On the consumer web, you’ve always got to watch your back. It’s fast-paced, highly iterative and there are always other startups ready to prey on your stumbles or sluggishness. A few weeks ago, Bit.ly had a controversial redesign that angered some longtime users.
So Refer.ly, a Y Combinator company that’s trying to let everyone tap into affiliate commerce, has built out a more full-featured product that could take some users away from New York-based Bit.ly. During a hackathon over the last week, Refer.ly built out a sharing bookmarklet, Pinterest-like landing pages for showing a history of links and products and more detailed analytics.
All of the changes will hopefully encourage users to share all kinds of content, even if they’re not products. If Refer.ly becomes a consumer’s main way for sharing links, then it will be easier for them to remember or have a habit of sharing links to products through the site.
The company, which is based in Mountain View, wants to let regular people earn small commissions every time they share links to products like books or movies. While big sites like Amazon have paid these small commissions or affiliate fees to partners for years, there hasn’t been an easy way for regular people to tap into this. Even though these fees are tiny — often anywhere from a few to 15 percent of a product’s list price — they can add up over a full year. The company’s CEO and co-founder Danielle Morrill said she’s on track to earn $900 in affiliate fees this year.
The company, which is two months old, also announced a few more angel investors today including Damian Tanner, London-based venture capitalist Eileen Burbidge of Passion Capital, former JAFCO America and Globespan managing director Ullas Naik and angel Michael Liou.
So onto the new product updates:
There’s a Refer.ly Bar now that complies with Federal Trade Commission regulations about disclosing if you earn commissions for recommendations:
There’s a sharing bookmarklet that you can install in your browser to easily create Refer.ly links:
There is also a Pinterest-like landing page that shows your history of recommendations. It looks like an Amazon affiliate store page.