Drive More Sales with Our Affiliate Platform Improvements
We started 2020 with a new Datacenter in Sydney and a Shared Hosting Infrastructure Update currently rolling out in our fleet, with the overall goal of continuing to provide the latest available solutions to our customers. We promised that 2020 will be a year of new features and service enhancements for FastComet clients and it was time for our affiliate partners to get some love, too.
Loads of Platform Improvements Based on Your Feedback
FastComet has grown amazingly fast and we owe a lot of it in part to amazing partners for helping spread the hype. That is relevant, because a big group of people – more than 5000 to this date, have decided they want to promote us and become our affiliates for which we are very grateful. As an Affiliate Manager, I have been working closely with many of you for the past four years. In the last months, the Team and I acknowledged that the affiliate system, which we all used during that time, was slowly going out of date.
Recognizing that a small number of our affiliates have been experiencing issues with 1-click payment requests, errors, and sometimes strange behavior inside the affiliate software, we realized we needed to release a product that would help you further increase your affiliate earnings.
We’ve analyzed and logged all your incoming suggestions, criticism, and ideas and as a result, we reworked our systems to allow for an update of the affiliate front and back end.
Please note that your current affiliate URLs and banners will continue to work after the update has been applied. The affiliate, campaign and banner IDs will remain the same.
This post’s primary goal is to familiarize our affiliates with the changes they will encounter in their new dashboard and overall performance of the system, that will be officially launched on February 10th, 2020 :
- Stability and Reliability
- Increased Security
- Additional Bug Fixes
- Always Latest Version
- Better Tracking
- Improved Communication
Stability and Reliability
With this update, 400+ bugs in the front and back end have been addressed, while at the same time, 500+ new features have been added. Note that most of these changes are in the back end and will be invisible to you but will allow us to do more work, faster, thus impacting your experience.
- Cronjobs optimizations – the scheduled tasks responsible for sending emails, file modifications, and deleting old data have been optimized. Several bugs connected to them have been resolved, including timezone change effects, mail reports not being created for some accounts, and certain cron tasks timing out.
- Improved back end Logs – more detailed debug logs on commission generation. Fixed issue with deleted mail task generated errors.
- PHP version bumped to 7.2 with plans to get it to version 7.3 and 7.4 in the coming months.
- PHP and ionCube loader warnings fixed.
- MySQL version bumped to 8.0.
- SQL optimizations for query processing of clicks.
- SQL optimizations for back end search requests.
- Optimizations for headers used in tracking requests.
- Added optimization for loading statistics, for front and back end.
- Multiple Database optimizations.
- Tracking cookies improvements.
- Statistic Graph improvements.
- Click data reset – click data will reset every 180 days to keep the affiliate system as responsive as possible. In the previous version of the system, we have observed some slowdowns due to the way graphs requested information for several clicks out of millions of records. Note that statistical graphs in each affiliate’s profile will remain correct even after the delete.
- Various Grid View improvements – addressed column resizing issues for Affiliates. Fixed invalid values in grid elements and added general grid optimization for the back end, which will speed our work on your requests and commission review process.
- New Theme – the new Affiliate Dashboard theme will provide you with a bit of color contrast but still keep things straight to business. There are no significant differences compared to the two main themes used by affiliates so far. The signup and login page are also redesigned, focusing only on the quick login and account creation – no extra fluff.
- Unified View for all Affiliates – we are removing the ability for affiliates to change their dashboard theme as we saw that not many users were utilizing this and the ones who did have trouble with some parts of the navigation. We may revise this based on your feedback, although, as previously stated – the new theme will support all of the functionality of older themes.
- Directlink UI changes – as directlinking has been present in the affiliate dashboard despite not being supported by our Affiliate Terms of Service; it is now hidden from the UI.
- SubAffiliate UI changes – SubAffiliate related functionality is now hidden from the UI.
- New password generation method – passwords will no longer be set upon creating the account by the user but will be created later via the Affiliate System, once the account is already made. That will happen after a user clicks on the specific link in his confirmation mail.
- Signup Form Improvements – We have made the location fields mandatory, which is also related to the fraud protection improvements mentioned below. The country field bug showing only “United States” as a selectable country has been addressed. * Note that “The United States” is still the default pre-selected value, so you will need to change it when registering.
- Improve Email Validation and Deliverability – fixed some special characters in email subject which were incorrectly encoded. Edge cases in which the system sent duplicate emails have also been covered.
- Various banner parameter improvements – this includes the banner search filters which have been revamped and working banners links shared via Pinterest.
- Advanced commission generation recognition – will not create a commission when the affiliate is also the purchaser.
- Optimization in Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) files.
- “Raw clicks” are now renamed to “Repeated clicks” for more clarity.
- Added various search filter improvements in the back end to speed up workflow.
- Account isolation – due to security changes made explicitly for the affiliate program, we will no longer be able to access your affiliate account without you providing us with your credentials. We have used this up to now, to resolve pressing issues quickly. From now on, this will be needed only if there is a specific case associated with your account in which we have to reproduce particular system behavior.
- Improved Security for loading files.
- Closed possible XSS vulnerability via the banner preview.
- Added additional Brute Force Attack Protection via IP filtering.
- Removed special characters from some parameters.
- Changing a password via a password reset link will reset the “remember me” cookie.
- reCAPTCHA v3 on signup and password reset.
- Optimized Clicks Fraud Protection.
Additional Bug Fixes
- Request payment button – over the years we had a number of cases in which affiliates either did not see the button at all, it was appearing and disappearing randomly, or the button was there but not functional. When clicked, it did not send the proper notification to our Affiliate team regarding the payment request. That has been reworked, and the button should now work 100% of the time. We have tested it extensively and will continue to monitor the functionality once the updated version goes live. Please remember that you will only see this button if you have an approved unpaid sale waiting for payment.
- Response decoding failed error.
- Various caching issues.
- Graph display issue in Firefox.
- Invalid license error.
- GeoIP not working for specific IPv6 addresses
- Contact us form errors.
- clickjs.php tracking script generating incorrect tracking URL due to AdBlock.
- Various design misconceptions.
- Being able to create channels with empty code and name fields.
Always Latest Version
From now on, our affiliates will always be on the latest version of the Affiliate Software System, which we use. Meaning that the underlying protocols and standards will be the latest in the industry. Dashboard security will continue to evolve. Any bugs will be tested and fixed much quicker.
We have made sure to structure the update in such a way that all pre-existing affiliates’ links will continue to work and track sales. Note that your affiliate ID will remain the same and the only difference between old and new links will be the following:
It is still advised to update your links once the update is through to reflect the change for maximum statistical accuracy, but it is not a mandatory requirement for them to work. Your new general link will be shown in the header of your dashboard.
As mentioned in the first paragraph, due to the nature of how clicks are saved and their overall impact on database index fragmentation, we will be cleaning clicks data every 180 days starting from the day of the update. So don’t worry when you see an empty click list on your first day after the changes.
In the previous version of the dashboard, it was hard for some affiliates to find a way to contact us. As the contact form itself had a few bugs, and the affiliate mail for contact was not easily spotted on some themes, the affiliate-manager relations in some instances were less than optimal. Furthermore, the Affiliate team had no way of communicating to all affiliates at once directly through the dashboard, and we were reliant only on newsletters.
To address the first part, the affiliate email address is now present in the home window of the Affiliate Dashboard right below a greeting from the Management team. Below it, we have the News block in which you will receive news regarding changes or promotions directly from us. We will still be sending out newsletters from time to time, but now the same information and more will be available in the dashboard itself.
As for what the future holds, we have plans for more content-oriented towards affiliates in the form of blog posts. That will include guides for beginners, tips, and tricks, some of which we have already shared via our yearly eBooks and even case studies with successful affiliates.
If there is anything, in particular, you want to see in future affiliate related posts, or have questions regarding any of the changes we have made, make sure to provide your feedback in the comment section below.
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