New WWRKDS Website Development Status

I’ve been recently putting in a LOT of work on getting a new Willful Wreckords Site up and running that should be a significant upgrade to our online presence.

My goals for this project:
– Unification of informational content with the online store functions and royalty + affiliate account management.
– Make it look less than 10 years out of date. (Sorry Open Cart … we’ve had a good run, but you’re just effin’ ugly and not user friendly!)
– Allow affiliated bands better management of their vendor accounts and royalty tracking
– Site must also enable some whiz-bang backend functionality to automatically update royalty information from third party distributors (iTunes, spotify, etc)
– Allow affiliated bands to create, manage and sell their own merch, downloads etc for no up front cost in addition to the Willful Wreckords Albums that they earn their royalties on.
– This includes the ability for bands to sell tickets for shows that they are playing, taking requests to book shows, etc

(As you can see) After quite a bit of looking around at what options are available, I’ve decided to go to wordpress and woocommerce as the foundations for this new site. I’ve also been trying out and working with the following free and paid Word Press Extensions, as well as writing my own custom WordPress plugin class to tie up any loose ends. The following plugins are what I’ve tried out / bought and loaded so far:

BAW Login/Logout menu
MailPoet WooCommerce Add-on
Media File Manager Advanced
Shortcodes in Menus
User Role Editor
WooCommerce Advanced Notifications
WooCommerce Bookings
WooCommerce Bulk Download
WooCommerce Free Gift Coupons
WooCommerce Order Barcodes
WooCommerce POS
WooCommerce Product Add-ons
WooCommerce Product Bundles
WooCommerce Product Vendors
WooThemes Helper
Wordpress File Upload Pro
WordPress Social Login
WP Awesome FAQ

For the Willful Wreckords business model though, the most important ones listed here are the “woocommerce” plugin and the associated “product vendors” extension. Obviously I need a webstore, so woocommerce has that covered, and its got a great look and UI experience. And due to the nature of having to keep track of royalties etc for sponsored and affiliated artists, with the additional requirement of having multiple different affiliates receiving royalties off the same products, the product vendors extension is pretty much a necessity. (The “Product Vendors” extension was the only affiliation / commission system that allowed for multiple linked affiliates on a single product)

So far I’ve got most of the basics working and the WWRKDS catalog of albums and a few studio products listed. I’ve been running into some issues with getting the “Product Vendors” working as advertised though, and so thats been taking up quite a bit of my time. The first issue I had was that I couldn’t link affiliates/vendors entities to user accounts. So after some back and forth with the WOO Themes tech support, I’ve finally got the “Product Vendors” woocommerce extension to recognize users as vendor administrators. Woo – Hoo! (Pun intended.) Don’t have a final root cause but the issue I was having had something to do with the latest WordPress + WooCommerce update patches that just came out. Once I installed them … problem fixed!

This means I can now have multiple affiliates (i.e. bands, promoters, etc) linked to individual products, as well as allow bands to create and sell their own merch products, etc on the site. Its essentially a drop shipping model, but it also allows the royalties Willful Wreckords Sampler albums to be tracked using the same mechanism. I’m also utilizing the “Product Bundles” extension such that “Album” products are really bundles of individual “Track” products, with each downloadable track product linked to the artist (and optional promoter) at their royalty rates.

The “Product Vendor” extension allows you to set a single PayPal account email that should be linked to each “Vendor” as well as have multiple users be allowed to administrate the vendor profile and create and submit vendor specific products for approval, etc. I was able to create some custom PHP to auto-magically look at the current user’s e-mail when they login, and if the user is not already a vendor admin and their email matches the paypal account email for an existing vendor profile, automatically register that user as the vendor admin. Coupled with the fact that I’ve got facebook / google / twitter / linked in account logon functions … that’s pretty darn slick from a UI perspective. That should help make the process for bands (i.e. “vendors” or “affiliates”) signing up to manage their royalty accounts pretty seamless.

There is however a new issue that I’m having with the “Product Vendors” extension though. For some reason when manually adding a woocommerce order via the administrator panels, if the product has more than one linked vendor only the first vendor in the list is getting ALL of the reported commission. Bollox.

So not quite there yet…but getting closer to having the site up and running…