I've been using Amazon's beta "Omakase" ad banner in the sidebar of my blog for a couple months now. I became an "Amazon Associate" primarily to get an extra 4 or 5 percent off when I enter the store via the banner.
But no doubt these ads freak the SHIT out of some people (especially those who've been searching for KY and butt-plugs).
Amazon's Omakase links (Omakase is Japanese for [roughly] "it's totally up to you.") "show an Associate's visitors what they're most likely to buy based on Amazon's unique understanding of the site, the user, and the page itself."
How well does this work? See for yourself and let me know in the comments below.
Check the sidebar here: http://netzoo.net/...
Most reviews of Omakase (and Dave Taylor has an extensive one here relate the product as Amazon's answer to Google's Adsense. But my understanding is that Adsense content is based on the context on a particular PAGE, where as Omakase links are unique to the USER. Gigantic difference, no?
Plus, only the Associate knows what's going on since you have to BE an associate (anyone can, I believe) to read the FAQ.
I did make my first Amazon Associate cent (yes - exactly $.01) recently off some blog visitor who apparently purchased A Pilgrim in the Ruins: A Life of Walker Percy -- which, it turns out was purchased for only ONE PENNY (hardcover even). I mostly think it's cool to post images of books / CDs of interest (and from my experience in the record industry -- labels and artists often stand to make more money via an Amazon order than a direct-from-label's site order).