How Multiple Programs Makes Siren Easier To Maintain

Other affiliate plugins for WordPress are notoriously bad at maintaining affiliate programs, particularly when the program has several special conditions. This post dives into how Siren avoids these pitfalls.

One of the most frustrating things I observed when working with other affiliate plugins in the past is the “special cases” that pop up when managing a program. Since older Affiliate plugins only support a single program, that program always becomes this monolithic program with a bunch of logic buried in hard-to-find places. It is not uncommon to see an affiliate plugin loaded down by conditions like this:

  • Affiliate program defaults to 25% commission
  • Affiliate A, Affiliate B, and Affiliate C all have a different commission set specifically to them at 10% instead
  • Affiliate D, E, and F each use a flat rate of $10 instead of a percentage.

Because of this, a single affiliate program now has to capture several different commission types, and rules. This can be difficult to maintain, because of a number of things:

  1. It is annoying to change the rate across multiple affiliates. Imagine changing Affiliate B and C’s rate to 15%, then trying to just…remember that Affiliate A is at 10%, and B/C are at 15%.
  2. Specifying what rate new affiliate signups get can be challenging. Do they get the default? Should they get a special rate?
  3. It becomes very unclear what happens to the commission when you start considering product-specific overrides to these rates, as well. Should I use the Affiliate’s custom commission rate, or the rate on the product? nobody knows!

It’s very common to run into inaccuracies as a result of these special cases. It makes it harder to troubleshoot why your referrals aren’t paying out what you expect, and as a result you end up spending more time troubleshooting unexpected behavior. It’s like having a really messy bedroom – everything’s just harder to find because the space is such a mess.

Siren Uses Multiple, Flexible Affiliate Programs

Siren improves on all of these problems by re-thinking the relationship between commission rates, products, and affiliates. Instead of using a single monolithic program with tons of special cases, siren makes it possible to make more than one program. By doing this, Siren puts all of the special cases into a single location, nice and easy to understand.

Instead of creating a single monolithic affiliate program with tons of “special cases”, in Siren, you create multiple programs:

  1. A program with a 25% commission rate when the visitor used the affiliate’s link.
  2. A program with a 10% commission rate when the visitor used the affiliate’s link. (for Affiliates A, B, and C).
  3. A program with a $10 flat rate when the visitor used the affiliate’s link. (for Affiliates D, E, and F).
  4. (If you’re feelin’ fancy) A blog content bonus program with a 5% commission rate when the visitor visited their blog post.

Each program gets its own distinct set of configurations, and can freely evolve over-time without affecting the other programs in the process. For example, if you later decided the 10% commission rate should be 12%, you don’t need to find the affiliates and update their commissions, you just need to update the program.

Program Groups Make It Very Clear Which Programs Payout

I only gave most of the picture in the example above. By default, Siren will stack commissions across all programs. In other words, it will try to pay out for every program that should be credited. This means that in the example above, we could potentially be on the hook for 40% plus a $10 flat rate for every commission(!). But that’s not what we intended. What we want is to payout to one of the affiliate programs, and payout the blog content bonus program separately.

This is where Program Groups come in.

A program group allows you to say “whenever there’s a conversion that credits any of these programs, only pay out one of them”. In our example, we would create two groups:

  1. An “Affiliate Programs” Group
  2. A “Content Programs” Group

Once we add our programs to their respective groups, we can now ensure that we’ll only ever pay out to two programs – an affiliate program, and a content program. This means that, we would never owe more than 25% plus a $10 flat fee.

Which program “wins” is determined by how the group is configured. At launch you will be able to specify “oldest engagement wins” and “newest engagement wins”. Basically, it will sort all of the programs in the group based on which one was most-recently credited, and it will pick the first one that pays out a commission, and cancel the rest of ’em.

No More Hard To Find, Hidden Configurations

One major benefit of this multi-program approach is that any configuration change happens on the program, or the program group, instead of individual products, or affiliates. This centralizes these settings so that you can make a change to your programs with confidence, drastically reducing the chance that you’ll find an unexpected “special case” that you forgot to change buried deep inside a product’s configuration screen.

In the future, it will be possible to also specify which products are viable for different programs. This will allow further customization, allowing you to do things like offer a higher rate for certain products.

It’s Easier To See Why Someone Was Paid A Certain Rate

Since Siren uses multiple programs, it’s much easier to tailor different initiatives to programs. One common reason why you may have different rates for different affiliates is because a select few are considered “super affiliates”, and as a result they get a higher rate. Since Siren splits these into different, clearly named programs, it makes it clear why these different people have different rates. This enables users to tailor programs specifically for different groups or types of affiliates, bloggers, or promotional campaigns, ensuring that incentives align with the goals of each segment.


Siren is a complete re-imagining of affiliate programs. It has been built since day one to be easier to maintain for affiliate plugin managers, and also has a few other pretty neat tricks up its sleeve that other programs literally can’t do.

Siren is launching on June 4th, and will be available at a special one-time price at-launch. If you’re interested, you should definitely sign up for early access.

Swim fast, dream big!

A mermaid in a moment of pure joy, closely zoomed in on their face, as they leap up in excitement under the sea. This mermaid has just successfully launched their underwater business. Their eyes sparkle with delight, mouth open in a victorious cheer, and their hands are thrown up in the air, capturing the essence of triumph and exhilaration. Bubbles surround them, and the background is a blur of underwater colors, symbolizing the vibrant future ahead for their business. This moment is one of achievement, hope, and the beginning of a new journey.

Siren is coming on June 4th!

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