of Affiliate Programs
You can setup
your affiliate program where you fully manage it (internal), or have a
third party network manage it for you (external). There are pros
and cons for each method.
Internal affiliate programs "may" give
you more control over your program, you create your affiliate contract and word it the way
you feel is most appropriate. It can also be cheaper to setup and there are no
commissions paid to a third party which can be as little as 10% of the commissions paid or
as high as 35% depending on the program and the managing third party. Some external
programs will require a setup fee and which can be anywhere from $500 to a few thousand
External programs offer you a lot of services and will give
you instant exposure to their network of members. Additionally, many people feel
that having a third party involved will offer more objective monitoring and give them
additional confidence that they will be paid. Often times, such affiliate networks
have user friendly interfaces and professional reporting systems that are useful to both
the merchant and the affiliate.
The two largest affiliate networks are Link Share and Commission Junction. Link Share costs thousands of dollars and
is used by the large corporations. Commission Junction is next in expense and will
cost you over $1000 for setup fees, and now includes a $250 monthly minimum. They
have a huge member base and will market your program to that base. We still find the
price/benefit ratio lacking but we wanted to point out the reason why you are paying the
setup fee. Click Here to see how to integrate CJ code
into Miva Merchant. ClickTrade of Microsoft was a great alternative since it had no
setup fees and did have a huge member base, but it ceased operations September 6th
We have researched alternatives to ClickTrade and
found ClixGalore to be an even better substitute with no setup fee and
reasonable escrow amount. Their interface is excellent, and we have setup all our
customers with their program after ClickTrade ceased operations. We tested their system in
a multitude of ways before we recommended them, including customer support and found that
they respond to e-mails and calls. Click Here to
see how to integrate ClixGalore's code into Miva Merchant. (we have an affiliate
relationship with ClixGalore; Click to check our disclaimers and arbitration policy). Another alternative
is Lead Hound (no affiliation) with no
setup fees and reasonable terms. They also respond well to inquiries and would have
been our choice had we not gone with ClixGalore.
Miva Merchant 4.x comes with a built-in "basic"
affiliate program. Previous versions do not. While Miva has fixed some bugs in
the latest update 4.12, we do not feel comfortable at this point to recommend it as a
perfect choice as an internal affiliate program. The interface that your affiliate
uses is limited in terms of reports, and the commission accrual has not been fully tested
to ensure full accountability.
There is a third party module that offers a very
professional package at a reasonable price. You can check it out at Viking Coders, one of
the top module makers in the Miva community. In addition to offering the affiliate
tracking that one would expect, it offers you the ability to have a different look and
feel to your store based on what affiliate link the customer came from, and it even allows
you to have the product price change accordingly.