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Parasite Software: A New Threat For Affiliate Marketers

Aug 17, 2007
The world of affiliate marketing is a tough competition. In addition to the many affiliates competing for high competition keywords, many marketers also have to fear losing money by people hijacking or bypassing their affiliate links. Soon after this practice was discovered people began to counter it by cloaking their affiliate links with software or hiding their affiliate ID's in frames or making HTML redirects. It was only a matter of time before a new threat emerged that would render all of these latest technologies useless. We are going to look at a little know threat that most affiliate marketers are unaware of called parasite software and show you how you can still be losing money even if you are cloaking your links.

What Is Parasite Software?

Parasite Software has possibly become the biggest problem facing affiliate marketers today. Many affiliates are busy trying to protect themselves from link hijackers but little do they know that millions of computers around the world are infected with these parasite software's that are very hard to find and detect. One sign of parasite software is slower computer or browser performance.

Parasite Software typically runs in the background of a computer without a persons knowledge and be installed secretly with a software installation following acceptance of certain terms. They are very difficult to un-install because they don't show up listed as programs on the computer some even copy themselves as a failsafe to another directory if you try and delete them and reinstall themselves when you restart your computer

Why Is Parasite Software A Threat To The Affiliate Marketer?

These programs run in the background of a persons computer with out them being aware. They end up on computers as the result of installing free software such as games and browser toolbars. When a person visits a website through your affiliate link the parasite software can show the user a popup or redirect them to the merchants sales page overwriting your affiliate ID even if you have sent the user to the site through your link.

Common Link Cloaking Techniques And Their Weaknesses

1. Redirects and 3rd Party Short URL's
Parasite software will overwrite your cookies after the user has visited the merchants website or order page through your link. The software will simply present a pop-up or replace your affiliate ID with another one making you lose credit for the sale.

2. Cookie Stuffing
This is a risky technique which could get you banned from affiliate programs and also considered parasite software by itself. It does not protect from parasite software because it stuffs the cookies before the user gets to the merchants page.

A recent online safety report by AOL and the National Cyber Security Alliance have determined that about 80% of all computer users are infected with some type of parasite software. That is almost identical to the percent of people that use Internet Explorer to surf the Internet.

With the evolution of new and emerging threats against the Internet, today's affiliate marketer has to be well informaed about these new threats to their business. Techniques that have been used in the past might not be as effective today in protecting your money and commissions. Luckily many companies have become aware of these new threats to affiliates and have countered them with new and improved software for protecting your affiliate commissions.
About the Author
Covert Links is the first ever affiliate link cloaker to protect against parasite software and provide maximum affiliate marketing link protection. Learn more about it at: http://www.moneyflowforlife.com/covert-links.html
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