Affiliate Programs Fact sheet Ivory Tower Internet Solutions
Want to sit at home and have other people make money for you? Affiliate programs may enable you to do just that – they
allow other people to earn a commission on-selling your products. There are hundreds of thousands of web sites servicing any
given community or vertical market, and nowadays most of them are looking for alternative revenue as the traditional revenue
streams, such as banner advertising, have dried up.
Establishments are quite used to offering commissions for sales but now they can look beyond traditional agents and allow
web site owners, dealing with the same target market, to on-sell their products and automate commission payment.
This is achieved by building ‘affiliate programs’ where other web site owners may offer products on their site simply by
registering online, customising the look-and-feel of the booking or purchase form(s), and linking to this form from their site.
The web site owner or ‘affiliate’ can then increase the value of his site by offering diverse services that fulfill more of his
The success of an affiliate program depends on the following components:
1. the product on offer – generally these should require low levels of support
2. suitable affiliate partners – people working in the same industry offering complimentary products or services that
already have an established user base or who have a strong marketing campaign.
3. the affiliate registration process – a way for suitable affiliate partners to subscribe to the program thereby automatically
creating the financial and reporting structure
4. the re-branding engine – once partners have registered and have been approved they must be able to change the look-
and-feel of any pages or forms to match their existing web site or portal
5. the affiliate purchase mechanism – whether this is a complex shopping cart or a simple order form, it runs seamlessly
on the affiliate partners site although generated by your server
6. the sales tracking system – every order placed must re recorded against the correct partner before being submitted to the
supplier so that commissions can be paid. Partners may access their own statistics at any stage
7. a solid financial back-end – at the specified intervals, financial reports and statements are generated detailing
commissions payable to all the affiliate partners
At the end of every month the affiliate receives a cheque from the developer of
the affiliate program, who has increased sales of his product or service while
often paying less than a traditional sales commission. Because the process is fully
automated, either party can view financial reports of sales and commissions
payable, online. This not only reduces the administration cost but builds trust
between the parties.
One very successful program is the vehicle hire booking system developed by
Ivory Tower Internet Solutions for Felix Unite Interactive. The form is available
through such diverse portals as IOL, iAfrica Travel, M-web, Western Cape
Tourism Board and others. Domestic and international travelers book hundreds
of cars, 4x4s and mobile homes every month, creating a revenue stream for the
Figure 1 The original form
Figure 2 Appearance determined by Figure 3 Program running in IOL's
customisable style-sheet to match web frameset
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