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  1. #1
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    Dynamic KW Tracking + Redirects??
    Can redirection and ?sid parameters cooperate and work together?

    It would be nice to take my affiliate link off my adwords PPC landing page and use clean looking html links instead.

    I can accomplish this with off-the-shelf software which uses a database and not htaccess, but I'm not sure if it is technically possible to pass dynamic tracking parameters using this kind of setup.

    With the tools I have, I can use dynamic variables and track through to merchant, OR I can redirect (alias) my links, but I am having a heck of a time doing both.

    Should I leave my aff links on the page, and not worry about hiding them, or should I only focus on good tracking, or is there a way to make this work together?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
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    It's hard for me to say how the search engines will look at affiliate links, as I hid them early on, using link redirection. One of the reasons that I love it, though, is that it looks a heck of a lot cleaner to visitors than the long monstrosities that the networks provide. It also solves the problem of using "mouseover = window.status()" when the user doesn't have JavaScript enabled.

    But, to answer your question (which I think is in regards to using link redirection and SID tracking), you can install a redirection script, mentioned below, and tweak it a little to append SID parameters before it the link is redirected.

    The free script I'm using is called ClickTracker (http://www.focalmedia.net/clicktracker.html ), and to append SIDs, you can do so within the view.cgi file. Basically, you'll pass the SID value you want to use, to this cgi script. When this script pulls the actuall link, you'll simply concatenate it to that link, and then let the link redirect as usual.

    It's easy to install and configure (you'll need PHP and MySQL for this script). It's also useful in the sense that it also tracks your clicks too (if you need a more accurate count).

    Anyway, hope that answers your questions. Good luck!

  3. #3
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    Hey MoneyBusiness,

    I had read here about go.php - but i wasn't able to find a coherent web site dealing with it. Maybe I was looking in the wrong places.

    I had also visited the focalmedia page in your link, but it looked like it only counted hits to the links...I need to go deeper on that one, because from your description it will do what I need.

    It looks like there might be some good PHP mysql books out there to. I came across one by Yank, and another one by Ullman. Looks like good reference books.

    I also came across a script and lengthy post by Dirk Gardner and I would like to look further at that with the objective of using the redirect-parameter passing script with it. Down the road though. I very easily get distracted by new toys.

    I was using adtracks which is fairly flexible. Although you can do alot on the fly with it, some functions need forms filled in, and that can be very tedious.

    Thanks for your reply, I will check that link out later today!

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
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    No problem. The script does count links, but it also serves as a redirector (with an admin tool where you set up your links - you'll see what I'm talking about if you install it). The only part that you'll need to tinker with is the backend script (view.cgi), where you'll work to append the SID field that's passed in. It works like a charm!

    As far as Dirk Gardner's post, that's probably the best you'll ever come across in terms of working with importing/managing datafeeds. I started my first DF site from it. If you can wade through most of it, and get to his meaty posts, then it'll be everything you need to know to get a datafeed site started. A lot of other ABW'ers swear by that post too..

    Good luck!

  5. #5
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Dirk's post is excelllent.

    Build it yourself in php using that post and you'll have speed, flexibility and no worries about any third party connections / scripts (and what data they may collect).

  6. #6
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    Okay, I will.

    Thanks again Donuts!!!

  7. #7
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    With the tools I have, I can use dynamic variables and track through to merchant, OR I can redirect (alias) my links, but I am having a heck of a time doing both.
    Well, I did it - both that is - and more.

    I researched how to cookie a user coming into a landing page. Then I set up Dirks script and I put the menu on my index page and the products in 100+ product pages. The site is up and running today on PPC - no sales yet though!

    When I test it on my PC, the user should get cookied inside a redirect and then go to the real landing page. Then when the user clicks on my *clean* merchant link on the LP, the script reads the cookie, and appends it to the afftrack= or whatever, and sends the user on to the merchant through another PHP redirect. I used 3 .htaccess rules.

    On click, the cookie is then deleted from the PC. So it all works fine in theory, the proof will be in the sale...

    The gothca might be in the syntax used by various search partners, and that could screw it up. I can always refine things as I go.

    I used a freebie called X e n u to spider the links and report back. At one point it registered 100,000+ links - ha - and turning off session cookies did the trick. Also added "nofollows" before redirects. I better stop here.

    Although I have programmed a fair bit in C, until I joined ABW, I had no clue how to accomplish the above. Dirks script is - I guess ingenious - to me anyway.

    Donuts was somewhat of a guiding light in this. Thanks Donuts - I appreciated your posts along the way.

  8. #8
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Cookied blind doorway pages relying on PPCSE keyword traffic is just sophisticate cookie stuffing and has nothing to do with affiliate marketing. You claim you need cloaking protection while you develop some keyword cookie cannon. If that traffic doesn't read showcase Ads on your domain page ... your just practicing the poorman's BHO trickery. Why not just pay for your cookies taking the train ride on the 180Solutions searchscout BHO and save all the hassles?
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  9. #9
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    Cookied blind doorway pages relying on PPCSE keyword traffic is just sophisticate cookie stuffing and has nothing to do with affiliate marketing.
    I record the users keyword on my landing page using a cookie and track it to the sale. That way I know which keyword was used. That's it.

    It's got nothing to do with cookie stuffing.

    You claim you need cloaking protection while you develop some keyword cookie cannon.
    Cloaking displays clean links and helps with conversions - that's all. The user goes from the landing page to the merchant - whether I got an ugly or clean URL. I like clean ones.

    If that traffic doesn't read showcase Ads on your domain page ...
    You are starting to lose me here...

    your just practicing the poorman's BHO trickery. Why not just pay for your cookies taking the train ride on the 180Solutions searchscout BHO and save all the hassles?
    Really not sure how to respond here. I could say something nasty i guess but what's the point.

    Hmmm....I was really starting to enjoy this board and the people here.

  10. #10
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    Hey Mr. Jones,

    I stumbled across your post while searching for the very EXACT same solution as you were some time ago. I currently have a javascript set in place to where my visitor's search parameters get cookied and then pass through an subID like, sid, mentioned in the previous example. The problem is, I would like to have a redirect in place to where I can have clean links and not show my affiliate links.

    I also have a .php script that pretty much does the same thing as well. It cookies the visitor's specified subID parameter from PPC ads and then passes it onto the subID I have on my affiliate links. Again...no redirect though.

    How did you accomplish this Mr. Jones? I would be extremely grateful for any help relating to this.

    Regards,
    John

  11. #11
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    Okay, you have the keyword information cookied so it accompanies users until they click off the site.

    My method is used with Dirk’s (Bulletproof sites that sell) code. And my disclaimer is that I’m a PHP hack and I have since read that using header (Location:$Location) PHP command may negatively affect cookie transmissions – I simply don’t know. I continue to use my code, and it always registers hits in real time at SAS, and seems to work with sales too! Then again, I always test and browse with Firefox and not IE6+

    Instead of using my own PHP landing page understand Dirks which code goes something like:

    Open DB, Query and place products in array, clean or replace text, output products.

    While outputting products:
    echo '<td><a href="',"item-".stripslashes($row["Sku"]),'.htm" rel="nofollow"><img src="',($row["ImageURL"]),'" alt="',$Title,'" border=0><br><td><strong>',$Title,'</strong></a><br><br>',$Description
    Where “item-“ enables HTAccess translation (mod rewrite)
    Where “Sku” (e.g. 123456) is a unique product identifier in the product database table.

    So what’s happening is that the landing page code is calling /item-123456.htm and appears at the bottom of the browser. Meanwhile Htaccess (below) redirects to item.htm with added parameter, in this case “123456”.

    HTAccess looks like this:
    AddType application/x-httpd-php .html .htm
    Options +FollowSymlinks
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteRule ^item-([^/]+).htm$ /products/item.htm?$1 [L]
    I also included robots.txt:
    User-agent:*
    Disallow: /products
    Here is the code on final page on my site the user does not see:

    item.htm
    <? $dbh=mysql_connect ("localhost", "user", "pw") or die ('I cannot connect to the database because: '.mysql_error());
    mysql_select_db ("db");
    //This is a redirect called by landingpage.htm or product page items
    // if there is not $items variable, create it and set it to 0
    if(!isset($items)){$items = 0;}
    // extract the query from the URL
    $skunum = urldecode($QUERY_STRING);


    //THe merchant link url corresponds to the unique identifier, as mentioned above, in the datafeed table.

    $Bsql="Select LinkURL FROM product_table WHERE
    Sku = $skunum limit 0,1";
    $Asql= mysql_query($Bsql) or die(mysql_error());


    $Location = mysql_result($Asql,0).'&afftrack='.$_COOKIE['cookietext'] ;

    setcookie ("cookietext", "", time() - 3600*24); //deletes cookie - optional

    header("Location: $Location");


    //Redirect browser using affiliate link on table referencing sku (item -number)

    /* Make sure that code below does not get executed when we redirect. */
    exit;

    ?>
    BTW – I made my own test page rotator, and on-page keyword title display too! The keyword thing is cool because I embed a distinct keyword in my adwords destination strings (not the one the user types in). Next I need to embed a time stamp on my landing page code.

    Hope this is enough to get you going...

  12. #12
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    Ok...thanks for your help Jones, but you completely lost me here.

    All I wanted to know was how to cloak a .php or javascript link with my affiliate links. That was the original question if I understand correctly. I am not working with any type of datafeed, so I really don't know if Dirk's Bulletproof setup is what I need right now. I already scanned through the post and it seems like he is targetting the datafeed users.

    I have a script in place that does everything I need it to do as far as passing over parameters to subIDs, I would just like a redirect script or cloaked link so that my links don't look affiliatized.

    You layed out alot of info on your last thread and I appreciate it, but Im not sure if thats what I needed at the time.

  13. #13
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    How did you accomplish this Mr. Jones? I would be extremely grateful for any help relating to this.
    That was the precise answer to the question ...I'm not sure where I lost you

    That's the only way I know how to do it, and I think your answer is in there somewhere.

    The last part is the PHP file. One of the last things it does is reads the cookie information and appends it to "afftrack=".

  14. #14
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    I should first start off by saying that I am not a programmer so alot of this stuff seems a bit over my head, so if the solution is right in front of me, then you'll have to excuse my ignorance.

    The .php code that I currently use that sets a cookie for a subID labeled "sid" looks like this:
    Code:
    <?php
    if ($_REQUEST['sid'] AND !($_COOKIE['sid']))
    {
    	setcookie("sid",urlencode($_REQUEST['sid']),time()+(86400*365),"/");
    	$_COOKIE['sid'] = $_REQUEST['sid'];
    }
    ?>
    and my affiliate links that pass over the parameter look like this:
    Code:
    <a href="http://www.affiliatewebsite.com<? echo "?sid=".$_COOKIE['sid']; ?>" target="_blank">Affiliate link</a>
    What part of the above code do I implement into my landing page and what part is just for datafeed use only? Or do I not implement any of this code into my landing page and just copy and paste your "item.htm" code into a blank .php page?

    Like I said, I'm not too hip on .php so please keep this in mind.

    Thanks for all your help thus so far,
    John

  15. #15
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    Don't forget, the original problem we both had/have is that we were not able to find an off-the-shelf solution to this problem.

    It needs to be customized and I think folks are writing their own customizations by learning some basic PHP and htaccess redirection. I can't teach you that in the time I have, because I don't have it all in my head. I would have to go and research it for you.

    I think at this point my customization is not going to work for you. It's way too complicated if you are looking for only a handful of redirected links.

    Using what I know, if I were going to implement a single redirect. I would hard code a link to my landing page like this:

    htt*://www.myurl.com/item-12345.htm
    THen redirect the link to HTaccess using something like:

    AddType application/x-httpd-php .html .htm
    Options +FollowSymlinks
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteRule ^item-12345.htm$ /products/item1.htm [L]
    On item1.htm read the cookie value using PHP:

    $Location = 'http://merchanturl.com/productpage.htm&afftrack='.$_COOKIE['cookietext'] ;
    Then send user to merchant with appended cookie:

    header("Location: $Location");
    Unfortunately, I don't have tested lines of code to give you to do precisely what I think you need.

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