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How do people "steal" affiliate links ?

Discussion in 'Affiliate Programs' started by JohnMally, Sep 27, 2007.

  1. #1
    Hi,

    I'm new to affiliate marketing, how do people steal affiliate links ?
    SEMrush
    Thanks
     
    JohnMally, Sep 27, 2007 IP
    SEMrush
  2. kentuckyslone

    kentuckyslone Notable Member

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    #2
    Here are two ways they can do it

    1) The surfer sees that the link is an affiliate link and realize that if they sign up as an affiliate and purchase the item or product through their own link they will, in effect get a discount.

    2) There are some types of spyware/trojans that can actually "hijack" your affiliate link and replace the identifying part of the url with someone else affilaite ID.

    To help with problem #1 there are different methods you can use to mask or redirect your affiliate links so that it isnt so obvious. This can have the added benefit of making the links look more 'friendly' to the surfer.

    I dont really know of any way that you can avoid problem #2 as the spyware/trojan responsible would be present on the individual surfers computer and not on your website.
     
    kentuckyslone, Sep 27, 2007 IP
  3. blowingideas

    blowingideas Peon

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    #3
    brilliant, thanks for that info kentuckyslone
     
    blowingideas, Sep 27, 2007 IP
  4. kentuckyslone

    kentuckyslone Notable Member

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    #4
    You are very welcome. You can do a google search or search DP to find many different ways to mask and/or redirect your affiliate links.
     
    kentuckyslone, Sep 27, 2007 IP
  5. JohnMally

    JohnMally Peon

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    #5
    Thank you for your reponse. It helps.
     
    JohnMally, Sep 27, 2007 IP
  6. the Patrician

    the Patrician Well-Known Member

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    #6
    One way that can help with some of them is to create a fake status bar message. This piece of code will still send the user to the appropriate page with your affiliate ID intact but will cause the status bar to show only what you enter in for it to say.

    <a href="affiliate link url here" onmouseover="window.status='information for status bar here';return true;" onmouseout="window.status='';return true;">what shows on the page here</a>

    As for the trojans that replace your ID with theirs, all I can say is to keep trying to teach newbies how to protect their machines with good anti-virus and spyware detectors.

    FYI - Just remember that VERY FEW affiliate merchants will allow you to frame their pages.

    Good luck with your ventures!
     
    the Patrician, Sep 27, 2007 IP
    kentuckyslone likes this.
  7. greatness008

    greatness008 Well-Known Member

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    #7
    any free ways to cloak the affiliate links?
     
    greatness008, Sep 27, 2007 IP
  8. kentuckyslone

    kentuckyslone Notable Member

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    #8
    Yes there are. I recommend using .htaccess to redirect your affiliate urls

    It is very easy to do.

    Here is an example (I intentionally omitted a "t" from urls so they will not be clickable):

    Lets say you have an affiliate link that looks like

    htp://www.someurl.com&id=56887

    But you want it to look like

    htp://www.yoursite.com/catalog/great-product.php

    Just open your .htaccess and enter the following:

    Redirect /catalog/great-product.php htp://www.someurl.com&id=56887

    Note that the subfolder /catalog nor the file great-product.php need to exist nor should they be created

    Now, when someone clicks the link to htp://www.yoursite.com/great-product.php they will automatically redirect to the affiliate site.

    For this example I would recommend that you use your robots txt to block the subfolder /catalog from being crawled.
     
    kentuckyslone, Sep 27, 2007 IP
  9. Zibblu

    Zibblu Guest

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    #9
    I don't really think this is a big issue unless you are selling to other affiliate marketers :) Average Joe on the street has no idea what affiliate marketing is or what an affiliate code is. We tend to be more paranoid than is needed sometimes...

    If you are selling products that are marketed to people who are also affiliate marketers then you may want to spend some time doing these things, but any experienced affiliate marketer will be able to replace your code with his no matter what you do.
     
    Zibblu, Sep 28, 2007 IP
  10. huiz41

    huiz41 Active Member

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    #10
    Very good last post.
    The main reason for using link cloaking is to make your links a little cleaner looking.
    The people who know how to steal commission can do it no matter what the link looks like.
     
    huiz41, Sep 28, 2007 IP
  11. s&ptrader

    s&ptrader Peon

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    #11
    cPanel allows you to do a simple redirect, just create a single html file then put in your redirect affiliate link and its done.
     
    s&ptrader, Sep 28, 2007 IP
  12. 5starAffiliates

    5starAffiliates Well-Known Member

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    #12
    "There are some types of spyware/trojans that can actually "hijack" your affiliate link and replace the identifying part of the url with someone else affilaite ID."

    Actually what typically happens is that whats called a PARASITE
    (which is usually some type of adware or rebate site) pops
    an ad OVER the merchant site you sent your visitor to.
    The ad may say shop here to save of click here for discount.
    So now the PARASITE gets the click and the credit for the sale
    that YOU should have gotten.

    One of the important keys is that PARASITES can only steal your
    commission if the merchant ALLOWS them to be their affiliate.
    Many merchant's like all of our 5 Star programs and some networks,
    like Shareasale - have anti-parasite policies and DON'T allow parasites
    in their programs - so they can't steal your hard earned commissions.


    So a couple other options to protect your commission:

    1) Partner with parasite-free merchants

    2) There's a parameter some networks like CJ and Linkshare used support that told parasites they could not overwrite your links or cookies. I think it was afrc1 or something like that. Trying to find out more for you. I dont think that code is quite right.
     
    5starAffiliates, Sep 28, 2007 IP
  13. blade007

    blade007 Peon

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    #13
    I've recently built my first affiliate site, for a few special products. I hid the links by writing a php file, which then redirected using a 301 redirect to the correct URL. It makes it very difficult to get my affiliate ID link and ID number. It only works for a few products though ... wouldn't want to code a lot of files like that.
     
    blade007, Sep 29, 2007 IP
  14. wiper

    wiper Peon

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    #14
    What's the point in cloacking your links actually...
    You may cloak, redirect 7 times to come finally to the clickbank sales page and I will still know it is clickbank product. So, I can replace the link to mine if I wish.

    My 2 cents about cloaking and redirecting.
     
    wiper, Sep 29, 2007 IP
  15. kentuckyslone

    kentuckyslone Notable Member

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    #15
    Cloaking links can make them look 'neater' and although it may not stop all from changing the link to 'steal' the commission it WILL stop a lot of them.

    In fact there are many affiliate links that once the page is loaded the sub ID's etc do not show up in the address bar.
     
    kentuckyslone, Sep 29, 2007 IP
  16. =Messa=

    =Messa= Peon

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    #16
    That's right. It's not only about affiliates. It's a way it can be done.

    In fact many (if not most of them) sites which are scripted/programmed the way where ID's etc. are visible in URL, do save these information also in cookies. And cookies are something that allows URL's to have no or less parameters there. Cookies can contain ID's etc. as standalone and/or ID's etc. as a set of one or more of them and/or ID's etc. can by "synchronized" by client side and server side unique information. The way it's done is mainly determined by server and by client side "stuff" (e.g. browser) alongside. And the way it's done practically determines the ways how it can be influenced. Also, it's good to know, really professional affiliate programs with good tech base know at least few of these information and they do apply the common way (ID's etc. visible in URL's) intentionally.
     
    =Messa=, Sep 29, 2007 IP