How do I block all Amazon pages for a particular item?
June 12, 2014 5:57 AM   Subscribe

So a book I wrote is about to be published, and for my own sanity I think I need to stop looking at the ranking/reviews on my Amazon page. Until I grow some more self-control, I need help. Is there a plugin (or other method) I can use to block all Amazon pages relating to my book?

The most common plugin I've seen recommended to help with blocking sites is StayFocusd, which I already use to limit my use of particular sites (Twitter, etc.) while I work. But it's not working well here for two reasons:

(1) StayFocusd won't block a page outright; it will only limit the time you can spend on blacklisted sites per day, and the smallest time limit is 1 minute (still plenty of time to freak out over reviews/ranking).

(2) On Amazon, there are a LOT of URLs that will lead you to the same item--different URLs if you search for the item in Google, search in Amazon, search by author, get there via affiliate link, etc. I've tried to add them all to StayFocusd's blacklist but there are so many it's virtually impossible.

Any suggestions for using StayFocusd to do what I need, or for other plugins, etc. that will do this are welcome. Thanks!
posted by Ms. Informed to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I have suggestions! Weird hacky suggestions!

First, limit your time on ALL of to 1 minute a day, and add another unimportant but inoffensive site to that same group - or something. Make the unimportant site your homepage. Open up the unimportant site for 1 minute at the start of the day. Now you are locked out of Amazon.

But you can't just never go to Amazon! So you're going to use a different browser for Amazon.

Start using Firefox and Leechblock. Leechblock lets you use wildcards at the end of URLs (StayFocusd only lets you use them at the beginning of a URL). So you can lock yourself out of, say, "***" if you never want to look at the Amazon page of The Fault in Our Stars. This should take care of MOST of the Amazon URLs. I'm not saying your couldn't find a way around it if you tried.

Or, maybe there's a good Chrome extension that allows you to use wildcards at the end of the URL.
posted by mskyle at 6:18 AM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

You've already marked a best answer, so I'll take a different angle that works for me when I have a book coming out:

Start planning and working on your next book.

That should make you too busy to check amazon to see how your last book is doing.

Look at the Pomodoro Method - 25 minutes of hard work, 5 minute break.
Spend that 25 minutes working feverishly and ardently on your next book.
Spend that 5 minute break outside, even if it's just in your driveway or sidewalk, breathing some fresh air and stretching.

Do 4 of those (total of 2 hours), then take a 30 minute break.
Eat something yummy and drink some water.

Repeat as necessary.

Congratulations on your achievement!
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 7:25 AM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]

Find a url blocking extension and block the ASIN.
posted by Joe Chip at 7:34 AM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: These are all good suggestions--thanks! I'm already working on the next book, which is why monitoring the status of this first book is such a distraction! But I'm going to try out mskyle's suggestions, and will look into a URL blocking extension as well.
posted by Ms. Informed at 5:14 PM on June 12, 2014

Response by poster: Update:
mskyle's suggesting is working pretty well so far. StayFocusd lets you use an asterisk at the beginning of a URL to block all URLs that include that string. So I've blocked "*" and "*", which seems to hit most of the amazon pages for my book. Then, as mskyle suggested, I added an unimportant site to the blocked group along with my homepage. After 1 minute, I'm locked out of all the pages I'm trying to avoid, without even using Leechblock + Firefox.

Obviously I could probably get around this lockout if I was really trying--but so far this is providing the nicotine-patch equivalent for self control that I seemed to need. Thanks!
posted by Ms. Informed at 7:06 AM on June 13, 2014

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