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August 18, 2009

Question: Why would you want to hide your affiliate links? Don’t you want people to click on them?

Answer: I’m not talking about hiding the links themselves. You’re right — we DO want people to click on them. I mean you want to hide their destination. Here’s why:

  • Affiliate Link Theft: There are plenty of unscrupulous webmasters who will steal your commissions if they can see that it’s an affiliate link. All they have to do is substitute their own affiliate id for yours.

  • Ad Haters: Then there are those people who won’t click on such a link because it looks like an advertisement. Personally, I don’t understand this — if they’re interested in the product, why shouldn’t they look into it? Just about everything they buy is advertised somewhere!

  • Unsightly Links: And there’s the fact that many affiliate links just look ugly. Many affilliate networks try to put too much information after that question mark. Doesn’t
    http://yourwebsite.com/product.htm
    look a lot better than
    http://qstrlvx.com/FX6jLSz4VHjoiz2y?sid=product&aid=yourname ?

There are many ways to cloak affiliate links. Some are quite easy, but those methods are also not very difficult for an experienced webmaster to crack. In fact, even the more crafty ways of hiding your link can be bypassed by simply clicking the link to see where it leads. In many cases the destination will clearly give away the affiliate network involved, so a dedicated commission thief can then buy the product using his own affiliate link.

Cloaker Buzz

Even if affiliate link theft wasn’t a problem, it would still be worthwhile to hide affiliate links from the other types of people who don’t like to click on them. I have been using an excellent link cloaker for years. In my opinion, Cloaker Buzz is the best one available, and it’s FREE! In addition to hiding your affiliate links, it also lets you redirect the person to any page on the destination website that you want — and you’ll still get credit for the sale.

The techies at Link Share advised me not to use it — they maintained that it would cause me to lose my commission. But I showed them proof that my cloaked links were still recognized by their software, so that I still got credit when people clicked them.

Enough said. You can download my favorite link-hiding software for FREE just by clicking here: Cloaker Buzz. For help in using the link cloaker, the instructions here are easy to understand — I rewrote them myself!

UPDATE – December 17, 2011: I just posted a new page on my sister site, Professor’s Coding Corner, “Why and How to Cloak Affiliate Links”, so if you want to read more about this topic, drop over there for a while.

UPDATE – June 9, 2014: IM Buzz, the website from which I got Cloaker Buzz, is now defunct, and some of the links in the software are broken. But it still works fine for cloaking your affiliate links.

UPDATE – May 5, 2016: I was recently informed by one of my readers that Cloaker Buzz will not work in the Windows 10 browser. So I have written a new tutorial to show how to make your own cloaked files, just like Cloaker Buzz does it. It’s still the best way to cloak your affiliate links!



1 Comment »

  1. thank you so much for showing me how to cloak affiliate links 🙂
    they are ugly for sure…..
    merry christmas hugs / Miss Lena Li

    Comment by misslenali — December 23, 2011 @ 4:30 pm

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