I discovered Aaron Shepard’s Sales Rank Express about thirteen years ago, give or take. Here was a website that allowed you to check the Amazon sales rank, reviews, and other data for books based on author, publisher, title, etc.
For authors who nervously check their hourly sales and review data, Sales Rank Express was a blessing. (Not that I’m that kind of author, mind you….but I know that some authors are like that.)
Sales Rank Express was always a free tool. Aaron Shepard never charged for access to it, so far as I know. All he asked was that users view ads for his books on writing and publishing. These ads were always small, and placed unobtrusively at the bottom of the page.
Sales Rank Express seemed to work well for everyone. It provided Aaron Shepard with a low-friction advertising platform for his books targeted at authors. Authors loved the site, too. A win-win all around.
But Amazon has made yet another change to its code, and Sales Rank Express no longer works. It now returns an error message with each query.
Inundated with emails about the error codes, Shepard has posted a message on the homepage of Sales Rank Express, indicating that the site is down, “probably for good”. The query fields and buttons are gone, too.
A shame. I’ll miss the site. But I’m grateful that we had it for so long. Nothing good, they say, lasts forever…especially on the Internet.