November 2, 2011, 2:55 PM

ThinkGeek boosts conversions with affiliate marketer Skimlinks

The online gadget retailer also attracts more shoppers from smaller blogs.

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Online gadget retailer ThinkGeek Inc. has won traffic and conversions since it began working with affiliate marketing firm Skimlinks about six months ago, says Richard Grulich, ThinkGeek’s affiliate marketing manager.

"Skimlinks is helping us generate new revenue that we otherwise would not have made,” he says. “During September our conversion rate with Skimlinks was 2.49%, which is significantly over the average we see with other affiliates.”

Skimlinks’ SkimWords affiliate link management tool automatically turns online product references in blogs, community posting sites or other published content into affiliate links that drive traffic to retailer sites. For a blogger who recommends a ThinkGeek product, for example, SkimWords will automatically recognize a product reference and will insert an affiliate link within the text. If a consumer clicks on that link and purchases that product on ThinkGeek, the retailer will give Skimlinks an affiliate fee for the sale and Skimlinks will give a cut of that fee to the blogger.

Skimlinks charges retailers a percentage of the total sale that originates from links on blogs and other web sites; the fee varies depending on the product category, says Skimlinks account director Mark Macdonald. Skimlinks bills from 2% to 3% of the purchase amount on high-value items in the electronics category, from 10% to 15% for fashion items, and 20% or more for low-cost items. For larger retailers such as Inc. or the eBay Inc. marketplace, Skimlinks charges on a cost-per-click basis. Skimlinks then shares that fee with the original content publisher, with Skimlinks getting about 25% and the publisher about 75%.

A new feature that Skimlinks rolled out this month also allows content publishers like bloggers to implement pop-up boxes on these affiliate links so that if a consumer mouses over a particular product link, a box will show additional product details, as well as a price comparison among from the 17,000 merchant clients that Skimlinks says it has. The new feature is available for products in the consumer electronics, fashion, beauty, automotive and lifestyle categories, Skimlinks says.

The company’s flagship product SkimLinks automatically turns product links that bloggers post into affiliate links.

Grulich says in working with Skimlinks, ThinkGeek has been able to bring in traffic from smaller blog sites that wouldn’t ordinarily be exposed to the retailer’s products.

“Skimlinks allows small guys with good blogs and good content to more easily find us,” he says. “We work with around 2,500 affiliates, but Skimlinks has jumped higher on our list lately.”

ThinkGeek, a unit of Geeknet Inc., is No. 192 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide.

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