(reblogged from Gwendolyn Kiste)
So your book is available on Amazon. That is AWESOME! Congratulations! All your work as a writer is done now, right?
Not so fast. You have to share that link, so that everyone knows how to find your book! And I know how you’re probably going to copy the link too. You’ll enter your name and the title of the book in the Amazon search box.
So far, so good. Then you’ll click on your product in the search results, admiring the pretty entry for your book. I completely condone all of this behavior.
But here’s where you’ll probably go wrong. You’ll copy and share that link as is. It will look something like this (and yes, it’s so long I had to copy it in full below the screen cap):
Now I’m not usually one to judge, but I’m going to be honest. This is bad. REALLY. BAD. As in, it could cause Amazon to remove legitimate reviews of your book, it might hurt your book’s place in search results, and if nothing else, it proves to the world that you don’t know the ins and outs of how Amazon works.
So what’s the problem?
These extended links are known as “super URLS,” and independent authors and publishers all over are using them when they shouldn’t. The links are not only long and ugly, but also include a certain string of numbers that follows the letters “qid.”
These numbers mark the exact time you performed the search. At first blush, that doesn’t sound like a huge deal. So what? Your readers can track when you did the initial search. Well, the people over at Amazon can track it too. They realize that the dozens (or maybe hundreds) of people who click on your link after you post it couldn’t have all searched at that exact same time, especially if their purchases come days or weeks after this “qid” (which acts as the Unix time stamp, marking the number of seconds since January 1st, 1970).
So in a strange roundabout way, this can jeopardize your reviews. Ever hear about Amazon removing reviews because the reviewer knows the author? Well, these “super URLs” are likely one of the ways Amazon figures it out. As the theory goes, if the reviewer purchased a book from that “qid,” then Amazon knows the individual probably got the link from the author. So on the one hand, it’s nice to know Amazon isn’t going through our stuff when we’re out, figuring out which reviewers are our acquaintances and which aren’t, but it’s still somewhat distressing to realize how many writers (and publishers) are making this easily fixable error.
(Read the rest of the article here.)