Archive for Affiliate Tools

Merchant Self-Managed Deal Sheets

Jul 24, 2012 No Comments by

For some time now we have manually created deal sheets posted to our blog to spotlight promotions for high-profile shopping events throughout the year. Click here for an example of how the deal sheets used to look.

Affiliate feedback told us these were very helpful, but there were limitations and concerns.

The big issue was that although we were featuring powerful promos, Affiliates could not get the actual link code they needed from the deal sheets (unless of course they were using the ALE, in which case they would not need link code at all). Once Affiliates observed the promos available via the public deal sheet(s), they would then need to login to the network, go to a merchant’s profile, then find the promotion for access to the link code.

We take pride in our automation, so the development team put their heads together and came up with a great solution that allows merchants to now manage their own deal sheets. With this upgrade Affiliates can also now get the link code they need from deal sheets within their account profile. This allows the deal sheets to remain behind the login, which merchants appreciate because 1) their competitors will not be able to see what their Affiliates will be promoting, and 2) Affiliate discount codes will be hidden from public view.

Overview of this new functionality for MERCHANTS:

Within the ad configuration form we have updated the “Ad Categories:” field to allow sub-selections within the “Promotional” category. Not unlike how the “Brand” or “Category” tags have always functioned, when program managers select “Promotional” a sub-menu appears now displays which allows the selection of the following shopping events and/or promo categories (options include major shopping events as well as “Shipping” and “Seasonal” sub-categories, which were previously in their own category, but have since moved under “Promotional” as sub-cats):

  • Back-to-School
  • Black Friday
  • Christmas
  • Cyber Monday
  • Father’s Day
  • Mother’s Day
  • Seasonal
  • Shipping
  • Summer Clearance
  • Valentine’s Day

We have the ability to add other promotional sub-categories, so if there are suggestions for more of those please let us know. Additionally, on the ad list overview page, the sub-categories under “Promotional” have been added to the drop down “Ad Category:” sorting menu.

Overview of this new functionality for AFFILIATES:

Just a couple things to note from the other side of the network. Affiliates can now sort by promotional sub-category via the “Category:” drop down menu on the “Merchant Ads” page of the tool center. To see what I mean check out the screengrab below or navigate to the “Get Ads” page: Login -> Ad Tools -> “Get Ads” Button (under Merchant Ads section).

Affiliates will also start to notice special announcements that will appear on the tool configuration pages (or even every page if it’s warranted) of their account management interface. Announcements will highlight active deal sheets or any other important news we need to share.

Bottom line is that Affiliates now have access to merchant deal feeds for specific shopping events (or general shipping, seasonal, etc. promotions) via their account management interface. When viewing deal sheets they will also be able to get the link codes the need quickly and easily.

Merchants, if you would like more info and/or a demonstration of how to effectively manage your own deal feeds be sure to sign-up for the August 1st training webinar that’s coming up. Chad will be covering this new functionality then.

Please post comments or suggestions, and Happy Converting!

Affiliate Tools, Merchant Tools, Promotions Read more

Last Click Through to Sale Summary Report

Jun 28, 2012 No Comments by

If you’re an AvantLink Affiliate, we’ve got a new report for you. The Last Click Through to Sale Summary report is listed under Sales and Commissions. This report gives you a summary of the time between the last click through and a sale, grouped into various periods of time.

Affiliate Tools Read more

AvantLink Mobile iPhone App Updated

Jun 28, 2012 2 Comments by

Our iPhone App has been updated to be compatible with iOS 5.1. We’ve also checked to ensure that when iOS 6 is available this fall, the AvantLink Mobile App will be compatible with that version as well. If you have an Apple device and aren’t currently using the app, go to the App Store and search for “AvantLink Mobile” to get real-time statistics directly on your iPhone, iPod, or iPad.

Affiliate Tools, Merchant Tools Read more

New Internal “Ad Tools” Page

May 15, 2012 3 Comments by

If you’re an AvantLink Affiliate you probably already noticed, but yesterday we rolled out a killer upgrade to the former “Tools” index page within the internal account management interface. It occurred to us that although we have all this educational material (like individual tool/screencasts tutorials) on the public tool pages, this info was not available on the internal pages…which is probably where you spend all your time when using our site.

On our main internal (header) nav the link for “Tools” is now “Ad Tools”. Note when you hover over “Ad Tools” a drop down menu is displayed (with sub-menus as well), allowing you access to the tool configuration forms right from the main nav. Once you go to the “Ad Tools” page you’ll notice a more organized list that includes icons specific to each tool we offer. Underneath each tool snippet/listing you’ll also find links for access to the tool configuration forms.

AvantLink Ad Tool Center

Although the “Ad Tools” page looks different, access to everything you need in terms of configuration and tool subscription management is available from that page just like you’re used to. It’s important to also note that now we have dedicated pages for each tool. On these tool pages (accessible by clicking tool names on the index, or via the sidebar navigation) you can find a brief description as well as the embedded screencast tutorial for that tool.

Please submit a comment below to let us know what you think!

Affiliate Tools Read more

Third Party Tool Profile: AvantLinker Drupal Module

Jan 19, 2012 No Comments by

AvantLinker for Drupal

Heads up all you affiliates who use Drupal, this post is for you! Recently AvantLink has made an effort to certify third party affiliate marketing tools that can be used with our network. Today, we’re adding another tool to that list! The AvantLinker Drupal module brings all of the functionality of the AvantLink WordPress plugin to those of you using Drupal. Here’s what the AvantLinker description page says:

This project is for affiliates of the AvantLink Affiliate Network. It’s purpose is to give the same functionality as the AvantLink WordPress Add-on developed by AvantLink. The three areas of utility are:

  • Affiliate Link Encoder (ALE) which inserts a small amount of JavaScript on the page which allows merchant links to automaticly be rendered as affiliate links. This assumes that the affiliate has a relationship with the merchant.
  • Product Search allows the display of a little search form that will yield links, thumbnail images, and product descriptions for the products found. You will get a listing representing products from all the merchants you have signed up with.
  • Related Products allows you to pick keywords that when found in your text will produce a “related products” ad in your sidebar.

Whoa! Not too shabby considering this tool is completely free and has been verified by us to track properly. The AvantLinker module is live and available right now through  Major props to John Powell for the work on this absolutely stellar project.

Affiliate Tools Read more

App Market Tool Profiles: AdRotatorPlus

Jan 05, 2012 No Comments by

Time for another App Market Tool Profile!  All tools mentioned in these posts are dynamic, new and entirely exclusive through the AvantLink App Market!

The AdRotatorPlus Affiliate Marketing Tool from the AvantLink App MarketThe AdRotatorPlus tool by AfflResources gives affiliates a very easy way to select any and all banner ads they’d like to advertise on their site and build a widget to randomly display a new one each time the page is loaded! Say goodbye to the days of static banner ads!

AdRotatorPlus lets affiliates build a widget that displays one or more pre-selected banner advertisements from multiple merchants. Affiliates can customize their widget and specify how many rows, columns and ads they’d like to display. The picture to the left is an example of what the tool looks like with a 2×2 row & column set up with banner ads from several different merchants. Because more than four banner ads were added to this AdRotatorPlus widget, each time the page was refreshed new banner ads would be displayed!

Pretty cool, eh? We think so!

The set up is very easy and straightforward. Start by customizing the settings on your widget and decide how many and which ads you’d like the widget to display (all ads must be the same size). After you’ve configured things to your liking, simply add a one-line snippet of Javascript to your site and you’ve got yourself an incredibly functional ad rotator.

This is a really powerful new way to display what has become the most quintessential tool of the affiliate marketing industry. The AdRotatorPlus tool  is available right now through the AvantLink App Market, so start mixing up the way you display your banner ads!

The configuration and setup screen of the AdRotatorPlus tool from the Avant Link App Market

Affiliate Tools, App Market Tool Profile Read more

App Market Tool Profiles: Buy Button Price Comparison Tool

Dec 12, 2011 No Comments by

Recently, AvantLink launched the groundbreaking and, frankly, freaking awesome AvantLink App Market. The concept is simple- open our network up to third party developer who have great ideas for affiliate marketing tools, allow them to build those tools, and then make them available to all of the affiliates on our network. Neat, right? We certainly think so. Think “iPhone App Store for affiliate marketing”, except all of the tools in our market are completely free to you!

So, in an effort to keep you up-to-date with the apps that are available, we’ve decided to start this blog series we’re conveniently calling the App Market Tool Profiles! Today, we’ll be looking at one of the applications that was available from day one of the app market’s launch, the Buy Button by VR Interactive.

The Buy Button is a handy widget that allows you to insert a large “Buy Now”  button into a specific page, post, or sidebar spot on your website. Not surprisingly, the button links to any product of your choice by either copy/pasting a product URL from one of your merchants’ websites or by browsing and selecting a product through the Buy Button configuration interface. Configuring and setting up the tool is easy via the app’s button builder, but for you more tech-savvy affiliates, you’re also given the option to use the API for configuration.

Additionally, the BuyButton acts as a price comparison tool on products based on search criteria you’ve specified. Here’s what VR Interactive said about it on their blog:

Likewise, the blogger could highlight a search of products that would fit their post. So, say the blogger is writing about the best type of softshell jacket that a backcountry skier would want, he/she could use BuyBtn to generate the code that would reveal the results of the search. So, it could show numerous jackets from one brand in one attractive window that would open from the Buy Now button. read more..

Where might using the Buy Button be a good idea? Any pages on your website that focus on a particular product are a perfect opportunity to insert the Buy Button. In particular, affiliates who post product reviews could really benefit from having an obvious solution for where to buy the product being reviewed. Check out the Buy Button today in the AvantLink App Market!

Read More: VR Interactive Releases BuyBtn Affiliate Button Generator

App Market Tool Profile Read more

New App Market Tool: DealAtATime

Dec 02, 2011 No Comments by

Back in October we announced the launch of Affiliate marketing’s first application market, where independent third party developers can submit and monetize Affiliate tools they create using our API.

AvantLink App Market

This is a post to introduce the latest addition to the AvantLink App Market: DealAtATime


With this tool Affiliates can configure dynamic “deal at a time” offers (see screengrab below of configuration screen & widget preview) from their associated AvantLink merchants on their web sites. Color schemes are customizable to fit any site’s look and feel. Click the logo above for more info, or for existing AvantLink Affiliates just login and click “Tools” on the main menu, then “App Market” at the bottom of the page.

DealAtATime Configuration

More information on the AvantLink App Market:

App Market Tool Profile Read more

Raw Datafeed Files – Pricing History and Variant Feeds

Nov 03, 2011 1 Comment by

Affiliates using our raw datafeed file solution should take note that we now support a feature called alternative datafeed download types.  Specifically, it is now possible to append a parameter to your datafeed download URL and trigger the retrieval of an entirely different set of information from what you normally download.  There are two alternative types available at present: pricing and variants.

By appending “&type=pricing” to your datafeed download URL, you will receive all available pricing history (price changes) for the products normally listed in your datafeed.  For instance, a datafeed configured for Eddie Bauer might have a normal download URL such as:
(note this URL is just for demonstration and does not resolve to an actual datafeed download)

Using a modified URL of:

might yield data such as:

"Product SKU","Date","Retail Price","Sale Price"
"17064","2011-08-31 05:04:14","6.50","6.50"
"17326","2011-08-31 05:04:14","44.50","44.50"
"17326","2011-10-04 04:00:18","59.95","59.95"
"17327","2011-08-31 05:04:14","44.50","44.50"

If instead you append “&type=variants” to your datafeed download URL, then you will retrieve all product variations, e.g. size, color, etc. using the “Variants XML” field (if it is populated – not all merchants supply this information) for the products listed in your datafeed.  Affiliates who have looked at or worked with the “Variants XML” field previously may find this option simpler to use since the data has been “expanded” from a single XML snippet to a fully-parsed data set.  As an example, using the same Eddie Bauer datafeed download link mentioned above, but modifying it for variants information:

results in data such as the following:

"Product SKU","sku","upc","vendor_sku","size","color","style","retail_price","sale_price"
"17064","752680","","17064","ONESZE","Nautical Blue","","6.50","6.50"
"17064","767559","","17064","ONESZE","Medium Heather Gray","","6.50","6.50"

In both cases the alternative download will contain a “Product SKU” field which you can use to match up to the “SKU” field of records in your normal datafeed download.  Additionally, the file format (CSV, tab-delimited text, or XML) and compression options (gzip, zip, or no compression) for alternative downloads will be as specified in your datafeed configuration.

Keep in mind you don’t need to change anything with regard to your datafeed subscriptions – you need only append this new “type” parameter to the datafeed download URL if you want to utilize one of these alternative datafeed downloads.

-David Clark

Affiliate Tools Read more

Product Pricing History

Oct 27, 2011 1 Comment by

AvantLink made the decision recently to start tracking in detail the pricing changes for records within our merchant product datafeeds.  While traditionally we have kept track of only the current price for a product, we were able to use our data backups to reconstruct monthly snapshots of the pricing for all of our datafeeds; then since mid-September 2011 the pricing history has been noted for every change in a merchant’s feed.  This allows us to build – and provide to affiliates – full pricing history for products across the entire duration of a merchant’s association with AvantLink.

This kind of information can be invaluable in building advanced tools such as pricing history charts or trend analyzers and predictors (e.g. how long can the price go).

The first of our tools to provide access to this data is the ProductPriceCheck API module.  By utilizing the “show_pricing_history” parameter of that module, you can retrieve all known price points for a given product.  For instance, within the feed a request for pricing data for “SmartWool Merino Wool Liner Socks” (product SKU “659684″) might be formatted as:

and return XML data such as pictured below.

You can see from those results that this product was originally priced at $10.95, but was on sale for $8.19 in December 2010.  By January 2011 the product was no longer on sale.  It then went back on sale in June 2011 for just $7.59 and finally in July 2011 was back to full/regular price again.

We expect very soon to roll out support for retrieving pricing history information as part of our raw datafeed file solution as well; a separate announcement will be made when that functionality is available.

-David Clark

Affiliate Tools Read more