Recurring commissions

Recurring commissions allow you to reward your affiliates for recurring payments for subscriptions like for example a hosting service or a membership.

How does the feature work

When the feature is activated and configured in a campaign and a per Sale commission is created also a Recurring commission rule is created at the same time under Transactions -> Recurring commission rules. These rules are then triggered either by a planned task (the "dumb" mode explained below) or by a tracking plugin or API call (the "accurate" mode explained below). When the rule is triggered it creates a commission of type "Recurring" with value defined in the campaign's commission settings.

"Accurate" and "dumb" mode of operation

The feature has 2 "modes" of operation, let's call them "dumb" and "accurate".

The "dumb" mode

A recurring commission for the referring affiliate will be created automatically every month without actually checking whether any payment was done. This mode doesn't require any integration which would notify Post Affiliate Pro about the automatic payments, Post Affiliate Pro just needs to be notified about the initial payment which starts the recurring payments / subscription. After the first payment is tracked the feature will automatically create a commission every specified period until you stop it manually. The available periods are every 15 minutes, every 4 hours, every X days, weekly, monthly, quarterly, semiannualy and yearly.

To stop the creation of recurring commissions in the "dumb" mode you need to locate the Recurring commission rule / regulation under Transactions->Recurring commission rules and delete it.

The "accurate" mode

This mode requires a more complex integration where Post Affiliate Pro is notified on both the initial payment and the automatic recurring payments and these payments need to be tied together by some unique ID like the ID of the subscription for which the payments are made. Usually for the accurate mode to work there needs to be a plugin for the specific payment gateway / membership system in the Post Affiliate Pro which listens to the payment gateway's notifications (webhooks). The accurate mode is represented by the "varied" recurrence setting when setting up the Recurring commissions in a campaign. This means that the commission will be created only when an external system tells Post Affiliate Pro to create the Recurring commission.

Recurring commission rules can also be triggered using API call as explained in this article.

Feature activation and configuration

To enable the feature you need to go to Configuration -> Features in your merchant panel and activate the Recurring commissions feature. Once the feature is activated there is a configuration available.

Let us go over each option you can configure here:

  • Recurring commissions will be created as pending - when an approved recurring commission rule gets triggered the newly created Recurring commission will be created with status set to Pending. Useful if you want to manually check and approve/decline every Recurring commission created before paying it out to affiliates. If you are using the "dumb" mode of the feature we recommend having this enabled.
  • Pending recurring regulation will create pending commission - if the commission for the initial purchase of the subscription is created with Pending status also the recurring commission rule / regulation will be created as Pending. Without this option the Pending recurring commission rule / regulation would not be possible to trigger and therefore no Recurring commissions would be created unless you'd approve the rule / regulation first. When you approve the Sale commission created for the initial purchase the recurring commission rule / regulation is automatically approved as well, therefore this option is useful mainly if you plan to not approve/decline the initial Sale commission for longer period of time and you wish to make sure that the first times the recurring rule gets triggered it also creates Recurring commissions.
  • Use only API to trigger commissions (planned task will be disabled) - if you plan to use the "accurate" mode only then it is useful to enable this setting. It mainly makes sure that when you set commission recurrence to one of the "dumb" mode periods by mistake no Recurring commissions will be created. Therefore if you are using the "dumb" mode this option must be disabled or no Recurring commissions would be created.
  • Require authentication for triggering commission via API - when using the "accurate" mode with the API to trigger the recurring commission rules normally you need to also create a merchant session. If you don't want this authentication for whatever reason and you wish to be able to trigger the recurring commission rules without any kind of authentication then disable this option. Be aware that anyone who'd know the subscription ID would be able to trigger the rule to create a Recurring commission.
  • Use commission settings and group same as initial sale - with this setting enabled the recurring commission rule will remember the commission settings of the affiliate who referred the subscription at the time of referral and will create all the Recurring commissions using those old settings. So for example you start with the Recurring commission set to 20% but later on you decide to decrease it to 10%. With this setting enabled only the Recurring commissions for subscriptions started after your change will give 10% commission and all recurring commission rules created prior this change will still generate 20% Recurring commission. If you disable this option then from that point on the Recurring commission will be 10% for both old and new subscriptions. You need to think about this setting mainly if you plan to use the Commission Groups feature and decide whether you wish to retain or change the commissions for the affiliate when his group changes.

Commission configuration in a campaign

To define the actual commissions you need to go to edit a campaign under Campaigns->Campaigns manager and on the campaign edit screen go to the Commission settings tab. Here you need to edit the commission type under which you wish to set up the recurring commissions, normally the per Sale type. When you open the commission type screen you'll see a new Recurring commissions section added below the regular commissions settings.

In the upper "Commissions" part you define the commission for the initial purchase of the subscription and in the below "Recurring commissions" section you define the commissions for the automatic recurring payments.

  • Recurrence - here you can select the "mode" of operation for the feature. If you select any of the periods here the feature will work in the "dumb" mode explained above and automatically create commissions without any checking whether a payment was really made. If you select Varied recurrence then the commission will be created only when the software is told to create the Recurring commission, so usually only when there was a payment made.
  • Limit of recurrence - if you do not wish to give recurring commissions for the whole lifetime of the membership but only for the first couple of payments you'd set it up here. For example if you set this setting to 2 then the affiliate will get a commission for the initial payment the customer made to start the subscription and for another 2 automatic recurring payments. All the other recurring payments will be ignored and won't create commissions.
  • Commission - the commission you wish to give for the automatic recurring payments.
  • Support multi tier commissions - read more about the multi tier commissions here.

Do you need to use this feature?

Unless you wish to define a different commission for the initial subscription purchase and the automatic recurring payment you might not really need to use this feature. This however depends on the integration possibilities where integrations with some payment gateways / subscription systems require this feature to track the recurring payments.

If the integration can work with Lifetime Commissions only and you don't mind giving the same commission on every payment for the lifetime of the subscription then you might be able to use the Lifetime Commissions plugin.

We recommend all customers to contact our support and explain in detail the commission plan you wish to achieve so we can recommend the approach you can use in terms of integration and setting up.