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Skimlinks provides a simple affiliate marketing tool which allows publishers to earn money from affiliate links with a minimum of effort. 

I've been talking to Skimlinks CEO and co-founder Alicia Navarro...

In one sentence, what is Skimlinks?

Skimlinks is an innovative technology that helps online publishers monetize their content simply and seamlessly through affiliate marketing.

What problems does Skimlinks solve?

We save publishers the time and effort they’d usually spend signing up for affiliate networks, applying for merchant programs, creating affiliate links, embedding those links, and collating all the data they get from each different network. 

The publisher can completely outsource their affiliate marketing, while our technology turns normal links and product references in their content into affiliate links.

When and why did you launch it?

Skimlinks originally started as a completely different company.

It all began with Skimbit – an online social decision-making site, back in 2006. We had built an internal monetization technology to earn from the links users were adding on the site, and eventually, that technology, and its potential, grew bigger than our original business model.

We decided to focus on it exclusively, offering it to other sites to help them earn from their content like we had. We launched as Skimlinks in December 2008.

Who is your target audience?

We can help a huge range of online publishers monetize – from niche bloggers, to forums, to online newspaper sites right up to content networks or publishing platforms. 

Our main goal is to increase the revenues publishers earn via our technology. We feel that the role publishers play in creating purchase intent via their content is undervalued, and we are building innovations that better capture this value. 

What were the biggest challenges involved in building Skimlinks?

Skimlinks is a scale business: we make a small amount per transaction, so to create a sustainable long-term business requires excellence at scale.

However, the challenge - which is the fun part of the job - is to achieve what I like to call "scalable intimacy" - the ability to operate at scale, and still emanate a personality, intimacy, warmth and care for your customers and stakeholders.

That goes a long way to encourage loyalty and word-of-mouth marketing. 

How does Skimlinks make money?

Our technology rewards publishers who have content that informs, influences and closes purchase decisions, and we also help create additional purchase opportunities with our new SkimWords technology.

It’s all about encouraging and creating opportunities for commerce.

What is your pricing model?

We operate on a revenue share basis. 

Who is in the team and what does it look like?

We have a diverse and international team of 30 based in London and San Francisco.

We like to hire bright passionate and caring people with a love of entrepreneurship, and we aim to make these traits part of everything we do. The team is about one third tech, one third operations, and one third biz development and account management.

What developments can we expect over the next couple of years?

As this industry changes so quickly, we can only focus on the immediate future – especially as we are in a completely different place to where we thought we would be just three years ago.

In a year, at least, we intend to be the most valued and innovative form of content monetization on the market.

Graham Charlton

Published 10 May, 2011 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (9)

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buyer beware

Skimlinks is not always what users want so content owners should do their research first. It's come and gone after furious reaction on forums like bit-tech and moneysavingexpert. Post Panda some editorial publishers have been keeping links completely out of content, placing advertising separate to editorial. The regulator, the OFT, seems pretty keen on this too.

over 5 years ago


Alicia Navarro

Thanks for your comment BB.

Advertising in general is not always what users want, and, certainly, content owners need to do what is right for their content and their community.

There are a small handful of sites that had vocal communities against any form of in-text advertising, but equally, we work with thousands of sites where the community recognise that an unobtrusive service like Skimlinks is a necessary way for the site to earn a rightful income. Other providers of contextual advertising often deal with similar challenges.

Regarding Panda, publishers are looking for clues as to what they are specifically targeting, but Google has always been clear that as long as the content is original and rich, and the links relevant, then this is sufficient. Google has no problem with affiliate marketing or link redirecting services as they own companies that do both.

Thanks again for you input!

Alicia Navarro, Skimlinks

over 5 years ago



Skimlinks is not always what users want so content owners should do their research first. It's come and gone after furious reaction on forums like bit-tech and moneysavingexpert.

over 5 years ago

Peter Bordes

Peter Bordes, CEO & Founder at oneQube

Congratulations Alicia. Wonderful interview and two thumbs up on your platform. its a very good tool for the affiliate marketing industry.

we need more innovation like this in the direct response advertising industry :)

over 5 years ago


Robin Moore

I like skimlinks. It has taken a lot of the pain out of managing affiliate marketing campaigns. As a publisher, you do lose a significant chunk of money through the revenue-share deal.. but that loss is at the gain of being able to focus on content production. If you are running a small-set of affiliate websites then Skimlinks can save you a lot of time and hassle dealing with the big cumbersome affiliate networks and their poor customer service.... with Skimlinks the system is self-service.

over 5 years ago


buyer beware

Google has said that it wants to do different things with affiliate links for whatever reason and that owning Viglinks and Beaththatquote is how it will do that.

over 5 years ago


Norm Johnson

Hi Alicia, First I think Skimlinks is on the right track and represents a way for anyone to easily become an affiliate marketer. I think you offer significant advantages over Viglinks, especially with the SkimWords product. I've made a fair amount of money working with CJ.com in past but the automation of link selection and maintenance is well worth sharing the commissions. Here are a couple of issues I have with Skimlinks. #1 I check your web site often but nothing ever changes. Your blog is thin and the other site info is static. I'm interested in what's new, what specific issues you are working on to improve the product, etc. I know you are busy but the site makes me wonder if the company is growing or on its way out.
#2 The SkimKit product is a great idea but it is very clunky. There is a lot of potential in that idea but I don't see it getting any better. If it is, please talk about it on your site!
#3 I'm US based as is most of my audience. I get a lot of UK links, or I get Amazon for everything. I have sold a lot of cell phones via Let's Talk on CJ but my SkimWords or SkimKit lookups all go to Amazon. They simply don't pay like Let's Talk.
So please keep up the good work but share your progress with us and keep cleaning up and improving these tools.
Thank you, Norm

over 5 years ago



What's the difference between skimlink and viglink?

almost 5 years ago



Google has said that it wants to do different things with affiliate links for whatever reason and that owning Viglinks and Beaththatquote is how it will do that.we need more innovation like this in the direct response advertising industry :)

almost 5 years ago

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