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Affiliate Link Cloakers and HubPages

  1. belief713 profile image78
    belief713posted 8 years ago

    I am a little bit confused about how this works.

    One of my hubs got flagged because I had more than two link cloakers on it. It was flagged for the no more than 2 redirects to the same domain, which I understand, but the cloakers took you to various sites (never the same one). I've seen other hubs with the same thing...yet they aren't flagged. Now honestly, the one in question that did get flagged had good content, but it was also a bit promotional (of the associated affiliate programs) in the sense that I was linking to several similar ones (again but never the same site). So for that one I could understand why it was flagged.

    I've fixed the issue and the hub is back up, but I am wondering if this will be a problem again in the future? I use the link cloaker not only for affiliate programs, but I also use them to cloak my different hubs with the referral tracker for article marketing and also links in my hubpages - so that way I don't have to deal with remembering to always insert the url tracker...so if I want to refer someone to one or more of my other hubs in the same article, I use the cloaked link.

    Basically, I'm kind of confused as to whether or not affiliate cloaked links for your domain (i.e. http://yourdomain.com/recommends/hubpages  <-- not my site or a domain, just being used as an example) constitutes for attempting to redirect or promote a site when it's always redirecting to a different site on the same hub. (I hope that made sense.)

    Has anyone else had a similar experience or can anyone offer some feedback/advice?


  2. Mark Knowles profile image61
    Mark Knowlesposted 8 years ago

    Well, I learned something so thanks - I had never even heard of affiliate link cloakers smile

    Are you trying to promote an outside site with these things and using them to get around the "no more than 2 redirects" rule or is there some other benefit to them?

    1. belief713 profile image78
      belief713posted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Your welcome! smile

      No, I am not trying to promote my site that is used as my redirect or affiliate link cloak domain name at all, or get around the "no more than 2 redirects." If I wanted to promote that site, I would just use the domain name. It's just that in order to use an affiliate link cloaker, you need to have your own domain and hosting to put the link cloaker on. And from my understanding, there is no other way to do this. (If anyone knows another way, please share.)

      Affiliate link cloakers basically mask any links you use so that people can't "steal" your traffic. Many people don't like to go to sites via affiliate links - which can cause you to possibly lose sales or referrals. For example, if I wanted to send someone to hubpages and used my tracking url, they could copy and paste that url and delete my tracker, or go directly to hubpages.com and sign up that way, causing me to lose the referral, even though I technically did the work of getting them here.

      I also like that the link cloaker allows me to monitor my clicks and traffic. That way I can know what items are being clicked on and work on the highest clicked ones, etc. Not just with hubpages, but as I mentioned with article submission and other posts and similar things.

      I am still really new to the whole affiliate marketing thing, but the link cloaker does make sense to me, and if it's being used to redirect to different pages, I don't understand why it's a problem. I understand the root domain name is the same and if someone wanted to remove the "extra stuff" from the end of my affiliate cloak, it could potentially drive more traffic to my site. But that is not my intention, nor what I want to accomplish.

  3. belief713 profile image78
    belief713posted 8 years ago

    For example, anytime I want to refer someone to the hub below, I use this url to send people to my hub:

    http://wahanthology.info/recommends/Rea … ePositions

    as opposed to:
        http://hubpages.com/_24e906qg9pu91/hub/ … e_Position

    (just put your mouse over them to see the page url in your browser - no need to click, they both take you to the same place) Not only does it make the url shorter, but I can also see on my end how many clicks have resulted from that and if I wanted to get even more technical, I could add a tracking code in there to monitor WHERE the traffic is coming from so I know which of my "marketing techniques" are effective (although I don't need to do that with any of my hubs thanks to HubPages using Google Analytics).

  4. ysdata profile image58
    ysdataposted 8 years ago

    I didn't know about the cloaker either, but I guess because the www.xxx.com is the same that's why you got flagged.  But I can see why you would want to use it.

  5. Misha profile image75
    Mishaposted 8 years ago

    I agree to ysdata. Hubpages has linking rules, and you are breaking them. That simple smile

    1. belief713 profile image78
      belief713posted 8 years ago in reply to this

      I understand they have linking rules, and I am fine with that and have fixed the problem. But I am more or less wondering if there is another way to do something similar to link cloaking so that people can't see my affiliate or tracking codes, but without violating any rules. If it can't be done it can't and I will have to keep it to a minimum of 2 per page. But, then I don't want to get flagged for using the affiliate cloaker across various hubs, especially if they are all directing to different sites, but looks like I'm breaking the linking rules because I am using a cloaker and they have the same root domain.

      1. Misha profile image75
        Mishaposted 8 years ago in reply to this

        Well, if you need more, setup redirects on more of your own domains. If you need more domains, buy them - affiliate profits should more than offset this - or there is no reason to even bother with such affiliates in the first place. The key is not to use public redirect services, because all of them are counted as wildcards when Hubpages count links.

        In other words, you will have a couple of links through www.mysite1.com, a couple of links through www.mysite2.com, etc. Do you follow?

        1. belief713 profile image78
          belief713posted 8 years ago in reply to this

          Yes, I thought about that, but most of the stuff I am referring people to are not even paid referral links. They are jut credits or something similar and until I am making money to offset the cost I don't want to put out a bunch of money. I mean domains aren't that expensive, but I'd have to buy different hosting for each domain as the link cloaker can only be placed on the main host account.

          I don't know, I'm not pushing affiliates that much - if there's a product that matches something I want to write about and I can make some money, great. If not, oh well. I don't think I can make that much with them, and can do something similar by just creating product reviews and using the eBay and Amazon capsules...and then just hope on some AdSense clicks.

          It would be nice if I could find an alternative to what I am trying to do with link cloakers, but even if I use a tracker, it would still always use the tracker url and then the tracking code. Same thing with tinyurl and others...

  6. ysdata profile image58
    ysdataposted 8 years ago

    Okay, I did some research and this is what I found.
    "Cloaking is another illegal technique, which partially involves content separation because spiders see one page (highly-optimized, of course), and everybody else is presented with another version of the same page."
    So cloaking is not a good thing.

  7. Misha profile image75
    Mishaposted 8 years ago

    Well, this is a different type of cloaking smile

    Strictly speaking, belief is talking about redirect, not cloaking...

  8. Mark Knowles profile image61
    Mark Knowlesposted 8 years ago

    I am still not getting it. smile

    What are these things supposed to do ?

    As far as I can tell, they disguise the link so it looks as though they go to one site when in fact, they go to another - Is that right?

    And if so, what purpose do they serve - Why can't you just use a tracker or a specific link and see what traffic that generates?

    1. darkside profile image84
      darksideposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      I take it we're talking about a URL redirection service. Which is a little bit like cloaking a link. Probably more like "disguising" a link than "cloaking" a link. If there is such a difference.

      Cloaking links usually come in two forms:

      1) you've set up a frame, a very small frame, and when people go to a site it still has your chosen domain name appearing in the web browser. Or it could have a menu bar of the site still at the top. An example of this is http://www.netdisaster.com but there are plenty of other ways to use (or abuse) such a technique.

      2) You've got an affiliate link in your webpage and it obviously looks like a referral URL, so you have it when people mouse-over the link it shows a different site in the web browsers status bar. It may indeed be the same domain, but showing without the referral id on the end (This can't be done at HubPages as it uses Javascript to pull this off).

      But getting back to the URL redirection service, for instance http://tinyurl.com, there are many reasons why a person would use it. Unfortunately that includes illegitimate purposes too.

  9. Misha profile image75
    Mishaposted 8 years ago

    With affiliate links it's pretty obvious - if you ever tried to sell some affiliate product. If your link is not encrypted in some way, any person is free to replace your affiliate id with his own and rip you off your money sad

    With other cases - IDK. Lots of people are using tinyurl and other similar sites, but I never was able to figure out why would I want it - so I don't use them...

  10. Mark Knowles profile image61
    Mark Knowlesposted 8 years ago

    That's what I am thinking - I just cannot see why I would want to use them. And as for using their own affiliate ID, if they have one, why would they be using your link in the first place?

    Oh, well, another mysterious "Web2.0" thing I just don't get smile

  11. relache profile image88
    relacheposted 8 years ago

    I flag hubs when I find them using tinyurl and similar cloaks as you then have no clue where you are being sent.

  12. gamergirl profile image61
    gamergirlposted 8 years ago

    Tinyurl provides a preview service which places a cookie on your computer (for purposes of remembering that you want to use the preview service.)

    With this, you just have to go to tinyurl.com and go to the preview section, and there you can get a glimpse of the tinyurl redirected site without having to actually click the link.  This can save a lot of headache of being redirected to something you didn't want to see.

  13. relache profile image88
    relacheposted 8 years ago

    If I have to go to another site to see where a hub is trying to send me, that's even more of a reason to give it a thumb's down and move on to one that provides some clarity.

    1. belief713 profile image78
      belief713posted 8 years ago in reply to this

      I don't know if you understand how it works...It doesn't send you to another site. If you notice the url's I used, and I used a links Capsule, I would make the title something like, oDesk, and then they could click on the link and it would take them to the oDesk website, except it would "mask" my referral url so I don't lose out on the referral. It wouldn't send you to my domain, but directly to the domain or site I am referring to (at least that's how I use them, I'm not sure how others do it, but I think it's generally the same).

      1. relache profile image88
        relacheposted 8 years ago in reply to this

        If you read the actual posting I was responding to, you'll find out that you didn't understand my reply.

        1. belief713 profile image78
          belief713posted 8 years ago in reply to this

          Sorry, I wasn't sure if you were referring to me or gamergirl...

  14. Mark Knowles profile image61
    Mark Knowlesposted 8 years ago

    It all sounds like a pain to me, so I am with relache - I will start flagging them. I hate it when I get sent somewhere other than I expected.smile

    I never even heard of these until today, but I already hate the idea. I never ever put links in my work other than I describe and have already visited. That's why I cannot see as I would ever need to use these things.

    As for someone "stealing money" by using their own affiliate code, it sounds like all the other bullshit over-hyped threats out there. If I believed everything like that I read I would be jumping all over the forums worrying my adsense pennies were going to be taken away from me. big_smile

  15. gamergirl profile image61
    gamergirlposted 8 years ago

    Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to justify use of a tinyurl link to hide being spammy and overpromotional.  I'm just putting out there that you have options other than just clicking the link. big_smile

  16. ysdata profile image58
    ysdataposted 8 years ago

    Today is the first I heard of cloaking too, but I research it and now I understand why they want to use it.  Some people won't click an affiliate link (i.e. hubpages.com/_xxx/hub/xxx) they want to go to the maker/manufactor sites. So belief713 cloaks it to appear as www.yourdomain.com/xxxx.  The problem is  -- spiders don't like it, nor does hubpages, nor does google.  So don't do it.

    1. belief713 profile image78
      belief713posted 8 years ago in reply to this

      So you are saying google spiders and hubpages don't like affiliate links? I guess I have to do more research on it. I just heard about them, it sounded good to me, and so I started using them about a month ago. In fact, I was going to cancel my hosting and go back to free hosting, but decided to keep it since I needed to put the cloaker on my own hosting. I think I'm more confused now than when I asked the question.

      But in reference to relache, Mark and other...I will use the example of my cloaked hubpages url so I can show what I mean so maybe you and Mark can understand what I'm saying.

      If I created a capsule and the title of the link was Share Your Know and Join HubPages Today

      Instead of putting....


      (because i don't want people to see or take off the url tracker or go straight to hubpages)

      I would instead use:


      It takes them to hubpages.com either way, just via my referral url "cloaked" instead. If you click on both links, it takes you to the same place (of course, if you're logged in, it will take you to your profile page, I think).

      I'm not sending them to site A (my domain) which then takes them to site b (HubPages). It always takes them directly to site B.

  17. Misha profile image75
    Mishaposted 8 years ago

    Frankly I never had that urge to conceal the links, and I redirect only affiliate ones. You don't need any cloaker software for that. In other words, using such a software seem to be an overboard for me.

    You can use htaccess, PHP, or HTML redirect on any domain on your hosting account. If you don't know how, there is a plenty of info on the internet, just search. Or ask your hoster support.

    1. belief713 profile image78
      belief713posted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Will do, thanks.

  18. Inspirepub profile image87
    Inspirepubposted 8 years ago

    Did you know that HubPages supports its own version of "disguise"?

    There is a tab called "URL Trackers" on your "My Account" page. This allows you to create nice, friendly text blocks which then replace your clunky alphanumeric soup default tracker.

    So, for example, my normal affiliate/referral link for HubPages would look like this:

    http://hubpages.com/_29np9kqt8knp5/hub/ … repreneurs

    but I can create a number of custom tags, and I have done so, and now it looks like this:


    Nothing that looks like an affiliate code in there at all.

    You can only have 20 different ones, so you might need to be a little creative with how you use them.

    And another plus, you can see the stats on them at your URL Trackers page. Views, signups, Hubs, Hub traffic, and earnings estimates.


  19. ysdata profile image58
    ysdataposted 8 years ago

    "So you are saying google spiders and hubpages don't like affiliate links?"

    Affiliate links are fine -- it's the cloaking that's the problem.