Text Link Ads Switches To Tinyurl

This is the reason I use redirects in all my affiliate links. I’ve received an email from Text Link Ads saying they are changing their link structure to tinyurl.


As a Text Link Ads affiliate we’re pleased to let you know that we’ve begun using tinyurl.com to shorten and secure our affiliate referral links. We encourage you to update your affiliate links using the following:

Homepage URL: http://tinyurl.com/2qa5lm
Starter Promo URL: http://tinyurl.com/2mpf4z

** Please note that our old affiliate urls will no longer work in one week so please update today.

Thank you!

Personally, I think this is the dumbest thing in the world. TLA affiliates who don’t hide their links behind a redirect file will have to update every single page that has the old affiliate URL in it. That could potentially be a lot of work. Another problem is many web surfers don’t trust Tinyurl because they don’t know where it may take them.

Luckily for me, I link to my Text Link Ads affiliate page using a redirect file. All I have to do is update the URL on that file and every link to Text Link Ads on this blog will use the new URL. I hope you guys did the same thing!

81 thoughts on “Text Link Ads Switches To Tinyurl”

  1. Alan says:

    Good idea! Thats cool that you did that so that you don’t have to go back and change ALL your links now.

    Luckily I haven’t started using the TLA affiliate program yet. I might use your idea once I do, though!

    1. That is a pretty stupid move by Text Link Ads. I also received the email on this.

      The funny thing is, this “move” doesn’t secure anything about the referral URL. All you need to do is stick a “preview” in to the tinyurl and you can find what URL it is redirecting to.

      From the example link your post, all you would need to go to is http://preview.tinyurl.com/2qa5lm to find the destination.

      1. ashxx says:

        and you can always enable preview for all tinyurls, so anytime you click one you will get a preview.. which i highly recommend

  2. Dave says:

    Totally agree with you here. Plus, TLA, which I consider to be a search advertising company, won’t get any “link love” from the now redirected links. Sigh.

    1. Agreed, it was a good idea, and a bad idea… all at once. Mostly a bad idea… ouch. 😳


      1. Shaun Carter says:

        I got this e-mail the other day as well. This could potentially prove pretty nasty for TLA when it comes to their own backlinks and SE rankings. I imagine the majority of affiliates are not already re-directing traffic to TLA, so they will lose a significant number of direct backlinks from this decision.

        I also don’t care for those shortened URL’s for the exact reason John mentions… with the possibility of all kind of nasty surprises on the other end.

        1. I actually have the phobia to click on tinyurl that i might end up in a infected website.

          Just yesterday i decided to use mask URL’s with .htaccess and later at night i received the email from Text Link Ads, it saved me to the time to update twice the affiliate referral URLs.

        2. When was the last time you saw TLA ranked? They aren’t anywhere to be found in Google at least.

    2. KingJacob says:

      they are getting the same amount of link love as before because google already devalues affiliate links, plus when you have as prolific an affiliate program as TLA has who needs “link love”.

      1. Dave says:

        I’ve never heard of Google devaluing 301/302 affiliate links, like TLA was prior to this change? Where did you hear that? How did you come up with that? Thanks.

        1. KingJacob says:

          I deduced or induced 😕 it based on what google has to say in their quality score writeup.

          1. Dave says:

            In my opinion, Google values 301/302 affiliate links the same as regular links.

  3. Todd Austin says:

    Just received a similar email also. I have been using the redirect method for a few years now, and it definitely makes it easier to update urls sitewide for affiliate links. 😀

  4. I thought I was using redirects on all mine but just double checked and found an old banner. Ones weeks notice isn’t much either.

  5. James says:

    This is one of the most annoying parts of affiliate marketing. I think some companies change links just so they can avoid paying commissions since the tracking is no longer valid.
    I am not saying that is why Text Links is changing, I am just saying it is difficult to keep track of all the affiliate links that are changing so often.

  6. Martin says:

    my mail to them after i received this earlier today:

    Hey TLA,

    just to let you know,

    this is by far THE MOST STUPID thing i heard in years. It is so
    unproffesional i thought it’s some kind of joke, but you probably mean it seriously. you let me down a big way.



    1. Why is it unprofessional? If you’ve been in affiliate marketing for any time at all you’d know that it happens quite a bit.

      1. Martin says:

        well i am in this business for 5+ years and i’ve never heard of someone using tinyurl for affil links. mostly spammers, hackers and malware creators use it to hide their page, but a proffesional firm?

    2. Geedos says:

      I’d be interested to see the response to this. Can you post it on here when you (or if!) you hear back from them?

    3. ashxx says:

      it is very cheap and unprofessional, but than again look at their website? It looks cheap and unprofessional.. They need a redesign and a new owner 👿

  7. Gecko says:

    could this be some kind of prank or hoax? why in the world would Text Link wants to use tiny url redirect? they could easily afford a new URL.

  8. Cigar Jack says:

    You can bet from now on I’ll be using a redirect link. I wish I was already using it.

  9. Click Input says:

    I actually thought this was spam and deleted it, the idea is SO stupid!

    1. Leroy Brown says:

      I thought it was spam too; I actually wrote a post about it before I did my homework. Stupid 🙁

      1. Click Input says:

        Has anyone actually heard from TLA on this? I am still finding it pretty hard to believe…! Your blog post is completely justified!

        1. I added a new referral link 2 days ago and the links you get from within TLA are now tinyurl, so this is ligit.

  10. It’s indeed a very dumb idea.
    When I received the e-mail I initially thought this was a scam but when I checked out the header info I realised it was real.

    1. ashxx says:

      its their downfall, not ours

  11. Marlo says:

    Was there even an explanation why they had to use Tinyurl? How is it more “secure”? Secure against what? Sorry, I don’t get it.

    Sounds like an attempt to short change those sites who forget to update their code. I’m sure those old links will still work, but now TLA doesn’t have to pay the publisher for the referral.

    1. I think they are securing their affiliates against Google. I think Google are going to start really punishing people who sell links from their sites, they could end up punishing all outbound links. One of the easiest ways of identifying these sites is to look for an affiliate link to those “paid links” services. By using TinyUrl it protects their affiliates. That’s the only reason I could ever see for this.

  12. KingJacob says:

    I have luckily been using php redirects otherwise Id be loosing alot of referalls cause its not the easiest thing to keep track of all the places you put a referall link.

  13. James Wilcox says:

    I got that email yesterday. I use the same approach as John by having my affiliate links in a php file that redirects to the appropriate landing page. It’s easy to do.

    As far as why TLA is using TinyURL now, I can only guess that affiliate links were being circumvented somehow so people weren’t getting credit for their signups. That’s the only thing that makes sense.

  14. I have already switched to redirects. I only use it for AGLOCO, but it’s quite handy: when I decided to help my girlfriend promote her network, all I had to do was change the ID in the redirect file. Otherwise I would need to change a lot of links manually.

    Now, tinyurl? That was stupid! I always avoid clicking those links.

  15. As John suggest, I did the same :mrgreen:

  16. Over to you TLA, Justify or defend your action. We need reassurance from Patrick Gavin that we would not be short-changed on referral commissions.

  17. Yeah I got the message also, I thought it was a bit dumb but I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be legit, so I changed my links which, thankfully, weren’t too many.

  18. In new referral link, we cannot add your TLA affiliate ID to our inventory link so we might loss signing up any new advertisers 🙁

  19. xd1 says:

    Something is really wrong with this in my eyes.

  20. I just blogged about this. I found a plug-in to handle this. I’m one lazy blogger. It works great.

    How to do redirection in WordPress

    1. Geedos says:

      Nice idea – and people love plugins because it takes all the hassle out of things. If it works well I’m sure it’ll be popular.

      Lazy blogger = happy blogger! 😀

  21. Matt Robison says:

    Yeah, that just seems….cheap for a business to use something like tinyurl. I don’t know what could have possessed them to do it. Seems like it just creates another unnecessary step for them.

    1. I was thinking unprofessional but cheap describes it very well.

  22. This seems both incredibly stupid and shady. Why in the hell would they use tinyurl? This seems like a way to obscure what is really going on. Does ANYBODY really trust tinyurl? I would love to hear directly from TLA about this because I got the email and I thought it was SPAM until I read this post.

    1. KingJacob says:

      I know why wouldnt they just use a domain owned by them to do redirects or even nofollow affiliate links.

  23. Phamen says:

    I got this news through email. I changed my link.Hope it will go well.

  24. Kirsty says:

    I thought at first this was some sorta scam. I couldn’t work out what the advantage would be for TLA and I’d never heard of TinyURL. Fortunately for me I only added my first TLA affliate link the other day so no big dramas.

  25. Markus says:

    This email is spam. now everybody is using the affiliate-link of the spammer… ( just my opinion )

    1. It might just be your opinion but it’s an incredibly uninformed one. Just test the link and see if it doesn’t show up in your stats. Here’s a hint, it does.

    2. KingJacob says:

      Thats one good spammer, they hijacked TLAs database and is now tricking us all into using redirects for our own referall links.

  26. Come on people!!! Think about it for just a minute… have you noticed Text Link Ads anywhere in Google’s SERPs lately? No, didn’t think so. They have been targeted by Google as selling links, which they do, and now penalized for it. So, everyone that linked to them (affiliates this is you) was linking out to a penalized site. So, that hurts your rankings, which then makes your links even less valuable and then TLA loses business. Plus, if it hurts your rankings to link to them, they’ll also have fewer affiliates.

    Basically, this allows people to participate in their affiliate program without Google being able to easily identify them. All you people that didn’t use redirects or jump pages, take it as a lesson but don’t act like it’s some huge injustice.

    1. KingJacob says:

      Thats true they arent even on the front page for text links except an ad, can you say hippocrite, google sells tla a front page link but they wont let them show in the organic listings even though they are one of the main text link sites ❓

      1. Geedos says:

        Yeah they protect the way their search works like crazy, but hey money talks so they’re not gonna stop people throwing cash at them to appear at the top of the sponsored links! As far as I’m aware there are no restrictions on buying front page links on Google either?

  27. I have contacted them on this issue and they would not disclose any information


    But I myself have a redirect so I just update one file and I am safe, but I do not understand why TLA would so such thing.

  28. Mike says:

    I agree with BloggingExperiment
    They can easily create a redirection script/website (anybody can) but choose tinyurl because there are soooooo many people using it and Google can’t devalue all websites using TinyURL.

    In one way, it good that they are using TinyURL because it escapes from Google’s eye. Bad in a way, because many visitors are afraid to click on it. Only way to solve this problem is to use the “jump” script as used by John Chow.

  29. Ted says:

    I’m in the “it’s a dumb idea” camp as well.

    PayPerPost do a similar thing which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago here : http://devilworks.com/2007/08/08/how-pay-per-post-could-be-improved/

    I have no idea why a professional orginisation would use a free service to direct traffic to itself. There is no guarantee that it’s going to be there tomorrow.

    I’ve set up a redirection service like tinyurl on a 5 letter dotcom that I own. If it breaks I can fix it. If tiny url breaks then TLA are screwed until someone else fixes it.

  30. Jack says:

    They will realise what a ridiculous idea this is in about a week when all their referral sales plummet. Using TINYURL, seriously??

  31. Max says:

    Hmm… yeah, this just seems like a bad idea, maybe talk to the CEO Patrick and he might reverse it…


    I received this email too and immediately assumed something was fishy. Check out where the links resolve to using http://tinyurl.com/preview.php?num=##### where ##### is the TinyURL ID. You’ll find it resolves to a URL with a referral code THAT ISN’T YOURS.

    For example, my ID number is 58932 and I was told to use http://tinyurl.com/2rb8y5 . http://tinyurl.com/preview.php?num=2rb8y5 shows that this will take people to http://www.text-link-ads.com/?ref=55169 instead of http://www.text-link-ads.com/?ref=58932 .

    It appears that some jerk is just emailing all the TLA users they can find with fake credentials and telling people to use these codes so that they can scoop up the referral credits.

    Again, THIS IS A SCAM. Do NOT change your TLA links!

    1. John Chow says:

      No, it is not a scam and it is not fake. Just log into your TLA account. go to affiliate program, get banners & text links. Click on get Text link. You’ll see they’ve switched to Tinyurl.

      1. John, how dare you bring logic and reason into a discussion like this? Don’t you know it’s our right to piss and moan and freak out about every little insignificant change thats made to any program or site we use? 🙄 lols 😆 😆

        1. KingJacob says:

          If we couldnt piss and moan what would we blog about? 😐

  33. I agree, it’s the dumbest thing, hell lot of trouble.

  34. Ramkarthik says:

    For those who didn’t cloak the older links, why can’t they first cloak the older links first and then change the php file with the new url instead of changing each and every link? ❓

  35. Will says:

    what… why would textlink ads use a service from tinyurl? I could see reason behind it if they own tinyurl themselves. 😐

  36. I am using my own urls also so I changed just one place 💡

  37. Knuckles10 says:

    When I got this email from TLA i thought it was a phishing attempt and the tiny url they sent me just had their referrer code. Id understand it if they had their own url shortening service, but tinyurl seems so unprofessional.

  38. I have to say I canceled my TLA account. This tinyurl episode was my last straw, unfortunately. Mainly I’ve found their account controls and reporting extremely lacking. Of course, I’m one of those OCD-types who have to know everything that’s going on at every stage. Their service is way too hands-off for me. Why should I trust them by simply installing a plugin and sitting back with virtually no control? And now they have e-mails that look, as Knuckles said, like phishing attempts. I’m sorry you can’t pay me enough to deal with that crap.

    Hell, I was really just going to take my site of there and keep my account open waiting to see if they would improve, but I couldn’t even find a way to delete individual sites – I got so pissed off I just decided to close my entire account. Dealing with TLA has been nothing but frustration for me.

  39. ThomasUkm says:

    I think TLA has done a wrong move…believe they will reconsider and salvage this.

  40. Yeah, I thought it was a pretty strange move by TLA. What happens when tinyurl.com is down?

    Like John says this is yet another reason why you should cloak your affiliate links – I actually wrote an article about this some time ago.

  41. Alistair says:

    The question that keeps popping up in my head is, what do TLA get out of using a service like TinyURL?

    1. ashxx says:

      Many people don’t click referal links, so this is an attempt to mask them as I understand it. They are trying to build off of tinyurls trust and establishment to mask their referral links, though personally i do not trust tinyurls as people only use them when they are hiding something from you

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  43. Wahlau.NET says:

    tinyurl still show numbers and alphabets which looks like a referral link…does not make a big differences

  44. News:
    TLA appears to have heard the message. This is the email I got from them after trying to get clarification on the new tinyurl links:

    “We are working on a better solution and will have it available next
    week. You do not need to make any changes.

    Jonathan Dingman
    Product Manager”


  45. redwall_hp says:

    Hehe. Lucky for me, I have my own redirect system. I’m not using TLA referrals yet, though I intend to in a month or two. I set up a redirect system on one of my domains (I wrote it myself with PHP/MYSQL/mod_rewrite). I can redirect things like http://www.domain.com/go/text-link-ads. I currently use it for a lot of things, like I sometimes print business cards that offer info like “What is RSS?” and a redirect link to a page on my site.

    Once I start using TLA referrals, I’ll probably use my redirector in case they change their links again…

    By the way, TLA, it’s rather unprofessional to use TinyURL for your referral links.

  46. I really don’t like the fact that they changed their affiliate URL especially because I’m certain there are so many people out there that don’t have their affiliate links set up through a redirect file. Fortunately, I’m not one of them, but imagine the people that have mentioned TLA in past blog posts that will have to go back and change their links if they want to receive credit now.

    It should have just stayed the same imo.

  47. Having your entire business rely on a third party like tinyurl is asking for trouble. Tinyurl goes down (or bust, or has the domain stolen, whatever) and what can they do? their users sites are outside of their control, and they can’t update them.

    Never run your urls through a third party! It’s trivial to create your own tinyurl script, so just don’t do it! 😈

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