Affiliate programs help thousands of companies concentrate on their products and services while their affiliates take care of the marketing to produce regular sales. Thousands of people search the internet every day looking for affiliate programs to join so they can promote products from other companies to earn commissions. Despite the power of an affiliate program, there is actually a large percentage of businesses that sell things online and do not utilize the power of running their own affiliate network.
Most companies do not use this technique because of the cost required to have an affiliate program developed, but this problem can be overcome with existing affiliate program software that allows websites to run very professional, independent affiliate programs. The price of some of the best affiliate program software is actually extremely affordable while offering many more features than custom programming could provide for the same price.
There are a ton of software choices available for websites that want to create their own affiliate program, although it’s important to read reviews on affiliate program software before making a final decision. Some software looks flashy on the sales page but actually offers a minimal amount of features or flexibility, so reviews offered here will help to pick out the best software based on the needs of any given website.
It’s important to identify a few needs for any website or business that wants to start their own online affiliate program using software. Start by answering the questions below, then proceed to the reviews on various affiliate program software to find one that will work best.
By figuring out what a business needs from this type of software, it’s much easier to choose the title that will fulfill those needs for a reasonable price. Without this extra knowledge, it’s easy to get lured into purchasing a more expensive software title than what a business really needs to do the job.
- What level of technical expertise will the users of the affiliate program software possess?
- Does the business already have a website set up to sell products?
- Does the business need a new website for the affiliate program?
- Is a one-time fee or a lower monthly fee preferred for potential affiliate program software?
- What features does the website need from its affiliate software?
The original self managed and one of the most flexible affiliate program software titles is iDevAffiliate, which is available from iDevDirect. The ease of use offered by iDevAffiliate is great for users who do not have much technical experience, even though it’s powerful enough for use by large corporations. Set up of the software and website may require some limited technical knowledge, but they offer a “Black Tie Service” for customers who want everything set up for them. iDevAffiliate and iDevDirect receive our vote as the best affiliate program software because of it’s extreme flexibility, and it’s one-time licensing fee.
The basic iDevAffiliate software offers thousands of features, options and settings, so it would be nearly impossible to review everything here. Since this software has been around since 1999, they have had a lot of time to ensure that it is compatible with a massive variety of e-commerce shopping carts, merchant accounts, and content management systems. This support now spans over thousands of the world’s most popular products, so almost any website can be confident that this software will integrate easily.
Some of the primary features of iDevAffiliate allow nearly unlimited combinations of variations within the affiliate program that can suit almost any need. Customizing the system that controls how affiliates can earn commissions is simplified while still supporting many different options. All affiliate marketing tasks are controlled by the software automatically based on settings. Affiliate payouts can also be easily paid with the software through Paypal’s mass pay system.
Security is a top concern for iDevAffiliate, so there are numerous built-in security features that help to prevent commission fraud, improve sales tracking, and to allow for secure, external use of the software’s API system. Back-end administration sections have also been provided for both the website administrator and individual affiliates. These administration areas allow for easy statistics viewing, report generation, and a wide variety of other management options.
Three editions of iDevAffiliate are available, and each of them caters to different needs. The Standard Edition just includes iDevAffiliate, which is also the basis for the other two editions. The other editions include addon modules for iDevAffiliate. These modules add extra features and capabilities to the core software package.
The Gold Edition includes four free addon modules. CommissionAlert and CommissionStats are two of these modules that are actually Windows applications. CommissionAlert lets affiliates know when they have received a new commission, while CommissionStats is software for the affiliates that allows them to login to their affiliate account without using a web browser. The Quickbooks Export module allows payment records to be exported from iDevAffiliate for simple bookkeeping. The last module, Custom Filename, allows the incoming traffic URL to be changed from the default file name. For the Standard Edition, all affiliates will promote a file name called idevaffiliate.php, so this module let’s the Gold Edition users change this file name.
The Platinum Edition of iDevAffiliate includes all the Gold Edition modules in addition to two other very powerful modules. SEO Links changes links that affiliates use on their own websites into search engine friendly affiliate links, which are extremely useful for any website that is interested in boosting their search engine rankings and traffic. The Language Packs module adds language conversion options to an iDevAffiliate affiliate program, allowing them to select from five languages. This literally expands the reach of an affiliate program many times by allowing international affiliates to join and understand the website.
Another top software for running an affiliate program is OmniStar from OSI Affiliate. OmniStar offers a lot of the same features as iDevAffiliate, although OmniStar seems to be geared towards use by larger companies. Overall, iDevAffiliate seems to offer a wider variety of features while OmniStar offers more professional features designed for respected businesses. The downside to OmniStar is that its pricing structure is a monthly payment that has three different levels.
The three price levels for OmniStar are all eligible for a 15 day free trial, which allows companies to see if this affiliate program software is the right fit for their website before they commit to it. The main difference in these levels is the number of affiliates that the affiliate program has registered, so accounts will graduate to the higher levels as they gain more affiliates. The top level is reached once a website has more than 400 affiliates.
The features, settings, and options available with OmniStar do not vary based on the pricing level. This means that all websites can have access to the powerful features that are reserved for the Platinum Edition of iDevAffiliate, and they will get those features at a low monthly cost. In the long run, this monthly cost will outpace the cost of iDevAffiliate, but the robust features of OmniStar may make this tradeoff worth it for some companies.
Beyond the similar features offered by iDevAffiliate, there are a few other things worth mentioning about OmniStar. This affiliate program software includes built-in email software that allows the affiliate program to easily communicate with their affiliates through HTML email communications. OmniStar also gives the ability to easily replicate websites for use by affiliate promotions. This means that affiliates can have a copy of the business website to use in their own promotional efforts, although all products end up getting linked to the original business website through affiliate links.
Another unique feature about OmniStar is the ability to set up a variety of advertising samples that affiliates can use to promote products. This allows the affiliate program to have a very professional look by offering choices to affiliates that will suit various needs. These advertising samples can be things like graphic banners, interactive Web 2.0 ads, text links and more. Each product advertisement can also be set up to have its own affiliate program settings that control commissions and potentially target a different audience.