It is amazing what a few hours of concentrated work can do for you.
Months ago me and my buddy who work together on TFT were talking about the idea of an affiliate program for our users – to try and encourage them to promote the site amongst friends and family, and to maybe entice some of the bigger websites to send some traffic our way.
At the time I thought it would be a neat little project, but once I started listing the edge cases I noticed that this would be a bit of a slog to get right.
A combination of work and family issues stopped me from looking or even thinking about the affiliate program until recently, when my friend brought it up again.
This time instead of thinking about all the edge cases and worrying about replicating what some of the bigger affiliate systems do I brought it right back to basics.
I asked myself two questions.
- What is an affiliate system at its most basic form.
- What is the least amount of effort I can put in (both long and short term) in order to achieve this.
After spending maybe an hour mulling these questions over I had come up with a solution that would work.
5 hours later I had written, tested, debugged and deployed a solution that will work and will only need minor time investment to scale should we need to.
It won’t win any awards for being the most complete affiliate program in the world, but it will allow my users to make some money from the site and ultimately put more money into my pocket.
Normally I would love to go into the technical details of what I done, but how I have had to work it is such an edge case that I couldn’t possibly see it being useful to anyone. The short version is that it speaks to a couple of WordPress plugins and PayPal and to be honest will never win me a programmer of the year award.