Hyperlinks are the defining feature of the web – the literal H in HTML. Yet for all the web’s progress, the technology and process behind them are largely unchanged since the web began. An author inserts links when they write a piece of text and then no matter how often they get clicked on, no matter who’s looking and no matter how the world has changed, they remain the same, as if frozen in amber. Until today.
Since the earliest days of this company, I’ve held fast to the notion that many links have potential substitutes. Take product links: An author mentioning a product has several merchants to choose from when inserting a link. Which they choose can depend as much on habit as anything. Yet, for a foreign reader, a link to a domestic merchant might be entirely useless. This is true inefficiency; a shot-in-the-dark, one-size-fits-all approach that has no place in the modern web. Meanwhile, publishers have no way to know who most values their organic traffic and would-be buyers have no way to get that traffic.
We’ve been quietly building the technology to address these problems and today we are announcing the first fruits of our labor. Link optimization technology is an optional feature of VigLink Convert that modifies organic product links to point to a different retailer when it means earning more. Links can (and should) change over time to ensure the destination remains valid, relevant, and high quality. Publishers can opt in by signing into their account and enabling link optimization under their account settings. With the click of a button they can earn more from their existing content.
Too often, content monetization comes at the expense of user experience. In my opinion, that’s not sustainable. At VigLink, we aim to create monetization solutions that also make the web better. Optimizing links? That fits the bill. Optimized links mean publishers earn more from their content, retailers drive more sales from more customers, and for all of us who use the web, it means we see relevant links that work. The best native monetization solutions add value to the user experience.
Think about where this technology could go. Should links always be the same for everyone? Do some merchants convert mobile users into buyers better than others? Are readers who have a history of shopping at a particular merchant likely to shop there again? Data- and market-driven linking promises to change the experience of the web. VigLink is unlocking an entire link economy by aligning advertiser demand to publisher inventory and user experience. The future is dynamic linking.
As of today, we’re accepting new beta testers as capacity allows. With trillions of links on the web, most won’t change and our focus is starting with the optimization of commercial links pointing to products. During this beta period we will be expanding the universe of optimizable links, listening to feedback, and improving the technology.
If you’re interested in learning more, joining the beta, and providing feedback there’s more information on our site (and don’t miss Anthony Ha’s take in TechCrunch).
Oliver Roup, Founder and CEO, VigLink
Posted in Company Milestones, Content Monetization, News and Updates
VigLink is proud to announce that we were selected to present at Under the Radar 2012, focused on the next generation of commerce. VigLink will be presenting in Under the Radar’s Spotlight Showcase, moderated by David Berlind of TechWeb.
Throughout the conference Under the Radar will showcase some of the most forward-thinking startups working to turn discovery into commerce and analytics into action. VigLink, one of only three companies selected to present as part of the Spotlight Showcase, met strict criteria, including unique value proposition, ability to monetize, massive market opportunity, and significant traction.
“After vetting over 300 companies, we were impressed with what VigLink had built and felt like it was the perfect fit for what the judges at Under the Radar were interested in,” said Debbie Landa, founder of Dealmaker Media and producer of the conference. “VigLink is turning content into commerce. This is the holy grail for publishers right now.”
Under the Radar 2012 will be held at the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco, this Friday, November 16th.
Posted in Company Milestones, Events
With the launch of our new tool, now you can wrap a URL with VigLink and our automatic affiliation goes wherever your link goes. Links you post to Twitter, Facebook or even emails can take VigLink and our ever expanding universe of merchants along for the ride. VigLink makes it easy to simply post and earn commissions, avoiding the tedious chore of signing up for individual programs and finding the right affiliate link for each post.
It’s easy to use. Just drop your URL in the link wrapper and we’ll return one that can earn you money. We’ve built in the option to automatically shorten the URL through bit.ly, or you can use any link shortener you’d prefer. Savvy affiliate marketers will notice that the URLs use a consistent structure, and can easily build them in bulk by following a few simple instructions.
If you’re as excited as we are, help us spread the word! VigLink has its own affiliate program and when you refer someone, you can earn up to 35% of our commission for their first year.
Tags: Link Wrapper Posted in Company Milestones, Feature Announcements, News and Updates
Each month we take a look at a few of our favorite VigLink merchants as part of our Spotlight on the Merchants series. In our July edition, we share a few of our favorite merchants for finding that perfect summer outfit, tune, or activity.
Each of these merchants is an eligible VigLink merchant, which means if you are a VigLink user and send traffic to any of these sites that results in a sale, you’ll get paid! When you are creating content centered around summer, consider linking to these merchants when you reference products and services.
Roses are red, violets are blue, someone deserves flowers – how about you? 1-800flowers.com is a family-owned business that arranges flowers individually for every joyful recipient. The person on the receiving end is sure to have a brightened day with one of these beautiful bouquets. This month, check out the discounts on summer bouquets – some even come with a free vase!
Did you take a trip around the world this summer? We didn’t either. Teavanna.com can help transport you around the world with their delicious exotic iced teas collection. Be sure to take a peek at the various teapots, cups and infusers from their sale selection.
Looking for something unique to add to your life? SSENSE.com has over 1,000 sales items for men and women ranging from luggage, sunglasses and shoes to jewelry, ties, and jumpsuits. They have tons of items at 50% off and offer free shipping on orders $200 or more within the U.S. There is something for every reader at this e-retailer.
Summer is the time when friends and family get together for the holidays, take fun trips, and spend quality time together in the sun. Why not capture those moments for only $60.99 using this camera from DinoDirect.com? DinoDirect.com is currently having their 3 Year Anniversary sale where you’ll find electronics, car accessories, sporting goods, toys & hobbies, clothing and shoes and much more, all at fantastic prices.
Tags: Merchants Posted in Company Milestones
Earlier this month we mentioned that VigLink had been nominated for one of LinkShare’s Golden Link Awards for Innovative Publisher of the Year. The winner was determined by a panel of judges including Andy Hoar of Forrester Research, Rebecca Madigan of the Performance Marketing Association, Geno Prussakov of Affiliate Management Days, Scott Silverman of Scott Silverman Associates, and Missy Ward of Affiliate Summit & FeedFront Magazine.
We’re honored to announce that VigLink was selected as the winner in its category and named Rakuten LinkShare’s Innovative Publisher of the Year. The announcement was made at the Golden Link Awards luncheon yesterday at LinkShare Symposium New York.
A very very big thanks to the judges and LinkShare for thinking of us when they think “innovation”! And for those that couldn’t be there in-person, below are a few snapshots from the event.
Oliver Roup, Founder & CEO of VigLink, accepting the award.
The award itself!
Posted in Company Milestones, News and Updates, Re-Inventing Affiliate Marketing
Ten sessions, three ground breaking product announcements, twenty-five speakers, two-hundred attendees, hundreds of cups of coffee (and hundreds of cocktails) later, ForumCon 2012 is a wrap.
We’ll be sharing all the pictures, presentations and interviews from the event with you in the next couple of days, but didn’t want to wait any longer to share the three pieces of news that came out of ForumCon: vBulletin premiered their first product release in 2+ years, selected VigLink exclusively for content monetization, and we announced that our merchant coverage is now double that of any competitor. We now monetize traffic to 30,000+ merchants!
Here’s the blow-by-blow of how each of the announcements went down.
The morning kicked off a little bit early with a special event for both press and attendees: the unveiling of vBulletin 5 Connect.
While a press release with a few key details went out on the wire just as John McGanty, General Manager of Internet Brands took to the stage, the audience was certainly anxious for a more detailed overview. John’s preview definitely delivered, and we saw what vB5 Connect had to offer:
In total, there are 125 new features and enhancements in vBulletin 5 Connect. And the audience was buzzing throughout the rest of the day about which they were most excited for:
One of the enhancements available in vB5 Connect is VigLink content monetization available out-of-the-box. With the upcoming release, vBulletin will be replacing its previous content monetization solution with VigLink.
Bambi Francisco of Vator News chatted with both John McGanty of Internet Brands and Oliver Roup, our Founder & CEO, on Monday evening and shared details on the partnership early Tuesday morning in the lead up to the formal announcement.
And after the dust had settled, Murray Newlands, an advisor to VigLink and correspondent for Performance Marketing Insider caught up with Joe Rosenblum, CTO for Internet Brands, for his thoughts on the newly announced partnership (check it out below).
We’ll be sharing more detail on the partnership as the vB5 release date nears, but are happy to announce now that we’ll be offering both current and new VigLink users a 5% revenue bonus when they upgrade to vB5 (more detail in Oliver’s full presentation at the bottom of this post).
After vBulletin’s press session wrapped, Oliver formally kicked off the day with a few ForumCon updates, and also a pretty big announcement: VigLink now monetizes traffic to over 30,000 merchant sites.
Over the last six months, we’ve been hard at work forging a set of relationships that not only represent double the merchant coverage of any competitor, but will also deliver higher payouts for our publishers than any other entity can.
The end result: using VigLink is easier than ever (thanks to partnerships like that of vBulletin) and we’re not only earning you more than ever, but more than anyone else.
If you’re interested, you can check out Oliver’s full presentation below. And be on the lookout for full video and the rest of the presentation decks very soon!
A Thank You + 3 Things
The section title here is a homage to our concluding panel of the day, focused on the future of forums (video to come!). The VigLink team had such a great time spending the day with so many of our users, partners, and other industry leaders yesterday — and we are beyond excited for next year. The best, really is, yet to come.
Posted in Building Communities & Forums, Company Milestones, Content Monetization, Feature Announcements, News and Updates, Re-Inventing Affiliate Marketing, Relevant Reading
ForumCon 2012: San Francisco is less than 48 hours away! To get you ready for Tuesday’s event, take a few minutes to check out the final agenda below, and then catch up on some of the newest episodes of ForumCon TV below (and be sure to be on the lookout for Tyler, Winter and Chad at the actual event).
Excited to see many of you on Tuesday morning!
Know what’s happening when by downloading a copy of the final agenda here.
Posted in Building Communities & Forums, Company Milestones, News and Updates
Red Herring announced its Top 100 award in recognition of the leading private companies last night and we’re excited to announce that VigLink was included in the mix! The award celebrates startups’ innovations and technologies across their respective industries.
Red Herring’s Top 100 Americas list identifies promising new companies and entrepreneurs. Red Herring editors were among the first to recognize that companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Skype, Salesforce.com, YouTube, and eBay would change the way we live and work.
Red Herring’s editorial staff evaluated companies on both quantitative and qualitative criteria, such as financial performance, technology innovation, management quality, strategy, and market penetration. The assessment of potential is complemented by a review of the track record and standing of startups relative to their sector peers.
We’re honored to have been recognized amongst such a great group of companies. While we don’t spend our days pining away for awards, we’re humbled when the technology and team behind VigLink are recognized. A big thank you to Red Herring for selecting VigLink for their Top 100 list!
Posted in Company Milestones, News and Updates
A bit overdue, but better late than never! With ForumCon San Francisco less than 60 days away (are you as excited as we are?) we wanted to share a few of the video highlights from the previous conference.
And if you haven’t already, don’t forget to grab your ticket.
In this fireside chat with Jeremy Liew, Managing Partner, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Oliver Roup, Founder & CEO of VigLink, asks how a forum can go about raising capital, and when it makes sense to do so.
Three users walk into a bar: search visitors, n00bs and power users. In this presentation Dan Gill, Co-Founder & CEO of Huddler, discusses how to think about the user experience in each of these scenarios and how to think about monetization when it comes to each of your sites’ unique audiences.
JJ McCarthy, Global Director of the eBay Partner Network, shares an inside look at how eBay approaches performance marketing.
As affiliate nexus taxes are being enacted in more states, online merchants and forum owners are increasingly facing a number of business challenges and difficult decisions. In this panel discussion, experts on both sides of the issue weigh in on the key issues, and share how their respective companies are managing the issue.
Content marketing continues to gain momentum. In this presentation Tyler Tanaka, VP of Business Development at PostRelease, will discuss why brands and agencies are gravitating towards content marketing, and the content marketing tactics you can leverage to help grow your own community and it’s brand.
Michael Wechsler of TheLaw.com shares how forum owners can make their forum mobile seamlessly and painlessly.
More than likely you are already doing the obvious when it comes to monetizing your forum (running banner ads and perhaps Google AdSense). Intuitively, these kinds of ad models are easy to easy understand. They “sell” pieces of white space on your site.
In this panel, we’ll discuss one of the more technically difficult and often misunderstood monetization options available to forum owners: affiliate marketing. Four experts in the affiliate marketing space will discuss best practices and answer your questions.
Many refer to forums as the “original social network” — they were bringing individuals together en masse long before Facebook, MySpace or Twitter did. In a space that has already covered so much ground, what’s next? In this panel four forum & community experts will discuss the trends they anticipate sticking, which will likely subside and the overall direction they see the forum space moving in.
Tags: ForumCon, ForumCon Chicago Posted in Building Communities & Forums, Company Milestones
I had the pleasure of attending Harvard Business School’s annual Northern California Entrepreneurs Event this past Tuesday. It was a fun opportunity to catch up with old colleagues and hear from some of the latest alumni that have gone on to found new ventures in the Bay Area.
But the highlight of the evening was being named 2012 Growth Startup Business by the event’s panel of judges. It was a proud moment — and one that even came with a cool trophy (couldn’t resist including a picture below)!
A big thank you to all that have contributed to our growth this year and last! Very excited for what is ahead.
Oliver Roup | CEO & Founder | VigLink
Tags: Harvard Business School, Oliver Roup, San Francisco Bay Area Posted in Company Milestones, News and Updates