How To Avoid Problems Running Multiple Affiliate Programs Through 1ShoppingCart

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I recently relaunched Blog Masters Club and I did it via 1ShoppingCart. They aren’t my favorite system in the world, but they have a good balance of features for the price. One of my biggest annoyances with them, however, is the way they handle multiple affiliate programs through a single account.

In this post, I’m going to walk through how I’ve handled this, and hopefully help some other 1SC users from having the difficulties I did.

The Problem

Inside of 1SC, you have a default affiliate program. Then, you can set up individual affiliate programs for different products or groups of products if you want to.

In my case, I run several different products through the same 1SC account, with different sets of promotional material completely. I also wanted to ensure my future ability to run products for completely different markets through the same account, if I decided I wanted to do that.

So, I started using separate affiliate programs inside of 1SC. I have one for Blog Masters and one for 3DayMoney. The promo materials for each are filed under the respective program. However, it remains that I have a “default” program.

The problem here is that the “default” program is displayed first no matter what you do… when an affiliate logs in to get their referral links. And, as many times as you tell them to choose the right JV program first, inevitably you have people who don’t do that. They use the default link.

What’s the problem here? The problem is that 1SC will track their clicks, but will NOT properly track the sale and assign the commission.

That’s a big problem when you have large affiliates sending you several hundred referrals. 🙂 And, unfortunately, 1SC offers no way to change any of the tracking for those referrals after the fact. I end up having to rapidly get people to fix their referral links on their sites, then manually track conversions and assign commissions. What a PITA.

What I Did To (Hopefully) Alleviate The Confusion

In retrospect, it would have been easier to just use the default program for everything. But, then again, that’s just tantamount to giving in to a confusing system. 1SC offers the ability to have multiple programs, yet they make their affiliate system confusing to affiliates to pick the right program.

So, what I did was change the welcome screen seen by the affiliate when they log in to get their links. I added some attention-getting text, as well as an image showing them exactly what I mean…

Screen shot 2010-12-29 at 12.04.36 PM.png

I also changed the name of my default program to “Default (Please Choose Correct Program)”. This way, when it displays in the dropdown menu, it says that.

Lastly, whenever I email affiliates, I usually remind them of this fact.

How 1ShoppingCart Could Make This Easier

In the end, it comes down to the fact that 1SC’s affiliate portal is confusing. When I called 1SC support, I was told this was a known confusion and that the best solution is to just use the default affiliate program for everything. Well, that’s STUPID. Especially if you offer many different things via the same account.

It would be better if 1SC could do the following:

  1. Allow the program owner to CHOOSE which affiliate program is default.
  2. On the “Links & Tools” page, rather than simply display the default program link immediately, you list out each program and have the affiliate select the program FIRST. Not in a dropdown, but in a full-length list of available programs, along with a description. No referral links are displayed until a program is selected.

This is easy stuff to do, and I have no idea why 1SC doesn’t think it through. Anybody with basic interface design experience would see how their affiliate program interface would be confusing.

If 1SC is going to allow multiple affiliate programs per account, the least they can do is make sure it works well.

Hopefully that information helps somebody.

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