The concept of affiliate marketing is pretty straight forward: send a reader to the reseller site with your affiliate ID and earn a cut of the resulting sales. The problem is sometimes a reader won’t click on the affiliate link right away. However, instead of coming back to your blog to find the affiliate link, they just directly enter the URL of the reseller and buy the product. The reseller made a sale but you just lost an affiliate commission.
The above is one of the reasons I always hide my affiliate links behind a redirect. If the reader wants to visit the reseller, they must click on the affiliate link. Hovering over my links will reveal my redirect URL and not the affiliate URL.
Once you get a reader to visit the affiliate site, your affiliate cookie/ID will be set on their computer. Once the cookie is set, you don’t have to worry if the reader doesn’t buy or sign up right away. They can even leave the site and come back another day (even if they don’t use your affiliate URL anymore). As long as they make a purchase before the cookie expires, you’ll get your cut of the sale. Most affiliate programs offer a 30 to 90 day cookie.
The problem with the above is you still need to get the reader to the affiliate site in order to set the cookie. Here’s an evil way to do that without requiring the reader to click on anything.
Embedding The Cookie With An IFrame
An IFrame allows you to embed another HTML page inside the current webpage. What you do is load the affiliate page into your current page with an IFrame but make the IFrame so small that the readers can’t see it. Here is the code to do it.
<iframe src="http://your-affiliate-url.com" width="1" height="1" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe>
The above code opens up the targeted URL in a tiny 1 pixel by 1 pixel frame. It’s so small, it’s not visible on the webpage. However, because the affiliate page is there, the cookie gets set!
Now I can say, “Hey! Check out AuctionAds and make money online” without using my affiliate code in the link URL and I would still get credit for signing you up if open up the AuctionAds home page with my affiliate ID in an iFrame.
Yes, this is a very evil way to set an affiliate cookie on a reader’s computer. Because of the evilness, not all affiliate programs will allow you to do this. You need to check with the program to make sure they allow the embedding of an invisible IFrame. Most affiliate programs won’t allow this and will ban you if you try it.
*Update: Just found out that AuctionAd doesn’t allow an IFrame to set cookies so use the above as an example only.