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Start Your Business Success Stories

Startup Takes Affiliate Marketing into the Tech Age

Entrepreneur: Alicia Navarro
Business name: Skimlinks
Years in business: 7
Website address: skimlinks.com

Being a successful entrepreneur is a huge accomplishment. Being a successful female entrepreneur in the tech space is even bigger, especially when your company works with media giants like Hearst and Gawker.

Seven years ago, Alicia Navarro helped to bring affiliate marketing into the 21st century with her company Skimlinks, a platform that helps websites earn revenue from their commerce-related content. Skimlinks works with 1.5 million global websites and 20,000 retailers to turn product links in articles into trackable revenue-generating affiliate links. If a publisher's readers click on a link and buy something from a retailer, the publisher receives a commission from Skimlinks, thereby helping everyone from small blogs to large media networks monetize their content.

Navarro, who serves as the company's CEO, shared her experience in online advertising and marketing, and where she thinks the industry will go in the coming years. [Women of Tech: 8 Amazing Female Entrepreneurs]


Skimlinks founder and CEO Alicia Navarro Credit: skimlinks.com

Business News Daily: What problem were you hoping to solve when you started your business?


Alicia Navarro: Affiliate marketing is a way publishers can earn a commission for the sales they refer, and has been around for a long time. But before Skimlinks, it was incredibly clunky, technically difficult and time-consuming to sign up with multiple networks, manually create affiliate links and keep them optimized. Skimlinks solved this problem by automating the entire process of earning money through affiliate marketing, and helps publishers earn more revenue through their site.

BND: Could your business have existed 20 years ago?

A.N.: Yes, in that affiliate marketing has been around that long. But the affiliate networks have become so fragmented, and there are now so many online retailers. [This] is what makes Skimlinks — a service that aggregates and automates the affiliate linking of 20,000 retailers — so valuable.

BND: What technology has been the greatest help to your business?

A.N.: Amazon Web Services. We've been able to grow quickly and have our hosting needs met virtually and scalably.

BND: What technology can't you live without?

A.N.: Right now, I love streaming video services such as Hulu and Netflix. I no longer watch commercial television.

BND: If you could hire one extra employee right now, what would you have that person do?

A.N.: Data engineer. They are hard to find, and we have a lot of data that needs engineering!

BND: What technology do you wish existed that doesn't?

A.N.: Teleporting. I think it would solve all the world's problems. Environmental issues would abate because humans would be more spread out. Famine, work immobility, wars, poverty — it could all end with a bit of teleporting.

BND: Where do you see technology in your industry going over the next three to five years?

A.N.: I see the [shift] from display to native advertising being the major move, as well as from brand dollars to programmatic, as the fallacies behind many of the success metrics of brand display campaigns are exposed.

BND: What's the most valuable nontech skill an entrepreneur needs?

A.N.: The ability to get people to help you achieve your vision. 

Nicole Fallon

Nicole received her Bachelor's degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University. She began freelancing for Business News Daily in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. Nicole served as the site's managing editor until January 2018, and briefly ran Business.com's copy and production team. Follow her on Twitter.