A Big Problem: Commission Theft. If you’re new to affiliate marketing, you may have heard about affiliate link cloaking. In short, this is a strategy to block hijackers from stealing your affiliate commissions. This system will drive your visitors to the vendor url without showing your affiliate id (so you’ll remain hidden), but your commissions will be tracked.
Common Alternatives to Hide Your Affiliate ID.
Many new affiliates make a big mistake: They use free cloaking services (like tinyurl.com or others) instead of cloaking their affiliate links on their own sites. Now, this has a lot of disadvantages. The first one (and the more obvious) is that if the site stops providing the service and you’ve promoted a product over 100’s of sites (or have dozens of popular videos labeled with that free url service), you’ll lose that traffic.
Think this may not happen? Think it twice. It happened with 100’s of sites. The last one was Pinurl.com. And more will come.
On the other hand, you never know if the owner of a link cloaking service is replacing your affiliate id with their own affiliate id. Who knows? Do You Know? I don’t, but… how do they make money from a service like this where they show no ads on the service they provide? Mmmm… One last thing: Many services just do a redirect and they don’t remove your affiliate id from the vendor url (others could steal your commissions).
The Best Alternative: Keep Everything On Your Site.
The best alternative is to cloak the affiliate links on your site. Nobody can’t change them and you always keep the control. This is the most serious option and is being used by every serious / big affiliate marketer.
Is this difficult to do? No. It will take you 60 seconds more than what it takes you cloak your links with a free url shortener site!
How to Cloak Your Affiliate Links.
If you have some php knowledge, you can cloak your links by yourself otherwise, the best choice could be to use a professional link cloaker like “The Hidden Affiliate”, which has very cool features (like dynamic conversion tracking, etc) and it’s really affordable. This will be a better (and more secure) strategy for recommending affiliate products, instead of using those free (but suspicious) url shortener services.