FAQ Publisher Guide

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Frequently Asked Questions by Affiliates, for Affiliates - Admin


What is a Merchant?

A merchant (retailer), sometimes referred to as an 'advertiser', is an online company which sells its products and/or services through an affiliate network. The advertiser will pay either a percentage or set amount of commission once a certain action (in most cases, a sale) has completed.

To find out more information on our merchant commission rates - please visit Merchant Directory in Darwin.

If you are not signed up to the Affiliate Window network, a full listing of our advertisers by category is available in our advertiser directory at http://www.affiliatewindow.com/merchant_directory.php

What is an Affiliate?

An affiliate is the owner or manager of a website (also referred to as a 'publisher' or 'partner').

They are rewarded commission when a visitor to their site clicks an affiliate link, (for example, a banner, logo or text link), goes to a particular advertiser's website and performs a certain action of the advertiser's site. Usually, this is completing a transaction. However some advertisers ask affiliates to refer them traffic that results in a lead instead of a sale, perhaps through the completion of an online application form, or the submission of the user's email address.

Please click here to see a full guide to signing up as an affiliate.

In short:

  • A advertiser is someone who has a product to sell
  • An affiliate is someone who advertises products

What Kind of Affiliate am I?

True Content

True Content sites are generally informative sites that focus on a single, specific area and produce original copy through which they promote advertisers in the same area. An example might be a fan site dedicated to particular place, person or hobby.


There are a number of sites that can be categorised as community sites. Amongst these are blogs, forums and fan communities, and social networks. Forums are interactive sites where internet users go to discuss topics on a common theme. A 'blog' is short for 'weblog', and is basically an online journal. Social Networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are online communities where members open their own profiles through which they can share information in various media (such as photos, videos) as well as some personal information, all via a single website.

Price and Product Comparison

Price and product comparison affiliates offer visitors to their sites the ability to compare different products, usually from different advertisers and across different sectors. Many affiliates use Affiliate Window's ShopWindow toolset which utilises advertisers' datafeeds to enable affiliates to embed price and product comparison capabilities on their sites.

Voucher Codes

Voucher code or discount code sites are directories of discounts, offers and vouchers provided by retailers for the products or services they sell.

E-mail Marketing

E-mail marketing affiliates collect e-mail addresses of members of the public and use these to market advertisers' products or services. Such affiliates will usually collect information about the owners of the email addresses, such as their age, location, interests or hobbies, which they can then use to segment their databases so as to only email certain groups with certain offers. To guard against spam, Affiliate Window asks that all affiliates marketing in this way ensure the data they collect has been double opted-in and that people receiving email marketing materials always have a link in the email they can click to unsubscribe.

Cashback, Loyalty and Reward

Cashback sites are those where the affiliate rewards members of their site by paying them either part of all of the commission received from the advertiser. Reward affiliates do not award their members cash but points which can then be redeemed for goods or services. Loyalty affiliates offer their members rewards based on the amount of online transactions they make through their sites. The incentive that cashback, loyalty and reward affiliates offer is financed from the commission earned from the advertiser, and so it is the cashback or reward site rather than the advertiser that offers the incentive to the member to make a purchase. Cashback, loyalty and reward sites can be open to all, or only to members of a Corporate Intranet, which might receive specific incentives based on the employee's links to the organisation in question, or on the basis of the demographics they represent.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

PPC stands for Pay Per Click. Affiliates working through this method will pay for listing in a search engine such as Google, Bing or Yahoo by bidding on certain keywords which relate to their site or the advertisers they are promoting. When a visitor to a search engine enters a search query that matches one of these keywords the affiliate's ad will display and the affiliate will pay for each click the ad receives. The cost of displaying such ads is funded through the commissions earned when traffic is directed through PPC results in a sale for an advertiser.

How do I get traffic to my site?

There are two main ways to get traffic to your site: SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and PPC (Pay per click)


Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via 'natural' (or 'organic') search results. The higher a site or page is listed or 'ranked', the more visible it will be as well as more relevant to the user. This can increase the volume and quality of traffic to your site.

In order to improve the ranking of your site you need to consider how search engines work and what people search for. Optimising your website will therefore involve editing and improving content in order to improve its natural search listings


Pay per click involves paying a search engine every time a user clicks on a link that to visit either an advertiser's website or your own website. You will typically bid on keyword phrases relevant to your target market to ensure that you only pay when you believe there is a chance of a sale.

When a user types a keyword query matching your keyword list, your advertisement may be displayed. These advertisements are called sponsored links or sponsored ads, and appear adjacent to or above the 'natural' or organic results on search engine results pages. Content websites commonly charge a fixed price for a click.

How does Affiliate Window track sales?

AW tracks all sales made using AW affiliate links by using cookies.

The tracking process:

1. The user (customer) visits an affiliate website

2. The user clicks through from the affiliate website to the advertiser website

3. AW drop a cookie on the user’s personal computer (PC) to show the user has visited the affiliate website and clicked on an affiliate link

4. The user is directed to the advertiser website and AW drop another cookie from the advertiser's domain

5. The user purchases an item from the advertiser website

6. The advertiser confirmation page contains the AW tracking tag

7. AW link the advertiser tracking with the previous cookies dropped on the user’s PC

8. Information is passed to AW in the tracking tag, allowing AW to record the sale (this information includes the advertiser ID, referring affiliate ID, order reference number, sale value and commission groups (if applicable))

9. AW's system allocates the correct commission based on the information passed in the tracking tag and the pre-defined reward set by the advertiser (either a set amount per tranaction or a percentage of the sale value)

10. Commissions are either approved or declined by the advertiser dependent on the order being fulfilled

11. Affiliates can see these commissions in their AW interface

Notes on point 3:

The cookie which is dropped is referred by the Affiliate Window system and is stored on the Affiliate Window domain. This would be considered a third party cookie from an advertiser’s perspective.

There are three kinds of links a user could click on to move from an affiliate site.

1) A text link. This would be an AW link behind a hyperlink in some text on the affiliate site.

2) A banner. This would be an AW link behind an advertiser banner or logo on the affiliate site.

3) A product feed. This is when an affiliate uses a data-feed from an advertiser to display particular products on their affiliate site, in conjunction with AW’s ShopWindow tool. There is an AW link behind each one of these products.

Notes on point 4:

The advertiser would have already added a small script onto all pages which will allow for our system to send through a unique variable to then be stored on the domain URL. This would be considered a first party cookie from an advertiser’s perspective.

Notes on point 5:

A sale is only tracked if it is completed. This means that the user has to submit all information and payment details required by the advertiser and reach the advertiser ‘confirmation page’ before it will be tracked as a sale and an affiliate paid commission. If a user leaves the transaction part-way through the payment process the sale will not be tracked and the affiliate will receive no commission.

Notes on point 6:

When an advertiser starts to work with Affiliate Window, they implement AW tracking on their site, so that AW can match this information to the information stored in the affiliate links, and in the cookies dropped on the user’s PC.

Notes on point 7:

Affiliate Window tracks sales on a ‘last referrer’ basis. This means that if a user visits two affiliate sites before purchasing something from an advertiser, the last affiliate site they visit will receive the commission.

If both affiliates are using AW links, AW will overwrite the first cookie with a second one to show that the second affiliate should receive the commission. This means there will only ever be one AW cookie per transaction per advertiser on a user’s PC.

If one affiliate is using AW links and the other affiliate is using links for a different affiliate network, the advertiser should provide data to AW and the other network to show which affiliate should receive the commission. This process is called ‘de-duplication’.

Affiliate Marketing Reports

eConsultancy UK Affiliate Census - 2009

BigMouthMedia UK Affiliate Census - 2010

Advertising Methods and Activities Not Permitted on the Network

Overview of advertising methods and activities that are not permitted on the Affiliate Window network.

Do we not have what you are looking for?

Visit the Wanted Pages area of the Wiki to learn how to get your desired content added.


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