“Hi, my name’s Tom and I’m an Amazon Affiliate.”
Welcome to AAA (Amazon Affiliates Anonymous)!
That’s exactly how it feels to be a US-based niche site owner in 2020 (post April-rate-slashing). We’re frantically looking for Amazon affiliate alternatives and trying to make up the lost revenue any way we can.
That’s where Geniuslink comes in.
In this post, I’m going to show you how to use Geniuslink to achieve 2 much-needed tasks to help increase affiliate revenue on your niche website:
- Maximize Amazon revenue internationally
- Add links to other non-Amazon affiliate programs
This is not a typical Geniuslink review, but it will quickly show you if Geniuslink is right for you.
Let’s get straight into it.
What is Geniuslink?
Geniuslink is an affordable (from $5/month) affiliate link localizing, redirection and tracking service.
Geniuslink (formerly GeoRiot) was founded in 2009 by Jesse Lakes, Jesse Pasichynk and Shannon McGuire, is headquartered in Seattle, WA, and officially became known as Geniuslink in 2015.
The primary use-case for Geniuslink is to geo-localize your Amazon affiliate links.
For example, if you link to this Amazon fire TV stick on Amazon.com, and a visitor from Canada clicks on the link, Geniuslink will redirect them to the relevant Amazon.ca page so you can make an affiliate commission.
You can also use Geniuslink’s short links that look something like: geni.us/abcd – these work very well on YouTube.
How Geniuslink works
Geniuslink detects a shopper’s country, language, device, and more, then routes them to the best page for them. It’s automatic for Amazon, iTunes, and Microsoft. Plus, you can define custom destinations for any other affiliate program.
In short, Geniuslink automatically detects the location of a user on your website (by IP address), and then sends them to the correct Amazon country page.
For example, if I click the Geniuslink shortlink in the above screenshot from Linus Tech Tips’ YouTube account while in the UK, I get taken to Amazon.co.uk, and Linus’ UK affiliate tracking ID has been automatically added to the URL.
Standard Geniuslink pricing starts at $5/month. There’s no free tier, but they do have a 14-day free trial. 2 weeks is long enough for you to know how much extra income you’ll make from adding Geniuslink.
$5 will give you 2000 clicks. If you go over, it’s $2 per extra 1000 clicks.
You can see how many clicks you need by logging into your Amazon Associates account and looking at how many clicks you get in a month.
If, for example, you get 10,000 clicks, you will pay $20 because there’s a 5% discount if you hit this threshold.
If you get a massive amount of clicks (congratulations!), then you can sign up for the Geniuslink for Business plan, which is $249/month and you only pay $10 per 10,000 clicks.
Clicks for all Geniuslink accounts can be shared between as many affiliate or niche sites as you want. You can use a single Geniuslink account on 1, 2, 10 or infinite websites for no extra cost. There’s money to be saved if you’re a large affiliate or have multiple sites, as you can take advantage of the cheaper volume pricing.
How To Use Geniuslink to Increase Your Amazon Affiliate Income Instantly
Now for the good stuff… I’ll walk through how I added Geniuslink to one of my niche sites and how I turned Geniuslink’s $5 cost into $8.37 extra income for my site with just a few clicks and a couple of minutes’ work.
1. Sign up for Geniuslink to get the 14-day free trial
There’s nothing to lose because if you haven’t made $2.50 in extra Amazon income after 14 days, you’ll know Geniuslink is not for you and can cancel your account.
2. Add your Amazon affiliate account to Geniuslink
In the “Affiliate” tab, click “Add a program” and select the Amazon countries where you have an active Associates account. If you haven’t already done so, you will need to join the relevant Amazon affiliate programs in whichever countries you’re interested in monetizing.
Tip: Look at your analytics data to see which countries your niche site gets traffic from. Join the Amazon programs for those countries, then add them to Geniuslink. In Google Analytics, go to Audience > Geo > Location and look for countries with Amazon Associate programs.
In the above example, around 15% of traffic is currently unmonetized but could earn with Geniuslink if the Canada, Australia, India and UK Amazon affiliate programs are added.
3. Install the Amazon Link Engine WordPress plugin
Amazon Link Engine is Geniuslink’s official WordPress plugin. You don’t need to use it (you can generate a JS snippet to automatically optimize links instead), but it makes things easier if, like most niche site owners, you’re using WordPress.
As I covered in my post about the best Amazon affiliate plugins, you can use Amazon Link Engine even if you’re not a Geniuslink subscriber.
Add your Geniuslink account API details on the plugin setting page (not your Amazon API by mistake!). You can add an API key from the Geniuslink dashboard – go to the “Tools” tab.
Click the “Advanced Options” section and make sure that you click “Preserve Amazon URLs”. That means your links will still remain as “amazon.com/product” instead of becoming “geni.us/abc”.
I prefer this option because it is in full compliance with Amazon’s terms:
” You will not use a link shortening service, button, hyperlink or other ad placement in a manner that makes it unclear that you are linking to an Amazon Site.”
Geniuslink will still perform the geolocalization, even if your links still look like Amazon.com.
Here’s what that looks like in practice: I have a link to a Shure SM7B microphone on my best podcast mic post, which is coded as:
If the link is clicked by a visitor in Canada, they get redirected to the same product for sale on Amazon.ca. The correct Amazon.ca affiliate tag is also added, like this:
How much extra money I made with Geniuslink
I tested Geniuslink on one of my small niche sites for 30 days, to see if I could make back the $5. The site is optimized for Amazon US and gets most traffic from the US. I added Amazon UK and CA to Geniuslink to monetize additional traffic.
Here are my results:
- 1.7K clicks registered (with the $5/2000 click limit)
- 64 clicks to Amazon UK, earning me an extra £4.63
- 49 clicks to Amazon CA, earning me an extra $3.41
- 48 clicks to Amazon AU
It took me longer than 30 days to get approved for the Amazon AU affiliate program, so this income wasn’t part of the test. You’ll also notice that Geniuslink doesn’t quite track all the clicks, as Amazon records higher values than those reported. As I explain later on, this is likely to be users with adblockers on their browsers, which stops Geniuslink from working.
Is Geniuslink worth it?
Based on the exchange rates at the time, I earned an extra £4.63 and Can$3.41, which is a total of $8.31 (US). Based on a $5 investment in Geniuslink, I got an ROI of 66%.
Obviously, this was a tiny test on a small site, but it shows that Geniuslink is well worth the money based on how quickly and easily you can make a profit. If you have large Amazon niche sites, you’ll likely make a lot more, depending on which countries your traffic is coming from.
Since running this experiment, I’ve rolled out Geniuslink to other sites and continue to make a profit month after month. It takes no time to manage, so it’s well worth using in my opinion.
Don’t forget, every cent you add to your site’s revenue column will help it gain a higher valuation. Based on my teeny tiny test, I effectively made my website worth an extra $100, based on the additional $3.31 profit with a 32x profit valuation. Not bad for barely any work.
Other benefits of Geniuslink
I’ve covered how link localization can make you some easy money, but there are also a couple of other Geniuslink features that make it well worth using.
Geniuslink has an Amazon link health report feature, which alerts you when Amazon products you link to go out of stock. While you can’t always action the results (i.e. if your post is a specific product review), it gives you a heads-up to maybe switch out some links or rewrite posts so the products you link to are available.
I recommend that you don’t immediately action all the suggestions (as some products may only go out of stock briefly), but if you see a product that’s often unavailable, consider removing it from your site and promoting a more available product.
More than just Amazon
You can also add other affiliate programs to Geniuslink, helping you to diversify your affiliate income away from Amazon. At the moment, you can also add other large affiliate programs, including:
- B & H Photo
- Barnes and Noble
- Best Buy
- Home Depot
Choice pages are a new Geniuslink feature, one that’s even more attractive since Amazon slashed its affiliate commissions.
Instead of simply linking to Amazon, you can link a product to a choice page, which will give visitors a choice of more than one retailer, for example Amazon, New Egg and Game Stop.
I haven’t experimented with choice pages myself yet, but I’m excited to give them a try. One feature I’d love to see added to choice pages is price comparison.
If you’re interested in learning more, I recommend listening to this podcast interview with Geniuslink founder Jesse Lakes, where he goes into more detail about some choice page experiments they’ve run on real sites.
The downsides of Geniuslink
Here are some of the issues and little things that annoyed me while I was using Geniuslink. To be clear, I’m still using it, so these are not deal-breakers in my eyes. You can make your own mind up.
Adblockers can interfere with link localization
uBlock and other adblockers can interfere with Geniuslink’s redirects. In my tests, if an ad blocker is present in a browser, then links to Amazon.com do not get redirected correctly to, for example, Amazon.co.uk. Links are only correctly redirected if the page is loaded fully without an adblocker first.
I suggest you always have a backup so links are at least going to your Amazon target country to protect your site revenue in the event that redirections are blocked by a browser.
To be honest, this is a bit of an issue, since a lot of people use adblockers. That said, I am using Geniuslink to earn additional revenue, so my main link country is not affected by this. Also, you won’t be charged for clicks if people are using adblockers, so you aren’t losing anything tangible.
Unclear if Geniuslink breaches Amazon terms
While Geniuslink claim to be 100% in compliance with Amazon’s affiliate terms, I think there’s a grey area when it comes to using short links, as I explained above.
To play it safe, I recommend activating the “Preserve Amazon URLs” feature and not using geni.us short links on your website.
Time added to page load
As a WordPress speed geek, I’m a little bit obsessed with page load times. Whenever you add scripts to your site, it’s going to slow it down. Geniuslink is no exception.
Will Geniuslink slow down my site?
The short answer is: yes, but not by very much.
Geniuslink will load a minified js file on your site, which, in my test, added a total of 5.5 KB to the page size and took a total of 72 ms to load. That’s not going to make any difference to your page load times.
You pay for clicks to your target country
As you can see from my account, the vast majority of clicks are going to Amazon.com. I only make extra money with Geniuslink when people go to other Amazon country sites, like Amazon.ca, so essentially those US clicks are coming out of my Geniuslink plan but I’m not making any more money from them.
This is not a major issue, but it’s worth checking to make sure that you get value from the service, and make more than you’re spending.
Users can get taken to search results pages
If Amazon does not offer a certain product in a different location, or uses a different ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number), then visitors will be redirected to a search results page instead of a product page.
For example, when I click on a link to a toothbrush on ElectricTeeth.co.uk from the US, I get redirected to a search results page for the product title:
While this is better than nothing, it’s not going to convert as well as the correct product page. There’s nothing Geniuslink can do about this issue, it’s all down to Amazon and manufacturers, and how they stock products globally.
I recommend checking the availability of different products on different Amazon country sites before you decide what to promote. If there’s a shared global ASIN, that’s a good sign.
I’m not the only one using Geniuslink. Aside from being popular with YouTubers like Linus Tech Tips, Geniuslink is used on some huge websites and successful niche sites, including:
You don’t need a paid service to geolocalize your Amazon links.
At a time when affiliate commissions are shrinking and SERP competition is rising, finding an easy, reliable service like Geniuslink to make a little extra cash feels like a bit of a blessing.
It’s not perfect, and I will continue to look into better ways to monetize my sites. But for now, I’m very satisfied with using Geniuslink to add a bit of extra value to my websites, without taking up any of my time.
If this sounds good to you too, try Geniuslink free for 14 days and see what you think.