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If you don't cloak your affilaite links?

Discussion in 'Cloaking and Content Generators' started by sean339, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. sean339

    sean339 Newbie

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    I'm still trying to figure this out. I've heard people can steal your affiliate links (so it's your affiliate number and you'd get the commission, not them)
    Or replace your number whit theirs - (more scary - but haow can they do that)?


    Can someone explain the concerns?
    thanks
     
  2. Bross

    Bross Senior Member

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    This can never happen unless someone hacks your site.

    That is the one of the greatest BSs I encountered in internet marketing.
     
  3. blackhit

    blackhit Super Moderator Staff Member Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    I cloak all my links to avoid looking like I'm trying to sell something. But I believe what they mean with stealing affiliate links is that they replace your ID with their ID in the address bar of the browser.
    So when they buy they make the commission on their own sale and you lose one.
     
  4. Psipherious

    Psipherious Newbie

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    Hey, this is my first post, been hanging around on these forums for some time and figured I can contribute to this one.

    Link Masking

    I think the 'cloaking' you're referring to is better called masking your affiliate link. Yes it's true that if you have a plain direct affiliate link on your site people can pick out your affiliate codes and change them to their own to purchase products, you get no commission, they do.

    To help fight this you would mask your link so affiliatesite_com/ref.php?id=123 would instead be mysite_com/masked-url-that-auto-rediects-to-affiliate-link

    The masking protects you in a few ways, one it makes your links look less... salesy I guess? People don't suspect affiliate links as much but if someone mouses over an direct affiliate link they might not even click it. Or... they might think, hey I'll just steal this commission.

    If you mask the URL the above is an afterthought. They've already been redirected to the site and the cookie is on their computer for you to get the commission. Unless they're paying close attention to their address bar during the redirect, they may not even notice and affiliate link whatsoever.

    The other way you're protected is from people farming for affiliate links. One could do a Google search for "affiliatesite_com/ref.php?*" and Google would show all the all the sites that have that unmasked link anywhere on their site. Thereby, your competition could easily find you and circumvent your methods.

    Link Cloaking

    Now... there's another type of cloaking which I'm fairly certain is what this particular forum category you're in is dedicated to. That is masking your website as being a referrer to your affiliate site.

    This is used for many reasons but let me give an example to be a bit more clear:

    When you work with an affiliate program, normally, their web logs record any referral traffic coming into their site. So lets say you link to affiliatesite_com/ref.php?id=123, whether you use the masking method I mentioned above or not, it does not matter, when someone click that link and arrives at the affiliate companies site, they have a web record that a visitor just came from your site. Not because you passed your referral id through, even if you didn't use your referral id, they still know someone visited their site from yours.

    This is not always a good thing because you have no idea what the intentions of the affiliate network you're working with are, you don't know who can be trusted, you don't know who has access to those records but some unscrupulous employee working there can check out all the referrals coming into their site and reverse engineer your site. Find out how you get your traffic, see what kind of content you use, etc, and basically become a competitor of yours. You did all the work, he just copied you.

    Now using "link cloaking", your normal out-link from your site might go to another site first and THEN to the affiliate's site from there.

    For example, instead of you redirecting right from your site to affiliatesite_com/whatever... instead you would send outgoing links to mysecretreferralblocker_com/some-url-i-made/ and the moment the visitor hits that page it redirects the visitor to the actual affiliate site.

    So now, if the affiliate network checks incoming referral links, all they ever see is mysecretreferralblocker_com/some-url-i-made/ and never ever your actual original site promoting the products.

    It's slightly more complicated than the above but this is the basic idea and the basic reason for "cloaking" as I understand it.

    If I've gotten anything wrong, someone please correct me.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 11, 2011
  5. hakank

    hakank Newbie

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    As the post above states, cloaking or masking is worth the effort.

    You shouldn't have too many outgoing links on your site, it doesn't care if it's NoFollow links or not. You SHOULDN'T have too many.

    You're better off with "internal links" as cloaking your links will make them look like.

    The process is simple, just do a php file with your link and you're set.
    Use this code for the easiest way to cloak your link:

    PHP:
    <?php

    header
    'Location: your_aff_link' ) ;

    ?>
    Put that php file in a go folder on your server and you're set to go.

    Just link to /go/ilenafme.php and the aff url is "invisible"

    I'm sure this method has been posted a hundred of times, but now it's here again.

    Good luck!
     
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  6. sean339

    sean339 Newbie

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    Hi - thanks for that tip, but some of my sites are storefont type sites with a ton of products/links. So there are hundreds or thousands of different links on those sites.
     
  7. katara

    katara Regular Member

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    try out this link it claim will protect your affiliate commission from stoling

     
  8. lamavridis

    lamavridis Newbie

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    Buy maxblogpress ***** affiliate it cloaks your links for you. Another big sales reason for cloaking your links is that people will not buy from you if they think you are selling them. When you have ugly links that is what they think and they leave I know I do. You ultimately are loosing the sale because of a link that you could change.
    Lisa
     
  9. popzzz

    popzzz Supreme Member

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    Don't touch the REP!
    hakank touched on this but here is a little more detailed info:

    If have your own hosting and you don't care or want the referring page shown use the following code as a page to cloak your links:
    Code:
    <?php
    header("Location: www.the-URL-you-want-to-redirect-to.com");
    exit;
    ?>
    Name this page with a ,php extension.

    If you don't want the referring page shown use the following instead:
    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-URL-you-want-to-redirect-to.com"></HEAD>
    <BODY>
    Optional page text here.
    </BODY>
    </HTML>
    Name this page with a .html extension.

    HOWEVER, you indicate you have thousands of link it sounds as though you may need a .htaccess type of global solution.

    The reason I say 'may' is that if they are all 'affiliate' links you would want them cloaked of course.

    If on the other hand they are all your 'own' links to your payment gateway it should't be necessary because no one can 'steal' the commission.

    Enjoy ..... :cool2:
     
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