Configure ScrapeAZon for WordPress

ScrapeAZon Plugin for WordPressConfiguring the ScrapeAZon Plugin for WordPress for the first time requires you to obtain an Amazon Affiliate ID and an Amazon Product Advertising API Access Key/Secret Key pair. This process can be confusing.

The following guide provides step-by-step instructions for establishing your Amazon Affiliate ID and API credentials. Additionally, this guide describes how to configure ScrapeAZon in WordPress after you have obtained your Amazon credentials.

This guide does not cover how to use the ScrapeAZon shortcode in a page or post. That topic will be covered in a separate post.

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How to Obtain an Amazon Affiliate ID

An Affiliate ID is an identifier that uses to track referral sales. Amazon uses the Affiliate ID in combination with a Product Advertising API Access Key and Secret Key to authenticate an affiliate to the API. Without an Affiliate ID, you will not be able to access the Amazon Product Advertising API. As such, you will not be able to use the ScrapeAZon Plugin for WordPress.

Below is a step-by-step process for obtaining an Affiliate ID:

  1. Visit the Amazon Affiliate Program Page.
  2. Click the Join Now for Free button.
    Configure ScrapeAZon - Join For Free
  3. Sign in to Amazon by using your regular (or Amazon International site) credentials.
  4. Provide your Amazon payee information (name and address).
  5. Click the Next: Your Website Profile button. If there are problems with the information you entered, Amazon will automatically recommend changes.
  6. Fill in your Web site profile information. Amazon will use the information you provide to automatically generate an Amazon Affiliate ID for you. You will also receive an e-mail that contains the ID.
    Configure ScrapeAZon - Your Website Profile
  7. Click the Next button.
  8. Amazon will attempt to verify your identity. You will need to enter a valid telephone number and click the Call Me Now button.
  9. Amazon will display a PIN that you will need to either type or speak when the automated system calls you.
    Configure ScrapeAZon - Verify Your Identity
  10. You must agree to the Associates Program Operating Agreement by selecting the appropriate check box.
  11. Click the Finish button.
  12. Finally, you will need to provide the Amazon Affiliate Program with payee and tax information so that you can be paid for referrals. Click the Now button.
  13. After you have selected a payment method and filled in the appropriate information, you might need to provide tax information. Answer the questions appropriately and click the Save and Continue button.
  14. After the tax interview is complete, click the Submit button. You should receive e-mails from Amazon validating that your information was received.

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How to Obtain Access to the Amazon Product Advertising API

After you have obtained an Amazon Affiliate ID, you will need to obtain access to the Product Advertising API. You can sign up for the Amazon Product Advertising API by clicking the Product Advertising API tab in Amazon Associates Central. You can also sign up by visiting the Product Advertising API page directly.

  1. On the Amazon Product Advertising API page, click the Sign Up Now button.
  2. Sign in to Amazon by using your regular (or Amazon International site) credentials.
  3. Provide your Amazon Web Services account information. Amazon might automatically fill in your name, address, and telephone number if you have previously supplied that information.
  4. Provide your company name, Web site URL, and a brief description of the site from which you’ll be accessing the Amazon Product Advertising API.
  5. Read and agree to the Product Advertising API Terms of Service by selecting the check box.
    Configuring ScrapeAZon - Advertising API Terms
  6. Type the code in the image presented to you, then click the Complete Registration button.
  7. When you reach the Success screen, click the Manage Your Account link.
    Configuring ScrapeAZon - Manage Your Account
  8. On the Manage Your Account page, click the AWS Security Credentials Console button.
  9. You might be asked to sign in to AWS. If so, use the same credentials you used to sign up for the Product Advertising API.
  10. You will see a dialog box urging you to follow security best practices for your AWS account. However, as of this writing, the Amazon Product Advertising API does not support IAM users. Instead, you should click the Continue to Security Credentials button.
    Configure ScrapeAZon - Continue to Security Credentials
  11. Click the Access Keys (Access Key ID and Secret Access Key) tab.
  12. You might notice that a root Access Key/Secret Key pair has already been created for you. Amazon will not allow you to view the Secret key for existing root credentials, which means you will need to click the Create New Access Key button, which will open a new dialog box that contains a new Access Key / Secret Key pair.
  13. Click the Download Key File button. You will not be able to download it later. You can also click Show Access Keys to manually copy them to a secure location.
  14. After (and only after) you have downloaded/copied the keys, click the Close button.
  15. Log out of the AWS Security Console by clicking on your user name and then clicking Sign Out.

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How to Install ScrapeAZon

There are three different ways to install ScrapeAZon on your WordPress site. All three methods are outlined below.

The WordPress Repository Way

  1. From your WordPress Dashboard, click Plugins > Add New.
  2. In the Search field, type ScrapeAZon and hit the Enter key.
  3. In the search results, locate ScrapeAZon and click the Install Now button.
  4. Activate ScrapeAZon by clicking the Activate link on the Plugins page.
  5. Visit Settings > ScrapeAZon from your WordPress Dashboard.

The UPLOAD Button Way

  1. From your WordPress Dashboard, click Plugins > Add New.
  2. Click the Upload Plugin button.
  3. Click the Choose File button and select the ScrapeAZon .zip file to upload.
  4. Click the Install Now button.
  5. Activate ScrapeAZon by clicking the Activate link on the Plugins page.
  6. Visit Settings > ScrapeAZon from your WordPress Dashboard.

The Old-School Manual Way

  1. If you have a previous version of ScrapeAZon installed, deactivate and delete it from the /wp-content/plugins/ directory.
  2. Upload the ScrapeAZon zip file to the /wp-content/plugins/ directory.
  3. Unzip the zip file.
  4. Activate ScrapeAZon by clicking the Activate link on the Plugins page.
  5. Visit Settings > ScrapeAZon from your WordPress Dashboard.

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How to Configure ScrapeAZon

  1. Visit Settings > ScrapeAZon from your WordPress Dashboard.
  2. Copy or type your Product Advertising API Access Key into the AWS Access Key ID field.
  3. Copy or type your Product Advertising API Secret Key into the AWS Secret Key field.
  4. Copy or type your Amazon Associate ID (Affiliate ID) into the Amazon Associate ID field.
  5. From the Amazon Country ID drop-down menu, select the Amazon International site from which you want to pull reviews. Leaving this blank will cause ScrapeAZon to default to the US Amazon site.
  6. Select the Use Responsive Style check box only if you want the iFrame ScrapeAZon displays to default to the width of its container element and scale with the browser window. Otherwise, leave this check box deselected.
  7. Click the Save Changes button.
    Configure ScrapeAZon - Settings Page

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How to Verify That ScrapeAZon Is Working

After you configure ScrapeAZon, you should verify that your configuration is working before you add the shortcode to any pages or posts.

  1. Visit Settings > ScrapeAZon from your WordPress Dashboard.
  2. Click the Tests tab.
  3. If you see an iFrame that contains reviews displayed in the Test Frame field, then ScrapeAZon is correctly configured and your Amazon credentials are correct.
  4. If you do not see content in the Test Frame field aside from the Amazon disclaimer text, see the How to Troubleshoot If You Encounter Problems section below.
    Configure ScrapeAZon - Test Frame

NOTE! The size of the iFrame might differ from the screenshot above if you have selected the Use Responsive Style check box on the Settings page.

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How to Optimize ScrapeAZon Performance

ScrapeAZon has a couple of built-in performance enhancements. Any time your WordPress site requests data from a remote site, performance will take a hit. However, you can mitigate the amount of hit your site takes by using a caching mechanism and deferral. Both performance options can be configured by visiting Settings > ScrapeAZon from your WordPress Dashboard and then clicking the Performance tab.

Configure ScrapeAZon - Performance

The ScrapeAZon Cache Option

By default, ScrapeAZon caches data that it retrieves from for 12 hours. You can adjust the amount of time ScrapeAZon caches information by changing the value of the Cache Expires In drop-down menu. The shorter the duration, the heavier the hit your site is likely to take when ScrapeAZon attempts to retrieve fresh data from

It is important to note that you cannot configure ScrapeAZon to cache data for more than 23 hours. This is because Amazon’s Product Advertising API performs a timestamp check when data is displayed. If it has been more than 24 hours since the data was generated, Amazon will not return the data.

You can manually clear the ScrapeAZon cache by selecting the Clear Cache check box on the Performance tab and then clicking the Save Changes button. However, the clear cache function only works if you are not using a separate object caching plugin, such as W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache. If your site uses a separate caching plugin, you will need to clear the WordPress object cache by using that plugin’s clear cache feature.

As a precaution, you should always back up your WordPress site’s database prior to clearing the cache or directly deleting information from the database.

The ScrapeAZon Deferral Option

Another way to improve performance on a WordPress site is to defer any iFrame content loading until the site’s footer. By using a deferral technique (or loading content asynchronously), your site loads completely before ScrapeAZon attempts to load iFrame content.

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How to Troubleshoot ScrapeAZon If You Encounter Problems

Some common reasons you might see an error or nothing at all after you configure ScrapeAZon are:

Before requesting support, verify that your AWS Access Key ID, AWS Secret Key, and Amazon Associate ID are correct by testing them with the Amazon Product Advertising API ScratchPad.

If all of your Amazon credentials are correct, try clearing the plugin’s cache to ensure that data is refreshed.

If all else fails, you can request support by e-mailing me or by posting in the WordPress support forum for ScrapeAZon.

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