How To Mask Your Affiliate Links – And Why You Should

Mon, Jul 19, 2010

Marketing Strategies

Did you know there are people out there that will steal your Affiliate commissions, And you probably won’t even know they took your money!

Apparently these thieves have discovered a way to alter your Affiliate Link so that your commissions are credited to their account.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I put alot of effort into marketing my Affiliate products and I sure don’t want to risk losing my commissions.

Now, there is a way to remedy this by doing what is called domain masking. What this means is that your Affiliate Link will be masked as a different url in the address bar, thus thwarting the would be thieves from stealing your hard earned commissions.

I discovered a cool little tool that will allow you to mask your Affiliate Links and at the same time shorten the links as well. And it’s not that difficult to do!  Here is the link for that tool.  (webstarthelp.com/forwards.html)

This tool is used in conjunction with your website hosting account.

I am going to show you via a screencapture video demonstration  how to mask your Affiliate Links.

My website is hosted by Hostgator.com so this demonstration will be most helpful to those of you who have your websites hosted by them as well. However if your website is hosted by Go-Daddy, or some other company, the process is very similar but you will have to contact the technical support people at your hosting account for detailed instructions.

Watch the video below.

If you found this to be useful information please leave a comment in the box provided below. Also retweets and bookmarks are very much appreciated!

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This post was written by:

Joe McDevitt - who has written 47 posts on Joseph McDevitt.com.


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50 Responses to “How To Mask Your Affiliate Links – And Why You Should”

  1. Roe Fisher Says:

    Excellent information Joseph. This domain forwarding technique is very timely for me, as I’m doing a mailing for one of my programs this morning. :-) Good deal!
    Roe Fisher´s last blog ..Why you need a profile on SWOM…My ComLuv Profile

    Reply

  2. MaryKay Edelen Says:

    Hi Joe,
    Thanks for the great information. I never realized someone could steal commissions from your affiliate links.
    MaryKay
    MaryKay Edelen´s last blog ..The Power Of TribesMy ComLuv Profile

    Reply

    • Joe McDevitt Says:

      MaryKay, Yes they can & they will steal your commissions. So go ahead and mask your links. You’ll be glad you did! Thanks for your comment!

      Reply

  3. Dave and Dawn Cook Says:

    Joseph,
    It is amazing what others will due to try to take advantage of those who are willing to put in the effort to build their online business, but it’s not amazing that there are great people like you, Joseph, who gives us the strategies to protect our businesses. This industry, through its focus on self development, is producing so many people of great integrity who only want to help others. So many of these great people have come together in TSA and Dave and I are so honored!
    We so appreciate you sharing this critical information with us as well as the solution! Thanks!
    Dawn and Dave

    Reply

    • Joe McDevitt Says:

      Dawn & Dave, Than you so much for your kind comment! I appreciate the opportunity to be part of the TSA! It’s truly a great group of people sharing a common interest.

      Reply

  4. Joseph Says:

    Wow Joseph – Great tip! The cool thing about this tip is that you also get a hit on your blog when you send people to your affiliate link, and this helps with your alexa score.

    All bloggers are always trying to lower their Alexa score, becuase that allows you to get more traffic!

    Great tip!

    Joe

    PS, I might have to steal this tip for my blog :) Up until now it was my secret :)
    Joseph´s last blog ..Herbalife Review – Lose Weight Now- Ask Me How!My ComLuv Profile

    Reply

  5. Joe McDevitt Says:

    Joe, Yes it is a great way to lower your Alexa rank. It’s ok if you use this tip on your blog.:) Thanks for your kind comment!

    Reply

  6. Howie Perks Says:

    Hey Joe,

    Great article. There is also a way to mask and track links and build your “Brand” as well. It’s a really cool Plug-In for your blog called “Pretty Link” . Check it out and then pass it on to others. I just found it and love it so far! Thanks for the value!!

    In Success,
    Howie Perks
    Howie Perks´s last blog ..Travel MLM Why WorldVenturesMy ComLuv Profile

    Reply

  7. Tanya MacIntyre Says:

    Thanks for the great content, Joseph.

    Yours is definitely one of the best blogs I’ve seen. Clean, easy to read… very attractive.

    Thank you for your inspiration and leadership!

    Warm regards,
    Tanya

    Reply

  8. Christine Casey Says:

    Hi Joe,

    Wow! I had no idea that affiliate links could potentially be something others could steal – thanks for sharing the info!

    Christine
    Christine Casey´s last blog ..It all begins by taking small bites of the elephant…My ComLuv Profile

    Reply

  9. Lloyd Dobson Says:

    Hello Joseph,

    Great content on your blog. You certainly share a lot of real value and I enjoyed this post concerning masking your affiliate link. There certainly are those who are looking for something for nothing. Our prisons are full of them.

    My FREE Marketing & Training System gets into some of those areas as you have shared.

    Make it a great day!

    Lloyd Dobson :)
    Lloyd Dobson´s last blog ..Become The Sponsor You Never Had My ComLuv Profile

    Reply

  10. Rafael Cantu Says:

    Thanks Joe….You always have useful information. Some of these things seem like they would be self-explanatory but I can tell you from experience I have spent hours trying to figure out what you just showed in a couple of minutes!

    Always balancing,

    Rafael
    Rafael Cantu´s last blog ..Tips To Balance Your Work From Home “Life”My ComLuv Profile

    Reply

    • Joe McDevitt Says:

      Rafael, I know exactly what you are saying! Trying to learn some of this technical stuff can sometimes be elusive. I just stay persistent until I find the answer I’m looking for. Thanks for your kind comment!
      Joseph McDevitt

      Reply

  11. Joanna Sayers Says:

    A great idea but I’m having so many IT problems it’s hard to know where to start. I’ve been trying to mask aff links for a while but had no success .. will give your system a go as soon as I’ve fixed everything else :)

    Reply

    • Joe McDevitt Says:

      Joanna, If you have any problems just come back and click on my ask me button, and let me know how I can help you. Thanks your for your comment!

      Reply

  12. Johanna Brem Says:

    Hi Joe,

    I am hosting my accounts with GoDaddy but will give it a go. Thanks for going into so much detail by doing a screenshot that even technophobes like me can follow it.

    Much appreciated
    Johanna
    Johanna Brem´s last blog ..This Weeks Free WebinarMy ComLuv Profile

    Reply

    • Joe McDevitt Says:

      Johanna, I’m sure Go-Daddy support can help you through there process, probably very similar. Thanks for your comment!

      Reply

  13. Kellie Frazier Says:

    I’ve been noticing quite a decrease in my affiliate commissions so this makes me wonder if that’s what’s happening, but how would I know for sure? I appreciate you and this post Joe, so thank you for sharing how to be more aware and take the proper action to correct it.

    Kellie
    Kellie Frazier´s last blog ..Pillar 7My ComLuv Profile

    Reply

    • Joe McDevitt Says:

      Kellie, it is quite possible someone is taking your commissions, mask your links and this will stop them. Thanks for your comment!

      Reply

  14. Nicole Rushin Says:

    What else will they think of to steal? Amazing the things they think of. Thanks for this info.
    Nicole Rushin´s last blog ..Blogging- Crogging and Lessons in Key Word TagsMy ComLuv Profile

    Reply

  15. Peter Fuller MBA Says:

    Thanks for the tip Joe

    and do check out Pretty Link, nice plugin
    Peter Fuller MBA´s last blog ..How has my business grown since I started my blogMy ComLuv Profile

    Reply

  16. Beth Allen Says:

    Really great, tutorial, Joseph! I had no idea people could steal our affiliate commissions….grrrr! I will definitely mask my links in the future. Thanks so much!
    Beth Allen´s last blog ..The 5 P’s of Powerful MarketingMy ComLuv Profile

    Reply

  17. Joe McDevitt Says:

    Hey Beth, Yes people can and will take your hard earned commissions. So yes, mask your links to protect against it. Thanks for your comment!

    Reply

  18. rebeccahappy Says:

    I have a prettyLinks pluggin on my WP blog…are you familar with it?..I think it masks as well allow yo to track it by slightly altering the name.
    If you have anything to say about it I would appreciate your insight. I love using it. A link will always appear with your domain and a code like http://rebeccahappy.com/code…this link does not lead anywhere but that is what it could look like.
    I love coming by your blog. It is always full of really helpful information
    rebeccahappy´s last blog ..Moving The FREE LineMy ComLuv Profile

    Reply

    • Joe McDevitt Says:

      Rebecca, I have heard of that plugin, I have not checked it out yet, but I will. Thanks for your comment!

      Reply

  19. Moondancer Says:

    Great article, I believe Commission Junction lets your mask your links (or at least they used to– I used CJ on a few of my older websites.) There are many affiliates that don’t, such as Amazon. Nice tutorial, it would be frustrating to build your affiliate links and have someone steal them from you. I haven’t heard of Pretty links, but I’ll be checking it out.
    Moondancer´s last blog ..Getting motivated What’s your inspirationMy ComLuv Profile

    Reply

  20. Tess Robinson Says:

    Fantastic info Joseph. This was really clear and helpful and exactly what I needed. I appreciate your getting back to me so quickly and being so helpful. I had a look at the Pretty Link plug in at wordpress but I didn’t think it did exactly what you have shown. I have a feeling the aff id/link was still showing somewhere when I tried using it. But maybe I’m wrong…not being a techie.
    Tess Robinson´s last blog ..Blogeterycom’s 70-000 Set to Get Their Blogs Back UpMy ComLuv Profile

    Reply

    • Joe McDevitt Says:

      Tess, I’m so glad it worked out for you! If you need any help with anything just contact me. Thanks for your comment!

      Reply

  21. Steven Winata Says:

    Joe, thanks for the tutorial! I’ve always used the forwarding feature in Hostgator but the problem is it’s just forwarding, not masking the link. Do you also do the same thing with your affiliate banners?
    Steven Winata´s last blog ..Traffic Geyser Trial Re-openedMy ComLuv Profile

    Reply

  22. Deborah A. Ten Brink Says:

    Joseph, I was aware that people could steal your hard earned commissions but didn’t know of any easy techniques to frustrate the thieves! Thank you so much for all your hard work helping so many to have the tools that are so vital to their online success!

    Warm regards,

    Deborah
    Deborah A. Ten Brink´s last blog ..Making Money Online First- Find the Passion in Your Life!My ComLuv Profile

    Reply

  23. Cathryn Konek Says:

    Hi Joe. Thank you so much for this information! I didn’t realize till now that someone could steal my commissions! I will follow your advice. Thanks alot!
    Cathryn Konek´s last blog ..Switching Gears…My ComLuv Profile

    Reply

    • Joe McDevitt Says:

      Cathryn, Yes they can and they will steal your commissions. Please mask your links! Thanks for your comment!

      Reply

  24. Linda G. Cox Says:

    Joe~
    Thank you very much for teaching this very valuable content! I appreciate the hand-holding while I learn this skill! I’m saving this blog in my files so I can pull it out when I need it! Thank you!
    ~Linda
    Linda G. Cox´s last blog ..Generation YMy ComLuv Profile

    Reply

  25. Josh@Network Marketing Consultant Says:

    Fantastic article and video Joe,

    I had absolutely no idea that there are people out there who actually make the effort to hack into your links like that, just so they get the affiliate income that you have worked hard for.

    I guess there is always going to something new to watch out for these days.
    Josh@Network Marketing Consultant´s last blog ..Tips for Network Marketing – FREE GuideMy ComLuv Profile

    Reply

    • Joe McDevitt Says:

      Josh, Yes, be careful because there are people that will hack in and alter your affiliate links. Thanks for your comment!

      Reply

  26. Charles Says:

    Joe,

    I am looking at options.

    What is the difference between using this technique and using the plugin for WordPress “Pretty Link” Pro version?

    I see lots of talk about cloaking and masking.

    In the end Pretty Link seems easy to use and is only $97 for unlimited sites.

    Although your technique is free, I am considering the time it takes to update in the FTP opposed to in WordPress Pretty Links (which is only about 30 seconds effort per link).

    All I want to do is redirect people using a unique page link I create on my blog to my affiliate product in a way that clients don’t see the affiliate link.

    What are your thoughts?

    Thank you,

    Charles Bodi

    Reply

    • Joe McDevitt Says:

      Hi Charles,

      It sounds like you have a good grasp on what your trying to do and I guess the only difference is my way is Free and Pretty Link is $97. If you are trying to save time then I would by all means purchase Pretty Link because it is alot faster, plus if you are going to be masking alot of links it will make it much easier.

      Regards,
      Joe

      Reply

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