I’ve been the member of the Big Fish Games Affiliate program for some time now and have promoted the program a bit every now and then. The good news are that the income has been steadily increasing (and effort put on promoting that stuff has been steadily decreasing…), the bad news are that there’s some fundamental issues with their system. It’s “okay”, but it could be much more.
Here’s some ideas that could improve their affiliate program so that people would really start promoting their games:
- They should give detailed statistics: I guess average Guy Gamer doesn’t care how many people have played their games or whatever, but I’d say that the bare minimum essential data BFG should offer are visitor count info, clicks, pages where they go, reports about conversions (which games were sold, how many downloads) and basically the information that would help affiliates know which games are selling well. It should also give information about lifetime sales (which games the customers have tested, which they bought, when they joined through your affiliate link).
Now almost all the info you get is close to “how many friends you have” and “how much $$$ you have earned so far”. (I know there’s bit of reporting about 2 week sales, but that’s crappy. (Right now it says to me that “Sales origin: X% from BFG, Y% my site(s)” – that’s virtually useless information, especially since “top selling games for your account” shows empty.
I know some of this stuff can be partially handled with own systems (like “click count”, but that’s still very little and doesn’t give any information about conversions).
Affiliates could even start spending ad money to promote the affiliate offerings if they could have more control over their accounts. When affiliates are happy, BFG is getting very nice flood of traffic (and money) from the affiliates. It’s their interest.
- Improve the Affiliate portal: I have my own portal (took almost 5 minutes to set up). The portal is okay, the template is nice… but it’s lacking options. I’d want to clone BFG portal. I’d like to have more power to customize what I show and where (okay, I know how to program PHP but that would be something where I won’t be going – it takes time anyway). Also, they have got XML feed issues every now and then (not a biggie, but still). I realize the portal version is 0.7 (or something) so things are getting better, and I believe they are working on this.
- Better tracking of affiliate network: I have network of people who have joined through my affiliate link but I have pretty much no idea where they joined, who they are or whatnot. I have no way of checking if there’s certain person that joined through my affiliate link. This way I could even offer incentives for people to join the PNP network through my affiliate link (and validate if they did) – and this would benefit BFG as well.
The better sales conversion reporting alone would give tremendous power to estimate “where the money comes from”, and thus would help decide how to promote the program. Now you hope to hit something when promoting the program.
I like the program (and I think it has potential), but there’s some essential features that would need to be polished to make it work really good.
P.S. I wonder what they are going to do with the My Game Space page… check out the latest news (from January 01/2008 – “Coming Soon: new rewards!” Coming soon – brand new rewards for you to choose from! Keep checking back for more updates.)