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On some sites with pages about an affiliate program, I see a text or image link that goes to the affiliate advertiser and I can see the affiliate linking info.
On the same page there will be another image which links to the same site, but no info, just a link to somemerchant.com.
Looks like the affilate would get credit for the first two links but not the third one. Each seemed to have equal likelihood of attracting my click.
I must be missing something. Would appreciate any help on this.
It depends. For example, CJ has an option for a publisher to hide tracking information, converting the link to somemerchant.com. Probably you've seen a page with different types of links - hidden and not hidden.
It's up to publisher to decide which link to use. If you want to earn money - there should be a link with tracking, if not - just a link to a merchant site.
The technologies associate an affiliate id with a domain, so the affiliates can link directly to the merchant URLs.