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  1. #1
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    New to Affilaite link redirect/cloaking need help!
    I have been reading through these posts and getting more confused along the way.
    Is there ONE method that most of you use the keeps your affiliate links from looking like affiliate links? One that is easy to do for someone new to this. I have just started to use iFrame Generator, and my SEO/host says I'm playing with fire. As did a couple of folks here in another forum.

    I understand why affiliate links should be cloaked but finding an easy way to do it is the hard part.

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    Everyone has their own opinion here. I don't bother to cloak mine. I was using php redirects but it's a pain and results did not change.
    See the answers at http://www.google.com/support/webmas...y?answer=35769

    Quality guidelines - specific guidelines

    * Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
    * Don't use cloaking or sneaky redirects.
    * Don't send automated queries to Google.
    * Don't load pages with irrelevant keywords.
    * Don't create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.
    * Don't create pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing or installing viruses, trojans, or other badware.
    * Avoid "doorway" pages created just for search engines, or other "cookie cutter" approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.
    * If your site participates in an affiliate program, make sure that your site adds value. Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit your site first.

  3. #3
    Visual Artist & ABW Ambassador lostdeviant's Avatar
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    I use PHP redirects along with a mysql database, but that is so I can track clicks.

    Of course Google's definition of cloaking is different from that which most here use.

    Should they be cloaked? it is hard to say.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    Javascript is about the easiest way to change the looks of your links in the status bar at the bottom. But you'll never keep anyone from getting the link if they want to bad enough.



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  5. #5
    Outsourced Program Manager TrishaLyn's Avatar
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    I've used PHP redirects and they're actually really easy, but I've also heard that .htaccess is really easy too.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for all the tips folks. I'm just wondering how big a problem commission theft really is!

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    No one can steal your commission by using your affiliate links. You'd still get the commission...



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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Byerly
    No one can steal your commission by using your affiliate links. You'd still get the commission...
    Ed if that is the case, (and I'm certainly not saying it isn't) why are some may affiliates trying to cloak or redirect their links? If it commission theft isn't a problem why worry about it?

    My point is one of my merchants told me I should be hiding my ID! I just don't know, too new to all this I guess.

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbmarto05
    If it commission theft isn't a problem why worry about it?
    Exactly. Think about it. If someone used your ID in an affiliate link, who would get the commission? You would. It's YOUR ID and any commissions earned are yours.



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  10. #10
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    I've been doing this for 10 years and I don't cloak my links.

    Vietnam Veteran 1966-1970 USASA
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  11. #11
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    Ed,

    I understand that, but why are so many people worried about it? There must be some way to manipulate it if so many people are concerned with it.

    Or consider this;
    How often do you think a visitor to your site/my site takes a look at the url and leaves or removes the affiliate part because they think they are paying a higher price going through an affiliate?

    I value your insight Ed.

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    I believe that most visitors to your website have no idea what affiliate marketing is and would not be cognizant of the presence of the affiliate information in the link.

    My observation is that newcomers to aff marketing are the "so many people who are worried about it" ones and that experienced aff marketers aren't worried about it at all as expressed by BB above. Sounds like you've been reading threads containing misinformation.

    That said, if you visit our website you'll see that no links display in the status bar at the bottom of the browser window when hovered over. So I suppose you might say they are cloaked. But that is for aesthetic purposes only and not to try to hide the links. I couldn't care less if someone gets my aff ID.



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  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbmarto05
    My point is one of my merchants told me I should be hiding my ID!
    I don't know why a merchant would encourage you to hide your ID other than out of ignorance. There's no ethical way to effectively hide your ID.



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  14. #14
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    Thanks again Ed,
    I am officially not worrying about it anymore, I have more important things to do with my time.

  15. #15
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbmarto05
    Ed,

    I understand that, but why are so many people worried about it? There must be some way to manipulate it if so many people are concerned with it.

    Or consider this;
    How often do you think a visitor to your site/my site takes a look at the url and leaves or removes the affiliate part because they think they are paying a higher price going through an affiliate?

    I value your insight Ed.
    NONE.

    We know about that stuff - but - how many average people that you know know about that stuff?

    They go to Walmart - buy a computer - turn it on and use it - let their kids download adware and spyware - and their computer crashes.

    They go to Walmart again and buy another one and start over again - their kids get ahold of it and the same thing happens again.

    Other affiliate markerters that do know about it are going to use their own links to buy stuff so they can get some money back - not miss with your links.

    You would be alot better off if you would quite worrying and spending time on stuff that doesn't matter.

    Spend your time searching on Google for the stuff you sell and see which pages come up on the first Search Result page.

    Study those sites and see what they did with SEO and keywords they used on those pages and try to duplicate those things on your own pages.

    Don't just copy their pages - see what they do and then do it yourself with your own pages.

    If you can't get your pages to come up on the first page - or at least on the second page in the SE results - you will have no sales and are wasting your time.

    Your average computer used just serfs - see something they want - and click on your link and buy it.

    But - if they never find your pages in the SEs you will have no customers.

    No customers = no sales.

    They could care less about what the url of the link they click on is.

    Google tells webmasters:

    * Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
    * Don't use cloaking or sneaky redirects.

    I follow these guidelines and I have thousands of pages that come up on the first and second pages of the search results on Google.

    Maybe that's why they do - I don't cloak my links.

    Vietnam Veteran 1966-1970 USASA
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  16. #16
    Newbie SlightlyShadySEO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Byerly
    I don't know why a merchant would encourage you to hide your ID other than out of ignorance. There's no ethical way to effectively hide your ID.
    I can say why there's a good reason to hide your ID...because you're grossly underestimating the competitive intelligence other affiliates gather. For example, if one of my aff ids consitantly contains ?affid=xmcp123, other affiliates can find one highly successful campaign I have, and scrape landing pages to find other campaigns I run.
    It sounds crazy, but it's real.

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    Like stated above, you CAN'T effectively hide your ID. Any savvy Internet user can figure it out. That's why so many people ask how to hide their ID. If it was easy (or possible) the answer would be everywhere. That mentality borders on paranoia.

    The best advice is to develop a campaign that attracts traffic. Don't worry about the copycats. Be better!

    If someone is scraping your content, block them and go after them for copyright infringement.
    Last edited by Ed Byerly; November 8th, 2008 at 02:17 PM.



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  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    SlightlyShadySEO, your username is troubling. What's it's meaning?



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  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    Mr. SEO entertained us all with a very informative thread back around his join date, just a little before yours Ed. Look it up, it is most interesting.

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    Ah, interesting. I don't have time at the moment to read it all but it's first on my list when I get back to the computer...



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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by BurgerBoy
    NONE.

    Spend your time searching on Google for the stuff you sell and see which pages come up on the first Search Result page.

    Study those sites and see what they did with SEO and keywords they used on those pages and try to duplicate those things on your own pages.

    Don't just copy their pages - see what they do and then do it yourself with your own pages.

    If you can't get your pages to come up on the first page - or at least on the second page in the SE results - you will have no sales and are wasting your time.

    Your average computer used just serfs - see something they want - and click on your link and buy it.

    But - if they never find your pages in the SEs you will have no customers.

    No customers = no sales.

    They could care less about what the url of the link they click on is.

    Google tells webmasters:

    * Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
    * Don't use cloaking or sneaky redirects.

    I follow these guidelines and I have thousands of pages that come up on the first and second pages of the search results on Google.

    Maybe that's why they do - I don't cloak my links.
    BurgerBoy
    I agree "I was" worrying about something that is out of my control. Yes maybe it is bordering on paranoia.

    I am fairly new at this and my site is only 2o months old, but I have 17 of my 47 pages on page 1 and 2 in Google. I get around 170 visits per day (not great but nothing to sneeze at). So I do have pages coming up in the search results, the problem is very few to no conversions.

    I know this is where I should be spending my time and that is why I joined this forum.

    I have posted my site in the reviews forum, if you have some time I would appreciate your 10 years of experience taking a look at it.

  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    sbmarto05, I didn't mean to insinuate that you are paranoid. You're just learning the ropes and paranoid (IMO) wouldn't be applicable. I was referring to the shady affiliate marketer who posted...



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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Byerly
    sbmarto05, I didn't mean to insinuate that you are paranoid. You're just learning the ropes and paranoid (IMO) wouldn't be applicable. I was referring to the shady affiliate marketer who posted...
    Ed my man, I didn't take it that way, so don't sweat it. Like I said earlier I value your insight.

  24. #24
    Newbie SlightlyShadySEO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Byerly
    Like stated above, you CAN'T effectively hide your ID. Any savvy Internet user can figure it out. That's why so many people ask how to hide their ID. If it was easy (or possible) the answer would be everywhere. That mentality borders on paranoia.

    The best advice is to develop a campaign that attracts traffic. Don't worry about the copycats. Be better!

    If someone is scraping your content, block them and go after them for copyright infringement.
    You can't effectively hide your ID, but if it's numerical and not a username, it's worth harder to identify the aff. Also you can take measures to detect duplicate clicks(where the cookie is already dropped) and redirect them w/o the affid. It's not about absolutely concealing your identity. It's about making it difficult enough to figure out that it's impractical for them to identify you and everyone else.

    The mentality borders on paranoia, but just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you. More and more the industry mantra(that I see) is replicate, improve, repeat.
    The harder it is to replicate, the more secure the campaign is. Anyone who doesn't take steps to stay under the radar gets burned. There's web crawlers that do nothing but try and find successful affiliate campaigns on the content network. It's trivial to detect match types for keywords. It's even(almost) possible to identify campaign structures down to the adgroup the keyword is in.
    Paranoia is justified.
    For Small Campaigns it isn't worth the worry. But for a big one? Yeahhh.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Byerly
    SlightlyShadySEO, your username is troubling. What's it's meaning?
    I promote products in a variety of ways, some of which involve black/grayhat SEO(and a lot of which is PPC). Nothing fraud/cookie stuffing(I'm always up front about tactics I use). As long as it's legal, I make money, and the merchant is happy, all is well
    Last edited by SlightlyShadySEO; November 10th, 2008 at 06:20 PM.

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    SlightlyShadySEO, insomuch as your techniques may be distasteful to me your honesty is refreshing. If PepperJam were as straightforward they might have weathered the storm and still be posting here. But that's another story...



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