As you can tell, this is the first post we have done in many months. Although this is dreadful, we have good cause. Lots has been happening in Skimbit-land, quite fundamental changes, which I am pleased to announce here.
The story is well-known to some. I started Skimbit 2.5 years ago in Australia, inspired with the idea of creating a social decision-making tool that helped people collect ideas and make decisions, about things like organising holidays, or buying stuff. I launched this as skimbit.com
Then about a year after this, I came up with the idea of offering skimbit.com’s technology to other publisher’s, in the form of a white-label service. This we launched as Skim-in-a-box. We initially charged license fees, and later developed a clever way of monetising the user-generated content, which we applied across both skimbit.com and Skim-in-a-box.
However, although we loved both products, the climate was tough. Even though skimbit.com was a new and exciting concept when we started, there were now too many competing ‘social shopping’ sites, none of them doing particularly well. It was a crowded market, and I wasn’t convinced sticking to our current plan would yield different results, when things were only going to get tougher as the economy worsened.
In a moment of revelation, I realised that many other publishers would benefit from the monetisation technology we had built, and it seemed almost a waste to keep to ourselves the innovative technology we had spent 8 months building. The Skimbit team then worked hard to commercialise what had been an internal technology til then, while I went out and talked to well-known publishers. We were overwhelmed with the response.
We didn’t realise the extent to which publishers would value Skimlinks – for Skimlinks is what we called our newly launched technology. Publishers who had til now only focused on advertising as a source of revenue, and were finding this source starting to dry up, were keen for incremental revenue streams. However, with a worsening economy, anything which required investment, resource or time was not an option. Many publishers realised they could earn revenues through affiliate marketing, but forays into this revenue source left publishers frustrated, confused and overwhelmed. Affiliate networks are fragmented, there are many merchants, each with different deeplinking syntax (or no deeplinking capability at all), and it takes considerable time to create and maintain affiliate links.
So a solution like Skimlinks was warmly welcomed by publishers. We offered them a solution that meant they didn’t have to change any of their internal processes, and leveraged their community, influence and content without compromising integrity. All of this without spending a cent or requiring any additional technical or administrative effort. Within a few weeks, we signed up some of the most well-known publishers in the UK and US: T3.com, TechRadar.com, Channel4.com, Internet Brands, CatwalkQueen.tv, ShinyShiny.tv, Daily Mail, and many more.
Unsurprisingly, we made the decision to focus our business entirely on Skimlinks. It was a big yet simple decision: I had an emotional attachment of skimbit.com as I had spent the last 2 years of my life working on it, but being in business means identifying market opportunities and reacting to them swiftly, and we knew Skimlinks was what the market wanted.
So, we write this post now, to fill you in on what we have been doing for the past few months. We have been busy, but thrilled to be involved in a business the whole team passionately believes in. skimbit.com was fun, but Skimlinks is truly helpful to the publishers we work with: incremental revenue, helpful reporting, and proactive service. We are innovating constantly, so be prepared to see more valuable products that build on the patent-pending Skimlinks technology.
Welcome – officially – to Skimlinks! Here we will continue to write about developments in Skimlinks, and about the Skimbit team. I promise I won’t take as long to write again next time!