LinkSmart is existing stealth today with a new product and $4.7 million in venture capital to finance its near term growth. It’s backed by the Foundry Group, Sutter Hill Ventures, and Costanoa Venture Capital, and deservingly so. LinkSmart is the brainchild of former DailyCandy CEO Pete Sheinbaum, who sought out to address a very specific pain point in the web publishing industry.
LinkSmart does for links what vendors are doing for online ads: its platform makes them smarter, and boosts advertising indirectly rather than the other way around. Once a publisher embeds the app in their sites it tells them the number of linked keywords, breaks them down by popularity, and reports how many lead to other sites. More importantly however, the app processes this data and also identifies the optimal number of links per page so publishers can optimize their use of links and revive some of that older content that’s fallen by the wayside. And it’s all done without pop-ups or other annoyances to the reader, honing in on the long-forgotten content on your website: the text.
The young startup’s product extends this core functionality with a couple of other additions. Firstly the pack includes a dashboard not unlike Google Analytics that the publisher can use to actually implement this knowledge, and another portion of the interface extends this to the ad section. The user can redirect traffic to newer ads, or the more popular ones with a only few clean actions, and without having to add new code.
“LinkSmart is all about returning publishers to the idea that content – their content – is extremely valuable and under utilized as a key driver of traffic,” said Greg Sands, Managing Director at Costanoa Venture Capital. “LinkSmart is taking a fresh approach to help publishers realize that their content is a valuable resource and its link structure should be managed as methodically and analytically as SEO and SEM are managed.”
Analytics is something being readily applied to the publishing industry, becoming a living entity on the active world of the web. From sharing links to noting patterns of content discovery across a publisher’s network of websites, collective data and analysis can help you better direct readers towards your goals while giving them the proper leads to the content they desire.
We’re seeing more data-driven tools like Parse.ly emerging for web publishers in particular, culminating a variety of sources and data points to determine the right course of action for web content in this era. Hoping to differentiate from the ad-centric metric platforms or the journalist-specific offerings, LinkSmart is pushing the next iteration of the type of granular data web publishers need to gain a more complete picture of how their content is being treated by end users.
“We’re looking at intent–what readers are looking for on the page. This is often overlooked by others–they’re looking in the wrong place,” says Sheinbaum. ”The link itself is one of those things that’s the fabric of the Internet. The problem is, those links are very static and frozen in time. We provide analytics and tools to get more out of the copy.”
As LinkSmart hopes to revolutionize analytics for the publishing community, one of its investors, the Foundry Group, participated in another startup’s first round just earlier this week. Pantheon raised $5 million from the VC and a few others for a cloud-based Drupal solution that eliminates the need to deploy and configure the CMS on premise.