The subject has been revived over the past few days, and I think it’s important to link from my blog to some useful data on the topic of affiliate link cloaking.
Let’s start with a quick definition. To cloak is a beautiful verb that Webster’s Dictionary defines as “to cover or hide with or as if with a cloak,” in other words, to disguise [source]. Link cloaking is therefore link disguising (from bots and/or humans) by hiding the actual affiliate link behind one that doesn’t look like an affiliate URL. Instead of having your affiliate link to Wal-Mart.com’s grills look like this:
You can cloak it to look like something like this:
Why would you want to cloak your affiliate links? My friend Scott Jangro has listed 5 reasons why affiliates cloak links:
- To make long URLs more manageable
- To prevent commission leaks
- Not to look like affiliate sites to search engines
- To prevent passing of “link juice”
- To hide links from “hijackers”
He explained the reasoning behind each of the above in detail, and also listed a few of the ways of how one can cloak links. Read his full post here: Link Cloaking, What is it?
Additionally, see Shawn Collins’ recent post (and video) on the same topic here: Affiliate Link Redirecting And Cloaking.