NATS4 track and strack

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What is Track?

NATS uses track to handle primary tracking for in-bound affiliate traffic. This can usually be found in affiliate linkcodes, such as the following example:

http://<link_domain>/track/xxxxxxx

In the above link, NATS will replace <link_domain> with the actual link domain for your site and replace xxxxxxx with the proper affiliate NATSCode. This can be seen in the following image:

Figure 1.1  An Example link code using the standard track feature

How Does track Work?

As surfers hit the track link, or linkcode, NATS will perform its tracking, cookie, and session procedures before redirecting the surfer to their original destination tour URL from the sites admin. The NATSCode itself, or the Link Domain (if no NATSCode is present) will be used by NATS to match a link domain or site ID to the correct tour URL.

Same Surfer Hits Different Track Links?

If the same surfer hits more than one track link, also known as linkcode, NATS will use the tracking information for the most recent affiliate. For example:

  • A surfer passes through the tracking link for affiliate 1, and NATS creates a cookie and starts tracking for affiliate 1. If the same surfer then travels through a tracking link for affiliate 2, NATS begins tracking for affiliate 2, forgetting about affiliate 1.

The only exception to this is In-House affiliates. In-house affiliates will not override the old affiliate's NATSCode, so the old affiliate's code will be used. Continuing from the above example:

  • If affiliate 3 is an In-House affiliate and the surfer goes through the tracking link for affiliate 3, NATS will ignore tracking for this affiliate and will use the tracking information for affiliate 2.

You can mark an affiliate as In-House through the Affiliate Admin Settings.

What is strack?

In contrast to track, strack replaces one site ID or program ID with another site or program ID. If you need to provide links from one NATS site to another, for example, you can use /strack/ to replace the default site ID in the NATS code with a new site ID for the other site. This also serves the purpose of preserving relevant affiliate information, as well as ensuring that affiliates get credit for any sales that have been made.

strack Formatting

http://<linkdomain>/strack/<nats_code>/<site_id_or_shortname>:<tour_id_or_shortname>/<program_id_or_shortname>/<track_flag>/<optional_subdirectory_path>/
  • linkdomain - The Link Domain of the origin site in NATS, which will typically be in a form such as 'tour.example.com' or 'join.example.com', where 'example.com' is the domain of your main tour or content site.
  • nats_code - The NATScode from your affiliate or the default NATScode for the origin site/tour. Typically, when implementing an strack link on a PHP-enabled site, this is defined using the following in-line PHP 'if' statement -- <?=(!empty($_REQUEST['nats']) && !preg_match('/[\'\"<>()\\\+\[\]]/', $_REQUEST['nats']))?$_REQUEST['nats']:xxxxxx?> -- which, after replacing 'xxxxxx' with the default NATScode for the origin site/tour, translates to "If there is a value for the NATScode set in either GET, POST, or COOKIE, use it. Otherwise, use the default NATScode."
  • site_id_or_shortname - The Site ID or shortname of the destination site. If you do not want to direct traffic to a new site, set this value to '0'.
  • tour_id_or_shortname - The Tour ID or shortname of the destination tour. If you do not want to direct traffic to a new tour, set this value to '0'. If you direct traffic to a new tour, please ensure that the correct Site ID for this tour is also defined in your strack URL.
  • program_id_or_shortname - The Program ID or shortname of the destination program. Switching programs can be useful for things such as special offer links. If you do not want to direct traffic to a new program, set this value to '0'.
  • track_flag - Records a new hit on the destination tour and resets the tracking cookie if set to '1'. If the track_flag field is not set, or if it is set to '0', this hit will not be recorded.
  • optional_subdirectory_path - Specifies the path to a script, document, or subdirectory that is appended to the URL after the tracking redirect. For example, if the URL of your destination site is set in the Default Tour settings to 'www.example.com' and you set the subdirectory path in your strack link to '/tour1/videos', the URL after the surfer has been redirected will be 'www.example.com/tour1/videos'.