Skimlinks: A Super Amazon Alternative

Do you live in a State affected by the affiliate nexus tax? Wondering how to replace your Amazon commissions? You should take a look at Skimlinks.

Based in the U.K., Skimlinks is a technology service that helps affiliates monetize their blog content by converting normal product links from over 15,500 merchants across 27 affiliate networks (including Amazon) into Skimlinks affiliate links so you can earn a commission every time a purchase is made.

BTW, there are currently 308 merchants listed under the book & magazines category at Skimlinks, including:

  • Amazon (.com, .uk, .de, .ca and more)
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Biblio
  • Alibris
  • Borders

What is interesting is that Skimlinks lists the average commission rate through at 8%.

Getting started with Skimlinks

Setup is super simple.

You just add the Skimlink basic javascipt code above the tag on your blog. Then you place deep-links to merchant products within your content and Skimlinks converts them on-the-fly. Links that can not be converted into affiliate links will send visitors to the URL as set.

Moreover, Skimlinks only works on natural links, so you don’t have to worry about the Skimlinks’ code overwriting existing affiliate links.

Too, you can choose to let Skimlinks work on a site-wide basis, or on selected pages only — it’s up to you.

In addition to Skimlinks, they offer Skimwords, which recognizes product references in editorial and user-generated content, and automatically turns these into shopping links that can generate commissions.

Basic affiliate commissions are 75% of what the merchant pays Skimlinks.

More than 700,000 publishers are currently using the service on their websites.

And the service is getting even better. Skimlinks announced today that it had acquired content monetization firm Atma Links and will merge the Atma Links technology with its own affiliate marketing platform to offer its publishers and partners the first real-time in-text product identification and price comparison service.

Watch the video below for an overview of the service, then signup for Skimlinks!

Comments, questions or suggestions? Please leave a comment below!




  1. says

    With skinlimks does one have to register with other services as well – amazon, ebay etc? Also, is it only for the US market?

    • says

      Hi Latha,

      Thanks for your question. You don’t have to register separately for the various programs.

      I’m not really sure if what you mean by “is it only for the US market?” is whether it is only for US customers or publishers. Their company is based in the UK, so I imagine it is open to the world, but you can definitely ask them the question however at:

      Hope that helps.


  2. says

    It does sound like a rather intriguing process to add to a forum. From the information I have read skimlinks is best used on a forum. I think I may give it a try.

  3. says

    You give away 25% of your commission because someone else does most of the work (or did most of the work creating the algorithm). I don’t like the idea personally, as it takes away control, but I wanted to take a look at how it worked, so I registered.

    They must have sensed my lack of enthusiasm, because I was declined!

    “Regrettably, the range of merchants that we currently work with do not match your content. Consequently, Skimlinks would generate negligible revenues for you as it is unlikely that we would be able to monetise included links.”

    I don’t think they’re being entirely honest with me. They claim to have access to 15,959 merchants across 27 networks. Looking at the networks, I’m already affiliated with al least 11 of them and my site is in the photography niche – lots of potential merchants, including Amazon. It’s more likely to be that my site isn’t busy enough for them.


  4. says

    I signed up last week and got accepted into the program yesterday. Btw, if you have a wordpress site then you don’t have to mess with the script, there is a plug in you can use that makes set up extremely easy. So far I only tried a couple of links and it seems to work. I haven’t figured out how the Skimwords part of it is supposed to work. They say it’s automatic but I haven’t seen any change.

  5. says

    This is very exciting. Thank you very much for sharing this with us. I am in Ohio and I have not heard anything yet about Ohio targeting Amazon yet. I was getting ready to begin using Amazon on my blog. It may be smarter to go with Skimlinks. They seem to have taken a lot of the complexity out of the process.

    Tim Stanforth

  6. editorial content says

    “In addition to Skimlinks, they offer Skimwords, which recognizes product references in editorial and user-generated content, and automatically turns these into shopping links that can generate commissions.”

    It’s not editorial content if it has Skimlinks’ javascript in it.

    In the UK and the US consumer protection agencies have outlawed labelling content as editorial where the publisher of that content has any sort of reciprocal arrangement with the marketeer. This would be the case with Skimlinks as the publisher is working to be renumerated by the marketeer for sales. Editorial is not by law paid for by marketeers for obvious reasons.

    The FTC and its equivalent in the UK the OFT have taken enforcement action against publishers inflating the value of advertorial by labelling it editorial. Google OFT and Handpicked Media.

    Skimlinks issued a press release announcing its acquisition of Atma Links. The word editorial referring to content publishers it works with does not appear. Admittedly it used to refer to its publishers as editorial, but not anymore.

    The legal advice I’ve read on signing up to Skimlinks as a resident of Califonria to earn income off Amazon’s affiliate programme is that using a thrid party is not a way around the tax. Think about it. If all you had to do to avoid a tax was receive money through an off shore third party, would anyone ever pay any tax?

  7. says

    Hi Ros,

    I’m with “Cee”….being in Canada it hasn’t been a concern, but it doesn’t make me feel any better about
    this situation happening so close to home and to fellow affiliates.

    Thank you for keeping us informed about the Skimlinks program.

  8. L.M. says

    I reviewed the website very thoroughly last night and frankly I’m confused. They offer SkimLinks and SkimWords.

    SkimLinks turns EXISTING links into SkimLinks. Why bother if you have to go out and set up accounts everywhere in order to even have links for SkimLinks to convert into their own links? SkimLinks premise is that they are supposed to save you the time and energy of having to sign up with multiple merchants, etc. to begin with. But, they can’t turn links into Skimlinks, without you already having links already. Confusing….

    I don’t have links because with all of the hoopla over at Amazon, I never bothered setting up links when I got my account.. I use Clickbank. I would like to get into physical products, but I don’t trust Amazon. I’m in Florida and there have been rumors of the Nexus coming here. I think it will be in all states at some point.

    Now, considering the fact that I don’t have any links already set up their SkimWords looks promising for me because it turns KEYWORDS on your site into affiliate links. But, it also sounds like Infolinks and Kontera …..which I hate due to the irrelevancy of the links.)

  9. says

    I’m currently living in Texas and that state appears to be okay for now. Moving in a few weeks to Michigan, and they tabled the discussion a few years ago so we are okay for now. May come back to the table at some point.

    Thank you for this great information as it may be very important to me at some point in time.

  10. AJR says

    Hey Roz, Thanks for the tip, good timing. I’ll defiantly check it out.

    I happen to be in a US state that just initiated that tax and as all other Amazon affiliates here, I got fired July 8th.

  11. L.M. says

    How wonderful of you looking out for other affiliates Rosalind. :)

    Amazon is definitely NOT the end all-be-all, but newer affiliates (and maybe some that have been around the block) seem to zero in on Amazon, maybe due to brand recognition. However, it pays to have a backup affiliate merchant, or 2 or 3….

    I’m not a newbie as far as techie lingo, but even I would appreciate a little more of a walk-through with skimlinks.

  12. says

    Hi, I am from California and I had just started a new affiliate site and
    I have amazon links on there. My question is: Do I need to remove those links
    before signing up with skimlinks, our will skimlinks replace them so that I will get a commission
    from them?

    I know a lot California (amazon) affliliates who have a few sites with amazon links
    on them would like to know if those links should be removed?

    ps. I appreciate all your help.

  13. Celeste says

    Thank you, Ros!

    I’m in Colorado and Amazon fired us last year. It’s a bummer because the Amazon affiliate program is so easy and accessible and they sell EVERYTHING. I’m signing up through your link above. I hope you get a commission because I’ve never heard of Skimlinks and this is potentially very valuable to me.

  14. says

    This whole amazon thing is certainly scary. I just started out with them and even though I’m in Canada it is still unsettling to read about all the states that are considering this tax. It’s totally unreal what is happening with this. It could have a ripple effect everywhere. I’m really thankful that there is such a service like skimlinks. There might even be more of these in the future now that so many amazon affiliates will be going through them. Thanks for the article.

  15. says

    Thanks for this tip, Roz! But even after looking this over on the Skimlinks website, I’m still not entirely sure what I’m hearing, here. Am I to believe that, even though I live in California and am now no longer allowed to be an Amazon affiliate, using this Skimlinks service is a workaround for that? I won’t be wasting my time trying to promote Amazon products? I just got through the time consuming task of removing all my many Amazon links – in some cases, whole eStores – and don’t want to start putting it all back again if Skimlinks turns out not to be an answer to this problem. While I love the idea that they will maintain my links for me, which is a real timesaver and peace-of-minder, I would probably only be interested in using them if the merchants (principally Amazon) who have just dumped me can now be moneymakers for me again. If you can clarify this for me, I’d be grateful!

  16. says

    Excellent Ros!
    I am in Calif. And sure enough they cut us right off.. thanks to gov. Brown..
    Anyway I will certainly check out this resource ..

    I can always count on you to be on top of things.
    Thanks again,

  17. Ish says

    HI Ros,
    Yet another extremely use article.

    Just like Grace Becker I’m techie challenged. I fully second Grace request.
    Hope to see you soon on video explaining to us guys how to do it

  18. Jacqui Lee says

    Hi Roz,

    Thanks for the timely rescue. I live in California and was just getting started in affiliate marketing when I got the dreaded notice from Amazon cancelling my account – before I ever made a sale!

    I think the operative words in that last sentence are “just getting started”. Let me echo Grace’s request for either a simple video or newbie style instructions on how to use Skimlinks on our sites.

    Thanks bunches,


  19. says

    Thanks Ros,

    They are starting to talk about the affiliate nexus tax in Missouri now. This is really interesting. Are you on board yet Ros? Would you consider making a video walking the rest of us through the process?
    `Setup is super simple.
    You just add the Skimlink basic javascipt code above the tag on your blog. Then you place deep-links to merchant products within your content and Skimlinks converts them on-the-fly. Links that can not be converted into affiliate links will send visitors to the URL as set.` It sounds kind of complicated for a non techie person. Thanks for considering the extra help for us beginners.


  20. says

    We all a lot of great places to go if you want something like amazon..if you don’ mind I will like to list..Best Buy, Wal – Mart and a couple of more. People are signing up like crazy to replace amazon

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

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