VigLink, a startup that helps publishers and bloggers monetize their outbound traffic, has closed a $5.4 million Series B funding round led by Emergence Capital, with participation from existing investors Google Ventures and First Round Capital. The company raised $800,000 in January 2010 and has now raised a total of $7.3 million. The company is also revealing that SoftTech VC took part in an earlier round (their participation was not previously disclosed).
VigLink’s goal is to help publishers monetize their content more effectively and without much effort. After installing a small snippet of code on your site, VigLink will detect whenever you create an outbound link to any of 12,500 merchant sites. It will then automatically convert this link to an affiliate link, which means that you get a kickback whenever someone clicks it and eventually completes a purchase on the linked merchant site. VigLink generally takes 25% of this cut, but given that many publishers don’t monetize their outbound traffic at all, it’s a lot better than nothing. Of course, you could always sign up for an affiliate program yourself, but VigLink is more convenient.
In addition to converting these links, VigLink is also gradually rolling out a new product that automatically inserts affiliate links whenever a relevant keyword is mentioned (for example, if you mentioned Nike shoes in a blog post, the site might automatically add a link to that text). This is a more aggressive feature, but CEO Oliver Roup says that the company’s goal is to make their links unobtrusive. They’re totally optional for publishers, and the service will also cap the number of links in any given article at four.
Since launching in February 2010 the service has been embedded on 15,000 sites, which serve some 2 billion pageviews per month. The company isn’t talking about how much revenue it’s generated for publishers, other than to say it’s been “meaningful” to their bottom lines. VigLink acquired one of its competitors, DrivingRevenue, in August. Other competitors include UK-based startup Skimlinks.