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Thread: Technology Overview Series

  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador Amy Ely's Avatar
    Join Date
    July 16th, 2007
    569 Technology Overview Series: LinkEngine
    Hello Affiliates!

    Our technology team is beginning a series of posts that describe each of's tools and technologies. These are designed to give you a better idea of what we have to offer and how you can use them to drive more sales.

    The first post starts with one of our most basic (yet very useful) tools: LinkEngine. Read Kris's information below (slightly edited for the US market), or view the full post here.

    Topic: LinkEngine
    Hi everyone, will be regularly posting on our technology and products to give you an insight into what we offer and how it can be put to good use for you to ultimately drive more sales.

    It's easy to overlook a release email or new menu item, so we hope to use this space to raise awareness of our products and services and I'd be happy to answer any specific questions on how these can be of benefit to you and your sites.

    With that being said, I'm going to start with the fundamentals... deep link generation.

    Manually crafting deeplinks can be time consuming and risky but removes the element of risk and speeds up the process with the LinkEngine.

    The LinkEngine is an automatic deeplink generator. You can use this interface to create deeplinks for programs that you are approved to work with in seconds:

    1. Visit “Make Links” > “LinkEngine” in the Affiliate Management Area or click this link.
    2. In another browser window navigate to the product / page you wish to deeplink to on the merchant site and copy the URL.
    3. Paste the URL in the “Enter URLs” text area of LinkEngine and if required enter a LinkID in the appropriate field.
    4. Click “Create Deeplinks” and the links will be automatically converted to trackable affiliate links for that specific product.

    Note: You can create multiple deeplinks in one hit just by pasting a URL per line in the entry box.

    LinkId or LID as it’s also known is a custom link parameter you can assign for your own tracking purposes. Reports such as the Commission Value Report in the Management Area will display LID data against your sales statistics.

    That’s all there is to it. Simple and effective.

    If you have any comments, issues or suggestions for the LinkEngine let me know and I’d be happy to follow these up.

    Best regards,

    Last edited by Amy Ely; January 11th, 2010 at 10:17 AM. Reason: Edited title

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador Amy Ely's Avatar
    Join Date
    July 16th, 2007
    569 Technology Overview Series: OfferCentral
    Hello again,

    The next topic is on OfferCentral - our new voucher code management system. This technology enables advertisers to give affiliates unique coupon codes for their site and reassign commissions if the code is used by an unauthorized affiliate. Also, affiliates can use OfferCentral to sign up for RSS feed updates on new voucher codes and coupon creatives.

    We are currently working with our US advertisers to setup codes for our affiliates, so stay posted for the first set available in the US market. In the meantime, feel free to browse the Management Area for voucher codes available for our global programs.

    Read Kris's information below (slightly edited for the US market), or view the full post here.

    Please let us know if you have any questions!


    Topic: OfferCentral
    Following on from my first post on deeplink generation using the LinkEngine I’m now going to be talking you through OfferCentral,’s answer to voucher code management and distribution.

    You will find OfferCentral in your Management Area under “Content & Creative”:

    Voucher Codes are boosting revenues across the board as discerning consumers search for the best deals available. Use OfferCentral to find the most appropriate voucher codes for your site and let us keep you informed of new codes and of the expiry or changes to existing codes.

    OfferCentral Features
    • Single, central access point: All active and upcoming vouchers available to you are listed with full filtering and sorting capability.
    • Notification and management: OfferCentral takes the pain away from Voucher Code management as you can be kept up-to-date with new codes becoming active and current codes expiring (expired codes with associated creative will automatically be swapped our for generic creative). You can also choose to subscribe to our RSS feed and receive email or Management Area updates.
    • Web Services: Use our Web Services to access Offer Code data in HTML, XML, or CSV formats.

    Advanced OfferCentral Features
    • Personalized Voucher Codes: Merchants can setup codes specifically for you that will only be available in your Management Area and should another affiliate promote your code our systems will ensure it will only track for you.
    • Reporting: In your Commission Value Report you will be able to add the “Offer Code” column to track usage against sales and consumer basket data.

    Participating merchants have advanced OfferCentral features activated which means you can benefit from the following:

    If you are interested in the advanced features and would like to know about participating merchants please contact your Client Services representative.

    If you have any comments, issues or suggestions for OfferCentral feel free to contact me and I’ll follow these up.

    Best regards

    Last edited by Amy Ely; January 11th, 2010 at 10:16 AM. Reason: Added title

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador Amy Ely's Avatar
    Join Date
    July 16th, 2007
    569 Technology Overview Series: ContentEngine Contextual
    Hi Everyone,

    Today's post covers ContentEngine Contextual. Originally released in 2009, this tool is an easy way to monetize copy on your blog, website, or newsletter.

    Check out Kris's post below, or read the original one here.

    Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions!


    Topic: ContentEngine Contextual

    Here's a quick recap on our ContentEngine Contextual product, which takes the hassle out of monetizing those sites that you're struggling to dedicate time on at the moment.

    What is ContentEngine Contextual?

    ContentEngine Contextual automatically converts the copy on your site or blog into monetized affiliate links.

    It does this by detecting which merchant programs you're approved for, identifies their brand names in your copy and then automatically inserts the affiliate link complete with your handle.

    All you have to do is specify the section of you site you wish to monetize, generate your code using the ContentEngine Contextual Wizard, and add it to any pages in your site.

    Getting Started

    Log into your Management Area and you will find ContentEngine Contextual under the 'Content & Creative' menu or click here.

    Visit the 'ContentEngine Contextual' tab to get started and fill in the form to get your code. Simply copy the code into your sites pages or template and you're done!

    The 'Brand Terms' tab will show you the list of terms the Contextual will detect and convert, 'Demo' shows the product in action and 'View Code Samples' tab will show you how to integrate ContentEngine Contextual into your site, including specific examples for WordPress and Blogger platforms.

    More Information

    To see the product working or for more information about ContentEngine Contextual visit the Management Area or drop me a message.

    We're looking to build on the first iteration so any feedback you have is most welcome.


  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador Amy Ely's Avatar
    Join Date
    July 16th, 2007
    569 Technology Overview Series: ShopCentral
    Hi Everyone,

    Our next topic is ShopCentral, our simple store builder tool. This technology enables affiliates to create and install a shopping platform on their site within minutes!

    Check out Michael's post below, or read the original one here.

    Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions!


    Topic: ShopCentral

    Hi there, and welcome to the latest in the series of’s technology overview posts. This time round, I would like to give you an insight into our ‘shop-in-a-box’ application, ShopCentral. If you didn’t know already, ShopCentral is a simple application for affiliates who may not have the technical ability or time to create and maintain a shop on their site.

    So without further ado . . . .

    Let’s get started!

    You will find ShopCentral within the ‘Content and Creative’ section of the MA, or you can simply follow this link

    Once in the ShopCentral menu, you have two options, either create your new store from scratch, or edit a previously created one. Since this is a tutorial, let’s start from scratch.

    After clicking ‘Create New Store’, you will be presented with numerous tab options as shown below. This is the central hub for everything you would like to incorporate into you new shop, from how it looks, to which merchants to advertise, and also how it will function.

    Using the tabs

    Here’s a quick reference guide to each tab:

    Style: How would you like your store to appear? Simply select one of the pre-created templates to set you on your way.
    Site Settings: Place your META ‘Keywords’ and ‘Descriptions’ here to allow search engines to pick up on what your shop is about. (e.g. Mobile Phones, Cell Phones, Broadband).
    Link Settings: Control the behaviour of the links in your shop, even cloak them so users don’t see that the click is re-directing through our servers!
    Search Settings: Manage how your search functions operate here, how many products would you like on each page and how would you like the search result to act. Click straight to the merchant’s page or perhaps pop the product details up in a snazzy lightbox?
    Homepage Settings: Possibly one of the most important tabs here - how will your store’s homepage operate? Write some welcome text and input the keywords for the products to be displayed on the home page. Utilise the ‘Domainers’ feature* - will you allow the keywords a user enters into a search engine to be imported to your store’s search box?
    Programmes: OK, you’ve set up the store on an aesthetic basis, now put the background workings in place. Which merchants would you like to advertise in your store?
    Categories: You have the merchants selected; now narrow down the categories for the merchants that you want to appear!

    *ShopCentral - Domainers
    Using the same simple installation, the “domainers” feature uses search engine results to generate the front page of your shop in real-time. As a result, the products that users see in your shop are relevant to the keywords they searched for, and therefore more likely to capture their interest. This feature is particularly helpful for PPC affiliates or those of you with a large number of domains.

    Getting your store live!

    Now you’ve created your store, click the ‘Save’ button and then ‘Return to Store List’. Once you see your store in the list, all that’s left to do is make this powerful application visible on your site is put the files on your server.

    Click the download link that corresponds to your newly created site, you will be asked to save a ‘zip’ file to your local hard drive, once downloaded, ‘un-zip / extract’ the files to a chosen directory.

    You have the files, you’re ready to go. The next step is to upload the store onto your server. To do this, use an ‘FTP’ client (if you don’t have one, I’d recommend ‘Filezilla’). Enter your server’s connection details, click ‘connect’ and drop the newly extracted files onto your server, within the directory that you would like your new store to be installed into.

    Let’s see your new store in action!

    Head on over to your new store’s web address and be amazed at how something so simple to setup and install can be so effective.

    Time to change . . .

    Your store has been online for a while now, and perhaps there is a special occasion coming up (we have skins available for Mother’s Day and Christmas) or maybe you would just like to freshen up the appearance or products that you are advertising.

    It’s simple! No need to download a whole new store or mess around with uploading again, simply log into your MA, head over to the ‘ShopCentral’ area and find the store you want to edit in the ‘Your Stores’ list. Give the ‘edit’ link a click and you will be presented with all of the options that you had originally when creating your store!

    Here’s the good part, once you click the save button, your store will automatically update to show your most recent edits! How’s that for simplicity? Real-time updating!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Amy Ely's Avatar
    Join Date
    July 16th, 2007
    569 Technology Overview Series: Web Services
    Hi Everyone,

    This time we’re walking through one of’s original tools – web services. This technology allows affiliates to access customized report data without logging into our platform.

    Michael (from our tech team) posted a full overview today, which can be viewed below or on a4u.

    Let me know if you have any questions!


    Topic: Web Services

    Welcome back to the technology overview series, this time I’m going to tell you all about ‘Web Services’ and how you can effectively manage your Management Area (MA) Reports without logging in!

    Built using an API (Application Programming Interface), Web Services will give you the ability to view your favourite reports by simply following a URL that you create. The data contained in these reports is EXACTLY the same as you would receive if you ran the report in the MA – it is up-to-date and accurate each time you click the link!

    Here’s how to do it . . .

    As a one-time only task, you must log-in to your MA and access the report section. In the left hand side, click on Reports and select from the list the report you would like to access externally.

    For this example, I am going to use the Daily Summary report.

    Once the report has loaded, select your criteria from the drop-down menus that are available, I have selected the month of January, 2009.

    You can also modify your report in the Customize Report tab if you wish.

    Now hit GO and you will see your report. If you are happy with your initial selections, click on the Web Services tab and this is where the magic happens!

    Which method to use . . . . ?

    OK, so you are now given four different options on how to access this report, which one is best for you?

    HTML – A direct access link to your chosen report, displayed in a simple table format.

    XML – Creates an online breakdown in tabular format of your report statistics.
    CSV – Creates a download link to deliver your data in a spreadsheet format allowing you to manipulate it at your own leisure.

    Summary – A direct access link to a summary of the totals for your report

    And here’s the clever bit. . . No login required!

    Because your login details are ‘hashed’ into the URL, these links will take you straight to the information you require. You only need one link per report (Sales Overview, Daily Summary, Commission Value etc.) as I am about to show you how to alter the URLs you have just created.

    Here is the URL for the Daily Summary Report that we created earlier:
    from_day=01&from_month=01&from_year=2009&to_day=31&to_month=01&to_year=2009&daterange=CUSTOM&handle=0&prog_id=0&status=& incude_rejected=0&include_consolidated=1&orderby=d ate&dir=asc&format=html& password=e99a18c428cb8df8892e3

    Highlighted are the changeable elements with an explanation below for each.

    from_day - the day that you would like the report date range to start from (numeric value)
    from_month - the month that you would like the report date range to start from (numeric value)
    from_year - the year that you would like the report date range to start from (numeric value)
    to_day - the day that you would like the report date range to end at (numeric value)
    to_month - the month that you would like the report date range to end at (numeric value)
    to_year - the year that you would like the report date range to end at (numeric value)

    Why not go ahead and experiment with your own reports?

    Ideas of how you could use this new found trick . . . .
    So you know how to run an initial report, create your URLs and alter them, how can you use them? Here are a few suggestions:

    Your own webpage – why not create your own webpage, either on your local hard-drive, or perhaps on your actual site (on an administrator only page – you won’t want readers seeing how much you make from them!) Simply line up your links and every time you want to view your data, give ‘em a click.
    List your links in a document – store your links in a standard word document, it’s easy to alter them and you could create a catalogue of historical reports by using the *.CSV URL option.

    To conclude . . . .
    If you are a heavy report user and want to save yourself time from logging into your MA time and time again to see the statistics that matter to you, web services is the way to go!
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