56 replies
Awhile back I shortened a bunch of Clickbank URL's with bit.ly so I could post on various sites.

Thank God they are FLAGGING all these links as potentially dangerous otherwise I might actually have a chance at converting customers.

Sadly I've known about this for awhile and I'm just now getting around to removing all the links and reformatting with an internal redirect, probably .htaccess.

Just one more reason not to trust any 3rd party shorteners. I should know better to put my commissions in the hands of a 3rd party.

Redirects are essential to affilaite marketing... and nearly every piece of security software is flagging them also.

Time for the affiliate industry to work on better tracking methods.
#bitly #warning
  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    Well that's an interesting bit of information that I hadn't heard before. Good to know.
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  • Profile picture of the author greenowl123
    I caught this too, about a month ago. Kind of irritated me as well.

    I am just using the naked clickbank link for now, but looking for the best cloaking solution. Probably "Profit Protector" which generates an html page, unless somebody knows of a better solution. A wordpress plug-in maybe ?
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    • Profile picture of the author Damielle
      Originally Posted by greenowl123 View Post

      I caught this too, about a month ago. Kind of irritated me as well.

      I am just using the naked clickbank link for now, but looking for the best cloaking solution. Probably "Profit Protector" which generates an html page, unless somebody knows of a better solution. A wordpress plug-in maybe ?
      There's a great tool inside the War Room, just do a search for Affiliate Link Magic.

      It creates a html file to cloak your links on your own domain.
      It has other great features like popups to build your list, and exit pops to save traffic leaving the sales page.

      It also has an option to add Google Analytics from within the software

      I've used it before, its pretty amazing
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  • Profile picture of the author greenowl123
    I just researched this and found a wp plug-in called Smart Affiliate Links that you can use on your wordpress blogs.

    After installing the plug-in, go to settings to cloak your affiliate link.
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    • Profile picture of the author azmanar
      Originally Posted by greenowl123 View Post

      I just researched this and found a wp plug-in called Smart Affiliate Links that you can use on your wordpress blogs.

      After installing the plug-in, go to settings to cloak your affiliate link.
      Hi,

      So true. We can easily host our own cloaking scripts.

      There are so many FREE plugins out there to do so.

      If I'm doing PPC campaigns, I'd cloak my links using Tracking202. The graphical and numeral stats are enormously useful.
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  • Profile picture of the author jaiper
    You also have Joe Brewer's free Affiliate Link Cloaker plugin. You can find it in WP repository. It works well, and has an interesting geo-targeting feature.
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  • Profile picture of the author MaxReferrals
    Try shortening with the Google snip url. Our tests indicates it's more friendly, especially via email sends.
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  • Profile picture of the author Johnny Optimo
    awesome reason to set up YOUR OWN personal url shortening service
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  • Profile picture of the author jonnyq888
    Originally Posted by InternetMarketingIQ View Post

    I should know better to put my commissions in the hands of a 3rd party.
    I think we all have to learn this lesson eventually. The ONLY thing you can trust is that 3rd parties will eventually let you down. Trust only your own systems and properties.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    Interesting.

    Yesterday I was researching social bookmarking software and came across what was obviously an affiliate site, then upon clicking the link to visit the vendors page, I was redirected to a bit.ly warning page.

    Needless to say, I ditched it and went somewhere else.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    Heres the screen that I saw....



    More information at TechCrunch.

    Bit.ly Starts Warning About Malicious Links | TechCrunch
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  • Profile picture of the author cardine
    You should never be using a 3rd party site to redirect your links when possible.

    There is very little benefit to doing this and it creates the possibility for something to go wrong.
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  • Profile picture of the author williamtan
    Hmmm, I'm using Bit.ly rather "heavily" I must say. So far no flagging issue ... or there is/are that I'm not aware of.

    But thank you for your post as it trigger me to conscientiously set up shortened link using own hosted script or plugin.
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  • Profile picture of the author chouxbear
    Saw the same screen as Ramone - this was the answer to my query

    "Thanks for asking, and since you didn't send over an example bitly url, I can only guess you must be trying to promote a Clickbank url. If it's Clickbank, please read, and if it's not Clickbank, please send over the url in question as a response.

    For Clickbank urls:

    Thanks for inquiring about your Clickbank url. Bitly takes the security and the trustworthiness of our links very seriously. We're working with Clickbank security to help them resolve a spam attack utilizing their service, and when they have resolved the problem we'll reevaluate the block. In the meantime, you can contact abuse@clickbank.com with any issues."
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  • Profile picture of the author Showfom
    Try yourls.org script and install on your own web hosting
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  • Profile picture of the author Selmicro
    There are dozens of "free" url shortening available for word press, just register a short domain name, install wordpress and run the plugins. You could also set this domain up with some sales pages while your there...

    this puts you in command of the situation, based upon a domain you own, and a shortner or two that you manage.

    Using a third party url shortners kind of like using a free email service.

    in both cases you are turning ownership of any/all content passing thru them to the party that owns them, just like corporate email and corporate url's. In fact it wouldn't surprise me to find a nefarious shortener service that steals a small number of affiliate commissions since it would be easy for them to view the transactions and insert their own affiliate code where applicable in say, 1 out of ten transaction or so and nobody would ever know.

    I know, you are going to say that I am paranoid. I know the next question will be when was the last time I saw the black helicopters.

    Fact of the matter is, after a decade involved in developing microprocessor based security systems, palm print identifiers, and such, I have worked with many of the companies with just this kind of thing they want to protect, so I can truly say, "Been There Done That"

    don't forget to line your computer room with tin foil. just kidding, besides it is actually aluminum foil and it doesn't stop everything anyway. ::-)
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  • Profile picture of the author Hackbridge
    The problem I have found recently is that even the virus scanners are preventing redirects. I was trying out a html page I created that redirects to the clickbank sales page. Avast flagged it up as a trojan, and I wondered if that's how other people see it when they find it?

    With regard to shortening links, how can you shorten links for PPC now? You can't exactly put in mega long hoplink urls. I feel stumped on that one, because I don't know what the criteria is for that.

    In addition to that I am not a WP user as the moment so I'd be struggling to use anything related. When I do, I'll know what to look for.

    Kind regards

    Brian
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    • Profile picture of the author azmanar
      Originally Posted by Hackbridge View Post


      With regard to shortening links, how can you shorten links for PPC now? You can't exactly put in mega long hoplink urls. I feel stumped on that one, because I don't know what the criteria is for that.
      Hi,

      For PPC use Tracking202, and you get a cloaked link, albeit a long one. Perception wise, the way the link looks is expected by most clickers.

      However, if you wish to shorten it and you're not using WP, you can use a self-hosted redirect scripts:
      -> CGI
      -> PHP
      -> HTACCESS

      OK here's how to use PHP redirect to cloak your link:

      <?php

      header('Location: http://www.affiliatelink.com/?hop=12345');

      exit();

      ?>
      Save the script above as a php file into your webserver subdirectory called "recommends" or whatever you wish to name the folder. Say you name the file as "cpa-product-1.php"


      Then whenever you place your affiliate link in any of your webpages, point the link to the redirect file like below.

      <a href="http://yourdomain.com/recommends/cpa-product-1.php">Check Out This Great Product !</a>
      So for 1 CPA product, you make 1 php redirect file.

      If you have more, you make more files in the same subdirectory.
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  • Profile picture of the author savvybizbuilder
    Never heard that issue on bit.ly before. I used this url shortener for my twitter account.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    Funny how every dog and his mother is pushing this "affiliate marketing is dangerous" crap...

    What the heck?
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    • Profile picture of the author azmanar
      Originally Posted by Fernando Veloso View Post

      Funny how every dog and his mother is pushing this "affiliate marketing is dangerous" crap...

      What the heck?
      Hi,

      Somehow, they want to suppress whatever that can benefit affiliates.

      Probably, its about pushing affiliates out of business and lead visitors "elsewhere" like cattle.
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      • Profile picture of the author bretski
        Creating 301 redirects is pretty easy once you get the hang of it, like azmanar recommended. I use htaccess files and once you have one set up it's easy to copy and create another one in less than 2 minutes.

        This also enables you to redirect that traffic going to that particular link anywhere you want at a later date. Just saying that if a vendor pulls out or goes under it is helpful to be able to redirect that traffic to another offer.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alan Ashwood
      Originally Posted by Fernando Veloso View Post

      Funny how every dog and his mother is pushing this "affiliate marketing is dangerous" crap...

      What the heck?
      What do you know? I work though the night in total darkness (except for the glow of my monitor).

      Last week, at about 2.00am, I decided I needed a coffee. Got up - walked across the kitchen -tripped over my black cat - fell - banged my head on the table edge - needed stitches.

      See, Affiliate Marketing IS dangerous. I could have been killed! Or don't you care?
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      Now where did I put that pencil?

      Time for a cuppa.
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      • Profile picture of the author Daniel Evans
        Thanks for the heads up. I have many of them.

        It looks like I've got my work cut out for me!
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      • Profile picture of the author Rankomatic
        What you will find is that there have been many marketers that have used this type of service to promote adware infested offers. Kinda eventually ruins it for everyone else.
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  • Profile picture of the author DeborahDera
    I know you want to redirect your links, but why shorten them?

    Why not use a plug-in like GoCodes to create a URL that matches the URL of your main site?

    Originally Posted by InternetMarketingIQ View Post

    Awhile back I shortened a bunch of Clickbank URL's with bit.ly so I could post on various sites.

    Thank God they are FLAGGING all these links as potentially dangerous otherwise I might actually have a chance at converting customers.

    Sadly I've known about this for awhile and I'm just now getting around to removing all the links and reformatting with an internal redirect, probably .htaccess.

    Just one more reason not to trust any 3rd party shorteners. I should know better to put my commissions in the hands of a 3rd party.

    Redirects are essential to affilaite marketing... and nearly every piece of security software is flagging them also.

    Time for the affiliate industry to work on better tracking methods.
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  • Profile picture of the author Celeste Green
    I set up all my affiliate redirects as redirects on my webpage then I have my bit.ly links go to the pages I've set up on my website (I use bit.ly for Twitter posts, etc). No problems so far.
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  • Profile picture of the author onSubie
    It is not surprising with the conflicts and unrest in Lybia that domains owned and managed by the Lybian government (.ly) could be compromised.

    I have also read posts of people who have had requests from Lybia to remove their site due to content that doesn't meet the requirements of their fundamental religion and morals.

    A country can make any agreements they want with 3rd party managers for domains like bit.ly, but when the government is overthrown all bets are off.

    You think a new government is going to honour all the commitments and existing infrastructure from the Gaddafi regime?

    What Happens to .ly Domains When Libya Shuts Down the Internet
    There'll be no interruption, according to Borthwick. "For .ly domains to be unresolvable the five .ly root servers that are authoritative *all* have to be offline, or responding with empty responses," he writes. "Of the five root nameservers for the .ly TLD: two are based in Oregon, one is in the Netherlands and two are in Libya."

    However, Kim Davies cautions against a "sense of false confidence" and says we shouldn't think "that country-code domains are impervious to these kinds of government-mandated Internet shutdowns." He agrees that the effect of an Internet shutdown may not be immediate, but the effects can still be "devastating."

    Davies points out that the servers outside of Libya are still reliant - eventually -on obtaining updates from the .ly registry within the country. "If they are unable to succeed in getting updates, at some point they will consider the data they have stale and stop providing information on the .LY domain."

    it's worth noting that this isn't the first problem that those outside of Libya have had with the TLD. Last fall, the Libyan government shut down Vb.ly, the URL shortener run by sex writer violet blue. The domain was yanked because of its content - as it "fell outside of Libyan Islamic/Sharia Law."

    Mahlon
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  • Profile picture of the author abubakar89
    I noticed this few days back ..........
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  • Profile picture of the author mnlewis
    I caught this a few weeks back. So, I went ahead and changed the links. Im now using a WP plugin called Pretty Links.
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  • Profile picture of the author JimCricket
    This happened to me as well. I did not realize this was so widespread! Those who are in the business of educating newbies in affiliate marketing need to stop recommending bit.ly.
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  • Profile picture of the author user name 666
    unless you're using twitter or a site with limited space to type your message to promote - shortened links make it look too much like you have something to hide.

    there is a big connection between shortened links and unsafe websites, porn, and affiliate marketing.

    So, you must as well put your affiliate links on your own sites and blogs. at least the link itself won't look fishy if you just have a web page of yours go right to the affiliate product.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Kage
    Yeah, bit.ly is going down. Well, time to look for the next shortening service. Any ideas?
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    • Profile picture of the author Alan Ashwood
      Originally Posted by Sparda View Post

      Yeah, bit.ly is going down. Well, time to look for the next shortening service. Any ideas?
      I use TinyURL, and haven't had any problems so far (touch wood)
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      Now where did I put that pencil?

      Time for a cuppa.
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  • Profile picture of the author Isaiah Jackson
    This is also happening with goo.gl its only a matter of time before it happens to tiny.url but it has not happened yet but be on the look out
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  • Profile picture of the author Fazal Mayar
    use a plugin mate, you cant always trust url shorteners for all your issues.

    try link hopper as a plugin
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  • Profile picture of the author DonMecca
    Another solution that you can try out it Link Sharing - Share multiple URLs with just one link and shorten the URL - MultiURL its pretty neat, it has a surf bar, and what not if you want that type of link..you can make link lists and what not..making easy for you to manage all your links
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  • Profile picture of the author Mildred Williams
    Thank you for that information .I wasn't aware of that.Some food for thoughts.
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  • Profile picture of the author Gary M.
    I noticed this also but don't know how long they had it flagged. I wish they would have sent out a notice so I didn't waste all those sales.
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  • Profile picture of the author mojojuju
    Although I wouldn't advocate using somebody else's service to make short URLs. I have had good luck with Shorturl.com. I have affiliate urls that I cloaked with their service in 2003 and they still work today!
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  • Profile picture of the author Monty Montana
    Just found out about this. I think it's absurd for bit.ly to do this. Thankfully i never shorten my affiliate links using their service. Thanks for the post buddy.
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  • Profile picture of the author Christine2011
    Originally Posted by InternetMarketingIQ View Post

    Awhile back I shortened a bunch of Clickbank URL's with bit.ly so I could post on various sites.

    Thank God they are FLAGGING all these links as potentially dangerous otherwise I might actually have a chance at converting customers.

    Sadly I've known about this for awhile and I'm just now getting around to removing all the links and reformatting with an internal redirect, probably .htaccess.

    Just one more reason not to trust any 3rd party shorteners. I should know better to put my commissions in the hands of a 3rd party.

    Redirects are essential to affilaite marketing... and nearly every piece of security software is flagging them also.

    Time for the affiliate industry to work on better tracking methods.
    Oh, thanks for sharing this info I'm glad, I knew it now!
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  • Profile picture of the author davidtong
    Just to contribute as well, I found out the hard way that plug-ins like Pretty Links don't 'forward' the tracking of my Amazon affiliate links... I did a week-long test last month using purely prettylinks for my outbound amazon links and my amazon dashboard reported a significant drop (<95%) in clicks when cloaked by PL...

    So yeah, don't trust 3rd party shorteners...

    Question to those using php cloaking, how do we track individual links? Can this be tracked via Analytics as well? Thanks.
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  • Profile picture of the author aimco
    Thats really sad - bloody shonks
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  • Profile picture of the author neodarth
    It really sucks when you see your efforts mined by third party software... I've just read this post and went to check my bit.ly urls... and blast from the hundreds of links I shortener with them... EVERY SINGLE OF THEM (yes I took the time to check all of them) are redirected to a youtube video about cars... and THAT'S REALLY SUCKS!

    here's a proof from 3 links

    Make Your Own Free Beats Instrumentals | Beats To Make
    Beat Maker Software – Picking a Quality Program Without Breaking the Bank | Beats To Make
    How to Make Rap Beats – 3 Minute Guide | Beats To Make

    Most of these links are automatically shortener by tweet old post wp plugin, but there are others that I even personalized manually... and I use them on social media sites, video sites and everywhere...

    I don't even want to think about how much money I lost (or stop earning) so far... I thought that these sites were performing poorly and I was about to drop them... at least I know why now... If I didn't read this post probably I would keep choping links blindly...
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  • Profile picture of the author tweetman
    I run my own link shortner so I don't have to worry about it.
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    • Profile picture of the author NETDAWG
      Thanks for the heads up! I use bit.ly exclusively on twitter and facebook. I've been using at5.us more often - any word on this being affected?
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    • Profile picture of the author k10spot
      Can anyone recommend a WP plugin for shortening links?
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  • Profile picture of the author larrydcook
    Originally Posted by RSingha View Post

    Thats no good.
    Because less affiliates will use bit.ly and i wont be able to snoop using the "+" trick




    ok I am bitten what is the "+" one trick
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  • Profile picture of the author Alan Petersen
    Originally Posted by InternetMarketingIQ View Post

    ... Time for the affiliate industry to work on better tracking methods.
    Most experts in the affiliate marketing industry would never advise folks to use a free, URL-shortening, third party company to track your affiliate links. You just need to be better informed before blaming the industry.
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    • Profile picture of the author NETDAWG
      hubspot.com - one of the best ways to track affiliate links. It's more expensive, but it tracks all the way through to conversion.
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  • Profile picture of the author mistermint
    I had the same issues with bit.ly so just put up my own shortening service link in signature..it's new but feel free to give it a blast also makes the QR codes and you can blast to FB and Twitter from the advanaced mode..
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  • Profile picture of the author Sheila Dunfrey
    Oh! It's a blessing that i fall down on this thread. I have been using bit.ly quite awhile. Now i know the downside of this. I will stop using it.
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