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5 Ways to Shorten and Protect Affiliate Links With Free Software

Aug 28, 2008
Affiliate programs are booming these days and many serious minded marketers have been making lots of money. However, affiliate programs are also fraught with risks like stealware and other malicious exploits that steal commissions from marketers. However, there are some great ways to protect your affiliate commissions, so you wouldn't lose a cent.

Here are top 5 ways to protect your affiliate links and your commissions:

Why having unsafe links is problematic?

Typically, most affiliate marketers use standardized affiliate links that direct the customers to the merchant site. The problem with this is that customers can easily identify it as an affiliate link. It also makes your affiliate marketing more vulnerable to hackers and malicious people who can easily steal your commissions as well by replacing cookies. The best way to prevent customers or such malicious groups from identifying your URLs is to cloak them. There is free software available these days that can effectively help you cloak your links.

Affiliate link cloaking: how to go about it?

Customers tend to hesitate clicking on an affiliate link simply because they are tired of all those promotions. Then there are stealware and other malicious software that constantly keep track of affiliate links and try to steal commissions away from unsuspecting affiliate marketers. You can avail various software for free these days that can help you effectively cloak your links. You can use any of the following techniques to cloak your links:

1) Banner servers:

Banner servers are great because any advertisements that direct customers on these servers will have extremely long text links. This way, your customer will never be able to read the entire link to know it is actually an affiliate redirect. However, installing a banner advertisement server can be time consuming and complex so this may not be the best option for you. Moreover, banner servers cost money.

2) Scripts and software tracking:

You can also use software as well as various scripts to track the click-throughs from customers. This software will never display the affiliate links directly and instead show the link to the tracking software that has been installed on the affiliate's - marketer's website.

3) Using JavaScript:

You can also cloak your affiliate links using JavaScript. For example, if your target URL is:

<a href="http://www.merchntxyz.com/app/aftrack.php?afid=12345" target="_blank" onmouseover="window.status='http://www.merchant.abc.com';return true;" onmouseout="window.status=' ';return true;">Click here</a>

In this example, merchntxyz is your merchant advertising company - your unique affiliate link. The first portion of the URL contains your own affiliate link while the second portion of this URL shows what actually gets shown on the status bar of the browser. The end portion of the URL is the text link. Once a customer clicks on this link a new window loads so that you don't end up losing your customer from your affiliate site.

4) Ultimate cloaking method:

One of the best and most fool-proof methods of performing cloaking on your affiliate links is to create a separate html file on your website, i.e. http://www.marketersdomain.com/greatprogram.html and paste the following HTML code into that website. Just replace that merchantxyz link with your own link to your affiliate program. This way your affiliate links will be cloaked and you won't lose a single cent!

<meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow">
<meta http-equiv='refresh' content='0; url=http://www.merchntxyz.com/app/aftrack.php?afid=12345'>

5) Select a good affiliate network that supports affiliate link cloaking:

There are some good affiliate networks that automatically protects your affiliate link, so your affiliate commissions could not be stolen. Click2sell.EU (http://www.click2sell.eu) is an affiliate programs network that believes in protecting its affiliates. It is a highly reputed and renowned affiliate program site that has all the protections to protect your affiliate commissions. When you choose a network of affiliate programs to promote products, make sure to choose a good one that will provide you with full securities, so your affiliate commissions could not be stolen!
About the Author
Egidijus Andreika is a creator of Click2Sell.EU Affiliate Programs Network. Sell digital products online and run your affiliate program. Get paid instantly, provide easy payment options for customers, recruit affiliates. Affiliates - your affiliate commissions are protected. Promote products and sell downloads online. Visit Click2Sell: http://www.click2sell.eu
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