The eagerly anticipated Darwin project has finally been unveiled after weeks of teasing by affiliate network Awin and a wide range of guesses from the affiliate community as to what form it would take.  Darwin, it now emerges, is the name for the new Awin affiliate network’s administration area. The beta release was demonstrated to a selection of affiliates and merchants at the Awin offices on Friday 24th July as the first step in a round of demonstrations and feedback.

Awin have always been strong from a technology perspective, with a robust interface, excellent reporting and a steady trickle of innovations. The first stage of a planned one or two year schedule of interface updates, the beta release of Darwin introduces much-needed new account management features and also additional Web 2.0 functionality, including detailed affiliate profiles and a Wiki.

Affiliate Window's New Wiki
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The most notable feature of the beta release is probably the affiliate profile, which goes beyond anything currently offered by other affiliate networks. The facility for affiliates to make full details of their sites, areas of specialisation and promotional campaigns and methods, available to network staff and merchants should create extra opportunities for merchants to find suitable affiliates to approach about working together. It should also prevent the current situation where affiliates sometimes receive rejections when applying to promote a particular merchant as their current very small profile gives the erroneous impression they are only promoting in a way that doesn’t suit that merchant.

Affiliate Profile Overview
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Cautious affiliates will be pleased to hear that privacy controls will be in place to prevent other affiliates from studying their profiles if they don’t wish them to. Darwin was most likely named as such by Affiliate Window as they see it as an evolution of their interface. But the profiling features will also encourage affiliates to promote themselves to the network and merchants in a more professional manner, so it may also introduce a greater degree of competition amongst affiliates to appear ‘the fittest’.

There will no doubt be much more discussion about affiliate profiles during the beta testing stage and after the official release. Whether it will match the buzz that was generated by the very effective teaser campaign and if the final result will be judged to have justified the hype, remains to be seen. During the same period as the Darwin campaign was running,  DGM also updated their interface with little fanfare or comment, so Affiliate Window have certainly succeeded in keeping themselves at the front of affiliates’ minds, as well as starting a new phase of network interface innovations.

What is your opinion of Darwin? We’re interested in your comments.

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