Skimbit launches service to generate cash from Twitter for charities and business

LONDON - London-based entrepreneur Alicia Navarro has devised a way to generate donations for charities and revenues for businesses through social networking sites such as Twitter, with an initiative dubbed

Navarro is the founder of online associate marketing firm Skimbit. The company has used the technology behind its Skimlinks affiliate marketing service, which launched earlier this year, to power

It allows social networkers using sites such as Twitter and Facebook to recommend a product such as a book or CD via a link.

When someone clicks through to the retailer to buy the product, a proportion of the money is donated to charity. works by providing a shortened URL, which clients can embed into their posts. Any sales driven through the URL earn a commission from the retailer. then gives most of this money to a charity designated by the user, keeping enough to cover operating costs.

Navarro told Brand Republic that Skimbit has also launched a commercial version of the service called SkimThat, which any of the firm's Skimlinks clients can access for free.

The company is currently in talks with a number of print publishers, which could potentially earn affiliate commissions through product recommendations in their publications. Readers looking at a buyer's guide, for example, might be directed to a URL for products and any sales would earn the publisher money.

The service is also suitable for companies to monetise product links in email newsletters.

Skimlinks' clients include gadget websites and, the Daily Mail and Shiny Media.

The service, which is currently free to use, charges a small cut of the commission earned by the publisher and provides users with instant access to 7,000-plus international retailers across 16 affiliate networks.

The tool has received first-round investment led by venture capitalist firm Sussex Place Ventures with additional backing from National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (Nesta), The Accelerator Group, Duncan Jennings of eConversions, and Alex Hoye, the chief executive of search marketing firm Latitude Group and chairman of Skimbit.

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