Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

DailyCandy’s Old CEO Resurfaces With LinkSmart, a Web Traffic Director

Loathe “in-text” advertising? Me, too.

But here’s a variation on it that seems palatable for readers, and potentially useful for publishers.

Boulder, Colo-based LinkSmart is a “text linking optimization solution,” which, in English, means it lets Web sites quickly edit and add links to preexisting text, so they can direct users around or off their sites.

LinkSmart’s links don’t contain ads themselves. They’re simply supposed to route readers around the Web.

The idea: A publisher can create more engagement on their site by getting users to move from a popular page to one that doesn’t get much attention. Or they could move users to someone else’s site, like an advertiser’s.

Unlike some recommendation services, like OutBrain and Taboola, which perform a similar traffic-directing function, LinkSmart doesn’t get paid when anyone clicks on a link. It charges a monthly fee instead.

The company is the newest venture for Pete Sheinbaum, who used to run DailyCandy and left in 2009, after Comcast bought the fashion-and-shopping newsletter. He’s got $4.7 million in funding from Foundry Group, Sutter Hill Ventures, and Costanoa Venture Capital.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald