The best kept secret in affiliate marketing is finally out…Darwin is the new Affiliate Window administration area.
Planning for Darwin started in late 2007 and it took 1 designer, 2 quality controllers and 6 developers just over 24 weeks, with the help and ideas of over 90 innovators, to work 8,100 hours to produce this first release.
We decided that a ground-up re-build and improvement of all existing Affiliate Window account functionality was required; we wanted to make extensive use of new web technologies and provide a much more intuitive and user friendly interface. Due to the scale of the project we decided a phased roll out of new features was needed; what the first few affiliates have beta tested today is just stage one and includes:
User based login system
• Every user of Affiliate Window’s systems will have their own username and password to login to Darwin
• Users can add their own contact information to allow improved communication
• Users can link their user account to all their different merchant and affiliate accounts to allow a single point of access
• Users will be able to switch easily between Darwin and the old administration area
Detailed Affiliate Categorisation
• Sector categorisation using the ShopWindow product categorisation structure
• Promotional type categorisation that breaks down each type of affiliate
• Allows merchants and affiliates to switch between their different accounts easily, through a user friendly and intuitive user control panel at the top of the Darwin interface
• Users responsible for an affiliate account can manage the permission levels for other users with access to that account
• Permission controls include restricting users from editing settings and restricting users from viewing financially sensitive information
• The new support and help pages for Affiliate Window merchants and affiliates
• Directly editable by Affiliate Window staff, affiliates and merchants who have a Darwin user account
PLUS, to improve communication, foster collaboration and business relationships and to break down barriers between affiliates, merchants and Affiliate Window we created Profiles.
Currently, affiliates are only able to enter a short description about themselves, add a single URL of a website they run and categorise themselves. In Darwin, affiliates are able to create a profile to showcase their business in detail using the following tools:
• Space for a detailed description
• Logos of merchants they work closely with
• Contact details for the business and individual members of staff
• Upload supporting documents
• List, categorise and describe every website that they own
• Display an RSS feed from their blog
Similarly, if an affiliate is not joined to a merchants’ programme, then the merchant has no way of knowing that the affiliate exists within the Affiliate Window system. To combat this, the new profile will be available to all Darwin users; Affiliate Window staff, merchants, agencies and other affiliates. However, privacy controls will allow affiliates to choose if they want other affiliates to see the documents and website information they have displayed.
Over the next year or two we will gradually be migrating all the existing features of our current affiliate and merchant administration areas in to the new interface as well as adding new functionality. This is going to be a massive task but we believe it will allow communication in ways never before offered by a network.
Don’t worry; you will still be able to use the old system during this process. The two interfaces will be running side by side until the time comes when we have moved everything across and everyone is happy with Darwin. Occasionally we may have to switch off some functionality; this will mainly be to avoid your details and settings being duplicated in the two admin areas.
The next stage will be the launch of an affiliate directory; a release that will break down barriers within the industry. Following that there will be improvements to profiles, including a version for Affiliate Window merchants. Then the existing news manager email system will get completely replaced; offering a new way for affiliates to receive information from merchants.
If you would like to join the list of affiliates gaining remote access to Darwin 1.0 on Monday 27th July it is not too late to sign-up, we still have 10 spaces available. Simply drop me a line with your full name, affiliate ID and preferred e-mail address; the first 10 requests will receive a confirmation of participation from me this afternoon.
If you have any questions or feedback about Darwin then please send us an email and let us know.
Head of Communications