Should I cloak affiliate links?

13 replies
I have heard some talk about the need to cloak affiliate links on your blog or website, to avoid Google penalizing your site for being an affiliate site. I have never done this for any kind of site, since all my affiliate links are legit and there are no hidden rebill offers or anything. But should I be doing this? Right now I'm making a number of Amazon product blogs and I don't know if there's any reason to be trying to hide the affiliate links. There will be a lot of aff links on each blog, but since it's Amazon does that look legit and not spammy?

When people are talking about the need for cloaking aff links, are they talking about specifically for PPC because Google will slap their quality score? I am using strictly SEO at the moment.
#affiliate #cloak #links
  • Profile picture of the author CmdrStidd
    Not only is Google an issue but so is the problem of people stealing your commissions from you. They like what you are showing them but then they remove your affiliate id and use their own or none at all. You did the work but now are being robbed of the commissions. The easiest and best way to avoid this problem is to cloak your links. There are some great tools out there just for that purpose.
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    • Profile picture of the author braver55b
      cloaking is good to avoid someone chopping off your affiliate id and the shortened cloak affiliate link just looks more appealing to surfers.
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      • Profile picture of the author Hyaku_Man
        Thanks for the replies.

        Is it necessary to have something that stops Google from following the cloaked link? I know I could use a redirect like with the affiliate link in the index.php of the "go" folder. That would make it look better and make it harder to hijack. But do most people block Google from following that redirect?

        Just browsing some plugins I see that some do both, but some just redirect from what I can see.

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  • Profile picture of the author pwnzor
    Yes! Cloak Them!
    Affiliate Marketing Website For Sale HERE.. All The Work is Done, Just Fill in your affiliate ID & Drive Traffic to it.

    All content is unique And Passes Copyscape.
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  • Profile picture of the author hjalte81
    If by cloaking you mean links like instead of the actual affiliate url, then YES.

    Use pretty link if you have a wordpress blog, or use a simple .php redirect script (google it).
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    • Profile picture of the author Hyaku_Man
      Thanks for the replies again.

      I know how to redirect links through a subfolder on my domain so they look nicer. But now my problem is that I have a number of Amazon blogs that are full of hundreds of different affiliate links, because each link is for a different product. Is there any plugin/tool that can automatically cloak all those links? The ones I've looked at so far, it seems that I need to enter each link manually to create the redirect, but that will take forever with all my old content.

      If there's no plugin that can do that, I guess I'll just start cloaking my new projects and leave the old ones how they are.

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  • Profile picture of the author MikeGriffith
    Cloaking is still the best thing right now for protecting your affiliate profits from the affiliate thieves. But now there is software being sold that can undress your cloaked link. You simply enter the cloaked, shortened link, and the software instantly gives you the original long link with the affiliate ID.

    But again, cloaking your link is the best strategy for now.
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  • Profile picture of the author michellegreen
    People don't always click on the link, but may print off a page to read later. If the link's pretty looking (cloaked) then it's so much easier for them to type it in later.

    Cloaking all the way I say!
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    • Profile picture of the author gmr324
      It seems like everyone agrees with the need and benefits of cloaking affiliate links. I have an issue with using a plugin that may not be updated to stay compatible with the latest and greatest WP release.

      With so much at stake with sales and click tracking, is it really wise to have your site's income so dependant on a plugin that may not be frequently updated or have a glitch in the code? On the other hand, using the manual approach with the PHP redirect seems really cumbersome for a lot of links even though it's probably more reliable.

      I'm having a heck of a time getting Pretty Link plugin to digest my CJ affiliate links in the
      <a href=" "></a><img src="" width="1" height="1" border="0"/> format for the destination url. Has anyone had any luck with this?

      Many Thanks

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  • Profile picture of the author Erik Ortega
    I actually had a site of mine deindexed because of cloaking. I know this because I applied for reconsideration right after taking away ONLY the cloaking links and was re indexed...

    it's probably a rare occurrence but be aware that it is possible to be penalized for cloaking.

    Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent's fate.- Sun Tzu

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