LinkShare – Affiliate Network Review

LinkShare, New York, NY

Summary:  LinkShare was the first of the large affiliate networks, and has had a consistent reputation for Premium Pricing, Premium Services, Premium Brands.

LinkShare does not cater to advertisers of all sizes.  In fact, their network boasts an amazing list of top brand merchants.

LinkShare is the only network, to my knowledge, that requires their Merchants to participate in the LinkShare network, and only the LinkShare network, via an “Exclusivity Clause” in their contracts.  Such a controversial clause has not scared away some of the biggest retail brands on the internet today, though; it seems that “exclusivity” hasn’t harmed their network.

LinkShare’s interface and tools are top-notch, as you would expect with such a premium network.

Quick View of LinkShare:

Founded: 1996

Employees: 217

Status: A division of Rakuten Inc. (RAK – JSDA OTC Market)

Number of Publishers: Company does not disclose

Number of Merchants: Over 600

Types of Merchants: All major consumer e-commerce and lead generation categories

Big Brand Merchants: Wal-Mart, JC Penny and

Exclusivity for Merchants: Yes

Pricing: High-end setup and monthly fees (depending on service level), Monthly Minimum Fee and 20% – 30% of Affiliate Commissions.

Additional Services (paid and non-paid):

  • Lead Generation network
  • Search (SEM) services
  • Creative Services
  • Weekly Webinars for advertisers and publishers
  • Monthly newsletters
  • Seasonal  Intelligence insights emails for clients
  • Aggregation of offers for publishers based on subjects, topics and holidays

Technology Available:

  • Merchandiser product feeds
  • Flex Links for video and other rich media,
  • LinkBuilder for deep linking
  • Easy Links, which are customizable contextual product ads that utilize an advertiser product feed.
  • Product LinkFinder, a publisher interface search engine for advertiser product links
  • RSS plug-ins for WordPress: DealFeed and AdMix
  • Web Services

Commission Schedules:

  • Pay on percent of sale, percentage of commission, flat rate (CPL, tiered rate cards,
  • Bonus, private offers, item-based compensation
  • LinkShare pays from the first dollar, and pays commissions weekly.

Matchmaking Tools:

  • LinkShare Symposium West (January)
  • LinkShare Symposium East (June)
  • LinkShare Golden Link Awards (June)
  • Advisory boards for advertisers and publishers meet every six months
  • Industry trade show participation including Affiliate Summit,, eTail and Internet Retailer

Additional Resources (for merchants and publishers):

  • Developer Center (publishers)
  • Premium Advertiser program (merchants)

Social Media Outreach: