If your online service provides both an API and an affiliate program, chances are you are missing out on a huge boost to both because you are not allowing API end users to identify as affiliates.

Translation Services

Our experience with different translation services where we are both users of their API and affiliate programs led us to realize something. We have discovered an area where these companies could improve both the number of applications developed on top of their API, and the amount of business generated though those apps.

We do not think that this problem is found in translation services only. However, and for the sake of transparency, the companies we have identified who have this issue are the following two:

Both of these services have in common that they have both an API and an affiliate program. They also have in common that you cannot use your affiliate ID when using the API.

A Simple Change with a Big Impact

If API providers allowed developers to submit their affiliate ID in a given API request, they would allow developers to make great free solutions on top of the API that allows them to earn money on the actual business they refer to the API provider.

As it is now, we are developing a plugin for our Joomla translation software Neno Translate that allows you to sync your Joomla content to Crowdin for easy translation. This is a huge bonus for Crowdin, who will hopefully get lots of new customers out of this, but we have no way of monetizing this plugin without charging for it. The only thing we can do is adding our affiliate ID whenever we link to Crowdin and hope we earn a commission on any sales. We are thus forced to make this plugin a part of our premium subscription, leading to a significant reduction in the amount of users who will be using this solution.

If we could instead supply our affiliate ID whenever we made calls in the API we could ensure that we would earn affiliate commission whenever someone used our extensions, and we would be happy to give our extension away for free.

Remember we are talking potentially millions of Joomla web sites. On top of that I am sure you would see a large ecosystem of apps built for Wordpress, Drupal, Square Space, etc., potentially exploding the use of the API, and consequently, the business generated for Crowdin.

So why aren't they? I hope that this is a simple oversight on their part, and not a business decision based on short-term profits. If this were the case, their philosophy of having an affiliate program is wrong to begin with. If you want to have a successful affiliate program that brings you a large quantity of business, you have to make it easy for your affiliates to make money and be successful, and not worry about the commission you have to pay them.

So I hope that various API developers (and affiliate program providers) see this and do a quick check to see if they are offering their affiliates to identify via the API.

Updates

@Crowdin reacts on Twitter: