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NATS migration: worthy or not
If you are thinking whether to power your current program with NATS or not, there are a few things you need to consider.
Once you decided to migrate you should release a newsletter for your affiliates with the announcement of moving to NATS (find the example of the letter in Attachment #1). You should do the same notifying webmasters once migration is over and how can they promote your NATS program. It’s important to support old link codes and promo tools, so affiliates don’t need to change them, since it’s not always possible. Also think about adding Paxum, ePayservice or some instant payment method for your program.

- Do you have enough time to run a program on your own?
If you are “one man company” be prepared for administrative routine you’ll have to do on a regular basis. With any stand alone program you have to set much big number of back-end settings and do bigger number of business operations. Billings are no longer integrated into back-end, so you’ll have to manage them separately and release affiliate payouts on your own, etc. You’ll have to have enough time and knowledge for those things or hire educated worker.
- Do you generate the necessary revenue to cover the running of stand alone program and paying for NATS license?
More duties to run a program requires more time and administrative expenses. You should have dedicated server for your NATS and pay monthly NATS license costs according to number of joins your paysites generate. NATS pricing starts at $150, but then jump upto $250 once you are making over 300 sales.
 



- Do you have time to manage your current program migration?
Be prepared to spend a week (worst case scenario) to migrate your program and handle all the minor issues and all the affiliates’ requests caused by migration.
- Is your current server able to support NATS?
If you used virtual or shared hosting to run program, you can no longer do it with NATS. You should get dedicated server matching those requirements.
- Do you have necessary infrastructure to release payments on your own?
You should release affiliate payments like checks, bank wires and others on your own. There’re financial companies like ePayService which can do that on your behalf.
- Consider your affiliates point of view
You should approach your top-affiliates whether they would like to see you migrating or not.
- Would you like to get NATS for your current CCBill program
There’s a lot of buzz about migrating to NATS while still running CCBill, so you keep CCBill for your business operations and get NATS as a shell for in-depth reporting and promo tools management. That way your affiliates keep confident about getting paid and get enhanced admin, while you’ll have to pay your NATS license on a regular basis. The whole idea of NATS is twisted, because two main features aren’t available: real cascading billing and Paxum or any instant system payments. But you can keep it as an option for those who stands with CCBill (requires separate CCBill only tours and promo tools links)
One very important factor when moving from CCBill to NATS has to be based on how many affiliates you have. If you only have less than 10 affiliates its easier for you to ask them to change their links manually, when you have NATS installed.

That’s a NATS vs CCBill comparison to explain the difference

 

Option

CCBill

NATS

Billing

Fully integrated into affiliate program, all the operations are managed by CCBill

Provides data synchronization with any billing

Cascade billing

Only CCBill, Epoch, SegPay

Any 3rd party billers and merchant accounts of your own company

Reporting

Standard reporting. Gets enhanced by integrating join pages with Google Analytics

In-depth reporting with better and faster interface

Promotools management

Third party promo management scripts Sliiing, AcuFuse, Script5

In-built module with banners, galleries, tubes and embeds, RSS, etc.

Payments

Fully managed by CCBill. Only check and wire payments.

You get paid by billings, affiliates get paid by you (or on your behalf). As many payment options for affiliates as you want, including Paxum

Mailing

In-built mailing

In-built mailing

Others

 

There’s notification system in NATS to communicate with affiliates and create notifications on events (sale, chargeback, new message, profile change, etc)


There’s notification system in NATS to communicate with affiliates and create notifications on events (sale, chargeback, new message, profile change, etc)


Cascade Billings
One of the most important features in NATS is the ability to cascade to other billers. This means that if a surfer gets declined by biller ‘A’ it will automatically try to process the card with biller ‘B’ meaning less lost sales. You do have this ability with CCBill but only with only Epoch or SegPay; NATS can have as many cascades as needed, these cascades can be either your own merchant accounts such as WebBilling or third party billers such as CCBill and Epoch. While on the subject of billers, NATS also allows the site owner to integrate SMS, Phone and ‘Alternative Billers’ such as UKash and BitCoin.
Reporting
CCBill’s billing reporting is adequate, informing the amount of sales, rebills, net and gross. You can also integrate google analytics into CCBIll so you can track clicks to your join page. They also have a number of reports you can run to allow you to dig deeper into the stats. NATS’ internal reporting has been deemed far superior to CCBills internal system. CCBill uses cookie tracking and IP tracking, whereas NATS uses active sessions, cookies and IP.
NATS, like CCBill has a series in built in reports such as Trial to Full Conversion, Fraud, Billing Activity, Cascade Activity, Affiliates etc. NATS also allows the site owner to create custom tracking campaigns with only 2 clicks for eg. Facebook and Twitter, special pricing options. The NATS version of the reporting Admin is far superior to the CCBill reporting. It allows the site owner, to break down traffic and sales via many different areas such as geographic location on an easy to use interactive world map.
Promo Management
NATS’ inbuilt promotional tools manager, allows your partners to retrieve banners, hosted galleries, content packs and hosted videos to promote your site, in an easy to use system, that can be setup to display different tools for different affiliates, or only display certain tools for a certain amount of time (for special pricing days). CCBill does not have its own advertising manager, but there are third party scripts that you can purchase such as Sliiing, AcuFuse, Script5 or partial management with Hosted Galleries Manager.
Payments
NATS also features a ‘Payments Admin’. Unlike CCBill you will have to manually send your affiliate payments. Every two weeks NATS will create a ‘dump’ of each payment you need to send to your affiliates, these are generally check, wires and paxum, but you can configure other methods of payment in the Admin too. Please keep this in mind when you are thinking about using NATS. There have been many issues over the last few years with NATS based sites, whos owners fail to pay affiliates not only on time, but at all. It is important to keep upto date with payments that NATS generates, by not doing so you risk losing credibility as a sponsor as well as traffic. You can keep uptodate with non-paying sites at http://www.signbucks.com/news/blacklist.


Those are a few charts so you understand what’s the difference between two and estimate the process of migration.

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