How are you? Well we are winding down to the end of this crash course, but before I send you out on your own to make loads of affiliate cash we still need to go over a few things. Like how you can protect your affiliate links and keep your hard earned commissions from being stolen right out from under you.
The simple fact is that as more people become aware of affiliate marketing and the links that represent your “paycheck,” the greater the chances are that someone is going to hijack your affiliate link and substitute their own for it. They can completely cut you out of your hard earned commission.
There many ways that affiliate commissions can be stolen!
You may not know this, but there is adware, spyware and other invasive software programs that unscrupulous hijackers install on your computer, sometimes with your consent because they sneak it in with something that you think is harmless. This software is capable of replacing genuine affiliate links and cookies. By substituting their own data instead of the legitimate affiliate marketers data the honest business person misses out on the sale.
The problem is that this sinister software automatically rewrites the affiliate links on the pages you visit. For example, lets say you read a great book review on a legitimate webpage and decide to click through and make a purchase, thinking that you are buying from the person who recommended the book, but instead you end up unknowingly buying from a thief. They get the cash and the legitimate marketer (you) does all the work.
How can you keep this from happening to you?
There are different ways that you can go about disguising, cloaking or redirecting your links so that you can protect your affiliate id and your commissions. Today we are going to briefly go over some of them, but before we do I want to make you aware that you should always check with the affiliate manager of the product you are promoting before you decide to cloak your links because it can sometimes interfere with your affiliate cookies and some programs do not allow it.
With that said let’s start by taking a look at free services that will cloak your link for you, like TinyURL, Budurl, SnipURL and others, which serve the dual purpose of hiding your ID and shortening your very long, ugly affiliate link into a much more manageable one.
These are great and can come in very handy, especially for those that aren’t knowledgeable or comfortable using html, php or java script codes.
They are very simple to use. All you do is plug in your affiliate link, click a button and out comes a nice, new short url that you can share in your all of your promotions without worrying that the URL will break and become unclickable or that your affiliate commissions be hijacked.
There are literally hundreds of these link shortening services out there. Some very simple like TinyURL which creates links that will never ever expire and a handy browser bookmark button that’ll provide a TinyURL of your current page. Then there are some that offer much more. For instance Budurl not only cloaks and shortens your link it also allows you the option of adding you own custom alias and provides you with a whole suite of tools that makes keeping track of your links and how many times that have been clicked on amazingly simple. This is great for testing your ad copy.
Some argue that using one of these services can be bad for your business simply because your prospects may be reluctant to click on a link that they don’t recognize as yours or one where they can’t quickly identify their destination. While there maybe some truth to this, I feel that it is better than using nothing at all until you can decide on a method that works well for you.
Scripts, codes and software that you can use to protect your affiliate links.
There are many different types of software as well as various scripts, php and html codes that you can use to protect your links and track the click-troughs on them. If you go to Google, MSN or your favorite search engine and do a search for link cloaking or link redirection and you will literally find thousand of pages on the different types of cloaking software, scripts and codes that you can use.
One of the benefits of using one of these is that most of them will never display the affiliate links directly in the browser and they will give you greater control over how your customer views you links.
As I mentioned there are so many available that there is no way that I could cover them all in the span of this short course, but what I can do is tell you about another great way that you can safely redirect your links and protect them at the same time and that is by buying a domain name and using it to forward your affiliate link.
While this may not be practical or cost effective for every affiliate program that you join, especially in the testing phase it is a great solution for promoting programs that you have found to be profitable.
For this to work you simply purchase and park a domain and then forward it to an existing website. When visitors go to the domain you forwarded, they are automatically taken to the URL you specified. In this case through your affiliate link to the product you are promoting.
For instance, let’s say that you are promoting a great set golf clubs and you know that it’s a good money maker. You could then purchase a related domain name like “awesome” and then using the tools that you will find inside the control panel of your “Domain Manager” you can easily forward your new domain directly to the sales page for that program.
You can also add masking to your forwarded domains, which prevents your affiliate URL from displaying in the browser’s address bar. If you set up masking, you can specify a title and meta tags which could help with ranking your webpages on search engines.
Not only does this help protect your affiliate commissions it also gives you a very professional looking and easy to identify link to use in your promotions it will also give you more credibility.
I hope today’s lesson was helpful to you and that you are now armed with enough information, so that you can go out and do your on research on the topic and find the solution that will work the best for your affiliate marketing business.
Don’t forget to look out for your final lesson. There will be some great information in it on how you can increase your affiliate commissions even more using video.