The first CMX Summit is taking place this Thursday, February 6th, and I am excited to say I will be going. I will be reporting live from the event via our facebook and twitter. If you were still on the fence about joining, let me tell you why I am attending. I mean beyond the our amazing and exclusive 25% off discount we have to share! To snag yourself this special discount just follow this link and type in forumcon25. Tickets are quickly selling out, so act fast to secure your seat.
Onto the real reasons why I am attending – CMX Summit is a new conference, which is focused entirely on community building. This year CMX is bringing together unique perspectives from fields and companies like psychology, behavioral analysis, habit analysis, Apple, Lyft, AirBnB, Facebook, 500 Startups and more. I have been promised in the audience will be the industry’s leading community professionals and startup founders, who will be sharing their best tips on how to build, scale, and sustain healthy communities.
This will be a great day of learning in the long wait to this year’s ForumCon and I can’t wait to share some of the top forum and online community tips I learn on the day.
Watch this space forum owners and community managers! Expert knowledge from those in the know on way!
30,000 merchants is, well, a lot. Still, our publishers need to know which merchants they can monetize through VigLink. That’s why we released the new Merchant Explorer: a comprehensive, searchable view into every merchant covered.
Now anyone can learn more about the merchants that monetize through VigLink.
Visitors will see that many merchants sport an “Insider” badge. These merchants have raised their commissions by at least 25%. This means publishers can actually earn as much or more through VigLink than they would by going direct.
The next time you’re wondering if VigLink covers a merchant or two (or two thousand), just click over to viglink.com/explorer and we’ll let you know. Ask away!
Thanks to recent changes to our monetization engine, VigLink has just about doubled payouts to publishers linking to iTunes. How’d we do it? It’s all about location, location, location.
The web is truly world-wide. More than 50% of the traffic running through our network is from outside of the US. However, when it comes to online commerce, worldwide traffic complicates things. Geography matters – to users who want a local experience, to merchants who want to best serve their customers, and to publishers who deserve to be fairly compensated for the business they drive. To manage this, international merchants sometimes set up multiple storefronts, one for each country. Often, they’ll set up country-specific affiliate programs as well. As a publisher, sending Mexico users to a Mexico storefront through the Mexico affiliate program is not trivial. When this blogger wanted to recommend a camping stove he actually went to the trouble of hard coding links to six individual Amazon country stores as a service to his international readers. We think there’s got to be a better way.
We’re happy to announce that we’re beginning to tackle this problem and, in partnership with GeoRiot, we’re starting with links to iTunes. As of last month, all Apple iTunes, App Store, and even iBookstore links handled by VigLink are now geographically aware: We detect the user’s country and send them to the right iTunes store (and via the right affiliate program). It’s only natural for a US music blogger to link to the US store. Now, if they use VigLink, their Mexico traffic will automatically be routed to the iTunes Mexico store.
This change benefits all involved – publishers earn more without doing more, iTunes gains more sales, and the user experience is dramatically improved. For publishers who link out to iTunes, commissions have grown by more than 90% since we instituted the change. Of course, that means total iTunes sales driven by the VigLink network have also more than doubled. Perhaps most importantly, users across the world, in countries as far apart as Canada, Austria and Colombia, are now enjoying a seamless experience.
This is just the beginning. We aim to support geo-intelligent links for all global merchants. After all, at VigLink our goal is to make the hyperlink smarter and more valuable. And that, we believe, is making the web better for everyone.
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.
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.
vBulletin 5 Connect Makes its World Debut
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:
Sleek new UI with extensive social integration
Category-leading mobile optimization
Simplified site set up, customization and management
New core architecture for improved search, better performance and easier modifications
Dynamic tools for content discovery
Expanded photo and video sharing capabilities
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:
vBulletin Chooses VigLink for Content Monetization
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).
VigLink Announces Double the Merchant Coverage
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!
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.
VigLink rolls out a couple different kinds of updates. Some are entirely new features, others are targeted improvements to the core product. This past week our development team rolled out an update in the latter category that includes a set of cool updates to the dashboard and our outbound analytics package.
VigLink is growing quickly (exciting!), but as we’ve added publishers to the network (read: lots more clicks and pageviews) it’s been important that the product scales with them. To that end, we’ve migrated dashboard data from mySQL to Cassandra. The change allows us to handle billions of page views and hundreds of millions of clicks on a weekly basis with ease, accommodating even our largest publishers.
What it means for you: when you log in next you’ll notice quicker load times all around!
Affiliation Status on Out-Clicks
In the “Out-Clicks” section of the weekly dashboard we’ve added two new sections that indicate the affiliation “status” of outbound traffic to a particular domain, and outbound traffic overall. Where you’ll notice it: a new column for affiliation “status” in the Destination Sites by Outbound Traffic table and a new section on Clicks by Affiliation Status next to the Most Clicked Links table (screenshots of both below).
Together, these two areas will make it easier to understand if traffic to a particular domain is being monetized, and as a whole, what percentage of your outbound traffic VigLink monetizes.
A quick guide to the three Status options you’ll see:
A green semi-circle: This icon means links to that site were affiliated by VigLink.
A green circle: This icon means that some links to this site were already affiliated; the rest were affiliated by VigLink.
An empty circle: This icon means links to the site couldn’t be monetized.
Screenshot of the Destination Sites by Outbound Traffic table, found in the Out-Clicks section of the weekly dashboard. New Status column highlighted.
Screenshot of the Clicks by Affiliation Status summary table, found next to the Most Clicked links table in the Out-Clicks section of the weekly dashboard. Highlighted portion new.
Origin Sites by Outbound Traffic
Last but not least we’ve also introduced a new table in the Out-Clicks section of the weekly dashboard that details which domains are seeing the most views and outclicks – particularly interesting if you are using the same API key on multiple sites.
Today VigLink is introducing a new way we help you monetize your forum, blog and website content: Link Insertion powered by LinkWeavertechnology.
LinkWeaver identifies additional monetization opportunities within your content — allowing you to earn more revenue every month with VigLink!
How it Works
LinkWeaver delivers a unique approach to monetizing website content. The technology does not force advertising into content through links or display units that are only tangentially related to what a webpage’s content is referencing.
Instead, each page of your website is individually analyzed with our proprietary technology and algorithms to determine what its content focus is, and the products and services that are referenced within it. When references to products, product categories, merchants, brands or services are found – and no link exists for those references – we seamlessly weave a link into the page to allow the reader to quickly and easily find more information about the products referenced in the content, or to even make a purchase.
It’s a publisher-friendly link insertion solution that actually adds value to the reader. Plus, LinkWeaver augments VigLink’s automated link affiliation solution and doesn’t interfere with any other monetization efforts (AdSense, banner ads, even other link insertion products). The revenue you earn from LinkWeaver is purely incremental.
Here are a couple examples of LinkWeaver in action:
Example 1: A product reference is detected and a link is added by LinkWeaver.
Example 2: An online merchant reference is detected and a link is added by LinkWeaver.
What Publishers are Saying
In beta testing, LinkWeaver has been shown to increase VigLink revenue by as much as 40%.
“We’ve been using VigLink’s automated link affiliation for some time with great success. Recently, we activated link insertion and saw our VigLink revenue increase by nearly 40%. With the holiday shopping season fast approaching, the service is an important addition to our current monetization efforts. It is particularly appealing that LinkWeaver enhances a reader’s experience on the site in a remarkably unobtrusive way.”
How to Activate
Now is an ideal time to focus on monetizing your blog, website or forum content — and getting the most out of the bump in holiday shopping and spending we’ll be seeing during November and December.
If you are a current VigLink user, activation is an easy three-step process:
Publishers typically partner with VigLink in one of two ways: directly, by adding a code snippet to the footer of their site, or via a 3rd party platform that allows users to easily activate VigLink within the site’s own user interface.
We pay you the same month we receive money from the merchants
These updates are significant improvements over the old system of mailing checks, and will get you paid faster.
Don’t worry if your VigLink email is not connected to your PayPal account, PayPal makes it very easy to associate new emails with your account. They will notify you when your money is sent and walk you through the steps of claiming it. If you want to change your VigLink email anyway, do so here. Creating a PayPal account is free, and there are no new charges or fees for you.
Please note that a reported commission will not be paid out until we receive the money from the merchant. This can take up to 60 days for some merchants, but many are faster.
Here is the life cycle of your payment, from click to PayPal transfer. How long a particular transaction takes at each stage depends on the terms of that merchant.
Transaction (cookie duration up to 30 days, depending on merchant)
Commission credited (24 hrs-1 week, depending on merchant)
Commission displayed in VigLink Dashboard (same day)
Merchant clears commission on network and sends money to VigLink. (30-90 days, depends on network and merchant)
VigLink transfers you money (end of the same month)
We are working to give you as much visibility into this process for transactions you generate as is technically feasible. Our goal is to make this process faster and more clear, and we continue to build technology to make that happen. If you have questions, browse our support community on Get Satisfaction.
At VigLink, we believe detailed actionable data is one of the best ways to improve the monetization of your site. Understanding where your users go and what they buy helps you understand what they like and can inform what you want to write about. So we’ve spent lots of time creating very detailed analytics about which clicks, pages and products are driving the most revenue. We’ve got lots of compliments on these analytics and we’re continuing to work very hard to improve them.
At the same time, we think sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all that data and lose sight of the big picture. So starting today, we’ve made the default view on the dashboard a monthly summary view.
You can still click through to the weekly dashboard to see the detailed breakdown of your traffic that you are used to, but this is the new homepage for VigLink users. We will be rolling out more tools to expand your options for monetization and you will see them first here.