Big Data Innovators: VigLink Monetizes Content Hidden In Your Website

Like many bloggers and web publishers, I have a dashboard to monitor how users interact with content on my website so I can continuously improve the user experience.  I discovered a metric called “Clicks” which tracks outbound traffic from hyperlinks scattered throughout my webpage. It occurred to me that I was generously driving hundreds of users to other websites, but getting nothing in return!

VigLink provides a return, a monetary return, for outbound traffic. With little effort, web publishers and bloggers are able to monetize their content through VigLink’s transparent link affiliate and insertion services.  VigLink converts existing links on a web page to merchant affiliate links when clicked, and subsequently tracks outbound user activity on the merchant site.  Each time a purchase is made on the linked merchant site, the referring web page owner earns a commission from the merchant.  In addition to existing links on a web page, VigLink offers intelligent link insertion on keywords to drive additional outbound traffic and purchases.  This is possible through Big Data analytics, whereby VigLink Data Scientists build predictive models from all the click data collected, to determine what keywords are likely to lead to purchases.  

Since launching in February 2010, VigLink monetizes content for 20,000 web sites across 13,000 merchants (destination sites), tracking millions of clicks per month. Maybe I can finally make my millions using VigLink to monetize content on this blog?  In order to develop my in-content advertising strategy AND showcase an interesting Big Data use case, I met VigLink CTO Christian Romming to learn more.

1.  What is VigLink and how is your company unique in the industry? 

VigLink provides web site owners a simple and un-intrusive way to earn referral commissions from links on their web pages without burden of managing multiple affiliate accounts and manually inserting affiliate account codes in every link. In addition to existing links, we have created our own algorithms for optimal link insertion to maximize monetization.  What makes us unique is that we do not negatively impact the user experience with intrusive popups or double lines that are found in other linking technologies.

We also provide our customers dashboards that report on metrics such as top destination sites by revenue, most clicked links per page, top origin sites, etc.  By better understanding user behavior, customers can make changes to websites to optimize monetization.

2.  Who are some of the bloggers and web publishers that sign up for your service?  Is there an ideal candidate that would benefit?  For example, can an independent blogger with a few thousand followers benefit?

VigLink is applicable to any website.  We make it simple and cost-effective to get started by providing a small piece javascript code that you insert into your website, similar to Google Analytics, or use our plugins to applications such as WordPress and Tumblr.  The code converts the link from an outgoing click to a merchant affiliate link, or paying link, in order to track purchases made from the outgoing click.  All of this is done transparently so the user experience is non intrusive.

3.  The service you provide sounds like a win-win situation.  With little effort, both website owner and merchant gain something.  What does VigLink gain?

Since we make money for the web publisher, we make money by taking a percentage of their referral commission.  But at the same time, we negotiate better referral commissions from merchants for our service so that ultimately web publishers are better off using our service than creating affiliate links manually.

The other thing we gain is Big Data or the volumes of click data we collect from our service to optimize our analytic model for inserting affiliate links to web pages.  The more data we collect, the better we can predict what links will generate the most traffic to merchant websites.

4.  What technology are you using to collect and analyze data for VigLink users?

Like many startups, we use open source tools.  We use MySQL for relational data, Cassandra for large scale OLTP, and Hadoop with Hive for large-scale analytics.

Thank you Christian.  I think I have all the information I need to create my EMC Big Data Blog content monetization strategy.  And I will be waiting for the commission you owe me for driving traffic to VigLink…

For more information on VigLink, please visit to

About the Author: Mona Patel