Yesterday I had the good fortune to chat with Gary Marcoccia from AvantLink, a new-ish affiliate network that has come on the scene in the last year or so. Being in this industry for about ten years, I have pretty specific ideas for what I’d like to see the main affiliate networks add or change to help both managers and affiliates, so I was excited to chat with Gary and see what a startup network was up to.
Gary walked me through the entire network and I have to say that I was very impressed. It was clean, easy to understand and included all the basic functions that one needs to run an affiliate program. There were also some very cool advanced features, such as the Advanced Link Encoder. You tend to see big jumps in innovation from start up companies, and this tool is no different.
From their release on October 30th:
This tool provides the affiliates with a small bit of java script code that they place in the header or footer of their site so it populates on every page. It then will take predetermined links to a specific merchant and make them a trackable link! This is outstanding for forums and blogs, especially if you have a lot of legacy content.
Gary told me of an affiliate that has been blogging for years. He installed the ALE in his footer and within a few days he saw an 80% increase in affiliate commissions. What an amazing time saver and commission optimization tool. Imagine if you have a forum – now any mentions of specific brands are turned into trackable links. I don’t know of any other network that provides something like this.
I was concerned about this tool interferring with the display of the page, but I can attest to seeing this in action and it did not slow down the page one bit. When you hover over a link you see the trackable AvantLink link, but in the source code you can see that it is a direct link.
And there is the second benefit for affiliates, and merchants. Since the affiliate can use a direct link, they can then pass their link juice to the merchant. I have been told of affiliates that were able to acquire a few more points on commission in turn for using the ALE exclusively and direct linking to a specific merchant. More power to the affiliates here, and an added benefit for merchants.
They released Version 2.0 on the 10th. Read more about it here. The most exciting change is the ability to designate any words, not just links, to be overwritten with a trackable link to a merchant. For instance, you can designate every mention of the word “ski” as a trackable link to a ski gear site available through AvantLink. Now that is powerful.
Now I just need a new client to really try this network out. Thanks Gary for spending the time to walk me through it yesterday.