Platform-Centric Billing Systems Simplify Program Launch, Operation
For paysite owners seeking to integrate billing and affiliate management into one operational platform, two basic options exist: use one company to handle the majority of the workload, or use a dedicated software solution to provide greater overall management capabilities and more thorough, independent control.
While lacking the flexibility, freedom and “member ownership” enjoyed by merchant account holders, users of third-party billing systems, or what are more formally known as Internet Payment Service Providers (IPSP), have several distinct advantages in their favor — including lower start-up cost, easier management and typically, an integrated gateway for subscription management, member authentication and access control, and for enabling affiliate referral tracking and payouts.
Companies such as CCBill, Epoch, Verotel and Zombaio offer one-stop billing and affiliate program solutions with varying levels of features and sophistication.
Cascading, the passing of a declined transactions from one processor to another until it is accepted, is more or less possible with IPSP-provided programs; with options such as the hosted version of Mansion’s powerhouse MPA3 program offered by Epoch, and the advanced tracking features of Zombaio’s system, or CCBill’s time-honored and trusted program, which is able to track and credit affiliate-generated sales leading to downstream purchases made through other processors in the cascade — giving a significant advantage to those affiliate programs using this system.
Having the billing company responsible for affiliate payouts is a huge trust-booster for affiliates who do not have to worry about a fraudulent program stealing their payouts; while offloading this mundane administrative burden leverages program staff efficiency, making this a win-win situation for program owners and their affiliates.
Nothing is perfect, however, so a variety of third-party add-on tools are available to extend the capabilities of biller-based systems — such as CCBTools and Sliiing, both of which boost the capabilities of CCBill’s popular affiliate program.
Although there are more sophisticated alternatives available, including the use of MPA3, NATS or other proprietary platforms that offer a more robust and specialized set of integrated marketing tools, using an IPSP-provided billing and affiliate system is an easy and fast way to bring a premium website to market, with plenty of room to grow.