We caught up with Peter Hamilton from HasOffers as he revealed their strategy for shutting down fraudsters, delivering airtight tracking and creating scalable solutions for everyone.
Hey Peter, thanks for taking the time to talk with us today.
Thanks for having me.
So HasOffers has been one of the fastest growing and most successful tracking platforms in our industry. What opportunity did you recognize that made you decide to start HasOffers?
Affiliate tracking software was really expensive and not very reliable in 2007, and so we started building our own tracking technologies to support our own businesses. Forced to work with limited resources, we created a really efficient ad server (or tracking engine) in basic C, and it wasn’t long before we realized this technology could be white labeled and used by others to track their own affiliate programs. We launched with a free model in 2009 to see how interested people would be and it really took off. From there we created a subscription model that pretty dramatically undercut competition with no setup fees or contracts. Out of the fundamental belief that better technology in more peoples’ hands will only grow the number of players in our industry, we’ve made it our mission to provide the best possible solution while scaling up or down for any budget or business model.
How many people and how much money do you need to start a network on HasOffers?
This is an extremely broad question because there are so many different types of “networks.” We have full scale affiliate networks with hundreds of advertisers and thousands of affiliates, but we also have networks with a single advertiser or product that manage their program with one person and do very well. As far as tracking costs, it starts all the way down at $99 per month with a one month free trial. That gets you in the door with 250,000 clicks. From there, the click volumes and feature sets increase from $279 on Pro to $799 on Enterprise which gives you up to 2 million clicks, per month. Our larger customers pay anywhere from $2k per month to $20k, depending on how extreme their volume is.
So to directly answer your question, you can get started for $99 and just one devoted person to manage your program, but you need at least one solid offer or access to some great affiliates/traffic. The main area you need to be careful about is making affiliate payments, and I highly recommend working with your book keeper to make sure you’ve got a solid process in place.
If you could identify one thing that HasOffers does better than your competitors, what would it be?
Technologically speaking, our API is far superior to any competitor. Every function in our application can be accessed through a complete 2-way API. This means our clients can pull any data out to other systems, pass information in from other systems, build new unique tools, and even create completely new interfaces to meet their needs.
I’m going to cheat and say one more thing that falls on the ideological side. We are innovating on our technologies constantly. Not only do we pump out new features every month for HasOffers, but we’ve been building the next iterations of our technology for the past 7 months. We’re working hard to move the industry forward in some really interesting ways:
HasOffers has some of the best fraud prevention features in the business. Tell us how HasOffers protects network owners from shady fraudsters.
Detecting fraud is all about studying the numbers. When numbers are doing funny things, the probability of fraud goes up. In HasOffers we have a set of fraud criteria that we associate with new affiliate profiles as well as criteria that applies to affiliate activity. This criteria can be uniquely weighted by each affiliate program depending on the type of affiliates and traffic they tend to work with. Aside from these features we have a list of preferences and tweaks you can make to each offer to prevent different types of fraud. For example, you can enforce that the IP on a click must match the IP on a conversion or you can not allow multiple conversions from the same user. Even beyond that, our open API has made it possible for other affiliate fraud systems to integrate with us very easily.
Some pretty serious companies use HasOffers as their platform. Who is your biggest client?
Ha! Unfortunately I must respect the privacy of our clients and can’t give out that information, but I can tell you that you won’t even find some of our largest clients on our website. We’re certainly excited about clients that are large advertisers with affiliate programs like Zynga, LivingSocial, FlyCell and Saveology, and we work with some incredible affiliate networks like Adsimilis, Users2Cash, SponsorPay, Tapjoy, KissMyAds, Adjal and others.
Let's say I'm a network running on a different platform. Is it a hassle to switch over to HasOffers?
We’ve definitely worked hard on our migration processes to HasOffers since that is how we get a lot of our business. We have simple ways to upload affiliate and offer information using CSVs, but we also have onboarding engineers to help with the process for enterprise clients and above. We’ve also developed some great processes for migrating the actual traffic to make a seamless transition. I think you’ll find that it’s easier to get going on HasOffers than any other platform.
If I'm a network running on a different platform and I'm mulling over the thought of switching, what would you say to me?
It would really depend on your business, but I would tell you that HasOffers is the only tracking solution on the cloud, capable of scaling for any business. Then I would ask you how much you’re spending currently and what you’re getting for it. You would give me a huge number and I would tell you the fraction you’d be paying on HasOffers for the same volume. It’s time to move past the old “enterprise solution” because the fact is; reliable affiliate tracking software doesn’t have to be expensive. There’s a reason we have the types of clients that we do.
Plus, check out any edition that you want for a month for free with no setup fees and cancel any time you want. That’s how confident we are of our product.
What are some important features you have added to HasOffers and what do they mean for network owners?
- Offer goals is a great feature that allows you to track and/or payout for additional actions a user commits. This means you can pay affiliates for several different types of conversions but track it all through a single tracking URL.
- We finally completed a pay-per-call integration with RingRevenue. It took us a little while because we wanted to make sure the integration was valuable, not just a linking to each other in our apps. With this integration you can actually view pay-per-call conversions in your HasOffers reports. Pretty cool.
- Tracking Mobile Apps: You can now track just about anything on mobile, including mobile app installs as conversions. You can even add on additional events in mobile apps as offer goals. This has become so popular that we built a standalone product for tracking app installs called MobileAppTracking.com which fully integrates with your HasOffers affiliate program.
If it's 3am on a Saturday night. is HasOffers there to offer support if needed?
For the average customers, we’re answering email support at all hours, but we have emergency lines for tracking issues that require immediate assistance as well as dedicated account managers for enterprise and dedicated customers that can be reached at any time. For general inquiries, we also have a dedicated customer support team for chat, email, and phone on week days. One thing that will astound you about HasOffers is the amount of support documentation available to the public. You can check it out at http://www.hasoffers.com/wiki
What is in the future for HasOffers? How are you going to help network owners run more successful businesses?
Our industry is rapidly changing and there are some major forces that we are giving a lot of attention. Privacy and security are high interest areas where we’ve spent a great deal of time mapping out how to best comply with future regulations while still giving our clients what they need to be successful. I can tell you that we’ve already developed some pretty incredible solutions.
Another major shift is in tracking itself. Cookie tracking may grow to be obsolete, and we have already enlisted a host of alternate technologies to connect conversions back to click events. You can see some of these already employed when you choose to combine cookie-less and cookie based tracking in HasOffers or when tracking actions on Mobile App Tracking.
We have a few other really big ideas up our sleeve that you’ll see in the coming year, and though I don’t want to give away the farm too early, I can tell you that everything innovative we are tackling has come directly from our customers. We are extremely fortunate to be working with some of the best minds in performance marketing.
Anything else you would like to tell the community?
Keep the feedback coming. If you are a new HasOffers customer, please do not hesitate to let us know how we can make HasOffers better for your business.
I also want to encourage you to take HasOffers and make it your own. We’ve created a complete API so that HasOffers can be a platform you can build on, giving you the true scalability of a tracking solution on the cloud with the flexibility to bake in the secret ingredients that make your network successful. It’s like developing your own proprietary solution at a fraction of the cost with none of the maintenance.