Certain applications lend themselves to the transparency offered by blockchain, and one of those is affiliate marketing. Publishers promote products on their websites – it could be a book, clothing or a phone – and when a visitors clicks through and purchases the product on a partner site, the publisher earns a percentage of the sale. Price comparison sites are often heavy users of affiliate links. Tradedoubler, the 20-year old affiliate marketing company, plans to launch its blockchain on March 20th.
Affiliate marketing publishers are always suspicious that they aren’t fully credited with all the sales they source. Likewise, the advertiser or selling site is sometimes dubious about the source of the clicks. To date affiliate marketing companies provide tracking links and all the data is stored in their internal silos.
That changes on March 20th when Tradedoubler starts to use a blockchain to store data. The company says “transactional data will be accessible and fully transparent to eliminate fraud and enable the development of new functionalities around payments, reporting and attribution.”
The first aspect to launch is a new Publisher API which will enable publishers to integrate with internal systems or create mobile apps and other applications. The advertiser APIs will be developed in the second half of the year.
Back in 2007, AOL offered $900 million for Swedish Tradedoubler which has a significant presence in the UK and the rest of Europe. AOL failed to attract enough support from Tradedoubler shareholders and later withdrew the offer. At the time sales were growing rapidly. Tradedoubler has since matured and revenues are now pretty flat. At the end of last year, French company Reworld Media acquired Tradedoubler for EUR 13.8 million ($15.7 million).