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Archived Message:

Make your Existing Shareware/Software affiliate rebrandable

EBookCompiler I had an idea for software/shareware authors who have an affiliate program

The idea is to make a downloadable trial version of your product which can be rebranded by your affiliates to contain their affiliate id.

That way an affiliate could host the download on their site (or even give it out on CDs or Disks), and they'd still get credit for the sales.

(So of course you also need to give your affiliates permission to do this).

Here is the 10,000 foot overview for the user:

1. You make a simple eBook around your program's setup program

2. The ebook could contain a brief intro to the program, and perhaps some rebrandable text (in the normal way). If you add lots of rebrandable text, you could even make the program be greatly customized by your affiliates.

3. The ebook contains also link to YOUR setup program.  When the user is ready to install they click this link.

4. When this link is clicked, the ebook saves the affiliate ID (which of course is also rebrandable) to the user's disk (in this example an INI file), then runs the setup program

5. The trial vesion of your shareware program installs.

6. In the program is a button or menu to register your shareware.

7. The shareware program needs to be modified ever so slightly, to read the affiliate ID out of the INI file (written to in step 4), and use this when linking to the payment website, which gives the user the password/key/etc. to unlock the full program.

Here is the detail of setting it up, using Activ E-Book Compiler:

1+2. Use the compiler to make an ebook. It needs to contain at least the main HTML page, index.html, your setup EXE file should also be included in the ebook source folder when compiling.

The index.html runs the setup program using a specially coded link that works looks like this


[={affid}] is the affiliate id (rebrandable, you need to enable building the Rebrander in Edit Output, and Add a Rebrandable variable called affid, remember this is case sensitive)

yourprogram.ini is the name of the INI file to use

Affiliate and ID are the section of the INI file the affiliate ID is saved under

yoursetup.exe is the name of your setup program

3+4+5. All covered already in the above, nothing for you to do

6. Presumably your shareware already has this

7. Here is an example (in C, but this can be done in Visual Basic, Delphi, C++ or whatever to), of the code to open the order form

/* Get Affiliate ID from INI file */
char szAffiliateID[64] ;
GetPrivateProfileString( "Affiliate", "ID", "", szAffiliateID, sizeof szAffiliateID, "yourprogram.ini" ) ;

/* Get URL of order web site, inserting Affiliate ID where %s is */
char szOrderURL[256] ;
wsprintf( szOrderURL, "http://www.yoursite.com/orderform.php?affiliate=%s", szAffiliateID ) ;

/* Open web site, in browser, should add some error checking here */
ShellExecute( NULL,'open', szOrderURL, NULL, NULL, SW_SHOWMAXIMIZED ) ;

Here is what the affiliate sees:

1. They download your ebook EXE.  They download the Rebrander EXE

2. They run the rebrander.

3. They are prompted for the affiliate ID.  It customizes the the ebook EXE to include their affiliate ID

4. They distribute their customized ebook EXE.

5. Everything works as above

Extending the idea:

There is nothing to stop you saving more than INI file parameter from the rebrandable eBook.

For example, you could have a bunch of options allowing the affiliates to customize the program, change the program's title/text, etc. (of course all the customized copies still link to YOUR order form)

Posted on: 4:47 am on July 28, 2005


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