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Why Hide Your Affiliate Links? Are you mad?

The simple fact is that we have NO idea how many potential affiliate commissions we are losing out on if we just link to the site we are promoting using a standard affiliate link.

I think it sucks that all our hard work promoting something can get hijacked! Don’t you?

But all is not lost! There are a number of steps you we can take to make sure that we get our just rewards!

Let me clarify what I’m talking about here…

Let’s say you have a post in your blog where you want to recommend a product, physical or digital it doesn’t matter. When you link to that product, and how you link to it, will determine if your visitors click thru to that product and – hopefully – buy it. Why would they not? It’s a great product that you have endorsed right?

OK, here’s the problem!

When it is apparent that your link is an ‘affiliate’ link some visitors will attempt to bypass it. It’s not that they’ll necessarily be able to purchase the product at a lower price it’s simply that they do not want you to make a commission from their purchase.

Human Nature I’m afraid! God Bless ’em – every one!

So, in its most simple form, if you type – #1I recommend the WordPress Mix Theme” or #2I recommend the WordPress Mix theme get it here: http://wpremix.com/?hop=htmlsafe ” chances are that you’ll get more commissions from Link #1 than Link #2 right? BUT you’ll note that both links are going to the same place ( i.e. link #2) when you hover your cursor over either link and see the link destination in the ‘status bar’  – bottom left of your browser window.

I personally don’t worry about this – if somebody is determined to do me out of my commission fair enough. If they can find a way to bypass my affiliate link, sign up as an affiliate themselves, and get the product/program cheaper by doing so well that’s up to them! I have no issues with anybody doing that, although I’d rather they didn’t and…

…this doesn’t mean I’m going to make it easy for them to do that! :-)

Here’s some affiliate cloaking stuff I do either via my hosting account options or plugins  etc. See what you think and let me know in the comments section what might work for you best. None of this is ‘naughty‘ in any way – except, possibly, where I mention i-frames ( all will be revealed later).

Affiliate Link Cloaking method #1 –

  • Use a Redirect via your Hosting account – how this works is you sign into your hosting account and create a re-direct within your domain. See the video below to see how I do that in one hosting account….

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Affiliate Link Cloaking method #2 –

  • Take this a stage further! What would be cool would be that when our visitors arrive at the site which will earn us our commissions it’s not apparent that it’s an affiliate link – make sense? Here’s how to do that with a free plugin that has recently been released by Sean McAlister  of JV Press ( see below all training videos for all the relevant links).

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Affiliate Link Cloaking method #3 –

  • Use a built in, paid, WordPress Plugin – like ‘Ninja Affiliate – to do that funky i-frame stuff ( as seen in the above video) but also control, and TRACK, every affiliate link throughout your whole site AND have the option to ‘link’ certain keywords or phrases within your site to go, when clicked, to your affiliate programs.

This is very, very cool. Text links within content, I have found, get more clicks than fancy banner ads!

I like Ninja Affiliate as it’s what I first used and can find my way around its admin area easily. However I have noticed with recent Firefox browser upgrades ( my preferred browser) I do come across the occasional issue. I’d really appreciate your experience on this if it’s effected you in any way.

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LINK HIDING SUMMARY:

The BIG difference between the various link cloaking options above is this:

When your client clicks through via your cloaked affiliate link what do they see on the other side?

Don’t get me wrong! Some affiliate programs will automatically disguise/hide your link – God luv ’em! But most don’t. Think about addressing this!

Links to Products and Stuff Mentioned:

  • Hosting Redirect – visit your own hosting company Control Panel – it’s pretty generic stuff ( i.e. same for most hosting services) and will help you disguise affiliate links on your site site – but not OFF site.
  • JVPress GoPages Plugin (free) if you can’t find the download page to get the plugin let me know in the comments below.
  • Ninja Affiliate Plugin – these guys are smart, my affiliate link:  http://17259cx6zdqdmu0d-bya18eh40.hop.clickbank.net/ when clicked on ( try it!) does not appear in the address box of the browser window. This refers to what I said earlier – some Clickbank vendors know what they are about and help their affiliates so they do not have to jump through the hoops required in hiding their affiliate links – but most do not! Hence this post :-D
Clive

Clive

Managing Director at Big Buzz Projects
Clive McGonigal is a full time Web Developer, Marketer, WordPress Evangelist and all round Decent Chap. He lives between London and France ( on a tiny rowing boat with an internet connection) and spends his offline time wining, dining and conversing with his dogs. He loves WordPress ( themes, plugins and tweaks) and blogs about them whenever he can.
Clive
Clive

Comments (2)

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  1. Morgan says:

    This is a great article. I’ve been looking for solutions to protect my affiliate links recently and this article was very informative. Since I love WordPress, I think I need to consider what Ninja Affiliate can do for me. Thanks for adding value to my business!

  2. Clive says:

    Stop PressFor another low cost link cloaker that works a treat, but involves uploading the .php pages that the software creates for you to your site ( or a folder within your site) manually using Filezilla or a similar FTP program. I’ve just started using this as I wanted a solution that wasn’t plugin based. Covert Link Creator

    I also found that using this app. I didn’t get some of the ‘Error: Can’t find that page‘ issues I sometimes got in Firefox with the other options above.

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