How to manage multiple network affiliate data
Given that Rakuten Popshops has announced that it is no longer going to support multiple affiliate network data feeds, this article helps affiliate marketers understand the choices and options available to continue to have access to network agnostic data. We provide our top tips on the tools available through RevGlue to help you source the best commission rates provided across multiple networks, saving you time and money as a result.
Who are popshops?
Founded in 2006, the PopShops platform now supports more than 4,000 advertisers and 25,000 publishers, allowing comparison shopping sites, coupon portals, blogs, and loyalty programs to access product information on millions of online retail products from a single source. In 2013 they were acquired by industry giant Rakuten to augment their existing affiliate services including retargeting, display, search marketing, lead generation, and loyalty.
The announcement that Rakuten Popshops is now ‘retiring’ its multiple network support from June 2018 marks a change in direction in favour of a sole network data supply arrangement using the Rakuten Marketing Affiliate Network. It’s an example of an industry leader flexing its muscles – potentially to the detriment of those publishers and affiliates wanting to offer their products sourced on the basis of the most competitive commissions available.
What are the alternatives?
There are a number of existing data management providers available, including a new entrant to the market RevGlue. In the comparison table below, we highlight the differences between these vendors:
|Free Trial Limit
||Stores, Coupons, Cashback, Deals, Comparison, Feeds
||Coupons / Feeds only
||Coupons / Local deals only
||No - Rakuten Marketing Affiliate Network only from Jul-18
||5,000 – UK only
||4,000 - UK
||8,000 – UK & USA
||10,000 - Global
||25,000 (globally) – data set restricted to 500 merchants
|Data manually validated
||Yes – RevSocial
||Yes – 4th Click
||Yes – 75:25
|Data Compatible WordPress Plugin
||Yes, Free for all data segments
|Custom / Bespoke Solutions
||Email, Live chat, Webinars, 1:1 Skype, Community
||By email only
||Email, Phone (US time zone)
In making a choice between vendors, affiliates need to balance a number of factors:
- All vendors offer free trials – although some apply restrictions on the number of stores
- All vendors offer coupons data – with some offering a greater choice of data types
- All vendors offer access to the main affiliate networks – although some apply an upper threshold limit to the number of merchants whose data is included
- All vendors require the affiliate to have their own network IDs – although some vendors integrate with Skimlinks so the affiliate has an option to directly export the data with their Skimlinks site IDs
- All vendors offer a monthly subscription commercial model – although prices do vary significantly between vendors
- All vendors allow affiliates to retain 100% of their commissions – although some also provide a revenue share alternative
- All vendors offer email support – although some vendors provide a greater choice
- All vendors offer csv, Json and XML data exports – although some add restrictions with export files
- Some vendors offer WordPress plugins with their data sets – although only RevGlue offers Free WordPress plugins with template and also affordable unique and responsive templates at only £99 for each template.
So the overall conclusion is that there are a common set of attributes that all vendors provide – with price being the main point of difference. Other important factors to include are Free WordPress templates, tech support and affordable templates that could save time and money for affiliates to setup new coupons, price comparison, mobile comparison or cashback websites.
It’s time for a new entrant to disrupt the status quo
So given the commodity nature of these data management vendor services, then is it understandable that a market leading affiliate network believes that they no longer need to provide a network agnostic service?
Not for the affiliate – when the real alternative is the choice between hiring data resources to fetch, clean and manage the data or paying premium monthly subscriptions to the established data management vendors. Neither of these options saves the affiliate time nor money.
We need to remember that the real job of the affiliate is to earn commissions by bringing traffic to their web sites and then send qualified customers to retailers. Until the core issues of technical complexity and data management can be solved, then there is a risk that affiliates do not push their marketing projects to the next level of profitability, limiting industry growth as a result.
This announcement by Rakuten Popshops is in fact the perfect time for a new entrant to disrupt the status quo. And that ‘new kid on the block’ is RevGlue.
The purpose of RevGlue is to bring simple, affordable and easy to use tools to UK affiliates using a core technology engine based on the data collection, cleansing and formatting of different niche segments that are required for every affiliate project. We believe that for affiliates to be successful we can take away the headache of data management and technical site support, leaving them to concentrate on what they do best which is to promote their websites and convert those users to earn the highest commissions.
Top tip 1 – Choose your data management niche
Let’s remember that it all starts with having access to structured and up to date data. RevGlue aggregates different forms of data from the affiliate networks and directly from over 5,000 e-Commerce stores. This data is then compiled into different data sets for affiliates to setup different websites or mobile applications.
The RevGlue content management team aggregates and then formats and structures this data properly that saves time and money for affiliates on data management. This avoids wasting time fetching data from different sources, then allocating developers to setup different APIs and finally using a data manager to format and structure the data so that it can be presented on the affiliate website. Just let RevGlue do this for you by subscribing to the data sets that you require.
RevGlue has the most comprehensive set of data types on the market meaning that you can setup new affiliate capabilities across any of the following:
- Stores - Setup UK shopping directory with leading 5,000 ecommerce stores
- Coupons - Get latest discount coupons and offers and setup your coupons website or apps.
- Cashback - Create UK cashback website or app with structured cashback data set.
- Banners - Populate latest banners in your websites and apps with affiliate deeplinks.
- Daily Deals - Setup daily deals website with discounted deals data obtained from UK retailers.
- Mobile Comparison - Setup dynamic mobile comparison website with advance data structure.
- Broadband & TV- Create a UK broadband, tv and phones comparison website or app in minutes.
- Product Feeds – Setup niche product websites using product feeds available from all leading UK stores
You subscribe for the specific data sources that you need which are automatically refreshed – each and every day.
Top tip 2 – Reduce the need for expensive technical support
Once you have subscribed to data management then there are a host of free tools that you can take advantage of. RevGlue offers free WordPress plugins to setup cashback, coupons, stores directory, mobile comparison, product feeds, broadband and daily deals website in minutes. Each RevGlue plugin comes with full un-encrypted code, free responsive template and is fully compatible with RevGlue data sets.
These provide deep links that contain a unique affiliate identifier which means that each affiliate retains 100% commission earned on each sale - RevGlue does not take any share of affiliate commissions on any of the data sets used.
Not only is this commercially attractive, the use of standard plugins also means that the requirement to hire expensive technical support for site management goes away. You can trust that all the RevGlue data sets and plugins are coded correctly and well maintained by our developers, meaning that it can make your life easy in managing your site.
Try RevGlue.com data option for your next affiliate project free for 30 days. Download Free WordPress plugin and setup your cashback, coupons, mobile comparison or product feeds websites in minutes.
If you not familiar with setting up WordPress plugins then try tech support from RevGlue. RevGlue developers can install and configure it for you in minutes.
Top tip 3 – Build upon your relationship with Skimlinks
Skimlinks works with the leading affiliate networks and also maintains direct relations with some eCommerce stores and operates its own affiliate network that helps entry level publishers automate the affiliate marketing process. Using the content that they have directly created and published to their blog or review site, Skimlinks automatically creates affiliate links to share products related to that content.
The benefit for the publisher is that they don’t have to worry about partnering with different affiliate networks – they just earn 60% of the commission on the sales that they make through Skimlinks. As a Skimlinks member, you have access to over 20,000 affiliate programs, without any of the overheads of maintaining those network relationships.
Whilst the affiliate could keep 100% of the commission if they had their own affiliate network IDs, RevGlue believes in offering choice hence the reason why it also offers data export option with Skimlinks site IDs for affiliates.
The reason why Skimlinks is successful is that they have made it simpler for publishers to get started with affiliate marketing – allowing them to focus on what they do best which is spending time on the content aspect of their website or blog.
Top tip 4 – Consider entry level publisher tools from RevGlue
RevGlue has built four modules for publishers who are not familiar with the affiliate network route to affiliate marketing but still want to monetise their web projects such as blogs, social media apps, YouTube channels or content websites.
- RevSocial – allows social media influencers using Facebook, Youtube, Twitter or Instagram to promote a product, voucher code, mobile deal, banner or daily deal and publish it on their social channels with a click of a button, earning commission on each sale.
- RevLinks – offers bloggers the ability to convert all their blog content into paid links by simply adding a code on their website, and thereby yield revenues on each sale.
- RevAds – allows publishers to create static, banner or product ads on their websites or mobile applications and then control the content and layout of these ads, earning commission on each sale.
- RevEmbed – offers publishers a dynamic iframe solution to embed entire website content onto their domains that looks and feels part of their project. The real beauty of this module is that publishers can set-up discount coupons, cashback, mobile comparison or product feeds websites on their web domains without needing any additional resources to manage the website content or the data.
And best of all, publishers keep 80% of the commissions earned – which is better than the rate offered by Skimlinks.
At the end of the day it’s all about giving customers choice. If you are currently a Rakuten PopShops data management customer, then what will you choose to do?