This post is by Ashe Mischief
One late night on Twitter, I was complaining about Commission Junction, an affiliate program who hosts 1/3 of my affiliate programs. My account was sitting at $32 in earnings, and the minimum payout was $50. I had recently discovered that each month my account was losing $10– a policy they had implemented earlier this year for blogs who don’t have sales through their affiliate accounts for 6 months or more.
Affiliate links are a passive income stream, and they often require a lot of work. I try to build them organically in to my content, and utilize them on products I’d otherwise be linking to. Generating the $50 minimum payout on a site my size isn’t easy without constantly and actively adding links in to my content.
The next day I received a personalized, detailed email from Skimlinks inviting me to join their network. They mentioned several fashion bloggers who were already in their network, and I decided to join. I thought–what is there to lose?
Skimlinks is a one-stop program that gives you access to all of the affiliate networks without having to individually join. This was always a problem for me: remembering which affiliate program had which shop, remembering my login names & passwords, and then hunting down each product or building the link for it.
Skimlinks is easy to install– they generate code and you install it on to your blog or website. It doesn’t alter the html of your links but, rather, if you link to a page in an affiliated company, you can generate revenue off of it. This is particularly awesome if (like me) you’ve been denied memberships to companies you’d like to be an affiliate with. I can still earn income on Zappos purchases, even though I’m not a Zappos affiliate through another affiliate company.
It also gives you nicely detailed reports– below you can see some of the most clicked links on my site, how many times they were clicked, and whether it’s a monetized site or not. I’ve earned income from Target and eBay sales, and Amazon is a clicked through often as you can see below.
Skimlinks does have some downsides though– the rates you earn per sale aren’t quite as high as through the affiliate company (whether Commission Junction, Google Affiliates, Share a Sale, etc) because Skimlinks keeps a percentage. They say that they are able to negotiate a higher rate from the affiliate programs in the first place, so the difference is negligible. To be honest though, I don’t know what my earned rate is.
For a passive income stream though, it’s been decent. In the 3 weeks its been on my site, I’ve earned $6 without having to do any work. It’s a nice initiation for those who are curious about affiliate advertising or for those who may not often use affiliate links (like I do). For a heavy duty shopping blog, it could be a great way to supplement the income you’re earning with your other affiliate programs– because it can be used in conjunction with them.
Is anyone else using Skimlinks? If so, what is your opinion on it?