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  1. #1
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    Unhappy How do I Cloak my SAS links?
    How do I cloak my SAS links? I was told by SAS support that using htaccess to cloak/redirect was a violation of their TOS. All I want to do is keep my links from being clipped.

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Internet Cowboy
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    I have never known of SAS links being clipped by ad whackers. These ad blockers are primarily there to guard against BHO installations and it is commonly known that SAS does not play with BHOs. That's the main advantage of working with SAS. No parasites or any of the problems that go along with them.


  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleScooter
    I have never known of SAS links being clipped by ad whackers. These ad blockers are primarily there to guard against BHO installations and it is commonly known that SAS does not play with BHOs. That's the main advantage of working with SAS. No parasites or any of the problems that go along with them.
    Cool. I have never seen SAS links on other websites so I suspected that the webmaster was cloaking them for a security reason. Thanks so much.

    What is "BHO installations"? Is that similar to 180solutions?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ocs94
    What is "BHO installations"? Is that similar to 180solutions?
    In a nutshell, yes. 180 Solutions has a BHO (Browser Helper Object) called Zango. In the past, it has been installed on user's computers against their will and often without their knowledge. This is a big reason that the security software firms started targetting affiliate links. CJ, LS and others supported and even monetized this activity, so their links are targetted. Now they are having to scramble to avoid this when it is their own fault in the first place.

    SAS is in a league of its own. If I had it all to do again, I would not even consider any other affiliate network. I am working to shift my business away from the others and over to SAS, but since I have established a model built around merchants on the other networks, this is a slow process.


  5. #5
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    Thanks so much for taking the time and your patience with me in explaining this!

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
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    Is redirecting a safe practice with SAS? That's how I have mine set up now - links point to a php file, which pulls the actual links from my DB, then redirects to that link.

    If so, I'll need to remove these..
    Follow my dog, Maya, and I, as we fumble around the affiliate marketing world: www.MarketingMaya.com
    Recent Project: Cheap Personal Checks (using DigitalQuill)

  7. #7
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    That's how I have mine set up now - links point to a php file
    I have some SAS links redirected like that and have had no problems. It makes tracking so easy.

  8. #8
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    I don't think it is a problem with SAS. I use a php redirect on one of my sites that has SAS merchants on it. It is just not as important with SAS for purposes of hiding your affiilates links from the SE's is my main point. As far as I know, neither SE's or security/ad-blocker apps target SAS links.


  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
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    ah ok. Cool. I was thinking I might have to remove those - glad I don't!
    Follow my dog, Maya, and I, as we fumble around the affiliate marketing world: www.MarketingMaya.com
    Recent Project: Cheap Personal Checks (using DigitalQuill)

  10. #10
    Member KirkMcD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ocs94
    How do I cloak my SAS links?
    If you can use PHP, search on Google for "PHP Redirects"
    If you don't have php, search for "meta refresh"

    Which is better? I think the php way is better. You won't need to worry if the browser has meta refresh disabled.

  11. #11
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    I don't understand then why using htaccess for a redirect is forbidden. Michael from SAS told me that a forced redirect was a violation of their TOS.

    ---
    Using our referral links in a forced redirect is a violation of our
    Terms of Service. You should remove those redirects.

    Thanks,
    Michael
    ---

    What's the difference between a redirect within an htaccess file and a meta redirect or having a PHP script handling the redirect? I'm confused.

    I wanted to protect my SAS links from clippers which UncleScooter set my mind at ease on that. Thanks again! But just as important, I need a way to track the click-thrus. Otherwise, I'm just flying by the seat of my pants or a ship at sea in the fog.

  12. #12
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    It's all about whether or not it requires a click from your page to get to the SAS merchant. A server-side redirect where the user clicks your "Buy Now" link and it sends it to www.yoursite.com/yourredirectscript.php that then sends it to the SAS link is one story.
    If you are redireccting them as soon as they land on your page and they don't have to click anything you are stuffing cookies and that is against the rules of most any network.


  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleScooter
    It's all about whether or not it requires a click from your page to get to the SAS merchant. A server-side redirect where the user clicks your "Buy Now" link and it sends it to www.yoursite.com/yourredirectscript.php that then sends it to the SAS link is one story.
    If you are redireccting them as soon as they land on your page and they don't have to click anything you are stuffing cookies and that is against the rules of most any network.

    Hmm... Thanks once again for the reply UncleScooter. Okay let me give you an example. Perhaps Michael at SAS misunderstood and only saw one word "redirect" that fired red flags for him.

    Let's say I have a webpage on my site named hubcaps.html

    There is an SAS affiliate link that I want to use on hubcaps.html that looks like this:
    http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?B=43...121222&M=99999

    Instead of using this long link which obviously looks like a sale is going to be made to the person clicking on it (shareasale is a dead give away {g}), I have the link coded:
    http://www.mysite.com/hubcaps.html

    In an htaccess file (one single little file in my server's root directory) I have this:

    Code:
    Redirect /hubcaps.html http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?B=433333&U=1121222&M=99999
    When the person clicks on the link, the htaccess file will trigger and redirect the person to the merchant site. The did land on my hubcaps.html page first and read my review or comments about the product I am sending them to.

    This cloaks or brands my link from people who are in the know about affiliate marketing, or those folks who read their browser status bar. It also makes it more difficult for other affiliates from downloading my site and simply doing a find/replace on my affiliate links to use my entire site as their own. It happens. I've seen it many times with popular affiliate/merchant sites. This also helps me track how many times hubcaps.html was clicked so I can compare that number to what the affiliate network is reporting. SAS doesn't have any previous day stats or specific day stats that I've seen.

    So what's the difference between this method which is recommended by Shaw Collins of Affiliate Summit (http://www.affiliatetip.com/affiliate_tip_30.php) than a PHP script redirect or a meta redirect? The htaccess method is soooo much easier and I've been using it for years on my sites (unrelated to affiliate links) for tracking ad campaigns and direct mail marketing leads.

    I'm fairly new to affiliate marketing from an affiliate perspective but not from the merchant's perspective. I own many of my own merchant websites that were at one time highly popular and had a few of our sites copied. I've seen just about everything really. I'm sure many merchants here can relate.

  14. #14
    Member KirkMcD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ocs94
    I don't understand then why using htaccess for a redirect is forbidden. Michael from SAS told me that a forced redirect was a violation of their TOS.

    ---
    Using our referral links in a forced redirect is a violation of our
    Terms of Service. You should remove those redirects.

    Thanks,
    Michael
    ---
    The only place in the TOS that specifcally mentions redirects is in the Accepted Use section:
    You may not artificially inflate traffic counts to Merchant site(s) using any device, program, robot or other means, including but not limited to JavaScript pop-up windows and redirects.
    As long as you are not trying to "artificially inflate traffic counts", it would seem that redirects are okay.

    Brian, the president and CEO of SAS, in this message http://forum.abestweb.com/showpost.p...4&postcount=11 even says that redirects are common in the SAS network.
    So, Michael must be confused about the term.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by KirkMcD
    The only place in the TOS that specifcally mentions redirects is in the Accepted Use section:
    As long as you are not trying to "artificially inflate traffic counts", it would seem that redirects are okay.
    Yes, I agree which is why Michael's statement blew me away.

    Quote Originally Posted by KirkMcD
    Brian, the president and CEO of SAS, in this message http://forum.abestweb.com/showpost.p...4&postcount=11 even says that redirects are common in the SAS network.
    So, Michael must be confused about the term.
    Yes, you are right. It does sound like the redirects I am trying to accomplish are permitted. I hate to bother Brian, but I might just have to PM this thread URL to him (or one of is associates) to clear up the mystery. I've been holding off doing much at all with SAS because of this issue and it's been really discouraging.

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador best123's Avatar
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    The customer service reps in all affiliate networks are not technically savvy,

    they dont understand, so you will have to explain them clearly what the difference is, otherwise they tend to penalize you.

    In CJ , a CSR thought I was running an "incentivized affiliate site" , they saw ads like "get a free this with purchase" , and that I was incentivizing. but this was text provided directly by the merchant.

    then i had to write them a strong letter to educate them what "incentivized" sites are. after that education, they removed the "incentivized" label from my publisher account

  17. #17
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    Let's say I have a webpage on my site named hubcaps.html

    There is an SAS affiliate link that I want to use on hubcaps.html that looks like this:
    http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?B=4...1121222&M=99999

    Instead of using this long link which obviously looks like a sale is going to be made to the person clicking on it (shareasale is a dead give away {g}), I have the link coded:
    http://www.mysite.com/hubcaps.html

    In an htaccess file (one single little file in my server's root directory) I have this:

    Code:

    Redirect /hubcaps.html http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?B=43...121222&M=99999
    If in your example someone would find a link in the SERPS to http://www.mysite.com/hubcaps.html and click on it then they would never see the page and redirect to your merchant. The same would happen if you PPC to /hubcaps.html. This could be the area of confusion. Your intent is honest, but it could result in a forced redirect.

  18. #18
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    UncleScooter is correct...it is all about the click. If a user clicks on a link for the merchant then yes, you can redirect - which is a good idea at times to keep your own stats, etc...

    A forced redirect without any action by the end user is what Michael was talking about as an "unclicked" event... ocs94 - from what I've see, you are fine....
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  19. #19
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    Thumbs up
    Thanks for the clarity, Brian, and taking the time to assist. Like I said in my PM, I didn't want to confuse anyone and I was beginning to get very confused myself. I'm delighted to hear that my intented use of the cloaked/redirected links is a-okay with SAS' TOS.

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