Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Viglink vs Skimlinks
The great affiliate war is ramping up. We have Skimlinks on one side and Viglink on the other. In this review we tried to come to a balance of both services, but we couldn’t. Both have some great positives and some really dark negatives.
As for a background, 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.
Viglink vs. Skimlinks
Viglink has fewer options in their publisher control panel. Things like page link density, which Skimlinks offers, is missing as an option. This means your page can be covered in links if you mention Amazon or Ebay repeatedly.
Viglink offers a merchant checker service if you already have a merchant in mind to check. I could not find a Viglink merchant list anywhere on the site.
Merchant Commission rates are NOT shown explicitly anywhere. This is huge, you don’t know what you’re getting. Skimlinks offers a “browse Merchants” option once signed up, this Skimlink merchants list shows commission rates clearly displayed.
It’s a small point but Viglinks page design is not as good as Skimlinks. The text is vertically stretched 2x and there’s too much white-space and scrolling. Viglinks has a busier accounts screen with less scrolling and more options along the top. This gives the impression that Skimlinks is the lead and Viglink is still playing catchup.
Skimlinks offers more reports than Viglinks.
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.
Setup is an application process. For me it took two business days to get approved. Skimlinks takes a commission (25% of what merchants would pay for you), 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. Skimlinks waits to pay your balance until you reach $10 in cleared payments. It used to be $50 but they have lowered it recently. It can take 60-90 days for a commission to clear, so I often you could go months without a payment.
Setup was instantaneous. Analytics are superior (factor for maximizing revenue) and I think that is in a large degree what keeps them competitive against Skimlinks. You can even see what other links are being clicked on these pages which is awesome. 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!
Gets super complicated if you are Non-US payee. There are some merchants that aren’t active but show up as if they were an affiliate. Viglink does not clearly state which merchants a website is being affiliated with or not. The website shows you all the great merchants Viglink has in their network, but doesn’t necessarily add you to their programs. To be activated for the merchant, you might need to complain to a Viglink representative. Clearly, not the based way to start a relationship.