Amazon Product Advertising API Update Affects ScrapeAZon Plugin

Note: In May of 2019, all three of my plugins (ScrapeAZon, GoodReviews, and Book Previewer) were adopted by another developer. Therefore, I no longer provide direct support for these plugins. Should you require support, please use the WordPress support forum for the appropriate plugin. I am posting the following information just as a courtesy to any plugin user who happens upon my site seeking help or information.

On January 22, 2020, the Amazon Associates program announced that it will end support for the Product Advertising API version 4.0 on March 9, 2020. The program will instead migrate to version 5.0 of the API. Version 5.0 of the API removes support for retrieving customer reviews on a given product.

This migration will apparently create a couple of issues for any Product Advertising API user:

  1. If you continue to use the Product Advertising API in any capacity, you will be required to migrate your AWS credentials to new Product Advertising API credentials using Amazon Associates Central.
  2. The ScrapeAZon plugin will no longer be able to retrieve reviews from the Product Advertising API as of March 9, 2020.

As of this writing (January 2020), the ScrapeAZon plugin still does and always has relied on the Amazon Product Advertising API in order to retrieve reviews because retrieving reviews in any other form was considered a violation of Amazon’s Terms of Service. Therefore, with the March 9, 2020, migration to version 5.0 of the API, Amazon has essentially rendered the plugin obsolete because the plugin will no longer be able to retrieve reviews by using the API.

I no longer maintain ScrapeAZon, nor do I intend to attempt to develop any other solutions for review retrieval from Amazon.com. If you are a ScrapeAZon user, I appreciate the support you’ve offered the plugin all these years. I am sad to see Amazon’s support for affiliate display of their product reviews apparently come to an end.

As with anything, it’s possible that Amazon will change their mind and reintroduce support for retrieval of reviews at some point. For now, authors might consider switching to the GoodReviews plugin instead, which enables the display of Goodreads reviews on the author’s site. Sellers of other products might consider searching for other reviews plugins in the WordPress directory.

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. Continue reading

Book Previewer Plugin for WordPress Now Available

Book Previewer Plugin

The Book Previewer Plugin for WordPress is now available for download from the WordPress Plugin Repository. Book Previewer enables you to use a shortcode to retrieve and display Google Books previews of titles you specify. The shortcode can be used on any WordPress page or post. Book Previewer supports all of the following book identifiers:

  • International Standard Book Number (ISBN)
  • Online Computer Library Center (OCLC)
  • Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN)
  • Google Play Generated Key (GGKEY)

A preview of your title must already exist in Google Books in order to use this plugin. You can obtain more information about the Google Books/Google Play Partner programs at Google.

Book Previewer supports the following three modes of operation:

  • embedded: allows you to embed the preview directly on a page or post
  • popup: allows you to display a Google Preview button that pops up a preview of your book
  • link: allows you to display a Google Preview button that links directly to the preview of your book on Google Play/Google Books

Installing the Book Previewer Plugin

Book Previewer version 1.0.0 can be downloaded and installed from within WordPress. You can also download Book Previewer directly from the WordPress repository.

Supporting the Book Previewer Plugin

If you would like to contribute to the development of future versions of Book Previewer, you can do so by purchasing an ebook from this publisher.

Seeing the Book Previewer Plugin In Action

Google Previewer

A demonstration of Book Previewer’s “embedded previewer” option is available on the plugin’s page.

GoodReviews 2.0.0 Plugin Released for WordPress 3.8 And Later

Version 2.0.0 of GoodReviews Plugin for WordPress is available for download from the WordPress plugin repository. This is the most current version of the plugin. This version of GoodReviews requires WordPress version 3.8 or later.

Version 2.0.0 is a complete rewrite of the plugin that enables it to better integrate with WordPress as a whole. New features include:

  • Plugin has been completely rewritten to better integrate with the WordPress Settings API.
  • Now shows ratings count for all editions of a title.
  • Added widgets for book buying links, book information, and book reviews.
  • Added support for styling the output in a more responsive way.
  • Added support for WordPress localization (i18n).
  • Added support for HTTP retries and an exponential backoff method of dealing with throttling problems.
  • Added support for context-sensitive help on the Settings page.
  • Added support for an uninstall process that removes all settings and plugin files.
  • Added support for a shortcut parameter that disables the reviews pane.

You must have a GoodReads developer API key in order to use this plugin. You only need the developer access key to use GoodReviews, not the secret key.

Installing GoodReviews

GoodReviews version 2.0.0 can be downloaded and installed from within WordPress. You can also download GoodReviews directly from the WordPress repository.

Upgrading GoodReviews

You can upgrade to version 2.0.0 from any previous version of GoodReviews by using the plugin updater built into WordPress. Your current settings should remain intact.

Supporting GoodReviews Development

If you would like to contribute to the development of future versions of GoodReviews, you can do so by purchasing an ebook from this publisher.

ScrapeAZon Plugin for WordPress 2.0.0 Released

ScrapeAZon Plugin for WordPress

Version 2.0.0 of ScrapeAZon Plugin for WordPress is available for download from the WordPress plugin repository. This is the most current version of the plugin.

Version 2.0.0 is a complete rewrite of the plugin that enables it to better integrate with WordPress as a whole. New features include:

  • An exponential backoff routine that enables ScrapeAZon to periodically retry connections to the Amazon Product Advertising API when HTTP errors or throttling occurs.
  • A new built-in style sheet that can be enabled on sites with responsive design; the style sheet attempts to scale ScrapeAZon’s output for responsive sites, even if the Amazon Product Advertising API content cannot be directly scaled
  • An “Amazon Reviews” widget that can be accessed from the Appearance > Widgets menu within WordPress; the widget can be used in addition to or in place of the classic ScrapeAZon shortcode

ScrapeAZon Prerequisites

You must be a participant in both the Amazon.com Affiliate Program and the Amazon.com Product Advertising API in order to use this plugin.

When you sign up for the Product Advertising API, you will be able to create an Access Key and a Secret Key for your account. It is very important that you download these keys and store them in a safe place after creation because Amazon will only allow you to view the Secret Key once. You will need both the Access Key and the Secret Key in order to use ScrapeAZon.

Installing ScrapeAZon

ScrapeAZon version 2.0.0 can be downloaded and installed from within WordPress. You can also download ScrapeAZon directly from the WordPress repository.

Upgrading ScrapeAZon

You can upgrade to version 2.0.0 from any previous version of ScrapeAZon by using the plugin updater built into WordPress. Your current settings should remain intact.

Supporting ScrapeAZon Development

If you would like to contribute to the development of future versions of ScrapeAZon, you can do so by purchasing an ebook from this publisher.