San Francisco-based VigLink isn’t sharing the price or other deal details, but chief executive Oliver Roup told me the two companies are actually rather complementary — where VigLink has focused out on building its technology such as detailed data and analytics for publishers, DrivingRevenue has recruited a large sales team and already facilitated nearly $200 million in purchases through its affiliate links. As a result, the companies are merging without cutting a single member of the workforce, and DrivingRevenue will keep its Chicago office, Roup said.
The appeal of companies like VigLink is that they can help online publishers make money without much extra work. Publishers can already earn a commission through affiliate links, where they take a cut on the sales that result from links to commercial sites like Amazon.com. VigLink and DrivingRevenue automate that process, so publishers just add a few lines of code to their site, then any link that could be an affiliate link becomes one.
But will this become a serious money source for publishers? It’s still early for the industry (DrivingRevenue is only two years old, and its competitors are younger), but DrivingRevenue cofounder and CEO Raymond Lyle said his company is already earning some of its customers an amount within 10 or 15 percent of what they earn from Google’s AdSense program.
DrivingRevenue was self-funded. Lyle said that given the increasing competition in the field, the company reached a point where it either needed to raise money or team up. And getting acquired made more sense, since VigLink has already lined up such an impressive roster of backers — not just Google, but also First Round Capital, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, former Google executive and current LinkedIn Vice President of Product Dipchand Nishar, and others. Lyle is now VigLink’s president.
VigLink’s main competitor at this point is a British startup called Skimlinks.