AlterCPA anniversary: the memoires

AlterCPA anniversary: the memoires

In the beginning there was a word, and the word was two bytes…

Every project, even the fattest one, started somewhere. What is now familiar to you as AlterCPA from the WR team also has its own long history. What, you didn’t know about WR? Make yourself comfortable, I’ll tell you now. There will be funny moments and stuffy boredom, but that’s the way it is.

It all began with a porn site…

2006-2012: A long time ago in Saransk far-far away

On a sunny winter day on January 1, 2006, the little boy Tosha Reznik found PHP. And here we go. Crooked student shit sites and mega-projects with databases in text files captured the young man’s fragile mind. After a couple of years of shitty coding in narrow Mordovian IT crews, I became the AlterVision who wrote its own CMS. And then Vlad fell on my head. And things started to get serious.

Vlad turned out to be a person who completed me, just as Steve Jobs completed Steve Wozniak. An excellent salesperson with excellent technical skills and a lot of interesting ideas. Having started with the creation of websites for customers, we left behind a whole trail of Internet projects of varying degrees of success.

One day, out of boredom, I was working on a porn site. In those days, Yandex considered all resources on DLE to be shit sites, which means you could easily steal their content and put it into the search index. Just that time Vlad visited me. As always, he came not only with delicious beer, but also with a brilliant idea. Since we have the entire porn site in the index, and since the first days there have been hundreds of visitors to it, we need to push it into SAPE. This is a link exchange that SEO specialists used for promotion. And the site sold out, starting to pay for beer and snacks every day.

This was a turning point. Realization has come. There is no need to create custom websites for clinical idiots. There is no need to explain that you can’t just take and copy Google, even if there is only one search line, two buttons and ten links with captions. There is no need to prove that a VK clone cannot be assembled on one’s knee even after: “But I downloaded the page myself, it has everything, just fixing the links will probably take a minute, you’re deceiving me!” – and miraculously keep the customer alive. You can earn money yourself by working with the same webmasters as ourselves.

Services and the SEO theme formed the basis of several dozen of our projects, and here are just the most striking of them:

  • The “Spring project” was a grid of sites, first based on content from dead DLE sites, and then generated through the Vesna service from Yandex. Its last iteration was already a kind of Internet organism that resurrected just dead sites from the web archive and sold links to them in SAPE.
  • ArtBot service for complete automation of article promotion through WebArtex, PR Sape and Miralinks. It also included a network of its own websites for articles.
  • Micro-projects for SEO promotion: indexing accelerator SetIndex, CY/PR extension from SaleCY and fake visitors from SeoPot network.
  • WhoCame was supplier of warm clients for VK, which intercepted visitors from the site and wrote to them in a personal message with an offer to purchase.
  • The social network “Writers Club” and the literary portal “WCbook” that emerged from it became our latest and largest project from the old life.

By the way, the name of the WR group of companies is derived from the word writer. At that time, sales of two-letter domains started in the SU zone, and I tried to grab myself a WC so that there would be a Writer Club. Alas, it was intercepted before me, I had to invent and take what was available. And then make up that WR is Vlad and Reznik.

2013: A ticket to the media buying

It was the beginning of winter 2013. The snow was falling peacefully outside the window, and the profitability from article sites was falling peacefully out of my wallet. The high-yield SEO industry was on its last years. Everyone remembers that there is no money in SEO, right? It was this inscription that was on Vlad’s T-shirt when he came to visit me and almost from the doorway declared: “I found a new interesting topic, it’s called media buying!”

At first, the idea itself seemed to us the embodiment of nonsense. Just think about it, you need to spend money on advertising! Moreover, for advertising someone else’s product. But the numbers on paper were such that a brand new Porsche Cayenne Turbo S was practically standing under the window.

We entered arbitration from an unusual angle – we became advertisers. We quickly bought a small batch of Zero Smoke magnets and hired two friends to make calls, pack and ship. Traffic was supplied to us by the same guys from whom Vlad took the course on arbitration.

For convenient order processing, I sketched out a simple CRM for a couple of evenings. It processed calls, generated invoices and tracked the status of parcels. The first lead fell into the system on December 13, 2013. To teach our guys how to use CRM, I personally picked up the phone and dialed a potential buyer. Approval, packaging, shipping, payment. Pure success, without scripts or preparation, but with wild enthusiasm and faith in a bright future.

This is how the project was born, which years later would be officially called AlterCPA. A project into which I will invest my soul and, as some moralists say, the last remnants of my conscience.

2014: WMsale

The music of stable sales played for a short time. We quickly got bored of sitting on purchasing traffic. We saw the first income from the product, some incredibly high buyout and a full return on our investment. Then we didn’t yet understand how lucky the fools we were.

It was decided to scale and expand the business. Two inseparable friends – Reznik and Vlad – sat down on comfortable chairs at massive tables in the Mordovian Technopark, opened their MacBooks and showed the world a miracle – an affiliate network. As amazing and unique as all the unique “not like everyone else” hipsters.

The small CRM quickly grew up with a section for webmasters. Streams and offers, landing pages and pre-landing pages, leads and statistics, payments and accounting appeared. Among the unique benefits of that project was a built-in auto-posting connected to the MarketGid and DirectAdvert teaser networks. The idea and concept of the platform were born on their own, directly in response to the requests of live users. This will forever be a feature of AlterCPA – not to spy on it, but to invent it.

The range of offers has expanded – Goji Berries and Anti-Snoring clips have been added to Zero Smoke magnets. But the crown jewel was the Power Balance bracelets. We slightly adjusted their appearance, created a site for recognizing fakes, MakeNoFake, and began sending them out in thousands throughout Russia. We were especially touched when we saw people with our bracelets on their hands, and they themselves carried them with pride. After all, we were not mammoths and knew their true essence.

As it turns out, no. We were mammoths, albeit from a slightly different side. By the end of the year, our ship of success hit the reefs of reality. Everything happened at once: we discovered a cash gap deeper than Sasha Gray’s ass, lost major webmasters, caught a ton of fraud and tried to plug the holes with loans.

I celebrated New Year 2015 broke, with huge debts, no means of livelihood and complete disappointment in life. Who knew that this would be the beginning of a new life?

2015-2016: Stagnation

These were years of silence. Everything fell apart back in October 2014 and until the fall of 2015 the AlterCPA project had no history at all. In those days, I survived, not disdaining even penny orders from WorkZilla, and resurrected the forgotten WCbook project – a bookshelf from the Writer Club.

Bookshelf was essentially a huge automatic doorway, a service for comparing price tags for books in large online stores in the CIS. I uploaded traffic from it to Admitad and directly to bookstores like Ozone and Labyrinth. Yes, kittens, as it turned out, I also worked with traffic, this is now called shareware traffic.

The old project haunted me. Yes, the affiliate network took a year of my life and gave me millions of debts, but… But it was a very bright and interesting year. I dug out old network files from the archive, cleaned them of half-dead code for autofills and integrations, cleaned them up a little and posted them on GitHub. So on November 14, 2015, the world saw a product that was already openly called AlterCPA. I didn’t see the value in it, I didn’t believe in it, so I decided to give my work to the whole world for free, which brought me more problems than good.

A year after the free release on GitHub, first one person contacted me, ready to pay extra for an individual modification of the engine, and then a second one. The product suddenly found people who needed it. And he also lost the open version, which forever remained in the most ancient version. They tried to sell it several times, forgetting to even cut out my name.

What’s funny is that around the fall of 2016, Vlad and I, angry at the industry, wanted to create a fake affiliate network, get some deposits and ride off into the sunset. But this idea was not destined to become a reality, because the time had come for the Bluez.

2017: The blue zeppelin has arrived

Bluez, kittens, is not a genre of music, but an abbreviation for Blue Zeppelin. That was the name of the project where Vlad brought me to the role of technical director, part of the GoodPrice group of companies. They funded a number of major improvements to AlterCPA that you still use today.

Thanks to Bluez and the first buyers of the platform, you received flexible commission payments, full statistics on tags and time taking into account the duration of stay on the site, a real call center broken down into teams, split testing mechanisms and pixels of analytics systems that were configured directly in webmasters flows. But what is most important is the very recognizable interface based on AdminLTE, which has not yet changed and will live with the platform forever.

In those days, the old free version of the system received the index 2.0 and was finally closed, and the new one switched to 3.0 and active support. 2017 didn’t have any special sales, but then I got serious about refining the engine and releasing it as a full-featured, high-quality product. Fortunately, I had free time and good financial support.

Of course, they fed me on the zeppelin not because I had beautiful eyes, and not because I was such a pretty kitty. Two absolutely charming projects came out of my paws: the WebExpress delivery service and a teaser network for Instagram under the Pumo and MoneyMaking brands.

The birth of an advertising platform for Instagram was simply enchanting. The company was preparing to purchase an existing project when we did a little brainstorming. In about half an hour of fierce swearing, we understood all the working mechanisms of that very project. And in five days I realized everything on a dare. Moreover, if I hadn’t spent half this time walking around incredibly beautiful places in the summer sun, I would have done it even faster. It’s a pity, the guys bought their competitors, which was the beginning of the end and their first box office gap…

But WebExpress turned out to be a long-term construction project. We managed to create an excellent express delivery service in Russia, which managed to give a buyout of 81% due to super-fast delivery and a great call center. Even at the Commodity Mafia in 2017 they showed up with her.

Add to it a small affiliate network, a team of avid affiliate marketers, a few teammates and your own call center – and we get an ideal group of companies in which each independent project lives and complements the others.

I met the end of 2017 happy and contented. I had a product ready for sale, for which I was no longer ashamed. Actually, it all started next year.

2018: Break through the multi-verticals

Now we have come to a turning point in the life of the AlterCPA project. Throughout 2018, the product went from being a hobby to becoming a serious business, into which you don’t mind putting your heart and soul.

A number of events and people this year are worth noting separately. And most importantly, I entered 2018 debt-free. Yes, kittens, only at this stage, three years later, was I able to close all my debts since the WMsale network. I will never get involved in creating my own network again, and I will dissuade you if necessary.

In the spring, the central website appears with fully automatic sale of licenses. And it also comes with a legal entity so that you no longer make payments through friendly companies. A lifetime license goes on sale for just $1,000, and many want to go back to that time.

At the same time, the young man Daniel knocked on the door of my virtual den. He convinced me to move away from the old view of the platform as purely a product solution. Then our march into the spheres of gambling, betting and dating began. The vertical is no longer an obstacle for AlterCPA! Danya, if you are reading this, know that you are a very important person in the history of the project, thank you.

And already in the summer, perhaps the oldest living clients, the MGA team, knocked on the same door. It’s not for nothing that Maga says that he has done a lot for our product. It was with the MGA team that we encountered really serious volumes and learned that very teamwork.

To summarize, the AlterCPA platform has become a universal solution for both affiliate networks and advertisers, and for arbitration teams. There is now support for any verticals, English language, domain parking, but most importantly – square buttons!

2019–2021: COVID stability

It was the quietest time in the life of the project. For three years in a row, we quietly grew and expanded a little while staying at home. Of course, there were bright, memorable breakthroughs and new projects.

At the beginning of the year, a strange feeling overtook me. For five years I was a man-orchestra who held all the clients in one person. It was time to scale. The AlterCPA technical support team appears. The team that is able to solve any customer problems. And Maria appears in this team from the very moment of its inception. The iron lady Maria who now holds the entire AlterCPA team on her shoulders and is the second person in the company after me.

In the summer of 2019, it was time to bring Vlad’s little “dream” to life, which would be so useful to him in conjunction with WebExpress logistics. I closed the old and unsupported project of the free AlterCPA 2.0. Instead, a free CRM for advertisers appeared – AlterCPA Moe. And along with it came the color differentiation of AlterCPA projects, divided into blue Pro and purple Moe.

Six months later, it was time to roll out another project to the public, which all this time had been collecting dust on the sidelines of the AlterCPA team – the WatchCat offer monitoring service. The watch cat monitored changes in offers, commissions, geos and price tags across multiple networks and quickly sent out notifications of changes. The project was free and open to everyone, which is why it didn’t take off. No one understood why such a thing should be made free, and some are still convinced that we are simply stealing logins and passwords.

A huge milestone in the development of the product was the built-in cloak. Any AlterCPA user could simply create a sewer campaign for themselves and abandon third-party solutions. And a year later, in the summer of 2020, the cloak fell off into a separate project – the little yellow AlterCPA One.

In the winter of 2020, I discovered the last interesting vertical – dropshipping. It brought with it commissions depending on statuses, a new CMS for websites that changes price tags at the request of the webmaster, maximum automation for landing pages and pre-landing pages, which simplified the work for administrators.

New statistics and analytics tools, logistics and warehouse accounting, loading expenses and calculating ROI for webmasters and advertisers, convenient utilities for administrators, bonus and referral programs, cloak and smart TDS, arbitration teams, caps, skins, hacks – you can list them until you’re blue in the face. A lot of work has been done. Want to know more? Take a look at the “Releases” section of the cozy blog.

By the end of the COVID years, we had grown to four projects: platform, CRM, cloak and monitoring. Everything is excellent and created by Reznik’s caring paws. But the trouble is, no one really knew about it. This means it’s time to get serious about promotion.

2022-2023: New projects

The times of stability have come to an end. The support team worked perfectly, the customers were happy, and only the restless Reznik wanted to take over the entire arbitration world just so that everyone could use high-quality software.

New projects, including joint ones, began to appear under the AlterCPA brand. By the way, if something of ours is called from the word AlterCPA, I did it personally, but products with other names are already a joint creation.

The AlterCPA One cloak already existed at that time and even acquired its first users, picked up from Kinza. Ildar, the great arbitration guru at Google, also fell into my clutches there. And our cloak fell into Ildar’s clutches. In a couple of years, Ildar, with well-aimed kicks at Reznik, was able to bring the cloak to an ideal state. He fell in love with her so much that he even bought half the share, just so as not to pay for the license.

But the cloak was not enough for Ildar and I, so by the end of 2023 we are launching another joint project, which… Oops, it’s for the New Year! Sorry, the information from the future in this retrospective may lead to a time paradox.

At the same time, somewhere in the vast conference space, a representative of the arbitration press runs into me. Word by word, an interview happens. And the interviewer, in turn, asks a sacramental question: “Do you have a PR person?” I bat my eyes and shake my head negatively. “Now there is,” Andrey answers me. Is everyone else’s PR manager just as wound up? But Andrey did not come to us alone. With him, the promotion studio AFfStudio joined AlterCPA, dragging our company by the balls into public view.

Do you think this is the end of the expansion of projects and the team? Whatever the case! We “absorbed” the PrivateFlare project – a high-tech solution for protecting traffic and servers for affiliate networks and arbitration teams.

It would have stopped there and not grown any further, but Alex, the owner of the CashFactories network, intervened. No, we didn’t buy them, they didn’t buy us either. Everything turned out to be much harder and sadder – Alex motivates and generates ideas. He should be nailed down to make life easier, but he creates useful ideas.

“It’s a cool product, but expensive for babies,” Alex once said, “And it’s all difficult, messing with servers.” And somewhere here an epiphany came to me. AlterCPA Cloud was born – a cloud version of the platform that deploys itself and costs half as much.

“Cool product,” Alex agreed, “but still expensive and difficult for babies.” And then insight descended for the second time. As a bet with myself, I created the AlterCPA Red tracker in two weeks. Simple, cheap, reliable – an ideal solution for novice webmasters.

To my great happiness, Alex didn’t open his mouth again, because the world might not have survived the third insight. But the world experienced periodic DDoS attacks. After one such incident, when our friends from Partnerkin turned out to be victims, I launched a new service – DDoS defense.

So we ended up at the point “here and now”. The platform with support, the cloud, the tracker, the cloak, the auto-posting, promotion and security – a good set for a team of ten people, isn’t it?

Results of the decade

Today marks ten years since the launch of the AlterCPA project. You could say today is my second birthday, because AlterCPA is a huge part of me.

It’s time to celebrate the holiday. Somewhere nearby, the kittens, led by Masha, are now carrying a cake, and two huge saucepans are waiting for me in the kitchen, in which I will create the signature mulled wine. Don’t expect us to be in touch today.

Behind us are a sea of happy and not so happy moments, a lot of impressions and achievements. What awaits us ahead? There we will definitely take over the world, solely for the common good.

And Reznik has been with you all these ten years, smacks to everyone!