GiftLinkUp.com

6/13/2015
I've decided to let my hosting account for GiftLinkUp.com expire.


It has long ceased to be a useful site for me personally, and there is not a huge user base which will be affected by it going offline. The site was originally developed in 2006 using the .NET 2.0 Framework with a SQL Server database. While focusing more of microcontroller projects, I simply haven't had the time to update it to keep it current with new development trends like MVC, Social Network integration, and other techniques for targeting mobile users.

In the meantime, sites like Wishlistr and Amazon's own wish list have emerged as superior alternatives to GiftLinkUp.com, so my users will at least have a place to go after GiftLinkUp.com goes the way of idvSports.com. At least this time, I won't have to help carry the servers out of the office while the CEO is breaking the news to everyone (true story!).

I considered leaving it up and running since the hosting fees through GoDaddy are minimal but I felt better about publishing the code here and passing the torch to anyone who might want to start working on it. See below for the web code and database schema.

Since this was a side project, there is no documentation to speak of, however in the coming weeks I will publish some details about the database schema.

The Secret Sauce

In terms of monetization, the site would inspect the URL of the gift entered and if I had an affiliate/referral account with that vendor, it would scrub the URL and inject my affiliate ID into the URL. This would give me credit for a "conversion" when ultimately the person who buys the gift clicks on the link. Below is the relevant code from Helper.vb:

Amazon Affiliate Link Manipulation

97     Private Shared Function ExtractAmazonASIN(ByVal s As String) As String
98         Dim target As String = "name=""ASIN"""
99         Dim loc As Integer = s.IndexOf(target)
100         Dim i As Integer
101 
102         Dim openTagloc As Integer
103         Dim closeTagloc As Integer
104         For i = loc To 0 Step -1
105             If s.Chars(i) = "<" Then
106                 openTagloc = i
107                 Exit For
108             End If
109         Next
110
111         For i = loc To s.Length
112             If s.Chars(i) = ">" Then
113                 closeTagloc = i + 1
114                 Exit For
115             End If
116         Next
117
118         Dim tag As String = s.Substring(openTagloc, (closeTagloc - openTagloc))
119
120         target = "value="""
121         loc = tag.IndexOf(target)
122         Dim valueattribute As String = tag.Substring(loc + Len(target))
123
124         Dim finalASIN As String = ""
125         i = 0
126         Do Until valueattribute.Chars(i) = """"
127             finalASIN = finalASIN & valueattribute.Chars(i)
128             i = i + 1
129         Loop
130 
131         Return finalASIN
132     End Function
133
134     Private Shared Function GenerateAmazonLink(ByVal ASIN As String) As String
135         Return "http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/" & ASIN & "?ie=UTF8&tag=!!!your amazon affiliate link here!!!&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=" & ASIN
136     End Function
 

The other somewhat obvious monetization of the site could come from running analytics on the wish lists for a large user base. Placing ads on the site for suggested gift ideas could be a pretty powerful mechanism. For example, "people who asked for baby toys might also be interested in baby monitors or sleep aid devices" - Amazon does this already, and may even have an API for this.


Questions or comments, please email joetcochran AT gmail


Comments