Page 29

Affiliate Opportunities with APIs By Christopher Calvi Tools that advise you on the clothes to wear based on the weather outside; sites that list the latest promotion codes found on Twitter; meta-comparison shopping experiences; travel guides that pull from Yelp, Flickr, Google Maps, and include the latest hotel deals. What do these web tools have in common? They all use APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to quickly create a new and unique user experience, and generate affiliate earning opportunities for their creators. So what’s an API? In a nutshell, APIs allow a client application (i.e. your website) to connect to a host and exchange data completely automated in real time. The client typically makes a request and the API returns the results in (usually) XML or JSON format. The client application can then display or use the data in a custom way. There’s much more to it, but this the big picture. Many Internet companies (including affiliate networks) have APIs available to developers who are interested in using their company’s data. Amazon makes their product, reviews, and pricing data available; Google makes YouTube and Maps data available; and Commission Junction opens up visibility into offers, pricing, and deep links to merchants. Each of these companies offer substantially more API capabilities than this, but these are a few examples of the real-time data that is available to crafty developers. So you may be wondering what you can do with all of this? The truth is, you are only limited by your imagination (and the terms and conditions of each API, of course). Ample earnings opportunities await those who create truly useful mashups by combining data from several APIs. Take, for instance, Club Coupon Code (clubcouponcode.com), developed by Eric

Christopher Calvi

Nagel. Mr. Nagel uses the ShareASale and CJ APIs to fetch deals (coupons) and offer stats, then automates ad buying on Google AdWords using its API.

platforms to create an entirely new beast. Also consider that there is burgeoning opportunity to be found in mobile apps and browser extensions.

He ties it all together with a custom reporting application he built to monitor the campaign, and will soon be integrating with the LinkShare API and Google Affiliate Network API to get even more offers.

If you are relatively familiar with PHP, it’s not too difficult to get your feet wet with APIs by starting with the SimpleXML extension.

Another excellent example is CouponFollow (couponfollow.com) by Marc Mezzacca. This site pulls in the latest coupon codes using the Twitter API and monetizes them by matching the codes with the appropriate affiliate links pulled from various affiliate network APIs. The goal of this article is to get you thinking about how you can take functionality from one platform and merge it with other

And if programming is not your forte, you may opt to hire a skilled developer on sites like Elance or oDesk, in order to take your brilliant idea into production. For inspiration, I highly recommend browsing the Web’s premiere API website, ProgrammableWeb (programmableweb.com). Good luck!

Christopher Calvi lives in New York City with his wife, Katie, and works for Adknowledge.com.

FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2010 | 27

FeedFront Magazine, Issue 12  

Issue 12 of FeedFront Magazine, the official magazine of Affiliate Summit. This issue of FeedFront Magazine includes New Marketing Based on...

FeedFront Magazine, Issue 12  

Issue 12 of FeedFront Magazine, the official magazine of Affiliate Summit. This issue of FeedFront Magazine includes New Marketing Based on...