You Pinched My Commissions!


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Affiliate marketing is hard work, but it can pay off for anyone who is dedicated enough to spend the time and effort advertising their affiliate links. You may recognize an affiliate link by the extra little codes included at the end of the page URL when you click on it, and it appears in your browser. These codes after the website address contain your referral ID, username, member numbers, or types of identifying information that bring you the commissions that you work so hard for as an affiliate marketer.

There are some unscrupulous people, who instead of doing the work themselves, choose to steal the income from other hard working marketers, one of the ways they do this is to replace their username with yours, before buying so they get the commission. This is how they are doing it.

Often people who are surfing the net, come across something they would like to purchase. Instead of purchasing through the link they sign up as an affiliate before purchasing, then use their own affiliate link codes to buy the product. What happens then is that the person surfing the net has just received a huge discount on their purchase, and robbed a hard working affiliate marketer of their commission in the process.

Affiliate companies are aware of this, but do little to stop it from happening. In fact they often factor it into their pricing structure, for example the owner will work out what he wants to make from the sale of his product, then market it at a higher price allowing extra for affiliate commission. When people sign up as an affiliate to the site, and receive a commission, or discount, they think they are getting a great discount, and the website owner is happy that he has received his target price.

The person who is not considered is the original affiliate who has gone to the trouble of taking the time and money to market the product in the first place to make it visible, the affiliate has come away with nothing to show for his troubles. This is cruel, and very unfair on Internet marketers, but the good news is that there are ways to prevent this from happening to you

Cloaked affiliate links are small HTML files designed to hide things like your affiliate referral ID, and codes that are used for tracking commissions to you, from the affiliate company.

The little HTML file that you have used to hide your affiliate link codes, will forward a visitor to the website you are affiliated with once clicked. You can hide your affiliate link, as well as the address of the website that you are sending the visitor to, if you want to. That way you are making sure that nobody can get hold of your affiliate links, and steal your commissions from under your nose.

If you are working with an affiliate program that uses cookies to track customers, and are using cloaking, once the link is clicked they are directed to the affiliates website, a cookie with your affiliate link is saved on the persons computer, which makes it harder for your commissions to be stolen. So where possible choose affiliate programs that use cookies rather than those that solely rely on tracking codes at the end of the URL. There is more than one way to cloak your affiliate links, you can do it yourself, but you will need some knowledge of HTML to begin with.

Another way that you can cloak your affiliate links, is with a cloaking tool, there are many available over the Internet, and take the guess work out of using HTML codes. Most of the cloaking tools will require you to have a domain name as well as a web host. Although this shouldn’t be too much of a problem since there are many cheap companies offering these services, over the Internet.

Affiliates shouldn’t have to put up with their commissions being stolen from under their noses; sadly this is a fact of an Internet marketer’s life. By cloaking your affiliate links you can help to deter these savvy customers from hijacking your commissions, and put the money back in your pocket where it belongs.

Author Alan Richardson is the owner of Home Business Software where you can find a great collection of software designed with the internet marketer in mind, from web page design to multimedia toolkits, through to list building software. Find out more at


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