Affiliate's User Guide

Table of Contents

Introduction

Browser Requirements

Getting Things Done: Basic Features and a Tutorial

Becoming an Affiliate

Logging in

Creating a New Campaign

Assigning Ads

Using Your Ads

Logging Out

Tutorial Conclusion

Advanced The Online Publishing Connections Affiliate Features and Concepts

The Life of a Commission

Understanding the Member's Area Overview Screen

Referring Other Affiliates

Managing Your Campaigns

Updating Your Account Information

Viewing Your Commissions History

E-mailing Your Downline

Statistics Navigation

Exporting Tables for Backup or Spreadsheet Integration

Managing Members

Sending Out a Newsletter to Affiliates

Managing Affiliates' Campaigns

Introduction

This document details how to use the The Online Publishing Connections Affiliate system from the perspective of a “normal” user — that is, either an existing or prospective affiliate. The guide is divided into two main sections; the first describes how to get started, and the second describes more advanced features.

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Browser Requirements

In order to use the The Online Publishing Connections Affiliate software correctly, you should use a Web browser that supports:

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Getting Things Done: Basic Features and a Tutorial

All too often, user manuals are written from the perspective of the developer, who has an intimate knowledge of the internals of system and writes the documentation as such. By contrast, this section cuts to the chase, so to speak, and explains how to accomplish the basic tasks necessary for becoming an affiliate.

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Becoming an Affiliate

Joining is a simple process. Simply go to the main The Online Publishing Connections Affiliate page and opt to register. You will be presented with a registration form. You will need to fill in all fields marked with an asterisk (*). If any problems are found during the registration process, you will be returned to the form and prompted to correct those errors. Once everything is fine, you will be sent an email with your username and password and can login to your private member's area.

Why should I provide my Social Security number? Isn't that private personal information?

If you live in the United States and, as an individual earn more than $600 in a year through the affiliate program, the program administrator is legally required to notify the Internal Revenue Service of your earnings and will need your Social Security number to do so.

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Logging In

Once you have successfully joined the affiliate program, you can log into your member's area by clicking "Sign in" from the main affiliate program page, which will take you to the sign-in prompt. Enter your username and password, and click "Sign in".

What if I forget my username or password?

If you have forgotten your username and/or password, go to the sign-in prompt and click "Forgot Password?" This will take you to a form where you can enter either your username (if you remember it) or the email address with which you signed up for the program. if the system finds an affiliate record matching your criterion, it will re-email the login details to the email address that it has on record. If you can remember neither your username nor the email address that you used to register, or no longer have access to that email account, you may have to email the affiliate program administrator and see whether the situation can be sorted out.

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Creating a New Campaign

Setting up an advertising campaign is quick and easy. Once you have logged in to your member's area, click on the New Campaign button at the top of the screen. This will take you to a form where you can give your new campaign a title and description. This information is solely for your own benefit in distinguishing between multiple campaigns; it will not appear in any ads that become part of the campaign.

Next, you will see your newly created campaign at the bottom of the list. Initially, a campaign will have no ads and, therefore, won't be very useful. You will need to put one or more ads in this campaign, which will be explained in the next section.

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Assigning Ads to a Campaign

Once you have a campaign created, you will need to assign one or more ads to it in order to be able to earn commissions. In brief, here are the steps necessary to do this:

  1. If you haven't done so already, log in.
  2. Click on Ads for the campaign that you want to assign new ads to. This will take you to a screen displaying any ads currently under the campaign and the ads and URLs that you can use in the campaign.
  3. Select an ad type and the URL that it will point to from the selections and the bottom of the page. An ad can be an image or plain HTML.
  4. Click Add to assign the ad and URL that you've selected to this campaign.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 if you wish to assign more ads to this campaign. Note that you may create multiple copies of an ad in case you'd like to use each one on a different site to track which sites generate more clicks, sales, and commissions.

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Using Your Ads

Once you've assigned ads to a campaign, you're ready to use them. For your convenience, The Online Publishing Connections Affiliate provide the HTML code that you need. On the ads screen, just click on Ad Codes next to the ad that you want the HTML code for. This will bring you to a screen with a text box displaying the proper HTML code for the ad. Simply use this HTML on the site where you're going to advertise. It's very important that you use the exact links that The Online Publishing Connections Affiliate generates, or else you may not be properly credited with your commissions.

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Logging Out

Once you're done with your affiliate session, you may log out of your account by clicking Log Out on the right of the navigation bar at the top of the screen. Since the The Online Publishing Connections Affiliate software uses only session cookies for retaining your login status, closing all browsers windows will have the same effect.

Tutorial Conclusion

If you've been reading this section sequentially, this concludes the tutorial of basic features. You are now ready to start advertising and begin earning your commissions. However, the The Online Publishing Connections Affiliate software has much more to offer you in terms of functionality, and you are encouraged to read on to learn how to exploit the more advanced features of The Online Publishing Connections Affiliate.

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Advanced The Online Publishing Connections Affiliate Features and Concepts

The Life of a Commission

So, what happens when your ad leads to a sale (and possibly a commission)?

First, the program administrator may have set a “cooling off” period to allow for product returns. During this time, the commission is Pending to Cool Off.

After the commission has cooled off, or if the administrator has not set a cooling-off period, the commission needs to be approved. The administrator may have the The Online Publishing Connections Affiliate software do this automatically and immediately, or he/she may wish to review all commissions manually. A cooled-off commission that still requires manual approval is listed as Pending Approval or just Pending.

Once a commission has been approved, either automatically or manually, the commission is considered fully valid, and the amount of the commission becomes due to you at that point, as reflected in your affiliate account balance. The administrator may choose to use this balance as site credit instead of paying you out directly. A commission that is reflected in your account balance is Approved, Not Paid.

If the program administrator decides to pay out the commissions directly through the PayPal service, the commission becomes Paid and is deducted from your site balance. No further action is possible on this commission. Note that, because this is not a fully automated process, there may be some time between the time that the commission is marked as paid and the time that your PayPal account is credited.

If, due to a product return or some other reason, the administrator determines that a pending commission is invalid, the commission may be Declined, after which no further action is possible on that commission.

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Understanding the Member's Area Overview Screen

Once you have successfully logged in, you will see an information-rich overview screen displaying a navigation menu across the top, your referral link, a summary of your affiliate account, and a list of your current campaigns.

The Navigation Bar

This bar contains the following buttons: Update Account, New Campaign, E-mail Downline, History, and Log Out. New Campaign and Log Out are covered in the Basic Features section of this manual. The other three functions are explained in detail later on in this section.

Referral Link

This is the link that you should give to others interested in joining the affiliate program. It will direct them to a registration form with your affiliate ID listed as the referrer. If someone registers using your referral link, you may be able to earn secondary commissions on sales that the new affiliate generates. In addition, if the new affiliate also refers someone to the program, not only is he/she eligible for secondary commissions, but you become eligible for tertiary commissions as well! Thus, referring someone to the program can create a chain of referrals up to 10 levels deep, subject to the program administrator's commissions structure.

Account Overview

Here, you can view your current account balance (approved commissions that have not yet been paid) and the composite statistics for all your campaigns for both the current calendar month and since you joined the affiliate program.

Campaign List

Finally, on the overview screen, there will be a list of all your campaigns. For each campaign, the number of clicks that it has received, the types of commissions that it has generated (excluding pending-to-cool-off commissions), and various controls are shown.

For each campaign, the controls are: View Referral Tiers, Edit, Delete, Ads, and Statistics. These will be explained in more detail later.

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Referring Other Affiliates

Referring other people to the affiliate program is the key to earning multiple levels of commissions. In other words, depending on the commissions structure established by the site administrator, if you refer someone to the program, and one of their ads generates a sale, you might earn a commission on that sale as well. In order to get the system to recognize that you have referred someone, you will need to tell people to register via the "referral link" that is displayed on the top of your members area entry page (the page that you see after you first sign in).

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Managing Your Campaigns

Changing a Campaign's Title or Description

To change a campaign's title and/or description, first ensure that you are on the member's area overview screen. Then click Edit next the campaign that you wish to modify. You will be presented with a form displaying the current title and description of that campaign. Change the title or description as desired, and click Edit to commit the changes.

Deleting a Campaign

To delete a campaign, click Delete next to the campaign that you wish to remove. You will asked to confirm. Select Yes to continue, or No to stop the deletion. Be warned that deletion is irreversible after this point.

Note: Deleting a campaign also deletes any of the ad assignments under that campaign. You will no longer be able to earn commissions for any of those ads.

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Updating Your Account Information

If, for some reason, you need to update or correct the information that you supplied when you registered, you can do so by clicking Update Account from the navigation bar at the top of the member's area. Your current information on record will be displayed. Simply correct the old information and click Modify Account to update the information in the database.

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Viewing Your Commissions History

You can view a history of all commissions that your campaigns (even deleted ones) have earned by clicking on History in the navigation bar at the top of the member's area. If you have many commissions, only the first 25 are shown on the first page. You can navigate through the rest of the commissions, if necessary, by clicking on the appropriate page number.

For more information on the commissions process, please see The Life of a Commission.

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E-mailing Your Downline

If the administrator has enabled this feature, you may send an e-mail to your entire downline (people whom you've referred to the affiliate program, people whom they've referred, and so forth). Simply click on E-mail Downline on your member's navigation bar at the top of your member's area, and fill in the subject and body of the e-mail to be sent. You will also receive a copy of this e-mail for your records.

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Statistics Navigation

One of the main strengths of the The Online Publishing Connections Affiliate system is the ability to track your campaign and ad statistics down to the hour. This section explains how to navigate and interpret the powerful statistics sections of your member area.

Referral Tiers

First, you can break down the commissions that you've earned, for a particular campaign, by referral level or tier. Simply click View Referral Tiers next to the desired campaign. The system will show a table breaking down the commissions that have been recorded for your campaign by current status and the referral level at which they were earned. Remember that referral level 1 represents commissions on sales that your own campaigns have generated, level 2 represents those from sales that people whom you've referred have generated, and so forth.

Statistics Calendar

If you would rather break the statistics for a campaign or ad down by date or time, simply click on Statistics next to the campaign or ad in the appropriate listing (campaigns are listed on your member's area screen, while ads for a particular campaign are shown on the Ads screen for that campaign). You will be taken to a page with a calendar for the current month, showing the day-by-day statistics for your campaign or ad. To change the month shown, select a different month and/or year from the dropdown boxes above the calendar and click Get Stats. The calendar will then change to the specified month and year.

If you would like to see the hour-by-hour performance of your campaign or ad for a particular day, click on the appropriate statistic in the desired day box in the calendar. The The Online Publishing Connections Affiliate software will display a table showing the hour-by-hour breakdown for that day.

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