They do this by transforming regular outbound links into affiliate links wherever possible.
If any sales result from those links, the website owner earns a commission. (Technically, VigLink or Skimlinks earns the commission, which they then pass on to the website owner after taking their percentage.)
For example, if I have a cooking blog and I’m writing about this amazing spatula that is only available from Cooking.com, it will change my link to an affiliate link. That way, I can earn some money if any other aspiring chefs want to buy the same amazing spatula.
Both VigLink (pronounced with a hard “g”) and Skimlinks are free to join. Here are the main benefits of using their service
Let me be upfront, this is not going to turn you into an overnight millionaire.
In two years of blogging on this site, I’ve probably made less than $5 from affiliate links, and only marginally more from Adsense. But I’m OK with that. The primary purpose of this site for me is not to sell anything.
It’s mostly just a hobby and an outlet for writing.
But, if you have serious amounts of traffic and product-related content you are not earning money from, VigLink and Skimlinks can help you do it.
Expanding your options
By using VigLink or Skimlinks, a small website suddenly has access to thousands of advertisers.
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.
The two services can also provide a workaround for affiliates in nexus tax states.
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.
I’m interested to try out the SkimWords application, if/when I get approved.