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Unread 14th Jan 2012, 02:51 PM   #1
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Link Cloaking
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Hello PIPS Members,
I recently read a bit about link cloaking and I wonder if that should be done. Apparently Google doesn't like it and could even block your site. Is that true? Could anyone please give me some advice on cloaking and if it is advisable to cloak links, can you recommend a good cloaking software please. Thank you.

Cheers,
Martin

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Unread 14th Jan 2012, 05:06 PM   #2
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Re: Link Cloaking
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You may find this helpful

==>Cloaking Affiliate Links : It's Many Benefits

What Others Are Saying About This Top MLM Company | Get Brand New, Brand Name Products For Pennies @ New Penny Auctions | Play Online Game At Eager Zebra Games | The source through which i smile to the Bank daily with $$$ => Top Home Based Businesses
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Unread 14th Jan 2012, 05:19 PM   #3
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Re: Link Cloaking
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I also heard google hates it but not sure how true that is,anybody no any different ?
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Unread 14th Jan 2012, 05:22 PM   #4
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Re: Link Cloaking
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Just FYI - all affiliate links on your standard PIPS website are cloaked behind your PIPS ID so no need to be worried about that.

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Unread 16th Jan 2012, 06:47 AM   #5
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Re: Link Cloaking
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Hey, you can use "AmazingCloaker 7". This software is supported by windows, mac OS and Linux also....

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Unread 23rd Jan 2012, 12:05 PM   #6
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Re: Link Cloaking
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It is true, Google is not a fan of cloaked links. You can get this information HERE.

In the end it really depends on what your using the cloaked link for and your intention. If you are sending solo ads, cloaking links for twitter or even facebook they are great. If you are going to use them on your blog, my suggestion is to add the "no follow" tag to it.

Make sure you use a link shortner that runs itself against a blacklist database as this can help that specific domain from being blacklisted and penalized by Google by people that use the link shortners for spamming, phishing and virus activities. My personal preference is to use ViralURL for my link shortening service even though there are others out there, I believe it to the best for affiliates and its free to use.

How ever you use them, just don't use it for spamming or negative purposes and you should be ok. Hope that helps.

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Unread 23rd Jan 2012, 06:02 PM   #7
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Re: Link Cloaking
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@ Mark,

The link you provided is not about 'cloaked affiliate links', i.e. the topic of this thread. Rather, the link you provided it about 'cloaked content' with emphasis on Bad JAVA. Two completely different topics.

The rest of your post pertains to different topics as well and in the correct threads would be on topic and very good advise.

@ Martin,
The method of 'cloaking affiliate links' that has stood the test of time across all search engines is: PHP Redirect. The search engines (especially Google) do "not" penalize or care if the PHP Redirect is 'do follow' or 'no follow'. The caveat, is if the PHP Redirect sends visitors to a deceptive URL, i.e. a URL that is different than the user agent.

Tip = The 'Blanket Statement' that Google does not condone affiliate sites and affiliate links is simply not valid. Google has stated many times over many years that the affiliate sites/links they deem "not valuable or relative to Google visitors" are the sites plastered with advertisements and little to no content.

My own advise based on my own experience is to simply keep it clean with PHP Redirects and avoid software built on the JAVA Platform that creates PHP Redirects. Avoid the scare monger tactics to buy into the software which may actually harm your business rather than make it easier for you. It takes very little time to create the PHP Redirects yourself and once done allows us to focus on the rest of our business.


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Unread 27th Jan 2012, 12:50 PM   #8
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Re: Link Cloaking
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Sorry to be so dumb but how does one create a PHP Redirect?
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Unread 27th Feb 2012, 03:23 PM   #9
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Re: Link Cloaking
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Originally Posted by maderemark View Post

Sorry to be so dumb but how does one create a PHP Redirect?
You ask Google how to do it.... just kidding. (but seriously, that would work)

Here's the code you need. This is the only code that needs to be in your php file.
Code:
<?php

   header( 'Location: http://www.yoursite.com/new_page.html' ) ;

?>

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Unread 27th Feb 2012, 03:27 PM   #10
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Re: Link Cloaking
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I seem to remember reading somewhere in google's own documents that 'vanity links', or links to a redirect script for the purpose of making the url look nicer are ok as long as the anchor text matches the page you end up on.

What they have a real problem with would be if your had a link that looked like it was for a Disney cartoon or something, but it redirected you to a porn site.

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Unread 27th Feb 2012, 06:27 PM   #11
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Re: Link Cloaking
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Hi Martin and eshapard,

@ Martin

Here is an example of a cloaked affiliate link using a PHP Redirect. Note that this example is for cashcrate.com with the affiliate ID.

1) Replace: affiliateID with your cashcreate affiliate ID

Code:
<?php
header("Location:http://www.cashcrate.com/affiliateID");
exit();
?>
@ eshapard

Your code is a PHP redirect, but does not cloak an affiliate link. Also, your code leaves a foot print. The command exit(); will exit the script and leave no foot print.

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Unread 27th Feb 2012, 10:30 PM   #12
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Re: Link Cloaking
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Jeffery, what will that link look like?

I installed the Pretty Links plugin and it works very well

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Unread 28th Feb 2012, 12:50 AM   #13
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Re: Link Cloaking
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Hi Stephen,

You mean the color of the link?

The link will use the code from the style.css

Otherwise, when there is no style.css or jut straight HTML the link will use the visitor's browser web standard. Usually W3.

You can see how I use cloaked affiliate links with PHP redirects inside a normal folder titled recommends on my homepage at WarriorHelp.com. It is a WordPress site and the default css for a link is red, but I used blue HTML code for the links in the boxes which are actually posts.

Pretty links is okay and I have used it. I just prefer to keep URLs outside of WordPress; the database and plugins: in case I have to restore WordPress. When outside of WordPress I only need to upload my folder with redirects and done. Same concept if an aff program is added to the site or removed from the site. Plus the site will will render faster with fewer plugins, etc. Also, survives all WordPress and Theme upgrades!

My cloaked affiliate links using the folder/redirect looks like this which is in my opinion more user friendly (without the spaces and the color is blue):

http:// www. domainname . com / recommends / cashcrate.php

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Unread 28th Feb 2012, 07:30 AM   #14
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Jeffery, I was looking for the way it spells out as in your "recommends" link on the bottom of your reply. I may have to learn how to do that. Thanks

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Unread 28th Feb 2012, 09:44 AM   #15
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Re: Link Cloaking
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Hi Stephen,

This is how I do it.

1) My tools are:
My Computer (usually Windows XP)
PHP Designer
FlashFXP

2) My Computer: Create a folder on my computer.
The folder may be titled anything such as recommends, Recommends, etc. For this example I'll use a folder titled: recommends.

3) PHP Designer: Create the PHP Redirect files for the affiliate programs and save as .php inside the folder: recommends (step 2).

Example: cashcrate.php

4) FlashFXP: Upload the folder to the website - inside the folder titled: public_html

At this point the directory structure would look like this

public_html (folder)

recommends (folder)
cashcrate.php (cloaked affiliate redirect file)

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