Once you have a working Amazon store script, you must populate it with products. To do that, you need browse nodes. Browse nodes are Amazon’s category codes. There are browse nodes for parent categories, such as DVDs (130), Photo (502394), Kitchen (284507) and all of the major categories displayed on Amazon.com. There are also child-nodes representing all the subcategories within a parent node.
Working with browse nodes can sometimes be confusing. Most category selections in the Amazon site display the browse node in the URL. Just click on a link to a main category or subcategory and examine the page URL. The node is usually identified by a name-value pair, such as node=130. But Amazon is not always consistent and the the browse node may be identified by something similar to /browse/-/130 in the URL.
Another issue is that not all browse nodes that you find on the Amazon site are available to Associates. In other words, they do not all work on affiliate web sites. Trial and error is the only way to find out if a browse node ID will work on your site. If a browse node does not return a list of products, it may not be available to Associates. Then again, there are some browse nodes–mostly child browse nodes for 3rd party items sold on Amazon–that do not contain any products.
Apart from looking up browse nodes on the Amazon site, there are some resources available that will help you to identify browse nodes that are available to Associates. The following link can be found in the Amazon Web Services ECS site: ECS Browse Nodes.
Another resource is a site called BrowseNodes.com. I personally find this site a bit difficult to work with. It was, however, one of the early resources for browse node information and remains popular with some Associates.
Documentation is another topic that is important if you are a programmer and wish to add new features to your affiliate web sites. Amazon does an excellent job of maintaining documentation that includes many examples for using both REST and SOAP when making calls to Amazon’s servers. You can find the latest technical documentation here: Technical Documentation. Be prepared for a formidable amount of documentation in a PDF format. At the time of this writing, the most current documentation is dated 2007-01-15 and contains 449 pages. Although it may not be practical to print all 449 pages, the Acrobat search function can be used to locate the information you are looking for and you can just print out a few pages or a chapter.