New Web App Could Expose Untapped Niche Ad Market

Despite the abundance of ad networks serving small publishers and bloggers, barriers remain when it comes to adoption of those services — namely tech know-how and time. Triggit, provider of an application for easily incorporating affiliate network links, photos and video into Web site content, hopes to simplify the process for less tech-savvy bloggers and publishers.

The small firm launched its Triggit app in beta yesterday. The software allows users to drag and drop images or video onto their sites. It also lets bloggers writing about particular brands or products search directly from their Firefox browser toolbar for appropriate affiliate network links if they belong to those networks. It then automatically creates hyperlinks to the store pages for those products rather than requiring site owners to plug in special codes every time.

By introducing a new set of niche publishers to affiliate networks, and potentially ad networks, Triggit CEO Zachery Coelius expects the system to expand distribution for those networks to an underserved segment of publishers. The app has been tested in closed private alpha form by around 600 publishers.

“We work with companies that want to increase distribution of their ads or widgets or whatever they want to get distribution of,” said Coelius. Or at least, that’s the goal. Currently, companies featured in Triggit’s menu of searchable sites and networks are not direct partners with the young firm. The company aims to align with publishing and blog platforms to broaden its user base, and eventually plans on adding advertising networks to its partner list.

“We’re very interested in helping publishers to monetize,” said Coelius. Triggit itself came into $500,000 in seed funding recently.

Today, publishers can search through a handful of affiliate network and multimedia content databases including Amazon, Commission Junction, Flickr, YouTube, and wine comparison shopping sites Snooth, and WineZap. Before developing the new application, Triggit was a vertical wine ad network, said Coelius.

Anne Levy, author of Bookbuds, a children’s book review blog, and editor of a group kids’ book review site, Cybils, found that using Google AdSense ads got a negative response from home schooling parents and librarians frequenting the sites. “Our readers really hated it,” she said.

Though she counts Amazon affiliate links as a source of revenue, she’s not exactly fond of the coding involved. “I am not a programmer,” said Levy, noting that adding affiliate links is “very time consuming.” She added, “I do this when I’m supposed to be making dinner�. I don’t want to be sitting there coding up Amazon links all day.”

The current crop of small publisher network affiliates are typically tech savvy. Busy, less-technically inclined people like Levy could represent an untapped market for ad networks looking to reach readers of niche content sites.

Beekeeping blogger Rebecca Leaman is another representative of those dedicated to niche editorial content first, monetization second. The freelance writer and author of home and garden blog Domestik Goddess said the “mad money” she earns from Amazon affiliate referrals has tripled over the past couple months since using Triggit. She often goes back to old posts about products she’s become confident about recommending and uses the application to apply cash-generating Amazon links to them. “It’s a really effective use of time,” she added. Domestik Goddess also runs display ads served as part of the Glam Media network.

As a member of the Central Beekeepers Alliance, Leaman is in contact regularly with other small site operators in the niche world of beekeeping, “some of whom are very new beginners” when it comes to online publishing, she said. The thought of dealing with code to enable affiliate links and advertising “is intimidating to people,” she explained.

“That whole section of the market who don’t know how to use code is just an unaddressed section of the market right now,” said Coelius.

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