Can In-Text Ads Entice More Publishers?


The in-text ad market is pretty big. Both Vibrant Media and Kontera have built healthy businesses off it. And yet, there’s still a feeling among many publishers that in-text ads are somehow cheesy. Users aren’t all that fond of them, since everyone has accidentally moused over a double-green underlined word to suddenly launch a jarring video.

Google-backed Startup VigLink is hoping there’s a way to improve the in-text ad game for publishers. In its view, the in-text ad market has erred by catering mostly to advertisers, in that it has taken in campaigns and then gone hunting for keywords to associate those campaign with. That’s led to plenty of dubious matches, according to Olvier Roup, CEO of VigLink. Instead, VigLinks scours the page for keywords that might make the publisher money, then goes and associates them with one of tens of millions of products from affiliate programs.

The advantage of such a system, per Roup: more relevance because there are more offers to match to keywords and a better ad experience, since there isn’t an ad associated with the mouseover. Instead, a mouseover triggers only a disclosure the link was inserted by VigLink.

“We are ultimately selling clicks through links,” he said. “Vibrant and Kontera are selling display ads.”

VigLink has worked with publishers like and

The question is whether all these “incremental revenue” options for publishers will ever add to much. Roup claims that some VigLinks publishers have seen $50,000 checks a month. (The affiliate campaigns are a mix of cost-per-action and cost-per-click, aggregated from large programs like Amazon, eBay and Commission Junction.) That’s not bad, although hardly the kind of money that’s going to replace display advertising as a site’s bulwark. And it probably won’t, Roup concedes. But as Google AdSense showed, such incremental revenue sources can help solve publisher revenue gaps without annoying users.

“The intrusiveness of first-generation monetization is too high,” he said.

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