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CueLinks wants affiliate marketing to suck less – offers clean URL plus centralised reporting

In Indian Startups by NextBigWhat

While online shopping has gathered momentum over the past 2 years, affiliate or performance marketing is also on rise – which is according to some industry estimate is expected to grow 5x over next couple of years. For publishers, managing affiliates takes effort as it involves a lot of interaction with merchants and affiliate networks for payments, campaign updates, reporting and so on. Also, the publisher needs to understand affiliate marketing concepts like deep-linking, sub id tracking and to create and insert ugly looking affiliate links on their websites which reduces the click-through ratio further for any publisher.

Mumbai based startup CueLinks attempts to solve this with its content monetization solution for bloggers, deal site owners, coupon sites, forum owners or any publishers including any websites which sends outbound traffic to online shopping, travel, finance or matrimony websites. Importantly, using CueLink’s technology is completely free for content owners and offers masking of ugly URLs.

Though CueLinks does not intend to become an affiliate network, the company aims to assist affiliate marketing ecosystem by helping publishers monetize their content by providing them the right technology and insights while driving sales to merchants and affiliate networks.

Weeding out the pain of decentralized reporting, CueLinks helps affiliates (blogs, coupon sites) to track domains they send traffic to and what are their conversion rates and EPC (Earnings per Click) for each merchant. Essentially, CueLinks’ platform offers a single point of contact for payout and centralized reporting. In addition the company also has an API in place, so any publishing house can integrate their core app or any part of the app with CueLinks, if they do not prefer to install CueLink’s code snippet.

CueLinks passes on 65% of the revenue which it gets from the merchants or affiliate networks to its publishers. For top performing publishers, it usually passes higher percentage upto 75%. Currently, CueLinks is a team of 7 members and founded by Jimish and Mehul Jobanputra . Earlier, Jimish has launched DesiDime – an online shopping community in 2010 .

How does Cuelinks work?

For publishers and bloggers, CueLinks provides a small snippet of Javascript code which needs to be inserted on their website. Soon after that, any outbound traffic to CueLinks’ merchant partners is automatically monetized and publisher gets commission for every sale or lead generated via their website. Publisher just needs to insert the normal url which they would share with the readers and in the backend, CueLinks automatically converts it into an affiliate link which then gets tracked all the way until a purchase happens on the merchant’s end. The automatic conversion of the link happens only when the reader clicks the link (which CueLinks claims to redirect in less than 0.1 seconds).

In terms of traction, Cuelinks has grabbed over 100 publishers since September.

we can very confidently say that we currently work with the largest number of merchants in India as we have the advantage of working with all the networks and other direct merchants as well”. In terms of revenue, we have some big publishers who joined us and we now send almost 50% more traffic to our merchant partners and affiliate network partners compared to what we did 2 months back” said Jimish.

The biggest challenge, however, CueLinks says is to educate Indian bloggers and publishers about affiliate marketing and why they need to take that marketing channel seriously when it comes to monetization of their website.