This year I decided to publicly launch a script that I use to create Amazon Stores. The script integrates with the Amazon API and provides a complete platform for building your store, adding content, managing and so on.
Products can be hand-picked manually or automatically imported based on your criteria. These products then auto-update.
The basic principle is – people visit your store, add to the basket and click checkout. They are then redirected to Amazon to complete the order. If they do, you get a percentage of that order – typically about 6% but this increases if you sell many products.
Fresh Store Builder provides you with all the tools you need to create an Amazon Affiliate store.
I wanted to give you all a bit of insight into the history of the script, my reasons for launching this project and my future plans.
How it Started…
I first became interested in the Amazon Associate program back in 2001. My first ventures into the web had seen me create some little websites, a personal e/n (i.e. blog) site and so on.
The idea of earning money from promoting Amazon’s products was fascinating to me, and I signed up to promote some books and things. Despite a couple of sales I quickly lost interest, and in all honesty, it seemed a bit unbelievable that I could earn any money this way – it seemed too easy!
I didn’t look at the Amazon Associates program really until the end of 2006. During these years, I had gained a lot of experience in web programming, and APIs, and I had really begun to see the possibility of the web as a way to earn money.
As a side project, I dived into creating an integration with the Amazon API and the early version of Fresh Store Builder was born.
During this time, in 2006, a lot of changes had been made to Google which changed things dramatically. Some existing Amazon scripts, like Associate-O-Matic, had been performing well in the search engines just by using the original Amazon product content.
A lot of affiliates had made a killing during this period, but Google introduced the duplicate content filter, which killed these sites overnight.
This was my motivation for Fresh Store Builder – to create a script that would allow unique content and perform in the search engines as Associate-O-Matic had once done.
The First Version
By the end of 2007, I had launched a few UK stores in various niches and had been making good sales.
When Christmas time came around I couldn’t believe how well I was earning from Amazon – it beat everything I had hoped for, and I had finally reached my goal of earning a good living from the internet. I continued to create more stores, promote them and maintain stores.
But I got a bit greedy and ignored my original motivation. My newer stores did not offer anything of value to a visitor in terms of unique content. I had pushed the limit by creating more stores and not focusing on quality.
The Fall from Grace
A large chunk of my stores got penalised by what is now identified as the Thin Affiliate Filter. Essentially this is a Google penalty which reduces your rankings, so you get zero traffic.
Why does this happen? Because Google thinks your site offers nothing of value and is created purely to redirect users to an affiliate. Read the article above for more information on this (highly recommended read).
So in 2008, I focused on some big development contracts instead and put the Amazon stores back to being a side project. I was shocked by the ease at which my earnings could be taken away and sought the security of the contracting work, which paid well, regularly and consistently.
I didn’t give up, however, and by the end of 2008, I had created a complete rewrite of Fresh Store Builder.
It was still the same idea, but I concentrated more on making it easier to add unique content by incorporating a front-end AJAX edit in place, a product Queue system and a better-designed admin area.
My focus was on creating great quality Amazon Affiliate stores. I started a lot of stores but made sure that each of them had good quality content, and instead of aggressively link-building I let them grow naturally.
By the end of 2009, I was back to the great earnings of 2007 and started to phase out my contract work.
Many people on forums had seen my sites and were consistently asking to buy a copy. I was considering selling the script to a few people at a high price – around the $1000 mark – but I was quite paranoid about people stealing the script and also giving away all my secrets.
The Public Launch
As 2010 came around, I thought long and hard about a change in my work. During this time, I travelled around South East Asia and gave up most of my contracting work.
I long since realised that the stores could support me and my lifestyle, but I wanted something more. I was excited about running a community and helping others achieve what I have.
So I made the decision to sell the script and set it as my new goal. The original name was Fresh Associate, and I started to get together the people that had shown interest.
By May 2010, I had a lot of Beta users on board using the script, getting started and helping me perfect the script. By the end of June, I realised that this would be very popular and had launched a new design, the new name (Fresh Store Builder) and opened it to the public.
We got a fresh new audience by means of a Warrior Forum post which proved a big hit, and various other forums started talking about Fresh Store Builder. Our users started to boast about earnings and the stores they had created, generating an interest which snowballed.
There is now a team behind Fresh Store Builder offering support, extra services (e.g. content writing, SEO, design) and developing the script further. We are constantly adding improvements to the script based on user feedback.
I couldn’t have asked for a better launch for this product – all our users have been great, we have some high-earning stores, all our systems are in place, and above all, it is great to be the founder of a successful community.
As you can probably tell, I am quite proud of all this, hence my long and detailed blog post! But I hope this has given you insight into the history of Fresh Store Builder and how a product like this comes to be made available to the public.
In the future, I plan to write more about the technical challenges, tips on running a successful product and more about why these stores are the best way to promote Amazon’s products.