Last month, The Next Web named Germany affiliate-publisher service Run a Shop as the fastest-growing German startup in Germany. It had an incredible growth-rate in revenue of 8,357% between 2011 and 2013, accomplished with the founders’ own resources. The company is now operating in over 19 countries and does not seem to go for a VC investment any time soon.
Launched in 2012 by Marius Schulze and Friedrich Neuman, the startup offers content providers a system for monetizing their service through ads and widgets. The content providers, possibly blogs or other sites, draw the traffic and have the option of earning some money by directing visitors to affiliated online stores.
According to a PR representative for the Berlin-based company, partnerships with online stores allows the content providers to earn cash on a per-click basis. It is not a one-size-fits-all type of situation, either, as Run a Shop develops individualized solutions for their clients. Some sites may prefer to offer a shop through site, while others might wish to offer an integrated search engine or other app to deliver ads to the customers. Partners of Run a Shop include merchants such as Rakuten, Mercado Livre, Amazon, Yandex Direct, Kelkoo, Billiger.de, and others.
Affiliate publishers are nothing new, but what is notable in this case is that they have managed to grow so quickly without outside investment. There are many competitors, but one of the most well-established in the market seems to be Monetize.com. Run a Shop did not reveal their total number of users or customers to me, but I did learn from the PR representative that they operate in 19 countries and intend to expand operations around the globe. They have 20 employees now and plan to recruit more ,in line with their growth plans.