Hack 64 Add an Amazon Search Box to Your Site


Send your visitors to Amazon by letting them search for things they're already interested in.

Often the first thing people do when they visit Amazon.com is type a word or two into their search form and try to find a specific book or subject. You can speed up this process as a convenience to your visitors by placing an Amazon search box directly on your site. It also makes a good starting point for sending visitors to Amazon so you can collect referral fees from any purchases they make.

64.1 The Code

The simplest way to add an Amazon search box to your site is to create an HTML form that links to Amazon. The search results will show up on Amazon's site, and your associate account will be credited if any sales follow.

The form uses the same method as linking to keyword search results [Hack #59]; the difference is that the form lets your visitors determine their own keywords to search for.

<FORM action="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/external-search"[RETURN]
<INPUT type="hidden" name="mode" value="blended">
<INPUT type="hidden" name="tag" value="insert associate tag ">
Search Amazon:<br>
<INPUT type="text" name="keyword" size="10" value="" >
<INPUT TYPE="submit" VALUE="Go">

If you also want to let your visitors determine the product category to search, you can replace the hidden mode field with a visible drop-down menu (<select> input type).

<FORM method="get" action="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/external-[RETURN]
<INPUT type="hidden" name="tag" value="onfocus">
<SELECT NAME="mode">
  <OPTION VALUE="blended" selected>All Products
  <OPTION VALUE="books">Books
  <OPTION VALUE="magazines">Magazines
  <OPTION VALUE="music">Popular Music
  <OPTION VALUE="classical-music">Classical Music
  <OPTION VALUE="vhs">Video
  <OPTION VALUE="toys">Toys & Games
  <OPTION VALUE="baby">Baby
  <OPTION VALUE="videogames">Computer & Video Games
  <OPTION VALUE="electronics">Electronics
  <OPTION VALUE="software">Software
  <OPTION value="tools">Tools & Hardware
  <OPTION VALUE="garden">Outdoor Living
  <OPTION VALUE="kitchen">Kitchen & Housewares
  <OPTION VALUE="photo">Camera & Photo
  <OPTION VALUE="wireless-phones">Wireless Phones
<INPUT type="text" name="keyword" size="10" value="">
<INPUT TYPE="submit" VALUE="Search Amazon">

If you'd like to give your visitors some direction for searching, you can pre-fill the search form with keywords related to your site. Just add your keyword to the value attribute of the keyword input field. Seeing a topic they're interested in could prompt your visitors to start their search, or inspire them to change the search term to something particularly interesting to them.

64.2 Running the Hack

This code is standard HTML and can be added to any existing web page. Once added, your visitors can simply add a keyword and click "Search Amazon" to be taken to search results at Amazon.com.