Get Smart with Total Link Management

Jun 27, 2012

Article ImageIn an effort to help web publishers "build their audience by leveraging their most valuable asset - content," LinkSmart, Inc. was launched Wednesday, June 27, along with its cloud-based Total Link Management (TLM) platform. The Boulder, CO-based LinkSmart was launched by Pete Sheinbaum, a 20-year publishing veteran and former DailyCandy CEO, who says that "the publishing industry is in a crisis" and he wants to help. TLM is the web publishing industry's "first complete text link management solution that analyzes, manages and optimizes text links on keywords in content," according to LinkSmart, a provider of text linking optimization solutions for web publishers.

"I've seen things go from bad to worse where publishers are giving away what little margins they have to affiliate vendors rather than stopping to focus on why readers are visiting their site in the first place, and what they can do to improve that experience," he says. "LinkSmart is squarely focused on giving publishers a solution that leverages their most valuable asset - content."

TLM allows publishers to understand how readers are interacting with their content, and more specifically, the text-linked keywords housed in them, says Sheinbaum. "Strategically managing text links presents a tremendous untapped opportunity to shape the flow of traffic - improving reader experience and publishers' ability to drive visitors to high-value areas," says Sheinbaum.

Unlike other text-linking products that serve pop-up ads or send visitors off site to affiliate networks in exchange for money, the TLM platform is an extension of a publisher's content and traffic management systems focused on increasing reader engagement, creating new and valuable inventory, supporting advertising relationships, and reducing costs, according to LinkSmart.

TLM works by identifying valuable keyword links within articles that have the highest performing click engagement, then utilizes the publisher's own organic traffic to help readers find deeper, related, content within their site or that of a partner or affiliate, says LinkSmart. This, in turn, helps publishers fulfill partner commitments while maximizing the potential revenue of a reader's visit.

TLM creates "innovative opportunities to monetize web properties without diluting content," says LinkSmart, and in early results with LinkSmart's pilot partners, the software performed 15 to 20 times better than other common traffic optimization techniques, according to the company.

Sheinbaum provided an example of how LinkSmart and the TLM platform would be utilized by a large sports site. "The first step is to cut and paste four lines of JavaScript into the footer of their site. That's all the technical integration necessary for TLM to operate," says Sheinbaum. "Our system starts to ingest all their content, all their in-text links, and captures the engagement metrics that the site can utilize."

If the site is running a special section about the NCAA Tournament, for example, then they likely have some big sponsors to please as well, he adds. "They have created profile pages of each team, players and other interesting March Madness content. They need to make sure they get enough traffic to this section as they have promised a great deal," says Sheinbaum. 

From there, the LinkSmart system can identify all the basketball-related links across the entire site or network of sites, points out Sheinbaum.

"Specifically, let's say we find 15 unique links about the University of Kentucky's basketball team, and those links sit on 357 different pages of content and link to 150 different destinations. The operators of the site create a Kentucky or basketball campaign within TLM and add these links to that campaign, and program where they want these exiting links to update to," says Sheinbaum.

Within the campaign, they set a start date for when the tournament starts and a click budget (1,000,000 clicks), he continues. "On that date, the campaign kicks off and all these 357 links automatically have their destinations update to point at the basketball tournament section," says Sheinbaum. "The links look and feel the same, but now the publisher has dynamically managed their traffic flows to generate more page views in this sponsored section."

LinkSmart is backed by leading technology venture capital firms Foundry Group, Sutter Hill Ventures, and Costanoa Venture Capital.

("3D metaphor on communication" courtesy of Shutterstock.)