Brands like Walmart and Lowe will now pay you if recommend their products — as long as your friends end up buying stuff online

  • Former consultant and eBay executive Jordan Glazier is unveiling Wildlink, a platform that rewards consumers for making recommendations across social and digital channels, while driving incremental revenue for brands.
  • Wildlink automatically detects product referrals and transforms them into trackable links, which can be shared across email, text messages, social media and other peer-to-peer chat platforms like WhatsApp.
  • The links, when clicked, allow anybody to make money if the receiver ends up making a purchase from 20,000 participating brands.

It often isn't banner ads or TV commercials, but word-of-mouth referrals from friends and family that drive consumers to make a purchase.

But there wasn't really a way for brands to track those real world referrals. Nor was their much tangible benefit for consumers — until now.

Former consultant and eBay executive Jordan Glazier believes that he has found a way to meld word of mouth with digital shopping. He is rolling out Wildlink, a platform that rewards consumers for making recommendations across social and digital channels, while driving incremental revenue for brands.

While Wildlink can't gauge what happens when you verbally recommend a great restaurant or flash sale to your friend, it can help brands track what kinds of sales result from people sharing recommendations digitally, per Glazier.

Plus, the company wants to spur people to make recommendations more frequently — by paying them.

Wildlink wants to turn recommendations between friends into marketing you can actually measure

Here's how Wildlink works: According to Glazier, the platform can automatically detect product referrals using natural language processing and transform them into trackable links, which can be shared across email, text messages, social media and other peer-to-peer chat platforms like WhatsApp.

These links, when clicked, allow anybody to make money if the receiver ends up making a purchase from participating brands. All users have to do is download the Widlink app on iOS or Android, or on their desktops. 

"People predominantly use the web for peer-to-peer communication, and yet it hasn't been effectively commercialized and all of the ad formats around it miss the mark," Glazier told Business Insider.

"The purpose of Wildlink is to help people effortlessly get their fair share for the recommendations they make to their friends and family."

The app, according to Glazier, is attractive for both brands as well as users. Wildlink essentially enables anyone to earn cash from their everyday purchase recommendations to friends and family.

And unlike existing rebate services, which give cash back for users' own shopping, it rewards users for suggestions they share with others. Those who sign up also have access to a dashboard, where they can track the earnings from their suggestions, and can make anywhere between 5 to 25% commission on their recommendations.

Recommendations from trusted friends are still very powerful

On the brand side, Wildlink should help motivate word-of-mouth suggestions (the digital variety at least), which helps influence purchase decisions. According to the most recent Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Report, 83% of people said that they would act on recommendations from people they know.

There's also something in it for the biggest tech platforms. Wildlink plugs into the APIs of companies like Facebook, Snapchat and Slack, so its product links can be embedded and generate revenue. 

Of course, it won't be easy for an unknown brand like Wildlink to get its app onto people's already crowded phones. Especially at a time when people are more cautious than ever about sharing person data or billing information. But  neither the platforms and merchants nor Wildlink get any purchase history or profile data of the buyers, Glazier said, and the attribution is anonymized.

IMG_8284.PNGTanya DuaWildlink is also making adoption easier, by trying to weave its way into different mobile operating systems while keeping in mind specific user habits, Glazier said. In the case of iOS users, for example, people tend to share links by finding the share button at the bottom of the browser. So Wildlink has can be added into the share sheet, alongside other apps where users tend to share links such as Facebook Messenger.

"Our goal is to become ubiquitous and make it easy for people to earn from their referrals wherever and whenever they recommend something to friends or family," said Glazier. 

While Wildlink officially launches today, it has been tested by a roster of big-name brands including Walmart, Expedia, Lowe's, Neiman Marcus, Hotels.com among others over the course of the last quarter. Over 20,000 brands and merchants are already part of the Wildlink network, and are seeing promising results.

"We know that personal recommendations play an important role in travelers' purchase choices," said Todd Schindele, senior manager of partner marketing at Hotels.com. "It's a powerful platform for driving new bookings for our hotel partners."

The app's parent company, Wildfire Systems, has also raised $2 million in a seed round led by Mucker Capital in 2017. 

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