In the last few weeks Shine Marketing has begun working with Shoestring.co.uk – a long haul adventure holidays operator – on the launch of their UK Affiliate programme. The Programme has been extremely successful in the Netherlands with TradeTracker and will be the first UK programme in the new European version of the network.
The Shoestring UK programme will launch in the next few days, but as the UK network is now live, joining TradeTracker UK will help speed up the process for any affiliates wanting to promote Shoestring.
TradeTracker operate a network approval policy for new sites, so that merchants can operate an automatic approval with more confidence.
Over the last week I have had to opportunity to see both the merchant and affiliate sides of the TradeTracker network software, and I’ve been very impressed.
A simple registration process (simple enough that I managed it even before the interface was translated from Dutch) was followed by a brief wait of less than an hour while my application was approved by the network. I was then able to log-in for a poke around.
The first thing you see after logging in is a well-organised dashboard with key statistics for my account. All the basics are there, impressions, clicks & sales across each of my sites & programmes, plus monthly totals, a summary of recent tickets and network news.
Each panel can be configured and saved as you wish, and shuffled about in the AJAX style that users of Google’s personalised homepages will be familiar with.
Next step was to add some sites, again quickly approved by the network. Then it was on to the campaigns. (This section is based on my view of the Netherlands version until more sites are launched). Campaigns are ordered into a directory by sector – helpful when looking for new sites to promote, but also an alphabetical list, and a ‘live’ search box if you know what you are after.
There are still a few bits of translation to be cleared up, but other than that, a very slick job.
All the links you need
Picking up links is simplicity itself, banners, HTML, a deep link generator, a banner rotator and product feeds are all provided under the ‘Promotional Materials’ menu.
The deep link tool is especially easy, on a par with those from Webgains and Paid on Results which I also love, no parameters to remember, just put in your destination URL and a tracking reference if you want one and off you go.
Built for large scale business.
So much for getting the basics right, a few other touches show TradeTracker’s commitment and understanding of large scale affiliates & merchants.
User management is provided to a level I’ve not seen on other networks. This is provided on the affiliate and merchant side. So, for example, you can now have editorial staff pick up banner codes and feeds without showing them the financial side of your account. Merchants will also be able to have junior staff, or their agencies, add promotional material without giving access to the rest of the account.
Communication with the network or merchant is via a ticketing system. Whilst a little onerous at first, it does leave a trail of communication which can be shared between account managers and technical staff as necessary. TradeTracker staff are not afraid of telephones and email where needed though, but this is a useful tool to record the essentials of any issues raised.
For affiliates who are interested in the Shoestring.co.uk campaign but concerned about a non-UK network they don’t yet know I’ll share some of the network’s history that I learned from Paul van Doorn, the network’s CEO who I met at their offices in the Netherlands last week.
In 2 years, TradeTracker.nl grew to be the largest network in the Netherlands, with almost 600 programmes. Paul’s background in software and international joint ventures has given the network and excellent start in providing software that takes a lot of the grunt work out of managing so many affiliate programmes, allowing affiliate managers to concentrate their efforts where it matters, keeping an eye on their biggest affiliates, and those who are showing good potential, or even running into problems.
Travel, retail, and telecoms are all big sectors for them, with a number of international brands such as Ebookers on their client list. The network now employs a dozen staff, growing by the week, split between Development and account management.
With the launch of the multilingual capability of the software, plans are already in place to work with each of the major European markets over the next year. There is already a short list of clients ready for the UK so the last quarter of the year is sure to be a busy one.
Affiliates who wish to know more about the Shoestring programme can contact me via this blog’s contact page.
I will also post about some of the merchant capabilities of the TradeTracker network next week, in the meantime, any UK merchants can contact me with questions at the same page.