Has Skimlinks solved the problem publishers have with affiliates?

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As is often the case, a startup comes up with one idea and then quickly realises there is a better model. UK startup Skimbit started out with a decision-making tool with affiliate links, but has now realised the method used to aggregate those affiliates could be offered to other publishers. Similar schemes leave little room for editorial control, but it’s new Skimlinks off-shoot aggregates 11 affiliate networks and puts publishers – blogs, forums, web apps – in full control, in return for a revenue share.

Skimlinks works by turning normal product links into affiliate links on-the-fly. A line of code populates the entire site including the archives. It aggregates 6,000 affiliates from 11 networks. (Quite a task, given that the idiosyncracies of merchants’ deeplinking URL formats know no bounds).

There are a few competitors in the space but most are less developed. Science Revenue is a little known solution for forums. Dianomi is another, but publishers are not given full editorial control over links.

Skimlinks also covers the 30-50% of merchants that don’t support deeplinking, making it fairly unique in the affiliate world. In these tough times affiliate marketing can be attractive to publishers but is usually an administrative nightmare and cedes too much control over editorial content. With Skimlinks a publisher can set which links should be affiliate ones or not. Their first customer is fashion blog Greenmystyle.com.

Publishers get a reporting interface into their affiliate activity. The service is currently free to use, and Skimlinks takes a small cut of the commissions earned by the publisher.

Skimbit is understood to be currently negotiating a sub-Series A funding round a European VC and a network of Angels.

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