Link Cloaking And Affiliate Link Redirecting (Part 1)

Link Cloaking And Affiliate Link Redirecting (Part 1)

From Willie Crawford.

Willie Crawford

Let’s begin our discussion of link cloaking and redirecting affiliate links by looking at what that means, and why you’d want to do it.

First of all, one definition of “cloaking” is “hiding,” which instantly implies something devious to some. Link cloaking DOES mean hiding, or changing the link format from the default, for some reason. In the sense that I’m going to teach you, there is no evil intent. It’s just one method of increasing your affiliate sales.

Link redirecting involves inserting your affiliate link into some script, webpage, or file, and then using a link defined by that script, webpage or file when you promote the primary link.

Reasons that you’d want to cloak or redirect your links include:

1) To protect yourself from affiliate commission theft. Many affiliates readily recognize a link for a Clickbank product, for example, and know that they often only need to insert their ClickBank ID where yours is in that link to earn the commission on their own purchase. They jokingly call that an “instant discount.”

Affiliate marketers will often see an affiliate link, and visit the website looking for a link to register for the affiliate program, and then purchase through their own link, robbing the affiliate, who first made them aware of the product, of the commission that they rightly earned.

This is very prevalent, and many product owners really don’t care about the affiliates, so it’s often not prohibited. Those merchants will earn the same amount regardless of which affiliate earns the commission.

I refuse to promote most affiliate products that don’t specifically prohibit affiliates purchasing through their own affiliate links. I also insist upon that being the policy at companies that I help run such as http://ibmm.com/epbt

Clickbank doesn’t prohibit affiliates from buying through their own links, and I actually promote VERY few products on Clickbank just for that reason.

2) To shorten and “pretty up” long, clunky affiliate links.

3) To make the affiliate links less obvious. Some people do not like the idea of you earning a commission on products that you recommend. They often even assume that you recommended the product ONLY because you earn a commission.

4) To get your email delivered, even if the primary domain for the affiliate program is blacklisted. During many product launches, overly-aggressive affiliates promote so hard that they irritate a lot of subscribers. Those subscribers often file spam complaints, even though they subscribed to the subject newsletters.

When enough spam complaints are received about a given domain, the ISP’s will often blacklist that domain. At that point, many of the emails that are sent which contain that domains url will automatically be deleted. So, you could have a list of 100,000 and because your email contains a blacklisted domain, maybe only 10% of your emails get delivered.

I have a free 52-part email course designed to train affiliate marketers. It covers this topic as well as tons of other tips and tactics that are very effective in selling affiliate products. The course also included 15 videos showing how to do things that you need to master to be an effective affiliate marketer.

You can enroll in that affiliate training free at: http://WillieCrawford.com/FreeAffiliateTraining/

Ok, this article is getting long enough, so let’s end it for now. Part-2 will get into the specifics of HOW you redirect or cloak a link. Be on the lookout for it, and make plans now to start redirecting or cloaking all of those ugly affiliate links.

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Willie Crawford is a website traffic generation expert. He often distributes content (articles, videos, podcasts, and press releases) to generate highly targeted website traffic. To do that efficiently he uses the automated submission service at http://ibmm.com/epbt

To help you succeed Willie has created The Internet Marketing Inner Circle, a membership site where he frequently brainstorms solutions to problems such as those discussed in this article. Join that discussion for your success at TheInternetMarketingInnercircle

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One Comment

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  1. Scott Lovingood October 26, 2009 at 7:33 am #

    Great start to discussing the link cloaking and affiliate link issues. I do think Cloaking is a term that gives is a nefarious quality when it really doesn’t mean too.

    Using cloaking programs also can give you a better idea of the traffic you are sending. I use one that allows me to track clicks as well as offer a Twitter bar on the top of the page if they want to send friends to it.

    Takes a good product to help it go viral like that though.

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