In 2009, I wrote a crawler to traverse the web and count links to Amazon. Less than half were affiliate links, revealing a clear opportunity to assist publishers and capture a portion of the revenue. What made the idea venture scale was the realization that with links to products sold by more than one merchant, inducing competition amongst the merchants would create upward price-pressure and a defensible advantage over a later competitor.
"We can take what is a really interesting product that has appealed more to high-volume publishers and take it into content publishers," Knapp said. "Now what’s required there is a pretty deep understanding of the editorial process."