? Yup

…I rest my case.

But It Gets Worse…

Amazon’s terms and conditions do not state anywhere specifically that creating links like this is prohibited.  However, they do state MULTIPLE times that any “intent” on manipulating their metrics will be dealt with.

So, keep that in mind as you read the following:

NOTE: This is where I start to connect the dots seeing that lots of people have commented losing legit reviews and a high percentage of those reviews being linked to these type of links.

As we authors know, Amazon has been on a witch-hunt to remove biased reviews.  Currently, they use an automatic system that scrubs their database of books looking for violations – the rules at this point are convoluted and are difficult to fully understand.

However, what we do know is that Amazon’s criteria for review removal isn’t consistent.  I believe this is because their automatic system calculates the potential of biased review based on certain factors – remember, automatic means automated, which means non-human.

So, using certain factors, Amazon decides the probability that a review is biased and should be removed.

Keep that in mind as we discuss how Amazon Super URL’s play into this.

Seeing that you created a link, used a keyword in order to potentially game their algo system, and a high percentage of those who use that link ultimately leave a review, Amazon’s automated system probably sees the connection and combined with other factors, initiates the auto-removal of the review.

Again, this is just another factor that raises Amazon’s review removal response. That’s why not all reviews are removed, and why there is inconsistency across the board.

This Amazon Marketing 'Hack' Is Silently Killing Your Books #BookMarketClick To Tweet

Again, the above is my belief based on the following criteria:

  • Amazon’s review removals are inconsistent
  • Working with other authors, I've seen a high number of reviews from Super URLs removed
  • It is against Amazon’s policy of intent

What Link You Should Use

The best and safest link to send to your raving fans is what I call the base URL.  This is the Amazon link up to the 10 digit ASIN number.  See below:

Amazon-Link-Base-URLUse this or an Amazon Associate link (see below for why this is safe) when sending your fans to buy your book.

Amazon Associate Is Safe

Amazon associate is a program in Amazon where you can create a link, and if someone clicks on it, you earn a percentage of any sale on Amazon within 24 hours.

So, wouldn’t a link you create through this program also be flagged and marked for the reasons discussed above?

Great point.  But there are four parts to Amazon Associate that keep us safe and are therefore okay to use – and why I continue to use them myself:

  1. There are no Keyword Tagging, time tags, or checksums inside of an Amazon Associate link – therefore, there is no “intent” to game the system nor does it affect their algo rankings.
  2. Amazon actually encourages the use of Amazon Associate links to point to your own book – therefore, they basically say these links are a-okay.
  3. As someone who loves using Amazon Associate links to point to his books, I’ve never seen any adverse effects of using them.
  4. When you sign up for an Amazon Associate account, you sign terms and user agreements, making yourself an official Amazon affiliate.  You’ve – supposedly – read and understand their rules.

Conclusion

If you are creating links this way in hopes to game the system, then stop.  I’ve proven that they don’t work, and you are only endangering your potential reviews.

If you are using these links by mistake, then I recommend using the base URL instead to minimize the risk that such links are endangering your reviews.

Link responsibly, my friends #BookMarketingClick To Tweet

Either way, they don’t work and there is GREAT potential that these links are frowned upon by Amazon and their automatic review removal system.

Link-Responsibly-My-Friends

So link wisely my friends!

Cheers,

Dave-Signature

47 Comments

  1. Anthony Bui-Tran on August 28, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    Dave, you should check out pixelfy they generate the QID for you in the supreme 1.0 url

  2. Trịnh Xuân Quảng on February 18, 2019 at 7:11 am

    Hi Dave,
    Super URL will help increase your keywords of listing but if use Amazon Associate link. It only help you increase reviews, some firsts sales. It will not help for your keywords.
    Which method do you use to push rank of your keywords?

  3. Steven Black on January 24, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    Dave,You encourage the use of an Amazon Affiliate account. My question is in terms of sharing the affiliate links on social media or in ads. From what I understand, that is against TOS for the affiliate account and they’ll take down your affiliate account. Can you share any insight into this?
    Thank you.

    • Dave Chesson on January 24, 2019 at 7:59 pm

      Hi Steven. No problem. Inside your Amazon Affiliate account, you need to list your social media page, or YouTube channel as an approved site for your affiliate link. That way, Amazon is good with seeing sales and traffic come from your social media or YT. If you do not list them, then you are in violation of their TOS.

  4. Debi Zylbermann on October 23, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    Hi Dave,
    I know you wrote this a couple of years ago, and I remember always being very wary of superurls for a long time. However, I’m just launching a new product, and tried to do a regular search in Amazon for my product keywords, and in the real results url, there is no timestamp there. Have Amazon changed the format?
    This is the link when I look for the product directly in Amazon:
    https://www.amazon.com/s/re
    Also if I want to use a URL that takes users to my storefront, is that an issue?
    This is the URL to the storefront: https://www.amazon.com/s/?r
    Thanks

    • Dave Chesson on October 23, 2018 at 3:21 pm

      Hi Debi, the first link you sent is a search link and not a product link – so there is not a time stamp there. So, my opinion is that that is more fine than a product searched link. As for your store front, you can, but I’d still just use the most base url for your store front to be on the safe side. I’ll admit that after seeing how they track, I’m a LOT more cautious than most on the links. So, take my advice with a grain of salt.

      • Debi Zylbermann on October 23, 2018 at 5:04 pm

        Thank you Dave, for your speedy reply.
        If I understood correctly, what you are suggesting is that I either use the search link, or the storefront url without the keywords, is that correct?

        • Dave Chesson on October 23, 2018 at 8:32 pm

          That is what I would do. I just would not risk it and ensure your link is clean.

  5. Kathy Denver on October 18, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Hey Dave, I tried to share a ‘clean link’ to a book. When I pasted it to share it, it was clean. It posted clean too. BUT when clicked on it bring me to the Amazon page and the link in the address bar is MASSIVE and not clean at all.
    Here is an example:
    Clean link to my book – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dog-Soldie...
    But when I share that link and I click it to bring me to the page it looks like this on Amazon –
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Do…I do not know what is happening at Amazon but this is only a recent thing. It usually stays as a clean link when clicked on.

    • Dave Chesson on October 18, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      Good news – It is still clean. The rest of the other stuff is attached to the account/logon information. But no QID or search terms or sum checks are in it. Just a indiction of your account, and where you came from.

  6. Claudia Herring on September 24, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    Would a simple solution be to just tell your readers to type the name of your novel in the amazon search window? I know that we need to have links for other purposes, but this may be a clean solution for many things.

    • Dave Chesson on September 24, 2018 at 9:39 pm

      Yup or if you have a target keyword that you want your book to show up for, tell them to type that in, find your book and click and buy that way. Fastest way to rank quickly for that keyword.

  7. Kathryn Newey on July 19, 2018 at 9:14 pm

    Hi, just to say that Amazon use other methods too. I shared the short url with a friend, forgetting that I had once had something delivered to their address, so their address was saved as one of the addresses in my amazon account. Amazon deleted their review almost immediately on posting it!

    • Dave Chesson on July 21, 2018 at 1:11 am

      Yup – lots of factors. I actually have a youtube video on most of them.

  8. Adondriel on July 13, 2018 at 9:43 pm

    I was personally getting annoyed by how often I accidentally send my friends the full amazon super url.
    As a programmer, I completely understand why they do it. The typical design idea behind why they put those items in the url like that is so that, if you want to link your friends to search results, you are able to just copy the link. (this is called a GET request, the alternative is a post, a post request hides the information you are sending, in the background, rather than in the URL, It is usually used for bigger data). but your point about tracking review bombs or inauthentic reviews makes a lot of sense too, it helps them make sure that people aren’t sending trolls. (even if they got rid of the super URL part, i’m sure they have a system that also tracks the referring site, which is a thing.)

    • Dave Chesson on July 14, 2018 at 2:53 am

      Yup – There is the parts to teh links and I’m sure they use a lot more behind the scenes

  9. Emeka on June 10, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    Dave, can I link this article to my youtube video about Bad KDP Practices?

    • Dave Chesson on June 10, 2017 at 10:06 pm

      Absolutely!

      • Emeka on June 10, 2017 at 11:42 pm

        Thanks man, just went live! Love your stuff!

        • Dave Chesson on June 11, 2017 at 12:02 am

          Thanks buddy. That means a lot to hear!

  10. Yvette on May 14, 2017 at 12:07 am

    Great article. In reviewing the link to my first book, I noticed the super URL has alias as the name of the book, instead of the book title. It was through CreateSpace, could this by why? Thank you!

  11. Michal on March 21, 2017 at 9:14 am

    It’s great to have such a nerd friend like you. I had used those super URLs in the past.
    I need to check out my blog *sigh*

  12. Amy on February 24, 2017 at 9:43 am

    Is this link OK https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B002YTARB2/ref=tmm_pap_new_olp_0?ie=UTF8&condition=new&qid=&sr= ? I have the most copy of my book that I want to link to. It’s linked from my website epoemsaboutlife.com

    • Dave Chesson on February 24, 2017 at 6:42 pm

      Hi Amy, that would be okay. However, the best link you should use is: https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B002YTARB2 It’s cleaner and less likely to be linked to your account.

      • Amy on February 28, 2017 at 9:05 pm

        Hi Dave,
        Thanks for your quick response. I am now having a bigger issue. So this link https://www.amazon.com/Poetry-All-Those-Breathing-Marschak/dp/B002YTARB2/ref=dp_ob_title_bk is a link to the newest version of the book that I am selling but instead of updating the listing I a made a new listing a few years ago. So if you go to my kindle version and then click on 2 new under paperback listing, it goes back to an older version and unless you can find the teeny arrow, you will not even know that my more current version even exists. If you do click on the paperback box then it will take you to a listing that below says a newer version exists. What should I do?

  13. Craig McDonough on February 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    I always grab the link for my books from my KDP dashboard which only shows the ASIN # like so https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06VSS8Y6L

  14. Tam Francis: The Girl in the J on February 8, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    Thank you. I have an Assoc. Acct. for the US and not for the UK, so when I link I use that long URL for the UK. Thanks for the tip. I will make sure I only use up to the number.

    Also, something strange I noticed with the Assoc. Link, they are different. If I go and grab an Assoc. Link they are different EACH time. So, they are tracking something. What? I don’t know. Have you noticed this?

    • Dave Chesson on February 8, 2017 at 9:55 pm

      Yeah, the links are generated when requested, but for the other reasons listed, I don’t think there is anything wrong with it and no time stamps found either.

  15. Joanna @ MumsKidsJesus.com on February 8, 2017 at 9:25 am

    Thanks for the great tip. Never would have known this. About to publish my first book so it’s very timely. Just to note: Amazon associate links are not allowed in email.

    • Dave Chesson on February 8, 2017 at 2:49 pm

      Hi Joanna…where does it say that it can’t be in an email – if that’s the case, than whoops because I’ve used them there.

      • Joanna @ MumsKidsJesus.com on February 9, 2017 at 7:38 pm

        Hi Dave….it says in the Associates Program Participation Requirements #6. This post by Amy Lynn Andrews explains it all: https://amylynnandrews.com/do-not-put-amazon-associates-links-in-emails/ Amazon associate links are only allowed online, not in emails, ebooks, pdfs etc. Bummer, I know.

        • Sarah Lentz on February 20, 2017 at 4:20 pm

          I did not know this, though I have had problems in the past with affiliate links in one of my ebooks. It just didn’t translate well, though I’m not sure what I did wrong. I ended up removing it and using the simple link with the ASIN code instead. Thanks for sharing this.

      • Michal on March 21, 2017 at 9:13 am

        Yes Dave, you are not visiting Pat’s group on FB often enough. This topic appeared at least several times.
        Whoops indeed 😉

        • Dave Chesson on March 21, 2017 at 1:00 pm

          Haha…very true. I haven’t been around as I’d like.

      • Anthony Pero on December 6, 2017 at 4:52 pm

        I’d think a simple redirect would work in that case. The link in your email goes to your website, which redirects in the background to the amazon page with your associate tag, but given how Amazon cracks down on stuff like this when they spot it, it might not be worth it.

        • Dave Chesson on December 6, 2017 at 8:09 pm

          Some do that, yes. However, Amazon Associate will, if they can’t tell where something is found or believe you are cloaking links, close your account. This will typically happen once you hit a certain threshhold of money or something triggers a red flag. Then you’ll get a human check, and the not-so nice email.

  16. Nerdy Creator on February 8, 2017 at 4:01 am

    Great post, Dave. To be honest, I thought of using Amazon Super URL before. Glad I didn’t. Thanks for the tip! 🙂

  17. Jonathan Tucker on February 7, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    Excellent article Dave.

    Luckily I’d read your other great post about the base URL before I published any books.

    Good to get these nuggets.

    • Dave Chesson on February 7, 2017 at 6:34 pm

      High five to a long time reader! Yup, since that Amazon Super URL tid bit was ‘buried’ inside of that article and I kept hearing people recommend the “hack” to others, I figured it needed its own article.

  18. Jaime D. Buckley on February 7, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    Great article, Dave. Appreciate the info…though I’m still scooping parts of my brain form my desk…

    Problem is, I think I’ve been sharing those links innocently and have even put them in my lead magnets of other books!

    *MOOOOAN*

    So NOW what? Gotta go through the reams of marketing materials, when I thought I was doing this right….an change all the links.

    Bugger.

    • Dave Chesson on February 7, 2017 at 6:24 pm

      Sadly….yeah. Again, not saying that that is a direct cause…but, like I said in the article, I believe this increases the potential of legit reviews getting removed. Just spreading the good word.

  19. Chris Tick on February 7, 2017 at 7:44 am

    Excellent one to watch out for Dave. Once again you have saved someone from amazon’s wrath.

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Hey Guys, I’m Dave and when I am not sipping tea with princesses or chasing the Boogey man out of closets, I’m a Kindlepreneur and digital marketing nut – it’s my career, hobby, and passion.

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