Trialling A New Automated Revenue Stream – Skimlinks

skimlinks
I’ve written before about using a custom plugin to automatically convert links to affiliate links when an appropriate scheme is available and it has certainly boosted my revenue over the years. So I was very interested to hear from Skimlinks who offer a product that does the job for you. 

Skimlinks uses Javascript to automatically redirect appropriate links (redirection can be done via your own subdomain which makes it much more integrated to your site). You don’t need to be a member of any specific affiliate scheme, Skimlinks receives the commission, takes their slice and pays you directly. In theory they should be able earn a higher percentage from merchants thus absorbing their percentage however from my tests I’ve not seen this.

Reports show have many clicks and sales you are generating each day and also to which merchants. I find the merchant report really useful as it shows you affiliate programs You may previously of missed and should consider joining. It honours any affiliate links you already so won’t reduce existing affiliate revenue.

Pros
– Another revenue stream with minimal time investment
– Cloaks affiliate links 
– Reporting
– New merchants are continually being added (8,000+ so far)

Cons
– pages load another external JS file
– Lose a percentage of commission

I already do a fair amount of affiliate sales on CG so wasn’t expecting to find many programs that I’m not yet a member. However after 10 days of testing reports showed nearly 2,000 clicks from 138 different merchants, wow. Revenue was somewhat disappointing at £61, though for the amount of effort involved and just redoing existing links you can’t really grumble.

I’d certainly recommend giving Skimlinks a try, for both the revenue and reports which could highlight an attractive scheme that you’ve missed. If you implement it please let us know how you get on.

About Al Carlton

Al quit the 9 to 5 rat race in January of 2007, before then he was a software engineer and systems architect of financial system. Nowadays Al spends the days running his various businesses and experimenting with different ideas and opportunities.
Al can be found on twitter at AlCarlton.

Comments

  1. Looks like an interesting product. Definitely worth looking into when I get home tonight!

  2. Interesting.
    Funny I just stumbled upon an affiliate scheme I never knew existed the other day for Credit reports – Experian and Equifax. Since I have a load of mortgage sites all telling people how to get their credit reports I had just never though of checking if they have affiliate options and have a load of standard links into them on all my sites and email templates so will get them all changed to affiliate links.

    Did the same with a foreign currency service and picked up a £50 commission after adding their aff link to three emails I sent out.
    Sounds like a useful program if only to show where you might be missing some obvious affiliate income.

  3. Cool implementation for link cloaking with the javascript. I wonder if there is a wordpress plugin that can cloak links like that.

    • Hey Joe,

      Our WordPress plugin (available in the WordPress Plugin Directory) works the same way our javascript does – the user doesn’t see any of the process.

      Thanks,
      Hannah @ Skimlinks

  4. Call me a cynic but the number of times the name Slimlinks in this article is linked through to them, makes me think this is just to push people in to their new affilate programme. Which is fine (if true) but would be nice to get disclosure. Apologies if I’m wrong!

    • I dont think that Al is getting a commission for signups – the links to skimlinks are not affliate links. Al is just sharing something with us.

    • This is the sort of thing I’d share regardless of an affiliate scheme. However SkimLinks do have one and one and the above links should be automatically converted by SkimLinks to an appropriate affiliate link.

      I intentionally never mentioned it to see if anybody would actually notice, which as nobody has mentioned it I think speaks for itself :)

  5. I’ve recently set up skimlinks on my photography forum. The results haven’t been earth shattering but affiliate revenue wasn’t anything to write home about beforehand anyway. I reckon a forum is an ideal place for skimlinks as it’s a place where links to other sites is very likely. All you need to do is make sure people put the right and full links into any site they are linking to

  6. I am currently working with a number of Affiliate Marketing programs on the Internet, but I would have to say that one of my favorite is skimlinks. I use skimlinks along with my blog to earn commission. Skimlinks is very simple and not at all confusing, in my opinion, like other sites that I have used in the past. All I have to do is place the links in my blog and wait for my prospects to buy. The commission is easy to make, I basically make a commission from whatever my prospects purchase from the links through my blog. I would recommend skimlinks to anyone.

  7. I think I need to try Skimlinks and see if it works for me. The only question I have about this is about old posts. I have many old posts that I need to affiliate links to, so do you know if Skimlinks will do that? or it just add aff links for the new posts only? thanks for the post though :-)

  8. Thanks for your report on skimlinks testing result, Al. It would be a useful feedback for us who doesn’t have time to test the service out yet.

    It seems if your site that has millions of pageview each month is getting such a low result, ours that has about 100,000+ pageviews won’t stand a chance to generate a profitable income at all… :)

  9. Skimlinks has its own affiliate program if you’re not already signed up to be earning off the links in this article.

  10. It looks very interesting to me as well. I will start working on it and get back to you with the result.

  11. Hi Bluetooth Advertising – just wanted to jump in here on your comment regarding old posts.

    That’s one of the great things about the Skimlinks technology, it does indeed work on every link in your archived posts. Just one installation, and every link on your site is covered.

    Hope that helps!

    Hannah @ Skimlinks

  12. Yet another great find, thanks for the heads up!

  13. With the exception of the loss of commission this sounds like a heaven sent. I think I will have to try it out just to see what I can do with it, and if it really helps out. I am all about automation!

  14. Pretty much does what it says on the tin. Skims every URL in every thread, and if it has and affiliate program it directs it through an affiliate network. Designed specifically for forums and blogs. Has 5000+ affiliate programs with 19 affiliate networks. Saves having to go through every single post and replace with an affiliate link. In my opinion an untapped goldmine.

  15. I spoke to a mate who is using it and he’s reported commission, but not a lot. How are you getting on with it now?

    Do you think it is worth having as it’ll slow the site down which is a Google focus right now?

  16. Thanks for the heads up on this program. Seems like it is going to save me a lot of time.

  17. Sounds like agreat idea for large sites with lots of links. Keeping the links normal looking and updated is a great benefit.

  18. I dont think that Al is getting a commission for signups – the links to skimlinks are not affliate links. Al is just sharing something with us

  19. Good shout kinoman, thats exactly what it is

  20. and even if Al is using the affiliate scheme (which I think he mentioned that it would convert to an affiliate link further up) who cares, it’s not affecting how we can use it (which I am too) and it’s a great service.

  21. This is a great idea. I wonder what cut they take. Probably something pretty considerable.

  22. Hi Lia, just wanted to jump in and reply to your comment:

    We keep just 25% of commissions, and pass the remaining 75% on to our publishers – but your savings on time and effort will probably cover our cut!

    Thanks,
    Hannah @ Skimlinks

  23. I like the concept of skimlinks although I have noticed it converts very poorly compared to when I link out directly.

    I also worry that their able to track all sales on your site and report only values and merchants back. They can easily create competitor campaign pages as they do have their own affiliate sites and are venture backed by an affiliate marketing company. The problem is they won’t share any information with you even if you ask, they won’t tell you what’s been purchased, referring pages, or the ability to track clicks yourself using an id.

    For a company that prides itself on complete disclosure I’d like them to be completely honest about what data they are storing and how its being used.

    On a positive note it is a great service and the staff are also very friendly.

  24. Hi Riz,

    Thanks for your comment, and for being a Skimlinks publisher!

    At Skimlinks we are always looking for new ways to make our service even better for our clients and one of the features we’ve just implemented in our reporting is our Outbound Sales Report; which shows you every click through on your site – not just the ones we monetize; to will help you understand what sites your users are interested in (you’ll find it in our Publisher Interface under Reporting).

    We’re also upgrading the rest of our reports, to include more in-depth reporting on your clicks, so you can have better visibility.

    We’re working on it now, so you can keep an eye out for it soon!

    As for conversion, we find it hugely reliable, so we’d welcome your feedback on which programs you are seeing problems with so we can investigate. You can email us at support@skimlinks.com.

    Also, just to clarify, we do have one small fashion blog that we use for affiliate testing.

    Many thanks,

    Hannah @ Skimlinks

  25. This actually doesn’t look that bad from the quick glance that I’ve looked at. Affiliate marketing has definitely been an area I’ve been weak in, perhaps this skim links might be a good way for me to start slowly breaking into it.

    Till then,

    Jean

  26. Any updates mate (4 months after you started)? Looked at their page but was not convincing.

  27. Skimlinks looks like it’s worth giving a try. I don’t particularly like that I will be losing a percentage of commission on every sale, but otherwise I wouldn’t even make the sale without the cleverly placed affiliate link. Anyways thanks for the info about this.

  28. Looks like something that would be suitable for someone just getting started.
    Or if you can’t find a suitable fit for the theme of a site.

    But you’d probably want to set up a direct sale affiliation sooner rather then later.

  29. Aren’t affiliate links generated by Skimlinks might be blocked by adblocking browser addons unless you use your subdomain or some other trickery, if network is large and leaving large footprint good chances are it was already added to something like adblock plus filter list so all the code is removed and you’re might be missing big chunk of your revenue. I thinking about trying it as it seem to be easy to setup and maintain.

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