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Affiliate marketing is one tough business. Everyone online today is looking to make or save money in any way they can.
In the good old days when internet marketing was in its infancy, most of the people who clicked on your affiliate links used to purchase without a second thought... but, now as times are getting tougher, and visitors getting more cynical, you'll be amazed at the number who won't!
Just one flaw in a system and you will find dozens of unscrupulous people waiting to exploit it. Same goes for affiliate commission tracker systems. People who know how to manipulate the system will replace your affiliate ID with theirs and "hijack" your commissions.
Most affiliate links are some form or the other of http://www.thesite.com/?YOURID
Where your affiliate id is passed as a parameter. A thief has to simply change the "YOURID" part to "HISID" to put your money in his pocket.
In other cases, there are visitors to your site who simply can't stand the thought of you "making money off them" so they bypass you by simply chopping off the end of your affiliate link that contains your ID.
Instead of buying from http://www.thesite.com/?YOURID -- the bypasser will simply "chop off" the affiliate ID at the end and simply buy from the plain URL http://www.thesite.com/ --without your affiliate ID attached!
Bam! you just got cheated out of your rightful commission.
Studies have shown that this phenomenon causes about 30% lost sales.
By following some of these simple tips you will be able to, if not all, at least confuse most hijackers and, in many cases, often disarm them completely.
You might notice i said most and not all. This is because if the hijacker is well versed at html and javascipt he will be able to eventually get to your affiliate link. However, most hijackers are just opportunists who will only act if they see an easy buck and its this segment that we can beat
This way your "naked" affiliate link is not exposed in your actual email messages and ezine ads, but, once people get redirected to the true affiliate link.
One possible drawback of this method is that some affiliate programs, like clickbank for example, expose the affiliate link along with your ID in the browser address bar.
So if the viewer is eagle-eyed he will notice that he has been redirected through and affiliate link.
A safer method to hide your affiliate links is using a zero-frame or "invisible" frame that masks the affiliate link by making it appear you are sending people to a page on your website. In reality, you are actually sending them to your affiliate link.
This technique is also used by many domain redirection service sites.
Unfortunately if the user views the source of the page. He know that you've loaded an affiliate link.
Even though there isn't a 100% perfect solution to this problem, if you want to get paid more often through your affiliate links, make sure it's not obvious you're referring people to an affiliate link.
If they can't see that its a affiliate link, lower the possibility of you getting stiffed of your commission.
If you are looking for a tool that lets you do all this plus earn affiliate commissions even from those folk who don't click your affiliate link then do check out Covert Affiliate
Satyajeet Hattangadi is the Owner of Novasoft Inc, a software solutions provider, who specialize in affordable customized software solutions.
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