The simple fact is that as more people become aware of affiliate
marketing and the links that represent your “paycheck,” the
greater the chances are that someone is going to hijack your
affiliate link and substitute their own for it. They can completely cut
you out of your hard earned commission.
There many ways that affiliate commissions can be stolen!
You may not know this, but there is adware, spyware and other
invasive software programs that unscrupulous hijackers install on
your computer, sometimes with your consent because they sneak
it in with something that you think is harmless. This software is
capable of replacing genuine affiliate links and cookies. By
substituting their own data instead of the legitimate affiliate
marketers data the honest business person misses out on the
The problem is that this sinister software automatically rewrites the
affiliate links on the pages you visit. For example, lets say you
read a great book review on a legitimate webpage and decide to
click through and make a purchase, thinking that you are buying
from the person who recommended the book, but instead you end
up unknowingly buying from a thief. They get the cash and the
legitimate marketer (you) does all the work.
How can you keep this from happening to you?
There are different ways that you can go about disguising,
cloaking or redirecting your links so that you can protect your
affiliate id and your commissions. Today we are going to briefly go
over some of them, but before we do I want to make you aware
that you should always check with the affiliate manager of the
product you are promoting before you decide to cloak your links
because it can sometimes interfere with your affiliate cookies
and some programs do not allow it.
With that said let’s start by taking a look at free services that will
cloak your link for you, like TinyURL, Budurl, SnipURL and others,
which serve the dual purpose of hiding your ID and shortening your
very long, ugly affiliate link into a much more manageable one.
These are great and can come in very handy, especially for those
that aren’t knowledgeable or comfortable using html, php or java
They are very simple to use. All you do is plug in your affiliate link,
click a button and out comes a nice, new short url that you can
share in your all of your promotions without worrying that the URL
will break and become unclickable or that your affiliate
There are literally hundreds of these link shortening services out
there. Some very simple like TinyURL which creates links that will
never ever expire and a handy browser bookmark button that’ll
provide a TinyURL of your current page. Then there are some that
offer much more. For instance Budurl not only cloaks and shortens
your link it also allows you the option of adding you own custom
alias and provides you with a whole suite of tools that makes
keeping track of your links and how many times that have been
clicked on amazingly simple. This is great for testing your ad copy.
Some argue that using one of these services can be bad for your
business simply because your prospects may be reluctant to click
on a link that they don’t recognize as yours or one where they can’t
quickly identify their destination. While there maybe some truth to
this, I feel that it is better than using nothing at all until you can
decide on a method that works well for you.
Now let’s talk about scripts, codes and software that you can use
to protect your affiliate links.
There are many different types of software as well as various
scripts, php and html codes that you can use to protect your links
and track the click-troughs on them. If you go to Google, MSN or
your favorite search engine and do a search for link cloaking or
link redirection and you will literally find thousand of pages on the
different types of cloaking software, scripts and codes that you
One of the benefits of using one of these is that most of them will
never display the affiliate links directly in the browser and they will
give you greater control over how your customer views you links.
As I mentioned there are so many available that there is no way
that I could cover them all in the span of this short course, but what
I can do is tell you about another great way that you can safely
redirect your links and protect them at the same time and that is by
buying a domain name and using it to forward your affiliate link.
While this may not be practical or cost effective for every affiliate
program that you join, especially in the testing phase it is a great
solution for promoting programs that you have found to be
For this to work you simply purchase and park a domain and then
forward it to an existing website. When visitors go to the domain
you forwarded, they are automatically taken to the URL you
specified. In this case through your affiliate link to the product you
For instance, let’s say that you are promoting a great set golf clubs
and you know that it’s a good money maker. You could then
purchase a related domain name like “awesome”
and then using the tools that you will find inside the control panel of
your “Domain Manager” you can easily forward your new domain
directly to the sales page for that program.
You can also add masking to your forwarded domains, which
prevents your affiliate URL from displaying in the browser’s
address bar. If you set up masking, you can specify a title and
meta tags which could help with ranking your webpages on search
Not only does this help protect your affiliate commissions it also
gives you a very professional looking and easy to identify link to
use in your promotions it will also give you more credibility.
I hope today’s lesson was helpful to you and that you are now
armed with enough information, so that you can go out and do your
on research on the topic and find the solution that will work the
best for your affiliate marketing business.
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