Skimlinks vs. VigLink

I have been, or can be if you click on a link and make a purchase, compensated via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value for writing this post. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Skimlinks and VigLink are two services which allow publishers (bloggers, website owners) to monetize their content. By adding a snippet of Javascript to the site, links to merchant sites will be changed to affiliate links, and select keywords can even be automatically hyperlinked.



[dropcap]S[/dropcap]kimlinks is the leader when it comes to auto-linking merchant sites via affiliate links. Based out of London, they have relationships with nearly 18,000 merchants on 33 different networks (as of April, 2012).


The Skimlinks product will change merchant links into affiliate links, on-the-fly. Adding some JavaScript is all that’s required to make this work. A nice (advanced) feature here is the ability to use your own custom subdomain, such as


SkimWords will change product and merchant names into affiliate links, especially on sites with consumer electronics & technology, fashion & beauty, automotive, mothering and lifestyle content. A new feature of SkimWords is a flyover for product & price comparison. This will show the user options on where to buy an iPad, for example, along with pricing information.

Other Tools

Skimlinks also provides

  • Search Widgets
  • A URL Shortener
  • Link API
  • Product API

The URL Shortener is nice because you can get a URL to use in your own redirect script. As a programmer, I’m always a fan when I can use an API, instead of off-the-shelf solutions, which typically cover more than I want, but not everything I need.


When setting up Skimlinks, you must first add the site to your account. Then, you can copy / paste the JavaScript, or use their vBulletin, WordPress or Ning plugins.


Skimlinks will show you revenue by day, merchant, or site. While the Daily Report shows revenue for a timespan by day, the Merchant Report breaks this down by merchant. You can choose the timespan yourself.


Skimlinks pays via PayPal, check or Direct Deposit 60 days after a period closes. So, for earnings in July, you’d be paid at the end of October. They claim that because of their volume and merchant relationships that they can actually get you higher payouts than if you worked with the merchant directly. For a merchant I was using them for, I was seeing a $1.984 EPC, earning $16.41 per sale (compare this to VigLink below).


I haven’t had to use SkimLinks support myself, but they have a full Knowledge Base online, full of FAQ.



[dropcap]V[/dropcap]igLink allows you to change merchant links into affiliate links (VigLink Affiliation), and/or automatically insert links around certain text (LinkWeaver). Headquartered in San Francisco, they’re a bit newer to the game than SkimLinks, but are a service worth checking out.

VigLink Affiliation

Turning on VigLink Affiliation will change links to merchant sites (ex: into affiliate links. In addition, you can opt to have affiliate links overwritten by VigLink, thereby consolidating all of your commissions under one roof.

VigLink LinkWeaver

Using VigLink‘s LinkWeaver, you can choose to omit certain blocks of text from having links inserted into them, choose to have links open in a new window, change the link color and more. You cannot, however, define your own keyword:link relationships.


You can simply copy and paste some Javascript into your website, or use a plugin/installer that VigLink provides for Blogger, phpBB, Tumblr, TypePad, vBulletin or WordPress. VigLink also has an API for building links, but I haven’t dug into it yet.


One major thing missing from VigLink‘s reporting is the ability to choose your own date range. The VigLink Dashboard shows you a calendar with revenue by day. Clicking on a week further breaks that down, and then shows number of merchants, links, and clicks for the week. You cannot see daily details, however.


VigLink also pays net-60 (revenue you accrue in May will be paid at the end of July) and commissions are sent via PayPal. When compared to SkimLinks, VigLink was reporting a $2.34 EPC, and $16.97 per sale for the same merchant that I mentioned above (slightly better payout).


VigLink provides a dedicated support site with full knowledgebase and online request system. From my own experience, VigLink support responds to new and updated requests within 24 hours.


Skimlinks vs. VigLink: Summary

Both Skimlinks and VigLink provide similar solutions to the same problem. I’ve found VigLinkto have slightly higher payouts, and amazing customer support.

If you just want a solution for turning your links (and certain keywords) into affiliate links, either solution will do. But if you want some advanced options and shopping tools, look towards Skimlinks.

  • James Seligman
    Posted April 26, 2012 2:25 pm 0Likes

    Great post Eric!
    I’ve been thinking about using Skimlinks on one of my forums. Did you use SkimWords tool at all? I think for what I need that would work better than the standard SkimLinks.

    • Eric Nagel
      Posted April 26, 2012 2:26 pm 0Likes

      I have, and it adds a little here & there. Probably better suited for some sites than others (no good for a service site)

  • Meghan
    Posted April 26, 2012 4:57 pm 0Likes

    I’m glad to see that you found our Knowledge Base useful 🙂 If ever a user can’t find the answer to their question online, we have an international team of awesome support staff available by phone and email nearly around the clock- give us a call anytime (!
    We’ve also negotiated higher commissions from our merchants through our Preferred Partner Program, so our users can earn more- often more than they would make if they installed the aff. links themselves!
    Thanks for your consideration,
    Meghan at Skimlinks (

  • Greg Hoffman
    Posted April 27, 2012 8:46 am 0Likes

    We work with both Viglink and Skimlinks on all of the programs we manage in Shareasale and Commission Junction. We communicate with the reps and make sure all the traffic is legit and from sources we are happy with. No complaints at all from my team. Very informative article, as usual.

  • Mike
    Posted April 28, 2012 10:53 pm 0Likes

    During the month of December I did an A/B test of Viglinks & Skimlinks on two of my sites. To keep things on a level playing field, I used a simple PHP script to place either the VigLink or Skimlink script in the footer of my sites 50% of the time.

    Here is what I found: Skimlinks reported slightly more merchants and clicks (~10%). Like you, I found that Viglink had noticably higher EPC and overall earnings, roughly 25% on both counts. More than half of my revenue came from eBay and Amazon on both accounts, Skimlinks 18K merchants really did not help me. Happy to share hard data if anyone finds that sort of thing interesting.

    I didn’t use any other tools (just straight link affiliation) and did not need API access or support, So I can’t comment there.

    However, one major drawback I found with Skimlinks is that even though they claim net 60 payment terms (like Viglinks), it took an entire extra month to get my full payout through Skimlinks. That was a deal breaker for me and ultimately why I choose to use VigLink.

  • Nat
    Posted May 1, 2012 2:07 pm 0Likes

    Can you use both on the same website?

    • Eric Nagel
      Posted May 1, 2012 3:02 pm 0Likes

      You can definitely A/B test them both on the same site, but I don’t know what would happen if you had both on at the same time.

      • Greg Hoffman
        Posted May 1, 2012 4:23 pm 0Likes

        I’ve heard it messes with the space/time continuum.

  • LGR
    Posted May 2, 2012 4:49 pm 0Likes

    Good to hear it is working out for you. I was wondering if Viglink was paying out or not on that page. I will remember that just in case you never know what a merchant will do sometimes.

  • Whitney
    Posted July 26, 2012 8:35 pm 0Likes

    Always nice to hear about high payouts! Whitney from VigLink here. We have over 30,000 merchant partners, and you can always check if a merchant is covered here – Our payouts happen in a timely fashion, and are made clear when you log into the VigLink dashboard. Our support team is always available by phone or at SupportATviglinkDOTcom. Thanks for considering VigLink!


  • Meghan
    Posted October 24, 2012 2:47 pm 0Likes

    Hi Eric,

    I wanted to share this with you and your readers;

    The Skimlinks Advantage –

    This highlights some new developments from SkimHQ as well as some of our long time strengths that make Skimlinks the #1 choice for automated monetization!


  • Jim Davidson
    Posted April 3, 2013 5:32 am 0Likes

    There is another alternative to both platforms called YieldKit –

    They are the largest affiliate company in Germany and are spreading through Europe fast.

    Great conversion rates.

    • lala
      Posted February 13, 2015 5:21 pm 0Likes

      I just did a bit of research, at it seems to be that it’s not as big as this thing digidip in Germany, or Europe overall.

  • lala
    Posted February 13, 2015 5:20 pm 0Likes

    Yet viglink claims to have 30K merchants, when publisher complain that half of them are restricted and not even monetzed. Skimlinks on the other hand is missing some important merchants and is often called a fraud network by some of the major people. Quite nasty.

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