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1st Time Cloaker

Simple Affiliate Link Cloaking



7:28 pm on Aug 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I am developing a new site with affiliate links - my first dabbling in this stuff. I would like to simply obscure the affiliate links - not for users as it is clear in the copy that they will be redirected, but to hide the affiliate numbers. I don't want a 2nd cloaked site behind all of that .. just a simple cloaking of the affiliate link if such a thing is possible.

I need to implement this in a hurry as I'm already getting traffic for some of the long tail key words and thought that I had a little bit longer to mess around with this stuff to try and understand it before the site really start attracting traffic.

So, as I see this, I have two options:

- php script and redirect
header("Location:http://www.example.com") ;
And point the affiliate links to a redirect page?


- an affiliate link cloaking and click tracking 3rd party host.

Which direction would be best considering I need to do this quickly and I don't have an idea what I'm doing?

What can go wrong?

[edited by: jatar_k at 3:49 pm (utc) on Aug. 14, 2007]
[edit reason] please use example.com [/edit]


4:17 pm on Aug 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Personally I think you're better off with a redirect you control. You could build in tracking pretty easily. Stay away from third parties if possible :)


9:05 am on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

If I understood you well you dont want to have this type of links:


Is this right?

If this is the point I recommend you to build one of this two systems:

1.- Make the link look like this:

affID.example.com -> 12345678.example.com

And make a subdomain catch-all DNS entry, in the handler script get the HTTP_HOST and extract affID, then 302 redirect to www.example.com using PHP header('Location: www.example.com');

2.- Make the link look like this:


And make an .htaccess file to Rewrite internally to some handler script (handler.php?affID=12345678) that 302 redirects to main site.

This are just two ideas I just came with, if someone sees some PROs/CONs regarding SEO (redirecting issues, etc...) please discuss here so we can come with a good affID URL system.



4:16 pm on Aug 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

If I understood you well you dont want to have this type of links:
Is this right?

Yes, you have it right. I'll have a closer look at your suggestions. Thank-you.

It would be nice to have an 'easy to follow affiliate link cloaker' method of some kind.


10:14 pm on Aug 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Post here what you want exactly to do and I will try to suggest the best setup, so we can all find the best and easiest way to do this.


12:03 am on Aug 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I'm looking for the simplest way to hide my affiliate account numbers in the various affiliate links. Not for users, but for search engines, scrapers and bots. The users know that they're going to be redirected from the copy on the page.

This is the first site that I am building with affiliate links and I am a newby in this field. It just feels wrong to me to have a link with an affiliate account number easily accessible.

I can do this with
- a php script and redirect the affiliate page and make the directory with affiliate pages not crawlable by search engines?
The problem is that I have a stacks of affiliate links and this is time consuming and management intensive.


- with 3rd party service - I prefer not to do it this way.

What is an easy way, that is not going to get the search engines all in an uproar and will hide those links?


6:42 am on Aug 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

So you are an affiliate, or the business owner who gives to affiliates aff. links?


7:00 am on Aug 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

There are a number of very good reasons to "cloak" or redirect affiliate links on affiliate sites, not the least of which is not letting some merchants dupe affiliates into unwittingly passing link juice to them.

It isn't "cloaking" in the usual sense of the word, and just about every single big affiliate catalog or coupon site uses link redirection (link cloaking). Just keep the page that's being used to traverse the link from being crawled and indexed.


10:19 pm on Aug 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thank-you Marcia for the words 'link redirection'. It gave me the mental breakthrough that I needed.

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