wizAffiliates - one wizard, many affiliates

Extend wizAffiliates

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Cron

cron

The “Cron” function is the function that makes possible integrating wizAffiliates with any extension without making any change in that extension. It is taking all the orders defined in the parameters of the commission sources and generates commissions for them and makes the payment request in case the total amount of the commissions of an affiliate is higher then the minimum amount set in the parameter “Minimum commission amount” of the control panel of wizAffiliates, “Commissions” tab.

Improper setup can add a very high load on the server or even run scripts that time-out and generate problems.

You can have it run in two ways:

a) when visitors are opening the pages of the site

b) through a direct link with a repetitive task set in your hosting account

No matter which one you chose make sure “Allow cron in front-end” is set to “Yes” if you don't want to run “Cron” only from the back-end.

The recommended one is the second one. It will not affect the visitors of the site, can be better controlled, will load only the resources required by it so there are less chances to have a time-out or overload the server.

But will describe how to setup both of them.

a) When visitors are opening the pages of the site

For this to work you have to make sure you have installed and activated the wizAffiliatesCron plugin. This is done in the control panel of wizAffiliates, “Integration” tab. The line mentioning it has to contain only a green text saying the plugin is installed and a button that allows you to uninstall it.

If you have a red text there the plugin is installed but not activated and you need to access the plugin manager in Joomla! ( in the administrator page, top menu, “Extensions”, “Plug-in Manager” ) and activate it.

If there is no gree text saying the plugin is installed you need to install it ( press the “Install” button on the same line ).

An important step is to make sure you uninstalled all the commission sources that you are not using and properly set the parameters of the ones you are using. Depending on the number of visitors of the site set the parameter “Days to check orders” to something different the 0. Recommended setting is 1 or 2, but this is only in case you have at least one visitor each day on your site.

Set the value of “Orders to check” to 0.

Another important parameter is “Run wizAffiliatesCron” from the control panel of wizAffiliates, “Cron” tab. The recommended setting is “Once / session” but if you don't have a big site you can set it to “Once / minutes” and set the minutes to something like 10 minutes or even set it to “On all pages”. In this last 2 situations is better to deactivate the checking of the orders by date ( set “Days to check orders” in the commission sources to 0 ) and use the “Orders to check” parameter. Set it to a value that you estimate the number of orders in the specified period. On a small site setting it to 2 should be fine.

b) Through a direct link with a repetitive task set in your hosting account

As I said this is the recommended way.

Make sure wizAffiliatesCron plugin is uninstalled ( in the control panel of wizAffiliates, “Integration” tab ).

Set “Run wizAffiliatesCron” to “Never” ( in the control panel of wizAffiliates, “Cron” tab ).

Uninstall all the commission sources you're not using ( in the control panel of wizAffiliates, “Commission sources” tab ).

Set the parameter “Days to check orders” to 1 and “Orders to check” to 0 on all used commission sources.

Get the value of “URL to run cron in front-end” from the control panel of wizAffiliates, “Cron” tab and set a repetitive task on your hosting account. For example to set this kind of task in a cPanel hosting account you can find more information here : http://docs.cpanel.net/twiki/bin/view/AllDocumentation/CpanelDocs/CronJobs.

You should set this repetitive task to be executed at least once a day. The more often is executed the sooner the commissions are generated and the affiliates are notified about them.

Log types

log types display

This is the section where you can modify the names of the log types. Use the “Edit” button from the top right toolbar or click the name of the log type to modify it. The “Help” button will open a page with this instructions.

log types edit

Control Panel

This is the section of wizAffiliates that controls the main parameters of the extensions. It is separated on groups of parameters explained below.

a) Default

control panel default

  • Date format – Set the format of the date fields displayed in the extension. This is set by default to “%d %B %Y %H:%M” ( see http://php.net/manual/en/function.strftime.php for more information ) on Joomla! 1.5 and “l, d F Y H:i” ( see http://php.net/manual/en/function.date.php for more information ) on Joomla! 1.7.

  • Default affiliate status – Here you can set what is the default affiliate status when a new affiliate is added automatically. When you manually add it you can set the value you want.

  • Default commission status – Here you can set the default status of a commission when is generated by the commission sources plugins. It can be overwritten from the parameters of the commission sources plugins. See the installations on the commission sources for more information.

  • Terms and conditions article – Here you have to select the article with the terms and conditions that an affiliate has to accept before activating his status.

  • Banners image folder – This is the folder in which the images used with the banners are stored. I suggest leaving it as it is defined. If you change it after some images were uploaded you will have to manually move the images as well. If you click “Create if it doesn't exist” before saving the parameters of the control panel the folder will be created. If more then one folder is created ( by changing the value stored in this parameter ) when the extension is uninstalled only the last folder is removed.

b) Commissions

control panel commissions

  • Default currency – Select the default currency to use when the currency select box is displayed.

  • Minimum commission amount – Set the value when the total commissions of an affiliate will generate a payment request.

  • Display commissions with value 0 – All orders from the commission sources are generating commissions and some could be equal to 0. The commissions are generated so the “Cron” will not calculate the commission again. Set this parameter to “No” if you don't want the commissions equal with 0 to be displayed in the commissions list.

c) Cookie

control panel cookie

  • Referral cookie ID – When somebody is accessing an affiliate link a cookie is generated on his computer to record the user referring him in case he register. This parameter is identifying that cookie. If you change this after a period of time, if there were users that accessed an affiliate link before change but didn't register they will not be assigned to the correct referral because the extension can't find the correct cookie. I suggest leaving this as is. But if you modify it make sure you set it to something that other wep applications will probably not use.

  • Referral cookie lifetime – You can set here home many seconds the cookie will be active. This is determining how long after somebody pressed an affiliate link he can register and the will be assigned to the referent defined by the affiliate link.

  • Link feed string – Here you can set the variable name to use on the affiliate link. Do not change this after users posted banners on other sites. Those banners will have to be changed as well.

  • Track which referral - A user can press multiple affiliate links. This parameter will set which one will be used ( the last one or the first one clicked ).

  • Redirect when link feed string is used – Here you can set wizAffiliates to redirect the site to a specified page when an affiliate link is used. Make sure you set here a complete URL ( starting with http:// ).

d) Display

control panel display

  • Display the affiliate link on top of the content area in front-page – activate or deactivate the displaying of the affiliate link to wizAffiliates in front-page.

  • Display the menu in the content area in front-page – activate or deactivate the displaying of the wizAffiliates menu in front-page. You can create Joomla! menu links and display them in a module if you want.

  • Width of the content area in front-page – set the width of the main content are used by wizAffiliates in front-end.

e) Integration

control panel integration

  • Activate Artio – In case Artio JoomSEF is installed you can install the plugin to integrate wizAffiliates with it using the button from this line.

  • Cookies plugin – This is the plugin that generate the wizAffiliates cookie when an affiliate link is clicked. Make sure it is installed and activated.

  • Users plugin – This is the plugin that automatically generates an affiliate when a user registeres. Make sure it is installed and activated.

  • wizAffiliatesCron plugin – This is the plugin that runs the “Cron” function in front-end. If you have the “Cron” set in a different way then executing it in front-end when visitors are accessing the site you can uninstall this plugin. Otherwise make sure it is installed and activated. More information about this in the “Cron” section of the instructions.

f) Reports

control panel reports

Here you can see the list with the reports delivered with wizAffiliates. Make sure the ones you want to use are installed and activated. If you don't want to use some of them I suggest completely uninstalling them.

g) Commission sources

control panel commission sources

Here you can see all the commission sources plugins delivered with wizAffiliates. Make sure the ones you want to use are installed and activated. If you don't want to use some of them I suggest completely uninstalling them.

h) Payment gateways

control panel payment gateways

Here you can see all the payment gateways plugins delivered with wizAffiliates. Make sure the ones you want to use are installed and activated. If you don't want to use some of them I suggest completely uninstalling them.

i) Extend

 control panel extend

Here you can see all the plugins that can extend the functionality of wizAffiliates and are distributed with it. You don't need to install any of them, unless you need the features they offer.

I suggest reading their instructions before installing and setting them up.

j) Cron

control panel cron

  • Allow cron in front-end – Set if you want to execute the “Cron” function from the front-end page. You can chose to run the cron manually only in back-end.

  • Cron key – This is a key that will make it impossible for somebody not knowing it to execute “Cron” without your knowledge. It is used only when the “Cron” is executed with a direct link and is not affecting the “Cron” executed when the site is visited.

  • URL to run cron in front-end – This is a direct link to execute “Cron” and can be used to set a repetitive task on your hosting account. If you modified the cron key press “Save” from the top right toolbar so the link is regenerated.

  • Run wizAffiliatesCron – Set how wizAffiliatesCron plugin is executing the “Cron” function. You can set it to :

    • Never – The “Cron” will never be executed. If you set it to this value I suggest uninstalling wizAffiliatesCron.

    • Once / session – The “Cron” will be executed only once / session of the visitor. If the session expires or the user will log in or out the “Cron” will be executed again.

    • Once / minutes – The “Cron” will be executed at exery X minutes. The number of minutes can be set in the field displayed when this option is selected.

    • On all pages – The “Cron” will be executed with each page loaded.

More information about all this parameters as well as how “Cron” should be set and why in the “Cron” section of the instructions.

k) About

control panel about

  • Display the 'About' page in front-end – Set if you want to display the “About” section in the front-end of wizAffiliates.

  • Text of the 'About page in front-end' – If the “About” section is activated you can define here your own text to display in it.

l) Announcements

control panel announcements

Here you can set a text to display on top of the main content area of wizAffiliates in front-end.

Currencies

currencies display

This is the section where you can manage the currencies that wizAffiliates uses. The top right toolbar buttons have the following functions:

  • Add new – Use it to add a new currency.

  • Edit – Use it to modify an older currency.

  • Delete – Allows you to delete one or more currencies.

  • Help – Opens a page with this instructions.

currencies edit

Parameters of the currency are:

  • Name – the name of the currency.

  • Code – the ISO code, used to identify the currency in other extensions.