link cloaking

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link cloaking

Postby LorettaOliver on Mon Apr 07, 2008 3:54 am

In my recent adventures in affiliate marketing (aka reading a lot and not knowing what I'm doing) I've noticed that a lot of affiliate marketers choose to cloak their links, even the ones from places like etc...

What do you think of link cloaking? I know there is the concern of commission stealers.

Does it look more reliable when it's cloaked?
Do you think you get more clicks on cloaked links versus uncloaked?
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Postby Kit on Mon Apr 07, 2008 4:40 am

I usually do redirects because they look better than the longer affiliate links. I also put a stat code on my redirects so I can keep track of things. My boyfriend hates redirects but he's a tech geek and would rather read straight code. lol

I did a short test on "redirect or not" and discovered that my redirected links were clicked more often than straight affiliate ones.

One thing I have noticed about redirects or affiliate products is that customers sometimes get confused if/when there is a need for support. That is why I always make sure that I tell folks in a post who owns the product. ;)
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Postby BethinArkansas on Sat Apr 19, 2008 3:46 am

We're converting all our sites to php links for several purposes. One is cloaking; another is "real time" click statistics. Others include coding ease and ease of management.

For instance, you can shorten some affiliate links by more than half by using php, thus reducing the amount of coding on your page.

Then, let's assume you have the same affiliate link on forty-eleven pages and articles, etc. You get an email from the affiliate program to change the link. How do you remember all the places you've put that link? If you don't remember, you've got a bunch of dead affiliate links earning you nothing. With php you make one change in your php program and all those links are updated.

So, for us, it's more of a management thing; cloaking is a bonus.
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Postby familymoses on Sat Apr 19, 2008 1:46 pm

It may or may not matter but it you have your affiliate link as a php redirect such as all of the links you post "out there" are linking to your site as they pass through to the affiliate site.

If you post your affiliate link as then all of the links are to the affiliate site and your web site is out of the loop.
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Postby on Sun Jun 22, 2008 6:26 am

Be extremely careful when using cloaked "stealth" or "masked" links to an affiliate program. As an affiliate manager myself, I can tell you that not all affiliate software is the same. Many affiliate software programs need to be able to read the URL in the address bar in order to credit the appropriate affiliate. If the link is masked or cloaked, the affiliate software will not associate the URL with an affiliate and they will not receive credit.

If you're going to use a link cloaker, the best thing I've found is a free utility that allows you to create a cloaked redirect to an affiliate link without it being masked and without subjecting it to affiliate thieves by making it viewable in the status bar (which is what most affiliate thieves look at to strip away the affiliate code and type directly into the address bar). This utility allows you to type in what will be seen in the status bar. So, if you were to type in the straight URL (without your affiliate link), a affiliate thief would overlook it and simply click on the link. (Why people even do this is beyond me anyway. Just silly.)

At any rate, the utility is here:
and it works like a charm!
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Postby brookiel on Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:01 am

I did start cloaking my links a while ago, but I've stopped now, I didn't really notice that much difference from the clicks on it.

Do you think it depends on your market?

Obviously if you're market is affiliate marketers etc then it may be worth cloaking, but if it's an every day person looking for something to buy then I wouldn't really think there would be much need to?

Just my thoughts anyway.
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Postby on Thu Aug 07, 2008 4:30 pm

You're right, Brookiel. The idea behind link cloaking is to keep people from stripping away your affiliate ID from the root domain and bypassing your ability to earn commissions on the referral. By cloaking the link using a utility such as the one from addme, this assures that you receive credit for every referral.

I can't think of why anyone would want to cloak a domain for any other reason.
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Re: link cloaking

Postby dadeon on Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:56 am

Here's the easiest way to cloak an affiliate link:

In Dreamweaver (or whichever html editor you use) create a new .php (not .html) file and paste this code into the file (delete everything else)

Code: Select all
header( 'Location:' ) ;

All you then have to do is to replace the "yoursite" with your actual affiliate link. Give the file a nice and short name and upload to your server.

Job done.

You can use external cloakers like TinyUrl but they are often used for spam, so be carefull. Most tracking software come with cloaking functions built in - this is the best solution, but the method above works perfectly fine.
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