Skimlinks is service that provides a simple line of code, that adds a silent and automated system to earn you commission from all links on your website. It doesn’t change the behavior or appearance of the link, so “http://www.amazon.com” for example will earn you commission when a user clicks on it, and purchases a product through Amazon’s website. In short, it provides an easy way to monetize your content instantly without any major negatives.
Skimlinks launched in 2008 and has quickly grown into one of the leading content monetization companies in the world. The other main competitor is VigLink – you can see my unbiased review of VigLink here. Skimlinks differs from ‘normal’ affiliate systems as it is fully automated. You don’t need to change links to redirect through an ad tracking system as you would normally – it does it all for you. The negative part of using either Skimlinks or VigLink is that both take a percentage of your earnings, instead of asking for money to use their service. NB: This section is a short introduction, if you want to read the full rundown of Skimlinks as a company then read this.
My Skimlinks review – Updated 2013
A lot of websites that claim to offer a ‘review’ of Skimlinks just have a junk/filler article and no actual honest warts-and-all review can ever be found! However I have been using Skimlinks for almost a year now and will list the positives and negatives from my own experiences for you here. Note that I am also using VigLink and have a similar review system for it, read it here.
Positives of Skimlinks
- Skimlinks has specialist APIs. They also have better API documentation, and a dedicated Google Group for their various APIs if you require technical assistance.
- More payment methods. They offer Bank/Wire Transfer, Check (cheque) payments to many countries, as well as PayPal.
- They pay you the VAT if you are EU based. So you receive (commission + VAT). VigLink as they are outside the EU, do not do this.
- More support options. They have a ticketing/tracking system for support as well as a HelpDesk. VigLink do not have any sort of tracking system as far as I can tell, which can be a pain when referring to other support tickets, etc.
- Better backend. Skimlinks allows secondary/additional logins to your account, for example if you want to give your developers access separately, with different rights and privileges. VigLink do NOT offer this at all.
Negatives of Skimlinks
- The payout time is slower. To be exact, it’s 90 days with Skimlinks, whereas VigLink it’s 60 days.
I really hope one day Skimlinks will change this.Edit: I approached them in July 2013 to see if they’d match VigLink’s 60 days payout, and was told they had been working on it/considering it. It is probably not very easy to change your payout schedule, to be fair to them.
- They have about 50% less merchants than VigLink on their books. This isn’t really a major issue because a lot of VigLink’s merchants may be inactive – read my full analysis of this here. However still on paper it looks better on VigLink’s part.
- Their full reports are slower to be generated, i.e delayed by 24 hours. What this means is, any outbound clicks your customers are making on your site today won’t be visible until tomorrow morning, at the earliest. With VigLink you can see this information instantly or with little delay. (Note that you cannot see how MUCH commission you actually made, with either company, until 24 hours later).
Confused? Why not watch the official Skimlinks introduction video if you require clarification or more information on how their system works.