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  1. #1
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    Webmerge and link cloaking
    Its there a way to integrate link cloaking into the pages created?

    Or may I offer a suggestion to integrate linkcloaking into WebMerge.

  2. #2
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaorenst
    Its there a way to integrate link cloaking into the pages created?

    Or may I offer a suggestion to integrate linkcloaking into WebMerge.
    You can try this:
    <!--webbot bot="HTMLMarkup" startspan --><a href="[WM-Field: Link raw]" target="_blank" onmouseover="window.status='Click for price;" onmouseout="window.status=' ';return true;">Click for more Details</a>.<!--webbot bot="HTMLMarkup" endspan -->
    That works for me on some pages that did before.

    Sal.

  3. #3
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    Do you have a live page where you are using it Mr Sal?

  4. #4
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaorenst
    Do you have a live page where you are using it Mr Sal?
    Yes, I do!

    But for the next question,

    That's out of the question.

    Try this code on your pages:

    <!--webbot bot="HTMLMarkup" startspan --><a href="[WM-Field: Link raw]" target="_blank" onmouseover="window.status='Click for price;" onmouseout="window.status=' ';return true;">Click for more Details</a>.<!--webbot bot="HTMLMarkup" endspan -->
    This is what you will see for the link: Click for price

    This is what you will see Click for more Details on the status bar when you hover over the Click for price link.

    Try it with WebMerge in test mode and do only 10 pages to see it in action.

    I use FrontPage, if you're using FrontPage, you will not see it on Normal mode, but when you go to Preview, you will see the link there.

    You can replace the Click for price and the Click for more Details with any text you want to use.


    Sal.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Sal, but this doesn't change the fact that you're still linking directly to the network. Programs like Norton will still block the link because they identify the network URL. Best way to go is to have a redirect script that uses a combination of a database and a server side language like PHP. The whole goal to link cloaking is to never show the network URL in the HTML code.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  6. #6
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    Exactly.. but Iwould like to incorporate both.. Link cloaking and not showing the URL when they do a mouse over. Snib have you done any of this while usine Webmerge?

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaorenst
    Exactly.. but Iwould like to incorporate both.. Link cloaking and not showing the URL when they do a mouse over. Snib have you done any of this while usine Webmerge?
    Personally I don't like the idea of masking the link with Javascript. It just makes me wonder about the webmaster and what they're trying to hide. I'd much rather see the link so I know what I'm clicking on. I've never done this with webmerge, I'm sorry.

    But if I were to do it, here's what I'd do...

    Use webmerge to create an index file that is actually a PHP array, we'll call it links.php. Each product page will link to another script called click.php like this: "/click.php?sku=ABCD123". click.php can load up the array index and redirect the user to the URL which is safely hidden away in links.php. It should look something like this:

    PHP Code:
    <?php
    global $links;
    $links = array(
    'ABCD123' => 'http://network.url/product.asp?sku=ABCD123',
    'ABCD1234' => 'http://network.url/product.asp?sku=ABCD1234',
    'ABCD12345' => 'http://network.url/product.asp?sku=ABCD12345'
    );
    ?>
    Just have Webmerge create a file like above. Then you'll need to create click.php which will look something like this:

    PHP Code:
    <?php
    include('links.php');
    $sku $_GET[sku];
    $link $links[$sku];
    header("Location: $link\n\n");
    ?>
    Now I'm not totally sure if Webmerge can create the links.php file correctly as you'll need to exclude the comma after the last array element. If this is possible, you're in luck!

    Enjoy,
    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  8. #8
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    would it have to be something server-side like PHP? Would Norton bother to follow even modestly convoluted JavaScrtipt?
    Richard Gaskin
    Developer of WebMerge: Publish any data feed on any site
    http://www.fourthworld.com

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FourthWorld
    would it have to be something server-side like PHP? Would Norton bother to follow even modestly convoluted JavaScrtipt?
    Seems like Norton would simply ignore the Javascript and look at the root of the link (the href). I doubt the Javascript will have any impact on Norton blocking the links.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    Thumbs up
    Quote Originally Posted by Snib
    Seems like Norton would simply ignore the Javascript and look at the root of the link (the href). I doubt the Javascript will have any impact on Norton blocking the links.

    - Scott
    First, I think you're right Scott. The only real benefit there is for the user, and what they see when they mouseover (i.e. something less convoluted URL).

    Second Scott, I wanted to thank you for your contribution to this thread. You provided an awesome addition to WebMerge users bag of tools. I hope it leads to more folks integrating PHP/asp/Perl into their work. There are quite a few nifty things that can be done when integrating the technologies above.

    Fred

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buy_online
    Second Scott, I wanted to thank you for your contribution to this thread. You provided an awesome addition to WebMerge users bag of tools. I hope it leads to more folks integrating PHP/asp/Perl into their work. There are quite a few nifty things that can be done when integrating the technologies above.

    Fred
    No problem, I just hope it's possible to do. I don't use Webmerge so I can't really test it. But in theory it should work.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  12. #12
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    I must admit the whole "Norton issue" mystifies me. What exactly is Symantec doing that prevents a browser from honoring standard link tags?

    Are there specific characteristics Norton looks for when blocking links? Or is there some kind of "Make the Web nearly completely useless" option that Norton customers are using.

    And as long as we're currently looking at brute-force solutions for Norton's anomalous behavior, wouldn't a PHP script need a user-agent switch to know whether to generate the HREFs?
    Richard Gaskin
    Developer of WebMerge: Publish any data feed on any site
    http://www.fourthworld.com

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by FourthWorld
    Are there specific characteristics Norton looks for when blocking links? Or is there some kind of "Make the Web nearly completely useless" option that Norton customers are using.
    They are targetting the domain names used by CJ's tracking system. qksrv.net et al, can't post the others here, but CJ affiliates know them. Now Norton knows them and is rendering links with these domains in them invisible or removing the href statement, rendering them useless.
    It is all about CJ and their partnership with and promotion of parasites. It is the only way they Norton and others feel they can protect their users from getting cooties. They also target LS links and other network links.

    They also target image statements with size attributes that are standard ad sizes, 468x60, 120X60 etc. Of course the networks still use the attributes in their copy and paste banners, so the smart affiliate seeks them out and removes them.
    I have a policy now of posting no banner ad that is not served by my site. I have no proof of this, but it sure would be easy for them to target images being served from a domain other than the one on which it is displayed.

    That is a simple and very useful script, Snib. Thanks for posting it.


  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FourthWorld
    And as long as we're currently looking at brute-force solutions for Norton's anomalous behavior, wouldn't a PHP script need a user-agent switch to know whether to generate the HREFs?
    I'm not sure what you mean here. The href doesn't need any special treatment as long as the link goes to click.php.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleScooter
    It is all about CJ and their partnership with and promotion of parasites.
    If CJ is actively promoting unethical and possibly illegal partners, why would any honest person want to support them?
    Richard Gaskin
    Developer of WebMerge: Publish any data feed on any site
    http://www.fourthworld.com

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by FourthWorld
    If CJ is actively promoting unethical and possibly illegal partners, why would any honest person want to support them?
    Because there are many honest merchants at CJ that affiliates can promote and make good money with. If affiliates ban a network because they support the practices of a few bad affiliates, there would only be SAS to promote and there is not the right mix opf merchants at SAS to accomodate the needs of every affiliate.
    For you to truly stand by your statement, you must adopt and enforce a policy that your software can't be used to build a web site promoting a merchant from any network to which you are opposed. Are you prepared to do that?


  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FourthWorld
    If CJ is actively promoting unethical and possibly illegal partners, why would any honest person want to support them?
    Taking UncleScooters response one step further in answering your question... Some have completely given up on CJ altogether. That's the severity of the ramifications of situation.

    Fred

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by buy_online
    Taking UncleScooters response one step further in answering your question... Some have completely given up on CJ altogether. That's the severity of the ramifications of situation.
    Sounds like a lot of headache for a lot of people.

    What is CJ's position on this?

    Surely they're aware they're losing millions of hits from Norton users.

    Rather than nibble at the edges of this issue, it would seem more effective to address the root cause.

    Would it be productive to arrange a three-way dialog between CJ, Symantec, and affiliates who've been harmed by this circumstance?
    Richard Gaskin
    Developer of WebMerge: Publish any data feed on any site
    http://www.fourthworld.com

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    Richard, I'm sorry to say you may have missed our discussion about this issue over the past couple of years here. We've discussed it over and over. The solution that's in place, is all we will get.

    Fred

  20. #20
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    The hell of it is that pop up blocker and ad blocker are emerging as similar terms. Time was when pop up blockers came along as a result of spyware. In years past, in their quest to sell their software, the security software companies have migrated from spyware blocking to ad blocking in general. They have Grandma equipped to erase everything they define as an ad in three clicks.


  21. #21
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    I did some reading yesterday in the CJ forum to bring myself up to speed on this. Yep, I was living in the past; seems most of this argrument has already been covered, and from what I read both CJ and Norton are being -- how do I put his politely? -- counterproductive.

    So until they both grow up and back to truly serving their customers, we're stuck with trying to solve this by nibbling at the edges of the problem.

    From what little info I have, it seems Norton monkeys with pages as the HTML is coming in over the pipe, before it gets to the browser, yes?

    If so, it would seem that some sort of client-side solution should be possible.

    That is, unless they also dishonor outbound clicks that the user makes on the rendered page.

    Can anyone point me to a more detailed description of how and when Norton screws with the user's experience?
    Richard Gaskin
    Developer of WebMerge: Publish any data feed on any site
    http://www.fourthworld.com

  22. #22
    Full Member heisje's Avatar
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    .

    just use mod_rewrite. simple, really . . .

    heisje

    .

  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heisje
    .

    just use mod_rewrite. simple, really . . .

    heisje
    I don't think it'd be simple to use mod_rewrite as the sole solution to link cloaking. In fact you need a solution like mine first before you can add mod_rewrite to it. In which case mod_rewrite only serves the purpose of cleaning up the link the customer clicks on.

    I'm not really sure what you meant by this post.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  24. #24
    Full Member heisje's Avatar
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    well,
    you got the tip.
    it's up to you now . . .


    heisje


    .

  25. #25
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    Now I'm not totally sure if Webmerge can create the links.php file correctly as you'll need to exclude the comma after the last array element. If this is possible, you're in luck!
    Snib's solution is so beautifully simple. I sure hope an expert with Webmerge will give it a try. I'm brand new to it myself.

    I'm using a PHP script that puts the cloaked link in MySQL and allows me to see how many times an individual link is clicked in any given day. I would like to use Webmerge with this, but I'm not there yet.

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