Affiliate 101- Link Cloaking

Link Cloaking

Basically there are three reasons why you should always cloak (hide) your affiliate hoplink.

One reason is that people by nature don’t like to be sold and will trust you less (in the same way people don’t trust sales persons) and are less likely to buy when they suspect that you earn a commission for recommending a product. Tests have clearly shown that using an uncloaked affiliate link, significantly decreases conversion rates and that means less sales and less money for your efforts.

The second reason why cloaking should be your first priority is the issue of link theft. Savvy clickbank marketers can easily spot an affiliate link and once they are recommended a product and land on the sales page can easily clear their cookies and or type in their hoplink URL in their browser and refresh the page. This will immediately credit them with the sale. They get the commission and you don’t.

The third reason is that clickbank hoplinks are ugly and have little to no sales value. That simply means people are less likely to click through clickbank hoplinks than they would on more appealing clocked versions.

Let’s make a little experiment. Tell me which of these two links you would be more likely to click on:

http://alex21cxadw2.cgtgp1.hop.clickbank.net
http://www.AllPregnancyTips.com

Obviously, you would click on the second link. Why? It’s simply more appealing and probably more relevant to your search. Fortunately, there is a solution to the three problems above and it’s called link cloaking. Here are 4 of the most popular method to hide your affiliate hoplink:

Method 1: Use HTML to display different destination link

Simply use the following HTML code:
Example HTML code:

<a href="http://XXXXXX.cgtgp1.hop.clickbank.net">www.AboutGettingPregnant.com</a>

This HTML code will display www.AboutGettingPregnant.com but send people through your affiliate link (be sure to replace the XXXX's with your affiliate ID.)

For more info on how to make clickbank hoplinks, visit:
Hoplink Instruction

Method 2: Use “link shrinkers”

There are many 3rd party services you can use to hide your affiliate link and shrink it at the same time. This service is free, fast and easy. What more can you wish for?

Here are a few examples:
http://tinyurl.com/
http://www.shorturl.com
http://www.shrinkmylink.com
http://url123.com

Note: while link shrinkers work fine, they do convert less on average than more appealing versions (e.g. using a domain name and domain forwarding - see the next method). Additionally, link shrinking services come and go, so as a warning, if you’re using these services be sure to check them often.

Method 3: Purchase a domain name from go daddy

Here’s a reliable option that will give you more control over your links and increase your conversions. All you have to do is register a domain name with a company that offers free forwarding service with URL masking. I use http://www.godaddy.com/ for many of my domains. Godaddy offers free forwarding and masking services and it’s only about 9 bucks per domain to register.

Tip: always choose a domain name that contains keywords that are relevant to the product you’re promoting. For example: if you’re promoting The Getting Pregnant Plan Guide, a good choice would be: AmazingPregnancySecrets.com or NaturalPregnancySolution.com

After you registered a domain name log into your account and click on “domain forwarding.” Next, type in your affiliate hoplink as the domain to forward to. Then click on “mask domain” and enter the display URL to match your new chosen domain name.

Method 4: Buy a link cloaking software

Here are some of the most popular link cloaking software that are currently being used by The Getting Pregnant Plan affiliates:

http://www.novasoft-inc.com

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me personally.

Sincerely,

Mark,

Affiliate Manager of The Getting Pregnant Plan™