This is a great cause. Just one concern: I understand the desire to quantify the difference you're making in the world, but seeing the counter that (currently) says "66 redirects have been made with this extension!" actually influenced me to not install the extension. It seems like the implementation of that could easily leak the list of things I look at on Amazon to you or others, and it shouldn't need to "phone home" like that to function as an extension. If you remove that you'll have another happy giver. :)
I completely understand - this was one of our major concerns when we were deciding whether or not we should count redirects. If you look at the function incrementCounter() in the code (https://github.com/Jdhaimson/smilealways/blob/master/chromep...) you can see that all we are doing is pinging the server without passing any information along to increment a counter each time someone is redirected.
That being said, I think I will take it off of the site because it can be scary if you don't look at the code. Thanks for the suggestion!
Yeah, I realize this method is open to abuse. I just figured that the counter really was more of a "nice-to-have" so I can see how many times it was working, but if someone really wanted to abuse it than it wouldn't be that big of an issue. I'd have an incorrect count, but that's about it.
At the end of the day, it wasn't worth spending the initial effort to build against that. I intend on doing this in the future, but for now I'm willing to accept the risk of having an incorrect redirect count and get it out to more people in the meantime.
Be VERY careful with this - it may end up hurting the charities you want to help. If Amazon dislikes this they may not be able to do anything to you (or to get you to stop it) but they may be able to shut down charities that are receiving money because of you. I wouldn't be at all surprised to find language in the affiliate agreements that bars this kind of thing and kills accounts of charities that use it.
I've made a few comments but you're at the top currently so I'll piggy back:
To OP, in the words of Hank Williams "I've been down that road before..."
I wrote a FF extension for our site that did something (I'm guessing similar), look at the site, and do the appropriate redirect with some ids and what not so i could track the charity for CJ/LinkShare/Amazon/whatever flavor. Theicon would turn green if you were affiliate shopping and I was taking redirects from Slickdeals and sites like it and making them my own transparently. You may have a newer, better method that gets around agreements sites make but from my experience, the affiliate houses (and retailers) much prefer actual driven traffic to a scraper like mine (and maybe yours). In retrospect, I can see that it was essentially a leach. I wasn't really encouraging many people to do shopping they otherwise wouldn't have done (well that would be the retailers point I guess). If I had any influence it was only marginal and I was taking revenue directly from direct traffic sites which, most likely, weren't happy and might not continue to drive traffic to certain retailers if commissions went down by a noticeable margin (or link jacking was allowed in the TOS).
I haven't read your code, I'm purely guessing as to what it does, so if I'm offbase let me know and I'd be very interested in your approach).
EDIT: After finishing that novel, I actually looked at the site. Does it just redirect any link to Amazon? I was expecting some link-jacking and ID insertion, so maybe nevermind. Mine was charity based as well (similar to Goodshop) but a bit more aggressive (in the charity's favor) which is where I believe the downfall to be.
Still I think @atwebb is right and as http://socialvest.us and http://aflattr.com were already shutdown Amazon is just not that happy with someone taking their revenue to charities. If it's just redirecting to smile.amazon.com it could be alright as it's the "sane" revenue share of only 0.5% and Amazon is promoting it itself, but still the automatic redirect will perhaps let them kill it.
I understand this is for a good cause, but isn't this just stealing money from Amazon? You are exploiting a program that is designed to encourage additional sales, not give money away from any random Amazon transaction.
No, it's not stealing from Amazon. They offer the referral system as a service to those who wish to refer people. It's a relic of their 'growth-hacking' days. If they thought it was stealing, they'd simply discontinue the service. It's easy to argue that they don't need it anymore.
But, as someone who's looked into the legality of this (I was building something very similar, but with a narrower charity set than the OP's), it is against their terms of service.
4-10% actually. And there were projects actually using these percentages to donate to good causes, till Amazon burned them and copied the idea to make it more financially positive for them 4-10% vs 0.5%.
Neat idea. I did something similar except it was meant to support your favorite podcasts or websites through Amazon Affiliate sales and I didn't build a plugin, I used an existing one in a different way.
I do love the idea of this. Even immediately downloaded it to my torch browser, but I did want some input before actually using it. Seems like there is some hesitation. How safe is this? And will it be bad for Amazon or the charities involved?