Adding an E-Junkie Affiliate Program

by CJ on Fri 10 Sep, 2010

I’m a complete newb to marketing and up until now, I have not given it much thought or effort. To be honest, I’m not big on the idea of pimping my own products. I don’t have that salesman personality. However, marketing on the internet has some palatable techniques compared to traditional marketing. One of the more powerful techniques is affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing, once implemented, allows an entity to financially reward someone (anyone) who refers a buyer. In most cases, the referrer receives a commission for every purchase. This is perfect for Unknown Artifact (UA) since I don’t have a ton of time to market my wares. If other people are inclined to promote UA products then I am more than willing (and happy) to pay out commissions for their referrals.

Who are UA Affiliates?

UA affiliates are people willing to promote UA products. Chances are even better that UA affiliates are bloggers who write about the indie t-shirt industry. There is a large handfull of t-shirt review blogs and I subscribe to most of them. Behind these blogs are people who dedicate their time and resources to producing meaningful reviews about t-shirt designs and the indie garment industry in general. Often times, what sets one t-shirt vendor apart from another when a blogger chooses to review a product is whether or not a vendor has an affiliate program. So, it’s in my best interest to offer a rewarding affiliate program to increase my chances of getting some publicity. It’s one of the easiest and most effective ways to promote my little project.

I consider myself a student and I take advice well. The notion of offering an affiliate program to increase UA’s exposure and sales was reaffirmed by Adam Hendle over at I Am The Trend. His post regarding “how to get more blogs to post about your clothing line” highlights four things a website like mine can do to increase the chances of getting publicity. The fourth recommendation is to offer an affiliate program.

E-Junkie’s Common Affiliate Program

This site utilizes E-Junkie for its shopping cart functionality. You can read about the shopping cart implementation details here. In addition, this site uses E-Junkie’s Common Affiliate Program to manage its affiliate program. E-Junkie allows me to offer a single commission across all UA products all while using a single URL. E-Junkie also offers Product Specific Affiliate Programs that allows users to define a unique URL and/or a unique commission percentage for each product.

When first reviewing E-Junkie’s affiliate program options, I required a combination of the two programs they offered. I wanted the simplicity of the Common Affiliate Program but I also wanted the ability for affiliates to promote a specific product using a unique URL, like the Product Specific Affiliate Program offers. E-Junkie didn’t accommodate multiple URL definitions for its Common Affiliate Program.

The way I was able to accommodate multiple URLs for a Common Affiliate Program was to add custom values to the affiliate URL. Fortunately, E-Junkie’s affiliate hop-link mechanism passes on custom values on the query string when it arrives at its destination. This allows the UA site to read these custom values and potentially, redirect the referred user to any UA webpage.

For instance, here is what a typical E-Junkie affiliate URL looks like:

https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?cl=124503&c=ib&aff=124503

The values on the query string (highlighted in red) uniquely identify the affiliate as the referrer. E-Junkie’s Common Affiliate Program only allowed me to configure one URL as the destination page. In this case, it’s the UA shop page.

In order to accommodate multiple URLs, I provided instructions on an affiliate landing page for affiliates to add custom values on the query string if they want the URL to redirect to a specific UA web page. For instance, the following URL will redirect to the Distressed Star product page:

https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?cl=124503&c=ib&aff=124503&ua_redirect=http://unknownartifact.com/shop/distressed-star-kids-t-shirt-size-8/

The redirect URL is highlighted in red. In order to read the custom values on the query string, I added a bit of JavaScript to detect these values and redirect to the new URL if the value exists. This logic is best done on the server but I just added a bit of JavaScript:

(function() {

	var getParameterByName = function(name)
	{
		name = name.replace(/[\[]/,"\\\[").replace(/[\]]/,"\\\]");
		var regexS = "[\\?&]"+name+"=([^&#]*)";
		var regex = new RegExp( regexS );
		var results = regex.exec( window.location.href );
		if( results == null )
			return "";
		else
			return decodeURIComponent(results[1].replace(/\+/g, " "));
	}

	var redirect = function() {
		var url = getParameterByName('ua_redirect');
		if (url) {
			window.document.location = url;
			return true;
		}
		return false;
	};
	
	if (redirect())
		return;
		
	/*other implementation code goes here...*/
}())
Final Thoughts

Like the shopping cart functionality, I’m quite pleased with E-Junkie’s affiliate program solution thus far. Any suggestions and feedback are greatly appreciated.

Here is UA’s Affiliate Program page. Many thanks for your interest.

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