Drupal Based Affiliate Management System Helps Bring in More Subscribers


A meal planning website in North America founded by one of our clients, is quite popular among its patrons in the US and Canada. The website built on Drupal 7 archives its recipes and help its subscribers to plan their family meals. This budget-friendly meal planning site can be easily personalized.

Need to Increase User Base

Although the user base was increasing, the founders of the site felt that the pace of expansion could be improved substantially. They already had a referral program and a rudimentary affiliate management system on the site. However, they found that it was lacking in a lot of aspects and required a lot of manual intervention for its functioning keeping them occupied and slowing down the process.

The founders approached Zyxware Technologies for a better solution and to automate most of the reporting and tracking of the referrals, affiliates.




Zyxware reviewed the existing affiliate system which was pretty basic and had some issues. First, we fixed the existing issues in the system and proposed a two-tiered affiliate system with Drupal Views based reporting. The reports would be able to provide the founders with data on the number of active affiliates on the site and the number of referrals brought to the site by each. The existing mechanism of tracking the new referrals via browser cookies was found to be good enough to be retained and expanded upon.

Platform and Tools Used

  • Drupal 7
  • Drupal Views
  • Drupal Database API




Drupal Views

Using Drupal views we can display content based on a specific category. For the affiliate system, we used the custom table for user reference which is used to display affiliate related reports with necessary hook_views_data().

Views Data Export

This module is a plugin to export views data into various file formats. We have used CSV file export for the affiliate reports.

Views Bulk Operations

This provides a way for selecting multiple rows and applying operations to them. We have used this in the affiliate system for its bulk operations.

Custom Modules

Created custom code for content storage and display, different hook alterations for views data, etc.


By using Drupal View concept, we generated the affiliate system reports based on the client requirement. It was done with view-alters, data exporting features, bulk operation functionalities and other necessary hooks using custom code. The referral user data is stored in normalized custom tables. So by using the affiliate reports, the client can easily group the different referral users of each affiliate for different periods and export the same for their further processing. The client can save the specified referral bonus for the affiliates based on their sales period through the system itself.


After deploying the affiliate system the founders were able to manage the referrals and the affiliates due to the improved reporting functions provided there. As a result of all these the referral program was able to attract around 2500 additional users to the system over a period of 3 years thereby substantially increasing the user base. The advanced reporting mechanism brought in improved transparency to the administrators as well as the affiliates who felt confident in bringing in more users to the site.