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OptiQly’s Chrome Extension Will Rate an Author’s Book Listings on Amazon

Authors, have you ever wondered about the impression that readers get from your books' listings on Amazon?

OptiQly can help you find out. Mike Shatzkin’s new startup has released a Chrome extension that can be used to scan a book listing on and rate the effectiveness of the description and other details.

From what I can see, it rates details both on and off the page – there’s a reference to Goodreads – and returns a numerical score that "reflects this product detail page’s current level of optimization for discovery and conversion at e-retail" on a scale of 1 to 100.

John Scalzi’s The Dispatcher, for example, scored 76. It was dinged for the description on Amazon, the author’s engagement on social media, and the book’s current ranking.

If you log in, you can get additional info, but the OptiQly website won’t let me register for an account so I can’t tell you what else this extension can reveal.

How do your books rate?

Chrome Web Store

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Allen F October 2, 2017 um 4:53 pm

I like that they want me to sign up for their free webinar on September 27, 2017, 1pm ET … as 'up to date' as Mike Shatzkin ever is. 😉

As I think this is the same 'Mike Shatzkin' that TPV has so much fun with, I don’t think I could trust him to look out the window and see if it was raining – much less score books.

Frank October 3, 2017 um 9:08 am

Scalzi is more engaging than most authors on social media. This tool doesn’t seem accurate.

Thomas October 5, 2017 um 10:40 am

This thing scans the Amazon page, not the book. I doubt Scalzi writes his own ad copy.

Peter Winkler October 3, 2017 um 6:04 pm

This is a totally useless widget.

Michael October 5, 2017 um 9:18 am

Amusingly, his book The Shatzkin files, scores on 26.

The Chrome extension offers a few tips about formatting that some authors may not know about, so it’s not entirely useless. However, the whole thing is pretty amateurish as extension coding goes. For one, it asks for permissions on all websites, which is entirely unnecessary. Bad form for an extension that doesn’t need such extension permissions, and a potential security and privacy risk.

Second, the download contains more than 4,000 files, most from Node.js packages. I’m no expert by any means, but I’m pretty certain there are ways to pack Node.js projects to only include what’s absolutely necessary. Maybe they’ve already done so here and this bloat is an indictment of Node rather than their code.

Finally, and somewhat amusing again, the extension contains an archived copy of an earlier version of the plugin, in both minified and full forms, which is interesting to look at. Originally it was calling Amazon APIs and adding an Amazon Associate tag, optiqly-20, to Amazon website requests.

var amd = {
"endPoint": "",
"accessKey": "[redacted]",
"associateTag": "optiqly-20",
"secretKey": "[redacted]"

That would have been a violation of the Amazon Associates Program Participation Requirements, Section 6: "Except as agreed between you and us in a separate written agreement referencing this Section 6, you will not use any Content or Special Link, or otherwise link to the Amazon Site, on or in connection with: (a) any client-side software application (e.g., a browser plug-in, helper object, toolbar, extension, component, or any other application executable or installable by an end user)[…]"

Nate Hoffelder October 5, 2017 um 10:43 am

Yes, I noticed from its behavior that it wasn’t coded very well. But I’m still surprised that it actually has an earlier version of the plugin inside the plugin.

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