Viral link cloakers are fairly common these days.

In fact, most of the free link cloakers are automatically viral, even if they don’t advertise it that way. A viral link cloaker performs the main function of a link cloaker, by giving you a URL that is different from your affiliate link to use. But they also put an affiliate link to themselves on your page, so that more people will join the viral link cloaker. The typical benefit from that is that you’re building a list, and may get some commissions later on.

Anyone concerned about losing affiliate commissions has probably looked into link cloaking solutions (or should). By using a URL that is different from your affiliate link, you’re making it harder for someone to substitute their own affiliate link and buy through themselves. That way they get the commission instead of you…good for them, bad for you.

This is mostly a problem with ClickBank products. It’s dead simple and free to get a ClickBank account, and ClickBank doesn’t care if you buy through your own link. They say you’re not supposed to, but there’s nothing stopping you. And many people do, since ClickBank commissions are often quite high. Buying through your own link is like getting a 50% discount on the product in some cases.

I don’t condone buying through your own link, because you really should support the person who finally convinced you to buy. But people still do it.

Using a link cloaking solution means a person looking at a link of yours has no idea it’s a ClickBank link. So to buy through their own link, they’d have to search the ClickBank marketplace to see if the product is listed there. A lot more time consuming than copying and pasting your link and replacing your id with their own. So mostly they click your link instead of bothering.

So if link cloaking is such a good thing, why don’t I use viral link cloakers?

The point of linking out to a page is to have the person take whatever action makes you money on that page. Adding in a link to join the viral link cloaker system detracts from getting someone to take the action that makes you money.

The main advertised benefit of viral link cloaking is building a list for you. But you’re not really building a list, you’re recruiting others to the viral link cloaker. They’ll cheerfully delete any emails you send them about other opportunities, because they joined to get link cloaking.

You’re only building a list when someone joins your list because they are interested in what you have to say. Having a collection of email addresses you can send to is not the same as building a list.

If I want to use link cloaking, I use an ad tracking solution that adds nothing else to my pages. The two I use are Hits Connect and Traffic Wave.

If I want to build a list, then I build a list with a squeeze page designed for that purpose, such as the one for my Traffic Exchange Secrets course

You’ll do much better if you focus your efforts, rather than trying to use a service the uses the Swiss army knife approach.

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