Skimlinks Review

A Skimlinks review, this is the information I wish I had known before signing up to the Skimlinks service. This Skimlink review covers why you should not use skimlinks to gain revenue from your blog, website or forum. The conclusion is a thumbs across and why is below.


We signed up for Skimlinks about a month ago. Signing up to Skimlinks is currently free and the approval process is quick and problem free (takes under 24 hours). The plan was to place Skimlinks javascript code on our test wordpress blog nerdr.com before rolling it out across our major web properties.

Skimlinks vs. viglink as a replacement? We have not tried the skimlinks competitor viglink yet although we are looking into it. It is likely to be the next test we run.

Quick history lesson. Skimlinkswas started by young co-founders Alicia Navarro and tech guru Joe “Joey” Stepniewski from London. Webmasters add the Skimlinks affiliate enabled code to their codebase then, when a user visits the page with Skimlinks enabled, they see products mentioned on the site as actual links to affiliates. If you have Skimwords activated they get a popup too with price comparisons from various suppliers. Some of these links earn the website owner affiliate commission from Skimlinks association with affilite providers like Amazon, Ebay and others.

What we liked about Skimlinks, the pros:

  • Skimlinks is a great way to generate extra revenue from text heavy pages. Skimlinks works well on forums and wordpress blogs and links created are relevant to the content. Skimlinks has a wordpress plugin you can use but it’s best to just use a text wordpress widget and add the code manually.Skimlinks
  • CTR was very good on a WordPress blog. But Skimlinks revenue and conversion ratios are a big problem (see below).
  • Technically, Skimlinks just works. Although at this point in tech the “just works” is becoming common, it’s still useful to mention. We had no problems with Skimlinks while it was on the nerdr wordpress test blog.
  • Skimlinks Amazon and Skimlinks Ebay links are auto targetted to the correct region. Anyone who has used Amazon or Ebay affiliate links knows the problems of region specific affiliate URLs. With Skimlinks, you don’t need to worry about region coding and checking.

 

What we didn’t like about Skimlinks, the cons:

  • Some rumors on forums like Digitalpoint and v7n suggest that Skimlinks slows down page load which can lead to Google penalties. We didn’t measure for this on nerdr and so we can’t comment on Skimlinks and page loading times, however I suspect the code is asynchronous once the Skim Javascript snippet is loaded.
  • Skimlinks merchant list consists of the usual Amazon and Ebay, together with excessive padding of random and small time ecommerce shops. The Skimlinks merchant list is what you would see from any affiliate network like CJ (commission junction) or LS (linkshare), but still contains many small timers.

Skimlinks Review and Conclusion

Thumbs unsure, we are now trialling viglinks too. We originally removed Skimlinks for one very simple reason: non affiliate enabled merchant links.  It turns out we were wrong about this and it was simply measuring non-skimlinks outgoing links.  It would be nice if Skimlinks explained non affiliate enabled merchant links on a FAQ page or similar.  Under 10% of links visited by users on http://nerdr.com were affiliate enabled during the trial period and this looks bad until you figure it what affiliate enabled links means.

Conclusion, I would recommend Skimlinks as a revenue source on your website at this point in time.  It’s free to sign up and they’ll sign anyone up at this stage so give it a shot below.


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6 Responses to Skimlinks Review

  1. Whitney from VigLink here! Eager to hear your thoughts on your VigLink trial. To address the idea that installing code affects load time, which leads to Google penalties, I wanted to point out that with VigLink, you install a short snippet of code that is low impact and negligible on load time. In fact, VigLink is even backed by Google Ventures!

    We have a handy Merchant Checker at tools>coverage from your Viglink account, so that you can see who is covered in our affiliate program. You can always suggest someone for us to include in the program – we have a full merchant team working on new partnerships every day.

    Again, eager to hear your thoughts, and please feel free to email supportATviglinkDOTcom with any questions that arise!.

    • I wasn’t aware of the Google ventures backing which certainly adds weight to Viglinks. We’ve now realized that a blog is probably not the best trial site for something like Skimlinks or Viglink. I’d say link replacers are best attached to a forum, or product review website which mentions Amazon and Ebay products repeatedly by trusted members of the community.

      In the end, both skimlinks and viglink are free and cost nothing to try, so for those reading this, give them both a shot!.

  2. Pingback: Viglinks Review

  3. Hi Nerdr,

    Its Alicia Navarro here, CEO of Skimlinks. Sorry you felt you had a poor experience, but let me clarify what you identify as “cons” of Skimlinks:

    1. Speed – speed is one of the things we are the proudest about, so proud we even make our speeds public at http:SLASHSLASHapi-status.SkimlinksDOTcom/554403 – at 150ms this makes us faster than any other player in the market. We are zippy little javascripters!

    2. Merchant coverage is also the other thing we are super proud of. With Skimlinks you are live and active on almost 20k retailers from day 1, which is a unique differentiator of Skimlinks’, and while that does include a lot of long tail merchants (which means we can support bloggers from any vertical or geography), that also includes every single large merchant that has an affiliate program. Try us out, every big merchant that offers affiliate marketing is part of Skimlinks!

    Finally, to explain your confusion: what “non-affiliated merchants” means is the clicks to destination URLs that are not monetizeable, such as youtube, twitter, etc, so the fact that you are monetizing 10% of your outbound traffic is actually completely standard, and in fact, very good for a blog. We also have a fabulous merchant team not only working on getting more merchants approved and integrated into Skimlinks, but negotiating higher commissions via our Preferred Partner Program.

    You are welcome to try out VigLink, and I’m confident you will see that they too only monetize a small proportion of your outbound traffic (which is normal) and you will no doubt love and return to our speedy javascript, our huge merchant coverage, our brilliant reporting that lets you drill down into almost any aspect of your site (try out the new page level reporting too!), and our awesome tools like our RSS monetization and URL shortener.

    Thanks for taking the time to review Skimlinks!

    Alicia Navarro
    CEO – Skimlinks.

    • Alicia! Howdy.

      At the time of writing this review we had not yet reviewed the Google Ventures backed Skimlinks competitor Viglink/Viglinks. Now that we have reviewed Viglinks, I would add the following to the above Skimlinks review:

      1. Skimlinks provides much better reporting functionality than Viglink.
      2. Skimlinks has better merchant transparency and shows commission rates – as an affilite this is great info and shows you guys are all about transparency.

      In the end we have, for now, stuck with Viglink since it converts and earns more revenue per mille. We’ll continue split testing Viglink vs. Skimlinks across the accounts and will use whichever earns best.

      Something else I’d point out is referral commission. The referral commission for Viglink sits at 30%, which is huge compared to Skimlinks 10%-12%.

      I’m secretly rooting for you guys, but key points where Viglink win are: Revenue and referal commission. Revenue is partly due to chance, but referral commission could do with some serious consideration. It gets reviews, it gets traffic, it gets signups and 10% is not much at all.

      BTW, loved the Mixergy interview!

      Nerdr.

      • Hey Nerdr,

        Thanks for the updated review and lovely words! I agree our reporting is excellent, and transparency is a big deal for us too.

        Regarding the referral commissions, I agree there is room for improvement, we know and are working on it… watch this space very shortly … :)

        Regarding the revenue and conversion, that is – as you say – completely and utterly up to chance… what merchant links your users click, what they choose to buy at a certain point… its near impossible to do a fair side-by-side comparison in a short time frame, so I encourage you to keep trying us over time and see how it goes.

        Glad you liked the Mixergy interview. And we may not be Google Ventures backed, but we are backed by other fabulous VCs :)

        Alicia
        CEO – Skimlinks.