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  1. #1
    The affiliate formerly known as ojmoo
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Tracking with out tracking codes
    No need to be specific about which small network I am talking about but I sent the following message to one of the smaller networks

    Is it just me or is it that there doesn't seem to be any tracking code's link i.e. this one that I just received from your site.

    <a href="">Foo Heavily discounted. No coupon code required at Expires 12/31/2011.</a>

    I can't find any code on their datafeed either.

    And I got the following reply
    Dear FOO Customer,

    As a general rule, most of our links contain anchor tags (<a>) and image tags (<img>) which are placed into you page. In some cases, our merchants are using our patent-pending Naked Link Technology, and so instead of the anchor tag and href looking like this:

    <a href=>

    it looks like

    <a href=>

    This is an acceptable construction of our link. Our Naked Link Technology allows you as the affiliate to still get credit as this visitor is 'tagged' once they arrive at the merchant's site.

    Your satisfaction is important to us. If you have any further questions, please reply using the link at the very top of this message.
    I find it a bit disquieting that the link wouldn't have the usual network redirect. Also this means that if someone copies my link to their website, I'll never get a commission which happens all the time.

    What do you guys think of this?

    Expert who says Moo

    a.k.a. OJMOO

    Cow Dance

  2. #2
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
    Join Date
    April 5th, 2005
    Park City Utah
    If they are tracking your URL then this can work but I would test heavily to verify before trusting. Some affiliate tracking uses source referrers but they are mainly in-house solutions working with known partners.

  3. #3
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
    Join Date
    November 19th, 2006
    The Windy City
    The primary reason for "Naked Links" is for the SEO benefit for the merchant. With Naked Links the merchant receives hundreds or thousands of inbound links that they hope will be seen favorably by the SEs.

    My main problem with Naked Links, besides what you've noted here:
    Quote Originally Posted by oranges View Post
    Also this means that if someone copies my link to their website, I'll never get a commission which happens all the time.
    is that I don't get paid for providing the merchant with inbound links. Links that, by the way, could allow that merchant to rank better in the SERPs and eventually cut out their affiliates completely, which to me would be really, really dumb.

    Besides the obvious SEO issues, Naked Links means that you'll need to put an awful lot of trust in the merchant since clicks don't go through the network first. If you think that's a good idea, take another look at the Unethical Merchants forum. There are plenty of merchants that cheat their affiliates when the network records the click, imagine the field day an unethical merchant could have with no click trail.

    There is an argument that affiliates also benefit from this technology, but to me (JMHO) it's disingenuous at best. I'm not looking to make my sites appear more "editorial" in nature. They are sales sites. Users know why they're there and if they don't, they're going to be real surprised when they click a link and end up at a merchant's site.

    As far as I can tell, none of the "benefits" have been proven, and all of them can be accomplished in other ways without having to provide the merchant with free SEO benefits.

    "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

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  5. #4
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
    Join Date
    November 6th, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    Many merchants on this smaller network have both naked and regular links. If a merchant only utilizes naked link technology, I don't subscribe or promote them.

  6. #5
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Quote Originally Posted by rematt View Post
    The primary reason for "Naked Links" is for the SEO benefit for the merchant.
    Actually, the prime motivating reason behind creating this technology was to circumvent ad blockers.
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  7. #6
    Full Member
    Join Date
    November 21st, 2010
    So presumably this works because it looks at the referrer which is ordinarily part of the header information sent in HTTP requests.

    While you're correct this means that if the link is copied and posted off the site that you won't get credit. It also means that you can't do the same. No email links, no social media links, nothing that doesn't come through your site (although I suppose you could technically use a redirection script on your site and link to that instead).

    But another disadvantage is that the referrer can be easily manipulated or (even easier still) turned off completely by the visitor. Most likely inadvertent on their part, but it does mean the merchant gets referrals without an affiliate to trace back to.

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