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  1. #1
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    Question Do you cloak your affiliate links?
    Does it really matter if you cloak your affiliate links?

  2. #2
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    johnnyAffiliate use the search feature. There are probably a couple of dozen threads on link cloaking and just as many opinions.

    -rematt

    btw, welcome aboard.
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  3. #3
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Yup, there are a lot of threads related to your question. The skinny is that some people do and some people do not; and both camps seem to have their reasons. Personally, in 12 years of doing this, I have never bothered.
    .
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager ParadigmWilliam's Avatar
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    I prefer to cloak my links, but I use Manage Affiliate Links (see sig) that not only cloaks my affiliate links but alerts me when one of them goes down, dead, or expires. Very useful if you have a lot of sites like I do and checking CPA network links everyday is very time consuming especially since CPA network links come and go so quickly.
    [URL="http://www.manageaffiliatelinks.com/"][COLOR="Red"][B]Manage Affiliate Links[/B][/COLOR][/URL] - Redirect Dead, Expired, or Broken Links

    [URL="http://www.wpcoupon.com/"][COLOR="Blue"][B]WP Coupon[/B][/COLOR][/URL] - Turn Wordpress into a Coupon Site!

  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager affilorama's Avatar
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    "Cloaking" somehow has a sinister sound to it, so I prefer to "redirect" but I guess it pretty much means the same thing.

    I use php redirects or redirect plugins to hide my affiliate links depending on what I built my site with. It makes my websites look more professional, and as mentioned above, prevents link hijacking.
    Michelle
    Affilorama Group Ltd
    Affiliate Marketing by Affilorama | Free SEO Software by Traffic Travis

  6. #6
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    I think in prosper/tracking 202 you have the option of cloaking your links. Can be beneficial as above, b/c a client is more likely to click vs an affiliate link with the id at the end, and it can protect you from affiliate managers possibly jacking the campaign if they found out where the traffic was coming from if you ran a good campaign.

  7. #7
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    the thing is that cloaking is pretty useful. many people recognizing affiliate links don't even click... so making links might be useful....

  8. #8
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    I prefer to cloak if possible. No good reason why, just common sense but no statistics to back up. My best sales category is only 1/2 cloaked but performs the best.

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager qualityunit's Avatar
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    I'm not fan of cloacking, but I can imagine, that some affiliates can use it for checking merchant's affiliate software quality.

    e.g. in goo.gl you can see number of clicks for specific link and if those numbers are not the same as reports affiliate software of your merchant, you can be sure, that something is wrong and maybe you are loosing some commissions for sales, which were not tracked.
    [SIZE=3][FONT=Arial]Viktor Zeman[/FONT][/SIZE]
    [B][URL=http://www.qualityunit.com/]Quality Unit [/URL][/B] Founder and [B][URL=http://www.qualityunit.com/postaffiliatepro/]Post Affiliate Pro[/URL][/B] developer

  10. #10
    Affiliate Manager
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    I personally don't like it, just make your site slow and unbearable...

    Cheers!

  11. #11
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    My sites load at the same speed regardless of whether my links use a jump script or not.

    My sales are also the same regardless of whether I use a jump script or not.

    The only advantage of a jump script (cloacking) is they will track the clicks to the Merchant's sites you get on different pages on your site.
    Last edited by BurgerBoy; November 25th, 2010 at 09:23 AM.

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  12. #12
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    I don't dispute many won't click an obvious affiliate link, although it would defy explanation as to why. it's not like they're being charged for more, but I wouldn't argue that CJ's domain names in particular are a bit suspicious looking if you weren't familiar with them.

    That said, I think it was mentioned in the linked-to thread that someone's Norton software would prevent the non-cloaked links from appearing. I myself use AdMuncher which is primarily a pop-up blocker but also hides ads on and off the net and although I can customize it, out-of-the-box, it knows to treat CJ and others as ads, so it definitely could hinder promotion of affiliate links.

    So I definitely prefer to cloak mine. Either through a WP plug-in when I can, or a simple redirect script (which also tracks clicks) when I can't.

  13. #13
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    I'm not sure if you are all still discussing this topic, but here's a shot in the dark question. I'm currently cloaking links to a merchant. now, my question is this: should I mention the merchant in the cloaked url (mysite.com/merchantname/product/) or show it as my own (mysite.com/product/)? Which, if either, convert better?

  14. #14
    Full Member gcarson's Avatar
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    Only way to know is do an A/B test. Off the top of my head I wouldn't think it would matter.. as long as both looked clean, I would think you would get the same results.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by gcarson View Post
    Only way to know is do an A/B test. Off the top of my head I wouldn't think it would matter.. as long as both looked clean, I would think you would get the same results.
    Thanks for your input, currently I'm doing mysite.com/productname and CTR isn't doing very good, I'll try the other way after the new year and give an update.

  16. #16
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    I definitely don't think it'd impact CTR if it's already cloaked. Your issue might be elsewhere.

  17. #17
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    My site is still "fresh" to the niche, so I'm just thinking strategy for 2011. I recently took on a new merchant so I'm thinking how the visitor would react better. Ya know?

  18. #18
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    I understand, but that pretty much goes back to the original question, whether cloaking is beneficial at all. So you have two schools of thought:

    1) The visitor is going to notice the affiliate link and deliberately not click it, therefore cloaking helps
    2) The visitor doesn't care, so cloaking is pointless

    Even then, if cloaking doesn't help, it doesn't hurt, because if the visitor doesn't care what the destination URL is, then they'd be just as willing to click on a cloaked link as they would an uncloaked one.

    Applied to your question, the answer is essentially the same. Adding the manufacturer to the cloaked URL may help but definitely shouldn't hurt. I personally don't think it'll increase a trust factor any more than not having it, but if you have people NOT clicking on it because of the manufacturer's name, you probably wouldn't make the sale anyway. So if it's feasible and you like the notion, then go ahead and do it.

    In fact, it *may* help just a little bit as far as organic referrals go since I do believe Google does take URL keywords into account.

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