IRCTC Amazon Partnership. Just An Affiliate Channel, That’s All!
After it’s failed partnership with Yebhi couple of years back, IRCTC has now forged a partnership with Amazon to monetize the millions of people who visit the every month. While we expected much deeper integration this time around, it turned out to be exactly opposite.
IRCTC is no more than an affiliate to Amazon, albeit with some extra privileges.
When IRCTC has tied up with Yebhi, they had a separate shop on a sub-domain called shop.irctc.co.in, however with Amazon’s partnership, the visitors are directly redirected to Amazon’s site with the url appended with affiliate id – Note “tag=irctcshoptab-21” at the end of Amazon url.
All affiliates of Amazon use the exact same method- they add their unique tracking id to any url of Amazon, and a 24 hour cookie gets set. So when a user makes any purchase from Amazon during this 24 hour period, the affiliate gets the commission.
With IRCTC, Amazon has gone one step ahead compared to an ordinary affiliate – when any user comes from IRCTC homepage, they show a IRCTC logo next to Amazon’s logo, giving the user the impression that they are buying from a site related to IRCTC, but that is not the case.
The IRCTC logo shows up till the cookie expires after 24 hours. After that, they do not get any affiliate commission even if user buys from Amazon. It might be possible that IRCTC may have negotiated for a higher cookie expiry time (we are not sure about it)
IRCTC, like any other affiliate, will get fixed agreed upon commissions from Amazon.
Infact, if you will see the IRCTC site, except a small “Shop on Amazon” link on navigation menu, they have not highlighted anything about Amazon on the homepage.
Why Be an Affiliate Only?
It is possible, that this is just a temporary thing, and they may be looking at deeper integration because when IRCTC came up with a tender, they had mentioned a co-branded online marketplace with over 28 stringent parameters. One of the points included that bidder of the tender needs to power a co-branded marketplace on IRCTC with end-to-end deliveries management.
But, given all the hassles with payments and integration, IRCTC seems to have decided to take the easier way of just being a affiliate. This way Amazon can provide a ready solution to IRCTC and latter does not have to do anything except add a link to Amazon on their site.
In our view, this is a good thing. Rather than losing focus from their core offering of selling train tickets, IRCTC has smartly just added another monetization channel with minimum of efforts.
Do let us know what you think about this partnership.