Vendor Spotlight: My Affiliate Program

Although KowaBunga! Technologies has been producing affiliate tracking software for some time, my first in-depth experience with its solution was at AffiliateFORCE/2001. In fact, I was surprised to learn that over 500 merchants use its My Affiliate Program, MyAP for short. Some of its clients are companies such as PUMA, Domain Direct by Tucows, and AccuWeather.com.

Some Background

My Affiliate Program is a hosted software solution that comes in several price points. MyAP Lite 2.0 costs $499 to set up plus a minimum monthly hosting fee of $50. MyAP Pro 3.1 costs $795 to set up with the same $50 minimum monthly hosting fee.

Right now, KowaBunga! is promoting a creatively titled “CJ Merchants — Sympathy Upgrade.” During June and July, merchants who switch to MyAP as a result of the rate increases at Commission Junction (CJ) are eligible for a special setup price of $499 on the Pro version.

Lite Versus Pro

A comparison of the two versions reveals that they share many features. One area in which the Pro version outshines the Lite version is in its support of marketing materials and destination pages. Unless your company sells all its products from a lone destination page, you’ll probably need the more sophisticated capabilities of the Pro version.

Who Really Owns Affiliates?

There’s also a philosophical difference between MyAP and other solutions, such as Be Free, CJ, LinkShare, and Performics. While the latter providers operate networks with ready masses of affiliates, MyAP markets the fact that its solution allows each merchant to operate a private network.

It’s a pretty significant difference. On one hand, it means MyAP clients probably lose out on the network power of Metcalfe’s Law. On the other hand, for most programs, a handful of affiliates represent the bulk of activity. What’s more, MyAP may be on the cutting edge. Perhaps we’re seeing the death of the mass affiliation era. For certain, MyAP will require a much more proactive approach to recruiting affiliates — whether you tackle it in-house or hire an agency.

Of course, the whole notion of “owning” your affiliates is a bit misguided. Affiliates are not “owned” by anyone but themselves — and a paycheck. In the end, if your program doesn’t perform, you’ll have no more ownership of your affiliates than with any other solution. Conversely, if you build a program that pays, you’ll find yourself rewarded with loyal affiliates — no matter who your technology provider is.

Some Options to Consider

Several add-on options are worth considering. The Private Domain option — an extra $700 (and $50 a month) — makes it all but impossible for others to detect that your program is powered by MyAP. For example, Cathay Pacific Airlines has done a great job of integrating MyAP nearly seamlessly into its site. The Private Domain feature is also available as part of KowaBunga!’s Platinum Package. For a total price of $1,399 (and $100 a month), you get the Pro version and the Private Domain option.

The Pay Per E-mail Module allows you to generate leads or build an opt-in list option. The $689 option offers double opt-in capabilities as well as domain and IP tracking to assist you in detecting possible fraud and a duplicate checking feature to prevent you from paying for the same email address twice.

Other Voices

Recently, MyAP won an Editor’s Choice Award from Dr. Ralph Wilson of Wilson Internet. My colleague Neil Durrant at Affiliate Announce also uses MyAP to power his affiliate program. In fact, Durrant’s book “The Practical Guide to Creating and Managing a Profitable Affiliate Program,” provides a great case study on his experiences with MyAP.

Note: I’m working to produce a complete roundup of all the various affiliate solution providers. First check my list, then send me your additions. Thanks.

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