The goal of VigLink, as well as competitors like Skimlinks, is to make the affiliate linking process (where publishers get paid by merchants when their links drive sales) easier and more automated — which, ultimately, should result in more money for online publishers. VigLink can both convert normal links into affiliate links and insert new affiliate links into a website’s text.
The company says it currently works with 300,000 sites (including Elle, Road & Track, and CNET) and 35,000 merchants, and that it processes more than 500 million clicks each month. And last fall it launched the VigLink Exchange, which creates a competitive bidding process among merchants — the one who’s offering the biggest payment to the publisher should get the link. The advantage to publishers is obvious, while founder and CEO Oliver Roup said it also gives merchants “the ability to pay more to get more traffic.”
Given the relative newness of the product, links sold through the VigLink Exchange still represent a minority of the company’s traffic. But Roup said it’s “a strong and growing share,” and the funding will allow the company to “double down” on the exchange. The funding will also allow the company to grow in Europe and Asia.
Asked how the growth in mobile browsing and reading will affect his company, Roup noted that VigLink’s technology also works on mobile websites and apps. He argued that the necessity for something like VigLink is “enhanced” on smartphones: “If you’re on mobile and if you’re not one of the nine apps on the home screen or the 15 apps on the homescreen, you are buying your traffic from somewhere.”
The Series C was led by RRE Ventures, with participation from Correlation Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank, as well as past investors Google Ventures, Emergence Capital, and First Round Capital. RRE’s Eric Wiesen is joining the VigLink Board of Directors.
This is VigLink’s first funding since it raised its Series B three years ago. The company also says that it became profitable in the fourth quarter of last year.
“One of the great things about having a business focused on monetization is, it makes running a business easier to be cost efficient,” Roup said.