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IndustryMarketing, Advertising
FoundedLondon, UK (2007 (2007))
FoundersAlicia Navarro, Joe Stepniewski
FateAcquired by Taboola on September 1, 2021
ProductsSkimLinks, Skimlinks Editor Tool, Audiences by Skimlinks
ServicesIn-text Advertising and Marketing, Audiences data platform
Number of employees

Skimlinks is a content monetization platform for online publishers (including editorial sites, forums, bloggers, social networks, and app developers). It specializes in technology that automatically affiliates product links from publishers' commerce content.

The company was founded in London (2007) by Australian co-founders Alicia Navarro and Joe Stepniewski. It has over 62 employees, and has raised $24 million in funding as of August 2013.[1][2] It has offices in London and New York City.[3] On October 17, 2013, Skimlinks was announced as a member of Tech City UK's Future Fifty Programme, a government programme that supports fast-growing companies with the aim of potentially floating in the London Stock Exchange.[4][5] In 2014, Skimlinks drove $625 million in sales for over 20,000 vendors.[6][2]



Skimlinks was founded in 2007 by co-founders Alicia Navarro and Joe Stepniewski as a result of a pivot away from the social recommendation tool[7] It is notable as one of the first technology companies headquartered in what is now known as the Silicon Roundabout area in London.[8] Alicia Navarro created in 2006 in Australia,[9] but moved to London to build her business as she felt it was a much more supportive environment for entrepreneurs.[8] Skimbit was relatively successful and quickly evolved into a white-label social shopping service.[10] In November 2008, Joe Stepniewski was brought on as co-founder, and together they realised that both users and investors weren't interested in their end-product, but in the behind-the-scenes technology they were using to monetise their site through affiliate marketing.[10] As a result, they pivoted the company into what it is today - a "stand-alone commercial platform to help publishers monetize their editorial and user-generated content."[1]

Alicia Navarro has been featured in a number of prominent publications, highlighting her role as one of the few female CEOs in the ad-tech world.[11] She was also recently announced as the winner of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award during the 2014 edition of the FDM everywoman in Technology Awards.[12]

Partnership with Pinterest[edit]

In February 2012, LL Social, an online marketing blog, broke the news that Pinterest was using Skimlinks to monetise content posted by its users.[13] Commercial links included in Pins were being affiliated via Skimlinks. Although the partnership had been ongoing for 2 years,[14] Pinterest had just recently grown exponentially in popularity and the news was badly received.[15] Most of the backlash centered on the company's failure to disclose its monetisation practices rather than its decision to monetise users' content.[16] Though it was claimed that the revelations prompted Pinterest to drop its affiliation with Skimlinks,[16] Pinterest's CEO, Ben Silbermann, clarified that they had actually been using Skimlinks as a test while they explored various monetisation solutions and had stopped using the service a week before the news broke.[17]


Funds have been raised from investors including The Accelerator Group, Sussex Place Ventures, NESTA, Venrex, BDMI and Greycroft, with advisory board members such as Gokul Rajaram (formerly Head of Product for Google AdSense and Facebook Ads) and Oren Michels (CEO of Mashery).[3][18][19][20] In early 2015, Skimlinks' brought investors from Frog Capital on board as part of their Series C funding round, bringing their total funds raised to $24 million.[2][6]


Skimlinks acquired New York–based competitor, Atma Links, in 2011 to power its SkimWords technology.[11][21][22] It then acquired InvisibleHand - a significant player in real-time e-commerce and product pricing - in 2013.[23][24]


Through relationships with various affiliate networks like Commission Junction, Pepperjam, and Linkshare, Skimlinks aggregates over 24,000 merchant programs which are available to publishers who join the service.[8] To use Skimlinks, prospective users need to apply. Once approved, publishers receive a custom JavaScript snippet to be installed in the footer of their site(s). Users can also install Skimlinks using a WordPress plugin. The snippet will then automatically affiliate applicable URLs in their content.[18][20][clarification needed] By using Skimlinks, publishers can earn money via commissions on sales, from product links and references in their content to merchants in the Skimlinks network.

Skimlinks is used by 1.5 million domains globally by online publishers like BuzzFeed, Condé Nast, Hearst Digital, WordPress, Time Inc., and Mail Online.[22]

The company has released a variety of tools to which users have access in order to monetise their content.[8] The main ones (as shown on the company's website) are as follows:

  • SkimLinks - The company's first product. Released in 2008, it affiliates existing unaffiliated links on a user's site by adding a tracking tag on click.[25][26]
  • SkimWords - The second product in the Skimlinks suite. It went live in 2010 and uses natural language processing technology to link specific phrases like product references and brand names to relevant online retailers.[25][27]
  • The Showcases - They were released in May 2013 and are content-aware visual product displays that rely on technology similar to SkimWords', in order to generate geo-targeted, relevant product suggestions.[28]
  • Skimlinks Editor - A Google Chrome extension, it allows users to know what merchants are in the Skimlinks network and how much they pay for referrals.[29] It also has a price-comparison element, allowing users to see alternative purchasing options for the product they are browsing. Lastly, the Editor lets users shorten and monetise URLs straight from their browser.[30] This makes it possible to share monetisable links on sites where Skimlinks isn't live.
  • Audiences by Skimlinks - The company's latest product, Audiences by Skimlinks is a 2nd party data co-op that makes the shopping-intent data generated from affiliated content available to marketers for planning, targeting or reporting advertising campaigns.[31]

Skimlinks also offers a series of extras, like the URL shortening of regular links into monetisable links, and SkimRSS which allows users to affiliate links in their RSS feeds.


Since 2018, Skimlinks has organized the CAPS (The Commerce Awards for Publishers). Past winners include Refinery29, New York Media, Vogue and Yahoo!

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Pitts, Beth (1 August 2013). "Alicia Navarro, Founder, Skimlinks: Trust Your Gut Over Your Data!". The Next Women. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Rogers, Stewart (4 February 2015). "Skimlinks raise $16 million to bring 'comtent' to the masses". VentureBeat. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  3. ^ a b Butcher, Mike (22 April 2013). "Skimlinks Raises Growth Funding Led by Greycroft Partners, Opens Japanese Site". TechCrunch. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  4. ^ Ranger, Steve (17 October 2013). "Are these 25 companies the next wave of tech superstars?". ZDNet. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  5. ^ Shead, Sam (17 October 2013). "Tech City UK chooses first high-growth start-ups for Future Fifty programme". Tech World. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  6. ^ a b Ha, Anthony (4 February 2015). "Affiliate Linking Service Skimlinks Raises $16M More". TechCrunch. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  7. ^ Kiss, Jemima (12 December 2008). "Skimbit refocuses on affiliate marketing service". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  8. ^ a b c d Anderson, Elizabeth (26 February 2013). "The Great British immigration scandal: Young, gifted, foreign - and shut out of the UK". Management Today. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  9. ^ Cummings, Corey (3 March 2012). "SkimLinks Helps Startups Make Money, Focus On Other Things". TECHLI. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  10. ^ a b Baker, David (12 April 2012). "How to adapt your business model on the fly". Wired. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  11. ^ a b Kiss, Jemima (7 July 2011). "London's Skimlinks acquires US rival Atma Links". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  12. ^ Bateman, Kayleigh (20 March 2014). "FDM everywoman 2014 technology awards winners announced". Computer Weekly. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
  13. ^ Davis, Josh. "Pinterest is quietly generating revenue by modifying user submitted pins". LL Social. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  14. ^ Madrigal, Alexis (17 February 2012). "Why Pinterest Is Playing Dumb About Making Money". The Atlantic. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  15. ^ McGee, Matt (16 February 2012). "Pinterest Drops Skimlinks, Might Try Ads; Says Copyright Issues Not A Significant Issue Yet". Marketing Land. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  16. ^ a b Cowley, Malcolm (2 March 2012). "Pinterest drops its partnership with Skimlinks. Are other social channels exploring the affiliate links route?". Social Media Today. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  17. ^ Davis, Josh. "Pinterest adds disclosure about how they (might) make money. Conversation with Pinterest CEO". LL Social. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
  18. ^ a b Butcher, Mike (23 February 2009). "Skimlinks secures first round investment". TechCrunch. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  19. ^ Andrews, Robert (11 November 2011). "Skimlinks Takes $4.5 Million Bertelsmann Investment For Affiliate Links". paidContent. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  20. ^ a b "Skimlinks backed for £900,000". Startups. 18 December 2009. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  21. ^ Kincaid, Jason (6 October 2011). "SkimLinks Harnesses Atma Links Acquisition To Power SkimWords 2.0". TechCrunch. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  22. ^ a b Butcher, Mike (5 May 2017). "Skimlinks has figured out how publishers could unshackle themselves from Facebook". TechCrunch. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  23. ^ Butcher, Mike (9 August 2013). "Skimlinks Acquires InvisibleHand Product And Team, Forward Gains Stake". TechCrunch. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  24. ^ "Skimlinks buys InvisibleHand to add product matching and pricing intelligence to its toolset". The Next Web. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  25. ^ a b Grant, Rebecca (22 April 2013). "SkimLinks helps publishers nail affiliate marketing, no wooing required". VentureBeat. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  26. ^ Butcher, Mike (8 February 2012). "Skimlinks Is The Real Story Behind Pinterest's Success". TechCrunch. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  27. ^ "The content economy: the answer to brand, publisher and consumer co-existence". Marketing Week. 29 October 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  28. ^ Butcher, Mike (2 May 2013). "In the Wake Of Funding, Skimlinks Launches New Products To Face Off Opposition". TechCrunch. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  29. ^ Woods, Ben (2013-11-22). "Skimlinks Editor is a simple Chrome extension for quickly viewing online retailers' referral rates". The Next Web. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  30. ^ "Skimlinks Editor". Skimlinks. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  31. ^ Butcher, Mike. "Skimlinks has figured out how publishers could unshackle themselves from Facebook | TechCrunch". Retrieved 2017-08-22.