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LinkShare analytics

So as a conscientious IPhone developer, no doubt you signed up to be an iTunes affiliate to get that extra 5% on your upgrades and all as we described here, but as you’ve probably noticed, there’s a definite dearth of feedback through LinkShare on where exactly all those monthly megabucks (well, in our case it’s decabucks, but we trust you’re putting more effort into it than we’ve bothered so far) are coming from. Wouldn’t it be great if there was some way to track exactly which clicked link resulted in what kickbacks?

Well, turns out there is a really complicated super secret way to manage that. And here it is:

All you really need to do is add a ‘&u1=<your_custom_signature>’ to the end of the url.

OK, so it’s not that really complicated.

It’s not all that super secret either, actually … more like hidden in plain sight from those that don’t bother looking around much. The trick is to find the LinkShare Affiliate Resource Center and click on LinkShare Signature Technology, which gives you a document to fill out to request that they turn on this signature tracking for your account — [EDIT: And when you do, you get an email back the next day telling you "Please note that all affiliates are enabled for the LinkShare Signature Technology. Thus, you no longer need to submit us that form." Apparently website currency is not a high priority at LinkShare... ] — and a PDF of instructions on how to use it and access the reports. Which pretty much boils down to the quote above.

So there you go; built-in analytics with your LinkShare referrals!

UPDATES:

GeoRiot promises to internationalize all your links

Opening GeoRiot Affiliate Link from Inside App? discusses avoiding Safari opening.

Afflr.com is another localization option.

iTunes App Store Affiliate Links Using LinkShare Explained — fields and character encoding

User Friendly iTunes Affiliate Links — use any iTunes URL, but lose signature tracking

Automatically Track App Sale Referrals — download redirection for reviewer links

5 Ways App Developers Should Leverage the iTunes / App Store Affiliate Program

iTunes API for GIfting, not just Searching?

Implementing Smart App Banners — they use affiliate IDs too!

adeven/AEProductController: “Small wrapper for SKStoreProductViewController that handles affiliate links.”

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  • Abraham

    HI ALEX,

    Thanks For posting this. But can you give me an idea about how can i setup a itunes affiliate account without a website or blog. I don’t have a website or blog, but i’m planning to release an application by end of this month. You reply will be highly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  • http://www.alexcurylo.com Alex

    Hey Abraham,

    I’m pretty sure you’ll find it impossible. Indeed, getting signed up for an iTunes affiliate account was the main reason that prompted me to start this blog in the first place!

    The first step is to get a LinkShare account at http://www.linkshare.com/ which I’m pretty sure requires you to provide your website address so they can take a look at see that you’re not an obvious ad farmer. I had a few weeks of blog postings here when I applied, so that went smoothly.

    The second step is the tricky one; once you’ve got your LinkShare account, then you have to apply to Apple to become an iTunes affiliate. I was rejected twice on that one and then it took a couple weeks of back and forth emails with Apple trying to explain yes I wasn’t a music focus site but I was an iPhone focused site and look it’s sitting right there in the development portal “Join iTunes” so let me join already before they actually got around to it. I’ve heard anecdotal evidence that it’s slightly easier these days but still difficult.

    Sorry I don’t have any more useful advice, but that’s how it went for me.

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