VigLink is an affiliate software program that automates the insertion of affiliate links into websites via a snippet of code. Text that includes mention of any affiliated partner is then turned into an outgoing hyperlink to the merchant. When a purchase is made both VigLink and the affiliate earn a commission. The company was founded by Oliver Roup and backed by investment from Google Ventures and Emergence Capital. VigLink has affiliate agreements with over 17000 companies, including many big name brands and networks like Amazon, Ebay, Walmart, Commission Junction, Google Affiliate Network and Pepperjam.
VigLink raised $800K in a funding round during the summer of 2009, led by First Round Capital and Google Ventures, amongst others. Their executive team includes Founder and CEO Oliver Coup, Christian Romming (CTO), Jack Bafia (COO), David Gourley (Vice President, Customer Success), Steve Arentzoff ( Vice President, Marketing) and Julia Grace (Product Manager). It solves a number of significant problems for affiliate marketers and seeks to make the job of promoting a wide range of affiliate programs as hassle-free as possible. Their Lineweaver technology works by dropping a snippet of Java code into a website template, much like Google Analytics and Adsense, for those familiar. Relevant text links in website content are then automatically affiliated and turned into an outgoing hyperlink to the participating merchants’ website. Purchases that result from that click are then credited to the affiliate by VigLink.
There are many benefits to using VigLink, summarised below:
- VigLink is free for affiliates to sign up.
- Saves time – creating affiliate accounts one by one and inserting links manually is a time-consuming and laborious task. VigLink effectively solves this problem on a huge scale.
- Generous commissions – because of its size and reach, VigLink gets the maximum possible payout by merchants, which is passed on to affiliates. Current commission payout to affiliates is 75%, with the remaining 25% being VigLinks cut.
- Access to big name brands that would otherwise be inaccessible for small affiliates to promote.
- Consolidation of affiliate accounts and commissions – removes the need to sign up for individual merchant accounts and affiliate networks, so statistics and commissions can be viewed from one account.
- No problems with broken links – because links are created automatically, there are zero errors and therefore no lost commissions.
- Pretty links – affiliate links are typically long and “ugly” to the user and may put people off clicking. All links are short and appear to link to the merchant home page.
- No need for link cloaking – affiliates concerned about affiliate link “hijacking” need no longer worry about lost commissions. Affiliate links are effectively hidden.
- Enables those in normally ineligible, blacklisted countries or because of local laws (like the nexus laws in California, Pennsylvania and other states), to take part.
- Payment via Paypal in non-US countries – taking away some of the “hoops” affiliates sometimes have to jump through to get paid.
Important Points of Note
- List of Merchants not provided – the company does not publish a list of all 17000+ companies it is partnered with. Perhaps this is a layer of protection to prevent competitors from easily seeing their network. They do provide a searchable database to check for a relationship with individual merchants although it would be time-consuming to check very many.
- VigLinks own payout is undisclosed – affiliates have no way of knowing if they are being paid their fair share.
- Quality checks – affiliate networks typically have an approval process to filter low-quality affiliates and those that might cause problems for the network eg. by spamming. VigLink is currently open to anyone and approval is instant. Founder and CEO Oliver Roup has confirmed that there is a system in place similar to the one Google Adsense uses to constantly monitor publishers content for spam, providing some peace of mind.