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  1. #1
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
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    Introducing the Affiliate Link Encoder
    Hi Everyone,

    I am excited to introduce an innovative and new tool from a network. After a period of live BETA testing, today we rolled out the Affiliate Link Encoder network wide. The Affiliate Link Encoder (ALE) is a tool that uses javascript to automatically change direct merchant links that appear in your website html into AvantLink Affiliate tracking links.

    This process happens on the fly. As long as the merchant is in AvantLink, simply add this javascript to your page or site template and any direct link you include to an AvantLink merchant will be changed into your Affiliate tracking link.

    From the ALE tool detail page on our site:
    Once the javascript is installed on a page or site-wide template, Affiliates using the ALE will not have to login to the network to get tracking links. Simply add the merchant homepage URL or any deep link URL and the ALE will take care of the rest.

    Check it out! When the ALE javascript is in place test by hovering or clicking on a direct AvantLink merchant link, then viewing the source code of the document. Note that the link stays as a direct link in the raw html.
    This tool is perfect for bloggers with months or years of legacy content, or any other Affiliates who would rather not code tracking links into their html pages. For outdoor-themed blogs, for example, direct outbound links to outdoor merchants can actually add value to blog articles.

    To use the ALE simply follow these steps:
    1. Login as an Affiliate and click on 'Tools' from the main menu.
    2. Under the Ad/Link Tools heading, click on 'Affiliate Link Encoder'.
    3. Select your website, and then add an optional custom tracking code.
    4. Click the 'Get Html' button.
    5. Copy the html into your html template or page where you would like your direct merchant links encoded.

    We would appreciate any and all feedback on the Affiliate Link Encoder.

    Thank you for your support,

    Gary & AvantLink
    Last edited by GravityFed; October 29th, 2007 at 05:45 PM. Reason: clarification

  2. #2
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Not bad at all, Gary! Kudos to you on constantly improving things!!

    Geno

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Nice addition, Gary!
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
    7 Days A Week Marketing

  4. #4
    Outsourced Program Manager
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    Very nice, Gary!
    Brook Schaaf
    Schaaf-PartnerCentric
    p/f: 512.464.1122
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    www.schaafpc.com | brook@schaafpc.com

  5. #5
    http and a telephoto
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    Does it encode all links or just your own merchants links?
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  6. #6
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Appears to be completely optional as a linking method (no forced LMI fiasco) and appears to use cookies just like the regular links (not turning aff marketing into an seo campaign substitute a la link connector)... is that right on both counts?

    Other affs here seeing it that way as well?

  7. #7
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Actually, it would provide SEO benefits to the merchant since the search engines would still see plain (direct) links. But it differs in a few very important areas (one of which you already mentioned) from LMI or direct links:

    1) It's totally optional.
    2) It's actually a convenience for many affiliates.
    3) The SEO benefits are a side effect (that they probably hadn't even considered) rather than the intent of the feature.

    Great new feature, IMHO!
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  8. #8
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
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    Deb, The ALE encodes links for AvantLink merchants only.

    Donuts, yep. You're right. This linking method is optional for Affiliates. And it does use cookies.

    Michael, you're right on the money. The original intent of the feature was to offer Affiliates an alternative to using network tracking links in their html.

    Actually, the initial idea came about because we've been working with a lot of Affiliates who run forums where members post direct merchant links often. We also have a lot of bloggers that prefer using direct links in their content, rather than links that point to a network redirect in the href.

    Thanks for the comments!

    Gary M

  9. #9
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    I think it's an invaluable addition to the Avantlink repertoire of linking options and wicked smart also ... WTG!
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  10. #10
    http and a telephoto
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    Cool, thanks for the clarification, and yes I had gone to the site, but figure asking and answering it up front would alleviate some affiliate questions
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  11. #11
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    Hey Gary,

    Great talking with you today! The new tool looks well cool.

    I know this was probably just a turn of phrase, but the following raises a question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary-AvantLink
    This process happens on the fly. As long as the merchant is in AvantLink, simply add this javascript to your page or site template and any direct link you include to an AvantLink merchant will be changed into your Affiliate tracking link.
    This may be a logical assumption, but is it safe to assume that the affiliate also has to be a member of the merchant's program for the javascript to kick in?

    Also, does it work on deep links without altering the destination?

    I know...I should've reached my quota of questions for the day hours ago, but I just can't help myself.

    Thanks again for all your help.
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

  12. #12
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
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    Hi Eathan,

    Yes and yes to both of your questions above!

    Gary M

  13. #13
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Hi Gary,

    I don't feel like going thru the whole test now, but I would like to ask you a simple java script question.

    What would happend, if the visitor has their java script disabled?

    Hover over the links below and notice that the direct to merchant links have been changed to Affiliate tracking links: Backcountry.com
    Would they still land on <a http :/ /www. backcountry .com/">Backcountry.com</a> and we get our cookie set?

    Or since they have the java script disable, would they would just get to the merchant site direct and without any cookie? (At least with my dam cookie from my site anyway.)

  14. #14
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
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    Mr. Sal,

    The ALE won't convert your direct links if the customer has JS turned off.

  15. #15
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    This turns blogs into contextual advertisers without having to learn much about converting links. I have been saving Google Alerts for several of my merchants for some time now but haven't had an easy method to hook-up bloggers. Good stuff.

  16. #16
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
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    Thanks Chuck! Just to clarify, the ALE is not converting text to tracking links. It's converting existing direct links to Affiliate tracking links.

    As Eathan stated above, the Affiliate must be active in the merchant programs they are direct linking to in order for the ALE to convert the link.

    BTW, I just wrote a blog article on the ALE:
    New Innovative Tool - Affiliate Link Encoder

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick
    This turns blogs into contextual advertisers without having to learn much about converting links. I have been saving Google Alerts for several of my merchants for some time now but haven't had an easy method to hook-up bloggers. Good stuff.
    Right. This is also a must have for forum owners. We have an outdoor gear forum and members post links to merchant products all the time. Now you can get some deserved commission on sales from them. I've been able to achieve effectively the same thing via a vBulletin plug-in, but this definitely makes it easier.

  18. #18
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
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    Thumbs up ALE on PRWeb
    A quick bump to mention that we distributed a press release this morning through PRWeb that highlights the Affiliate Link Encoder. Great quote from AZ in there!
    AvantLink Affiliate Greg Blasko, owner and operator of AlpineZone.com, explains "This tool is a must have for forum owners. We have an outdoor gear forum and members post links to merchant products all the time. Now we can get some deserved commission on sales from these links!"
    Full Article: AvantLink Releases Technology for Optional Direct to Merchant Affiliate Links

  19. #19
    Member blizzard's Avatar
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    Is there any possibility this would look "sneaky" to Google?

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Gary-AvantLink
    A quick bump to mention that we distributed a press release this morning through PRWeb that highlights the Affiliate Link Encoder. Great quote from AZ in there!

    Full Article: AvantLink Releases Technology for Optional Direct to Merchant Affiliate Links
    Bravo!

  21. #21
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
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    Is there any possibility this would look "sneaky" to Google?
    We can't say with 100% certainty what Google will or will not see as sneaky, but after the ALE does its thing, the network redirect link shows in the browser status bar when the site visitor hovers over the link text.

    I'll also mention that the intent of the ALE isn't to provide merchant SEO direct links, it is to provide a value-add tool for Affiliates with user-posted community content, and for Affiliates who would rather not worry about encoding links.

  22. #22
    Full Member Tech Evangelist's Avatar
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    This one of the most innovative methods that I've seen to prevent problems with spiders that follow redirect links.

    Kudos to your team.

    BTW, it won't convert the links if the user has Security set to High in IE. That turns off active scripting and disables JavaScript.
    Last edited by Tech Evangelist; November 26th, 2007 at 08:37 AM.
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  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    I want to thank David and Scott for their fast work to resolve a minor problem using ALE for .js pop-up windows for a merchant's information pages - privacy policy/shipping/etc. I sent in the problem late last night and had a fix early enough today to probably prevent anyone having a problem. It's like having a technician right in the next office. You guys are great!

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