U.K. startup Skimlinks is hoping to revolutionize the affiliate model by turning normal product links into affiliate links. The startup gives publishers access to affiliate programs of thousands of merchants across a number of affiliate networks. Each time a user clicks through and makes a purchase, the website earns a commission from the retailer. With Skimlinks, a publisher can set which links should be affiliate ones or not. The publishers makes money from content via affiliate fees and Skimlinks takes a 25% cut of the commissions. Today, the startup is launching a nifty discovery tool for publishers to search for affiliate links by keyword.
The desktop tool, called a Skimkit, is powered by Adobe AIR and is essentially a live searchable database of millions of products from Skimlinks merchants. The tool lets publishers research, find and link to products they are writing about, with immediate access to deeplinks and image URLs.
So, If a website publisher is searching for a link for red shoes, the user can search for red shoes on the Skimbit. The startup will produce results from retailers who have affiliate programs for links. SkimKit also features a service that creates shortened, monetized links for use in Twitter and email newsletters. SkimKit is available for free to Skimlinks publishers.
Skimlinks, which was born from Skimbit, is already being uses as a monetization service on more than a half million sites worldwide and has raised a total of $2.5 million in funding. Publishers using the affiliate service include Elle.com, The Daily Mirror, and a number of fashion blogs and sites.