Prosper202 Affiliate Marketing Blog
 
The 3 Unbreakable Rules Of Data
By Nana Gilbert-Baffoe, View comments

I recently read an article about how Amazon is using data from 3rd-party sellers using their platform, to compete against them. This got me thinking about how so many marketers and entrepreneurs suffer from disruption due to unwittingly leaking out proprietary business data that then can be easily used against them by competitors and current partners.

A Real World Example

Rain Design, a company that sells a hot product on Amazon, failed to realize that Amazon is a highly data-driven future competitor, until it was too late. Based on all the sales data Amazon collected, because Rain Design sold their products on Amazon, Amazon was able to launch a similar product at half the price. Now Rain Design doesn't make as much money as they use to and must scramble to  protect their business.

You can read the full article about what happened between Rain Design and Amazon here:
Got a Hot Seller on Amazon? Prepare for E-Tailer to Make One Too

How could this have been prevented? There are 3 rules you must absolutely follow to ensure your business continues to grow and thrive, even when operating in a cut throat competitive market.

Data is King!

DARPA Big Data
Image By DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA))

There are quite a few lessons to be learned and they all revolve around the central theme of Data.

Millions of people use Google because they have the best data to match your search queries. Looking at Facebook's recent blowout earnings for last quarter, advertisers are loving Facebook because they have the best ad targeting data. If you are a marketer of any sort, you too are a data collector and monetizer.

You "buy data" from ad networks. Then use a data analysis tool such as Prosper202 Pro to store and analyze that data. Finally you monetize your data via affiliate offers or your own products. The more quality data you can acquire and use, the easier it becomes for you to effectively compete.

This then leads us to the 3 unbreakable rules of data. By following these rules you'll avoid repeating the mistakes Rain Design made with Amazon.

Three Rules to Rule Them All

Rule #1: Good data should be guarded and not leaked out to anyone

Rule #2: Good data is a powerful tool and weapon. Be data-driven in all your marketing decisions.

Rule #3: Good data should be free flowing and never be locked up in silos.

Let's dive deeper into each of these rules.

Rule #1: Good data should be guarded and not leaked out to anyone

WinonaSavingsBankVault
Image By Jonathunder

Let's face it, we live and operate in a highly competitive world. With such a low barrier to entry, one of the best ways to stay competitive is to acquire proprietary data, that gives you an unfair advantage or edge over others.

This data must be guarded and protected at all costs, and in situations where data must be shared with 3rd-parties, you must build contingency plans that address what you plan to do to mitigate the risk of the 3rd-party using that data to compete against you.

What are some sources of data leakage for affiliates?

Referrer Data Leaks: The sites that you are buying traffic from will be sent to the network and advertiser of which you are sending traffic to. Sometimes this is a requirement for running the offer. But if this is not a requirement, you can wipe out the referrer as a way to mitigate this risk. Doing this is not meant to be a way for you to run offers in a non-compliant way. In Prosper202 Pro, you can turn "cloaking" on to mask your referrer. It's important to note that, our definition of cloaking is no longer the same as what most people in the industry call cloaking. We plan to rename this feature in the future, since in general we do no endorse cloaking due to its misuse, and have no plans to build that functionality into our software.

Keyword and Targeting Data Leaks: This is usually leaked with the referrer data if you have descriptive keywords attached to your affiliate link provided by the network. By only sending a numeric subid as a proxy for the real keywords and targeting data, you can still have the data you need to optimize without leaking data to the network or advertiser.

Spy and Competitive Intelligence Tools: These are much harder to prevent data leakage to since the ability to block the scraping of your ad creatives are usually out of your control. There are methods for reducing your foot print here, however it's something we reserve for our private consulting clients and high end mastermind members.

Visitor Data Leaks: Every person you send over to an advertiser is data that's being shared with the offer owner. This is totally unavoidable if you are an affiliate, since it's part of the "cost" of doing business. However with the rise in re-marketing and re-targeting, this cost of doing business has become even more expensive. Consider this scenario. You send a targeted visitor to an offer you are promoting, for some reason the user doesn't buy right away and either opens another tab or leaves the site. Because the offer owner is setting retargeting pixels and cookies to everyone that hits their site, they are now able to run ads to the person you sent to get them back to buy. Usually this happens at a much lower cost for the advertiser, and the downside is that this sale is no longer going to be counted as commissions for you. In addition to that, the aggregated sales data from all affiliates promoting the offer can be used by the advertiser to create look alike audiences that would allow them to be much more effective at buying media in-house if they ever had the need to do so. As I said earlier, there's not much you can do about this. You can of course set your own retargeting pixels on your landing pages. However if you are not able to set a burn pixel on the advertiser's conversion page, you are going to be wasting your budget advertising to people who may have already converted. Prosper202's Universal Smart Pixel is one way to piggyback the burn pixel on conversion. However the advertiser must support javascript or iframe pixels.

Affiliate and CPA Networks Also Suffer from Data Leakage.

Due to the way networks operate, one of the biggest leaks of data is the easy identification of the most popular offers on the network and also the affiliates sending the most amounts of traffic to those offers. With this information, it's easy for competing networks to poach top affiliates or advertisers. Additionally other affiliates are able to figure out how the top affiliates are generating leads for those offers.

Sources of Data Leakage for Advertisers or Offer Owners

The same data leakage risks that I described for networks, also apply to advertisers. With the current tools on the market, it's very easy for competing advertisers to find top affiliates and networks sending traffic and replicate everything.

Additionally, there is another huge data leakage issue that many advertisers and offer owners are totally unaware of and should plug up right away.

Advertiser Pixel Data Leakage

These days it is very common for affiliates to get their pixels placed on the conversion pages of an offer. This helps the affiliate to optimize conversions and generate more sales. However when implemented incorrectly, the simple act of placing 3rd party pixels on a conversion page usually means the 3rd party (Affiliate) has full access to all your conversion data. This includes sales not generated by the affiliate.

I'll refrain from fully describing how this works to prevent abuse by affiliates. However, those who know about this, have probably been pulling confidential data from every single conversion you generate without your permission. A very quick fix would be to only use postbacks for triggering 3rd party conversions. If you are an advertiser who must use conversion pixels, we are happy to privately discuss the issue and solutions with you. Simply ping us via our chat system on the bottom right of this page.

Plug Up Your Data Leakage Problem

If you are careless or clueless about the data you are leaking to 3rd parties, expect to one day have that data used against you in a way that will certainly result in reduced revenue. In the worst case, this means, complete devastation of your business.

Rule #2. Good data is a powerful tool and weapon. Be data driven in all your marketing decisions

Wenger EvoGrip S17
Image By D-M Commons

Know your metrics, and use the data to drive all your important decisions. There should be few decisions that you make totally blind with no data to back you up.

How did Amazon know that creating and selling an Aluminum Laptop stand would be profitable? Simple, they have access to all the data. They know exactly how many people searched for the products, they know how many people purchased the products, they knew the number of returns, satisfied customers and more.

With all that data, they had the needed insights to enter the market with their own competitive product and grab a bigger slice of the profits.

Does this look like a model you could replicate as an affiliate? Many of the most successful marketers I know were former affiliates that leveraged the data gathered from running affiliate offers, to figure out exactly how to create and promote their own products while keeping more of the profits.

Rule #3. Good data should be free flowing and never be locked up in silos

Ralls Texas Grain Silos 2010
Image By Leaflet

We are at a point where most marketers depend on multiple marketing tools on a daily basis. The ability to ensure data from one tool is available and useable in another, is now a requirement instead of a "nice to have" option.

This rule ties strongly into Rule #2. To be fully data driven in all your decision making, you are going to need to be able to access and use your data everywhere.

However, if your data is locked up in a silo where it's difficult to extract and use, you will find yourself cutting corners and violating rule #2. This happens because, it's too difficult to move your data from one tool to the next for analysis.

When choosing tools for your marketing stack, make sure that they also provide an easy way to extract and export that data into any other tool or service that may need that data. Likewise, your marketing software should also make it easy to import data to augment or append to your existing data set.

This could be as simple as a CSV file, or as advanced as API endpoints that allow realtime access to any data point you want.

Here's what to do next

Look at your current business and identify and log all situations where you are in violation of the 3 unbreakable rules of data.

Next to each instance, figure out if this is something that can be avoided or not. If not, list all the contingency systems you must put in place to protect your revenue when the worst happens. For example, if you are an Amazon seller, there's no real way to prevent them from seeing all your business data. However the contingency plan for this is to realize Amazon is just a channel. So, diversifying and ensuring they are not the source of the majority of your sales becomes vital. By doing this, the amount of data they get about your entire operation is reduced. Additionally, your business becomes much more stable, because your entire fate is not in the hands of Amazon.

Once you've plugged the holes, we can now focus on improving your data acquisition and monetization efforts. We'll cover that in an upcoming lesson.

Need some help? If you generate more than $1000 a day in revenue, click the chat box below to find out more about our invite only mastermind where we provide hands-on assistance and more proprietary revenue increasing tactics and business preservation strategies and systems that we'd rather not shared in public blog posts.

Run Campaigns In Your Local Currency
By Nana Gilbert-Baffoe, View comments

If you are an international marketer working with a US based network, you will often have to work entirely in USD when many times it makes more sense to work in your own currency.

To get started you will have to be on Prosper202 Version 1.9.31 or higher. Here's how to upgrade from 1.9.30 to 1.9.31.

Click on My Account -> Personal Settings.

Next, scroll down to the section labeled Account currency and choose your currency. By default the currency is set to U.S Dollars, however you can choose from a list of 24 different currencies. If your local currency is not in the list, send us a message to get it added.

Here's a full list of all the currencies we currently support

  • U.S. Dollar
  • Australian Dollar
  • Brazilian Real
  • Canadian Dollar
  • Czech Koruna
  • Danish Krone
  • Euro
  • Hong Kong Dollar
  • Hungarian Forint
  • Israeli New Sheqel
  • Japanese Yen
  • Malaysian Ringgit
  • Mexican Peso
  • Norwegian Krone
  • New Zealand Dollar
  • Philippine Peso
  • Polish Zloty
  • Pound Sterling
  • Singapore Dollar
  • Swedish Krona
  • Swiss Franc
  • Taiwan New Dollar
  • Thai Baht
  • Turkish Lira
  • New as of April 25th
  • Chinese Renminbi
  • Indian Rupee

Now that you have the account currency set, when creating campaigns in step 3, you will have the option to choose a currency for the offer payout. In the example below, I have chosen Canadian Dollars.

Prosper202 Pro will automatically get the current exchange rates to show your payout in the currency that you selected.

See how in the image above. The $13.00 CAD payout was converted to $10.14 USD.

We understand that exchange rates fluctuate and change, so we made the design decision to lock the amounts to whatever the exchange rate was when the conversion happened.

That's all there is to it. Now your Prosper202 Pro will always show you your earnings in the currency that makes the most sense to you while allowing you to fully understand exactly how much you are earning from your campaigns.

Here's What's New In Prosper202 1.9.31
By Nana Gilbert-Baffoe, View comments

By now many of you are already aware that we have launched a new version of Prosper202 1.9.31. We are experimenting with a new premium pricing structure which we talked about earlier, the results have been positive and we appreciate everyone who has upgraded so far.

Multi-currency support

Prosper202 has a huge international user base, as of today we have users in 4,010 cities spread across 151 countries. The majority of our users are no longer in the US, which is why we now provide the ability to show earnings in your local currency.

You can now set an account currency for Prosper202, and also a currency for each of the offer you promote. From now on we will perform real time currency conversion for all your offers and ensure they are always up to date.

That means that if you are in Europe and work with US based networks, but want to know how much you earning are worth in Euros, you will no longer have to perform manual conversions.

Transaction ids for multi-step conversion tracking

Many of you are building more complicated funnels and offers where a user can convert on more than one offer such as an upsell or maybe you are looking to track sales and leads separately.

With our transaction id functionality, you can now let Prosper202 know about each of your conversions for a single subid via transaction ids. So for example if leads are worth $5 and sales are worth $20 you can first leads with a value of $5 and a transaction id of 1, and sales with a value of $20 with a transaction id of 2. For people who convert on both actions prosper202 will be able to display 2 conversion with a total value of $25.

Exporting for Google Adwords Offline Conversions

If you are running mobile campaigns via Adwords, most times you are not able to fire regular conversion pixels and must use Postbacks. Unfortunatley Adwords doesn't have a postback url, so it's been difficult to get conversion data back into adwords for optimization purposes.

With support for Google Adwords Conversions. We are able to Export all your conversion data from Prosper202 Pro into a csv format the Adwords can then use to link your external conversion to the clicks purchased.

New Smart Redirector Rules

We've added more flexibility to our Smart Redirector to enable you to setup custom rules based on the data in the C1-C4 custom variables. You can also create rules based on the t202kw keywords, Google utm variables, referer url or even repeat clicks.

You can now also enter IP ranges for filtering and redirects instead of entering hundreds of unique IPs. We support the following formats:

Wildcard format: 1.2.3.*
CIDR format: 1.2.3/24 OR 1.2.3.4/255.255.255.0
Start-End IP format: 1.2.3.0-1.2.3.255

Auto Database Optimization

If you are generating high volumes of clicks, you will notice that as your database gets bigger, it takes longer to run reports. We've done a lot of optimizations on this problem and for users doing fresh installs of Prosper202 Pro, this is not as much of an issue. However if you are upgrading older installations this will be very helpful in helping keep things snappy. We have made it possible to tell Prosper202 Pro how many days worth of data to keep in the database.

Doing this enables you to easily manage the size of your databases and keep them running quickly at all times. You no longer need a database tech to keep your old data from slowing down your reporting.

We plan to add more functionality here. For now please be away that the old data is being deleted. Later on we'd like to allow you to archive old data into a secondary database.

JVZoo JVZIPN & Zaxaa ZPN integration

If you run campaigns as an affiliate on JVZoo or Zaxxa, we now have the ability to automatically send conversion data into Prosper202 Pro without out having to manually upload CSV data, or ask the merchant to place pixels for you. This is all done via their APIs and it allows us to also track subscription revenue, upsells, refunds so you can have the most accurate earnings data at all times.

Enhanced Clickbank Sales notification support

We've had the Clickbank Sales notification API integration for some time now, but with this new update, we are able to now automatically update Prosper when you get commissions for recurring sales and upsells. We'll also automatically remove commissions for refunds.

Brand new design for step 9 pixels and postback page.

You will notice that the design of our pixels and postback page has been greatly simplified. It's much less confusing and gives your instant access to all the code you need for your pixels and postback in one simple step.

Prosper202 Customer API key to unlock extra Premium functionality

Now that we have introduced Premium versions of Prosper202 Pro, we have created a new Customer API Key. This allows you to easily upgrade Prosper202 to new premium versions that we release. All this is done directly from your Prosper202 without having to enter any payment details.

It's important to note that you should never share your Prosper202 Customer API Key with anyone since this key will enable them to make purchases using your saved billing details.

New: Group overview report now includes pagination for reports with multiple pages

We've made large reports on the group overview page run faster by adding pagination. For certain reports, the speed increase 5-10x faster.

Support for Memcached in addition to Memcache

For those of you on PHP7 we now have support for Memcached in addition to Memcache.

Support for MySQL Strict Mode

Newer versions of MySQL now come with strict mode enabled by default. This has caused some of you the errors and problems using Prosper202. For our new release, we made all the needed changes to ensure everything works smoothly even when strict mode is turned on.

There are a whole lot of other updates and fixes included in this new version. Here's a full change log and everything included in this new release.

Full Change Log For Prosper202 ClickServer Pro Version 1.9.31

  • New: Multi Currency Support. Prosper202 automatically converts payouts into your local currency.
  • New: Support for windows servers with php installed
  • New: Support transaction ids that allow tracking of multi-step offers
  • New: Subid upload page now support transaction ids
  • New: Adwords Offline Conversions Export
  • New: Clickbank support for multiple conversions, upsells and refunds
  • New: Ability To Redirect Filtered Visitors in Smart Redirector
  • New: Ability To Redirect by C1-C4 value Smart Redirector
  • New: Ability To Redirect by t202kw value in Smart Redirector
  • New: Ability To Redirect by utm variables value in Smart Redirector
  • New: Ability To Redirect by referer value in Smart Redirector
  • New: Optimized redirect speeds for Smart Redirector
  • New: Mobile App Deeplinks support for campaign urls
  • New: Pixel url validation for Universal Smart Pixel
  • New: Smart Redirector support for ip ranges
  • New: Auto Database Optimization - Keeps your database size optimized automatically
  • New: Custom Variables report runs multiple times faster
  • New: Support for transaction ids in pixels, postbacks and manual conversion uploads
  • New: Brand new design for step 9 pixels and postback page.
  • New: Prosper202 Customer API key to unlock extra Premium functionality
  • New: Group overview report now includes pagination for reports with multiple pages
  • New: Support for Memcached in addition to Memcache
  • New: Support for MySQL Strict Mode
  • Fixed: Fixed Bug where smart rotators and advanced landing pages were not showing in step 8
  • Fixed: APC Bug where cache wasn't being cleared on upgrade
  • Fixed: Smart Rotators modal loads correctly
  • Fixed: No errors show when DNI server is offline
  • Fixed: Improved click deletion functions
  • Fixed: Error in spy/visitor view display when location was unknown
  • Fixed: Dynamic Bid for Simple Landing Pages is recognized
  • Fixed: For some users setup tab was missing after an upgrade
  • Fixed: Fixed support for all tag in Smart Redirector so it's case insensitive
  • Fixed: Fix for auto increment sometimes being set to 0 in the clicks counter
  • Fixed: Advanced Landing Page Smart Redirector works better for split tests
  • Fixed: Date formatted in US format in account overview
  • Fixed: Password reset emails were not getting sent
  • Fixed: In visitor/spy view, No PPC Network selection filters correctly
  • Fixed: Ability to disable mysql strict mode
  • Fixed: Improved installation script to reduct errors
  • Fixed: Improved pagination for reports with multiple pages
  • Fixed: Conversion logs no longer shows errors when you choose a custom time range
  • Update: Removed report caching feature
  • Update: Conversion Logs moved into main reports section
  • Update: Optimized Analyze Variables Report for speed
  • Update: Visitors download report now includes revenue column

Here's How To Upgrade To Prosper202 Pro

The first step to upgrading to Prosper202 Pro version 1.9.31 is to get an account at http://join.tracking202.com and generating your Prosper202 customer API Key. We also have full instructions here.

Important:

In order to upgrade to Prosper202 Pro 1.9.31 you need to be on Prosper202 Pro version 1.9.30.

Download Prosper202 Pro 1.9.30 Free Here.

New Prosper202 ClickServer 1.9.31 Releases and Upgrade Policy Change
By Steven Truong, View comments

We recently launched both version 1.9.30 and 1.9.31 of Prosper202 Pro and wanted to explain some new changes on how our product releases will work moving forward.

New and existing users currently can download version 1.9.30 for free as you always have been able to on our site. However, to upgrade to version 1.9.31, you must now pay a small one time upgrade fee of $9.99.

How To Get Prosper202 Prosper202 Pro Premium Edition

If you want to upgrade to our premium versions, require assistance either with support or consulting, pay for our training courses, or transact with us in some way, you need to create a new account and log into http://join.tracking202.com to do all that.

Now when you log into the latest free version of Prosper202, you'll see a request for entering your Customer API Key. Clicking on this link will take you to our site where you'll need to create an account and get your API key.

Once you've set up your billing information and account info, an Prosper202 Customer API key will be generated for you. Please note that you will not get billed automatically after you enter your billing information..

Next copy your API key, go back to Prosper202, and click on My account > Personal Settings.

Scroll down until you see a box for entering your Prosper202 Customer API Key. Paste your API key here.

Doing this will now allow you to upgrade to Premium Versions of Prosper202 Pro as they are releases. In the future, you will be also able to pay for support or other transactions with us from within Prosper202.

New Upgrade Policy

Currently 1.9.31 is a paid upgrade. A paid upgrade to 1.9.31 is at an introductory price of only $9.99. As new versions come out, if you choose to upgrade at that time, each upgrade will continue to be a low one time payment with no monthly subscriptions needed. This gives users flexibility of when they'd like to upgrade as we release new features and updates.

For users who do not wish to update and only want to use our free version, we intend to eventually make these premium releases free six months after their initial release. This ensures that those who need or want the latest versions and features can upgrade immediately for a small fee while others just starting out will still be able to update Prosper202 for free eventually.

The small upgrade fee will accelerate our ability to continue to innovate with new features for Prosper202 Pro. We expect many of you who make your living off Prosper202 will upgrade to get access to the most powerful features as soon as they are available.

Additionally if Prosper or our team has helped you in any way in the past or if you'd like to help our cause, feel free to donate to us here.

Read more about all the new features in Prosper202 Pro Version 1.9.31

Speed Up Prosper202 With PHP 7
By Nana Gilbert-Baffoe, View comments

We just recently rolled out our latest version of Prosper202 Pro version 1.9.29 and with it came support for PHP 7 and all the performance enhancements that come with it.

In our internal tests, we were able to see a 24%+ performance increase with faster redirects and more concurrent requests per second. If you are looking to squeeze the most performance out of your servers, upgrading to PHP 7 is highly recommended.

We also experimented with the OPcache enabled and saw even bigger 2x performance boosts. For many of you doing enough volume, simply upgrading to Version 1.9.29 and using PHP 7 with the OPcache will be enough of a performance boost to see a noticeable increase in conversion rates and revenue.

We offer server optimization and consulting services, so if you need help, reach out to me or one of the team members via our chat widget on the bottom right of this page.

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