Free Affiliate URL Link Cloakers Advice

Recently I was asked which is the best method to protect your affiliate product links.

This is a very good question and I that’s why I wanted to make a blog post about cloaking affiliate links for any other people who may need help in choosing which method is best for cloaking their affiliate links.

So what exacting does cloak or cloaking an affiliate commission link mean?

Well, if you simply think of a cloak and you put it over something, you ultimately hide it!

That’s what cloaking your affiliate link will do, in essence it will hide it.

But why would you want to cloak an affiliate link?

Well the main two reasons I personally cloak any of my affiliates links are that:

1. People cannot steal my commissions.

2. The links look more professional.

Now I shall give you a few examples to demonstrate the 2 reasons I use an affiliate link cloaker every single time I promote any product, be it digital or physical.

Affiliate Commissions Theft…

Yes, that’s right, not everyone online is honest!

There are many people who will grudge you getting a commission, even if they had no prior knowledge of the product you have introduced them to. They will simply delete your affiliate id from the product url, and replace it with their own.

This means they get the commission, and you don’t!

So let’s say I sent you an email like this:

******************************************************

Hi Your Name,

I seen this fabulous product that will help you make a whole lot of money just in time for Christmas!

Simply click the link below:

http://sally69.ipkiller.hop.clickbank.net/

Enjoy your new Christmas Cash!

Sally :)

******************************************************

Now if you had your own “clickbank id” (if you don’t have one I shall explain later how you get one) you could simply replace my id, sally69, with your id, and the commission would go to you.

So let’s say your clickbank id was “newestlink” by removing “sally69″ and replacing it with newestlink the link would now look like this:

http://newestlink.ipkiller.hop.clickbank.net/

Now click either of the links above, they will open in a new page, and when you click the order / buy now button (don’t worry you won’t actually buy it!) you will be taken to a payment processor screen.

If you scroll down, you will see at the very bottom:

newestlink clickbank id

sally69 clickbank affiliate link

So depending on which link you click, you will see the affiliate = name, whichever name is at the bottom of the page when you proceed to buy, is the clickbank id of the person who shall receive the commission for the sale of the product.

So you can see how simple it is for someone to “steal” your potential commissions.

I will mention that there are people online who buy through their own link, which ultimately means they get a commission for buying the product for themselves, so although they pay the full price for the product, they receive their commission payment also, which means they didnt actually pay the full price.

Let’s sat a product is for sale at $27 with a 50% commission.

And Joe Blogs (Sorry Joe!) buys the product through his own clickbank link.

He pays $27, but receives a $13.50 commission, so really he only paid £13.50 in total for the product.

You may think this is underhand or maybe even illegal, and some affiliate websites will punish you for buying through your own links.

This punishment could mean you are banned as an affiliate from that website.

Each Affiliate Website has their own terms and conditions so always make sure you read them.

I have discussed “buying through your own link” with many online marketers and their opinions do seem to differ.

Many said they get annoyed when people buy through their own affiliate links, because other buyers have had to pay full price for access.

Some Marketers said they don’t mind because they still made a sale of their product and if it had been through another affiliate link then they would have still had to pay them the commission anyway.

Everyone has their own opinion on buying through your own links.

I do know of some marketers who “affiliate link share” which means that Joe and Mary buy through each others links.

So let say Joe sees a product he really wants, he gets Mary to give him her link, and he buys.

He gets the product, he hasn’t technically cheated the product owner, and Mary gets the commission, everyone is happy.

Then maybe Mary sees a product she likes, again she uses Joe’s link to buy, and this time he gets the commission.

There are also people who set up two clickbank accounts, and have two clickbank ids.

So when they want to buy a product, but not make it so obvious by using their original clickbank id, they use their second affiliate id.

This means that they ultimately only every pay half price for any product.

There are many other methods of commissions theft from you, so you can see why so many people online will want to see your affiliate link “bare naked” so to speak! So that they can add their own affiliate id, a friend’s affiliate id, or their own second affiliate id.

Stopping Affiliate Commission Theft By Cloaking Your URL or Links

There are several ways you can stop commission hijacks!

First you will have to cloak your link!

The first method is a simple url shortener, ugly but does the trick:

Affiliate Link:

http://sally69.ipkiller.hop.clickbank.net/

Shortened Cloaked Link:

http://tinyurl.com/6fetns

To use this method simply visit:

http://tinyurl.com/

Pop in your affiliate link into the approriate box, click Make Tiny URL, and bingo, you have a redirected link that does not show your affiliate id in the actual url link.

It’s free, fast and easy, but I think it produces an ugly, irrelevant, un-attention grabbing link and I don’t recommend it. Tiny url was not intended for cloaking affiliate links, but for making very long links… tiny! So I am sure they won’t be offended by my negative comments!

The next method you can use is an html file redirect.

So you would create an html file using a particular code (which I will show you below) and then upload your file to your website / hosting.

Then you promote the link to that page on your website, and when the person clicks the link they are magically “re-directed” to your affiliate link page.

Let’s say I created an html file with a re-direct using the following code:

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN”>
<html>
<head>
<title>Your Page Title</title>
<meta http-equiv=”REFRESH” content=”0;url=http://www.the-domain-you-want-to-redirect-to.com”></HEAD>
<BODY>
Optional page text here.
</BODY>
</HTML>

So, I create the html file, upload it to my website and my new link is:

http://www.sallyneill.com/affiliatecash.html

If you click to visit the above page, you will see a short “please wait” page then you shall be redirected to my affiliate link page.

This method is free, easy and also your links don’t look unprofessional.

The final method I shall share with you is Link Cloaker Software.

I use this software for the following reasons.

1. My links look more professional.

2. My affiliate commissions cannot be hijacked.

3. I can change my ANY of my affiliate links at the click of a button.

4. I can store my affiliate login name, password and login url.

5. My URL appears in the browser address bar window.

6. I can check click-through statistics

Below you can see an example of a link cloaked using this type software:

http://www.sallyneill.com/go/mdb

You can see my domain name, which makes it look more professional.

You cannot see the affiliate link url, so you have to click the link to see where it goes.

Once you click the link you still cannot see my affiliate link url, try it!

Click this link:

http://www.sallyneill.com/go/mdb

When you visit this page, look in the url address bar and all you will see is the same link, however if you click one of the following links and look at the address bar you can see the affiliate id.

http://sally69.ipkiller.hop.clickbank.net/

http://tinyurl.com/6fetns

http://www.sallyneill.com/affiliatecash.html

But why would it matter if the affiliate link is shown in the address bar window or not?

Well ideally, you don’t want your commissions hijacked, so you want to make it as difficult as possible for someone to “steal” your commissions.

So by not allowing them to see the origiral url of the product’s website or your affiliate id which they can amend, you are increasing your chances of keeping your commissions by a large percentage.

Another reason for using the link cloaker software is that you can quickly amend ANY link.

Let’s say I am promoting a product for Joe Blogs, but he goes out of business!

I am filled with anger because I have promoted my affiliate link in forums, blogs, articles, ebooks etc etc.

I now have all these affiliate links linking to a “dead” product!

All my promotion has been for nothing!

Now if I had used tinyurl, I cannot amend the link so basically all those links now point to a dead page.

If I had used a re-direct html file, I would have to amend it and upload it again, if I have to do this for lots of pages and links it will take me hours!

If I used my link cloaker software… I click amend and change it.

I don’t have to search my website folders for all the html pages and amend them.

This actually happened to me before I got the link cloaking software and it was a complete nightmare!

I couldn’t remember where the re-direct files were on my website, I couldn’t remember which pages promoted which product, and since that day I have always used the link cloaking software.

Now I simply log into my admin panel, and a few quick clicks later I am done.

I don’t know if you have ever read an older ebook, which had a link inside and when you clicked the link you were taken to an error page, this could have been prevented by the author had they used cloaking software.

Another reason the software is great is for storing your affiliate ids, passwords and login urls.

I don’t know how many affiliate programs I am a member of and I often forget the login urls to check my commissons etc, now they are all located in my admin panel I can find them quickly.

And finally I can quickly check how many clicks each link has had from today, this week, this month and the last 3, 6 and 12 months!

So you now have a good knowledge of cloaking your affiliate links, and what you should and shouldn’t use.

If you are short of cash the free methods are ok for now, but ideally get some cash together and get the link cloaking software, to protect your commissions, and ensure you never link to a dead product again!

Working online is all about monetizing your time, the more work you can cut out for yourself the better, this means more time can be spent on the more productive side of your business.

Sally :)

Filed under: Affiliate MarketingInternet Marketing

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