You're told time and again you need to cloak your affiliate links to prevent commission theft. Is it really that big of a problem?
If you are in the Internet marketing niche, selling to people who are affiliate marketers themselves, maybe. The “industry" claims a 75% “theft" rate.
You should be skeptical about that number as there is no documentation to support it. In fact, you are only likely to see mention of affiliate commission theft in the context of a link cloaking promotion.
Worse yet, you need to recognize there are dozens of other places an affiliate inclined to claim a commission as their own can find the needed information.
The need to cloak affiliate links is real, though, and you need to do it or lose money in ways not related to theft.
Just in case you're not familiar, here's a quick look at what affiliate link cloaking is.
When you place an affiliate link in a web page or document it's ugly, your affiliate id and program are exposed, and it goes directly to the affiliate offer.
Link cloaking solves this problem by creating a unique URL that looks “prettier", hides any affiliate information, and redirects the user through one or more invisible URL(s) before depositing them at the offer page. Using the Tinyurl service is a good example of how this is done.
You have probably heard the first two items, ugly and exposed, are the primary reason to cloak links. In reality it is the third reason, a direct link to the offer, that creates the potential for massive losses in money and time.
Imagine you spend a lot of time researching a niche, finding a great offer, and posting your affiliate link in dozens, maybe hundreds, of web pages, PDF reports, email, and social network pages. You made the decision to post your affiliate link directly because it was expeditious and figured the possibility of theft wasn't great.
Things are going great and you're making a decent profit. Then you get an email from your affiliate manager informing you the offer is no longer available.
Or maybe you find a product with a better solution and potential for higher profit.
What do you do? How are you going to avoid a disastrous end to this successful campaign?
Because you posted a direct link to your offer the only option, besides abandonment, is to go out and change all those links, manually.
You lose profit while people are clicking the old link, and more on any links you happen to miss.
And what about all those PDF reports and social network posts? Forget it, you lose all profits from them.
Now you're thinking direct linking isn't such a time saver after all, right?
When you have cloaked an affiliate link in a way that gives you control the above scenario is no problem. You simply make a single change to a file, providing the new final destination of the cloaked link, and everyone now goes to the new, maybe even more profitable, offer.
Don't pay to have your affiliate links cloaked, at least not until you find out how easy it is to do yourself.
It easy and quick. Here's your step by step guide to doing your own affiliate link cloaking .