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Cloaking, Masking & Redirecting Affiliate Links

By Affiliate Hat On May 1, 2009 Under Basics, Cloaking, Newbie Tips

Heya Melvin here. :)

From the last post we have defined and learned what is an affiliate link. Today we are going to discuss cloaking and redirecting links. Just a short question why do we actually need to cloak/mask/redirect links? Well as generations evolved and web surfers/buyers have become more ‘techy’, they have become more knowledgeable about affiliate links. If you have an affiliate link that looks like this ‘http://teethwhitener.com/?ref=googleguy’, it’s pretty obvious for them that the latter part is the referral key so its more likely that they would remove it.

Although these day affiliate companies have provided more solid-looking links and one which couldn’t easily be determined. Because of it the need for cloaking and masking has become less valuable. But still here we are going to tackle three different techniques.

Affiliate Masking – is simply making an affiliate link look like its not. It’s the most basic strategy and it happens at the status bar. In our example below, you can see that when you hover your mouse on the link it puts a different name/url. It can be done using javascript with the following code:

<a href=“http://www.true.com/?affiliate=affhat” onmouseover=” window.status=’true.com'; return true” onmouseout=“window.status=”; return true”>True Dating Program</a>

Link Redirection(most used) – is just simply making a link redirect or jump to the affiliate link itself. There are actually a lot of ways on doing it. There are also some thirdparty softwares that could get the job done for you for a very cheap price. Anyway here’s how to do it through PHP:

  1. <?php
  2. $urls = array (
  3. ‘neverblue’ => ‘http://c.azjmp.com/az/ch.php?f=1700&i=12&sub=affiliatecode’,
  4. ‘copeac’ => ‘http://rapidresponse.directtrack.com/index.html?super_affiliate_code=affilaitecode’
  5. );
  6. header (‘Location: ‘ . $urls[$_REQUEST[‘go’]]);
  7. ?>

Cloaking URL (advanced) – There are so many webmaster blogs that call link cloaking as link redirecting and its retarded. Anyway link cloaking is simply just using user agents to show different stuffs to bots and humans. This is done by some affiliates to avoid hurting their organic rankings and keep them ahead of most sites and also to have better rankings. This is also regarded as blackhat but I believe it’s not (if you’re not caught).

So those are different ways on ‘hiding’ your link as an affiliate link. I would very well suggest to just use link redirection for newbies as it doesn’t really take much to do it. Also, it’s been the most widely used tactic in the industry. If you have some questions or concerns, use the comment form below.

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5 comments - add yours
Rickroll

May 1, 2009

well reading the whole article, i think even you have some misconceptions w/what cloaking is really all about,LOL…

Nikita

May 1, 2009

Well I think masking doesn’t work on old browsers and the latest browsers as well. Firefox I think thought its a security issue and had fixed it

affiliatehat

May 2, 2009

what are the misconceptions are you thinkinh specifically?

Lame tactic to use, and people do fall for it as most people aren’t smart about what they are clicking into.

Plus there’s ways to detect a cloaked link, so the smart people could stop chop off the affiliate link.

Also the affiliate link won’t work if they already have a cookie to the site they are clicking into.

Regards,
Daniel

affiliatehat

May 7, 2009

that’s part of the business, what do you want to expect?