The company name Quality Unit probably doesn’t sound familiar, but Post Affiliate Pro will certainly ring a bell if you’re in the running for affiliate program software for your company. Quality Unit is the company behind Post Affiliate Pro, and was founded by Viktor Zeman and two other IT fanatics back when affiliate marketing was still very unknown. This rich history has helped the company stay at the forefront of developing state-of-the-art affiliate marketing tools.
We had the pleasure to interview Viktor Zeman about his rapidly growing company and the future of affiliate marketing and Post Affiliate Pro.
Can you tell us a bit more about yourself, your company Quality Unit and Post Affiliate Pro?
Sure, let me tell you a short story about Quality Unit. We founded the company in 2004 as 3 good friends (Maros Fric, Andrej Harsani and me, Viktor Zeman), all three of us have strong software development skills.
At the beginning we had no clear idea about our product, just the passion to do something huge. 🙂 Our first idea was UnitMiner – a web data extraction software. It was our first real product that was earning money for the company; at the beginning it was just a few hundred dollars per month. Because the revenue stream was small in the beginning, we were also accepting custom development projects. One of them was an order of an affiliate tracking script.
Maros Fric implemented the script, but the customer changed his mind and didn't want to pay us. So we ended up with a ready script, but no money for the development. Maros decided to try to sell it at least through his website and surprisingly, we almost instantly got the first online order. That was the beginning of the successful product Post Affiliate Pro.
Post Affiliate Pro, as one of the best self-hosted affiliate tracking scripts, helped us during the next few years to grow our company from 3 to 20 employees. Because the number of customers grew pretty fast, we faced the problem with the volume of support requests. We tried a multitude of help desk products, but none fit our requirements.
This was another important milestone for QualityUnit, as we decided to develop our own help desk software named LiveAgent. It also turned into a huge success. The initial idea behind LiveAgent was to develop a helpdesk system suited for our own needs… Once we were satisfied with the features and usability, we have decided to offer it to our customers too.
And guess what, now we have two successful products with thousands of new customers every year.
Which solutions do you offer for mobile affiliate marketing?
Post Affiliate Pro Mobile can be used for tracking mobile app sales and helps companies to track conversions of various mobile sales channels. Imagine a company that offers a paid mobile app via Google Play or iTunes. Natively, they have a very limited way to identify the traffic that converts visitors into customers in the App stores. By using Post Affiliate Pro, this company can get exact statistics regarding the source of the converted paying customers.
One of the first companies that started tracking sales of its mobile app with Post Affiliate Pro was Lingibli.com. They are able to track not only the volume of new installations of their application through different marketing channels, but also the exact origin of in-app sales.
Can you tell us a bit more about your “Split Commissions” feature?
The basic idea behind Split Commissions was to rightfully reward all affiliates in the buying cycle of a customer. We wanted to crack and revolutionize the old affiliate marketing model that traditionally rewards just the first or just the last affiliate.
Now, with Split Commissions, you can reward all affiliates who helped refer the sale and additionally you can give a bonus to the first and/or the last affiliate.
I think that Post Affiliate Pro was the first affiliate software provider that offered such a feature. Our competitor HasOffers for example released this feature about a year and half later and hereby confirmed how important this feature is for both affiliates and merchants.
How does the fraud protection in your affiliate tracking software work?
PostAffiliatePro implements multiple levels of fraud protection. Firstly, we try to filter frauds on the level of clicks and sales separately. Merchant can define their own fraud screening rules and block traffic based on several parameters.
Common problems that are solved by PostAffiliatePro are e.g. filtering of duplicate transactions or affiliate cookie spoofing using hidden iframes.
With Google’s latest efforts to punish the use of paid links, do you still recommend merchants to use your direct linking feature?
We didn't introduce direct links technology to hide something from Google, but to increase the confidence of visitors in the affiliate's content. It looks much cleaner and better if affiliates use the content links in a format like http://www.qualityunit.com, compared to http://www.qualityunit.com?aid=AnyAffiliateID
Affiliate links using our direct link technology can't be technically punishable by Google, because the link does not contain any signs or patterns of the affiliate links. Post Affiliate Pro assigns the affiliate to the clicks by identifying the referring page and the relation of this particular page to the affiliate. Regardless of the great value for affiliates, direct links naturally also help merchants to improve the SEO of their website.
In cases when you can't use direct links (e.g. mailing campaigns), we recommend to use anchor links, which are again a big step towards SEO optimization and can't be identified by Google as an affiliate link. The format of such link could be e.g. http://www.qualityunit.com/postaffiliatepro/#AnyAffiliateID
Video: Introduction to Post Affiliate Pro
Which e-commerce platforms does your software integrate with?
Currently we offer integrations with more than a hundred e-commerce software solutions and payment processors, and we’re adding new integrations on a weekly basis. We have dedicated a special support team that works daily on integrations of Post Affiliate Pro with other e-commerce platforms.
Even customers with just basic HTML knowledge are able to integrate PAP with their platform on their own. Additionally, every customer can order the Full Integration Service and our support team will integrate the affiliate program into their environment for a very small fee.
Why should merchants choose Post Affiliate Pro and not software from one of your competitors?
We see the most important factors to be the tracking quality and the flexibility of the commissions structure setup. But every merchant finds a different unique feature in our software that is not included in our competitors’ software.
As an example of such a feature I can mention PDF Rebranding for every affiliate. This feature helps merchants to upload ready-made PDF documents into Post Affiliate Pro, and PAP is capable of rebranding them for each of your affiliates on the fly.
What can we expect from Post Affiliate Pro 5?
We would like to mainly focus on improving the user interface and the affiliate panel customization. As a next major improvement I can mention the upgrade of the internal framework that will improve the usability of some of the elements like grids and filters. The new framework was successfully tested with LiveAgent and we think that now is the time to integrate those in PostAffiliatePro as well.
Which integrations are possible between your affiliate program software and your other software solutions such as LiveAgent?
LiveAgent is a multichannel help-desk system and it is only natural that, next to providing excellent support for your customers, you can also improve your communication with your affiliates. With LiveAgent it is extremely easy to add for example a live chat button into your Post Affiliate Pro affiliate program to help your affiliates in real time.
How do you see affiliate marketing evolving over the months/years to come?
We think that more and more affiliate programs will focus more on sales via mobile sales channels in the near future as more and more products will be sold inside free applications or through built-in operating system stores like those in Google, Apple and Windows 8 devices.
Why should merchants opt for managing their affiliate marketing through in-house software and not through an affiliate network?
Naturally, both options have advantages and disadvantages. Right next to our affiliate software for merchants, we also sell affiliate network software called Post Affiliate Network, and I can’t boldly state that I would choose an in-house solution in every scenario. For some company sizes and specific business types it is more efficient to choose an affiliate network, but for the majority an in-house option can prove to be more efficient.
Back to your question: We have a lot of customers who tried multiple affiliate networks in the past and ended up with a self-hosted Post Affiliate Pro or an own affiliate network running on Post Affiliate Network. From their feedback we know the following: An affiliate network doesn't automatically guarantee that you will find the right affiliates. It is significantly cheaper to have an in-house solution if you sell higher volumes through your affiliate program. With an in-house affiliate program you have full control and a much better flexibility with structuring the commissions and affiliate marketing tools.
My tip is to really think over this question at the very beginning before you start with an affiliate program, because later it is a real pain to migrate an existing affiliate program from one platform to another (affiliate links compatibility, banners tracking, URL changes, etc.).
Our thanks go to Viktor for doing this interview with us. We are curious to see what the future holds for Post Affiliate Pro, and will keep you up-to-date on the latest about the upcoming Post Affiliate Pro 5.0! In the meantime, don't forget to write your Post Affiliate Pro review if you're a current customer of the company.