NBC launches ‘Select’ reviews site that’s monetized with affiliate links

By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links

NBCUniversal’s news group has launched Select, a reviews and lifestyle site that’s monetized with affiliate links.

The site currently exists at both nbcnews.com/select and cnbc.com/select and largely looks like a typical news site.

NBC says the content for the site is written by an independent editorial team and then passed off to people on the business side who identify which products mentioned in the articles can be monetized with affiliate or referral links.

Products are typically shown alongside pricing as of publication and links to one or more online store that carries the item.

The site does not base its selections on whether or not it can monetize a link, according to its disclaimer. If a product selected by the editorial team isn’t sold anywhere that offers an affiliate or referral program, it’s still included and the site makes no money from any sales made from clicking the link.

For product links that are monetized, users who click and buy a product from a Select link as normal. A portion of that sale is paid back to NBCUniversal, typically in the 1-3% range.

NBC News has been monetizing content in this fashion, especially on Today.com, for years now and reportedly makes millions of dollars a year in affiliate and referral fees.

In addition to existing as a standalone minisite on NBCU properties, links to Select articles are prominent featured on the homepages of the sites and linked to within relevant articles.

The approach has grown in popularity as TV networks and stations look for ways to increase revenue from their websites, rather than having to start charging subscription fees and solely relying on ad revenue.

Another popular method of bringing in revenue, sponsored native links, which often look like links to news stories but are really ads, is used on NBC’s Select site as well. NBC, along with many other TV outlets, use these types of ads on their news sites proper, including on homepages, section fronts and articles pages.

CNN runs a similar effort under the name Underscored and CBS News runs a section of its site called Essentials.