Thursday, August 29, 2013

If we can sell in-content links, should we?

Is this a good idea? A Colorado company, LinkSmart, is looking to set up a bidding system called LinkSmart Marketplace whereby publishers can buy and sell in-content hyperlinks. A post on emedia vitals says publishers upload URLs of pages where they want to boost traffic and set a maximum cost-per-click and budgets for how much they want to spend.
"The existing LinkSmart platform....only kicks in when a visitor reaches the publisher’s website; with its new Marketplace, LinkSmart is looking to extend its business by helping publishers bring in traffic from third-party sources."
The Marketplace is still in private beta, but planned to be generally available for late fall or early winter.

I'm wondering how much is too much in such an idea (ranging from nothing to many) and whether, once engaged in such a business, publishers will be able to resist the temptation to lard their editorial with commercial links with the aim of building traffic and revenue. I also wonder what their other advertisers will think about competing with in-content links or being driven to using them themselves. 

I'd be interested to have some comments about experience with this or similar marketplaces and how publishers decide how far is too far when it comes to selling in-content links. I'd also like to know what readers think. If you want to comment, just click on the word "comments" at the bottom of this post. 


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