6 Good Reasons to Cloak Affiliate Links
Cloak Affiliate Links. Before we talk about the reasons why to cloak affiliate links, let's clear up what is affiliate link for those who don’t know. The affiliate link is a URL that affiliates get from the producer or merchant, which links from whatever promotional medium affiliate uses to merchant/producer’s sales page. That link is unique for each individual affiliate and is used to point people toward producer’s web page with product(s). By that unique link, tracking software know who sent people and who made sales, on which affiliate get his commission.
There are many reasons to cloak affiliate links. The reasons are –
1) They look more friendly
Instead of putting intimidating and ugly original affiliate link into your page, you can create a friendly looking link.
Original link -
When cloaked looks like –
Both links go to the same URL and with both links you will be recorded in tracking software of the affiliate program. Besides shortening the links make them more memorable and easier to handle.
2) They prevent affiliate link swapping - It can reduce commission hijacking
There are bad people as you know, so some affiliates will strip your ID and replace it with their own affiliate ID. You end up losing your commission. When you cloak your link, they can’t do that.
3) They will save you a LOT of time in the future
In a case, the merchant changes your affiliate link or link get expired, you only have to change it in one place, you don’t need to go over all pages, newsletters, banners, etc. It saves a lot of time. Imagine how frustrating it would be to find and change all those links if you didn’t use a link cloaking plug-in or a cloaking script.
4) They avoid search ranking penalties
Part of the ranking process in Google is based on site popularity – how many sites link directly to your site. Affiliate links are not a good measure of popularity, so with cloaked link you make redirection and avoid this problem.
5) They avoid problems with social media
Many social media sites are not a fan of affiliate links. Use of naked affiliate links on those social media might even result in closing your account there. But when you have cloaked link that point on your website/blog, which redirect it to merchant, the whole problem was avoided.
6) They trick ad blockers
If a visitor on your site uses ad blockers within his/her browser, will not see banners that are coded with naked affiliate links. When you have cloaked link, which is not outgoing, the situation is different.
You can use a redirection script or some plug-in to cloak your affiliate links. All depends on the platform you are using for your blog/website. I use ThirstyAffiliates plug-in on WordPress platform.
There are many affiliate link cloaking and shortening options available out there, but always look for self-hosted option. It is always better to have the whole package integrated into your website for security reasons. You should have complete control over your affiliate links.
I personally don’t trust sites that offer those services, because they are outsiders, so I question the privacy of my links. I guess that everybody can review those links and see how they are doing in terms of conversion. This opens the door for manipulations and theft.
To read more about affiliate marketing please visit “Affiliate Marketing Strategies” section.