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Affiliate Link Cloaking – Don’t Let Hijackers Steal Your Affiliate Commissions

Learn about Linkcloaking

There is a lot of controversy an affiliate commissions and link cloaking. Should you cloak your affiliate links and how do you if you are losing money or not?

The first question that people ask on various affiliate forums is why should I cloak my affiliate links? Is link cloaking an obligation?

Let’s answer to the first one…

You cloak your affiliate links to prevent one of these three situations:

1- Prevent Link hijacking

In this case, a smart affiliate will steal your link since he is able to see your referral link and replace it by his own.

He can see your affiliate links in:

1- The address bar of your browser

2- The status bar

3- On your web page (He just need to view the source code from his browser)

Even if you try to disable the right click on your page, a savvy hijacker will still be able to view the source of your page.

2- Prevent link bypassing

Many people don’t like the idea that they are giving someone an affiliate commission on their purchase, and they will just remove your affiliate link before buying.

3- Anti Spyware programs

Many anti spyware programs can block your affiliate links, and you do not want this to happen.

Now that you know why you should cloak your affiliate links, let’s find out if you really need to do it since it can be a big time consumer…

Obviously, if you are not promoting Internet and affiliate marketing products, most of the time, your website visitors won’t even know that they landed on the merchant site through an affiliate link.

I spend a lot of time training people to make money online from affiliate programs, and they don’t even know what is an adsense ads. So what about affiliate links?

However, many people will still bypass your links, and I think that it always better to stay on the safe side.

On another hand, if you sell in the affiliate marketing niche, you will lose a lot of commissions.

Now that you know what to do and why, I need to teach you different ways to cloaking your affiliate links, and get a higher affiliate revenue.

Franck Silvestre makes thousands of dollars a year from affiliate marketing. Wonder what the secret to his success is? Visit his affiliate marketing website now, and learn how affiliates make money with adwords. He just added a new section: Review of affiliate marketing experts.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Franck_Silvestre

6 Easy Ways to Cloak and Redirect Affiliate Links

Link Cloaking

You may have heard all the hype over affiliate links getting stolen and losing up to 40% of affiliate commission. All these attempts prey on people to instill in their minds that they may not be getting what they deserve. I know that commission stealing is a problem, and affiliate networks like Clickbank have taken steps to plug the leaks in their systems. I use cloaked affiliate links or redirect pages a lot not because I’m afraid of having commission deliberately stolen from right under my nose, but because I’m annoyed at the length and ugliness of affiliate URL’s.

The whole idea of cloaking or redirecting has much to do with people’s nature. To be more specific, it’s all about psychology. It’s interesting that people are hesitant to click affiliate links and tend to cut off the ugly looking part in an affiliate link before pasting it to the browser. Now Let’s compare the following two links:
http://www.make-you-rich.com/copy.asp?storefront=weishengwu
And
http://www.make-you-rich.com
Which one looks more clickable? The answer is pretty clear.

You can replace long URL’s with cloaked links or short, server-side redirects so that people won’t feel pitched and won’t be turned off by links that are obviously affiliate links. There are several ways to create clean links that you can use to direct buyers to your sales pages. Read through the description below and see which one meets your needs and fall within your skill level.

1. Directory Redirect

Connect to your web server and create a properly named directory. Then create an index.html and put a redirect code in it.

2. Sub-domain Redirect

Most web hosting providers allow you to have several sub-domains. Simply log on to the control panel, set up your sub-domain and then set up the redirection.

3. Redirect Script

Several scripts are available out there that you can install on your web page to protect and redirect your links. You may need to put the code between the head section.

4. .htaccess

This is only recommended for advanced users because it involves modifying the .htaccess file on your server. Here’s how to do it. Create a properly named directory. Put a file called .htaccess by creating it using a text editor. This file should contain the Redirect command, the location of the directory you want redirected relative to the root of your site and the full URL of the location you want that request sent to.

You can find all the above mentioned codes for free. Do your research and then implement it to see how it works. I have put a link for downloading a free e-book containing these codes on my blog.

Besides creating redirect pages, you can cloak your affiliate links using commercial software programs or services. Listed below are popular ones on the market.

5. Software Programs:

Affiliate Link Cloaker and LinkGuardII. These two programs take your long, ugly link and mask it with a redirect link.

6. Services:

NameStick turns long, ugly affiliate or website links and turn them into a short, clean links (cloaked or not cloaked). It allows you to set up domain forwarding and unlimited sub-domains. NameStick forwarding domains and sub-domains are bookmarkable, and you can customize the title visitors see in their bookmark listings. I use NameStick service to create many neat and clean affiliate links to make my business look bigger.

If you’re serious about your business, you need to take action right away. Redirect or cloak your links to make them more clickable. You may be surprised by how a little effort on your part can make a big difference to your online business.

Wayne Wu is the owner of home business ideas and opportunities website located at : http://www.ecominfozone.com. Visit his site for free Internet home business tips and website marketing secrets. Also, be sure to check out his blog at: http://www.ecominfozone.blogspot.com and download 3 free e-books: Dotcomology, Adwords Made Easy and SEO Made Easy for marketing strategies at : http://www.ecominfozone.com/optin.html

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Wayne_Wu

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Security Risks of URL (Link) Shortening Services

We all share URLs (website links) with each other through emails, blogs, social media sites, book marking websites and word of mouth and we rarely, if ever, think about the potential security risk this simple act can raise. In this article I will outline some of the potential risks involved in sharing shortened links supplied by URL Shortening Services.

What is URL Shortening?

The idea behind URL shortening or link shortening is very simple, take a long URL and encrypt it to produce a shorter URL. This is what URL shortening services do. They provide a shortened URL which is then mapped to the original long URL. For example, an original destination link 220 characters long would typically be reduced to 25 characters, this is the link you would pass to your friends. When you friends click the short URL the shortening service website maps this short URL to the original and redirects the user.

 


 

Social Media Sites

With social media sites such as Twitter the sharing of links is problematic at best because of the 140 character limit imposed on message length. This problem has given rise to the proliferation of URL Shortening Services and whilst these services do a fantastic job on the whole there are risks involved with trusting a third party to redirect your links.

There are over 100 URL shortening services online, the majority of which are free. A more complete list of these services can be found on my website.

Security Risk 1 – Link Manipulation

What is the link destination? There is usually no way of knowing your final destination until you click the link. The true target is obscured.

Admittedly this risk applies to all link cloaking technologies but usually when you receive a dubious link via email for example, you can either view the plain text version of the link or hover your mouse over the URL to see the destination address and assess its validity.

With all shortened URLs this first line of defence has been removed, you don’t know where clicking the link will take you. Email Phishing scams are using the URL shortening services for this very reason.

Security Risk 2 – Ineffective Spam Filters

Because the original URL is not available spam filter systems cannot make a judgement about the validity of the URL. Plus, with the shortening services being freely available and taking only seconds to use, keeping abreast of this problem is almost impossible.

Many shortening services take spam complaints very seriously and disable spam URLs immediately. Some services actively scan registered URLs for blacklisted websites and disable the shortened URLs, but, no sooner is one removed than another takes its place.

Even the Safe Browsing features of web browsers such as Firefox and Google Chrome which warns users of malware or phishing sites are no match for shortened URLs. No warning will be issued, instead, users are sent directly to the potentially dangerous web page.

Security Risk 3 – Compromised Shortening Service

A considerable number of the URL shortening services I’ve visited have not been very secure. Several let me drop down to their directory structure just by typing an invalid URL. Poor security leaves sites open to risk, hacking such a website would allow popular shortened URLs to be redirected to phishing or malware sites.

Security Risk 4 – Privacy Issues

Link shortening services are in a position to track user’s behaviour across many domains so creating possible privacy issues.

Security Solutions – Transparency

Some URL shortening services are actively trying to solve security issues by adding a “see before you click” functionality to their short URLs.

 

  • Any tinyURL shortened URL can be prefixed with the text “preview” to show the destination address.
  • A BudURL shortened link can be previewed by adding a “?” to the end of the URL.
  • Some services provide a popup window to display the destination webpage when your mouse is hovered over the short URL.

 

Conclusion

Unless you are sure about the links you are clicking and you know the link comes from a reliable source (this applies to all links really) then be very wary about the destination page you are about to reach. We’ve all become very flippant with unknown links, especially if they come from our friends, be careful out their.

Philip invites you to visit, http://kingsolutions.org.uk where you can find FREE information, including audio, video and PDF files, to help you with your online business and ecommerce website plus more information on link cloaking and URL shortening services. Primarily aimed at Small Business users, the King Solutions website concentrates on existing Small Businesses and Small Business start-ups, technologies relating to the Internet, eCommerce, affiliate marketing and WordPress development as a CMS platform.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Philip_King

Cloaking Software – A Must Have!

Although there are many free online services that can cloak your affiliate links, using standalone cloaking software is still important so you can fully control link cloaking operations. Nothing can beat the functionalities of cloaking software so you better get one to protect your links and ensure the profitability of your online affiliate business.

Cloaking software has the capability to customize your affiliate links. With free online cloaking services, you are only limited to making your links shorter. But with a cloaking application, you can tweak your affiliate link and make it look like a standard URL or sales page link.

This capability is critical because it can have a big impact on your click through conversion. Online buyers usually click on a link that looks like a real URL. Essentially, you can convince more people to follow your links by using cloaking software.

Tiny URLs generated by free online services are sometimes banned by some ISPs. Some web services and email providers are also wary of tiny URLs generated by free services. So if you are going to use this cloaking method, there is a possibility that you can encounter issues or problems with ISPs and web service providers.

You can avoid all of these by using cloaking software. Developers of cloaking applications ensure that your links will be friendly to ISPs and spam filters. Because of this, you can avoid issues with ISPs and email providers. Your affiliate links therefore will become effective tools in bringing in big commissions for you.

Tired of that nasty affiliate link? Want to higher your conversion rates? Then you need to encrypt your cloaking software once and for all. The process is easy and really works.  Get serious about your affiliate marketing sales and go to http://www.cloaknrotate.com now!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Stef_R.

Anonymous Internet Browsing – Possible Ways To Mask Your IP Address And Surf Anonymously

Will you believe me if I tell that most websites you visit have a log where they record and keep your internet protocol address? Through this, they can send cookies into your computer. These cookies are able to gather your personal information and also trace your activities online. I call this invasion of privacy because it is done without your permission. If you are someone like me who does not like this sort of invasion, you would want to mask your IP address. This article will tell you how to go about this.

Your IP address is all you need to surf around the web. It is your unique identity that helps you connect with websites and other people online. It is usually assigned to you by your ISP. Anonymous internet browsing means hiding this unique address whenever you are browsing. This will keep cyber criminals at bay from accessing and stealing your personal information. Learning to mask your IP address is therefore important in order to surf anonymously.

Some believe that by enabling private browsing on their browsers they can be safe online. Even most believe that their anti-virus software can protect them online. I have realized over time that this is not so. What I later got to know about being safe online is to mask your IP address

Online shoppers are the most at risk to an exposed IP because they share their financial details online. If your id is not hidden, then hackers can easily have field day on you financial details and other personal data. Therefore, shoppers should be more discreet about their information by anonymously surfing the web.

The most ideal solution to this is by installing IP-changing software on your computer. The application does not interfere with the normal running of your computer or the speed of your internet; it works in the background keeping your safe by masking your IP. You can visit any website without leaving any trace of your presence. It works by replacing your real address with a dummy one which reflects on any website you visit.

Another interesting feature of the IP-changing software is that you can customize it to your taste. You can choose the location you want yourself to appear in whenever you are online. You can also ask the application to change your IP at regular intervals. Surprisingly, this very useful tool is very cheap to get from any reliable software vendor.

Want to surf anonymously to protect your identity and prevent hackers from stealing your identity easily? Visit Hiding My IP Address!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=James_Solomon

Affiliate Link Cloaking: Only Way To Protect You From Affiliate Link Theft

Dear affiliate marketers, are you aware of affiliate link theft, or affiliate link cloaking? Here I am going to explain the problem of affiliate link theft and it’s only solution.

What is affiliate link theft?

Let me explain it with the example. Suppose your affiliate id is 123, and hence your product link would be something like www. Site.com/?id=123, right? So if visitor to this link purchase product, you will get the commission (to the owner of 123 id), right? Now suppose if buyer replaces your id with his own id, what will happen? You will loss the commission. This is what I call the affiliate link theft.

How to protect your online marketing business from such theft and frauds?

Only way you can protect your links from such a commission fraud, is to smartly hide your link from them. You can replace your whole link with link on your own domain. Then you will simply redirect the sells page smartly to the vendor website, not giving the change to replace your affiliation id.

How to do Affiliate Link Cloaking?

Well, doing it manually will require technical programming skill and lot’s of time setting up to link cloaking program. You can also try automated software or link cloaking service from 3rd party to save your precious time.

Is Affiliate cloaking is legitimate? We must use it?

If I have to answer is one word, the of course “Yes”. As there are many other benefits of link cloaking as I explained below. It saves your commission loss and protects you from affiliate frauds.

1. Your links is converted to more readers friendly url like www. your-domain. com/product/link.html. It converted to your domain, and not the vendor’s domain, so it gives the impression like you own the product. It helps create trust between you and buyers.

2. Another benefit is you can track your sells on your own way. If you higher 3rd party service or software, they also offer smart tracking system with advanced link tracking algorithm.

I hope you understand the need of affiliate cloaking for getting success in online marketing business. Comments and feedback are welcomed.

visit Affiliate Link Cloaking for more information.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Chirag_Gadara

Reasons to Use Link Cloaking Software

So – you’ve built a great sales page, you’ve signed up to your affiliate program, a couple of days pass and you check your stats. Terrific – growing visitor traffic but – where’s your commission? Something’s wrong! Nada! Zilch! What’s going on?

Well, chances are that visitors have sussed out that yours is an affiliate link, gone direct to the vendor, and bypassed you. It shouldn’t happen, but it does. You’ve done the work of alerting them to the features and benefits of the product, you’ve done the search engine optimisation, you’ve gained good page ranking but none of this will benefit you.

So – why does it happen, and what can you do?

This short article will explain what link cloaking software is, what it can do, and why you should consider using it.

First, many affiliate URLs are plain ugly, containing a string of unintelligible gobbledy-gook, and people are suspicious of web links that look, to the untrained eye, fishy. Moreover, there are quite a few people who, for whatever reason, don’t want other to benefit from their purchase, even though it doesn’t cost them any money at all. It’s a weird psychological realty. So they will go straight to the censor – in the example I’ve given – and make their purchase from there. Result? You lose your commission.

But suppose there was a legitimate way of concealing or masking that link? Wouldn’t that make a difference? Of course it would, especially if the link had a much more positive ring to it such as “james gladwin recommends this product”? (I’ve removed the url formatting, by the way.)

There’s no way that the potential buyer can identify the vendor, and what’s more, the link appears professional and slick.

That is what link cloaking software does. It allows you to mask the original affiliate link and substitute another that reads differently but still links to the affiliate host sales page.

So, how do you set about cloaking your links?

Well, there is a cheap way that I wouldn’t recommend because someone who is determined enough can use Right Click View Page Source and identify what you are trying to conceal – so I won’t spend time going into that.

The best way is to buy link cloaking software that you upload to your server. Now – don’t panic: it’s not complicated and these days, if you have access to cPanel, it is very straightforward and the software will come with detailed instructions which often include videos. comply Google “link cloaking software” and you will have plenty of choice, from free to paid versions. Personally, I believe it is worth paying a few dollars. Of course, there are also some membership sites that offer really good link cloaking software as part of the package.

Once set up, you will have access to an html page with a series of text boxes where you enter the web address you want visitors to be directed to, your own server address, and specific text that is relevant to the product that you are selling. Click enter, and the cloaked or masked web link is generated. This is what you paste into your sales page.

If you are serious about affiliate marketing, I would urge you to investigate link clocking software. You won’t regret it.

My best to you.

Was this article of interest and value? James Gladwin is a successful Internet marketer and a list building expert. Get your own List Building product that you can sell – and make money! Click here: http://www.ultrasimplewebtraffic.com/email_course_ezine.html

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=James_Gladwin

Affiliate Link Cloaking – Should You Use It

If you’re getting started in affiliate marketing, you may have heard people talking about affiliate link cloaking and perhaps been wondering if this is something you should be doing as well.

There are several arguments for someone to cloak their links,

1. Affiliate link hijacking – occurs when someone uses their own affiliate link to purchase a product. Lets say, for example, that you read about a product on my site and click the link to the product’s main site to check it out. You then decide to buy the product, but you copy the information in the URL and then substitute your own affiliate link in place of mine. When you use the new link to buy the product, you get the commission instead of me.

2. Affiliate link bypassing – occurs when someone simply removes the affiliate link to go directly to the product’s main selling site. Some people do this because they do not want you to get the commission.

3. Affiliate link condensing – some affiliate links can be long, ugly, and uninviting, which can cause some people to avoid clicking the link. Many people will recognize an affiliate link and will not click on it because the do not like being sold to, or only view it as a sales pitch. You want as many people to click your link as possible so if you have a link that looks something like this, [http://www.productsite.com/affiliatepage.asp?affid=prodaffid4653], you would cloak the link to look something like this, http://www.yoursite.com/productsite, to make it appear more inviting.

How to cloak your links

There are several ways to cloak your links and there also exist various pieces of software that will generate cloaked link pages for you. However, I do not recommend link cloaking software because doing it manually is really quite easy and does not require a lot of HTML experience.

The easiest way is to create a framed page that points to your affiliate link. To do this, create a blank HTML page with the usual html, head, and title tags. Then create a frameset tag right below the head tag and add a frame tag nested within the frameset tag. Include a src attribute within the frame tag that includes your affiliate link.

Here is a simple example of what a cloaked page should look like (I’ve removed the angled brackets to prevent the tag names from being parsed out of this article):

html

head

title – TITLE OF YOUR PAGE – /title

/head

frameset

frame src=”YOUR AFFILIATE LINK”/

/frameset

/html

This page will display your URL and page title with the affiliate page.

One other method you can use is a link cloaking service, such as tinyurl. These services will take any URL and create a redirect for them using a shortened URL (usually related to the service’s main URL. E.g. tinyurl/productsite). This may be desirable if you are marketing an affiliate product and you do not yet have your own web host. But if you use this method, be aware that some ad sites and pay-per-click programs do not allow you to use a redirected URL such as those offered by link cloaking services.

Should you cloak your affiliate links?

Now that you know the problems facing affiliate links and how to cloak them, you may be asking yourself if you should in fact use this method.

Some marketers may consider the use of cloaked links dishonest – they feel that if they have a good enough relationship with their customers and develop a high level of trust, people will not have any issues clicking on the original affiliate link (this really only works for email marketing). Others simply feel they are optimizing their marketing and protecting their sales; to get as much possible returns for their efforts as possible.

There really is no correct answer. In the end, you will need to decide if affiliate link cloaking is the best approach for your business.

About the Author:
Sean Kenaston is an Associate Editor at Ratings Hub – the first and only ad and affiliate link free site that provides 100% user-based reviews of various Internet marketing products and services. It is absolutely free and it’s the only place on the Internet offering completely unbiased feedback on products used by every type of marketer, from beginner to guru and everyone in between. Please visit http://www.ratingshub.no-nonsense-marketing.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Sean_Kenaston

Free Affiliate Link Cloaking Methods Explained

Why and How To Cloak Affiliate links – Affiliate Link Cloaking

Masking your affiliate links (Affiliate Link Cloaking) is a very important exercise to do if you are selling affiliate products on your website. First, majority of affiliate links are generated by computer, so they mostly are quite long and ugly and you may want to change these to short nice looking cloaked links. Most important, however, is to save yourself from affiliate commission hijacking, especially when you are selling a product not only to general public, but to other online marketers as well.

I’ll show you what happens when hijackers see your affiliate link to the product they want to buy. Lets assume you are promoting a ClickBank product. Your affiliate url will look like this when you mouse over it:

YourAffiliateID.ProductID.hop.clickbank.net

So, if a person is also a member of ClickBank he is very likely to copy your link instead of clicking it, then paste it to the address bar and change your AffiliateID to his. He is then getting your commission which means that he’s basically buying a discounted product and you are getting nothing.

A very nasty thing to do, yes, but it happens and very often. Same with any other affiliate program, not just ClickBank. Even worse when a person simply removes your affiliate id, without being a ClickBank affiliate himself, just to leave you with no commission for the sale. There are people who do this just out of jealousy. So, it is quite important to cloak affiliate links. Following are the best 3 free methods to do it.

Free Affiliate Link Cloaking – Third party affiliate link cloakers!

The easiest and most widely used method to hide and shorten your affiliate links is by using free cloaking services provided by third party websites. They will create a folder at their domain, which will be redirected to your original affiliate link. It takes a few minutes to create a link and your new link will usually look something like this:

http://www.[something].com/yh349d

where [something] is the name of the service
and [yh349d] – randomly generated letters and numbers

There are many to chose from, so it’s not a problem to google one with domain name that you will like.

However, there are certain disadvantages of this method:
# First, you don’t have access or control over their hosting or internet provider, so if their website is down your links will also become broken, and in most cases you won’t notice until you click the link yourself.
# Additionally, the links are also computer generated and will usually look like the example above and will have nothing to do with the provided product, so it will be hard to remember these for your visitors.

Here are some of the most famous third party affiliate link cloaker services for you:
TinyUrl.com
KlasLink.com
MoveTo.ws

Affiliate Link Cloaking using HTML

This method is also used by marketers very often. However, you need a domain name and hosting to do this. You can still use some free hosting though. This is also a good option for those whos hosting doesn’t support PHP scripts, but HTML only.
The disadvantage of this method is that sometimes users disable “meta refresh” in their browsers, so instead of being redirected automatically they will have to click manually and will be able to see your affiliate id when they mouse over the link on your hub page. It’s very very rare though.

To use this method you need to create a html document with Meta Refresh tag (for exact codes go to website in Author Box below) named REDIRECT (or whatever name you choose) in your websites’ root folder (or any other folder). Then just use a link to this document as your cloaked affiliate link on your website.

For example:
[Http://www.yourdomain.com/redirect.html]
or [Http://www.yourdomain.com/otherfolder/redirect.html]

Affiliate Link Cloaking using PHP

This method is similar to HTML one. But its much quicker and much less code. (Again, for exact code go to website in Author Box Below) Use this if your server supports php scripts.

Basically, follow same steps as with the HTML method, but instead of creating a html document create a txt file and rename it to redirect.php
Then just use a link to this file as your cloaked url.

Affiliate Link Cloaking using PHP and URL REWRITE

This is a more advanced method that allows to cloak multiple affiliate links to different products using one php file. However, it involves making changes to your .htaccess file. This file is usually situated in your websites root folder. If you don’t have one, then i suggest you google it to know what it is and how to use it.

You will need to create a link.php file with a list of your affiliate links and give each link a unique ID. Then you will also have to add 2 lines of code to your .htaccess file.
Then if you need a cloaked link to one of your products you just use:

[http://www.yourdomain.com/link.php?id=LinkID]

For exact codes and complete step-by-step instructions visit Affiliate Link Cloaking

The author of this article (Sergei Petrov) has been promoting affiliate products since 2005 and strongly recommends everyone involved in affiliate marketing to use affiliate link cloaking techniques to protect their commission from hijacking.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Sergei_Petrov

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