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  1. #1
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    Hi

    I was just wondering if somebody can help with a question I have regarding redirects and CJ links?

    I would like to set up some automatic redirects on my hosting account control panel for some links to merchants sites from my website so that it is not so obvious that visitors are clicking on affiliate links. I will set up the initial links as links to other pages on my website but with an automatic redirect to the merchants site. What I am uncertain about is; which part of the text link code provided by CJ should I specify as the redirect address?

    If the code is:
    <a href="http://www.qksrv.net/click-xxxxxxx-xxxxxxx" target="_top" >link text</a><img src="http://www.qksrv.net/image-xxxxxxx-xxxxxxx" width="1" height="1" border="0">

    I’m guessing that just ‘http://www.qksrv.net/click-xxxxxxx-xxxxxxx’ should be entered as the redirect link but was wondering if the omission of the rest of the link code will cause the link to not track properly?
    What does the ‘http://www.qksrv.net/image-xxxxxxxx-xxxxxxx" width="1" height="1" border="0"’ part of the code mean? I can’t quite understand why a text link needs to look up an image.

    Or is the whole idea of redirecting links in this way a bad idea for any reason? I have done a test and it appears that visitors would not experience any difficulties when clicking their ‘back’ button. They are just returned to my original product page, and not the page that the automatic redirect is set up on.
    Does doing links in this way offer any protection from parasites?

    Any advice will be much appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Hi Baliman and welcome to ABW ,

    There are many benefits to redirects and the one you mention is just one of them. Others include increased PR as you are lowering the number of outbound links on your page as your redirect page is a local file. And the most important one of all is that if you do your redirection right you will make your page ad-block software proof.

    As to your question about the link you are right about which part to redirect but make sure you leave the image in place as this tranparent 1x1 pixel is how CJ tracks ad impressions.

    If you are just trying to make the links look prettier to your visitors you may want to consider URL masking which is simple and included in all links available through the CJ interface. Note that this only masks the appearance of the URL in the status bar.

    All the best,

    Dirk Gardner

  3. #3
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Could you explain further on these two points?

    1) "increased PR as you are lowering the number of outbound links on your page as your redirect page is a local file"

    I get the PageRank part with fewer outbound links - but where can I go to find out more about the redirect page - both setting one up and pointing to it from my content page(s) (where I'd be replacing an outbound link that I usually use - right?)


    2) "if you do your redirection right you will make your page ad-block software proof"

    is ad-block software proof meaning fight parasiteware? or pop-up blockers and such?


    And do you know for PR - does it weigh "# of outbound links" or "# of outbound domains linked"?

  4. #4
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    Many thanks for your welcome and advice Dirk.

    Could you possibly explain how I leave the image in place as you mentioned?

    Also, I have seen some ads on Google adwords that are stated as affiliate ads which when clicked lead straight to the merchants site. Do you know if this kind of link also requires that the image is left in place in order to track impressions? And if so, how it is done?

    As always, any advice will be much appreciated.

  5. #5
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    quote:
    Also, I have seen some ads on Google adwords that are stated as affiliate ads which when clicked lead straight to the merchants site.


    apparently Google allows this, but in the recent past we found this to be a gray area in their TOS.

  6. #6
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    quote:
    Originally posted by Donuts:
    Could you explain further on these two points?

    1) "increased PR as you are lowering the number of outbound links on your page as your redirect page is a local file"

    I get the Page Rank part with fewer outbound links - but where can I go to find out more about the redirect page - both setting one up and pointing to it from my content page(s) (where I'd be replacing an outbound link that I usually use - right?)

    Redirecting is really simple but it is amongst the hardest information on the INTERNET to find. Do a search for link management scripts at hotscripts.com and find one you like and either install it with Link tracking in place if you want the info or strip out the SQL stuff and just keep the redirecting stuff in place. The code is just a 1-3 liner.

    Oh hell I may as well share. This code should be placed in a file named anythingyoulike.php (url.php, redirect.php, outward.php or whatever tickles your fancy.) Inside the file place this code:

     <? 
    $url=urldecode($QUERY_STRING);
    $url="Location: ".$url;
    header($url)
    ?>
    Yes it is that simple! The first Line sets a variable called url in memory and fills it with the query passed to it and the second line sets the variable url as a location. The third line resets the page header to the contents of the url variable.

    To link to it change your code to

     <a href"http://yoursite.com/yourfile.php?http://yourtargeturl"></a> 
    In BaliMans example lets say the the redirect page is called r.php and his site was bali.com.

    This:
     <a href="http://www.qksrv.net/click-xxxxxxx-xxxxxxx" target="_top" >link text</a>
    <img src="http://www.qksrv.net/image-xxxxxxx-xxxxxxx" width="1" height="1" border="0">
    Would change to this:
     <a href="http://bali.com/r.php?http://www.qksrv.net/click-xxxxxxx-xxxxxxx" target="_top">
    link text</a><img src="http://www.qksrv.net/image-xxxxxxx-xxxxxxx"
    width="1" height="1" border="0">


    once you have changed out all your links you have successfully kept a huge chunk of PR On site. You still haven't got pretty links though. To achieve this you need to incorporate a links database and possibly mod_rewrite although I don't advise the mod_rewrite in this instance as you don't want to be passing PR which is effectively being blocked by the ? in the URL.


    2) "if you do your redirection right you will make your page ad-block software proof"

    is ad-block software proof meaning fight parasiteware? or pop-up blockers and such?

    Neither. It means protection against ad-blocking software like Norton personal Firewall and Zone Alarm. To achieve this you need to incorporate a MySQL database that assigns IDs to each link and then you need to upgrade your url redirection page to handle these new ids and redirect them accordingly.

    People that are already running databases that utilize a feed could simply add a Primary Key that Automatically Increments and use this as their link ID. You would name this column something like id or linkid in your table. When you query products to display on your page you use this info to change your url to something like:
     link text 
    or you could go a step further and use mod_rewrite to achieve this:
     link text 
    This would effectively block any ad blocker although you may still have to deal with the Img link although you should be able to see how to do this now.


    And do you know for PR - does it weigh "# of outbound links" or "# of outbound domains linked"?


    I would say # of links. Others opinions will vary

    All the best,

    DPG

  7. #7
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Dirk,

    THANKS for your time - I actually understood every point you made because you were so clear and detailed and gave specific related examples.

    Got some work ahead of me, but can define what it is now.

    For you, was there a distinct time when you switched over to URL redirects backed by a database - or was it gradual progression of technology for you or progression across your site(s)? Just wondering what happened on the biz end of things - once you eliminated Zone Alarm and others like it from stripping you - sales go up? PageRank go up?

  8. #8
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    Hi Donuts,

    Sorry for the late reply I only switched over to redirects the day before I wrote that post and at that stage was redirecting like this :
     <a href"http://yoursite.com/yourfile.php?http://yourtargeturl"></a>  


    Although I had thought the process through, I didn't get round to instigating this :
     [URL=http://bali.com/r.php?2345}link text[/URL]  
    until just today. It took me a while to figure out the code and pressure test it.

    I have thoroughly tested it with both Zone Alarm and Norton and can report a 100% success rate in anti ad-blocking.

    I can't really answer your other questions yet as this is very new and I haven't collected any data as of yet. As long as we don't get another major google move in the next few weeks I should be able to draw some pertinent conclusions as to percentages of sales that were affected by Norton et al.

    All the best,

    Dirk Gardner
    (Not to be confused with the other chap who stole my name and calls himself Dirk )

  9. #9
    Animal Lover
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    Hey Dirk

    Do you know if tracking will be affected if I leave out the pixel? Is it just that impressions aren't tracked? If a customer clicks through a cj link without the pixel - will it get tracked ie the cookie gets set?

    Oscar
    My DataFeed Scripts - php datafeed scripts for your site
    Shareasale datafeed scripts - to display Shareasale datafeeds
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  10. #10
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    HI Oscar,

    Yes the sale will still track although as you surmise correctly there will me no impression tracking which will make all tracking data in your performance reports worthless.

    May I point out that CJ strongly recommends that all information in their link code is left intact. Although I am redirecting I am still sending to CJ all information in the exact format they require.

    Hope this helps

    Dirk Gardner

  11. #11
    Animal Lover
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    Thanks Dirk

    while you're at it - can you send us up some rain? We need it bad here in Oz.

    Oscar
    My DataFeed Scripts - php datafeed scripts for your site
    Shareasale datafeed scripts - to display Shareasale datafeeds
    Linkshare datafeed scripts - for multiple Linkshare merchants

  12. #12
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    Haven't had a lot of rain but could you send me down some heat? It's the middle of winter and freezing and I am going windsurfing less and less

  13. #13
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    Whoa...good stuff Dirk. I think I will try to give this a go. I have not fully comprehended the link database stuff, but the redirect code looks doable for me. Thanks for posting this!

  14. #14
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    Hi Dirk

    Ok...implemented the redirect and it works great. Now I want to learn how to do the database thing so that I can get the pretty links.

    quote:
    To achieve this you need to incorporate a MySQL database that assigns IDs to each link and then you need to upgrade your url redirection page to handle these new ids and redirect them accordingly.


    My site is php, and I have a cgi search script that runs off a CSV datafile. I could easily add an ID column to the CSV file, but need to understand how the redirect via the lookup to the datafile works. How do I "upgrade" my redirection page? Is there a php script? Maybe you explained this Dirk, or maybe it is obvious and I am just being thick. Please help.

  15. #15
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    Ha! I figured it out...with alot of help from Dirk's post and this little gem of a script that I found after an hour of searching Google:

    Professional Links v1.2

    Works like a charm.

    Too cool! This is the best thing I've learned in months!

    Thanks!!!

  16. #16
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    Glad it worked out for you peedtih Sorry I didnt get a notice of your post till you had solved the puzzle all on your own.

  17. #17
    Animal Lover
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    Hi Dirk,

    It's ski season...you could try to hit the slopes instead of hitting the surf...

    As an aside, I decided to take the pixel out because I was afraid my banners/links wouldn't show up in Norton with it (even though I had a redirect script on the link proper)...I don't know I'm not with Norton so I can't say for sure...

    Oscar
    My DataFeed Scripts - php datafeed scripts for your site
    Shareasale datafeed scripts - to display Shareasale datafeeds
    Linkshare datafeed scripts - for multiple Linkshare merchants

  18. #18
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    Hi Oscar,

    As a matter of fact I am going skiing in 2 weeks but I'll swap you some snow for your warm climate You don't have to take the tracking pixel out. As long as it is outside your a href its fine. (which it is by default) The only thing they can do is block it from displaying and it is invisible anyway.

    Cheers,

    Dirk

  19. #19
    Animal Lover
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    I was rather hoping to see some white stuff - you from Middle Earth country...

    Anyway, the reason I mentioned it was because a friend of mine has ZA and when I left the tracking pixel there the banner couldn't be seen (blank space where it should've been even with the redirect in the a href)...and after I took the tracking pixel out...voila...it appeared...

    Oscar
    My DataFeed Scripts - php datafeed scripts for your site
    Shareasale datafeed scripts - to display Shareasale datafeeds
    Linkshare datafeed scripts - for multiple Linkshare merchants

  20. #20
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    Hi Oscar and Dirk,

    Regarding the tracking pixel, I have a different take. This may sound a bit paranoid, but with all the noise about SE SPAM being the result of affiliate datafeed sites, I wonder if the SEs might start filtering out sites that have "excessive" refferences to CJ, BeFree, SAS, LinkShare tracking domains. It would be very easy for them to do with a few tweaks to their algos. In anticipation of this, I am trying to use redirects to remove the references in my page code...so the tracking pixels are out for me.

    Peedtih

  21. #21
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    Dirk

    thanks very much for that explanation - it was very clear and very helpful.

    If you really want to go windsurfing don't waste your time in Sydney in winter - come up here to Hervey Bay - middle of winter and most of the day I'm wandering around in a pair of shorts and people are out in the water swimming

    Stuart

  22. #22
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    What is the result if you don't redirect...
    If a person comes to my affiliate site and clicks on a 'non redirected' link - the normal CJ link given in the datafeed URLs - what does Norton/Zone Alarm do and what does the user see -- do they block the user's link or redirect it to an error page or strip out the affiliate ID and send it on to the merchant or ...

  23. #23
    Full Member ahmar's Avatar
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    what does Norton/Zone Alarm do
    Wipe out the affiliate links completely.

    what does the user see
    Nothing, nada. Just a blank space. Like there was nothing from the very begining.
    <DT>[size=1][color=navy]"The best measure of a man's honesty isn't his income tax return.[/color][/size]<DT>[size=1][color=navy]It's the zero adjust on his bathroom scale." Arthur C. Clark[/color][/size]</DT>

  24. #24
    I like traffic lights
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    The user, I think, has the option of replacing the link with a small "advert removed" image. Not sure if that's the default setting though.

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador ticketguyz's Avatar
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    So... if I made some of the redirecting links as in the above example (but simplified a bit), will Google allow those in my ads as well as on a website? I know Google is weird about redirecting links and such...

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