CJ Reporting Data Accessible via Web Services API

It is much overdue, but there is finally some good news from Commission Junction. They added some long awaited and multiple times requested features to their web services API.

It took CJ almost one year since their introduction of their web services API, which they announced during CJU 2006 in mid September last year. I reported about that here at ReveNews.com. Well, better late than never :).

CJ sent the announcement to their publishers via email at the end of last week (Why are they sending good and bad emails always on Fridays? Weird)

I did not see the email yet, but a comment at a related blog post mentioned something yesterday and FinalTag.com and Costpernews.com reported about it today.

The email from Commission Junction reads:

Dear Publisher,

Commission Junction is excited to announce the immediate availability of two new publisher APIs and updates to some of our previously released APIs. Our new real-time and daily publisher commission APIs have been designed to give you programmatic access to the valuable financial data that you receive through Transaction Reports, Commission Detail report type via the CJ Account Manager. Now you can create applications that optimize ROI, rapidly scale affiliate campaigns, and save time previously spent on manual tasks. For more information on the new publisher commission APIs, visit the Commission Junction Web Services developer site at webservices.cj.com.

Along with this release, Commission Junction has updated the widely used product catalog and link search APIs. The Product Catalog API now offers new request parameters and response fields that match the Product Catalog datafeed. The Link Search API now delivers the ability to query promotional links similar to those found in the CJ Account Manager. With these updates, you can expand your applications to further enhance your customer experience, increase conversion rates and drive higher transaction volume.

The email also referred to the release notes, which are available here.

Being able to pull reporting data in an automated way is a great feature and I wish that this would become a standard for all networks and affiliate program software providers. It is already hard enough to crunch performance data for all the programs across the different networks, but it is a pain if you have to do it manually by downloading by hand reports or worse, copy and paste data one by one from the report results page into another application.

The only other option is to scrape the site with sophisticated tools or scripts that simulate a user who manually logs in, goes to the reporting section, runs the report(s) and then parses the HTML results to import the data into a central database. Not so great, for the scraper as well for the networks, because it generates much more overhead than an API call would generate.

AffTrack does that (hi Wayne :)), but it is limited, because networks like LinkShare threatened them with a lawsuit for having reporting data of publishers in their database as per request by their customer (the affiliate). What was even stranger is the fact that LinkShare even prohibited the manual upload of reporting data by the affiliate into AffTrack. Obviously does LinkShare has the opinion that the publishers reporting data belong to them and not to the publisher.

AffMeter is another solution for the Windows desktop (hi Firuze), which has no central database with LinkShare reporting data. The concept behind AffMeter is to provide an affiliate with the means to generate a consolidated report across networks and programs like Google AdSense.

Every affiliate who is doing business with more than one network or program needs something like this. Do not make it so hard for them to do it!

Commission Junction has done a good thing this week by adding access to reporting data via an API and is for the first time in a very long time heading the pack.

Now it will be time for LinkShare, Performics, ShareASale, Share Results, Clickbank, Avantlink, LinkConnector, Kolimbo (MyAffiliateProgram for that matter), Zanox, Buy.at, Affiliate Future, ClicksGalore, Dark Blue, ClickXChange and all the other small networks to follow suit and offer a similar solution.

I am looking forward to the day that this becomes a reality. Okay, maybe I became a hopeless dreamer over the past four years (yeah, it is that long that I am waiting for it), but maybe the dream becomes true one day in the not so distant future. I don’t care if the API is a fancy XML/SOAP web service or cheap and dirty HTTP(S) request to a script with the login credentials past in the URL together with the report filter parameters that returns the result in delimited text instead of fancy HTML.

Either way would be a huge improvement. I am too much of a realist to know that something like a standard for this (and product feeds) will not happen in my lifetime. Affiliates should be demanding this, but they can’t, because they don’t have a unified voice. That on the other hand is a different issue, which I don’t need to discuss further at this time.

Kudos to CJ this time. Keep it coming 🙂

If you need help with the use of web services, check out my resources to the subject here.

About Carsten Cumbrowski

Internet Marketer, Entrepreneur and Blogger. To learn more about me and what I am doing, visit my website and check out the “about” section.

Twitter: ccumbrowski

One Response to CJ Reporting Data Accessible via Web Services API

  1. Dima says:

    How to pass custom information through Commission Junction transaction? Is that possible to do?

    I need pass my Id's in URL and get them back via CJ API reports.