Parallels H-Sphere Documentation Administrator Guide

 

Affiliate Programs

(improved in version 3.0 RC1)
 

Last modified: 26 Dec 2007

 

WARNING: This documentation covers Parallels H-Sphere versions up to 3.1. For the latest up-to-date Parallels H-Sphere documentation, please proceed to the official Parallels site.

You can add up to five external affiliate program (referral program) scripts. H-Sphere passes signup info (e.g. account number, amount, etc.) to an affiliate program script so the latter can track signups and produce relevant reports.

Affiliate commission is based on completed signups (physically created user accounts), not visits or clicks.

Moderated signups:

Since H-Sphere 3.0 RC 1, affiliates are supported with moderated signups. These include:

  • moderated credit card payments
  • all check payments and bank transfers
  • payments with web processors (e.g. PayPal, WorldPay, 2CheckOut, and GestPay)

Trial signups: On the other hand, a non-moderated trial registration is treated as a sales transaction, and the affiliate is given credit for it.

 

How Do Affiliate Programs Work?

Affiliate programs involve four types of players:
- Affiliate Program Company/Server;
- Affiliate Site potential customers are referred from;
- your H-Sphere Server;
- Potential H-Sphere Customer.

This process is as follows:

  1. You place a referral link (text or banner) on an Affiliate Site.
  2. The Potential Customer visits the affiliate site and clicks this link. It sends a request to Affiliate Program Server with an assortment of variables that define the affiliate transaction (such as the unique ID of the exchange participant).
  3. Affiliate Program Server sets cookies in Potential Customer's browser about which Affiliate Site, text link, banner advertisement, or product link was used in the exchange. This cookie will identify the open transaction.
  4. Next, a new record is opened in the database of referrals on the Affiliate Program Server. The opened record consists of two parts -- the first one is filled with customer-related data, the second one remains empty.
  5. Then Potential Customer is redirected to your signup page.
  6. Once the signup is complete, H-Sphere sends a request to each of the Affiliate Servers (if you have more than one). Only one of them (depending on cookie) will start the affiliate program; the other servers will ignore the request. For each Affiliate Program, this request would have to pass different parameters, which has to be configured in H-Sphere interface. At the same time, Affiliate Program Server reads cookies from the customer's browser.
  7. The affiliate program finds the related database record using the cookie information and fills it with the received signup data. Then, it opens a new sale transaction.

 

How Do I Set Up an Affiliate Program?

Different affiliate programs work differently. Please read documentation for the affiliate program you have chosen.

  1. Install and configure affiliate software on your server according to the included instructions. This software will track referrals from affiliate websites that promote your hosting services.
  2. Read the instructions on how to make the signup confirmation link for the affiliate program you have chosen. The link must contain variables required for the affiliate program to authenticate a sales transaction.
  3. Go to your Admin control panel and select Affiliate Program in the Settings menu.
  4. On the page that appears, make up the signup confirmation link as required by the instruction:

    Lead Refferal URLs are launched during signup whether the user is moved to moderation section or not.

    Sales refferal URLs are launched when newly created user logs into his CP for the first time, via the same browser when redirected by banner to the signup page.

    Use the drop-down box and the Insert button to add required parameters to the URL.

    Here's another example of an URL:

    /cgi-bin/affiliates/sale.cgi?cashflow=${amount}&goods=${user_name}
  5. Click the Submit button. Now H-Sphere will execute this URL after each customer signup for the affiliate software to track the signups.
  6. Have the referral link placed on affiliate sites to refer Internet users to your signup page.
  7. Now your affiliate program is ready for use.


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