Cloaking Affiliate Links? What's the best way???

by blend
49 replies
Hi guy's,

Quick question:

How do you cloak your affiliate links? I know there is plugins like "Pretty Link" etc, but that doesn't really do the job properly.

I'm looking for a way to cloak links - once clicked they still appear cloaked on the browser to the user?

Anyone understand what i mean, and is there a way/plugin that can do this?

Thanks guys
#affiliate #cloaking #links
  • Profile picture of the author Marakatapolis
    I like affiliate programs that let me choose custom affiliate ID's. I don't use programs that make me use some totally ridiculous link that stays in the address bar. I avoid them when possible.

    I like being able to choose my affiliate id link because that way I can make my affiliate ID sound like a normal word you would find in a link. Like instead of &?id=Joe-Bobs-Link, I like to make affiliate links that look like this: &?id=product-details, or &?id=onsale or whatever.

    This is also why if you don't know how their affiliate link works, when you choose your username, choose a common word. Like choose a username of "itemdetails" and if they are one of the lazy affiliate softwares that makes your username your link id, then you already have a normal looking affiliate link.

    I'm confused about Pretty Links because of for example Amazon's new policies on link cloaking. Not sure if Pretty Links will get you banned from Amazon or not. Sorry for going off-topic a bit.

    The worst affiliate software in the world I ever used was, sorry guys, but The Rhodes Brothers blog, because it put YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS as the affiliate id and left it in the address bar for everyone to see. Not only that, but you would have to put your email address in links on web sites, so every bot/crawler would scrape it eventually. But yeah, I like the Rhodes Brothers, just their affiliate software is terrible lol
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    • Profile picture of the author kevinclanton
      In order to have control of what URL looked like once the visitor has clicked the link and is on the site, you would need control of that domain.

      As for cloaking the look of the link URL, you can use pretty link like you mentioned. OR, at my company we built a simple link builder system where the URLs look like:

      http://www.myDomain.com?id=123

      and once clicked turn into

      http://www.TargetDomain.com/offer/?a...x&campaign=xxx

      there are a number of benefits to this especially since some email providers don't like links to sites like click bank, infusionsoft, etc

      Let me know if you would like more info on this system
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  • Profile picture of the author david carr
    buy a cheap domain namecheap are doing .us for about $4 at the moment.

    install wordpress with a coming soon page

    use pretty link to cloak your links (it will let the cloaked link stay in the browser not sure if thats the free version or paid though)

    Regards
    Dave
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Gram
    I've used Eclipse Link Cloaker for over a year and love it. There is a tutorial video on my blog if you want to see it in action but I will say it does a great job of cloaking.
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    • Profile picture of the author Marakatapolis
      This may be naive, but why would anyone NEED a link cloaker? What is the pros/cons of link cloaking?
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      • Profile picture of the author mbacak
        Originally Posted by Marakatapolis View Post

        This may be naive, but why would anyone NEED a link cloaker?
        You really don't need too.. I just create a redirect via cpanel on one of my domains.
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      • Profile picture of the author Dan Grossman
        Originally Posted by Marakatapolis View Post

        This may be naive, but why would anyone NEED a link cloaker? What is the pros/cons of link cloaking?
        A good link cloaking tool will not only give you a custom URL to hide your affiliate link, but stay in the address bar, let you set a custom page title, and perform more than a simple redirection so that the referrer info is wiped from the visit.

        Why do you want to do that? So that the merchant you're promoting, or an affiliate manager at the network, doesn't see your success and simply copy your landing pages and PPC keywords. You have to protect successful marketing strategies.
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      • Profile picture of the author Devin X
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Marakatapolis View Post

        This may be naive, but why would anyone NEED a link cloaker? What is the pros/cons of link cloaking?
        Lots of reasons. In short: people can usually spot an affilaite link, hackers can use affilaite links to steal commissions, and prospects are usually suspicious about clicking on an affiliate link. If you cloak it, then it is easier to not only protect your money, but to ensure higher CTRs.
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  • Profile picture of the author gutesh
    buy cheap domain and forward it with mask ( godaddy have the option ) working for me
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  • Profile picture of the author webdesignnomad
    Hey Blend,
    I think the above suggestion of buying a domain name for a single affiliate product is ridiculous. I mean sure, it looks more legitimate, but there are URL shorteners that offer the same service, and have gained recognition to the point where it does not matter.

    I personally used to use bit.ly, however they have been knwon to give "warnings" before a redirect to an affiliate link, and so I started using ow.ly.
    My new URL shortener of choice is TinyURL, because you can physically CHOOSE what the link displays as, for example you could shorten a large, ClickBank affiliate link for "productname" to be: tinyurl.com/productname
    It looks a lot cleaner, and is completely free!
    I hope this helps. All the best for your online income success!
    Tim K
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  • Profile picture of the author billnad
    I use Wizard Cloak for Wordpress. I bought the for pay but the free plugin is great as well. In Wordpress it is much better to use a plugin than anything else and then your cloaked link just shows as a page on your site
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    • Profile picture of the author TheFacelessGuru
      Originally Posted by billnad View Post

      I use Wizard Cloak for Wordpress. I bought the for pay but the free plugin is great as well. In Wordpress it is much better to use a plugin than anything else and then your cloaked link just shows as a page on your site
      I use this plug in to, works great for me!!!
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  • Profile picture of the author UMS
    Originally Posted by blend View Post


    How do you cloak your affiliate links? I know there is plugins like "Pretty Link" etc, but that doesn't really do the job properly.

    I'm looking for a way to cloak links - once clicked they still appear cloaked on the browser to the user?
    Pretty Link Pro has a cloaking option.


    However, be aware that cloaking affiliate links is not permitted by many affiliate programs and against many Google TOS's, so you need to think very carefully before using them.
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  • Profile picture of the author centurion81
    I use Easy Redirect Script...has lots of options.

    One of the options it has is to keep the link cloaked even after it opens in the browser.
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  • Profile picture of the author dadhere
    I agree with your cpanel redirect option. It's the easiest and almost no vendors like YT or CB have an issue with that type of redirection
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  • Profile picture of the author DeniX3
    You can use something like bit .ly or just buy a cheap domain and redirect to your main site. The .info domains are really cheap.

    You can also use .tk domains which are free.
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    Get a website, and insert code into the head of your HTML page, that will redirect your website link to your affiliate link. Here's a great way to do it:

    How to hide your affiliate link with redirects | Affilorama
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  • Profile picture of the author Cram
    bevomedia has new features coming out, might have the solution you need.

    also have you looked in to trustjacker a WP plugin, you could use it like pretty links. and you will be able to put in another related offer type when a user tries to leave.
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  • Profile picture of the author guitarjosh
    I just load yourls - because it's free and then it's not really "cloaking" but "shortening".
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  • Profile picture of the author gearmonkey
    I use a wordpress plugin like pretty links. It does the trick
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  • Profile picture of the author sakthiganesh
    I am using URL shortening service instead of internal cloaking for redirects.Its pretty much safe than the internal cloaking
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    • Profile picture of the author GetShorty
      Why not a 301 redirect?

      You can the save the file as any name you want with the .php extension.

      Code:
      <? Header( "HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently" ); Header( "Location: http://yourlink.com" ); ?>
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  • Profile picture of the author Dan Grossman
    A simple HTTP redirect won't clear the referrer.
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    • Profile picture of the author Marakatapolis
      Originally Posted by Dan Grossman View Post

      A simple HTTP redirect won't clear the referrer.
      Just a FYI, with Amazon for example, it's forbidden to wipe the referrer info and commissions made without referrer info will be withheld and you can get your affiliate account banned (new rule since July I believe).
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      • Profile picture of the author summerlong
        Originally Posted by Marakatapolis View Post

        Just a FYI, with Amazon for example, it's forbidden to wipe the referrer info.
        Could you explain this more detailed please?

        Thanks.
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  • Profile picture of the author misterkailo
    I use free tool IBOToolbox .. that cloaker will help you dodge Facebook warning page as well
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  • Profile picture of the author CashReview
    Yeah, as others have eluded to... be careful with what you're attempting to do, as many affiliate networks have updated their TOS to state that you cannot mask the affiliate url permanently... but it's okay to redirect with something like Pretty Link -- at least, that's the way I understand it. Anyone can correct me if I'm wrong...
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  • Profile picture of the author MarketingMinded
    I use Pretty Links, it's simple and effective. Definitely worth checking out
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  • Profile picture of the author Fawad Naseer
    Hi there,

    I'm selling my Pretty Link Pro Developer Edition account for 50% off.

    I'm not using it anymore, If you wish to use it , you can buy it from me at 50% off the original price.


    Regards,
    Fawad Naseer
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    • Profile picture of the author mego818
      Originally Posted by Fawad Naseer View Post

      Hi there,

      I'm selling my Pretty Link Pro Developer Edition account for 50% off.

      I'm not using it anymore, If you wish to use it , you can buy it from me at 50% off the original price.


      Regards,
      Fawad Naseer

      Hey Fawad I would like to buy this from you buy i cannot PM yet.
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  • Profile picture of the author icoachu
    This one is FREE and highly rated: WordPress › Affiliate Link Cloaking « WordPress Plugins Make sure to follow all the instructions carefully.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ducksauce
    what is Amazon new rule on cloaking?
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  • Profile picture of the author critterman
    Wow some great info here I have been toying around with cloaking my affiliate links and you have given some get recommendations. Thanks so much!!
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  • Profile picture of the author Jonathan Davis
    You should be able to do this with another domain name and an iframe.

    Some link cloaking strategies can get pretty complicated and require diagrams to keep straight.
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  • Profile picture of the author rockong
    Use a real domain and set up a smart redirect..that'll work well in your favor to cloak it
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  • Profile picture of the author signumdomine
    i generaly use bit.ly because it gets me nics statistics on clicks
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  • Profile picture of the author Donimo
    I always use Pretty Link Lite to cloak my affiliate links on WordPress.
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  • Profile picture of the author IMAdam
    Just use a simple php redirect file..

    open notepad, paste:

    This code:


    <?php
    header(“Location: http://www.affiliate-link-.com”);
    ?>

    In the location just put in your affiliate link, save it as a .php file and upload to your main domain.

    Done

    Adam
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    • Profile picture of the author kursat
      Originally Posted by IMAdam View Post

      Just use a simple php redirect file..

      open notepad, paste:

      This code:


      <?php
      header("Location: http://www.affiliate-link-.com");
      ?>

      In the location just put in your affiliate link, save it as a .php file and upload to your main domain.

      Done

      Adam
      I will agree that this is the safest option. Because pretty link or others might choose to change their system and might not advice you. I think if you have a domain you can create a PHP redirect as above and call the folder the name of your affiliate product. It will look much more professional.
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  • Profile picture of the author critterman
    I used WP Wizard Cloak which is a plug in for wordpress and it works well for me and free which is always good

    Good Luck
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  • Profile picture of the author bobbyhouston
    The best way for me is to use one of my domains or purchase one and forward and mask a subdomain of it.
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  • Profile picture of the author marykay77
    If you have your own site, .htaccess redirect. it's easy, safe, free, and looks good. Do a google search to find easy tutorials.
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  • Profile picture of the author jamesrich1
    I have found the easiest way to get the best results is to use Optimize Press redirect. Your link would appear like: YourWebsite.com/recommendedproduct and then it would re-direct to your offer.
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  • Profile picture of the author blogformoney
    I use a PHP redirect off of my own site.

    Just paste this:
    <?
    php header("Location: AFFLINK");
    ?>

    in a text file, rename it to *.php and then upload it to your site.
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  • Profile picture of the author Elfen Lied
    I find it funny that no one mentioned using subdomains from your own domain. Using this method you will make the links look better. Just set up a subdomain in your cpanel and redirect it to your affiliate link.
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  • Profile picture of the author ewritezone
    Doesn't pretty link have a permanent cloaking feature? I don't use it, but I'm 100% positive there is one, even in the lite (free) version.
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