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The Different Linking Solutions That Can Be Used With An Affiliate Link



Solution 1 - Simple Redirect

The most basic solution for hiding/securing an affiliate link is called a "Simple Redirect". It makes the link look like a web address on your own site, but as soon as the visitor clicks on the link, they are "redirected" to the sales page, which is shown as normal.

Example: Someone clicking on our "hidden" link:


would see the sales page in their browser as normal. In the web address bar on their browser, they may see something like this:


The drawback is that it's obvious to the visitor that we used an affiliate link to access the page. It is not obvious to people before they clicked on the link, but it is obvious afterwards. This may in some cases put visitors off buying the product.

The alternative solutions below provide more sophisticated solutions for hiding the fact that an affiliate link was used to access the site.


Solution 2 - Link Cloaking Or Framing

Link Cloaking or Framing also makes the link look like a web address on your own site, but when the visitor clicks on the link, the address of your website is still shown in the web address of the browser, even when the sales page is being shown.

Example: Someone clicking on our "hidden" link:


would see the sales page in their browser as normal, but in the web address of their browser, they would still see:


The drawback with this is that more advanced visitors will realise that this is a framed page (it's easy to tell if you are experienced in these matters). However most visitors will be satisfied by this solution.


Solution 3 - Link Branding

Link Branding is a variant on Link Cloaking. It works in exactly the same way, except that in addition to showing the sale page being promoted, a small message is shown at the top or bottom of the visitor's web browser. This is usually in the form of a single line strip containing some form of an advertising message from the affiliate with a clickable link.

The solution has all the advantages of Link Cloaking, but with the extra feature that this special message from the affiliate is shown at the same time as the sales page.

The drawback with this is that visitors will generally realise that this is a framed page - and also that the message can prove annoying to some visitors.


Solution 4 - Covert Linking

A Covert Linking is an advanced solution which almost completely hides the fact that an affiliate link is being used and offers a lot of flexibility on how links are promoted.

With this solution, the visitor's browser is covertly sent to the affiliate link without any visible signs of this happening, then the browser is sent to the sales page as normal. The link to the sales page is NOT an affiliate link, just an ordinary link.

Example: Our affiliate link is:


The visitor is covertly sent to this link (with no visible effects of this). The result is that the visitor's PC gets the affiliate cookie ensuring that we get paid.

Now we send the visitor to http://www.salessite.com/ebooks/

Notice that this is not an affiliate link - it has NO traces of any affiliate information in it. The visitor arriving at this link will see nothing to suggest that we used an affiliate link. However when they buy, we still get paid.

Covert Linking is more flexible than this though. We can use it to plant our affiliate cookie and then send the visitor to any page.

Hence if the site has a demonstration page that we want to send people to, we can use the covert solution to plant the cookie and then direct the visitor's browser directly to the demonstration page. If they order as a result, we still get paid.

We can even send visitors direct to the order page using Covert Linking - or if we find an independent review of the product, we can send visitors to that review page (as long as the review page does not include an affiliate link for the product).


Solution 5 - Covert or Embedded Cookies

Covert Cookies (also known as "Embedded Cookies" or "Cookie Stuffing") is a another solution which almost completely hides the fact that an affiliate link is being used.

All the other solutions we've looked at create a new link to be used in place of the affiliate link. Covert Cookies works differently though. With this solution, we plant affiliate cookies on visitors' PCs before they've even clicked on our link to visit the site.

For example, let's assume we have a web page which reviews a hamster cage sold from www.hamsters.com. With a Covert Cookies solution, as soon as a visitor arrives on our review page, their PC receives our affiliate cookie, without them even knowing about it. This is before they have clicked on our link to www.hamsters.com - in fact the cookie will be planted even if they do not click on our link for www.hamsters.com.

This means that even if the visitor leaves our website without clicking on our link to www.hamsters.com and later finds the site using Google (or some other methods), we will still get paid.

It also means that we can use a simple plain link to www.hamsters.com on our review page, because we've already planted the cookie. We don't need to use an affiliate link, so this makes our review page look more like an independent review instead of someone promoting an affiliate program to earn money.

Now some affiliate program owners do not like this solution because it can be abused by planting lots of cookies. Consider that we could embed cookies for every site on the Internet which sells hamster cages, without even bothering to put links to any of them on our page. Every visitor to our page would then have all these cookies on their PC (without them even knowing about it). If they subsequently bought a hamster cage (or anything else) from any of these sites in future, we would get paid - even though we never actually promoted any of the sites. This may be good for us - but is not very ethical.

So if you want to use this solution, you should use your own judgment and use it responsibly, only planting cookies in conjunction with actually promoting the site.

It is also worth checking the affiliate program terms before deploying this solution to make sure that the affiliate program does not have any rules against it.


Please note that we are not able to provide ANY support or assistance relating to use of this service

Created on April 11, 2017 - RightBiz.com.au