There are several different types of affiliate networks you can sign up with.
You have traditional CPS networks and specialized CPA platforms.
And then you have a hybrid network like VigLink.
VigLink is somewhere between CJ and AdSense in that it converts existing outgoing links on your pages into affiliate links.
You get paid per click by some advertisers (CPC) and per sale by others (CPA).
Basically, you publish content and VigLink takes care of the monetization for you.
At face value, that obviously sounds like a pretty attractive offer.
But in this VigLink review, we’re going to dig deep and make them run laps.
Let’s see what it’s really like using VigLink.
The first thing to mention here is that Sovrn acquired VigLink in 2018.
But it’s just a case of rebranding – their business model remains the exact same.
So for the purpose of this review, we’ll refer to this network as “VigLink” to prevent any confusion.
They’re also not some kind of overnight sensation just looking to make a quick buck.
They’ve actually been in business since 2009.
As of right now they work with over 40,000 affiliate publishers and report revenues of US$1 billion per year.
It’s worth pointing out that VigLink partners with publishers of all sizes, from your average at-home affiliate to CNN, MSN, and CNET.
So you’re not dealing with some third rate network shilling for pennies.
But how does VigLink actually hold up to scrutiny?
Let’s find out, shall we?
Having to step through the signup process of most affiliate networks is enough to screw with your stoicism.
Thankfully they keep things simple for the future VigLink affiliate.
You simply click on ‘Sign Up’ from their homepage:
And then choose from signing up using your Google account (the quickest option) or using an email address and password instead:
You’ll then receive the typical confirmation email with a verification link, which then brings you to the VigLink login page.
And once you click on that you’re ready to take the next step, which is your name, business name, and business website URL:
And then finally the URL you want to add VigLink publisher links to:
Every VigLink affiliate has to go through their approval process, but that’s exactly like any other affiliate marketing network,
But they do hit your email address straight away with a request to add their code snippet to your website.
So they’re obviously eager to do business.
Next up is a friendly and short tutorial covering the VigLink affiliate dashboard:
And that’s pretty much it.
You can enter your tax and payment information at your leisure.
Overall, this is one of the least painful website registration processes I’ve gone through.
And now to the next step in our VigLink review – the brand names.
What brands can you promote?
This is where things will get a little different than what you’re used to.
You don’t actually select which advertisers you want to promote.
Most of this is done for you in the background based on which of the 20+ categories your website falls under.
VigLink tries to figure out the best category to place your website in but doesn’t quite get it right.
It looks like they set my test website to a default of ‘Arts and Entertainment’.
Which it definitely is not.
So make sure you watch out for this with your own website(s).
Anyways, the advertisers you get to work with are all fairly typical of what you’ll find on the larger traditional affiliate networks.
Here’s just a handful of examples:
So there are lots of big names, affiliate links for which will be automatically added to relevant keywords in your content.
But there is an element of being able to choose which companies you promote.
I’ll explain that a little later.
Ease of Use
Once your website has been approved you’ll notice that the VigLink affiliate interface looks somewhat different when you sign back in.
Very different, to be honest.
The side menu is gone and you have a dropdown menu to work with instead:
- Dashboard : This is your default view
- Settings: Reconfigure affiliate link behavior e.g. to open in a new window
- Anywhere: Where you go to monetize your social media posts or emails
- Merchants: This is where all of VigLink’s 70,000 advertisers hang out
- Trends: What products are hot/trending right now globally – this is actually a pretty neat niche research tool in disguise, while also informing you what products you could create content around.
The only other menu function you might need is in the top right-hand corner:
- Account – your personal information
- Websites – view existing websites or add new ones
- Settings – a duplicate of ‘Settings’ on the main navigation menu
- Payments – show me the money!
And that’s it in terms of using the VigLink affiliate dashboard.
It doesn’t feel cluttered.
There are no ridiculous menu systems to navigate, and this layout actually feels really intuitive.
I think it might be because it feels like the UX you’d find on a standard application like MS Word.
So it’s not jarring.
Finding affiliate programs on VigLink
So, with 70,000 advertisers to work with you might think it’ll be tough to find what you’re looking for.
Firstly because you won’t be eligible to work with some of these merchants because of your location, niche, or traffic type.
So that whittles the list down a bit.
But it’s VigLink’s search functionality which makes the entire process a piece of cake:
You can quickly filter through offers to find exactly what you want.
Including whether or not you get paid per click (CPC) or per sale (CPA).
You can also tag ‘Preferred Merchant’ if you only want a list of merchants who pay higher-than-normal commission rates.
Some of you might also have noticed those red “X” marks beside many of the ‘Preferred’ programs.
That just means those merchants are out of bounds for you right now.
Until you can demonstrate that you can drive a volume of traffic.
But in the meantime it’s time to make hay with the affiliate programs you’re pre-approved for:
Creating affiliate links
So now you have some programs to work with…how do you create affiliate links?
This is also kept very, very straightforward…because the network does the work for you.
That’s why affiliates like to use VigLink.
Remember, they automatically turn existing links with commercial intent on your website into affiliate links to VigLink merchants.
So when it comes to affiliate links, VigLink requires pretty much zero effort on your part.
But if you do need to create an affiliate link manually, then just click on the name of the merchant you want to create affiliate links to:
Then on the next screen simply click ‘Check affiliation’.
And then just copy and paste the code wherever you want to put it in a social channel or piece of content.
So once you’ve started raking in all those affiliate monies, how do you go about getting them from VigLink and into your bank account?
If you need to get paid net-30 then VigLink might not be the in-content affiliate network for you.
That’s because they pay net-90.
Basically, you don’t get paid for 3 months after you earn revenue from clicks or sales.
This is understandable because VigLink needs to factor in refunds, etc.
But if you do need to get paid like today then VigLink will buy your “invoices” from you and pay you immediately.
This is their “Instant Pay” system.
They obviously charge a fee for doing this, but it’s one way of getting paid faster.
You can choose to receive your VigLink affiliate income by check, wire, PayPal, or direct deposit.
They cover all the fees involved in transfers, something which can save you a fortune when using PayPal.
PayPal users only have to earn US$10 to start receiving affiliate marketing cash from VigLink.
But you need to earn at least US$50 if you choose to receive payment by wire, check, or direct deposit.
To their credit, VigLink lay on user support from the split second you sign up e.g. the mini-tutorial on the affiliate dashboard.
This keeps you occupied while they review your application.
But how do they go about answering any other question you might have?
In that case, you head over to VigLink Support:
Their guides are short and to the point, with many of them featuring screenshots.
It would be nice to see more use of mixed media here, but what they offer in terms of a knowledgebase is decent enough.
And they do also include a search function:
If you need to contact the VigLink support team directly you can reach out to them via their email contact form:
They do also publish contact telephone numbers for their US and UK offices right underneath the contact form.
The fact that VigLink offers support by phone puts them way ahead of most of their competitors.
It’s just a shame that their knowledgebase feels a little “empty”.
On review, that’s probably just me nitpicking.
Having an opinion on something is fine.
But if you really want to know what it’s like to work with an affiliate network…well…it’s best to ask people who actually use it.
Here’s one publisher who got tired of hearing that VigLink is shit:
And then if we take a look at it from an advertiser’s perspective we see this type of feedback:
Here’s an example of one marketer using VigLink to successfully monetize multiple forums:
There are a lot of people pissing and moaning online about VigLink too though.
Because this is the Internet
Here’s one complaining about their application being rejected several times in a row:
And another complaint in relation to not being able to contact support.
What I did notice is that almost every negative review is one of the following:
- “They shut my account down without warning”
- “They keep declining my applications”
- “They’re refusing to pay up”
Which is usually the sob story rolled out by scammers who got caught and don’t like it.
Obviously, negative feedback around not being able to get in touch with their support team has to be assumed is legitimate.
And I did see several complaints saying VigLink took up to five days to respond to an email.
So, there’s usually no smoke without fire when it comes to this stuff.
VigLink (Sovrn Commerce) Summary
URL: VigLink (Sovrn Commerce)
Year established: 2009
Number of merchants: 70,000
Offer types: CPC, CPA
Weighing it up
VigLink (Sovrn) is a different beast than a traditional affiliate marketing network.
It can provide you with something very, very close to truly passive income.
But is it worth the effort of signing up for?
- Easy application process
- CPC and CPA offers available
- Tens of thousands of advertisers to promote
- A more passive way to make money from your website
- No messing around manually placing affiliate links
- Designed with social media influencers in mind
- APIs for developers
- “Instant Pay” allows you to get paid immediately…at a cost
- The Net-90 payment terms are annoying
- Commission rates are considerably lower than working directly with an affiliate program
- A worrying number of complaints around very slow replies to support queries
VigLink Review Conclusion
And there you have our in-depth VigLink review.
The biggest question most affiliates have about networks like VigLink is “Why use them instead of the actual affiliate program?”
Because they provide you with a backdoor to affiliate programs you’ve already been declined for.
And they also do most of the heavy lifting for you in terms of adding affiliate links.
That’s the inherent beauty of using VigLink and similar networks.
They make your quest for passive online income far less time-intensive.
Because that’s the end goal for you – figuring out how to make money online.
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