I'm a bit surprised that this hasn't come up here earlier, but in any event: I've been with them for about a year, and there are a lot of things that can be said about it. To be honest, I'm still on the fence. For those that have never heard anything about it, I would recommend a couple of good articles I read recently that discusses what it is and some of the questions surrounding it - be sure to read through the comments as well, as they provide some valuable points..
Now, you mentioned that you discovered it as a mod to your forum. This is one of the areas where I think it might be useful. Especially if you have a forum where people frequently link to and talk about products. As an example, say you have a forum about books, movies, or music. If people tend to link to products at say Amazon, you could automatically affiliate those links and earn a commission from any sale by pasting a small piece of code to your template. This essentially goes for any site with user generated content.
The other area where I think it might be useful, is for blogs or websites that don't necessarily cater to a specific niche. One day you'd talk about a book, the next day about a movie, then about some gardening stuff you bought at Walmart etc. Viglink would automatically affiliate those links, and if people click through and buy something, you get a commission.
Finally, I think it's a viable option for people who couldn't be bothered at all by signing up for affiliate programs, but just like to write and produce content. The great thing about it is that it is even simpler than AdSense, because you just paste a small JS code into your HTML, and it will automatically affiliate any links that point to sites with affiliate programs (at least in most cases), and you don't have to worry about monetization at all.
I not quite sure that it's a great option for seasoned affiliate marketers, though, and I'll share some of my personal stats to explain why. I've been testing it for a while, and my stats tells me that about 27% of the clicks made through a Viglink affiliated link is not affiliated. These numbers are for Q1 2011, and should be fairly reliable.
These findings tells me at least, that it might not be the best thing for a seasoned affiliate marketer. As an example, if Lisa drove her affiliate clicks from Site Sell It! and something expensive like Adobe products through Viglink - losing 27% would potentially be disastrous. There is a way to get around that though, by overwriting existing affiliate links, and keeping the old affiliate link as a fall back..
There's more that can be said on the subject, but I would sum up pros and cons in my view thus far like this:
- Very easy to implement
- Consolidates earnings from different affiliate networks, as in you wouldn't have to sign up for 100 affiliate programs - just the one, and have all stats in one place.
- Earnings paid out on a monthly basis through PayPal. Some affiliates only pay by check for non US affiliates, which makes the way VigLink consolidates and pays out directly to your bank account pretty sweet.
- 27% of earnings lost (per my stats) if you don't back up your links, which essentially eliminates some of the advantages of using it.
- More vulnerable to hacking? I'm seeing this a potential problem. If someone were able to hack your site, they'd just have to change the VigLink key and they would get all commisions, and so one would have to keep a close eye on stats to prevent that.
There's a lot more to be said about it. I've tested it extensively, but have currently removed it from my test sites as I'm still on the fence. If there's anything else, be sure to ask specific questions and I'll be happy to reply if I can. And please, if anyone else has any experience with it, I'd be very interested in hearing your take on it.