The Two Types Of
Almost all affiliate programs use things called "cookies"
to track which affiliate gets paid for a sale. These "cookies"
are small amounts of data stored on each visitor's PC.
They record the affiliate ID of the affiliate who
referred the visitor to the site, so that the affiliate
can be paid when the visitor buys the product.
This much is common knowledge,
but the next part is not.
There are two
types of cookies - Standard Cookies and
A Validated Cookie is a cookie
sent at the same time as the cookie that confirms that the
cookie will not be used to "invade the privacy" of the
Internet Explorer is the only web
browser that differentiates between Validated Cookies and
Standard Cookies, but since Internet Explorer is by far the
most commonly used Internet browser, this affects a lot of
Explorer, all Standard (i.e. non-validated) cookies
are discarded by the browser unless they come from the
same website as the one shown in the Internet Explorer Address
Hence if the Address Bar shows
www.mysite.com/mypage.html, any cookie from
mysite.com will be accepted, but cookies from any other
website will be discarded unless they are Validated
The visitor may override this
feature by setting their privacy level to "Accept All Cookies"
in Internet Explorer but very few people actually do this
(there is no real reason for them to do it - and most users do
not even know how to do it).
If you want to know more about
this, visit the Internet Explorer website by clicking here.
So what does all this mean for
you as an affiliate marketer?
It means that if you are using
any solution that hides your affiliate link other
than simple redirects, the cookie will not get created
unless it is a Validated Cookie.
As a result, you will LOSE your
You will not lose all your
commissions, since some customers will use browsers other
than Internet Explorer - or will have chosen to "Accept All
Cookies". However it is likely that you will
lose more than half your
Note that this problem will arise with ANY tool or
script that hides affiliate links, irrespective of what
assurances you may get from the person selling the tool. There
is absolutely no way of avoiding the problem if the affiliate
link uses Standard Cookies.
you do about it?
You can stick to simple
redirects, but you will lose some of the advantages of using
the more sophisticated link hiding solutions.
Alternatively you can use a
software tool that analyses your affiliate links to determine
whether it is safe to use link cloaking with that
Links 100% Safe?
An "unsafe" link should never be
used with link cloaking because you will lose half your
However even cloaking a safe link
will still lose a small percentage of commissions.
That's because Firefox and
most other browsers allow the user to configure the
browser to reject all third party cookies.
Most people don't use that
option, but some people do - and that means you will
always lose a small percentage of your commissions when using
In general, the losses will be less than the gains from
using link cloaking, but you'll need to decide for
yourself whether it's actually worth using link cloaking.
Note that "Simple Redirects" are always safe in all
Not Sure If You're Using Link Cloaking Or
Any solution other than a "Simple Redirect" is link
cloaking of some sort. Simple Redirects come in several forms
One way to check which type of solution you are using is to
enter the original uncloaked link into your browser and note
what web address shows in your browser address bar after using
the link. Now enter the cloaked link into your browser. If the
web address shown in your browser is different, then you are
definitely using link cloaking. If it is the same, then you
are probably using a Simple Redirect.