What are Skimlinks?

What are Skimlinks?

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My family is retail industry’s worst nightmare.

We are not big on Christmas gifts.

For some reason, my five-year old daughter has a bit of a hard time with focusing on the real meaning of Christmas and not all the presents she dreams of all year long, but we are working on it.

Fortunately for our fragile economy, this kind of odd trend is not in vogue.

Are you ready to make the best use of the upcoming shopping frenzy?

Is your blog ready to go green? Profit green that is…

Mini Case Study

I am sure you’ve been in this situation once or twice yourself:

1500 views on a post of mine today that had cute pumpkin carving ideas – did I have the brains to include a link to a carving kit even though I saw the stats rising daily??

Ah well, will be fully prepared next year!!! ~ Lisa Melia, ShowMeSomeMoney.com

And after my truly brilliant advice to “add the link TODAY!!!” (and that’s why I make the big bucks around here :) ), Lisa reported back:

And THANK YOU for the advice – 174 click through’s on the pumpkin carving kit, and a few sales!

Of course, had Lisa had Skimlinks enabled on her site, she most likely wouldn’t have missed out on monetizing that initial traffic surge.

What Are Skimlinks?

Skimlinks is an affiliate marketing technology that converts normal product links from thousands of retailers into their equivalent affiliate links so you can earn a commission effortlessly every time a purchase is made.

Why I Like Skimlinks

  • It’s as hands-free as it gets;
  • It gives you access to 18,000+ retail merchants that you otherwise wouldn’t have qualified to be an affiliate for;
  • You get a centralized “command post” for all your affiliate activity, as opposed to tracking all merchants separately;
  • You add normal links to your content and Skimlinks will convert them on-click;
  • No affiliate links to create or manage – they do the work for you;
  • Centralized reporting makes it easy to see which retailers your readers love;
  • they maintain a strict publisher approval process, which ensures quality on both sides.

How SkimLinks Works

It’s as simple as it sounds.

Step 1:

Add normal product links to your content.

add product links through skimlinks

Step 2:

Your links look normal – your readers can see exactly where they are going and trust the link.

trust skimlinks links

Step 3:

SkimLinks automatically turns your links into their equivalent affiliate links when clicked on, via a brief redirect to the SkimLinks servers.

skimlinks creates affiliate link

Step 4:

Every time your readers click through a product link that SkimLinks is able to affiliate and make a purchase, you’ll earn a commission on the sale.

how to make money with skimlinks

Example

skimlinks coffee makerSo for instance, I want to mention my favorite Nespresso coffeemaker in a post.

All I do is go to Amazon and copy and paste the product link (http://www.amazon.com/Nespresso-Automatic-programmable-Espresso-Machine/dp/B0041DNGVC/ref=sr_1_18?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1352919255&sr=1-18&keywords=nespresso+machine).

I don’t have to log into my Amazon affiliate dashboard and convert that link into an affiliate link – SkimLinks will do all the work for me.

So as far you are concerned, you see just an Amazon product link.

However, if you click on it, Skimlinks will automatically code your click with my Amazon referral code and, should you end up buying the product, I get the commission.

Pretty sleek.

How Much Can You Earn with SkimLinks?

No, I don’t have a crystal ball, so I have no idea.

I do, however, know that the potential is there.

For instance, there is barely any SkimLinks presence at Traffic Generation Café.

I bet most of you didn’t even know I had it integrated here.

Yet, with as little as I use it at TGC, I still get a few sales here and there.

look up skimlinks reports

Here’s the break down by merchants:

skimlinks earnings september

22¢ per click is not really that bad, if you ask me.

And that’s without even trying…

Side note: if you’d love to see if you can make SkimLinks work for your site, I’d suggest you apply to be a publisher right away.

It can take up to 3 days for their approval process, and the holidays won’t wait.

More Skimlinks Money Matters

Q: How much does it cost?

Skimlinks works on a revenue share model.

You don’t pay anything to join or use the service; they just take a cut from the commissions you earn.

For SkimLinks, the split is 25/75 – they keep 25% and pay you the 75%.

For SkimWords, it’s a little trickier.

They pay you a variable amount per click that is dependent on a number of factors, including how often clicks result in sales, the value of each sale and the cost-per-click rate negotiated with each merchant.

Bottom line: it pays to add your own links, but if you forget or are too lazy, SkimWords will still pay more than having no links at all.

And also, here’s a quick difference between Skimlinks and Skimwords (same service; different ways to monetize content):

skimlinks vs skimwords

Q: How do I get paid?

When you gain access to the Publisher Interface as an approved Skimlinks publisher, you will be able to enter your payment details and choose from one of three methods of payment:

  • bank transfer,
  • check,
  • or PayPal.

Q: When do I get paid?

They make payments to their publishers every month.

If your cleared balance has reached at least $10 (or £7 in the UK), then they’ll send you a payment.

As Skimlinks works with more than 18,000 merchants through 43 affiliate networks, they are bound to their schedules on payment processing.

They have to confirm the sales, check that the customer does not return the item they bought and, only then, do they pass the commission on to Skimlinks  to give to you.

Once these cleared commissions are collected, you get paid.

Q: Do You Earn the Same?

Many publishers ask “Will I earn the same amount I would earn if I created the affiliate links myself?

The answer is Yes, if not more.

By using Skimlinks, you can earn up to 110% of what you would have earned if you managed your affiliate links yourself.

Of course, Skimlinks does take 25% of everything you earn.

However, they’ve got many of what they call “Preferred Merchants” – merchants who have agreed to pay Skimlinks their cut above and beyond your commissions.

So if you stick with promoting Preferred Merchants, you’ll maximize your earnings potential.

Another thing to consider:

Even if you make just a bit less with Skimlinks, the amount of time it saves you, plus the automatic addition of affiliate links when you forget, pays for the difference above and beyond, in my opinion.

SkimLinks Integration

Once you are an approved Skimlinks publisher, integrating Skimlinks with your site is a breeze.

Your options:

1.  Add JavaScript

Grab JavaScript code and simply copy & paste it into the footer of your site.

That’s what I use at TGC.

2.   For forum owners

If you use vBulletin for your forum, they have a dedicated vBulletin plugin.

3.   For self-hosted WordPress blogs

Bloggers using WordPress can get going in a flash with the WordPress plugin.

4.   For any other platforms

Skimlinks also offers a range of simple implementation guides for everything else in between, like TypePad, Blogger, and Tumblr.

5.   For social media

Yes, you can use Skimlinks to earn some cash from your social media networks.

You’ll find out how to do that in your Skimlinks dashboard under “Tools“.

I’ll also be talking more about it later in the post, under “Creative Ways to Use Skimlinks“.

Just in case you are still dragging your feet: I suggest you apply to be a publisher right away.

It can take up to 3 days for their approval process, and the holidays won’t wait.

Skimlinks Merchants

18,592 active merchants.

43 affiliate networks.

Skimlinks works with “all major affiliate networks“, according to their FAQ.

Even though I couldn’t find the list of all 43 affiliate networks, I know affiliate behemoths like Commission Junction, ShareASale.com, LinkShare.com, etc. are a part of their network.

What does it mean to you in practical terms?

If you are an affiliate for a product listed with Commission Junction, let’s say SOS Online Backup, and one with ShareASale.com, like Thesis theme, you can simply let Skimlinks “oversee” both.

No more multi-site tracking.

No more signing up for a bunch of different programs.

No more wondering if you made any sales you haven’t been paid for.

Makes our lives much easier.

SkimLinks Tracking

A while ago, I read a post titled Avoiding Lost Affiliate Earnings. Hiccups in Tracking Affiliate Program Commissions.

In that post, Sunil addresses one important issue: “shrink percentage“.

He writes:

“Most of us blindly trust companies, big and small when it comes to joining affiliate programs and promoting their products and services in terms of receiving the correct amount of payment we are due.  We do this because  because we don’t know how to track affiliate earnings, or don’t want to because it takes time and effort.

Many of us simply give the vendor the benefit of the doubt.  The rationale goes something like this: “if they have an affiliate program, they must have the sophisticated systems in place to track and remit commissions accurately and timely”.

If you are nodding your head to that, stop nodding because I just found out that one of my sources of affiliate earnings did not pay me over $3,000 in affiliate commissions over a 3 month span.”

I do understand and agree that if WE don’t stay on top of this issue, our commission “shrink percentage” will be a lot more substantial than it would be otherwise.

However, there’s not much we can do to make sure all the tracking of clicks, sales, etc. is done correctly.

Yes, we have to trust blindly that the affiliate networks we promote do a fair job at keeping track of our referrals.

Good news is I haven’t heard of any problems with Skimlinks stat tracking.

Even better news is this: it’s much easier to keep track of your paid earnings with ONE affiliate platform vs across several.

So it makes it a breeze to make sure that we get paid for all the sales made through our affiliate links.

By the way, if you are wondering why some sales don’t get recorded, here are some of the reasons:

  • As sales are accredited with the dropping of a cookie; perhaps your user is using an adblocking software that blocks cookies on their browser.
  • Your site/link may not have been the last referrer to the merchant site.
  • The user may have cleared their cookies before purchase.

SkimLinks and SEO

Is SkimLinks bad for SEO?

After all, you are adding a bunch of affiliate links to your content, right?

Here’s the skinny:

1.  Danny Sullivan says it’s OK

I first learned about SkimLinks from Danny Sullivan’s personal blog.

In case you don’t know who Danny is, he’s the one who oversee SeachEngineLand.com.

I think it’s a safe bet to assume that if he uses Skimlinks, then we should rest in peace in regards to any potential SEO implications…

Well, maybe not.

Danny Sullivan can probably get away with a lot more than you and I can…

Let’s keep digging.

2.  Are affiliate links paid links?

The heart of the issue is this: does Google see affiliate links the same way it sees paid links?

Difficult question, no easy answer, already close to 2,000 words in this post…

Here are some quotes:

VigLink (similar service) said it has talked closely with Google and been assured that its program will not cause site owners to violate paid link guidelines.

I’m also waiting for a longer statement from Google.

But Google also reassures me that it has seen the VigLink program, and it doesn’t pose any problems.”

~ Danny Sullivan

“Shockingly, when asked point blank if affiliate programs that employed juice-passing links (those not using nofollow) were against guidelines or if they would be discounted, the engineers all agreed with the position taken by Sean Suchter of Yahoo!.

He said, in no uncertain terms, that if affiliate links came from valuable, relevant, trust-worthy sources – bloggers endorsing a product, affiliates of high quality, etc. – they would be counted in link algorithms.

Aaron from Google and Nathan from Microsoft both agreed that good affiliate links would be counted by their engines and that it was not necessary to mark these with a nofollow or other method of blocking link value”

~ SEOMoz

“This is our summary of why Skimlinks is comfortably within Google’s guidelines:

  1. Our publishers are editorially focused. They care about writing good content and providing good services, that have relevant, useful information to users.
  2. Skimlinks is about helping publishers stay financially viable, not about helping boost other parties’ search engine ranking
  3. Skimlinks enables publishers to be rewarded if their content/service leads a customer to click through on the link and buy something on a merchant site. Publishers are not paid just to put a link on their site.
  4. Publishers are encouraged to provide disclosure that they might earn revenue if users end up buying something as a result of their content/service. We also encourage our publishers to retain their full editorial integrity and objectivity when writing about products/services. It may impact their short-term affiliate revenues, but long term their users will trust them more, and return more often.
  5. If the content that publishers write is of good quality, and they are an authority site, then it seems fair the merchant benefits via link juice for the publisher choosing them as being relevant to their subject matter.”

~ Skimlinks blog

3.   Use common sense

In the end, we are in business to make money.

Skimlinks makes money.

I am good with that.

Just make sure you don’t:

  • annoy your readers by bombarding them with product links;

How to Use SkimLinks to the Fullest

It’s time to get creative.

How do we make money with SkimLinks without turning off our readers?

How do we do it without taking the main conversion focus off other goals, like list building, as I mentioned before?

I squeezed my brain cells as hard as I could and this is what I came up with.

1.   Find a good product match

Depending on your niche, this may or may not be an issue for you.

With over 18,000 active merchants, it might be a breeze for you to choose the right products for your audience.

However, after observing so many blogs trying to sell a burger to a vegetarian, “common sense” might not be all that common after all.

I’ve been there, ‘ve done that myself, to tell you the truth…

And so has Lisa, as she mentioned in a comment on my How to Tweak Your Way into Profits post.

find merchants on Skimlinks

So how do we find the right products for our sites?

1.   Go the D’OH way

If you are in a cooking niche, look up products under “Food, drink, and dining“.

If you run a mommie blog, you might want to go for “Babies, children, and parenting“.

If your blog is about fashion, go all crazy and pick the “Fashion and accessories” category.

Find that common sense and hold on to it, in other words.

2.   Catch’em by surprise

Look for products that your readers might enjoy even though they might not be directly in your niche.

Have fun with it and go for curiosity factor.

For instance, even though my niche is pretty straightforward, there’s a “Café” in the title of this blog for a reason.

So why not allow my readers to kick back and sip that perfect cup of coffee to keep themselves awake while sifting through hundreds of ways to generate traffic to their sites?

Here’s another thought: most of us have a coffee addict in the family or among friends.

How’s this for an idea of a gift for them:

***********

buy coffee capsules with skimlinks

Time Release Caffeine Capsules

Sometimes it is fun to drink caffeinated beverages or eat caffeinated candies to stay awake. They are tasty and fun.

But what happens, say, if you have to suddenly fly into space to deal with an alien invasion?

You won’t have time to eat or drink on the flight because you’ll be busy with strategies and counter-xenophobe planning.

Be lucky, then, that you have some Time Release Caffeine Capsules on hand. Just pop one in the morning, and you’re alert for the next 8 hours.

***********

Highly Caffeinated Brownies and Cookies

skimlinks coffee snacks And we don’t call them Highly Caffeinated Brownies and Cookies for nothin’!

Each one is loaded with 200mg of caffeine!

The hardest part of these is not eating too many, because they really are that good.

And because they are so tasty, you’ll eat them fast – and that will get the caffeine in your blood with a powerful rush.

Trust us. Get some Highly Caffeinated Brownies and Cookies for a heaping helping of wake up for dessert.

***********

Shower Shock Caffeinated Body Wash

skimlinks shower shock Some folks like imbibing their caffeine in coffees and sodas and energy drinks.

Others like eating it in candies and mints and “magic” brownies.

But if you ask us, the most enjoyable way to get caffeine into your system is to rub glowing gel all over your body and let it seep into your pores.

And if you just happen to get cleaner in the process, even better!

And tingling (unless you are being electrocuted by mutant eels) is always fun.

***********

How’s this for “Catch’em by surprise”?

Has nothing to do with traffic generation, yet goes with TGC perfectly well, don’t you think?

Now get your brains turning!

Where to Add the Products

Your imagination is the limit.

I’d use a free plugin like Datafeedr Random Ads.

It allows you to simply and easily show random ads anywhere in your template files or using widgets.

Just load the images, add the links, and you should be ready to go.

Sidebar would be the most common and the easiest place for ads.

I’d make them 300X250 and show them one per page load.

Other ideas on where to display your affiliate product links:

  • Before a post;
  • As a Hello bar type strip at the top of a page;
  • As an exit popup;
  • After someone leaves a comment;
  • And many, many more…

Have you seen my Featured Product box on the blog home page? Yes, it’s powered by Datafeedr Random Ads.

Get your Thesis theme through this link

2.   Create a “Shopping Page”

Check this out: http://www.trafficgenerationcafe.com/shopping/

Not too many people know this page exists.

It’s mainly used by family and friends to make online purchases they’d make anyway, but now they are kind enough to add to my daughter’s college fund while at it (it’s either that or the military – guess which one I am rooting for? :) ).

I am not sure if I am going to do anything more with that page in the future, but even the way it is, it’s making me a little bit of money.

3.   Use Pinterest

This idea flows seamlessly from the previous one.

Once you create a shopping page, you might as well add some product images to it and pin them to Pinterest.

Quite honestly, I don’t trust Pinterest to honor your affiliate links if you add them directly to the pins.

So the best thing to do is to add the images to your site first, then add them to Pinterest.

4.   Skimlinks widget

This is easy and hands-free.

how to earn with skimlinks referral programJust add a piece of JavaScript you can pick up in your Skimlinks dashboard and add it to your sidebar (with a text widget for instance) or anywhere else you wish.

This is how you can refer new affiliates to Skimlinks and get paid to do it.

A word about Skimlinks referral program.

What is the Skimlinks Referral Program?

You can promote Skimlinks to other affiliates and Skimlinks will give you a whopping 35% of what they earn for a year for each publisher you refer.

You can promote Skimlinks in any fashion you’d like, via disclosure badges, text, and custom Banner ads that they’ve created just for you.

All you need to ensure if that the person you are referring to clicks on your affiliate link before coming to the Skimlinks signup page.

Like this:

So if you sign up for Skimlinks through my link, follow my advice in this post, and make a pretty penny to buy your family something nice, I’ll gratefully accept a chunk of Skimlinks commissions.

5.   Post about Deals

Sales, sales, sales!

Stay in the know on the latest sales by subscribing to Skimlinks Scoop at this link.

 

6.   Use Social Media

Someone is making money on social media right now and I’d love it to be you.

Use the Skimlinks URL shortener to make money from links referenced outside your website, e.g. use it to make money from product recommendations in

  • Twitter,
  • Facebook,
  • your email newsletters,
  • RSS feed,
  • even in print.

If someone clicks on your shortened URL and makes a purchase, it generates a commission for you in the same way as Skimlinks does on your website.

For instance, I can take that monster Amazon URL for my favorite coffee maker and shorten it to http://fave.co/QH1rSk with Skimlinks.

Now it’s ready to be shared anywhere I want to.

7.   Use Skimlinks as Forum Signature

skimlinks Forum signatureWould you click on this image if you saw it in someone’s forum signature?

Smart Content Monetization“?

I know I’d be very curious.

Easy. Hands-free. Creative. Profitable.

Skimlinks Marketing Takeaway

There’s a lot of money to be skimmed here.

If you don’t have enough traffic of your own, use (but don’t abuse!) social media.

At the very least, have your family funnel some of their holiday shopping budget your way.

After all… what is family for, right?

Off to experiment more with Skimlinks,

traffic generation cafe

traffic generation cafe comment below

Google+ Comments

64 Comments (click here to leave a comment)

  1. Ana, Thanks for turning me on to Skim Links. I see the potential already. Looking forward to being approved. We can never get too much exposure for our businesses!

  2. Excellent and very informative resource on Skimlinks. You have made it very clear and easy to follow. Sounds good, it turns normal links into affiliate links. Well, I’m using VigLinks, however I will try this out, it seems to be yet another good way to earn some extra income. Thanks Ana for this wonderful review and tweeted :)

    • Ana Hoffman

      Yes, it’s very similar to VigLinks, Nizam – I think the main difference is in the kind of merchants you have access to through either system. I know VigLinks pays a lot faster. :)

  3. Hi Ana, even though I’ve taken a break off blogging, I’m just stopping by to say Happy Holidays to all my blogging friends. Thanks for all the support, comments, visits etc. I hope you have fun with your loved ones and I wish you all the best for 2013.

  4. hello ana,
    i am a publisher of skimlinks but i dont display their ads. i was using viglink and i managed to make some money with that.can you please tell me which one is best? viglink or skimlinks…

    • Hi Prabhat,

      Glad to hear that you’re on of our publishers.

      Please feel free to get in touch with us at: support@skimlinks.com if you want to find out more about how we can help you make the most of Skimlinks.

      In the meantime please feel free to read our blog post on the ‘Skimlinks Advantage': http://bit.ly/QFU8XC

      Thanks!

      Smaz

  5. Juan

    this is first time i heard and know about this. Thank for sharing the nice entry. I will look into this matter for my blog

  6. Astro Gremlin

    The most exciting news is not having to keep track of multiple affiliate links, which I don’t really do, except for Amazon. The second most exciting piece of news is discovering that I can caffeinate myself by rubbing a glowing gel all over my body.

  7. This looks great – also, another fantastic post Ana!

    I will certainly be checking this plugin out – I have written a few posts that contain links to Amazon books and although its fairly simple to construct this way looks a lot easier and a big time saver.

    Thanks!

    John

  8. Yes, it is good that we don’t have to bother about the affiliate link of individual product. And skimlink itself create all the links for our blog.

  9. I think integrating deeplinks takes forever in a blog post and can be so tiresome, I almost want to stop publishing! Instead, I will take your exceptional advice and integrate skimlinks instead, thanks a lot for sharing.

  10. Its really good to use Skimlinks if they genuinely pays even the 75% commission for all the sales made through affiliate links on my content. We dont have to worry about maintaining the affiliate account & managing the different products on my website. Thanks for explaining all about Skimlinks.

  11. Extremely thorough review of Skimlinks. It sounds like a very powerful resource. I have heard of Skimlinks before but I haven’t really looked into it. After reading your post, I am definitely going to have to give it a shot. Thanks Ana.

  12. Loren

    Wow! This was really interesting! (like all the articles I’ve read of yours in the last couple of days!). I’ve never realised how easy it was to implement.

    I agree with Lisa, integrating deeplinks takes forever in a blog post and can be so tiresome, I almost want to stop publishing! Instead, I will take your exceptional advice and integrate skimlinks instead.

    Same links, same money, less time! Fab!

    • Ana Hoffman

      Definitely, Tom – you can select Skimlinks merchants by country and they’ve got quite a few in France and in Europe generally.

  13. Scott

    Ana,

    I just have to say first of all. This is an excellent article. I can tell that you spent some good time and research on putting this together for us. Thank you.

    I just filled out the application and cannot wait to get started with it. I think this is going to be AMAZING!

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas!

    Scott

  14. Hi Ana, Brilliant idea to start taking advantage of the holiday shopping frenzy by using Skimlinks.
    I don’t shop for gifts during the holidays like you – but I do like to cash in on the those deals.
    I first heard about Skimlinks when Pinterest was using them but I know that partnership ended a few months back. They are great people to work with though and they offered a free ebook called Monetizing Online Forums written by Patrick O’Keefe that was pretty awesome.

    Thanks for sharing all the steps needed to sign up!

    • Ana Hoffman

      I’ve downloaded that ebook, but am yet to read it, Ileane :) – blame it on the day job?

      Thanks for coming by!

  15. Ana Hoffman

    All of my income currently comes from affiliate sales, Philip, and although it’s hard to track precisely which links lead to the most sales, here are my best candidates:

    1. An occasional email to my list about a recent product I bought.
    2. My tools page: http://www.trafficgenerationcafe.com/internet-marketing-tools/
    3. Appropriately mentioning my products in posts.
    4. Posting my latest reviews in the sidebar.

  16. If you have already joined Commission Junction and Amazon (or other affiliates) can you still use Skimlinks and do you need to cancel the ones you joined? I hope that makes sense!

  17. Hi Ana,
    Great in-depth post! Do you know whether the Amazon links are geo-targetted? I mean, does it replace amazon.com by amazon.co.uk for someone visiting the site from the UK?

    • Hi Alain,

      Smaz from Skimlinks here. We are able to geo-target Amazon links with our SkimWords technology as we are detecting the product references and creating the links ourselves.

      However with SkimLinks we are unable to geo-target Amazon links for two reasons:

      1) With our Skimlinks technology we simply convert the products and links as defined by the publisher (or content creator)

      2) Amazon operates on a location basis and each location is treated as a separate merchant so some products which you can purchase through Amazon.com are unavailable on Amazon.co.uk for example.

      Hope that answers your question and if you have any more then we’ll be more than happy to answer them: support@skimlinks.com

      Thanks!

  18. Jim Zboran

    Thanks for taking the time to do this in-depth review, Ana. I wouldn’t have taken the time to look at the service on my own but I appreciate having an understanding of it and how to effectively implement it.

    For myself, I don’t want to be distracted away from some other irons in the fire right now. But Skimlinks would be an excellent idea for some of my small business coaching clients to use right now. I’ll point them in the direction of your affiliate link when I mention it.

    On the other hand, that Datafeedr Random Ads plugin you mentioned is something I can make use of right now. I’ve been looking for something for awhile and haven’t been happy with what I’ve found so far. I’ll give it a look. Thanks for pointing it out :)

    • Ana Hoffman

      I know what you mean, Jim; it’s not for everyone.

      I do appreciate you taking your time to make a comment though – as always.

  19. Sounds wonderful indeed Ana!

    But yes, being a freelance writer also, I somewhere do agree with Anne that we earn more through our writing projects than the affiliate links and other stuff we have on our blog (though I really don’t have very many). I agree, we really don’t and get down to doing the selling or promoting the products the way it should be done, but that’s because some of our blogs aren’t that ways. But I love your idea of having a separate shopping page for that.

    Thanks for sharing, and you surely made me re-think and gave some wonderful ideas here as well. :)

  20. Hi Ana
    Excellent evaluation! I believe I am going to do some much more investigation upon skimlinks and find out in case the some thing I would really prefer to include.

  21. Nice work on this post Ana. When I think of in content affiliate links, I always think of links like Kontera and it causes horror. Perhaps things have evolved :)

  22. Slick! Thanks for sharing this, Ana. I’d never heard of this.

    I’ve got ideas for a couple of niche blogs/websites that I would like to get going in 2013, and I really wasn’t sure how I was going to go about monetizing them without having to spend a lot of time researching products in those niches.

    I think this may have solved that particular issue. :)

  23. This year already I have been in a money saving mode. Anyways, I think I will do a little more research on skimlinks and see if its something I would like to add. Great review!

  24. Well done Ana. Quite a thorough review about Skimlinks. I actually used Skimlinks and Viglink in the past, but unfortunately did not really work for me. I do have a friend who is quite happy with it (SL that is) and as you said, it is pretty much an excellent alternative for the lazy people, lol.

  25. I have used skimlinks on one of my blog but not got any good results may be because of traffic and niche but I liked the concept which can help you increase your earning without using any space on your website. It can be much better then PPC intext advertisements.

  26. I usually get a catalogue towards the end of the year and tell the kids to look through it and come up with 10 of the things they most want. They know they’re only going to get 5 of the items (each), so what they get is still a surprise. This works very well for us. We don’t necessarily get the pressies from that catalogue either – as long as the items match, that’s the important bit.

    About skimlinks – I found out ages ago that I’m really not good as an affiliate. I used to have loads of them on my blogs and made no money whatsoever. I still have Amazon links/widgets. The plan is that as soon as I make their payout limit ($100.00), I’ll remove all their links from all my blogs.

    The irony is that I’ve been an Amazon affiliate for about 4 years – and still haven’t made the limit! I can now make $100.00 from two hour’s editing/writing work. I so can’t wait to have a clean, clear blog, free of all affiliate links!

    I know that affiliate works for thousands of bloggers. I know that they work for you as well, Ana. And good on you for that! For me, however, nothing happens. I’ve accepted this now :-)

    • Ana Hoffman

      Well, I’ve never seen a check from them yet, Anne, but at least Skimlinks limit is only $10, even if it’s Amazon earnings.

      I do understand what you mean though. If it doesn’t work for your readers, then you need to come up with a better monetization model. You’ve got plenty of traffic; there’s got to be a way to monetize it.

      • Sally Jo

        Well….

        I started using SkimLinks on the weekend after Thanksgiving last year. Today is February 24 – so it’s been almost exactly 3 months since I started.

        My Skimlinks total is just a tad over $1,000 in total earnings since I started (but I’m expecting 25% of that to be taken for their commissions). I’m a bit annoyed that it takes up to 4 months to get paid. I haven’t been paid, yet, either. It appears that money earned in November gets paid at the end of February.

        I think there’s potential there – but trying to make your way through their system and finding out what merchants pay is downright time consuming and energy-sucking, IMO.

        I found one merchant that paid 25c a click for quite awhile.. but now my reports still show lots of clicks (hundreds) but I’m not seeing commissions on them.

        Then I had a different merchant that paid about $4 a sale (on a $25 item) so I promoted that all over the place and made a good chunk of that $1,000 from them … ONLY to get an email a week or two ago that said it was against that merchant’s rules to promote them on forums (which I legitimately did- I used forums that I participate in for a certain niche as a hobby). So they told me that my links made that way wont be monetized – so not sure I’m even getting half or even 25% of that $1,000+ that I thought I earned.

        So even if you do find the right things that seem to work- it sure seems that there are lots of potholes to fall into on the journey. :(

        Just thought I’d add my experiences for you. :)

        • Ana Hoffman

          I hear your frustrations, Sally, but $1000? That’s great! I hope you’ll be paid soon.

          It’s certainly not much fun to be told that all your hard work was for nothing due to marketing guidelines. However, the same goes for any merchant out there; even if we go through their own affiliate program, we are still obligated to read, understand, and follow their rules.

  27. Alexis Marlons

    I want to give something to my daughter that she will be able to use and keep with her for a log time. (Also something that will not kill my budget..:))

    Hey Paul, nice one. Give me an update if your kid notices.

  28. Paul Forcey

    I am thinking of just buying my 5 year old some cardboard boxes in various sizes this year to see if she notices she didn’t get any “real” presents from us.

    She spent more time playing with the empty box from our new TV than she did with any toy that anyone got her..

    Oh and I agree skimlinks are a good way to monetize just about any site..

    Paul

    • Ana Hoffman

      Someone in a comment above wanted to know how your little Christmas present experiment goes, Paul… ;)

  29. wow! thats all i have to say…

    Kidding!

    I will for sure be adding Skim links to 2 of my smaller review type blogs, those darn links take ages to add, expecially when trying to build deep links through affiliate window and CJ.

    I’ve noticed a lot more clicks on my ads now that I am giving my readers what they want instead of what I thought they needed – big difference!
    Just as you can’t sell burgers to vegetarians or salt to slugs, be very wary of going too far the wrong way and trying to sell Ice to Eskimos or potatoes to the Irish!

    A note on the affiliate links – pinterest will strip any attached to images, and you will also loose all google image searches, I learnt this the hard way last week….
    I was getting around 200 hits a day on an image of a lightbulb on showmesomemoney, but it wasn’t targetted traffic and they were just putting my bounce rate up, so I had a little play with it and linked it to a clickbank graphics package – the image disappeared from Google search within about 12 hours!

    And with that I am off to hang my head in shame LOL

    • Ana Hoffman

      That’s another thing I like about Skimlinks, Lisa – you can track which merchant attracts the most clicks from your readers and offer more products from them.

      I like your little trick with images; I hate getting random traffic…