New affiliate tool on the block

Discussion in 'Anything Goes' started by CuriousCoders, Jul 10, 2020.

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    CuriousCoders

    CuriousCoders Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    Our goal: To modernize the affiliate marketer by giving them a tool for greater oversight, convenience and depth of analytics to manage and scale their operation.


    Background

    After starting to work in the affiliate space a year ago, my cofounder and I encountered some problems that we believe are industry wide. To overcome them we built our own software solution that has enabled us to quickly grow to a respectably sized affiliate. We believe other affiliates are facing the same problems and would benefit from us further developing this software.


    Problem

    We personally have a slew of deals promoting various sites and found it painful to individually interact with multiple different dashboards. Major affiliates have dozens or even hundreds of deals and despite having the majority of the traffic directed to a few sites, it is still a huge chore to routinely check so many dashboards. Even more of a problem, the dashboards’ data visualizations aren’t useful or actionably interpretable beyond basic end of month revenue figures. Additionally, affiliate dashboards are explicitly not built around transparency -- the upstream partners can change the terms of deals without the affiliate ever realizing.


    Objective

    We aim to modernize affiliate marketers by giving them a tool for greater oversight, convenience and depth of analytics to manage and scale their operation. Our system focuses on a few key ideas: Simple adoption, transforming raw data with insightful metrics, vision


    Revolutionary Dashboard

    We’ve created a web app that scrapes all of our brands’ dashboards and centralizes them within a single dashboard without having to download software or manually set it up on each device. This makes monitoring our data easy and gives us visually useful metrics. Our web app shows us the relevant macro trends that we care about. For example, we’ve created a dynamically adjusted moving average of our portfolio that best estimates the true size of our book at any point in time. This signal would otherwise be hidden in the noise of daily NGR values.


    Notification System

    We also added a customizable notification system with email updates that show a daily breakdown of our earnings. It lets us stay in the loop about our operation while mobile and quickly see what needs our attention. Anyone coming from ecommerce ought to appreciate the satisfaction of getting an email any time someone places an order; we enjoy a similar rush on massive NGR days.


    Fee Analysis

    Upstream partners are notorious for giving the minimum amount of insight into their fee structures and their presentation of the data makes their fees appear minute. Rather than glancing through a .csv file with microscopic fees assessed across individual accounts, we centralize this data by date and deal so you can see the true costs associated with different products and upstream partners.


    Invisible Rate and ID Adjustments

    By scraping your dashboards several times a day to our servers, it allows us to compare changes in customer IDs and rates. We can notify you when IDs have been untagged or a deal has a rate change rather than never noticing it or stumbling across it weeks or months later.


    Blockchain Integration

    With so many affiliates making payments each month, it’s a headache to track each one manually. To combat this we’ve set up integration with blockchain.com wallets to match incoming payments with the amount owed from affiliates. If there’s interest, we can add a feature to automatically verify that you are receiving the correct amount of the cryptocurrency.


    Conclusion

    Rather than pay for an out of date GUI that needs to be desktop based, we’re looking to build a tool that is web-based and innovate around the APIs these affiliate dashboards now offer for more convenient authentication. Since this is a solution we use ourselves, we want to build something that is not only functional but also a delight to use.

    We’re reaching out to the community here to gauge interest. We’d really appreciate some candid feedback on the idea. Also, we’re open to partnering directly with any large affiliate during the development process so if you’d like to ensure the tool specifically accommodates your needs, please reach out to us.


    While we do have a lot of the functionality for our personal use already, we have some mockups of how we envision potentially creating the final product (cannot post links so DM us).

    Thank you for your interest in us, we look forward to hearing from all of your feedback.

    May your emails stay beefy--
     
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    CL-Ed

    CL-Ed Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    Sounds great, but as many who have unsuccessfully tried similar things over the years have found out...

    I (and many other experienced affiliates) prefer a desktop application such as Nifty Stats or StatsRemote before that for some very good reasons, the most important being:

    1. All data is kept in one place under my control. It is not subject to theft via hacking of a cloud server or corrupt employee, data mining by the service provider, or sale to competitors.
    2. All account credentials and API tokens are kept private on the local machine under my control. They are not subject to theft via hacking of a cloud server or corrupt employee.

    No web based tool that I have seen has been able to satisfy those non-negotiable requirements.

    I'm well aware of the pros and cons of each approach. I researched and specified requirements for my own desktop software when StatsRemote disappeared but decided not to code it because ultimately it wasn't worth the time investment compared to working as a pure affiliate.

    There is still room in the market for a specific gambling affiliate software that is more focused than generalist affiliate tools like NiftyStats. But I think you might find that keeping whatever you have built in house is far more valuable to you than selling it to a handful of small time affiliates that don't know any better.

    Good luck.
     
    CuriousCoders and DaftDog like this.
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    CuriousCoders

    CuriousCoders Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    Thank you for the feedback - this was the exact sort of info we were looking for. We joined the affiliate scene post statsremote, so we weren't around for it's demise, but after doing some reading about it it is amazing to me the void left in the community after they disappeared. To me that's a sign of product market fit.

    Niftystats and some of the other tools I have seen don't seem to be iGaming specific - I'm sure there's a ton of iGaming specific analytics you could provide if you narrowed the scope of the tool. It is interesting that major affiliates place such a high price on security requirements. Something we are exploring is providing an unhosted version of the software (for larger organizations that prioritize having control over their data, and have the technical bandwidth to set it up).

    At the end of the day though, there are multiple layers between the affiliate and the brand you are advertising for (the affiliate software provider itself being one). So a third party tool doesn't seem inherently any riskier, it's just a matter of where you'd place your trust.
     
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    riih

    riih Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    I was involved in developing one of the better similar services by using it starting from the testing phase and being essentially a QA tester.

    Honestly, some of these services are already what I'd see as "as good as it gets". Here's why its difficult to make a better one:

    Alerts for player tag removals: Is there another way of doing this besides checking whether player id 111 who played in January is still playing in February? Sounds like the alert page will be cluttered with disappearing IDs, most often for a valid reason (they stopped playing). If this is the case, it might not provide any extra value, as customers will quickly see its a waste of time when the first 100 IDs they checked are just people who didn't return a month after making their first deposits.

    One of the major annoyances for any types of scripts or macros is that even within the same affiliate platform, you can have different data available. As a result, you can see wrong numbers for clicks, depositors, new depositors, and earnings. IncomeAccess and MyAffiliates are the worst.

    Getting 100% accurate revenue stats for finance purposes is also iffy. Your software can scrape through the earnings pages and just copypaste the amounts, but then customers don't have a clue whether they're earning as much as they're supposed to. If the idea is to just provide a tool for managing the admin hassle, this is more acceptable. If you don't want to be scammed by operators, its not.

    If your software makes its own calculations based on deal inputs, issues come with old accounts with multiple deals on them. It takes extra steps to calculate commission out of your old and active CPA deal X from 2018 and the current hybrid Y from 2020.

    So far I have not found a service that could be used for everything. For properly done invoicing, people still need to manually log in at least once a month as there's always something that doesn't match, or you're just bleeding money due to not noticing insufficient earnings.
     
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    CL-Ed

    CL-Ed Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    Definitely. Even simple things like ongoing monitoring of negative carry-over balances or comparison of actual earnings percentages vs deposits (such as the AGD audits published here) would make these tools more useful.

    Security is a huge issue because most affiliate program software is so unsophisticated that if you can login to an account you can change payment details and/or request withdrawals. So you're effectively asking your customers to trust you, your employees, and the security of whatever hosting service you use with the keys to their bank accounts. Furthermore you're asking them to trust you not to data mine their stats and sell or use it for your own purposes.

    I can't see how a web only service can overcome both those issues, no matter who is offering the service. Personally I wouldn't trust anyone with that sort of information even if I knew they had the best of intentions.

    I think this means checking again in February whether player id 111 is still reported in January's stats and wasn't removed. It might catch the most obvious attempts at shaving but it isn't going to catch players that are never tagged in the first place, or whose 3rd, 4th, or 5th deposit is not logged etc. Ultimately there's nothing you can really do as an affiliate about that sort of thing except looking at the bottom line and moving elsewhere if the numbers don't meet expectations.
     
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    CuriousCoders

    CuriousCoders Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    I would agree. We are looking at partnering with the affiliate software companies directly and doing it without use of user login info.

    This is not the implementation I was thinking of - in the scenario described above you'd be shown players that just hadn't played that month (although potentially useful, not what I was aiming at here).

    On the affiliate dashboards themselves there is sometimes an indicator that the account has been untagged. On MyAffiliates the secondary ID is removed on that account, or there's a flag on it elsewhere. Thats what we would be displaying, but in a more centralized manner.
     
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    Joonas

    Joonas Certification Member Staff Member

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    You might be a bit late to the market, and I think the market potential is not that big to justify the development and especially opportunity costs if you have talented developers. I believe there are not enough small affiliates willing to pay enough and bigger ones like we at Bojoko.com build our own. I'd recommend investing the resources on something else.
     
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    Routy

    Routy New Member

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    not sure about Bojoko.com but I know Webpals which is part of XL media and some other big affiliates don't use stat crawler.

    we're in the 21st century, dealing with digital marketing for one of the profitable online services, yet iGamaing affiliates are far far behind other verticals. but I can't blame the affiliates.

    the number of affiliate platforms we need to deal with is insane! IncomeAccess, MyAffiliate, NetRefer, Mexos, MAP, Raven, etc... some small operation are building their platform, some programs hide data from reports, and the list of reasons keeps growing. it just hard to track manually.

    I think NiftyStats and other crawlers such Voonix are doing a great job crawling stats, I just think that crawling stats is not enough.

    think about player level report. when he first signed up? when was his FTD? what was the deposit amount? what % of this month's commission was made from an old player?

    SEO affiliates. do you know which page converts high roller players?
    what page generates more leads and less FTD?

    NiftyStats, Voonix, or any other stats crawler can't do that. because at the end of the day, they "just" crawl stats.
     
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