Yes, there is intelligent life outside the USA

Whenever I have to work with software from a US-based company, the topic of internationalization (adapting software for other nations and cultures) pops up sooner or later. Latest bad example are the Amazon Web Services (Amazon Ecommerce Services, ECS).

On their partner-blog, they released an article titled „Internationalize your Amazon Web Services Application in minutes”. They claim:

Then this article shows you how easily you can adopt your existing Web Services Requests in minutes and also earn referral fees from your international users.

They ramble on, on how easy it is to reroute an ItemSearch Request from to This is all true and really easy, wouldn’t it be for this small gotcha:

The only thing else that is good to know is that our unique product IDs (ASIN) are in most cases not identical across our international locales, i.e. the same product can have one ASIN on and have a different ASIN on

What that means? That you can’t provide a ASIN-based link. Take „Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” for example. At the title is „Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7)” with a ASIN of „0545010225”. On the title is „Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter 7)” with an ASIN of „0747591059”. It is the same f***ing book for $Deitys sake!

So if you want to link to one specific product (ItemLookUp-Request) on different amazons, you are basically screwed. For lots of products the titles and ASINs differ from shop to shop, although they belong to the same product. You can only search for the title and „hope” that the first hit is the same for every amazon-shop.

Am I the only one to get the impression that l18n was an afterthought at amazon?

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[Mittwoch, 20070815, 16:01 | permanent link | 4 Kommentar(e)

in this case I doubt that is is really the same book, because there are separate publishers in the UK+Europe and the US...
Don't beat amazon for it. So there have to be different ISBNs

Then again, one might ask, why they rely on the ISBN in the first place... usually I find this very convenient, since it is easy to link to books within amazon (exactly because they dont have a separate SKU, but rely on a well know one, the ISBN).

just my 0.02$ and I dont think it hast to do with i18n at all

Hey, I am a customer/user. I don't care about publishers. It is the same product, therefore it should have the same ASIN.
As Amazon states:
Almost every product on our site has its own ASIN--a unique code we use to identify it.

The same chaos with CD. Melissa Etheridges "Skin" album is known on as "B00005LODB" and on as "B00005LODB". Why? They came off the same production line somwhere in China or Salzburg or wherever. They are identical, therefore they should have the same ASIN.

Martin, there seems to be a partial solution for your problem...

Thanks for the pointer. :)

Comments are closed for this story.


„Leyrers Online Pamphlet“ ist die persönliche Website von mir, Martin Leyrer. Die hier veröffentlichten Beiträge spiegeln meine Ideen, Interessen, meinen Humor und fallweise auch mein Leben wider.
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