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.

  • http://Jofarnold.com Jof

    Really excited about Skimlinks; huge potential. Definitely one of those “I wish I’d thought of it” moments.

  • sam

    I’d be even more excited if they got smart about which affiliate links to show.

    For example, on my page I can create a specially marked div with 10 affiliate links. Skimlinks will choose 2 to show at any one moment, and over time track which ones have the highest clickthru.

    “Survival of the fittest” algorithms are the passive analogy to “user voted content” — the best stuff is bubbled to the top without the user having to take explicit action. Expect more of this in the near future.

  • http://skimlinks.com Ciaran

    Hi Sam, Sounds like a great idea.

    Our technology already picks the affiliate network with best return automatically for you but we prefer to leave all editorial decisions like who and where to link to with editors.

    Thanks for the feedback,
    Ciarán – CTO Skimlinks

  • http://www.eskibirsaat.com ali

    yes sem it is a great idea

  • Michael

    My oldest played JumpStart CD games. The graphics online look pretty good. I’ll have my youngest try it out. At least they might learn something.

  • elvirs

    what is this site about again?
    I know affiliate stuff and i know ecommerce, but i still could not get the what was the story trying to say.

  • sprfrkr

    I’m with elvirs, I went to the site and it looks like a social shopping site to me, no?


    What else is Skimbit for?
    – Choose a baby stroller
    – Pick out a new television
    – Buy a new house

  • SkimLinks Affiliate Tool

    […] has released a tool to aggregate affiliate links and offer them to other publishers. TechCrunch reports that the problem with similar schemes is that they don’t leave room for editorial control. […]

  • http://uk.techcrunch.com Mike Butcher

    sprfrkr and elvirs – read the headline, the story is about skimlinks.com

  • http://www.digitalprank.org Sara P

    The idea looks good but not for a small scale publisher.

  • http://www.revenews.com Angel Djambazov

    Although not as prevalent with European affiliate networks in the US market Popshops.com provides a similar service. It has 45 million “deep linked” products across seven networks with a variety of customization options. Worth checking out.

  • http://skimlinks.com Alicia

    Hi Angel,

    Popshops.com is a good service if you want to create your own e-commerce shop. But Skimlinks is quite different – you keep doing what you are doing with your site: creating editorial, offering a service, whatever you like, but if you like to products/services in your content, we help you commercialise them. Very different from offering an online shop in a fixed format.

    And to answer Sara’s response, Skimlinks is very much for a small scale publisher, its a great way to make incremental revenues without any effort or cost. We have customers that are tiny publishers all the way to huge ones.

    CEO – Skimbit

  • http://sciencerevenue.com Raymond Lyle

    Hello All,

    I thought I would chime in to give our perspective. We were refereed to in the above article as “less developed” and “little known” and I wanted to set the record straight.

    Our company pioneered this technology in 2007 and has hundreds of the largest community, blog and social networking sites on our network. We also have four other additional patent-pending products that plug into the core technology.

    Until recently we have been operating by invitation only as we wanted to keep a very high quality of network partners.

    We have recently redesigned our website to better outline our products and services. We welcome your feedback.

    Thanks and we wish everyone a Happy 2009!

    CEO – ScienceRevenue.com

  • http://www.affconnect.com/ Eathan

    I’m curious what sort of controls are in place to protect merchants from being associated with content they’d rather avoid? I am an advocate of manual approval of affiliate applications, so the idea of blindly approving a network is a little hard for me to swallow.

  • http://press.skimlinks.com/2008/12/12/skimlinks-works-by-turning-normal-product-links-into-affiliate-links/ Has Skimlinks Solved the Problem Publishers Have with Affiliates? | press

    […] Mike Butcher  |  December 12, 2008   |   View article […]

  • http://www.murraynewlands.com Murray

    It seems like a great idea to me. I am curently trying it out on one of my blog.


  • Matthew Scarlett

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    The idea is good but in
    practice I’ve had many issues since using skimlinks. the first is a
    sudden drop in affiliate income that hasn’t been compensated by using
    skimlinks. My ebay income has dropped to a 3rd of what it was, and
    amazon seems to be totally dead. if the slack of ebay income
    was replaced by a increase in skimlinks income then happy days, but
    that hasn’t happened at all. Further more I’ve got 4
    different income figures and after nearly 6 months I haven’t received
    any payment. So I for me it’s bye, bye skimlinks. Good idea,
    bad in practice!

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