One of the more popular solutions for in-house affiliate program tracking and management is Post Affiliate Pro by Quality Unit. I’ve known Viktor Zeman, the CEO of Quality Unit and one of the original developers of this software, for some time already. So, I decided to reach out to him to ask a few questions about affiliate program tracking options in general, and his software (which per Quality Unit is being used by some 15,000 affiliate programs worldwide) in particular. Today I am publishing the interview here:
GP: What are the benefits of running an affiliate program on an in-house software versus an affiliate network?
VZ: One of the most important advantages is that the merchant has full control over his affiliate program and can communicate with his affiliates without any restrictions. He defines the rules and controls them. With affiliate networks you need to comply with their rules, which sometimes do not exactly suit you. The next reason for having an in-house affiliate program is that it is more efficient to operate a program on your own, and not to share profit with affiliate network. Over the past years I saw multiple clients who migrated from affiliate network to own in-house affiliate program or use both options at same time. The general sales trend we’re seeing shows that each month we sell more and more copies of Post Affiliate Pro, what means, that more and more merchants want to build in-house affiliate programs as opposed to entering into relationships with affiliate networks.
GP: How is Post Affiliate Pro (PAP) different from other software solutions on the market? Give me your top 3-5 advantages.
VZ: One of the strongest advantages of Post Affiliate Pro is the quality of tracking. We integrated multiple methods together, and our tracking is one of the most accurate on the market of affiliate software. I believe that most of present-day affiliate networks aren’t capable of providing the precision of tracking Post Affiliate Pro supports.
Post Affiliate Pro contains hundreds of unique features, but if I’m limited to just 5, I would list following features:
- Split Commission
Merchant can reward multiple affiliates working on same sale by splitting commission between them. This cracks the old commission model which rewarded either just the last, or the first affiliate.
- Rebrand PDF Feature
Merchant can rebrand PDF document for each affiliate with few easy steps. The only thing the affiliate has to do is download his ready rebranded file. He doesn’t need to modify it in any exe application by himself; all is done by Post Affiliate Pro on background.
- Site Replication Feature
Our software enables real-time replication on any web application (e.g. php, cgi, perl, asp, …). This feature replaces (on the fly) predefined variables by merchant with real values entered in affiliate account. Affiliates can then promote merchant’s products by ready to use web presentations prepared by the merchant. The only work the affiliate has to do is just promote his replicated website.
- Coupons Offline Marketing Feature
Post Affiliate Pro also supports offline affiliate marketing. A merchant can generate or import coupons from his shop or payment processor and define nice, ready-to-print coupon templates. The merchant has full control over every coupon created in PAP, defining validity, number of uses, etc. Our software can also generate bar codes in those coupon templates, ones that merchants can read with their in-store bar code readers.
- Affiliate Link Formats
PAP supports multiple affiliate link formats, which are optimized to give the highest SEO benefit for the merchant. We also support direct links (without affiliate id parameters).
GP: Are there any policing tools embedded in your software?
VZ: Sure, Post AffiliatePro contains multiple Fraud protection functions [details here], which can filter fraudulent clicks/sales or sign-ups. Merchants can even define if they do not want accept clicks/sales or sign-ups from certain countries or IP address ranges. One of our plans for the near future is to extend PAP with more advanced GeoIP features like targeting campaigns for select countries, or allowing to define different commissions for each country.
GP: Does PAP support cookie-less tracking?
VZ: Yes, we do. Post Affiliate Pro supports multiple tracking methods, including visitor tracking by Flash cookies, first party browser cookies, third party browser cookies, and as a backup – tracking by IP addresses. Flash cookie tracking allows us to even track cross-browser transactions (e.g. if the first few clicks are in Internet Explorer, but the order itself is placed in Firefox).
GP: Why would an affiliate want to join a merchant who runs an “indie” program versus a program on an established network?
VZ: The main goal of every affiliate is to earn money, and in case with in-house software solutions merchants can generally offer more attractive terms (e.g. lifetime commissions, bonuses, more attractive commission levels). The most important things are that the affiliate trusts in the quality of tracking, and that merchant will pay the promised commissions on time.