LinkTrust CEO Bret Grow Waters Affiliate SeedsWritten by Pace Lattin
January 26, 2011 # 12:38 am # CEO Interviews # 3 Comments
About a year ago someone told me about LinkTrust and told me to take a look at it. At the time I was really entrenched with DirectTrack and had no idea there was anything out there. However, George Avery, the CEO of GetAds told me that I must try LinkTrust. I have to admit, I was pretty damn surprised with what I saw: it wasn’t just a different system than DirectTrack, but it was on a different level entirely. I decided that it was about time to sit down with Bret Grow the CEO of LinkTrust and find exactly what made him decide to create an affiliate marketing software and more importantly, what type of car he drives.
What made you want to create your own affiliate tracking software?
When I first got started in the affiliate marketing space, the company I was working for was using massive excel spreadsheets to track everything that was going on. To make our jobs easier, Frank Ouimette (my business partner from the beginning) and I created our own tracking system. It wasn’t long before we realized that this was something everyone could use. From there we started working on the software development full-time and soon we had our first client using LinkTrust.
What is unique about your fraud prevention tools?
We have multiple fraud prevention tools that cover every aspect of your affiliate from their identity, track record among other clients and their traffic. We provide detailed affiliate fraud scores that are a product of an affiliate’s history with other clients, custom sand traps for new applications, tracking flags that detect possible fraud and proactive tools to prevent fraud from tracking as commissions to an affiliate before it becomes a problem.
As you know, a competitor was hit last year with the revelations that all the affiliate data of their affiliate networks were stolen and resold. What have you done to prevent this happening from you? Without giving too much information away regarding our security measures, we have implemented layers of data, network, and application security enhancements. We use cutting edge technology and time tested producers to protect our client’s information. Because our security cam be managed across all of our clients utilizing our private cloud environment, we are able to better monitor and adjust security quickly, much like many of the most sophisticated financial and enterprise level companies. This is in contrast with others systems where security must me managed for each client individually and therefore risk of a breach increases. We also welcome audits of our security systems and procedures by our clients when requested.
What type of integration is available for display advertising?
We feel that we offer the most comprehensive integration features for display, mobile, Pay Per Call and other advertising mediums whether it be through advanced link options or API access.
If you could name one thing that sets you aside from other tracking platforms, what would it be?
Our customer service is hands down the thing that sets us apart. Ad networks, affiliates and merchants tell us our tracking is the most reliable and they love our consistent feature releases, but the thing they value most is that every single LinkTrust employee is dedicated to making their companies succeed. If that means 24-hour emergency support, we’re happy to do it. If we can help promote your network through the LinkTrust OfferBoard, our newsletter or at tradeshows, we do. We know that when our clients are successful, we’ll be successful – we’re always looking for ways to make it happen.
Tell me a little about your lead capture system? What made you want to do this? Is lead generation a part of the industry that you feel is more and more important? If so, why?
The lead generation side of LinkTrust was actually the original base for the system. It has been added to and fine tuned over the course of many years. We wanted to create a way to capture and validate leads more efficiently and effectively than anything out there. The lead generation side of the industry is constantly changing and we’re excited to be a part of that. This year we are updating our entire lead generation system to bring some new features to the table. The new and improved lead generation system to be released this year will again propel LinkTrust way ahead of our competitors.
Tell me about the lead validation and why it’s important that it’s part of the system?
Capturing data is one thing, making that data valuable is quite another. Internally validating data as well as partnering with other data validation firms is imperative to producing a platform that can deliver valuable and trusted lead data. We have built into LinkTrust layers of validation that offers the most sophisticated and profitable experience to our clients.
If someone wanted to move over to LinkTrust from another system, how would they do it? What is the time period involved, the ease of use?
Moving over to LinkTrust is simple. First, get in touch with Jeremy or Mindy of our sales team (firstname.lastname@example.org) and they can get you a demo as well as your agreement all setup. Second, we’ll get your staff trained on the ins and outs of the system and get your custom domains ready to go. After your domains are set up, you are ready to start running traffic. Access to your new account is generally within one day and the entire setup process takes less than 3 business days to complete. Of course, we offer free ongoing support thereafter.
How important is pay-per-call in the industry, and what can you tell me about your integration?
Pay-per-call has only just begun and is already bringing in millions in revenue for those that have gotten an early start. We are integrated with RingRevenue, meaning that any LinkTrust client who uses them can quickly set up phone numbers and start tracking calls as well as clicks on campaigns through LinkTrust.
I notice there is a LinkTrust Community, why did you do that? What is important about the Community feature?
We created the LinkTrust Community to create a place for LinkTrust users to interact with other LinkTrust users and the LinkTrust team. One of the best parts of the Community is the OfferBoard where LinkTrust users can publish their offers to other LinkTrust-powered networks and also find offers to enhance their own network. The LinkTrust Community is a one-stop shop for our users looking to get in touch with us or fellow LinkTrust users.
For affiliates, if they are on a LinkTrust system what will they see in the network that they wouldn’t see in any other program?
According to our clients, the first thing they’ll notice is the intuitive interface for managing links, getting creatives and running reports. However, since our affiliate interface can be customized by our clients, you may not be able to recognize a LinkTrust powered network or merchant simply by the appearance of their affiliate center. The other most notable difference we hear is that conversion rates are generally higher because LinkTrust tracks extremely well and provides no conversion scrubbing tools for networks. This builds confidence between networks and their affiliates if an affiliate were to recognize the LinkTrust interface.
Why use LinkTrust instead of building your own system?
As anyone with their own system will tell you, the cost of building and maintaining an enterprise-level system is big. For most companies, the cost is too great to even consider. With LinkTrust, we take pride in staying up to date with our technology, hardware, and industry trends. By us taking care of the technology side of the house, our clients can focus on what matters most to their business and industry. We know it’s critical to keep the system as relevant to end users as possible. Let us know which features you’d like to see and we’ll do our best to get them into development. In 2010 a majority of the features we released were suggestions from LinkTrust users.
What else would you like to tell us about LinkTrust?
I come to worked excited everyday. Not everyone can say that. I feel that building a reputable company on a cutting edge industry with fantastic people makes all the difference. There is a sense of satisfaction and honor that accompanies working at LinkTrust and I hope that carries over to our clients and as well as others we meet in the affiliate marketing industry.
What is your dream car and why?
I am lucky that I own my dream car, a 1966 Buick Electra Convertible. It’s smooth to drive and the sun and wind on your face makes driving it an experience, not just a mode of transportation.
If you weren’t doing this as a career what would be your second choice?
My second choice would probably be something in real estate. I get a kick out of getting something built and improving it for others!
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