Skimlinks launches SkimWords to turn more links into an affiliate revenue opportunity

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Affiliate marketing platform Skimlinks has launched its latest product that aims to make it even easier for publishers to place revenue generating affiliate links in their content.

Dubbed SkimWords, the feature, which is currently in beta, differs slightly from the company’s main offering. Rather than simply converting existing retailer links to affiliate links on-the-fly, it looks at the page’s content and converts any references to known products into fairly non-obtrusive geo-targeted links to retailer sites where the item can be purchased.

The fact that these links are location-aware – at the country level – is perhaps noteworthy since it accommodates a site’s international traffic and therefore hopefully doesn’t leave much money on the table.

Skimlinks has been testing SkimWords with existing clients including, ITProPortal, AV Forums and Anglersnet for about a month and claims that in these publisher trials its seen the number of pages that can generate revenue jump by 300 per cent. That’s, of course, the number of pages that can potentially be monetized through affiliate links, not the actual click-through rate, while it’s also not clear how well links of this nature, which could be perceived as spam, will be accepted by readers.

On that note, SkimLinks says that all dynamically created links, although formatted in the same link style as organic links, “utilize a disclosure tooltip on mouse-over, to implicitly communicate in an non-intrusive way that the link has the potential to generate revenue for the publisher.” That at least obeys the most important rule of publishing on the web: disclosure.

Last December we reported that SkimLinks had raised $1.5m in a Series A round led by Sussex Place Ventures, along with the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) and The Accelerator Group and a number of the original angel investors involved in the company’s seed round earlier in the year.

  • http://press.skimlinks.com/2010/06/28/skimlinks-launches-skimwords-to-increase-affiliate-revenue-opportunity/ Skimlinks launches SkimWords to increase affiliate revenue opportunity | press

    […] Steve O’Hear  |  June 28th, 2010  |  VIEW ENTIRE ARTICLE […]

  • http://www.sitepoint.com Matt Mickiewicz

    Nice job!

    I love the business model behind Skimlinks, and the simple integration for large, existing publishers.

  • http://www.kartme.com Phil Michaelson

    Interesting. At KartMe.com, we’ve been a happy customer of SkimLinks previous products (see them running here: http://www.kartme.com/phil/gifts-adults )

    Seems like an OK way to ad more advertising, though i’d worry about the impact on the user experience on pages that mention the same product a few times.

    • http://www.skimlinks.com Alicia Navarro

      Hi Phil,

      Glad to hear you’re enjoying SkimLinks!

      User experience is always very important to us, and so, with SkimWords, we utilize an algorithm that will insert a limited number of links, appropriate to the amount and type of content on the page.

      Alicia Navarro
      CEO
      Skimlinks

      • http://www.kartme.com Phil Michaelson

        Sounds perfect. Very clever way to monetize UGC!

  • http://matiaskorhonen.fi/ Matias Korhonen

    Sounds like another IntelliLinks (and just about as crappy).

    • http://www.skimlinks.com Alicia Navarro

      Hi Matias,

      We are certainly entering into the same ball-park of services as IntelliTxt, although we work well in tandem with them. We differ in that there is no pop-up ad, its not advertiser driven, and it focuses on references to products rather than generic keywords.
      IntelliTxt gets a bad rap often, and its not the most subtle of user experiences, but it keeps many publishers earning a good income which ensure they continue to offer free content. We certainly hope we are as successful as them soon, but our goal to get there will focus on being less intrusive and more relevant.

      Thanks for your feedback!
      Alicia Navarro
      CEO – Skimlinks

  • http://robotbox.net William

    How is this different from VigLinks?

    • http://www.skimlinks.com Alicia Navarro

      Hi William,

      Thanks for your question. Skimlinks’ technology was built over 2 years ago, and we’ve had customers since November 2008. Viglink launched a similar service to our core product middle of last year. I know the guys there well, we are in a similar space, but our focus is different. We focus on publisher tools and on optimizing the publishing process, whether it be with tools to monetize content via RSS or social media (like our SkimRSS and URL Shortener), tools to research and discover commission-earning products like SkimKit that we launched in March, or automated product-linking services like our newly launched SkimWords. Viglink does not currently do these additional services, our common ground is the SkimLinks product which converts links into affiliate links.

      Hope that answers your question?

      Cheers
      Alicia Navarro
      CEO – Skimlinks

  • Alex Helent

    William,

    I think that Viglinks and drivingrevenue are the US equivalents to Skimlink…

    – Alex

  • http://www.amnavigator.com/blog/ Geno Prussakov

    Excellent development by Skimlinks. WTG!

    To Alex’s comment: I believe Skimlinks is fully US affiliates-friendly (has a wide range of US merchants).

    • http://www.skimlinks.com Alicia Navarro

      Thanks for answering, Geno, and appreciate your support!

      To add to Geno’s comment, Alex, although we are physically based in London, over half our business is in the US, and we are there half the time. Truly international, I’d prefer to think of us as.

      Kind regards,
      Alicia Navarro
      CEO – Skimlinks

  • caveat emptor

    A sales product made by sales people who do not understand that editorial can’t be supported by treating it like a salesforce, even more so since user generated content.

    Read this for example

    http://www.itproportal.com/portal/reviews/article/2010/6/15/review-apple-ipad-64gb-3g/

    A review of the iPad that includes a product reference to iPod Touch which is an affiliate link to eBay. Is the Touch reference there to drop a cookie? Why eBay? Is eBay in my interests, because that’s what editorial is, it is agnostic and has no conflict of interest?

    Disclosure reads too much like jargon. How did you research ‘Shopping links added by Skimlinks’ as opposed to something people might understand like ‘sponsored link’?

    I’ve heard of Viglink but never actually seen it in use.

    • http://www.skimlinks.com Alicia Navarro

      Hi Caveat Emptor,

      Thanks for your thoughts on this topic. For what it is worth, Skimlinks actually prides itself on being the opposite of what you say: we are a company that understands and is passionate about publishing, publishers, and the demands of editorial, and are trying to come up with products that work seamlessly in tandem with the editorial process, without compromising on its integrity. You may disagree, but it absolutely is what we aim to do.

      So to take your example, the editor wrote that complete article completely agnostic of how it was going to be handled by Skimlinks. Our technology looks at it afterwards, and sees if any products have been mentioned in it. If so, we link to the best performing/converting merchant by users of that site, so in the case of eBay, they have a great conversion rate, which means users of that site as a whole tend to purchase from eBay. If we found that readers of that site as a whole were more likely to buy from Amazon, then we would make the destination link point to Amazon, because the users have indicated that is their preference.

      And funny you ask about the disclosure wording. We actually ran a comprehensive survey of non-techy and non-startup folk to see what wording they preferred. We offered a dozen different wording and formatting options for the tooltip, and ‘Shopping link added by Skimlinks’ came up the distinct favorite. Its not really ‘sponsored’ as the advertiser has not paid to have their link placed there: thats why we chose not to use that word.

      Hope that addresses your excellent questions?

      Many thanks,
      Alicia
      CEO – Skimlinks

  • caveat emptor

    No, once you add your shopping link it is impossible for me to know why, when he wrote his article, he added the reference to iPod Touch, and also impossible for you to know. It also puts pressure on the writer because writers including high earning product links will earn more at a time when Western consumers are completely shopped out and actually the last thing they need is more sales pressure. They already got spending as hugely wrong as Western governments. What consumers need in my view is not how to consume more but how to produce in a sustainable way and consume less but editorial without shopping links has zero value.

    In this example, the intention clearly is to start discussions about high earning product references, in this case Gala Bingo. He even calls it spam.

    http://www.vbseo.com/f160/skimlinks-com-33013/

    “Would be handy to know what % publishers get before hand… that way I can post on my forum ‘Anyone used Gala Bingo? What’s it like?’ and get people talking. But if I’m only getting 1% then it’s not worth the spam.”

    Your product would be more legitimate in my view in economies like China, India and Brazil where consumer spending is rising.

    I’d also like to ask you about BP. BP was criticised for buy Google Ads to get its message across. Your product it seems to me would enable BP to sign up bloggers onto its marketing communication programmes and reward them for positive PR and this content as I understand it would be found in Google’s natural search results. I don’t want that to happen. I believe the separation of marketing communication from editorial which is required by EU law is in our common good although obviously editorial has fallen disastrously short in many ways in recent years. Your solution though is worse.

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