Case Study: An Affiliate System With ASP (Page 1 of 7 )
If you sell products or services online then one of the quickest and easiest ways to expand your potential reach is to setup an affiliates program. An affiliates program allows visitors to your web site who are interested in your products/services to promote then through their own marketing channels and on their own sites with their own unique tracking code. When someone clicks through from their site to yours, that click is tracked, and if that visitors orders from you, then "credit" is given to the affiliate who referred the visitor. This credit is usually paid in the form of money or goods and services.
One of the biggest projects that I've ever worked on is TechBuy. TechBuy is an Australian online PC hardware and components shop for which I took the lead role of senior developer. During my time as developer for TechBuy, I managed to create (from scratch) a fully interactive eCommerce web site complete with multi-tier customer accounts, real time order tracking, automated invoicing, product comparisons, etc.
After a year of being online, we decided that it was time to use TechBuy's huge reach to allow affiliates to promote the site even further. There were several commercial affiliate programs on the market, however most were not versatile enough to "plug in" to the current system. This is where we decided to make our own affiliate and tracking system.
In this article we're going to take a look at the code behind the TechBuy affiliate system. We're going to see how accounts are setup, how clicks and orders are tracked, and also how reports are generated for visitors when they want to see their affiliate statistics.
This article will focus primarily on ASP and Microsoft SQL Server 2000, however the principles and methods used can easily be adapted to PHP and MySQL for example.