I bet you have seen the long and ugly urls and you have also seen the short and kind of beautiful ones (maybe beautiful is not the word I should be using when it comes to urls). By long and ugly, I am referring to links like http://www.affiliatesite.com/affiliate/ref_id/324234 and maybe even longer. It all depends on the affiliate program and how it’s setup. For instance, if you are promoting products from Clickbank, your affiliate url will be something like this: http://berget.ninjalink.hop.clickbank.net/ – I am not saying that this one is particularly ugly, but it’s not something that you or your readers will remember (at least not something that I will remember).
And with clickbank there’s another problem with the “ugly” url, whenever other members of Clickbank see your affiliate url, they can just switch berget with their own username and when they buy from that new link, they will earn the commissions and not you (or me in this case).
With a link cloaker, your domain will be the affilliate url. You will actually hide the “real” affiliate url and show your visitors a new “homemade” url. This way they might remember the url and they might not steal your commissions. If they are going to steal it, they would have to search clickbank for the product and find it and then add their username and then buy it, something that takes way more time than just by switching usernames in the hoplink.
There are two ways to cloak your affiliate links; you can create them on your computer and then upload them to your server or you can create them directly on your server. The first method is the one I use, and it’s very easy and something that I am comfortable with. An example of a great software that you can buy is Ninja Link Cloaker. For instance, my affiliate link for this is: http://www.mlmforums.net/recommends/Ninja.
If you would prefer the other method, accessing and doing it all directly on your server, then you can use a free program for that. Well, there are probably a lot of software, both for the desktop one and for this server one, but I am just telling you about two today.
AffiliCloak is free and it seems to be very easy to install and configure. I have not tried it myself, but I have read the instructions and I don’t think that I would have any problems with using it or installing it.
I don’t think that I have seen any professional marketer that is not using a link cloaker. So, want to be like the pros, start using a link cloaker. The only problem is that you would have to have your own domain for it to work. But I guess that won’t be a problem for most marketers, as owning a domain and having a website is probably rather common.