August 5, 2010, 6:53 PM

VigLink buys affiliate marketing competitor Driving Revenue

VigLink hopes to create an automated affiliate marketing powerhouse.

VigLink Inc., which helps bloggers and other providers of online content earn more money from merchant links, has purchased Driving Revenue Inc. which offers similar services. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The goal is to create a powerful automated affiliate marketing company, a VigLink spokesman says. VigLink and Driving Revenue’s services track consumers who click on links from sites such as blogs to a retailer and records when they make a purchase. For instance, a running blog might have links to a running shoe store. The technology tracks whether the reader follows a link from the blog to buy a pair of shoes. The web publisher takes a cut of the sales, as does the vendor—in this case VigLink or Driving Revenue.

VigLink says the web publishers establish their own relationships with online retailers and they can establish agreements with any merchant they choose. This is different from affiliate networks such as Commission Junction in which the affiliate has access only to the e-retailers in the network.

VigLink says web users who have reached sites via links managed by Driving Revenue have made more than $100 million worth of online purchases. In June, Driving Revenue said it had surpassed 2 million affiliate transactions.

VigLink earlier this year received $800,000 in seed investment from Google Ventures, First Round Capital and individuals including Reid Hoffman, founder of business networking site LinkedIn.

As part of this deal, Google Ventures and First Round Capital both more than doubled their investment in the company, VigLink says in a blog post.

The two companies’ combined customers include computer news sites Macworld and PCWorld, web technology blog ReadWriteWeb and Technorati, an Internet search engine for searching blogs.

“The companies are very similar,” the spokesman says, noting that there are a few differences in expertise. For example, Driving Revenue has more experience in the automotive industry, he says.  

U.S. Internet merchants currently pay more than $2 billion annually for affiliate marketing commissions to web publishers for their traffic and the business it brings, VigLink says. Together, the companies track over 2 million publisher clicks a day and 3 billion monthly page views across more than 12,000 merchant programs and dozens of networks, VigLink says.

"This acquisition provides us with the ability to accelerate our already burgeoning business, as well as to bring on a fantastic team with incredible depth in the affiliate marketing industry," says Oliver Roup, CEO of VigLink. 

All employees of Chicago-based Driving Revenue will continue to work out of their Chicago offices.  Raymond Lyle, CEO and co-founder of Driving Revenue, will become president of VigLink and will lead the sales and merchant relationship team in Chicago, VigLink says.  Driving Revenue chief technology officer and co-founder Jack Bafia will lead the VigLink product team in San Francisco.

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