Reddit, a large online discussion forum, has announced plans to begin converting user-shared links into affiliate links. The company has partnered with affiliate network, VigLink, to incorporate this new ad revenue model.
When a user posts a link to a product, if the website matches a merchant that the site is partnered with, it will become an affiliate link. The end-user will still see the original link, but once they click it, a cookie will be set in their browser stating that they came from Reddit, and once a purchase is made, the site gets a portion of the money.
This change is due to roll-out on June 3, with it being unleashed on a small scale of users to begin with, to ensure that ad blockers do not break the site.
Reddit admin, starfishjenga, announced the news in a community changelog:
We’re going to be launching a feature that will automatically rewrite many links to online merchants so that they include a Reddit affiliate code. This feature will go live on June 3, 2016. Reddit will receive a small (generally single-digit) percentage of any purchases after someone clicks a link with one of our affiliate codes. This is part of our overall initiative to transform Reddit into a sustainable long-term business.
The feature works by passing the browser through our partner VigLink, which rewrites the URLs to include an affiliate code. VigLink is contractually obligated not to store any Reddit user information.
We’ve updated our user agreement to specifically include the affiliate program.
Users will be able to opt-out of this service either on a one-off basis or permanently. If you right-click a link, copy the link address, then paste it into your browser, you will be bypassing the affiliate system. You can also go to VigLink's own opt-out page to let them know of your wishes to not see any more affiliate links.