Affiliate tool

A software tool called Skimlinks is set to change the way web publishers earn cash through affiliate marketing.


Launched by London-based company Skimbit, the software turns normal retailer links found in their editorial content into ‘affiliate links’ automatically. Each time a user clicks through and makes a purchase, the website earns a commission from the retailer.


Skimlinks’s patent-pending technology means that websites no longer have to sign up for multiple affiliate programs across many networks or create and maintain affiliate links as merchants change from one network to another.


Skimlinks provides instant access to affiliate programs of more than 7,000 international merchants (even the third of merchants that do not support deeplinking) across 16 affiliate networks and all publishers’ links are optimised for the best commissions at any point in time.


The tool has already attracted first-round investment led by Sussex Place Ventures, with participation from NESTA, The Accelerator Group, Duncan Jennings (eConversions) and chairman Alex Hoye (Latitude Group), and already has a clientele of brands including T3.com, TechRadar.com, the Daily Mail and Shiny Media.


Alicia Navarro, founder and chief executive officer of Skimlinks, said: ‘Consumers no longer rely on advertising to make their purchase decisions, instead being driven by reviews and recommendations from both editorial and user-generated content.


‘Publishers must embrace this shift by creating useful content and encouraging their users to do so too, adding links to relevant products and services within the context of that content. Skimlinks represents a new way to monetise those links, and therefore its surrounding content, by implicitly applying affiliate marketing.’


David Hunter, managing director of NESTA Investments, said: ‘This technology will open up the value of affiliate marketing to small as well as large online businesses that previously had to endure complex methods to embed links. There is massive scope for Skimlinks and NESTA is delighted to be involved.’


Robin Klein from The Accelerator Group added: ‘With advertising CPM rates going down, publishers are finding it harder to generate sustainable revenue from their content. Affiliate marketing is an increasingly attractive option for website publishers. However, it can be difficult to implement and manage, especially where fragmented editorial, technical and commercial teams are involved. Skimlinks looks likely to be a breakthrough for many publishers struggling with these current systems.’


The service is currently free to use and Skimlinks takes a small cut of the commissions earned by the website publisher.