Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Affiliate Link URL Masking

by Rahimah Sultan

photo from blog


What is Affiliate Link URL Masking?


If you are an affiliate marketer you have links that look like the following examples.
1) http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Wireless-Reading-Display-Globa lly/dp/B003FSUDM4/ref=amb_link_353259562_2?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIK X0DER&pf_rd_s=center-10&pf_rd_r=11EYKTN682A79T370AM3&pf_rd_ …

2) http://secure.hostgator.com/~affiliat/cgi-bin/affiliates/clickthru.cgi?id=bcdefg

3) http://www.safelisttactics.com/?rid=118???


These links could and should be masked with shortened links like the following.


1) http://tinyurl.com/Kindle

2) http://tinyurl.com/6u9d26e

3) http://tinyurl.com/safelists-mktgg


Although there are numerous programs available, these are examples using tinyurl.com


Reasons for Link Masking


As with the first two examples above, sometimes your domain is too long and complicated to spell and/or write. Or you may be using free hosting that does not give you a dedicated domain but just a subdirectory of their domain. Using a shorter, more understandable and eye pleasing link will add a big boost to your online marketing.


Another big reason to mask affiliate links is to keep people from stealing your money. Anyone who is actively promoting other people’s products and/or services as an affiliate could be losing money from hard earned commissions because of those UGLY long affiliate URLs that target you as an affiliate, and scare away your visitors and/or potential customers.


Affiliate link masking sounds pretty obvious. All you’re doing is replacing that UGLY long affiliate URL with a nice cloaked (forwarded inside an invisible frame), professional domain name like the short ones listed in the above examples, that remain sticky.


Sticky simply means that the URL remains the domain name you chose, once your visitor has clicked on it, and it doesn’t redirect back to the UGLY long affiliate URL you started with. This makes you, the affiliate, look professional in the eyes of your visitors and/or potential customers. They don’t know if you are an affiliate or the actual web site owner. A web site’s stickiness is important to online advertisers because the longer visitors stay on the site the more exposure they have to potential advertising.


And lastly, people just don’t like to click on strange looking long links.


How does URL Masking work?


In case of URL Masking the Domain Forwarding server sends the client a Frames page where the Frame Source contains the destination URL you have specified. This ensures that the URL in the address bar of the browser does not change when the client sees the destination page.


As Web surfers become more knowledgeable of how affiliate programs work, more people will omit your affiliate ID or use someone else’s ID when ordering. Either way, you may lose commissions you’re supposed to get. Using full window frame page is probably the most effective (though not perfect) way to prevent such loss. In fact, practically all affiliate link cloaking software uses this method. The address bar won’t display your affiliate URL unless the affiliate site has a frame breaker (e.g.: Gmail). If visitors book mark the site, they will come back to your frame page. This means they use YOUR affiliate ID every time, and this could translate into sales.


Although masking your URL address can be very effective for marketing, in some cases it’s not necessary and disturbs the normal navigation of the user. So be sure to use URL masking only when it’s really necessary, and help convert more of your visitors into SALES!


There are many services online that offer this. Simply go to Google and do a search.


If you are a serious Affiliate Marketer and/or are just starting out online with affiliate programs then this is something you’ll definitely want to look into. Not only will you look professional in the eyes of your visitors and/or potential customers you’ll also be safe guarding your hard earned affiliate commissions with affiliate link URL masking. When visitors come to your site, the link is their first impression, and first impressions matter, especially when doing business online.


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6 Responses

November 27, 2013

Thank you for this great post on Link Masking, well done! Your descriptions for reasons for link masking were very simple to understand.

I think readers will get great value from this information, thanks Rahimah.

I look forward to your next post 🙂

Janet Legere
The Contact List Builder

November 27, 2013

Thank you so much, Janet for the lovely comment!

November 27, 2013

Beautiful blog re forwarding and masking Rahima. I have heard several instances when knowledgeable Web surfers have had their link changed. Not fun losing out on those commissions that are rightfully yours. This is a great article to show people why and what to do to prevent this happening.

November 27, 2013

Thank you so much Debbie for your comment. I really appreciate it.

November 28, 2013
Hyacinth King

I like this blog. Very informative, as are the others.

November 28, 2013

Thank you Hyacinth.