Amazon Closing Accounts Using Cloaked Links....

29 replies
Hi all,

On another forum I saw a post about people getting their Amazon accounts closed due to having cloaked links, one person was using JVPRess GoPages which is what I sometimes use.

Personally I didn't think it was a problem to cloak Amazon links unless you're using dodgy techniques or iframing. I cloak all affiliate links, Amazon or not.

Also the are alot of plugins being sold that automatically cloak Amazon links, some of which are WSO's, are these plugins violating Amazons TOS?

Abit of clarity on the do's and don'ts would be good without having to wade through Amazons terms,

Cheers
Neil
#accounts #amazon #cloaked #closing #links
  • Profile picture of the author SteveJohnson
    Originally Posted by NeilMoran View Post

    Hi all,

    On another forum I saw a post about people getting their Amazon accounts closed due to having cloaked links, one person was using JVPRess GoPages which is what I sometimes use.

    Personally I didn't think it was a problem to cloak Amazon links unless you're using dodgy techniques or iframing. I cloak all affiliate links, Amazon or not.
    Neil
    GoPages uses iframes, that's why Amazon doesn't like it. They want THEIR URL to appear in the location bar. Use a different cloaking plugin.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alan Petersen
      I just wanted to add to what Steve wrote, that also applies to just about every major affiliate network out there like CJ.

      Even ClickBank doesn't allow URL masking/redirects using iframes.

      As long as the end user see the real domain of the final destination up there (in their browser's URL address bar) you'll be fine so stick to simple redirection vs actual hard link cloaking.
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      • Profile picture of the author Mr. Ken Russell
        I find that I get more conversions with my links being uncloaked. Probably because people don't like to be tricked into buying something. Not sure though, just sharing my personal experience.
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        • Profile picture of the author thedog
          Originally Posted by Nio93 View Post

          I find that I get more conversions with my links being uncloaked. Probably because people don't like to be tricked into buying something. Not sure though, just sharing my personal experience.
          Me too. I stopped using link cloaking a while back.

          I think it's best not to hide the fact you're linking to Amazon, best to be upfront with people.
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  • Profile picture of the author imdomination
    Yes, exactly. Also keep in mind that most plugins that allow reviews to be posted automatically also use iframes, which will get your Amazon acct banned if you get caught.
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    • Profile picture of the author JeanneLynn
      Originally Posted by imdomination View Post

      Yes, exactly. Also keep in mind that most plugins that allow reviews to be posted automatically also use iframes, which will get your Amazon acct banned if you get caught.
      How do you know which plugins do this? Does WPZon do this? I'm thinking that I shouldn't use plugins any more.
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      • Profile picture of the author NeilMoran
        I also use GoCodes for cloaking which is a free plugin GoCodes Redirection Plugin For Wordpress I've used it on everything from CB, Amazon & CPA offers without a hitch and I'm pretty sure it doesn't break any rules, only got the other plugin on one old site which I better change over just incase.
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        • Profile picture of the author Alan Petersen
          Originally Posted by NeilMoran View Post

          I also use GoCodes for cloaking which is a free plugin GoCodes Redirection Plugin For Wordpress I've used it on everything from CB, Amazon & CPA offers without a hitch and I'm pretty sure it doesn't break any rules, only got the other plugin on one old site which I better change over just incase.
          Not to be rude but "Pretty sure" won't cut it. I would suggest you make 100% sure it doesn't use iframes to cloak links or mask the URL displayed on the end user's browser.

          In the end, it's your affiliate accounts that will be booted from the affiliate networks.

          A lot of people get away with doing that undetected for a long time. Some never get caught. Some get caught right away. So best not play Russian roulette with your affiliate account and be certain that you're not unknowingly violating terms.
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      • Profile picture of the author Manoj V
        Originally Posted by JeanneLynn View Post

        How do you know which plugins do this? Does WPZon do this? I'm thinking that I shouldn't use plugins any more.
        I use WPZon too. I found this(below) on their site. If you do not check the box which cloaks your links you should be fine.
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    • Profile picture of the author edynas
      Banned
      Originally Posted by imdomination View Post

      Yes, exactly. Also keep in mind that most plugins that allow reviews to be posted automatically also use iframes, which will get your Amazon acct banned if you get caught.
      I am sorry to say so .....But what you say is totally not true

      See this Motivating Customers to Buy - Product Advertising API

      Amazon wants you to use iFrames in case of customer reviews and delivers the url for it. Before October 2010 the API from Amazon delivered the actual reviews and you were able to insert those on your site. I did it in Amaniche by adding them as comments. But after October 2010 Amazon changed that as they wanted to have the reviews on their site alone and instead delivered an iframe url which you are supposed to use on your site.

      So please, don't tell stories that are just not true

      Edwin
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  • Profile picture of the author MMateo23
    I thought the reason to "cloak" your affiliate link is because some people don't feel comfortable seeing an affiliate link in the url. Also, there are other people who will replace your affiliate id's with theirs and take the sale for themselves. I don't think Amazon will close your account for cloaking your affiliate link as long as their page information is in the url. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think cloaking the "affiliate" link is better for business.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alan Petersen
      Originally Posted by MMateo23 View Post

      I thought the reason to "cloak" your affiliate link is because some people don't feel comfortable seeing an affiliate link in the url. Also, there are other people who will replace your affiliate id's with theirs and take the sale for themselves. I don't think Amazon will close your account for cloaking your affiliate link as long as their page information is in the url. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think cloaking the "affiliate" link is better for business.
      You can still cloak your affiliate link so it doesn't look like this big ugly thing in your emails, blog posts, web properties, etc. But once the redirection is complete the actual URL should be displayed in the end users browser.

      At that point, most won't care that it's a long URL up there because they'll be reviewing the site you sent them to.

      As to commission hijacking, that is a risk. The person might look at the real URL and decide to change it or just remove it but you'll lose a lot more sales from having Amazon closing your account for violating their affiliate program terms than from affiliate link hijacking.
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      • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
        Originally Posted by Alan Petersen View Post

        As to commission hijacking, that is a risk. The person might look at the real URL and decide to change it or just remove it but you'll lose a lot more sales from having Amazon closing your account for violating their affiliate program terms than from affiliate link hijacking.
        Commission hijacking is a bigger danger with programs like Clickbank, where affiliates are allowed to purchase through their own links. Amazon will allow the sale to go through; they just won't pay the affiliate commission.

        Hacking, cookie stuffing, etc. are another matter.
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  • Profile picture of the author birddog200
    Crap.. Looks like I need to make some changes.
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  • Profile picture of the author anshuldayal
    What about re-directing visitors from a Facebook fan page? Is that acceptable with Amazon's TOS?
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  • Profile picture of the author zaco
    Why are you guys using plugins and all that stuff? so nobody hijacks u r links? even if u use plugins there is a tool to unmask the shortened / cloaked link so I don't see what is the point, why risk getting banned? is it worth it...I also would like to hide my links but I don't see a point....

    If the person can remove your affiliate ID and make his/her purchase so you don't get the commission then most likely the person knows how to unmask it and remove the ID.

    If the person doesn't want you to get commission from his/her purchase then they can easily see the product on your site then go search for it in Amazon.. as simple as that so the cloaking is useless IMO and honestly if they want to click a link and they see it looks weird or shortened then they wont click it or if they click it and it shows your website in the link then it redirects them to Amazon they would feel its suspicious and won't buy
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  • Profile picture of the author pcpupil
    Does anyone know how pretty link cloaks links?
    I will have to go to the website and see if i can find out.
    The reason my Amazon links are cloaked,or are using pretty links is for tracking purposes,and the fact that if G sees that your site has all amazon links,it will call your site a bridge page to amazon,and give you a poor ranking or rating.

    This was a direct response from amazon for a question asked about linking.
    From there department:

    Quote: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.
    End Quote:


    Now i will find out how we are suppose to tell people the links are Amazon,i guess.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alan Petersen
      Originally Posted by pcpupil View Post

      Does anyone know how pretty link cloaks links?
      I will have to go to the website and see if i can find out.
      The reason my Amazon links are cloaked,or are using pretty links is for tracking purposes,and the fact that if G sees that your site has all amazon links,it will call your site a bridge page to amazon,and give you a poor ranking or rating.

      This was a direct response from amazon for a question asked about linking.
      From there department:

      Quote: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.
      End Quote:


      Now i will find out how we are suppose to tell people the links are Amazon,i guess.

      I use pretty links and that's fine since they just do a simple redirect and don't use frames.

      I just tell them, check out this great deal on Amazon and then my pretty link. That's not a big issue.

      I'm pretty sure Google knows your pretty link is a redirected link, so you're not fooling the Stanford engineers.

      All pretty links does is create a temporary (307) or permanent (301) redirection (depending on which one you selected) so Google knows your link is being forwarded to another site (Amazon).

      And that's another reason why it doesn't violate terms.
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    • Profile picture of the author onSubie
      Originally Posted by pcpupil View Post

      Now i will find out how we are suppose to tell people the links are Amazon,i guess.
      Usually that is right in the link text: Click here to find the best deal at Amazon

      Amazon links don't really need to be cloaked as it is a trusted site. Most online shoppers are familiar with Amazon. Usually you want to mask Amazon links to shorten them or make them more legible, not to disguise the fact that the person is going to end up on Amazon.

      Other sales links (Clickbank) are cloaked to protect the affiliate id or hide the fact that the destination url will be an affiliate sales pages.

      Mahlon
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  • Profile picture of the author JeanneLynn
    I noticed that my wp theme uses iframes for the text widgets. Does this mean that I can't put my Amazon or Adsense 250 x 300 ads in the widget text boxes on the side bar? I'm not sure if this counts as an iframe or not.

    Or is the iframe code just from Amazon's own banner coding? I checked my page source after reading this thread and I do see iframes around the Amazon banners in my widgets.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by JeanneLynn View Post

      I noticed that my wp theme uses iframes for the text widgets. Does this mean that I can't put my Amazon or Adsense 250 x 300 ads in the widget text boxes on the side bar? I'm not sure if this counts as an iframe or not.

      Or is the iframe code just from Amazon's own banner coding? I checked my page source after reading this thread and I do see iframes around the Amazon banners in my widgets.
      As I understand it, in this case you are not iframing Amazon's site (or Adsense). You are iframing a piece of your own site.

      When someone clicks the link, if they end up on the destination page AND the destination page's URL shows in the browser's location bar you are OK.
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  • Profile picture of the author Gaz Cooper
    There is no issue with Cloaking Amazon links UNLESS you are using iframes.

    As long as you are not using iframes you can cloak your links to Amazon just be sure you have your disclosure page set up to inform visitors that links are linking to amazon and your good to go.

    Pretty Links are fine to use for those asking.

    Kickin it on Amazon

    Gaz Cooper
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    • Profile picture of the author mrtreyk
      Originally Posted by GazCooperOnline View Post

      There is no issue with Cloaking Amazon links UNLESS you are using iframes.

      As long as you are not using iframes you can cloak your links to Amazon just be sure you have your disclosure page set up to inform visitors that links are linking to amazon and your good to go.

      Pretty Links are fine to use for those asking.

      Kickin it on Amazon

      Gaz Cooper
      Thank you for the clarification!
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  • Profile picture of the author akyyyy
    so plugins like ReviewAZON are ok?
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  • Profile picture of the author msu
    The Amazon operating agreement says you must make it clear the link leads to Amazon. When I use something like Pretty Link (to make keeping links up to date easier) I use the url structure /go/amazon/product-name to keep it clear.
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  • Profile picture of the author Adie
    How about using unrelated images and hyperlinked keywords while keeping the amazon links? I plan to use controversial images but still use the real amazon links. Is this acceptable?

    Example:

    Everyone was shocked when they saw this creature - (hyperlinked forwarded to amazon product page without cloaking)

    Is this okay?
    Thanks
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    Moderator's Note: You're only allowed to put your own products or sites in your signature.

    Signature edited.
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    • Profile picture of the author thedog
      Originally Posted by Adie View Post

      How about using unrelated images and hyperlinked keywords while keeping the amazon links? I plan to use controversial images but still use the real amazon links. Is this acceptable?

      Example:

      Everyone was shocked when they saw this creature - (hyperlinked forwarded to amazon product page without cloaking)

      Is this okay?
      Thanks
      I wouldn't risk it dude... all it takes is for one person to complain to Amazon, not worth it.
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      • Profile picture of the author Adie
        Originally Posted by thedog View Post

        I wouldn't risk it dude... all it takes is for one person to complain to Amazon, not worth it.
        I have second thought on this. I think there is no problem with amazon. Only that, jealous people are almost everywhere?
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  • Profile picture of the author dadhere
    Thanks for clarifying Edwin!
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