The ultimate text link hookup between advertisers and publishers is the ability to easily purchase or sell text links within content, under the radar. In that kind of scenario, the advertisers win because they get links that users will actually notice, rather than those that get ignored in sidebars and footers. The publishers win because they have much more ad space to sell, selling is easy, and yet they still get to maintain control over who can advertise on their site and who cannot. Of course, with this kind of scenario, both the advertisers and the publishers win as they fight in the paid links stealth game.
A new service has just launched called LinkXL, which aims to provide that ultimate content advertising hookup. I spoke with Dwight Zahringer, president and co-founder of LinkXL, and I bombarded him with questions. I mostly focused on the search engine vs. paid links war, looking for any footprints that LinkXL might leave behind. Once he answered those questions (and he did, satisfactorily, I might add), I then turned the conversation towards the actual functioning aspects of the service. Here's what I found out.
1. You can pretty much eliminate any worries about LinkXL leaving any footprints for the search engines to find. I couldn't find anything that would tip a bot off to the fact that links were paid for. (Do your own due diligence, however. I take no responsibility if I'm wrong). Yes, it is theoretically possible for a human se rep to join, log in and hunt down sites, but it wouldn't be easy. There is no laundry list of sites to browse through. The rep would have to search every conceivable keyword to find sites that are targeting those terms.
2. The service itself is smooth. Publishers install some scripts, and let the service know what content will be available. That content is then spidered and indexed. Advertisers search keywords, and any indexed content that matches the query is shown to the advertiser. Advertisers can see the category, alexa ranking, PR, whether or not the page is cached, price, and number of links available for each listing. Once listings are chosen, publishers get to review any purchases made and accept or reject them.
A few extra facts:
- Publishers set their own pricing (one price for home page links, and another for internal pages). They can also list a few "special keyword" prices for those phrases that they want to charge extra for, on top of the normal price.
- Publishers earn 55%, LinkXL takes 45%.
- LinkXL places no restrictions on running ads from other services.
- Publishers can block categories, domains, and advertisers.
- Publishers are paid by the 10th of each month for the previous month's earnings, via PayPal or check.
Just for research purposes, I will be testing the service out on a couple of pages of one of my sites. Once I've put it through its paces, I'll report back on anything else I've discovered. In the meantime, keep your eye on LinkXL. It looks like a potential winner to me.