Easy Links Uses Contextual Technology and Proprietary Intelligence to Increase Ad Relevance

NEW YORK / LONDON – August 26, 2008 – LinkShare, a global online advertising services provider, today announced Easy Links as the latest addition to the LinkShare publisher and advertiser offering. Easy Links are contextual product ads that use proprietary intelligence to help advertisers and publishers increase revenue and improve their conversion rates.

When a publisher places the code for Easy Links on their website, the ad unit determines the context of the publisher’s site and selects relevant products to display. In addition, Easy Links are also designed to improve conversion rates. Once relevant products are selected, the ad unit uses a unique algorithm that leverages the power of direct response optimization to determine which advertiser products have the greatest chance of conversion, and hence earning a publisher a commission.

In determining what to display, Easy Links evaluate each possible product with a score based on a variety of factors, including the product’s category, price, and discount, as well as its past performance. This level of relevance and probability is a first in the affiliate and online market and is designed to drive higher conversion rates for publishers.

Easy Links is intended to be used by a wide range of publishers. Unlike a product feed, which requires publishers to have a significant level of programming skills, with Easy Links there are no such requirements. All that is required to run Easy Links is for the advertiser to provide a LinkShare product data feed. LinkShare then leverages the feed into a set-it-and-forget-it, self-optimizing JavaScript ad unit for publishers.

“LinkShare is continually looking for new and innovative ways to provide our network with increased value, and we are particularly excited about Easy Links since they represent a new opportunity for niche publishers, bloggers and long-tail websites to increase their revenue,” said Jonathan Levine, Co-President of LinkShare. “The set-it-and-forget it nature of the Easy Links solution represents an exciting evolution in ecommerce marketing.”

In pilot tests, advertisers and publishers reported that Easy Links let them harness more value from their product data feeds and improve overall conversion rates. They also praised how the contextual link technology means that the content on the page determines the products that are shown for improved targeting.

How Easy Links work

Easy Links are contextual product ad units. To use Easy Links, a publisher simply copies JavaScript code from their LinkShare account and places it on their site. Once that is done, LinkShare will “crawl” the publisher’s page and identify keywords associated with that page. LinkShare then queries the advertiser’s product data file using these keywords. With its unique knowledge about product conversion rates, LinkShare then scores and displays products which are relevant to the website’s content, and more likely to convert, based on past performance. Easy Link ads are available in the following eight IAB sizes:
• 300 x 250 - (Medium Rectangle)
• 468 x 60 - (Full Banner)
• 234 x 60 - (Half Banner)
• 120 x 240 - (Vertical Banner)
• 125 x 125 - (Square Button)
• 728 x 90 - (Leaderboard)
• 160 x 600 - (Wide Skyscraper)
• 120 x 600 - (Skyscraper)

About LinkShare
LinkShare Corporation provides ecommerce businesses with a wide range of online marketing services including Search Marketing (SEM), Lead Generation and Affiliate Marketing. Advertisers can increase their online sales by leveraging LinkShare's massive performance marketing network along with expert consultative services and patented technology. Superior service combined with technology innovation allows advertisers and publishers to acquire and retain new customers, increase revenue and drive results.

LinkShare clients include Fortune 500 and other prominent and emerging companies doing business online, including J.C. Penney, 1-800-Flowers.com, American Express, and Avon Products. LinkShare was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in New York City, with offices in San Francisco, Chicago, London and Tokyo. LinkShare is a division of Rakuten, Inc.

About Rakuten, Inc.
Headquartered in Tokyo, Rakuten is one of the world's largest and most comprehensive Internet service companies, providing leading services in e-commerce, portal & media, travel, financial services, and professional sports. Rakuten focuses on new business development and increasing its scope in order to improve and diversify service offerings. Rakuten, Inc. is a publicly traded company in Japan (JASDAQ: 4755).

US Media Contacts:

Mark Kirschner
LinkShare
646-943-8359
mkirschner@linkshare.com

Elizabeth Yekhtikian
Blanc & Otus
617-451-7352
eyekhtikian@blancandotus.com

UK Media Contact:

Joanne Large
Blanc & Otus UK
20 7543 4306
jlarge@blancandotus.co.uk

Published on: 12:00AM on 26th August 2008