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Q: Is there a better system than DreamAccount for our ecommerce needs? ( No Answer,   4 Comments )
Subject: Is there a better system than DreamAccount for our ecommerce needs?
Category: Business and Money > eCommerce
Asked by: familylearn-ga
List Price: $100.00
Posted: 12 May 2004 12:34 PDT
Expires: 11 Jun 2004 12:34 PDT
Question ID: 345283
We need a full blown e-commerce system that has an extensive direct
marketing tracking system in it.

The e-commerce system allows for the sale of two types of products: 1)
one time sale products and 2) subscription products.  If it is a
subscription product the system bills the customer (or charges their
card) when their subscription runs out and creates a new sale in the

Every sale of any product (a renewal of a subscription is a product)
is linked to one of our direct marketers (our business can be a direct
marketer too) who is an independent contractor.  The system will allow
for as many different tiers (commission structures) of direct
marketers as we need, and for multiple marketers to be paid on a
single sale (like a mlm except it only goes one level deep).
When a customer comes into the site that customer gets assigned to one
of the direct marketers in the system. We need to be able to switch a
customer from one director marketer to another (for example, our
business may choose to assign one of its customers to another
marketer). That direct marketer gets paid on everything the customer
buys.  However, the direct marketer only gets paid after the customer
has approved of the work the marketer has done.  Some of the products
will auto approve themselves (like a subscription, it auto approves
itself when sold).
When one marketer signs up another, it would be nice to have a second
tier commission capability.
The system will have reporting built in that will give
sales/commissions details on a per marketer basis. Different products
will have different commission structure. It will also take care of
figuring out billing/paying the marketers on a monthly basis.  It
would be nice if it did the actual payments so that we don't have to
pull up a report and write out checks (although this feature would be
a bonus and isn't necessary).  It would also be nice (but not
necessary) if we could set how often commissions get paid (monthly,

We need to be able to interface another system with it so it needs to
be open source and we would prefer it to be in php.

We have found one solution that claims to be able to do everything
except pay different commissions to different Direct Marketers.
DreamAccount at However, they also say that they will
have this feature built into the next release.

DreamAccount doesn't have very good reviews at

What better solutions are there for our needs than DreamAccount?
(We have looked at aMember, osCommerce, Interchange, and others without success)

Clarification of Question by familylearn-ga on 13 May 2004 11:50 PDT
The original description is confusing, in an attempt to simplify, our
eccomerce engine needs:
1. A shopping cart.
        A. Individual Products (traditional shopping cart)
        B. Recurring Subscriptions
2. An Affiliate Program
        A. Support for multiple groups of affiliates with different
commission structure (10,20 and 30 percent)
        B. Support for residual payouts for affiliates
        C. Ability to assign a customer to one affiliate for the life
of the customer
        D. A way for affiliates to view reports
        E. Affiliates aren't paid until customer approves the product
        F. Reporting system for management to pay affiliates (or an
automated payout system)
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Is there a better system than DreamAccount for our ecommerce needs?
From: gamingguru-ga on 21 May 2004 22:27 PDT
To FamilyLearn,

I am not a "Google Researcher" nor do I have a PhD in answering your
Viral Marketing Segment, required for the ching ching ($) sound to
resonate the thin layer of tissue which separates my external ear
canal from my middle ear. Yet I am a good-spirited Ivy college kid
that is willing to help you on your e-commerce initiative, based on
the notion that my Karma points will increase, at least that's what
dozens have claimed...and I believe everyone once.

I really don't think you should vest into Dream Account. From what
I've 'sped' read it seems like a bit of balony. They claim to be
open-source, but they are charging money. That always raises my left
eyebrow. Their tech support seems to be slightly faulty, some forums
even doubt it's existance. I can show you think links if your
interested, I'm just trying to get to the point as quickly as possible
since I'm not getting paid.

The solution you should consider is OSCommerce, this bad-boy, has been
around for quite some time now. It's really great, and worst of all
it's free. This open-sourced product is great, it has almost every
sort of module you've ever dreamed off including some dreamy account
managment software (excuse the pun ... with DreamAccount!). Anyways,
you haven't given me enough details as to what sort of products you
will be selling, to begin briefing you on security measures you should
deploy. But I certainly suggest you head on over to and
type in 'Cheap SSL' before you take any payments. Whether they are
tangible products or non-tangible goods. The integration of those
certificates into your site will not be streneous. Hmmm... what else
is there to cover... ahh yes, the nice affiliate system you've

The automatic payouts you talk about, and intricate tracking for the
customers' lives are going to need some tweaking by someone
experienced with PHP or SQL databases, no matter what option you go
with. My advice if your on a low budget is to download OSCommerce,
play with it a bit, try and do something with it, read up on some of
the community postings (they are quite nice over there), check out
their affiliate modules, and see exactly what it is your missing. From
there, you are going to look for someone with PHP, MySQL knowledge.
The most cost-effective solution is to get some Online Programming
Bids, so go to your good ol' friend Googlemeister at
and ask him "cheap programming bids". Check out your options,
personally, I suggest, get someone with a good
rating, but don't take my word for it I am a young adult who just
ditched his friends on a match of snooker, to answer my first
"googleanswer", my loyalty rating just went down.

Alright, then to highlight another question you've raise...Automatic
Payouts. If someone with a Phd or what not is planning on answering
this, he's going to give you a dupped answer. I know you don't mean
"an automated payout system", if you are I'd like you to hire me. I'll
stop going to college, and help you out more on this venture if this
is going to have an automated payout system. I'm exaggerating, but you
.. I'm assuming ... that you don't want your databases hooking up to
your working bank account, so that the affiliates receive their check
on their cold concrete doorstep without your approval first. At some
point in this game, you should be notified or flagged about the due
payment. So it is then, that you ask whoever is programming to do the

"Establish an API (if possible) to my merchant account, so i can
confirm payments in OSCommerce to be paid out)

Also some things you should heavily consider to have a working
business model. Humbily, I notice that your trying to give to much
power to the customer, while sacrificing the affiliates. What if the
customer is just being nit-picky and not accepting the affiliates
product? What if that same affiliate has been your most active
affiliate? These are things you do not want to have an automated
system do, unless it's got some forms of AI, i.e you've learnt it to
take the trustworthy affiliate over the new customer (that's going to
be a bit of programming though) ... which is why I suggest, that you
model out whatever it is you are doing ... and assume a worst case
scenario for every step of the way. Perhaps it would be nice for you
to meet with a programmer over a coffee or tea, and tweak your system.
It really shouldn't be that expensive, and it wouldn't be out of the
box. Clearly, you are doing this because you think there is some
intrinsic market value, or you have an edge over your competitor, so
why not gain that edge  now, by allocating money to this programmer,
instead of buying an out-of-the-box-solution. I am currently building
an online gaming venue over a multi-server linux environment
(projecting 15 severs to start with), which I expect to take a lumpy
share of the gaming industry in about two years (Oh, by the way, I am
looking for seed investors (cough cough sneeze) Google), excuse the
obtuse tangent, you've got to create these transactions and processes
to expect the worst-case scenarios, but be a haven for your loyal and
new affiliates. That's my philosophy when developing any

Anyways, I couldn't really pinpoint to what degree you've analyzed
your software, revenue, and business model ... but it sounds pretty
interesting, check out the way the casino industry pays its
affiliates. If theres one place where affiliates are honored it is in
that industry. So check it out, you may get some new ideas. A famous
philsopher, can't remember who at this moment, claimed that the best
ideas came from mixing.

There is also some pretty nifty free PHP code that turns numbers in
your databases into beautiful charts of earnings, referrals, and all
the other numbers you want to funnel into the affiliates eyes so that
they keep pumping in the sales. Be aggressive but tactful, and
tasteful always helps.

Anyways, I hope this helps, I've added a bit of story to follow a
1-2-2-1 storyline so that you aren't bored by such an interesting
subject. I wish you all the best in your pursuit of Marketing
Excstacy, let me know a bit more of your product/site you plan on
developing. I'll give you more details, answers if I feel I can
contribute to your pursuit. There is a segment in the software models
my team has been creating that revolves around affiliate systems which
is why I was more than inclined to help. I do believe I can help if
you give me a bit more info, if there is no further correspondence, I
do wish you all the best.

Francisco Diaz-Mitoma Jr.    

P.S "Not Everyone who wanders is lost."
Subject: Re: Is there a better system than DreamAccount for our ecommerce needs?
From: familylearn-ga on 22 May 2004 10:26 PDT
We are aware of much of what oscommerce has to offer as one of our
programmers has implemented it before. Unfortunately, developers have
only created a limited affiliate program for oscommerce. As we could
tell from the requested features list, it only allows for one group of
affiliates and one commission structure. Take a look here.,158/page,6

Oscommerce does have a subscription solution:,1795

This is the best option we have found (other than DreamAccount, which
doesn't work well) and we posted at elance and other places a week ago
to build the affiliate additions that we need. The bids are coming in
at $1500 to $2500.

Finally, a detailed affiliate program is the best way we could
describe what we need. Our needs are more along the lines of direct
sales. We need an affiliate program to support a group of independent
contractors that sell our products and services. They provide support
as one of the services. Following their support, a customer reviews
them, then they get paid. We are not favoring the customer or giving
them power, we just don't want the commission to pay out until the
process is complete. That process could take up to months after

Oh, one more thing, we've had a Thwate SSL for sometime and it works
great. Thanks for your advice though. Hopefully these comments will
help clarify what we need.
Subject: Re: Is there a better system than DreamAccount for our ecommerce needs?
From: gamingguru-ga on 23 May 2004 13:27 PDT
Have you considered modifying, the affiliate module that OSCommerce
already has? It is just a matter of adding more database tables, and
placing values as to what type of specs you want each affiliate group
to have.

I recommend you work on the existing affiliate system, ask the
question over at, that you would like the
affiliate module tweaked to allow more groups, by adding specific
database tables. From there it's a matter of tweaking the 'back-end
admin side' to control the tables. Make sure you stress the fact that
you want someone with a lot of OSCommerce experience, it should run
you about 5 hours work time, at $20 the hour. Hope it works out.

Subject: Re: Is there a better system than DreamAccount for our ecommerce needs?
From: familylearn-ga on 29 May 2004 05:49 PDT
Yes, that is what we have planned to do if we don't find another solution.

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