One of the most important components to your entire affiliate empire is the links you use to get those sales. These links can be slapped on for the whole world to see, or they can be redirected so that it isn't glaringly obvious that they are affiliate links. Most wise old affiliate sages believe that using redirected links, also called cloaking, is the best overall practice.
Affiliate marketing isn’t new. People have been utilizing affiliate links for years, so many readers will know an affiliate link a mile away. Some won’t, of course, but many will. This means that an uncloaked link with your affiliate number out in the open for all to see is too easily manipulated if the buyer should decide they don’t want you to have the sale. They may also decide they feel like giving the sale to themselves rather than you, and get their own affiliate link to use. And, there are a lot of marketers out there that make joining their affiliate network easy in order to take advantage of sales like that. I could name a few sites that do, but I won‘t. Suffice it to say that if the buy link is right next to the become an affiliate link, they probably anticipate lots of buyers joining to get a commission on their own sale. With a cloaked link, the buyer may not realize that the sale is going to someone else, or how easy it is to switch the numbers. If you have a high number of sales and only two or three people a month try to switch the link, it is still worth taking the time to redirect the link.
Another problem with naked links is that some of them just look bad. You have probably seen affiliate links that are long and convoluted, with a never ending stream of numbers and letters. That is just unattractive. It also may make internet newbies wonder what the heck that thing is and whether it contains a virus or the plague. By redirecting the link through a shorter url, the affiliate link will look more attractive and more people will click on it.
There are those out there, however, who recommend keeping the link as is, no matter what the thing looks like, to avoid any appearance of dishonesty. This may go well with your own affiliate philosophy, or you may have difficulty with the technical aspects. Either way, there are still sales out there to be made, but you can anticipate losing a few to link changers. When trying to decide whether to redirect links, you should take a look at your page and try to see what other people see. Does the link look easy and non-threatening? How hard would it be to just cut out the affiliate number? What is the content like on the rest of the page? The links should fit in with the style and content of your page. Cloaked or naked, as long as the link flows well on the page and will invite readers to click, there will still be sales made.
Gray Rollins is a featured writer for DayJobKillerResults.com - which provides the most coveted affiliate marketing secrets . You'll also want to read this Project X Review , which is another tool you won't want to be without in your quest for affiliate domination.