As reported in TechCrunch yesterday, Emergence is leading VigLink's Series B financing. We're thrilled to be working with Oliver and the rest of the VigLink team -- along with Google Ventures and First Round Capital -- to help VigLink continue to capitalize on the strong momentum the company is experiencing.
VigLink provides a service that allows "social publishers" (bloggers, Q&A sites, forum operators, social media platforms, etc.) to effectively monetize content about products and services. VigLink does this by allowing publishers to easily and automatically integrate thousands of affiliate marketing programs into their content.
VigLink's business touches several trends that we're paying a lot of attention to:
- Social recommendations increasingly drive purchase behavior. More and more, consumers are turning to blogs, social media, forums, Q&A sites and other user-generated content destinations as they make decisions about which products and services to buy. While search still plays a significant role in the purchase process, social outlets are gaining fast and in my view could overtake search as the first stop for product research.
- Social media hasn't yet cracked the code on performance-based advertising. Sure, Facebook is making a lot of money on display advertising. Twitter is starting to see traction with brand advertising as well. However, performance-based campaigns continue to account for more than half of all online ad spend. Today, most performance-based ad spend goes to search. As online product research behavior shifts more toward social, there's a tremendous opportunity for social publishers and platforms to obtain a big piece of the performance ad spend pie. VigLink's service helps social publishers capitalize on this opportunity in an elegant and highly scalable way.
- The social content landscape is becoming more fragmented. The social content market (including social media platforms, Q&A sites, blogs, forums, etc.) is seeing the rise of successful new entrants on a regular basis (e.g. Quora, Stack Exchange, and gdgt). Were Facebook and Twitter to own the entire social content ecosystem, there would be little need for 3rd-party monetization partners. However, in a world of fragmented social content destinations, services like VigLink's are incredibly valuable.
For all these reasons, we believe that VigLink has an incredibly bright future ahead. Further, Oliver has done a wonderful job building a great team and board to help go after this huge opportunity. Ray, Jack, Christian, Niel, Rich, and the rest of the group are real pros. We're really looking forward to working closely with all of them.
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