Archive for July, 2009

IAB Affiliate Marketing Council – July Agenda

Written by Kevin Edwards on . Posted in Events

The next Affiliate Marketing Council (AMC) meeting takes place on Thursday 30th July at the IAB’s offices in central London.

The AMC was set up a couple of years ago to represent the affiliate marketing industry and is going from strength to strength. However, it can only continue to do so with active participation from all areas of the industry so we’d love to see more affiliates and merchants come along to share their views and opinions.

It’s free to attend and kicks off at 3pm.

Here’s this month’s agenda:

• Launch the Ethical Merchant Charter – 10 mins
• Finalise rebate catcher guidelines and discuss timeline to launch – 10 mins
• Further discussion on voucher code regulations – 20 mins
• Discussion on transparency – 30 mins
o 3rd party “networks” and services
o Article in the Mirror
o Network/affiliate auditing
• Expo slot – 5 mins
• Ts and Cs Checklist – 5 mins
• IAB Member Survey – 10 minutes
• Any other business

Alternatively if you can’t attend but would like to add anything to the agenda then drop the AMC chair, Matt Bailey an email (matt.bailey@i-level.com).

The IAB’s offices can be found at 14 Macklin Street, London, WC2B 5NF.

tidd.ly Notice

Written by Sam Surry on . Posted in Network News, Technology

Unfortunately, we’ve had to temporarily remove the tidd.ly short link function from FireAW, but will have this resolved very soon. An update will follow when this happens.

**UPDATE 31st July**

This issue has been resolved and tidd.ly can now be found on version 1.3 of FireAW. :)


Samantha Leigh
Head of Communications

Darwin Beta Testing Begins

Written by Sam Surry on . Posted in Network News, Technology

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.

darwin_affiliate_overview

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

Account Switcher
• 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

Account Permissions
• 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

Wiki
• 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.

Samantha Leigh
Head of Communications

AWin Welcomes tidd.ly to the Family

Written by Sam Surry on . Posted in Network News, Technology

The much anticipated release of the AWin URL shortener is finally upon us, and we are happy to announce that ‘tidd.ly’ is here and ready to use.

So what is tidd.ly?

It is the solution to a long term problem of creating and managing cumbersome affiliate deeplink URLs; there is no longer a need to struggle with lengthy links as these can now be transformed into short and tidy URLs at the click of a button.

Affiliates can build deeplink URLs within ‘Deeplink Builder’ and ‘FireAW’ as normal, but are now presented with a button called ‘Create Shortlink’ that will transform the link once clicked. This will update the original link with a distinctive ‘tidd.ly’ domain, which is unique to Affiliate Window.

awin-deeplink-builder-tiddly1

fireaw-tiddly1

tidd.ly is live in affiliate accounts now, for any questions or queries please contact support@affiliatewindow.com. We want to hear your thoughts on the latest AWin tool, so leave us your comments or e-mail me directly with your feedback.

Samantha Leigh
Head of Communications

Merchant Deeplink Builder Now Available

Written by Sam Surry on . Posted in Network News, Technology

Affiliate Window are delighted to announce the release of their latest improvement to merchant accounts; the merchant deeplink builder.

This new merchant tool works in much the same way as the existing affiliate deeplink builder, but instead of displaying a specific affiliate ID the ‘!!!id!!!’ variable is used. This allows merchants to build ready-to-use, trackable deeplinks that can be sent to affiliates via the News Manager, or by another form of communication. REMEMBER; deeplinks sent through the News Manager automatically have the ‘!!!id!!!’ variable updated to display the respective affiliate ID. However, deeplinks sent by another method (e.g. posted on the Offers Blog, A4U Forum or in an email) will require the affiliate to update the ‘!!!id!!!’ variable manually, so you might want to remind them of this.

merchantdeeplinkbuilder

This tool will make creating deeplinks for your affiliates an easier process; making it quicker for you to create effective programme communications.

If you have any questions about the merchant deeplink builder please speak to your account contact or drop us an e-mail at support@affiliatewindow.com.

Samantha Leigh
Head of Communications

IAB Merchant Ethical Charter

Written by Kevin Edwards on . Posted in IAB, Network News

Affiliate Window is a member of the Internet Advertising Bureau’s Affiliate Marketing Council (AMC), a body that is working to improve industry communication and transparency between affiliates, networks, agencies and advertisers.

In conjunction with the AMC, Affiliate Window is supporting some best practice guidelines for merchants that address how they share information about their programmes with affiliates.

The best practice guidelines will form an industry wide Ethical Charter that we encourage merchants to adhere to. The IAB will be issuing these officially on 30th July 2009 so we’re giving you some advance notice in order for you to consider your current programme set-up.

The charter broadly covers:

  • - Declined sales
  • - The types of affiliates you work with
  • - De-duplication policy
  • - Notice periods

Please click here to see the guidelines

What do you need to do now?

We know a number of you already supply much of the information outlined in the charter.

Remember the guidelines cover all affiliate networks and Affiliate Window asks its merchants to supply some information that other networks may not.

Regardless it’s always good to do some housekeeping so check your current terms and conditions and decide if they’re up to date and as comprehensive as they could be.

For example if you’ve specific T&Cs in place for voucher code affiliates make sure your programme description reflects this. If you’re not currently doing so you may also want to add headings for all affiliates with T&Cs specific to them.

Another area the charter covers is declined sales, information we already require merchants to provide. In this instance please just bear in mind should you decline transactions that you are using the most accurate reason for doing so.

We would also encourage you to be as clear as possible about other online channels you are de-duplicating your sales against. So for example, if you cross-reference your affiliate sales against your paid search sales and allocate the transaction on a last click basis, you may want to share this information with affiliates.

We know this can be a complicated issue to communicate so please get in touch if you have any questions.

Finally we ask you to always consider affiliates when making significant programme changes to ensure you give them plenty of notice for anything that may impact their performance and earnings.

Affiliate Window plans to introduce a template for all merchants to fill out that adheres to the ethical charter later on in the year. This will make it clearer to all affiliates the specific details for your programme. We will of course keep you updated with these developments.

If you have any questions in the meantime please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Kevin Edwards (kevin.edwards@affiliatewindow.com) who will be happy to help.

Kevin Edwards
Strategy Director