Mask and Cloak Your Affiliate Links with LinkTrackr

There are several ways to mask affiliate links – domain forwarding, htaccess forwarding, using a short URL, and with dedicated affiliate marketing software like LinkTrackr. Although you’re more than welcome to try the more complicated ones if you have the technical skills, I would recommend that everyone else use the last option.

If you don’t already know, there are a few reasons why you may want to mask or cloak your links:

  • Protect your affiliate commissions, especially ClickBank commissions
  • Project a more professional approach, like all serious affiliates do
  • Get better search engine rankings by hiding affiliate links from Google

The simple method of just using the given affiliate link is a bad move. When a merchant drops out of a network, or moves to a new network, you have to manually search and replace all those links in a very short time to avoid losing commissions. This is especially difficult if you’re promoting links from multiple networks, and if you maintain many websites or blogs.

By using a masking and cloaking software like LinkTrackr, you get more control over your affiliate marketing campaigns. You can also view all your clicks stats in one central location, which helps you make smarter decisions on where to focus your marketing efforts.

How Does it Work?

I’ve been using LinkTrackr for a couple of months now. It’s extremely easy to use, assuming of course you already understand the basics of affiliate marketing. With LinkTrackr, you can get instant access to solid features without having to install software or mess with web hosting. Here’s what LinkTrackr can do for you:

  • Mask and cloak all your affiliate links in one central location
  • Automatically convert keywords to links in WordPress
  • Analyze your top traffic sources with instant campaign tracking
  • Integrate TID tracking from your affiliate network to track conversions
  • Shorten affiliate URLs (with your own custom domain like I do)
  • Enables readers to share your cloaked link on FaceBook and Twitter

Linktrackr

One of the most unique features in LinkTrackr is the “viral bar”, which can get you a lot of free traffic from FaceBook, Twitter, Google Buzz and StumbleUpon if you use it properly. They also have a “pixel” conversion tracking and split testing feature coming up, which is invaluable if you plan to use LinkTrackr to track sales for your own product.

Is This a WordPress Plugin?

LinkTrackr does come with a WordPress plugin, but unlike Ninja Affiliate, it is not a WordPress plugin per-se. It’s actually a web based software application or SAAS (Software as A Service) type of deal. Currently, you can use it on any type of website you want.

The WordPress plugin they provide merely makes it easier for you to get quick access to your links, plus it also converts keywords on your post and pages automatically to your masked affiliate links. The good news is that you can use it on as many WordPress blogs as you want, without having to recreate your links for each site.

Eventually, the guys at LinkTrackr also plan to have a BlogSpot / Joomla plugin, which could be useful for anyone using those platforms instead of WordPress.

How Much Does it Cost?

The most basic LinkTrackr plan you can subscribe to (LinkTrackr Basic) costs only $9 / month, with 100 tracking links and up to 10,000 clicks per month. That should be good enough to get started with, but you can also try the Pro or Xtreme plans if you already have many affiliate links to cloak and track. You can upgrade or downgrade your account at any time, so you can always start small.

To try LinkTrackr, simply go and create your account. Use the coupon code JOHNCHOW to get 20% off any paid LinkTrackr plans, but there’s also a free option so you can test drive LinkTrackr for one full year.

Make Money as an Affiliate

LinkTrackr also give you the ability to make money from their own affiliate program. The best way to do this is to use the “viral bar” to cloak you links, while using your affiliate link for the credits. The software itself help you do this easily. Unlike most programs, they actually pay you $2 per lead – all someone has to do is signup for the free account.

For any paid account you refer, you get 40% recurring commissions for life. This includes the extra commissions you receive when your referrals upgrade from free to paid plans, or from a cheaper plan to a more expensive one. Similar to the Aweber affiliate program, this can really help you build up a solid stream of recurring income over time. I will have more LinkTrackr trips and tricks in a future post, including how I created my own custom JClink.me short URL. In the mean time, give LinkTrackr a try and tell me how you like it.

Mask and Cloak Your Affiliate Links with LinkTrackr


64 thoughts on “Mask and Cloak Your Affiliate Links with LinkTrackr”

  1. Why use this instead of Maxblog press ninja affiliate? It is a one time payment.. Linktraker you need to pay per month, plus when you decide not to use it anymore all of your links are GONE!!

    1. John Chow says:

      You can keep using Ninja but LinkTrackr offers more. The reporting is far better. Ninja just tells you how many total clicks to a link and that’s it. Information is the most important thing in affiliate marketing. Without it, you’re just guessing. LinkTrackr providers far more information. It also gives you the option to create your own custom short URL for branding. Plus the viral bar is a great way to get others to promote your affiliate links.

      1. Mathew Day says:

        Now I know why so many people talk so highly of LinkTrackr. They really seem to take affiliate link cloaking to the next level.

        1. Exoclyps says:

          Yeah, it seems to have a lot more features then I had initially thoughts.

          1. Hi John,

            That’s a good review post for LinkTrackr. I know you really use it, like it and thus are genuine in promoting it.

            I may decide to use it ast one point but not right now.

    2. I don’t think it’s worth $108 a year to cloak and track your affiliate links. May $20 as a 1 time purchase. If you want to cloak links in WordPress just download Link Hopper, it’s free and really easy to use.

  2. Most of my blogs are hosted by blogger. The Linktracker sounds good to me they could really make a blogger plugin for it.
    John do you have any idea by when they will create a blogger plugin for this.?

    1. I would like to tell you IMsecretsRevealed that blogger does not supports plugins, if you are talking about widgets then it is fine.

  3. Abhik says:

    Sounds like a great service, but I hate softwares (or services) which charge on recurring basis.

    1. Fernando says:

      You have to give back at some point 🙂

      1. After all they also wants to make money.

        What do you think … awebar is also similar.

        1. Fernando says:

          Yeah, that’s why I told you that you have to give back 🙂
          They want to make money as well.
          Well, I think that if you are really making sales through affiliate, you can afford it, it looks really legit and complete. But then, what happens with all the ones who are not doing that well? But also from another point of view, this could be really useful for you to see what’s going on with the leads and sales with your affiliates.
          Awebar? You mean Aweber, right? Isn’t Awebar an email marketer host? I think you can’t compare them, because they are completely different. 🙂

        2. Abhik says:

          Well, TBH, that’s poor mans’ (Like me) choice.

          No doubt Aweber is awesome, but at some point, I’d prefer my own dedicated mail server and email marketing script.

          1. Fernando says:

            What do you mean with dedicated mail servers?

          2. Exoclyps says:

            I could be wrong. But sounds like a server that just focuses on mailing services.

          3. Not using Aweber or similar autoresponder service for email marketing is not a good choice.

          4. Exoclyps says:

            Perhaps it is time for me to look into Aweber and the likes. Even if I don’t really have a lot of readers yet.

    2. I think any services who charge on a recurring basis are not created or designed for a normal person those are for then who are already earning.

  4. Ralph Kooi says:

    Why not use Pretty Link (lite), this is free and works with wordpress and it has your own URL with an extension.

    1. Harshad says:

      There’s also one called simple link cloaker. It’s free as well but the paid ones like Linktrackr and Ninja have more features.

  5. Ivan says:

    Thanks. I didn’t realize you can get better search engine rankings by hiding affiliate links from Google

    1. Fernando says:

      Google hates affiliate links.

      1. Yeah, visitors also hate affiliate links. 🙂

        1. Fernando says:

          Well, I doubt that. Sometimes, if you get good affiliate sites, it turns out to be pretty useful to users too. Of course it may be annoying to some but we would be guessing.
          But going back to the main post, as long as you put the nofollow rel on every affiliate link, you will be ok.

          1. Exoclyps says:

            Well, even if you don’t hate them, they sure look better if you’ve hidden the affiliate link.

          2. Fernando says:

            You mean from crawls right? Just make sure you use a nofollow rel. That’s should be enough.

    2. Mathew Day says:

      This was something new to me too. I guess it does make a lot of sense.

    3. Abhik says:

      Yes!!! and some case studies proved that.

      1. Fernando says:

        Proved what? Sorry I got lost on the comments.

  6. Craig White says:

    John, looks like another great product but I don’t quite understand why I would need this if I already use Ninja Affiliate other than the tool bar option. Can you explain further.
    Thanks
    Craig

  7. Craig White says:

    Sorry John,
    didn’t read the first comment before posting my previous question.
    Thanks

  8. Harshad says:

    I am not sure if I would allow my data to be hosted on someone else’s server. Would go for it if there is a self hosting option.

    1. Fernando says:

      That’s a good point, but then I don’t think they would mess around with it. Why do you mention it?

      1. Harshad says:

        Would you leave your wallet full of money on a road and then keep looking for people who stole the money inside it?

        I am not saying that everyone would misuse the data but prevention is always better than cure 🙂

  9. Information says:

    thanks for the info, I want to try this but if it can be for a blog that is new …

    1. Fernando says:

      I don’t really think this could work on a new blog, because you don’t have that many leads if it’s new. You should try Infolinks, John has posted about it. I think that might work.

  10. fas says:

    This way monthly expenses will increase to the sky.

  11. Tyrus Antas says:

    Unfortunately, some companies don’t allow affiliate links to be cloaked. Does anybody know of any alternatives do deal with this problem?

    – Tyrus

    1. John Chow says:

      Ya, don’t deal with those companies. 🙂

      1. Fernando says:

        That’s a good answer, if you are John Chow 🙂

      2. Great answer. I don’t deal with affiliate programs that won’t give me that kind of freedom.

      3. Exoclyps says:

        Good answer. And I think we actually have that possibility if we want. Considering how we get a lot of extra deals thanks to John.

    2. Harshad says:

      There are two meanings of cloaking… one is cloaking the links which means you are hiding your affiliate link. The other meaning of cloaking is showing a different page to SERPS. The second one is illegal and that’s what most affiliate networks will not allow. The first method should be OK with all… in fact they encourage affiliates to hide links.

  12. Donny Gamble says:

    I personally like MBP affiliate ninja much better because it offers better tracking and the ability to automatically place links based upon keywords within post.

  13. PPC Ian says:

    The first two reasons to use this tool sound very compelling. The third seems worrisome/potentially misleading. Hiding anything from Google is a risky practice and not advised. Although, I don’t really think you’re hiding anything here. Google is most likely smart enough to follow the redirects to the final destination anyways and see that it’s an affiliate link along the way. Another option in keeping ones site clean in Googles eyes is adding nofollow to the affiliate links.

    1. Abhik says:

      Yeah!! Adding nofollow to the affiliated links are the best practice. But Google still can read the link.

      Adding no-follow to a masked link is the safest way and I always do that.

      1. Fernando says:

        Well, my point of view is that the only way is if they manually review your site.

        1. Exoclyps says:

          Well, ofcourse you have to know where you’re linking, masked or not.

          But a masked affiliate link still looks better than a non-masked affiliate link.

          Atleast I’d reather see johnchow.com/nice_ebook over a “ad.eback.com/?sa2322213=232$ab=3” or what you think?

          *the links are made up

          1. PPC Ian says:

            I do agree with that. The masked affiliate links look MUCH better.

    2. Harshad says:

      Google not liking affiliate websites or links is a big myth. The problem is with websites that add no value and are just gateways to the main affiliate site are a problem for Google. The masking is mainly done for users. Most of the people.. for eg. Jum Kukral does not even mask the links.

      1. Fernando says:

        This is what I wanted to say! 🙂

  14. Ivan says:

    fwiw the links in your Blog Sponsors arent cloaked, just in case you’d missed it.

  15. Exoclyps says:

    Very interesting. At first I thought I could use a redirect plugin to get the job done. But reading it through I realize that there is so much more to it.

  16. I don’t think that Google will allow link clocking !

    1. Fernando says:

      Clocking? You mean cloaking 🙂
      They don’t. But I get they cloak it really well.

      1. Oh ! sorry for the wrong spelling
        But i am worrying about this because by using a plugin i cloaked my link and after some day my 75% pages gone from google.

  17. Dan Lew says:

    I just checked out their site, their reporting looks amazing

  18. Steven says:

    Could anyone tell me why you would need extra features on a Cloaking tool?
    Wouldn’t the Cloak be enough?

    1. Harshad says:

      Extra features like clicks, conversions, demographics etc. are very important. You can always look at this data and improvise.

      1. But these informations are only needed when you are getting atleast 1000+ visitors daily.

  19. Jeff says:

    Great info, i’ll check it out.

  20. Tom Weyers says:

    This looks good, I like the way it has the share/ bookmark bar on top. I’m not sure I would want to pay a monthly fee for that though.

    I currently use MBP ninja affiliate and it works, but yes, the tracking is not the best.

    One thing I am really interested in is John’s JCLink.me, I have been thinking about getting my own url shortener/ link tracker, but no idea how. John Henshaw (from raven tools) also has his own link shortener (hen.sh) I would really like to know how to do that.

  21. Why cloak if you have any percentage of risk to get negative results from the master google, it gives a very attractive features should be in use but don’t if thinks will harm you.

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