1. Sovrn //Commerce
  2. Troubleshooting & FAQ

How to Effectively Affiliate With Merchants

Watch this video to learn how to best use the Merchant Explorer for Sovrn Commerce.

Publishers can go to the Merchant Explorer to see Sovrn //Commerce's merchants and their approval status with each.

Using the Merchant Explorer

What does “Preferred Merchant” mean?

The “Preferred Merchant” checkbox helps you search for merchants in our Preferred Merchant program. Preferred Merchants are merchants Sovrn Commerce has negotiated higher commission rates with than those typically offered to individual affiliates.​

How are merchants in the search results organized?

Preferred Merchants appear at the top of all search results; all other merchants are then listed alphabetically. ​

How do I find out more about a merchant I’m interested in in the search results?

Once you find a merchant that you want to learn more about, simply click on that merchant’s name in the search results. You will then be taken to their merchant record page where you can find a brief description of the merchant; where the merchant accepts traffic from; their commission structure; and an affiliation tester for seeing if your campaign is approved to send traffic.

How do I change the filters when I search?

When you are searching there are a number of different parameters that you can use to narrow down results. Once you have chosen a parameter such as “Category,” click the search button and you will see it appear next to “Search results for…”. If you want to remove the parameter, simply click the “X” to the right of it.

Understanding your Approval Status

What Does a red X mean?

A red X means that a publisher is not approved to work with a merchant. Common reasons include the following:

  • None of your sites have completed the onboarding approval process, or have been denied. 
  • Some merchants run restricted programs and require publishers to apply before being able to affiliate.
  • Some merchants choose not to work with all types of publishers.
  • Some merchants only accept traffic from certain countries. (The Merchant Explorer looks at affiliate traffic from a single country -- look for the filter at the top right to change the county.)

Why is one of my sites is listed as “approved for all programs” for a merchant, but others are not?

There is a chance that not all of your campaigns will be approved to affiliate to a certain merchant depending on a merchant’s restrictions. Some merchants may have approved all of your campaigns for affiliation, but that doesn’t mean all merchants will. When applying to merchant programs via the Merchant Explorer, be sure to apply separately for each of your campaigns. ​

How do I apply to a restricted merchant?

A handful of merchants, including eBay and Amazon's CPA program, are restricted in our system, which means that your site will need to be approved directly by the merchant before you are able to affiliate. We can help you apply once you've earned at least $10 in revenue over a 30-day period from our unrestricted merchants. Once that's been accomplished, send an email to support@viglink.com to request your site be submitted for consideration.

If ALL merchants have a red X, what does that mean?

If all of the merchants are marked as unapproved, that means that your site is not approved in our system.

If you signed up recently, you may still need to complete the approval process. Take the following steps to ensure that your site is reviewed and approved in a timely manner:

  • Confirm that your site name is accurate and complete.
    • If you have signed up using a website, make sure your site name is accurate, complete and pointing toward an active, functional website. If your site is under construction, Sovrn Commerce will not be able to approve your site.
    • If you have signed up using a social media handle:
      • make sure you have included your handle. That is, facebook.com/yourhandle, not just facebook.com.

      • make sure your page is set to public so we area able to review it. 
  • Send affiliate clicks so that we know you have integrated properly.
    • If you have installed the Javascript, click on merchant links on your site.
    • If you are using social media, create and click on an Anywhere link. Anywhere links can be created at here 

If you are not a new publisher but you have created a new site, your new site should be automatically approved. Send an email to commercesupport@sovrn.com if you aren't able to affiliate with any merchants through your new site within one business day.

If you are not a new publisher and your existing site is now marked as unapproved for all merchants, that means that your site has been rejected. You can review the Publisher Code of Conduct here.

Understanding Merchant Terms

What do CPA, CPC, and CPC/CPA mean?

Sovrn //Commerce routes traffic through two types of programs:

  1. CPA (cost per action), which means the publisher is eligible to earn a commission on any eligible sales that result from the affiliate click.
  2. CPC (cost per click), which means the publisher is eligible to earn a flat rate for each click that points to an eligible product.

So what does it mean when a Merchant is marked with "CPC/CPA" in the Merchant Explorer?

If a merchant works with both, Sovrn Commerce will determine at the time of the click whether to route the click through the CPC program or the CPA program. It is never the case that a publisher will be able to earn through both types of programs simultaneously. Our system is built to always route traffic through the program that will yield its publishers the most revenue over the long run.

What does it mean in the search results if a merchant affiliates from “multiple” countries versus “global”?

If the country column says “multiple” that means a merchant accepts traffic from more than one specific country. For example, Backcountry accepts traffic from the U.S., the U.K., and Canada. If the country column says “global” that means a merchant accepts traffic worldwide. Please note that if your site’s users are not in countries listed on the merchant’s page, clicks will likely not convert and yield commissions.

What does “not listed” for countries mean?

We’re working on automating data pulled into the Merchant Explorer; for example, many commission rates are now calculated rates that update on their own. However, including the countries a merchant accepts traffic from has to be done manually by our Merchant Team. This means there are going to be merchants where this information hasn’t been pulled in yet, currently designated as “not listed.” If there’s a merchant with no country details listed, let us know and we’ll be happy to provide that information if possible.​

What does “multiple” commission rates mean?

Some merchants pay distinct commission rates (i.e. “multiple” rates) for different products or product categories. Therefore, there is not a unified commission rate for the merchant.​

What does “not listed” for commission rates mean?

The majority of merchants in our system have an automated calculated rate or a manually-entered rate (if our system doesn’t have enough sales data for a calculated rate). However, there are some merchants where our Merchant Team hasn’t manually-entered the rate yet, which will result in a “not listed” rate. If there’s a merchant with no rate listed, let us know and we’ll be happy to provide that information if possible. ​

If a commission rate has a tilde in front of it, what does that mean? What if the rate doesn’t have a tilde?

The commission rates with a tilde (~) in front of them are calculated rates. Calculated rates are automated based on our sales data for a given merchant; these rates are highly accurate and update automatically week by week. If a rate doesn’t have a tilde, that means the rate was manually-entered by our Merchant Team.​

Merchant Record Pages

If I’m on a merchant record page, can I test an entirely different merchant URL to see if it will affiliate?

Yes, you can test a link to an entirely different merchant URL than the merchant page you are on.​

What if my country is not accepted by the merchant?

If most of your traffic comes from a country not listed on the merchant record page, try searching for one that does by choosing a country when you search.​

What does “Url can be affiliated with the selected campaign” mean?

If you test a link and receive this response, you’re good to go! You can successfully affiliate links to the merchant.​

What does “Url is invalid” mean?

If you test a link and receive this response, this means that you copied an invalid URL into the search bar. Please copy and paste a link from your browser into the search box for optimal results.

What does “Url may not be affiliated with the selected campaign. Check approval status.” mean?

If you test a link and receive this response, your Sovrn Commerce account might not be approved yet, you might not be approved for the merchant’s program yet (if the merchant is restricted), or the merchant might be using a CPC-only program, in which case, not every link will be eligible to affiliate.