If you're a blogger, or you work in online fashion media, you likely use affiliate marketing links to make money from product referrals.
There are plenty of affiliate marketing programs, including Amazon Associates and ShopStyle. But two in particular have become incredibly popular amongst fashion bloggers. RewardStyle, launched by blogger Amber Venz in 2011, works almost exclusively with fashion websites and brands, negotiating higher commissions than many of its competitors. (Fashionista, for instance, uses RewardStyle.) Skimlinks, founded in 2007, works with plenty of different types of websites—tech, food, fashion, etc.—and is best known for ease of use. Whereas most referral programs require manual labor, Skimlinks requires a blogger only to drop a line of java script into her site's coding, and the program automatically generates relevant links. (I use Skimlinks on my personal blog and Luckymag.com, where I used to work, also uses Skimlinks.)
Of course, RewardStyle and Skimlinks both want you to use their links—not others—as often as possible. After all, they are making commissions on those links as well. That's why both companies have recently launched new tools that make it even easier for a blogger to build a real business.
On May 1, Skimlinks announced the launch of Fashion Engine, a program that automatically links products, brand names, colors, and clothing or accessory types mentioned in stories to relevant affiliate links. "Fashion publishers have been using Skimlinks to monetize for years, but a key challenge has been for technology to understand often vague wording like 'little black dress' and match it with a relevant product," said Alicia Navarro, CEO and Co-founder of Skimlinks, in a statement. "Skimlinks Fashion Engine automates this process in real-time."
RewardStyle, which drove $80 million in sales back to retailers in 2012 and is undeniably the preferred affiliate marketer amongst fashion bloggers—prominent users include WhoWhatWear, The Blonde Salad, and Wendy's Lookbook—launched an iPhone/iPad app at its first-ever conference on April 20. The app allows the user to easily generate links straight from her phone. If she wants to tweet out a product she's loving, she can do so quickly and efficiently. There are other functions as well, but this one's the game-changer for RewardStyle devotees. As one reviewer says, "Being able to use the linkninja and favorites (two RewardStyle features) on the go.... I don't even have the words."
So, what have we learned? It's never been easier to make money from your blog. And with so many options, it's never been easier for affiliate marketers to make money through you, too. We're interested to see what Skimlinks and RewardStyle come up with next.