What affiliate programs do you support?

We currently support AffiliateShop, Commission Junction ,Shareasale & others for commercial affiliate program systems. In fact, most affiliate programs are supported. Setup for some of them are in the cart configuration. The rest we setup for you at no charge; just contact us.

We also have our own free affiliate system which, although not intended to replace a commercial program it works well for smaller merchants.

What are the details on the free virtualCART® Affiliate System?

The basic points of the virtualCART® Affiliate System:

  • No extra charge for using it.
  • No % of sale is charged as commission.
  • Easy to setup
  • A simple but functional system.

Here are the details on what to do and how to use it:
Let's say you recruit an affiliate. Give them a code:
123abc

They put a link to your site on their site:
http://www.cartserver.com/afl.cgi?c=b-2400&u=www.[yoursite].com&a=123abc

virtualCART® sets a seven day cookie on the shopper and immediately redirects the browser to your site. If an order is placed within that seven days, a message is put into the order stating it is an affiliate sale, and what the affiliate code is.

The fields in that link are:
c=b-2400 replace b-2400 with your cart-id
u=www.[yoursite].com shopper redirected to this URL
a=123abc arbitrary affiliate code/name you assign to affiliate

Note 1: To make a shorter link, leave out the redirect url and the system will send people to the "home url" of record in the cart.

http://www.cartserver.com/afl.cgi?c=b-2400&a=123abc

Note 2: To make a shorter link, just put in the /pathtopage.html and the system will send people to your "home url" with /pathtopage.html appended.

http://www.cartserver.com/afl.cgi?c=b-2400&u=/yourpage.html&a=123abc

How will my affiliate know when they have made a sale? Do they have to just trust that I will tell them/pay them?

No. If you format the affiliate field of the clickthrough like this: 123abc^This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. then an email with the order SUBTOTAL will go out to them. Since it comes straight from us, they will get the notification regardless of what you may or may not do. It will be up to your affiliate to insure that they keep a working email address into the clickthrough URL. They still have to trust that you will PAY them, but they know what they are owed.

Here is an example of the email notification format:
http://www.cartserver.com/afl.cgi?c=b-2400&u=www.[yoursite].com&a=123abc^This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

How is payment to the affiliate handled? Do I need to open an affiliate account with virtualCART®?

Payment arrangements are between you and your affiliate. We don't get into that area of it at all. That is a GOOD thing since there is no one keeping a percent of your affiliate payout as in the commercial affiliate programs. There is no setup needed as far as virtualCART® goes. You don't even need to write to us to let us know you are using it. Just start issuing clickthrough URLs to your affiliates and the system will work.

Does the email sent to the affiliate tell them what their payout is?

No. Since we don't get involved with your payment arrangements, we don't know what percent or flat rate to tell them. What we DO know is the order subtotal, and they can calculate it from there if they wish. We may offer a place for you to list affiliate names/payout rates so this info can be included at some time in the future.

Does virtualCART® also offer a system for the affiliate to see sale history?

Not yet.

What about FAX and Postal mail orders? Is the affiliate out of luck, or is the merchant stuck having to pay the affiliate for a sale they may or may not get?

The merchant of course knows when he has received a preliminary copy of that order type, and with our system the affiliate knows this also since we put a message to that effect in their email. They know that the sale may or may not consumate.

How long does the cookie that is set on a shopper last for?

By default, the cookie is set for 7 days. To change the duration, add the argument below to the string:

&d=604800

The value is the cookie duration in seconds.

After testing the affiliate system, I keep getting the affiliate info on future orders that I test from my browser. I assume the only way to bypass this on tests is to disable cookies?

When you test the clickthrough, the cookie gets set on you as it does on any shopper, and so will last for seven days. You can remove the cookie in your browser's cookie manager.

What is the typical scenario for when I need/want this, and how does it unfold?

You sell a product, and you want to maximize your sales for that product. To do that, you increase your exposure to potential shoppers. One great tool for doing this is to get an advertisement or link to your site on OTHER people's websites.

They won't do that out of the goodness of their heart of course, so you need to offer them a "piece of the action". That is where an affiliate system comes into play. You contact the affiliate, we'll call him Fred, and offer him $5 for each sale you make which comes from a shopper originating on Fred's website. Fred likes the idea, since you sell dog collars and his site is pet related also.

You give him some code to put onto his site:

<a href="http://www.cartserver.com/afl.cgi?c=b-2400&u=www.[yoursite].com&a=fred^This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">
Click here for great deals on pet collars!</a>

They put it up, and a then shopper comes to his site, sees the link, and decides they really DO need a new collar for "Spot", clicks through, and buys a collar. You get a message in your order that the sale came from Fred, and Fred gets an email saying he made a sale. You enter the amount you owe Fred into your logbook or spreadsheet under Fred, and when he accumulates enough commission, send him a check and log the payout also. Keep good records for tax time! That's all there is to it.

Can I link to a certain page on my site, or must it be my home page?

Any page! Use as many as you want to target special products at your site. Just change the promotional text or banner graphic to be relevant to the page.

end faq

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