A Different Breed of Affiliate Tools: GoldenCAN and PopShops

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by Evgenii “Geno” Prussakov

Affiliates are motivated by one thing — revenue. But the road to this goal is often bumpy and difficult to navigate. Selecting and participating in some of the thousands of affiliate programs can be overwhelming. Attempting to integrate several programs into a single website and maintain a consistent, quality Web presence can cause many to look for another path.

But there are some tools out there that aim to ease integration woes and increase profits for the hardest working group of Web professionals — affiliate marketers.

PopShops and GoldenCAN fit no mold. These datafeed-integration tools facilitate populating a website with valuable offers from merchants and give affiliates an opportunity to  differentiate their websites from the competition, while earning some extra revenue. Both are extremely powerful for merchants running affiliate programs and for affiliates wishing to quickly import merchant data feeds into their website(s). After a thorough examination, you might ultimately find that the two services work well together, so let’s look and the similarities and differences to get you started.

Perhaps the most significant challenge for Web marketers in the affiliate space is success with search engines. Fortunately, both GoldenCAN and PopShops have several search enginefriendly options available, straight out of the box. With Pro and Enterprise plans from PopShops, server side snippets of PHP will render shop contents (including product names and descriptions) to the search engines while data feeds under the Enterprise plan can be customized to include keywords. GoldenCAN also openly touts its own SEO features. As an end-to-end point-andclick storefront, the service enables affiliates to develop strong internal linking structures that carry the ability to potentially influence search rankings.

Couple these SEO features with a search function (available at both providers) and by all accounts you have the framework of a full-fledged website catering to consumers seeking niche products. Additionally, in regards to the end user shopping experience, GoldenCAN — with the help of its Coupon Integration™ tool — allows affiliates to serve coupons to their visitors. GoldenCAN affiliates are able display thousands of specific promotions and recent price drops for the products of their selected merchant with a single line of code.

While it might serve you best to utilize both services, for the sake of simplicity you will probably want to select one solution over the other. And while both are highly effective, there are some differences.

GoldenCAN gives affiliates one-click storefronts. PopShops has stayed away from this model to allow affiliates to create their own completely unique storefronts. Affiliates can pick products, change descriptions and, in short, develop custom shops across different affiliate networks (to the point of including products from merchants on Commission Junction, LinkShare, Google Affiliate Network, ShareASale and even an independent program on the same page) and have it all appear seamlessly as a standalone site.

Pricing is a mixed bag with these services. GoldenCAN (the more obtuse pricing model of the two) has two types of merchants from which affiliates can choose: (1) “4th Click Merchants,” or those who pay via a 4th-click ID swap — this essentially means that GoldenCAN takes any revenue from every 4th click from an affiliate’s listing, and (2) “Free Merchants” or those that are free of the 4th-click commission share. The latter merchant pays GoldenCAN a fee so that affiliates can use merchant fees completely free and not share revenue from any click.

PopShops, on the other hand is free for merchants. Affiliates bear the cost of business but can choose from several different plans; from a free option to a $30 per month
Enterprise version, which includes enhancements such as RSS and XML product feeds, SEO features, unlimited shops, product search and more. The good part is that affiliates
keep 100% of commissions at all times and the straightforward pricing means less confusion on what will generate the most revenue.

Either one of these tools will help your offerings stand out from the competition, while carrying the potential of extra revenue. In time, you might decide to use a combination of both. In the end, it still boils down to old-fashioned elbow grease to get the job done in such an aggressive marketplace. PopShops and GoldenCAN can help get the wheels turning.

About the Author: Geno Prussakov is a graduate of the University of Cambridge, author of “A Practical Guide to Affiliate Marketing” (2007) and “Online Shopping Through Consumers’ Eyes” (2008), popular speaker and affiliate marketing evangelist. Prussakov is the founder and CEO of AMNavigator.com.

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