ShopBlackBerry and BlackBerry World need affiliate programs

BlackBerry World
By Kevin Michaluk on 3 Jun 2014 10:42 am EDT

My recent editorial on BlackBerry app developer revenue being down has sparked a lot of great discussion among developers in the community.

Among the suggested solutions we outlined of things BlackBerry could do for BlackBerry app developers to make more money, there is unanimous agreement that BlackBerry selling more phones would help the most. Expanding on this point, I received an email this morning from a major BlackBerry app developer with an idea on how this could be done:

Just another idea on how to boost things a bit: I think everyone agrees that your #1 solution is the key point. Selling more phones is essential. Besides BlackBerry having to do that hard job by themselves, I believe it would be great move if BlackBerry would offer all their phones (including the Z3) on their online store for world-wide shipping. Then - and this is the key - they set up an affiliate program for that store and invite all app developers & community sites to take advantage of that. Thus, on each sale the affiliate gets a commission. We could all then reach out to our customer & user bases - which I believe are absolutely massive if you look at them combined - and help sell more phones. It would be beneficial to all sides, I believe. Short-term income for BlackBerry and us as well as a bigger customer base in the mid-term.

I am not sure how you see it within the CrackBerry community, but in our user base I can see that many people are reluctant to switch to BlackBerry 10 because they don't get it. Mainly that's due to a lack of education. Once I have a couple of discussions with those folks, telling them what BlackBerry 10 can do and how it is better than BlackBerry 7 phones, they are convinced it's a great device to get. I have personally had great success with that maybe a dozen times, but doing this on a larger scale by using the communities full power of reach, I believe great things can be achieved.

In general, I think this is definitely a good idea, and not just for phone sales, but all also for apps. I know that over the years this is something BlackBerry has given consideration to and even worked on but just hasn't delivered yet. Even thinking back to the day BlackBerry App World was announced on April 1st, 2009 (during the CTIA conference), I had a meeting with one prominent member of the BlackBerry World team who talked about wanting to put an affiliate program in place. They knew the kind of traffic and demand for apps that sites like CrackBerry could drive, and they wanted to put a program in place to make sure that would happen. In the years since, more discussions on the same subject took place - but nothing has ever been rolled out (oddly enough, all of the people I ever spoke to about this no longer work at BlackBerry). Selling phones on ShopBlackBerry is a relatively new development, but given the history I have experienced here I wouldn't be surprised if BlackBerry is considering rolling out an affiliate program on those handset sales. Thinking about is one thing though - they need to get it done.

The real opportunity in BlackBerry rolling out affiliate programs for phone and app sales is to give the sites who wouldn't normally talk about BlackBerry the incentive to do so

For a site like CrackBerry, an additional incentive doesn't matter. Affiliate program or not we're going to blog about phones and apps regardless as part of our daily editorial strategy that keeps readers (like you!!) coming back. If affiliate programs exist for us to earn some additional revenue on the phone and app sales we refer, that would be great (it means more CrackBerry giveaways for you!!), but if it doesn't we're still going to sell like hell! Ultimately, we just want there to be a lot of happy BlackBerry users in the world and happy BlackBerry developers too - that's when a site like CrackBerry succeeds.

To me, the real opportunity in BlackBerry rolling out affiliate programs for both phone and app sales is to give the sites and communities who wouldn't normally talk about BlackBerry the incentive to do so. Apple has an affiliate program for iTunes - last I checked they pay out 10% on referrals. And in case you haven't noticed, there is a LOT of coverage about iOS apps out there. When the publishers can get a piece of that pie too, they will write that content.

So while I do like the idea of BlackBerry extending an offer like this to existing developers and BlackBerry communities to promote phone sales, ideally I think this should be offered broadly - we need the whole publishing world having the incentive to be talking BlackBerry and posting about BlackBerry. In hindsight, this should have been in place last year during the rollout of BlackBerry 10 — I think it really could have helped — but even now I think it could make a positive difference.

Your thoughts?

Reader comments

ShopBlackBerry and BlackBerry World need affiliate programs


isn't that the reason for opening up the beta zone to other devs.. everyone throwing their app on the beta zone kinda seems like a similar idea... no?

Affiliate program sounds great. There's a lot of old thinking, and old information, and personal preference of device that is standng in BlackBerry 's way. A financial incentive to push BB10 devices could very well start a pseudo "word-of-mouth" campaign.

Posted via CB10

Just because you can make more pushing something... doesn't mean anyone will listen.

Plus you would end up with "sites" pushing a paid app, even if the free one works better. Just because there would be no money in talking about the free one.

Completely agree. The broad principles of the idea are brilliant, but the programme needs to be overseen with clear ethical and brand-management values.

Posted via CB10

paid app is money for developer and for Blackberry, by paying you don't just get app but also HELPS community.

Posted via CB10

The only problem with this is the two different desktop management systems one for OS7 the other for BB10.

More people would switch if they could save all their information on one unified desktop system.

'BlackBerry Unity Link. Compatible with all BlackBerry devices.

BlackBerry...Get it done.!!!!

Posted via CB10

Sorry, but I don’t get that. If everyone moved to BB10, and that is the goal, what's the point?

Posted via CB10

When you need affiliate like "cheap software company" to sell your phones it's because you are in deep trouble....

I might be wrong but I really think ShopBlackBerry is NOT run by BlackBerry but by Digitalriver

Not quite. It's BlackBerry's store... they decide what they're doing, but they use Digital River on the backend/transactions. It's not like Digital River decides how to run the store for BlackBerry. They get told to what to do and do it.

I like the free ISO direct download links for Windows 7 and 8, also provided by Digital River. Let it flow!

Saved me a couple of times when an original disk was scratched or ordered, but still in the mail.

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

Crackberry should be selling unlocked devices on their website. Why does it take BlackBerry so long to do these things? Maybe scared of under cutting carrier support in Canada? CRTC should mandate support of BlackBerry and allow anyone that qualifies to sell unlocked phones. With 2 year contracts now mandatory, all the CRTC did was allow the carriers to jack up prices way beyond what they needed to to recoup handset value.

Posted via CB10

I am a firm believer in choice. I think we all lose when choice is limited. One of those choices is for you to either buy the phone outright and pay up front, or let the carrier front the cost and you can pay them back over time.

Posted via CB10

Not only that but give the affiliates extra incentive to do more. i.e. sell limited edition products, offer app discount codes for the first 1000 people on BBW etc..

There is a lot that can be done to promote BBRY at little cost for marketing by simply pushing the job down to the affiliates. Yes, they can spend a little on promo-codes and discounts but it should be peanuts compared to the huge ad buys they can't afford at this time.

Great idea, also provides Blackberry with free advertising on affiliates websites with their html code.

So anyone view the page will at least see an ad for Blackberry even if nothing purchased

Well, I agree, but I'm always told off for emphasising the importance of the OS and devices...they've got to do something. it's utter lunacy that the haven't sold the BlackBerry 10 phones and OS properly.

I've 'sold' over fifteen people on BlackBerry 10 - no kidding - and I'm just one person. All they needed was some basic knowledge that they existed and that they weren't the old BlackBerry phones...

BlackBerry have not seemingly understood the real reason to Z10 and Q10 didn't sell and haven't really done anything in the way of longer term thinking regarding selling through the Z30 as well as fast as though can, at a loss or at cost if necessary.

We can't blame app devs for not bothering, if there is nothing in it for them. It's all connected, and BlackBerry need to do something to make things work for everyone.

Join the Cause @ BlackBerry Bootleg Marketing Channel - C003483F4

Some great ideas, would be a great way to start building awareness. Blackberry is dead on a consumer level at the moment. They need to employ new methods and ideas from people with there fingers on the pulse. Only die hard fans talk about blackberry- I love to spread the word but a programme as suggested could really start to get people talking blackberry again.

Posted via CrackBerry App

It's time that Kevin has a sit down boardroom meeting with Chen and his team. Its a win, win for all. Look at the situation now. Carriers don't even have the phones, including Canada where I live. I'm sure the cut is better for BlackBerry than with Carriers. Carriers will not black list BlackBerry anyways since they don't even promote the phone now. Go for it!!!!

Posted via CB10

Selling more handsets will mean more marketing and advertising. Blackberry as a company has no idea about either. They have relied on the users to market the product for so long. Honestly, if it was not for Crackberry, how many people would even know the features of the OS 10 devices.

Blackberry always.....

Yes. Close the circle and make it work for all stakeholders + bring incentives for new stakeholders. Set up once and let it run with a small amount of manpower needed for ongoing oversight and adjustment to keep the process working.

From my Neutrino Powered Z10

I have been a blackberry user for years now and would not change this for any other. I live in jamaica and the reason why most blackberry users are switching to other brands of phones are the apps. Blackberry need to have all of those popular apps that are running on IOS, WIN 7/8 and ANDROID OS in their app world. Being the most secure phone is one thing but no one wants a boring phone.

This idea has been around for a while. I used to be on and now owned by Digital Rivers.

Basically developers decide how much commission to give when a 3rd party sells their app. So in this case BlackBerry can decide like 10% if someone else sells thru affiliate.

Agreed, thoughts without action are merely dreams. In the words of Larry the Cable Guy, "git 'r done!" or of Nike, "just do it".

Posted via CB10

Kevin do you think it would be a good idea to sell BlackBerry 10 phone in BlackBerry world as well.

Posted via CB10

Well, we've got a huge square phone to look forward to, and another one that will look more like the old ones no one wants...

...heaven spare us...i just hope BlackBerry can survive their own marketing/ public understanding hopelessness long enough for them to get this stuff right.

Folks in here are complaining about the Apple event being BS, but Apple get it. Kawasaki said it clearly: design counts. It's important that you've got good specs under the hood, but for most people it's going to be amount design and lifestyle association. BlackBerry just have not got a clue here. Marketing is muddled and incoherent.

Join the Cause @ BlackBerry Bootleg Marketing Channel - C003483F4

Well said that man. I have to say, I'm impressed with the BlackBerry Bootleg marketing channel.
There's an excellent resource for BlackBerry is it wants it.

Posted via CB10

I thought I'm alone in BlackBerry community who thinks that brining that Kindle 2nd generation size device is somewhat embarrasing. Why don't just stop plaguing us with miriad designs everyone with its own set of flows and defects instead of polishing to perfection just 2 ( Q10 and Z10)???

Posted via CB10

It would be great if they decide to sell and ship worldwide. I was thinking give a q5 to my dad. Looked at the BlackBerry Brazilian site and found out that only one cell company was selling it, and not! There's no q5 neither any BlackBerry devices at that company.

Posted via CB10

The big problem has always been marketing, I don't know why BlackBerry has always been lacking (actually none existent) In this department
But simply put, you can have the best phone on the market....hell you can be years ahead of everyone else, have a holographic display and that kind of futuristic stuff, have the best OS ever devised ,and you could even be selling these phones for $10....... do you know how many you would sell........0 ,nada, zilch, abso-fucking-lutely nothing, not a single one.
Why???...... because if people don't know about it, they can't buy's that simple

Posted via CB10

Could BlackBerry sell devices via BBM cross platform app. For android and iOS. Or would apple deny that offering through the bbm app

Posted via CB10

This is a great idea. If this becomes a reality a lot more information and positive educational literature about BlackBerry 10 devices will be disseminated. Positive and informative articles will generate sails. Great idea.

Posted via CB10

Please help 
I saved web pages to browse them later offline, now I'm not able to delete the files that I have saved (HTML) and other files.

Thank you

Posted via CB10

How about every one on crackberry make a commitment to bring 5 people to the BlackBerry 10 that might help

Posted via CB10 on my awesome black Q10 or my white sexy Z10

It's a good idea for BlackBerry now, but it would have been a disaster 14 months ago, mainly because the OS had too many large, gaping holes.

Now it would work, once 10.3 is released - assuming issues with contacts, calendars, tasks and notes are addressed in 10.3.

Posted via CB10

It is a vicious circle... low device sales leads to lesser apps which leads to even low device sales... I think it is high time BlackBerry thought of options like this to sell their devices and apps.. they could do without marketing 7-8 years back but not anymore.. device business has become very competitive and they need to get the word out.. there are still places where people know that BlackBerry makes only qwerty phones and have no idea that BB10 exists.. all means to educate people should be attempted ... they should also recruit some senior marketing guys from is amazing how they have successfully marketed a shitty product to make it an aspirational one

Posted via CB10

Started to make me wonder if I will regret porting about to finish apps to BlackBerry which. Takes me almost a month.

Symbian is still and always my favourite Os. Nokia 808

Can you imagine Boy Genius pushing BlackBerry! This alone would save BlackBerry!!! Unleash the marketing power of the BGR machine, hehe.

BBM Channel: The Group Ride C00055B7C

This is a great idea, but it needs proper co-ordination by someone, or some team, who truly values, understands and appreciates the BlackBerry brand, with strict guidelines on how the brand is marketed and sold.

Done badly, this could turn the BlackBerry brand sleazy very quickly, and I for one don't want to be seen carrying a product by a sleazy brand.

Posted via CB10

They should also sell BlackBerry gift card in shop BlackBerry and BlackBerry World to promote more app sales. Bringing BB10 tablet would also help consumers to buy games and other apps.

Posted via CB10

Blackberry should really just perfect their Android compatibility and try and work out a deal to use the Google play store. I know this sorta sounds like a cop out, but this is coming from a huge bb10 lover and I feel it would combine the awesome operating system with a great app store

Posted via CB10

Using Google Play solves the issue of apps but if still doesn't address the issue of low device sales ..I feel Kevin's post could be a solution for both

Posted via CB10

Totally agree. But this implies worldwide tech support. Also, here in Paris, France there is tech support checked & agreed by BlackBerry for quality, because none of the French stupid carriers accepted to sell Z30, they are backing iPhones. No comment.
But the idea you have mentioned is great, on several levels. Thumbs up !

Posted via CB10

Great idea in regards to Shop BlackBerry. BlackBerry should follow the Bose model and build a strong direct sales effort, so that they can deliver better devices at higher margins and aren't dependent on carriers and other retailers. An army of affiliates is essential to jump starting this effort. But, then again, so are devices that provide real user benefits not obtainable from the competition.

I think CrackBerry could benefit from the affiliate program, although you'll need to follow FTC rules about including affiliate links in reviews and such. Smaller traffic websites won't make a lot of money, but may be incentivized to cover apps more often.

Posted via CB10

Yes, but brand, brand, brand - brand is king.
If BlackBerry want to follow the Bose model (and I completely agree it's a sensible idea), they also need to invest in their brand identify.
What do BlackBerry want to be?

Posted via CB10

"In hindsight, this should have been in place last year during the rollout of BlackBerry 10 — I think it really could have helped — but even now I think it could make a positive difference."

How true... and sad somehow... but it's never too late...

Ferrari ZetaTrenta - STA100-2

For real, this will work. I take me as an example, what has really kept me on BlackBerry 10 has been the Story and info I get to Read From #CracKberry. I come to CracKBerry First before going to #BlackBerry and i'm sure i'm not the only 1.

99% of all apps i've bought from BlackBerry World has been based on referrals From CrackBerry.

I Say again, i'm not sure i'm the only one with this experience. I Love BlackBerry because o CrackBerry.

Posted via CB10

The only issue BlackBerry has is ineffective Marketing and Advertising. Ever since BB10 was released, I've noticed, ZERO Marketing Efforts by them.
Even today, the general public think about a BlackBerry as a QWERTY BOLD device regardless of OS. Many are even stubborn enough and continue to claim BB10 is nothing more then a minor BB7 OS update. This is people that never used BB10., yet they are giving people miss-information, eventually convincing people to go with a so called "Newer" mobile platform.

Walked into a BELL store to inquire about a Z30, and the individual behind the counter told me that I needed a BIS Plan for "ALL BBRY's". Then I told him the Z30 is BB10, and does not need BIS. He never used BB10 nor did he care to use it.
Made him sample the Z30 in front of me, then he passed it onto me. Showed him HUB, PEEK, and how smooth and fluid it was. He was very surprised. And convinced BB10 was nothing special, and was based on the same OLD.

I changed his perception about BB10. This is a testament of all the utter miss-information, bashing etc., and the Massive LACK of Effective BBRY marketing. This needs to be rectified ASAP. Because this will help sell devices, hence increased revenue.

Posted via CB10

Need a B'S plan for all BlackBerrIS...

LOL, goodonya for cleaning up this guy's BS perception...

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

Money Talks and Bullshit Walks.....right? I personally don't believe in free apps except by those that make money off their app in a different Banks, retail stores etc. I don't like free apps that are partially open, and I hate advertisements. A buck or two for an app helps attract developers and helps them improve their apps. Same on the hardware side. Obviously the carriers are bought out by Google and Apple in North America. It's high time BlackBerry markets direct in North America and support a legit referral system that is financially rewarded.

Posted via CB10

So, if it such a brilliant idea as just about everyone seem to think, why hasn't BlackBerry jumped at it before? One can only hope that CrackBerry has passed this on to the Tall Heads at BlackBerry for consideration.

That would be great! But the one who's going to buy online or shop at blackberry are the one who have seen the capabilities of the BB10. Still it's better to put a kiosk in every major malls let the shoppers play with the OS. Although my concern is nobody would pay an average of $250 and up for BlackBerry phones upfront if they decided to buy one.

Since we bought the zed from the very 1st day of its release. I've only seen one.

Blackberry first has to commit to making the phones. They ran out of z3 on the launch. Can't sell what you don't have

Posted via CrackBerry App

This would be a great idea. Even just the selling of the phones would help. BlackBerry is in a position where they need to try everything.

A concept I spoke about a while ago! I totally agree!

For example a crackberry branded z3 at a reduced price with some profit for crackberry would sell!

With bbm going X platform we are seeing non BlackBerry users on crackberry! Hence potential clients!

BlackBerry should use these communities to make sales and assist by giving them profits and incentives!

Toootally agreeee!!!

Q10 On Steroids running on pure Awesomeness

wow, very idea, much great.

There are however implications regarding production supply, cost of shipping, regulations & carrier testing.
If the hurdles can be managed, this could be a great form of marketing that works in many other industries.

Someone needs to widely promote BlackBerry. I never see any BlackBerries promoted by carrier or store fliers anymore here in Ontario, Canada. Android, iPhone, Windows phones, any and all phones aplenty, but not BlackBerry.

Most likely posted via CB10 from my amazing Z30, but may have been posted from my awesome PlayBook.

I think this is one effing hell of a brilliant idea. Getting in touch with Mr chen and other high exec's of blackberry would really do a good thing after all. We need to get these blackberry 10 QNX powered phones into more people's hands. A typical blackberry 10 device can last for TEN YEARS if taken care of. Ten years is long, yes, but I think that is also the typical life of an SSD (solid state disk) before it wears out. So that is a good idea. Bring it forward, PUSH IT FORWARD!!! :)

Posted via CrackBerry 10 (CB10) application using my BlackBerry Q10.

YES to worldwide shipping of unlocked devices! BlackBerry, please make it happen.

If ShopBlackBerry won't do it, then perhaps allow CrackBerry to sell devices along with the accessories.

Posted via CB10

This is classic chicken and egg: Without a solid app ecosystem, there is a ceiling on how much market share you can capture through ANY medium (carrier, direct etc). Yet, without a "good" market share in devices, there's less incentive for app developers to write apps for BBRY. Sadly, neither situation is good for the current BB10 developer.

The way I see it, there's regrettably no other way out at this time, other than to fully adopt Android as the APP platform and retain the core intellectual property of BB10 for "native" device functionality like BBM, hub, notifications, search, and yes Ryan Seacrest, the keyboard.

This is also regrettable for us the users, because I have not seen ANY android app (ported or side-loaded) on my devices that have come even close to the fluidity of a BBRY native app. If they choose android, they will have to watch out very carefully for security and battery life implications!

I do think BBRY has lot more opportunity potential with BBM, they're just not gaining enough market share, and if not addressed, that opportunity like many before it will pass as well.

I like this idea, a wider reach of free marketing. Put it this way...are there better ideas? this may be in the works as I almost put an order in for a Z30, right from

Don McAskin, Z10. I don't Type...I swipe.

Seems like a good idea...but as the article mentions this should have been in place already when BB10 was launched. I'm sure it could have made a difference, maybe enough so that BlackBerry might not have had to record such dismal sales numbers for a new OS and the accompanying devices. Especially given the capabilities that those of us who have already upgraded to the new BlackBerry OS know and appreciate.

Let's hope that the people at the top are listening and under Chen's leadership can act quickly on this front. Please no more heads up asses and blinders worn!!!

We all know what that led to under the leadership of Thorsten Heins Ketchup.

Besides what does BlackBerry have to lose, its not like up to this point their devices are flying off the shelves!

Cartman says: Screw you guys I'm going home!

BlackBerry OS 10 is by far the best OS I have ever used.

Just make it fully android app compatible (and by full I mean full headless functionality of all apps including access to the Google Play service and full HUB integration) and then market the hell out of the Android App driven BB10 devices.

Enough just tinkering with Android. Go all out..... stretch it as far as you can without being an Android phone but being a BlackBerry 10 device that runs Android Apps like an Android phone.

It doesn't matter what they do. If they don't market it people won't come back. Nobody I speak to knows that BlackBerry 10 now somewhat supports Android. Why?? These are things that potential consumers NEED to know.

Forget programming only for BlackBerry. Open the device up for full Android compatibility as noted above and market the heck out of the phone. Something different, a better core OS but one that offers people a doorway into the massive Android world (including Google Play without having to side load or have a lot of technical know how). Heck I know BlackBerry 10 owners that still don't know that their device can run some Droid apps. Remember, not every BlackBerry user also frequents Crackberry.

Posted from my Z30 on CB10

It's not a strange idea that to solve Blackberry's problems of most any kind, they need to increase sales! It's also not strange that on the part of sellers this takes incentives. That's the supply chain. Clearly the suggested affiliate program could lever people to sell phones. If so, do it. On the demand side BlackBerry needs also to do something innovative. I mean many people think BlackBerry is out of business! Make a huge huge effort to convert bbos people to stay loyal. Send them a special upgrade deal. Send the deal via Bbm or to their email inbox.

Posted via CB10

Hi - from little old NZ - I think its a great idea and yes - I'm a true Blackberry fan having to parallel import the latest hardware to enjoy BB10! But there is another thing that will get even more positive talk about BB into the marketplace - and that's a positive earnings call, net operating profit and positive cashflows - then the whole World might just start to sit up and say - BB is back!

I may be naive, but this is the best commercial idea about BlackBerry I've heard so far. BlackBerry doesn't spend much on marketing simply because they can't. This kind of marketing doesn't cost much and creates direct sales, which results in a bigger market share, which helps the app ecosystem. I can't see any downsides to this, only maybe there are legal issues? Maybe that's why BlackBerry didn't do this already?

Posted via CB10 on my Z10

BlackBerry needs to start chasing the prepaid market. That's where the growth is and with the way BlackBerry users seem willing to take care of their own problems it seems like a natural fit.

Posted via CB10

I was a droid user since a month ago. I decide to buy the z10 cuz a friend told me the difference between his phone and my galaxy s, there is a lot of people that doesn't know about Z10 & Z3. BlackBerry should promote more those product or at least like this article suggest let the user and developer do the sales for them giving them a pie of the $, operating like a network marketing bussness. I bet my friend would love to promote and sell more if there is money involved.

Posted via CB10

Yes. Affiliate programs should have been in place long ago!
Hell, I think I could sell the Z10!
And yes, let's get the Z30 on ATT!

Posted via CB10