Democratizing Access to Premium Publishers

The Origin Story of Linkby

Linkby logo.

Advertising a new product or service is an especially thorny problem for a startup with no name recognition and a small budget. In the past, that has made getting press releases, articles, and other promotional materials to run in big-name publications a difficult, if not impossible, task. 

Linkby wants to change that by providing a two-sided marketplace for advertisers and premium publishers around the globe. It allows advertisers to work with publishers to easily get the word out about their products and services. This is Linkby’s story.

From Youth Publishing to Advertiser Marketing

Adrian started Linkby with Chris Warishenia, who previously co-founded, Australia’s biggest youth publishing platform. The two worked together at that company for several years and learned a lot from the experience. “By running one of Australia's biggest publishers for 15 years, we gained deep insights into what the industry needed, and that's how we started working on the ideas that today is Linkby,” Adrian says.

According to Adrian, advertisers traditionally have found it difficult to work with high-caliber publishers, especially globally – if they were able to do so at all. “The original problem we were sent out to solve was the fact that… let's say 90 cents [on] every dollar of advertising is spent across platforms like Meta, Facebook, Instagram, and Google,” he says. As for large publishers, they traditionally used to work with blue-chip clients with big budgets and long turnaround times. That’s the opposite of a startup operating on a shoestring and a short timeline.

A Two-Sided Marketplace

Adrian and Chris set out to change this dynamic with Linkby, which Adrian characterizes as a two-sided marketplace for advertisers and premium publishers worldwide.

“[W]e built a platform [that] is a one-stop shop where any form of advertiser can choose their publishers, choose their budget, choose where they want to run their content, provide a little bit of a brief,” He says. “Then each individual... publisher will expertly curate that article for that brand.” 

Advertisers can choose to work on a cost-per-click basis, or a cost-per-view basis if they “really want to make a bang across hundreds of premium publishers at the same time,” he says.

Focusing on D-to-C Advertisers

Linkby works primarily with direct-to-consumer advertisers. One of its biggest segments is beauty products. “We work with everybody from Nivea down to challenging brands that [were] built in someone's home during COVID, for example, and now they're getting serious, they're seeing sales, and they wanna be talked about [in publications like] Vogue and Harper's Bazaar and InStyle,” Adrian says.

Linkby also works with a lot of companies in the home, beauty, tech, and fashion segments. “We even work with categories that are blocked from working with channels like Meta and Google, such as CBD-based products in America, [and] even THC-based products, sexual wellness… and the like. We can welcome them and help them facilitate really hard-hitting content, which is, at the core, performance-based, similar to, again, Meta and Google. It's opened up a new door to those kinds of categories as well.”

People are Paramount

Adrian advises aspiring entrepreneurs and early-stage founders to pay special attention to the people they bring on board, especially at the beginning. They’re the foundation of the company and ultimately could make or break it. 

To hire effectively, an honest-self assessment is critical. Ask things like “Who am I as a founder? What do I possess in my skill set and my network and whatever nuance that you need for a successful business to work?” Adrian says. “And be selfish in the sense [of] don't settle for something that might work. Don't pull the trigger until you're confident that you have the right team assembled…. [Y]ou want to build a team that can carry that vision and that passion.”

Speaking of passion, that’s also important.

“You can go and be a superstar at a big blue chip company in a skyscraper somewhere, and you'd be perfectly fine without a lot of passion,” he says. “But I think it is very clear with our superstars and our leaders and our team that the people that really excel have that level of passion that they really want to… make a dent into what we're doing and be part of this journey. We as founders [are] just expanding on that and [making] sure that that happens.”

What’s Next for Linkby

Linkby has big plans for the near future, including expanding worldwide. “[W]e're very excited about our new product that opens up our platform to any type of advertiser, performance, brand, whatever you’ve got going on,” Adrian says. “We're rolling that out globally now after a very successful test [in Australia], which is super exciting. That's definitely the highest priority right now…. So if anyone listening is around the conferences, whether it's PI Live or Affiliate Summit… we're always there and establishing networks and speaking.” 

At the same time, the company isn’t neglecting its original vision and optimizing its core product. “I think that sometimes it's a trap. You get so excited that you just wanna push, push, push, push, push and do new things, but you forget to perfect what's already there. There's a lot of work this year on the roadmap as well as just fine-tuning the UX on the site, the UX for the publisher, the UX for the brands, new functionality, a more effective way of doing XYZ internally. So we're really focusing this year as well as expanding and adding to our remit. We're also working very hard at perfecting what's already there.”

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