Amazon Terminates Accounts Because Of Cloaked Links?

by pdrs
49 replies
So I just got a message from a pretty well respected warrior saying that one of her subscribers has told her that his account was terminated because he was cloaking links on his site that were point to amazon (affiliate links of course).

I haven't been staying on top of the Amazon TOS but I thought this was all above board until now...

Anyone had any other experiences?

-Rob
#accounts #amazon #cloaked #links #terminates
  • Profile picture of the author Rich Struck
    I wonder if there is more to the story. I've seen people abusing Amazon far worse than that for over 10 years. It was always my impression that you had to really piss them off before they even noticed you were alive.
    Signature

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4610039].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author E. Brian Rose
    Originally Posted by pdrs View Post

    So I just got a message from a pretty well respected warrior saying that one of her subscribers has told her that his account was terminated because he was cloaking links on his site that were point to amazon (affiliate links of course).

    I haven't been staying on top of the Amazon TOS but I thought this was all above board until now...

    Anyone had any other experiences?

    -Rob
    Just to be sure that I read this correctly... Amazon told a subscriber of a mailing list and that subscriber told the list owner and the list owner told you and now you are telling me that Amazon is banning affiliates that cloak there links.

    Did I sum that up correctly?
    Signature

    Founder of JVZoo. All around good guy :)

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4610053].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author pdrs
      Originally Posted by E. Brian Rose View Post

      Just to be sure that I read this correctly... Amazon told a subscriber of a mailing list and that subscriber told the list owner and the list owner told you and now you are telling me that Amazon is banning affiliates that cloak there links.

      Did I sum that up correctly?
      DBAID (Don't Be An Internet Dick)

      No you didn't - I'm not telling you anything - I'm asking if anyone has heard anything.
      Signature
      RemoteControlHelicopterReviews.(com/net) - Up for sale! No reasonable offer refused. Great branding for a super hot niche!
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4610068].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author E. Brian Rose
        Originally Posted by pdrs View Post

        DBAID (Don't Be An Internet Dick)
        LOL I'll have to remember that one.
        Signature

        Founder of JVZoo. All around good guy :)

        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4610081].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author pdrs
          Originally Posted by E. Brian Rose View Post

          LOL I'll have to remember that one.
          I'm here all week folks *rimshot*

          In all serious though - I'm definitely not saying that accounts are being closed due to link cloaking but as someone who makes a decent ammt with amazon aff blogs I would be interested to know if anyone else has had any problems
          Signature
          RemoteControlHelicopterReviews.(com/net) - Up for sale! No reasonable offer refused. Great branding for a super hot niche!
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4610174].message }}
          • Profile picture of the author E. Brian Rose
            Originally Posted by pdrs View Post

            I'm here all week folks *rimshot*
            You forgot to tell me to try the meatloaf.
            Signature

            Founder of JVZoo. All around good guy :)

            {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4610185].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author braincandy7
        Haha! One to remember!

        Originally Posted by pdrs View Post

        DBAID (Don't Be An Internet Dick)

        No you didn't - I'm not telling you anything - I'm asking if anyone has heard anything.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4610365].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author pdrs
    '“Redirecting Link” means a link that sends users indirectly to the Amazon Site via an intermediate site or webpage and without requiring the user to click on a link or take some other affirmative action on that intermediate site or webpage.'

    From the Operating Agreement - this sounds to me like cloaked links are ok as long as they have to click on them and its not a redirect/pop-up whatever.
    Signature
    RemoteControlHelicopterReviews.(com/net) - Up for sale! No reasonable offer refused. Great branding for a super hot niche!
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4610203].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author auranabooksdotcom
    Things are pretty moving fast now days. Good old days if IM are long gone. Better take care with everything.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4610216].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author LB
    A few months ago I asked Amazon about whether or not is was OK to cloak links. I got a prompt reply stating that they'd have to check and get back to me. They never did, and did not respond to further questions about it.

    So...
    Signature
    Tired of Article Marketing, Backlink Spamming and Other Crusty Old Traffic Methods?

    Click Here.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4610241].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author PPC-Coach
    LOL I learned a new one too. DBAID.

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4610296].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Sylonious
    I got the same e-mail from Colleen.

    I still don't understand why people use the term "cloaking" when referring to simple link redirects.

    Link cloaking could just mean link redirecting or it could include keyword stuffing which could get you banned if you get caught.

    Google can find and ban all sites using the same Amazon referral id so it's a good idea to mask those affiliate links if you have a lot of sites.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4610311].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author drmani
      Originally Posted by Sylonious View Post

      Google can find and ban all sites using the same Amazon referral id so it's a good idea to mask those affiliate links if you have a lot of sites.
      I'm no 'power' user of Amazon.com but even I know that Amazon
      allows the use of MULTIPLE tracking IDs which can mask the
      fact that a particular ad belongs to a specific affiliate
      account.

      Or am I missing something glaringly obvious?!

      So why 'cloak' a link at all in the first place, be it a redirect
      or other kind of cloaking?

      Can anyone (Google or competitors) deconstruct a link of the
      format:

      rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=MY-TRACKING-ID&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B00007ITTT&nou=1&ref=tf_til&f c1=000000&IS2=1...

      ... as long as I keep MY-TRACKING-ID unique and
      distinct across different sites/niches that I'm involved in?

      Curious to know.

      Thanks

      All success
      Dr.Mani
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4610471].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author tpw
        Originally Posted by drmani View Post

        I'm no 'power' user of Amazon.com but even I know that Amazon
        allows the use of MULTIPLE tracking IDs which can mask the
        fact that a particular ad belongs to a specific affiliate
        account.

        Or am I missing something glaringly obvious?!

        So why 'cloak' a link at all in the first place, be it a redirect
        or other kind of cloaking?

        Can anyone (Google or competitors) deconstruct a link of the
        format:

        rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=MY-TRACKING-ID&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B00007ITTT&nou=1&ref=tf_til&f c1=000000&IS2=1...

        ... as long as I keep MY-TRACKING-ID unique and
        distinct across different sites/niches that I'm involved in?

        Curious to know.

        Thanks

        All success
        Dr.Mani

        Dr. Mani:

        Think about Redirect Links like those you get with Bit.ly...

        bit.ly/gibberish

        goes to

        rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=MY-TRACKING-ID&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B00007ITTT&nou=1&ref=tf_til&f c1=000000&IS2=1...


        This is the issue being discussed.
        Signature
        Bill Platt, Oklahoma USA, PlattPublishing.com
        Publish Coloring Books for Profit (WSOTD 7-30-2015)
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4610475].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author drmani
          Originally Posted by tpw View Post

          Dr. Mani:

          Think about Redirect Links like those you get with Bit.ly...

          bit.ly/gibberish

          goes to

          rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=MY-TRACKING-ID&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B00007ITTT&nou=1&ref=tf_til&f c1=000000&IS2=1...


          This is the issue being discussed.
          I get that, Bill. But why use them at all in the first place, as
          Amazon itself gives you the equivalent by way of UNIQUE
          tracking IDs - for as many different links as you want to use?

          That's the bit I don't get - unless I'm missing the fact that there
          IS a way to easily group such UNIQUE IDs into a common user
          for banning or research or competitive purposes.

          All success
          Dr.Mani
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4610485].message }}
          • Profile picture of the author tpw
            Originally Posted by drmani View Post

            I get that, Bill. But why use them at all in the first place, as
            Amazon itself gives you the equivalent by way of UNIQUE
            tracking IDs - for as many different links as you want to use?

            That's the bit I don't get - unless I'm missing the fact that there
            IS a way to easily group such UNIQUE IDs into a common user
            for banning or research or competitive purposes.

            All success
            Dr.Mani


            Sorry for the misunderstanding.

            To be honest, I am not even sure what your question is now that I read it again. :p



            I am not even sure that Cloaked URLs will get your account fried.
            My cousin heard from a guy, who heard from a girl, who heard from a dog, who learned it from a parrot that this technique will get you in trouble with Amazon...

            I'd rather see it in the Amazon TOS, than to hear it through the grapevine.

            Let's face it... Many people who share horror stories of this nature usually don't share the whole story about how it came to pass.

            It is the human nature thing... They want their friends to believe that they were "innocent" and did not bring down the law on their own heads... The prison systems are also full of "innocent" people... You know how that stuff goes...
            Signature
            Bill Platt, Oklahoma USA, PlattPublishing.com
            Publish Coloring Books for Profit (WSOTD 7-30-2015)
            {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4610515].message }}
            • Profile picture of the author drmani
              This thread actually got me reading the Linking Requirements, where I find this:

              Links may be created by you or made available to you by us. If we inform you that your site does not qualify to use certain types of links, you must cease displaying those types of links on your site. You are solely responsible for the content, style, and placement of each link that you place on your site and for ensuring that Special Links (whether created by you or made available to you by us) include the appropriate formatting necessary for us to properly track referrals of customers from your site. For example, you must include your Associates ID or "tag" (appearing as XXXXX-20, or such other format as we may designate) as a parameter in the URL of each link you place on your site to the Amazon Site. Upon your request but subject to our approval, we may issue you additional "sub-tag" Associate IDs that permit you to monitor and optimize the performance of your Special Links by including different sub-tags in the URLs of different Special Links. Under no circumstances may you associate any sub-tag with a specific end user of your site (e.g., you may not dynamically assign sub-tags to users as they arrive on your site for purposes of monitoring such users' behavior).
              My question has to do with the NEED for cloaking a link at all.

              Link SHORTENERS like bit.ly, afaik, simply expand out to the full link,
              and aren't quite 'redirects' (though I claim ignorance on this, and you
              may not blame/flame me if I'm wrong about it!! )

              So IF an Amazon.com affiliate got socked for 'cloaking', my question is
              WHY did they cloak at all in the first place. Surely there must have been
              a reason for it - and I wonder what it could be?



              All success
              Dr.Mani
              {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4610542].message }}
              • Profile picture of the author tpw
                Originally Posted by drmani View Post

                This thread actually got me reading the Linking Requirements, where I find this:



                My question has to do with the NEED for cloaking a link at all.

                Link SHORTENERS like bit.ly, afaik, simply expand out to the full link,
                and aren't quite 'redirects' (though I claim ignorance on this, and you
                may not blame/flame me if I'm wrong about it!! )

                So IF an Amazon.com affiliate got socked for 'cloaking', my question is
                WHY did they cloak at all in the first place. Surely there must have been
                a reason for it - and I wonder what it could be?



                All success
                Dr.Mani

                No flaming necessary. :p

                Officially, bit.ly is known as a link shortening service.

                In order to operate, it creates each link as a 301 Redirect.

                If they are cloaking the link, I would think the reason would be to hide the fact that you are sending your visitors off-site to Amazon.

                Now, if you are selling direct to main stream consumers, I don't think it would be necessary, b/c most folks don't understand Internet marketing games.

                If you are selling to marketers, they get it, and they might go around your link to buy with their own affiliate account.

                There may be a SEO reason as well, because Google may not rank you as well if most of your off-site links are going to Amazon's affiliate program.
                Signature
                Bill Platt, Oklahoma USA, PlattPublishing.com
                Publish Coloring Books for Profit (WSOTD 7-30-2015)
                {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4610575].message }}
              • Profile picture of the author Sylonious
                Originally Posted by drmani View Post

                This thread actually got me reading the Linking Requirements, where I find this:



                My question has to do with the NEED for cloaking a link at all.

                Link SHORTENERS like bit.ly, afaik, simply expand out to the full link,
                and aren't quite 'redirects' (though I claim ignorance on this, and you
                may not blame/flame me if I'm wrong about it!! )

                So IF an Amazon.com affiliate got socked for 'cloaking', my question is
                WHY did they cloak at all in the first place. Surely there must have been
                a reason for it - and I wonder what it could be?



                All success
                Dr.Mani
                My mistake I don't know why I thought they only allowed 10.

                bit.ly redirects links in the same way as Ninja Affiliate.

                Also, there are many people who believe that sites get an SEO penalty from Google for having "naked affiliate links". And they can detect affiliate links no matter what referral id you use. However, that's debatable. Some people say that Google only has a problem with "thin affiliate" sites and not all affiliate sites.

                Cloak Pig is a relatively new "link cloaker" that redirects links and also does keyword stuffing.

                So if they come to your site leave without clicking any affiliate links and they reach Amazon.com on their own and they buy something before your affiliate cookies expire you get a commission.

                This is against TOS of most affiliate programs. Very profitable but, also very dangerous. That's what got Shawn Hogan in trouble.

                I don't necessarily know if that is the type of cloaking that Colleen is talking about.
                {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4610672].message }}
          • Profile picture of the author Sylonious
            Originally Posted by drmani View Post

            I get that, Bill. But why use them at all in the first place, as
            Amazon itself gives you the equivalent by way of UNIQUE
            tracking IDs - for as many different links as you want to use?

            That's the bit I don't get - unless I'm missing the fact that there
            IS a way to easily group such UNIQUE IDs into a common user
            for banning or research or competitive purposes.

            All success
            Dr.Mani
            I think you only get like 10, right? So if you've got like a hundred sites Google could ban (maybe just penalize) at least 10 of them at a time by the referral id footprint.
            {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4610539].message }}
            • Profile picture of the author drmani
              Originally Posted by Sylonious View Post

              I think you only get like 10, right? So if you've got someone with like a hundred sites Google could ban (maybe just penalize) at least 10 of them at a time by the referral id footprint.

              If you have less than 10 sites then you are fine.
              You get 100 - and can apply for more.

              From here:

              Please note that there is a limit of 100 Tracking IDs per associate account. If you have further requirements, please contact Associates Customer Service
              All success
              Dr.Mani
              {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4610550].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author David Keith
        Originally Posted by drmani View Post

        I'm no 'power' user of Amazon.com but even I know that Amazon
        allows the use of MULTIPLE tracking IDs which can mask the
        fact that a particular ad belongs to a specific affiliate
        account.

        Or am I missing something glaringly obvious?!

        So why 'cloak' a link at all in the first place, be it a redirect
        or other kind of cloaking?

        Can anyone (Google or competitors) deconstruct a link of the
        format:

        rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=MY-TRACKING-ID&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B00007ITTT&nou=1&ref=tf_til&f c1=000000&IS2=1...

        ... as long as I keep MY-TRACKING-ID unique and
        distinct across different sites/niches that I'm involved in?

        Curious to know.

        Thanks

        All success
        Dr.Mani
        i dont know amazon stuff, but i can give you a solid reason to cloak these links.

        cloaked links would allow affiliates to get some additional stats. lets say you are promoting it via 2 marketing methods. if you dont cloak and track the clicks, you wont know where the traffic came from.

        if you cloak the link, you could use 2 separate cloaked links that redirect to your single amazon id. thus giving you some additional information about which of your promotion methods generated clicks.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4610637].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author pdrs
    My intention with this thread was never to pull the he said she said that her brother said that my uncle said that cloaking amazon links would get you banned - I guess I should've phrased things more clearly but I just started to wonder after reading Colleens email and didn't put a whole lot of thought into it...

    So what I should have said from the start is:

    Does anyone know if cloaking links can get you in trouble with Amazon? Has anyone actually had any trouble because of cloaked links?

    My biggest reason for cloaking was to keep my readers from knowing that they were going to amazon when clicking on one of my links - I read somewhere that it would increase the CTR but I've never personally tested to see if this is true in the case of physical affiliate stuff like Amazon.

    I'm going to deactivate my cloaker on a few of my sites and watch the CTR over the next few days to see if it makes any difference in my CTR and I'll be sure to post back.
    Signature
    RemoteControlHelicopterReviews.(com/net) - Up for sale! No reasonable offer refused. Great branding for a super hot niche!
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4610688].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Sylonious
      Originally Posted by pdrs View Post

      Does anyone know if cloaking links can get you in trouble with Amazon? Has anyone actually had any trouble because of cloaked links?
      That's the thing though. A lot of people redirect Amazon affiliate links.

      Phpzon, WP Robot and WP Shopping pages have link redirecting built in. So if people were getting banned for redirecting amazon links you'd have at least a thousand people on WF complaining about getting banned from Amazon at any given moment.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4610726].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author tpw
      Originally Posted by pdrs View Post

      My intention with this thread was never to pull the he said she said that her brother said that my uncle said that cloaking amazon links would get you banned - I guess I should've phrased things more clearly but I just started to wonder after reading Colleens email and didn't put a whole lot of thought into it...

      So what I should have said from the start is:

      Does anyone know if cloaking links can get you in trouble with Amazon? Has anyone actually had any trouble because of cloaked links?

      My biggest reason for cloaking was to keep my readers from knowing that they were going to amazon when clicking on one of my links - I read somewhere that it would increase the CTR but I've never personally tested to see if this is true in the case of physical affiliate stuff like Amazon.

      I'm going to deactivate my cloaker on a few of my sites and watch the CTR over the next few days to see if it makes any difference in my CTR and I'll be sure to post back.

      If you are running through an autoresponder, don't they naturally cloak links regardless, so that they can help you see how many people clicked your links?

      I know that my aweber account does that automatically, and I would assume that is a setting that cannot be turned off?
      Signature
      Bill Platt, Oklahoma USA, PlattPublishing.com
      Publish Coloring Books for Profit (WSOTD 7-30-2015)
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4610728].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author David Keith
        Originally Posted by tpw View Post

        If you are running through an autoresponder, don't they naturally cloak links regardless, so that they can help you see how many people clicked your links?

        I know that my aweber account does that automatically, and I would assume that is a setting that cannot be turned off?
        yes, i had not though of that, most AR do track clicks by default. but in aweber there is a setting to turn off link tracking. dont remember if its a global setting or per list or what, but i know i have seen it.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4610738].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author drmani
          Originally Posted by owslaw123 View Post

          yes, i had not though of that, most AR do track clicks by default. but in aweber there is a setting to turn off link tracking. dont remember if its a global setting or per list or what, but i know i have seen it.
          It's per email, and you just toggle the 'Link Tracking' link to turn it on or off -
          or can set it for a broadcast by checking the box or leaving it off.

          Dr.Mani
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4610749].message }}
          • Profile picture of the author drmani
            From the Associate Program Operating Agreement (section 7):

            Qualifying Purchases exclude, and we will not pay advertising fees on any of, the following:

            * any Product purchased by a customer who is referred to the Amazon Site through any of the following:

            a Prohibited Paid Search Placement; or

            a link to the Amazon Site, including a Redirecting Link, that is generated or displayed on a Search Engine in response to a general Internet search query or keyword (i.e., in natural, free, organic, or unpaid search results), whether those links appear through your submission of data to that site or otherwise.
            I'm not sure if you can read between the lines and say this doesn't include
            such a 'redirecting link' placed on your own website instead of on a search
            engine - I'll leave that distinction to legal minds! (IANAL)

            All success
            Dr.Mani
            {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4610915].message }}
            • Profile picture of the author Sylonious
              Originally Posted by drmani View Post

              From the Associate Program Operating Agreement (section 7):



              I'm not sure if you can read between the lines and say this doesn't include
              such a 'redirecting link' placed on your own website instead of on a search
              engine - I'll leave that distinction to legal minds! (IANAL)

              All success
              Dr.Mani
              That's for prohibiting copyright infringement. They are talking about bidding on their brand "Amazon" (in Adwords/Adcenter) then using an affiliate redirect link as the landing page.

              They are saying you can't get around copyright infringement by pretending to be Amazon on pay per click networks. That really doesn't have much to with redirect links. They are just INCLUDING redirect links in the infringement as well as normal sites.
              {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4611708].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author dfs_dean
      Originally Posted by pdrs View Post

      My intention with this thread was never to pull the he said she said that her brother said that my uncle said that cloaking amazon links would get you banned - I guess I should've phrased things more clearly but I just started to wonder after reading Colleens email and didn't put a whole lot of thought into it...

      So what I should have said from the start is:

      Does anyone know if cloaking links can get you in trouble with Amazon? Has anyone actually had any trouble because of cloaked links?

      My biggest reason for cloaking was to keep my readers from knowing that they were going to amazon when clicking on one of my links - I read somewhere that it would increase the CTR but I've never personally tested to see if this is true in the case of physical affiliate stuff like Amazon.

      I'm going to deactivate my cloaker on a few of my sites and watch the CTR over the next few days to see if it makes any difference in my CTR and I'll be sure to post back.
      But if you are complying with Amazon's requirement to identify yourself as an Associate your readers should be aware of your Amazon affiliation. From Amazon's Associates Program Operating Agreement:

      You must, however, clearly state the following on your site: "[Insert your name] is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to [insert the applicable site name (amazon.com, endless.com, smallparts.com or myhabit.com)]."
      Peace
      Signature
      Find something to enjoy about reality. It's not going to go away.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4622833].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Sylonious
        Originally Posted by dfs_dean View Post

        But if you are complying with Amazon's requirement to identify yourself as an Associate your readers should be aware of your Amazon affiliation. From Amazon's Associates Program Operating Agreement:

        Peace
        They are going above and beyond what the FTC asked for. The FTC (according to Richard Cleland from the FTC) only required you to disclose your relationship if you made an endorsement of a product and you had a direct relationship with the product owner.

        So if you sold a Sony Tv from Amazon. You wouldn't have to disclose that you had a relationship with Amazon unless you made an endorsement of Amazon as the best place to purchase the tv. Now if you sold a Kindle that would be an entirely different story.

        Of course, Amazon is covering their butt. I don't blame them because the FTC can pretty much go after whoever they want.

        However, if people actually took the time to disclose their relationship in the body of the the text (like Cleland suggested) before they link out to Amazon, conversion rates would take a nose dive. It would just push everybody into Adsense.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4626541].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author LB
    If a person is concerned about SEO, and Google's opinion of affiliate sites, it is not unwarranted to think that a site full of Amazon affiliate links might cause harm.

    See: Can Google Detect an Affiliate Website - Graywolf's SEO Blog

    Additionally, my experience is that a nice looking cloaked link (domain.com/coolstuff) will generate way more clicks than a long and ugly affiliate link.

    Those are two very good reasons a person may want to cloak their Amazon links.

    What Amazon actually allows is somewhat speculative at this point.
    Signature
    Tired of Article Marketing, Backlink Spamming and Other Crusty Old Traffic Methods?

    Click Here.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4611111].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Sylonious
      Originally Posted by LB View Post

      If a person is concerned about SEO, and Google's opinion of affiliate sites, it is not unwarranted to think that a site full of Amazon affiliate links might cause harm.

      See: Can Google Detect an Affiliate Website - Graywolf's SEO Blog

      Additionally, my experience is that a nice looking cloaked link (domain.com/coolstuff) will generate way more clicks than a long and ugly affiliate link.

      Those are two very good reasons a person may want to cloak their Amazon links.

      What Amazon actually allows is somewhat speculative at this point.
      Since most people probably won't read that link:

      However, a better question to ask is can Google detect affiliate websites, and can they make it harder for affiliate websites to rank ... ? But those are entirely different questions.

      If you've read the leaked quality rater guide from 2009, you'll see that Google has set up lot of hurdles specifically making it harder for affiliate websites to "pass" the sniff test. One of the quickest and easiest ways that Google can determine an affiliate website is through "naked" links to common affiliate programs like Linkshare, CJ, ShareASale, and others.

      See: Can Google Detect an Affiliate Website - Graywolf's SEO Blog
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4611752].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author pdrs
      Originally Posted by LB View Post


      Additionally, my experience is that a nice looking cloaked link (domain.com/coolstuff) will generate way more clicks than a long and ugly affiliate link.
      This is my thoughts exactly - as I mentioned earlier - turning off the cloaker on a few of my higher traffic sites and I'm going to watch the CTR for a few days and see if I notice a substantial drop.
      Signature
      RemoteControlHelicopterReviews.(com/net) - Up for sale! No reasonable offer refused. Great branding for a super hot niche!
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4612394].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author aa_kusuma
    What the correlation between naked link affiliate and Google penalty?

    I have lots of blog that promote amazon's product using naked link affiliate and so far everything is good.

    The only make sense reason that you will get penalty by Google is duplicate content + Adsense. And i never heard before if we will get banned by Amazon just because cloak the amazon affiliate link.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4612574].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by Sylonious View Post

      That's for prohibiting copyright infringement. They are talking about bidding on their brand "Amazon" (in Adwords/Adcenter) then using an affiliate redirect link as the landing page.

      They are saying you can't get around copyright infringement by pretending to be Amazon on pay per click networks. That really doesn't have much to with redirect links. They are just INCLUDING redirect links in the infringement as well as normal sites.
      That's one interpretation, I suppose.

      Since they specified 'organic, unpaid search results' in the snippet Dr. Mani quoted above, I have another take on it.

      I believe Amazon is using a more exact definition of 'cloaking' than the folks who are referring to simple redirects.

      Do any of you old-timers remember when "doorway pages" were the hot ticket to manipulating the SERPs?

      The doorway page would show a standard (if keyword stuffed) page to the SE spiders, and something else to human visitors.

      That is the definition of a 'cloaked link' in this instance. Googlebot sees what looks like it might be a useful information page or review, so it displays the page it thinks it sees in the SERP. Human comes along and clicks it. Ends up on one of Amazon's pages, with no action indicating volition (like clicking a link on a page).

      If the friend of the subscriber of the ezine publisher was doing this and got caught, banning his butt was the exact right thing to do. He was actively cheating.

      Simple redirects, for tracking or other purpose, are totally different animals.

      I've been with the Amazon Associate program since the days you had to sign and fax the associate agreement to be accepted. Never had a problem with redirecting a link as long as the user had to click it to activate it.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4613649].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author pdrs
    Do you have to state that in every page that you sell something or is doing it in a disclaimer good enough?
    Signature
    RemoteControlHelicopterReviews.(com/net) - Up for sale! No reasonable offer refused. Great branding for a super hot niche!
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4627620].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by pdrs View Post

      Do you have to state that in every page that you sell something or is doing it in a disclaimer good enough?
      I usually put the full disclaimer on the 'about' page, with a link in the footer of every page. I'm leaning towards using one of the suggested images rather than a text link. I think 'banner blindness' will keep the attention where it belongs. I haven't tested it yet, but it's food for thought.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4627826].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author onSubie
    Hi

    It really depends on how you cloak.

    Amazon doesn't mind link cloaking that redirects to Amazon such as:

    xxx.mysite.com/recommends/product

    And they even own a redirect service amz.to

    Any Amazon link cloaked at bit.ly will automatically be detected and given an Amazon URL like: amz.to/9v46s8 instead of a standard bit.ly URL.

    What Amazon DOES NOT like or allow, are cloaked links that do not redirect and keep the customer on a site that does not appear to be Amazon. This is usually done using iframes.

    Some link cloaking software, especiall ones that keep your URL instead of the destination in the browser, use iframes or techniques that are a violation of Amazon's ToS. A few people using these plug-uns have posted of the problems in the forum.

    Simple cloaking and redirects are okay.

    In reality you don't need to cloak Amazon because it is a trusted site and people aren't going to be "afraid to click" if they see the product link goes to Amazon.

    Some people are concerned about details like identifiable affiliate codes or tracking ids showing in the links and want cloaking to hide them.

    Mahlon
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4628994].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author weblink29
    I remember a post where somebody got their Amazon account terminated for cloaking links. The user was using a wordpress plugin that was cloaking the links. I cloak links for a lot of Clickbank stuff. I don't cloak any with Amazon.
    Signature

    Nothing to see here folks.....move along.

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4629026].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author David Keith
      Originally Posted by weblink29 View Post

      I remember a post where somebody got their Amazon account terminated for cloaking links. The user was using a wordpress plugin that was cloaking the links. I cloak links for a lot of Clickbank stuff. I don't cloak any with Amazon.
      i remember one about an putting amazon in iframes using WP, which is a no no, but not one on cloaking amazon links.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4629132].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Gaz Cooper
        I specifically refrained from commenting on this thread until I received accurate info from a ticket I submitted a few hours ago about cloaked links and here is the answer directly from Amazon

        Dear Gaz

        The Associates Program Operating Agreement doesn't prohibit the use of link cloaking services in the Associates Program, provided that the cloaking service doesn't use methods which violate the Associates Program Operating Agreement, such as framing the Amazon site or automatically tagging sessions with your Associates ID.

        You must clearly state that the link in question will take the user to the Amazon site when clicked and ensure that the site on which you are posting the cloaked links includes the required statement to identify yourself as an Associate. You must also be able to provide detailed information about the site(s) on which your links have been posted if we request it.

        Please review the complete Operating Agreement, including Participation Requirements, for more details:

        https://affiliate-program.amazon.com...ates/agreement


        Kickin it on Amazon

        Gaz Cooper
        Amz Training Academy
        Signature

        Beginners Guide to getting started in CRYPTO, FREE Ebook on a Massive Opportunity as the World shifts to Digital payment http://amzauthorityzone.com

        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4629680].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author Sylonious
          Originally Posted by GazCooperOnline View Post

          I specifically refrained from commenting on this thread until I received accurate info from a ticket I submitted a few hours ago about cloaked links and here is the answer directly from Amazon

          Dear Gaz

          The Associates Program Operating Agreement doesn’t prohibit the use of link cloaking services in the Associates Program, provided that the cloaking service doesn’t use methods which violate the Associates Program Operating Agreement, such as framing the Amazon site or automatically tagging sessions with your Associates ID.

          You must clearly state that the link in question will take the user to the Amazon site when clicked and ensure that the site on which you are posting the cloaked links includes the required statement to identify yourself as an Associate. You must also be able to provide detailed information about the site(s) on which your links have been posted if we request it.

          Please review the complete Operating Agreement, including Participation Requirements, for more details:

          https://affiliate-program.amazon.com...ates/agreement


          Kickin it on Amazon

          Gaz Cooper
          Amz Training Academy
          Thanks, that clears it up. Like I said they don't want cookie stuffing like some plugins seem to do.
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4629931].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author vanessaleadiego
    I use gocodes plugin for wp, is that one okay?
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4777567].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author discrat
      My Amazon account was terminated because it had my old address coming from California.
      But thank goodness I had Amazon at only a couple of blogs and it was earning absolutely nothing for me !! I say good riddance !!!
      Signature

      Nothing to see here including a Sig so just move on :)

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4777590].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author vanessaleadiego
        Well, I went straight to Amazon to get their response regarding "cloaked" links and this was their reply:

        "The Associates Program Operating Agreement doesn't prohibit the use of link cloaking services in the Associates Program, provided that the cloaking service doesn't use methods which violate the Associates Program Operating Agreement, such as framing the Amazon site or automatically tagging sessions with your Associates ID.

        You must clearly state that the link in question will take the user to the Amazon site when clicked and ensure that the site on which you are posting the cloaked links includes the required statement to identify yourself as an Associate. You must also be able to provide detailed information about the site(s) on which your links have been posted if we request it."


        As far as I can tell, the Gocodes plugin does not use any of the methods described above (i.e., framing or tagging) and if anyone can show me where they do use these methods, please speak up. I am going to continue to use cloaked links unless or until I hear differently.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4801012].message }}

Trending Topics