Commerce Partner Perspectives

Insights from PredixLabs CEO, Matthew Goodlander-Karant

Sovrn Commerce Team // May 23, 2024

The online publishing community is stronger when we can come together to collaborate and learn from one another. Sovrn’s featured customer success stories are a great way to showcase learnings from a variety of publishers, but we also like to have more informal conversations with our customers from time to time.

We recently sat down with Matthew Goodlander-Karant, CEO and co-founder of PredixLabs, to get some insight into his business, the challenges facing affiliate marketers, and his experience with Sovrn Commerce.

Q: Tell us a little about your business and your affiliate marketing program.

A: My co-founder and I started PredixLabs about two and a half years ago because we’ve always been interested in sneakers and fashion, from a collector’s standpoint. Demand for limited edition sneakers is incredibly high, so even before we started PredixLabs, we wrote some sneaker monitor code to help us build our personal collections. We used those monitors for years to find out when new products were being released, when sales were happening, etc. But over time, we started to see sneaker groups charging a huge monthly fee for access to the same type of information. We realized we could use our sneaker monitors to provide release data to the public, but in a totally new way.

Our software scrapes Nike, Adidas, New Balance, and other major sneaker sites to pull all the important release data into one centralized location. Rather than charging a membership fee and limiting membership numbers, our group is open to anyone. And it’s 100% free to join, because we earn our revenue through affiliate marketing. This creates an environment that supports both hard-core collectors and casual buyers alike — because no one has time to keep up with hundreds of release schedules. 

Instead, they can just join our group. We do all the legwork of finding out when and where new releases are dropping, and we provide tools to help them buy what they want — without any usage of bots. We’re getting rid of all the inefficiencies and detrimental components of the sneaker game, so everybody wins.

Q: What are some of your top initiatives this year?

A: For the last two years, we’ve run our group primarily on Discord, which is messaging app that lets you have both programmatic content and manually created content all in one place. Now we’re working on building out our presence on Twitter/X, as well as a new website that provides a curated feed of new releases. We want to deliver a unique experience with each touchpoint, so there’s a reason to visit us on different channels. 

In addition to collecting sneakers, we’re also interested in the business and economics of fashion. So we’re working on creating more editorial content that’s focused on what’s trending, the drivers behind those trends, and what products we think will be in demand. That business-focused angle helps to attract a different segment of users and provides a whole new level of content to our audience, beyond the typical release announcements they can get from any sneaker group.

Q: As an affiliate marketer, what are some of your biggest pain points?

A: By far our biggest pain point has been getting approved for merchant-specific affiliate programs. As I mentioned, Discord has been our primary channel. It just doesn’t have the same reach as YouTube or X, so most people don’t really understand how it works. And unlike those common social platforms where it’s easy to see an affiliate program in action, it’s a multi-step process for anyone who’s not already on Discord, because you have to create an account and then actually join the PredixLabs community. So it’s been hard to show merchants what we have to offer.

We’ve made some progress over the years, and Sovrn has been really instrumental with that. Starting out we were constantly getting denied, because we were a new company with very few users and a unique business model. But Sovrn gave us a chance and their vetting process helped us get those merchant approvals to jump-start our growth. Now we’re one of the largest Discord sneaker groups in North America, with about 2,000 members in our community. It’s been a really cool process and it wouldn’t have been remotely possible without Sovrn.

Q: What do you like best about the Sovrn Commerce technology? Any favorite features?

A: There are two things Sovrn offers that I haven’t seen in many other platforms. First is the real-time data and analytics, which is absolutely huge for us. Being able to refresh the dashboard at any moment and see all the events as they’re coming in is a game changer. With sneakers, a lot of products are excluded from affiliate so it’s critical to get an understanding of which products can generate revenue. And it also helps to tailor our content strategy. If we see that a certain product got 500 clicks within two minutes, that’s clearly a hot product and we need to be doing more work to find other merchants who carry it.

The other feature is automated affiliation — so basically the Commerce monetization API automatically converts a raw product or merchant URL into an affiliate link. This is great for us, because right now 90% of our content is programmatically generated through monitors and scrapers. So when one of our scrapers detects a new product, it sends the notification automatically and the link is instantly affiliated. Bottom line, our entire pipeline essentially runs on its own. It’s not just good, it’s crucial to our business. 

Q: How does Sovrn help you achieve your business goals?

A: Aside from the features I just mentioned, the biggest advantage with Sovrn is its massive list of merchants. Every month or so, we look through the entire merchant list to figure out which ones offer products our customers might be interested in, and then we add those to our Discord server. 

It’s beneficial in two ways. First, that’s more opportunities to make affiliate revenue by selling more products. We’re dealing with products that can be almost impossible to get, so if I can add 70 merchants that will be carrying a limited edition collection, it gives our users a lot more opportunities to buy. And second, it helps us grow our user base. Every satisfied customer is adding a pair of sneakers to their collection — and they’re probably going to tell their friends, “Hey, I got my Wales Bonner Adidas through PredixLabs. You should join, too — it’s 100% free.”

Right now we’re affiliating links with about 150 different websites. A lot of them have really complex approval processes; some even require interviews. The amount of time it would take to complete all those processes is just incredible. And if we’re being realistic, our business is probably too niche to get approved for all those programs. So working with Sovrn is really what makes it all possible.

Q: How would you describe your relationship with Sovrn?

A: It’s simply amazing. Honestly the best part has been the collaborative nature of our relationship. We love hopping on calls to learn about new features that are coming to Sovrn, how to get the most out of the tools, or how we’re performing month over month. It feels like we’re a true partner, not just a customer. 

The people and the relationships are what make Sovrn great. They’re really open to feedback and suggestions. Over the years, it’s been so cool to see how Sovrn has grown and how we’ve grown right along with them. And I’m really excited for the future because I know there’s a lot of great stuff coming for both of us.

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