SkimLinks VS VigLink – Head to Head

Serious affiliates will probably find it’s worth their time to do their own linking and save the 25%, but for beginning bloggers and for sites with a lot of user-generated content, VigLink or Skimlinks are perfect ways to monetize any outgoing links.  Also it is best for people who want more of a “set-it-and-forget-it” solution, so they can focus on their writing or other aspects of their business.  Plus, because they do such a large volume of business, VigLink and Skimlinks often can negotiate a higher overall commission rate with the advertisers.  That means that even after their 25% cut, you may still be better off than you would be “on your own.”

The best part about either of these programs is that they are free to join, easy to set-up, and whatever you earn is 100% incremental revenue.  And if you already have some affiliate links on your site, neither VigLink nor Skimlinks will overwrite those!

Signup Link
Setup 1 Minute Requires up to 3 business day for approval
Installation Copy/Paste Java ScriptSupports REST API on request.Also have “Installation Checker” Copy/Paste Java ScriptAlso supports Flash integration
Plug-ins & Integrations Tapatalk IntegrationForumRunner IntegrationCloudFlare.com Apps IntegrationphpBB Plug-invBulletin Plug-in

WordPress Plug-in

vBulletin Plug-in WordPress Plug-inNing Integration
Merchant Count More than 12,500 17,278 active merchants
Active Merchant On Start %?All merchants are not active at first day. But VigLink doesn’t give any count or percentage (yet.) 100%SkimLinks says all merchants are active at first day.
Payment Monthly via PayPal Monthly via PayPal.UK/US Bank TransferUS CheckOnly PayPal for international publishers.
Payment Delay After 2 Months After 3 Months (1 month after cleared commissions)
Revenue Share They have %25 and give you %75 They have %25 and give you %75
Transction Fee VigLink pays the all PayPal fees. SkimLinks pays the bank transfer fees.Also pays the PayPal fees for UK/US.But not for internationals. Internationals needed to pay %2.9 + $0.30 to PayPal!
Payment Threshold $0.00 $50 or 35£$10 or 7£
Referral Programs They give %10 of publishers commission rate from VigLink share for one year. Equals: %7.5 of total. SkimLink will give %10 of SkimLinks commission for text referrals. And will give %12 of SkimLinks commission for banner/badge links. For one year.Equals:%2.5 of total (for text link)%3.0 of total (for badge/banner)
Tax Compatible with U.S. system only. But you have problems if you are non-US publisher. U.S. Laws wanted to have %30 income tax from alien foreigners!Also needed to fill complicated ambiguous forms and apply for ITIN (tax id number) if you want to keep everything legal.Also, you might need to pay your income tax at your country. Double kill! For U.K. Citizens they collect VAT.For other countries. You can pay your income tax to your country by your country laws…
Contextual Advertisement Link Insertation, generate automatic links from merchant names (and soon products) SkimWords, generate automatic links from product names…
Link Override For Amazon and Ebay links. For Amazon links only.
Already Affiliated Link Warning Shows how many already affiliated links available at your pages but does not give any other information. Does not show any warning about it.
Support Very quick and satisfactory. Very quick and satisfactory.
Widgets & Tools None Custom DomainAmazon & Ebay product search widgetsEveryFeed Product Feed APISkimRSS
Allow External Accounts None Allows external administrator, reporting and tools account types.
Click Statistics Live or with little delay. After a day.
Commission Calculation ~1-2 Days ~2-3 Days
Affiliated Pages Statistics Yes Yes
Affiliates Links Statistics Yes Yes
Statistics View Calendar Style Graphic Style
Statistics Filtering None Supports filtering by domain and merchants.API allows you to get subid’s and extra details of commission data!
Statistics Range Weekly and monthly ranges available only. Daily statistics not available. Allow custom statistics ranges.
Statistics Export CSV export for a week only. XML,CSV,PDF export for custom ranges.

Skimlinks – Automatically turning links into affiliate links

Skimlinks is a company in the UK that, once you sign up for their program and add their code to your website, will turn any link into an affiliate link. That means, if a blogger features a product from Banana Republic, and links to the product page, when a reader clicks that link, Skimlinks automatically turns it into an affiliate link and the blogger earns a commission if the reader buys anything. If Skimlinks has a merchant in their network, then the blogger can earn commissions for that merchant.

I started using Skimlinks on the Alterations Needed Forum, because I wanted to find a way for the Forum to pay for all the money I had to spend to create and put it up. Putting up Shopsense links on the forum didn’t seem right, so I had to look for another way for the Forum to make money. What I found was Skimlinks. If a forum member shares a link to a product they love, and a reader clicks that link and buys something, the Forum earns a commission. Perfect! The forum members help the Forum earn money just by sharing the items they buy and love, and other forum members using their suggestions to make a purchase.

Pros – It’s easy! There are no special links to use, and the blogger is able to get access to hard to get affiliate programs that maybe she/he could not join on their own.

Cons – Skimlinks takes a commission, from the blogger’s commission, so the blogger earns less than they would if they joined the affiliate program for a merchant directly. Not all the affiliate programs a blogger might want to use are available.

My biggest gripe is the payout system. Skimlinks waits to pay your balance until you reach $50 in cleared payments. It can take 60-90 days for a commission to clear, so I often go months without a payment.

My experience – I like Skimlinks a lot. It gives the Forum an opportunity to bring in a little income, which helps pay for the cost of running it. I also started using it on Alterations Needed, for items I don’t have a Shopsense link for. It generates a little bit of income, but not too much. I really wished it had Banana Republic and Ann Taylor/LOFT as part of it’s program, so when a representative from a similar company called Viglink emailed me, I was excited.

Viglink – like Skimlinks, except worse

Viglink is a similar company to Skimlinks, and when I got contacted by a representative about them, I was excited to hear they had Banana Republic and Ann Taylor/LOFT as part of their affiliate program! Perfect! I write so much about those two companies, that having the affiliate programs for them was a must! I quickly switched to Viglink on both Alterations Needed and the AN Forum and hoped for the best.

Pros – Quicker and more informative reporting than Skimlinks. Responsive customer service (I had a problem getting it to work on the Forum and they quickly helped me out). Ann Taylor, LOFT and Banana Republic were part of their affiliate network…yay!

Cons – They tricked me! When I signed into Viglink, it showed me all the great merchants that would pay commissions for my sites, and I got really excited to see what it would do. Three months later….hardly anything at all happened. I didn’t understand. All these new merchants were available for me, but I wasn’t making any money. What was happening?

My experience – A Skimlinks representative contacted me, asking what they could do to get me to come back. I told them the only reason I switched was for Ann Taylor, LOFT and Banana Republic affiliate programs. Skiminks looked at my site and told me Viglink wasn’t even affiliating those links!

I did some searching through their hard-to-navigate help forum, and finally found the answer. The website shows you all the great merchants Viglink has in their network, but doesn’t necessarily add you to their programs. Almost half the merchants I thought I was affiliated with, I wasn’t. What a dirty trick!

After speaking with a Viglink representative, I learned the individual merchants decide whether or not to let a website be an affiliate. After a website sends good traffic to that merchant, they should be added as an affiliate. The fact that Viglink did not clearly show which merchants had not added me to their affiliate programs, and did not activate my websites after three months, even though I was sending a good amount of traffic, really turned me off the company.

Because Viglink does not clearly state which merchants a website is being affiliated with or not, I felt duped, and quickly switched back to Skimlinks.

Advice for bloggers – If you use Viglink, check your Viglink dashboard. Any merchants with a gray dash (-) under the “actions” column is not being affiliated on your site. To be activated for the merchant, you might need to complain to a Viglink representative. I really don’t like how Viglink does not clearly disclose this information from the beginning.

 

Other Aggregated Comments

I run a handful of forums and tested both services on various combinations of them. My findings were that, for my niche at least, viglink performed significantly better in terms or pure revenue, almost twice as much. The CTRs were about the same, but viglink paid quite a bit more.

Now I noticed that skimlink was apparently missing a VERY important affiliate in my niche that was a high earner and told my account rep. She informed me that they have an “opt in” policy and she would make sure I was added to their list, but had I not been comparing services, I would have never known this and never known to ask to be opted in to such an important partner! Who knows what other affiliates also have “opt in if requested” rules that I haven’t accidentally stumbled upon.

Even after I made that request, Viglink out-performed skimlinks by maybe 30-35%. I have since converted 6 or my 7 sites to viglink. I still keep one on Skimlinks because I don’t want to give up on them completely or sever my account with them.

I will say this – IMO, skimlinks dashboard feels more fleshed out and does a much better job of showing me what’s going on, and they do have skimwords (in-text ads) as an added benefit, if you want to turn those on. However, I’m on record has having said I can’t stand in-text ads as a user and refuse to submit my members to such outrageous abuse. For ease of use, I suppose it’s an added benefit to consider, though I can’t imagine they perform as well as Vibrant Media or other full fledged in-text ad companies.

 

Skimlinks

Pros: It’s easy! There are no special links to use, and the blogger is able to get access to hard to get affiliate programs that maybe she/he could not join on their own.

Cons: Skimlinks takes a commission, from the blogger’s commission, so the blogger earns less than they would if they joined the affiliate program for a merchant directly. Not all the affiliate programs a blogger might want to use are available.

My biggest gripe is the payout system. Skimlinks waits to pay your balance until you reach $50 in cleared payments. It can take 60-90 days for a commission to clear, so I often go months without a payment.

Viglink

Pros: Quicker and more informative reporting than Skimlinks. Responsive customer service (I had a problem getting it to work on the Forum and they quickly helped me out). Ann Taylor, LOFT and Banana Republic were part of their affiliate network…yay!

Cons: They tricked me! When I signed into Viglink, it showed me all the great merchants that would pay commissions for my sites, and I got really excited to see what it would do. Three months later….hardly anything at all happened. I didn’t understand. All these new merchants were available for me, but I wasn’t making any money. What was happening?

Blogger’s Experience

A Skimlinks representative contacted me, asking what they could do to get me to come back. I told them the only reason I switched was for Ann Taylor, LOFT and Banana Republic affiliate programs. Skiminks looked at my site and told me Viglink wasn’t even affiliating those links!

I did some searching through their hard-to-navigate help forum, and finally found the answer. The website shows you all the great merchants Viglink has in their network, but doesn’t necessarily add you to their programs. Almost half the merchants I thought I was affiliated with, I wasn’t. What a dirty trick!

After speaking with a Viglink representative, I learned the individual merchants decide whether or not to let a website be an affiliate. After a website sends good traffic to that merchant, they should be added as an affiliate. The fact that Viglink did not clearly show which merchants had not added me to their affiliate programs, and did not activate my websites after three months, even though I was sending a good amount of traffic, really turned me off the company.

Because Viglink does not clearly state which merchants a website is being affiliated with or not, I felt duped, and quickly switched back to Skimlinks.

If you use Viglink, check your Viglink dashboard. Any merchants with a gray dash (-) under the “actions” column is not being affiliated on your site. To be activated for the merchant, you might need to complain to a Viglink representative. I really don’t like how Viglink does not clearly disclose this information from the beginning.

 

VigLink differs from SkimLinks in our focus on understanding and optimizing existing behaviors vs enabling new ones. For example, VigLink places unique emphasis on analytics. We can tell you which specific products your customers are buying when they leave your site, as well as which links and pages are generating most of your revenue on a per-click basis. These feeds are designed to be machine-ingestible and inform existing SEM and related efforts.

In contrast, “SkimKit” – a search-engine for writers looking for well-monetizing things to write about – is an effort we are unlikely to duplicate.

VigLink is an engineering focused organization and aspires to do a small number of things very well and getting the small details right. For example, VigLink uniquely minimizes the use of redirects which pose reliability and user-experience concerns.

In contrast, SkimLinks offers numerous products – SkimLinks, SkimWords, SkimKit, SkimBot, SkimBit, SkimBox, SkimBuzz, SkimData, SkimRSS and several link shorteners.

SkimLinks is backed by the British Government and other prominent European investors. VigLink is backed by Google Ventures and First Round Capital as well as angel investors like Reid Hoffman, Deep Nishar and the Partovi Brothers.

Both companies are hiring.

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