“People Are Stealing My Commissions” – No They Are Not!

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Posted In: General Chat 

“People Are Stealing My Commissions” – No They Are Not!

This particular subject has been widely misreported and misconstrued for as long as I can remember now. It’s a regular question on forums and in emails:

“What script/software should I use to stop people stealing my commissions”

“My clickbank ID appears in the browser address bar, I’m losing commissions!”

Commission Thief!

Let me first put the world to rights on one point before I continue. What do you think would happen if you replaced my affiliate ID in the URL below with your own and then refreshed the page?

http://www.bartrickstoolkit.com/index.htm?hop=elpasso

You would probably be thinking that I would lose the commission, because you’ve just got rid of my affiliate ID (elpasso) and changed it to your own, so if all goes to plan, you should get the commission and not me.

Well, don’t take my word for it. Let’s try it now, follow the steps below to see who gets the sale.

1. Click here to go to a sales page via my affiliate link. (Opens in a new window)

2. Click on the “Order Now” button at the bottom of the page

3. On the checkout page, scroll to the bottom of the page and you will see the following:

Moi Affy

You can see that the affiliate for that sale would be “elpasso” – which would be me.

Now try and “steal” my commission, I promise I won’t be offended 😉

Go back to the sales page, change the hop=elpasso in the address bar to hop=yourID and push refresh. Then click the order button and see if the affiliate has been changed.

You’ll notice that it still says “affiliate = elpasso”

Is that enough proof that changing the hop = value doesn’t have any effect on who is awarded the commission?

The hop = value, or variable is passed to the page and can be used by the webmaster to perform his or her own tracking amongst other things, it doesn’t actually set the affiliate cookie. The cookie is set when you click on the link, NOT if you change the hop value and refresh the page.

So with that out of the way, why do we bother to cloak affiliate links?

Well, for me the answer is simple. I don’t cloak my links to stop people from stealing my commissions, I cloak them because they look better! Take a look at the 2 links below and tell me which looks better.

http://elpasso.gizmodrake.hop.clickbank.net

http://elpassoblog.com/recs/bar_tricks.php

For me, that is the sole reason of cloaking links – they look better. It’s all very superficial, and the raw links may have a great personality but in this case, for me, looks are everything! 🙂

I was going to end this entry with that, but there’s a bit more info that I’ll share with you, and this is what probably causes quite a lot of your commission loses, but unfortunately there isn’t much you can do to stop it.

The 2 main causes for “stolen” commissions:

1. Having an “affiliates” link on the sales page

If you send a customer to a sales page and the customer can see an “Affiliates” link at the bottom of the page, the customer is likely to click on the link, generate their own affiliate link and buy the product through that link instead of yours – simple but true.

2. Malware/Adware **Play spooky music**

Malware/Adware is not only un-ethical, it’s also a pain in the backside to get rid of if you do become infected!

These applications, once activated on your PC can, and will replace any genuine affiliate cookies they find with their own ID. So for example, if your visitor goes to a site via your affiliate link, the malware/adware will detect that your cookie has been placed, and it will replace it with it’s own cookie – meaning you miss out on the sale.

And that brings to an end my extra little “brain fart” (thanks Pat!) for today.

Just one thing left to show/give you now, and that’s a freebie.

Don’t spend lots of money on fancy affiliate link cloakers – you don’t need them. You can easily make your own links, details can be found here and here.

Or, you can download some free affiliate link cloaking software at the location below – it’s 100% free! (The download contains a number of different items, the item to create the affiliate links is called “Affiliate Diamond”)

http://d9hosting.com/clients/dl.php?type=d&id=6

Feel free to leave any comments or questions.

Regards,
Dan




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Comments

20 Responses to ““People Are Stealing My Commissions” – No They Are Not!”
  1. Dan,

    Had to post – congratulations on not sticking to the ‘party line’ and continuing the utter crap about affiliate/commission theft.

    It rarely happens. A while ago, while undertaking a JV we did a test with John Thornhill and he found that out of 100 or so sales we referred using an obvious affiliate link, just ONE was pinched. To me they’re good odds.

    Yet another Internet Marketing fairy story bites the dust!

    Cheers

    Tony Shepherd

    • Adwello says:

      That’s awesome odds! My top marketing tip for getting clicks through to affiliate pages for a sale is simply to create so much compelling “want it now” buzz in your original post or article or lens that the reader zips hurriedly through your link onto the affiliate sales page and immediately clicks on the big “Add To Cart” button!

      Fact is, when you are an affiliate you are one of a tiny minority of internet users and you worry about every little thing. Instead focus on spreading the word everywhere about you and what you offer. I never focus on numbers apart from a tad of observance to the 80/20 rule in my marketing! 🙂

  2. Denise says:

    They could change the affiliate ID before they click on the link, do not think it happens a lot but I am sure it happens.

    Denise

  3. Dan,
    Absolutely a gem of a post!

    This information is priceless not only for the seasoned marketers, but especially for the newbies trying to get started on a shoestring..

    No more will the fear tactics work for the uninformed, who are lead to believe they need the “newest, best, innovated, clocking device!

    Thank You Sir Dan,

    Al Nelson

  4. Dan (el_passo) says:

    Thanks for the comment Tony, it’s a subject that really annoys me, the amount of time you see “experts” warning people about the commission stealing in un real. Hopefully todays post will stop some of the scare tactics.

    @ Denise, that’s true, but if you cloak your link then they will never actually get to see the raw affiliate link so there will be nothing there for them to change.

    @ Al, thank’s for the comment, it was actually your email earlier in the week that gave me the idea for the post!

  5. Hi Dan

    I am glad you brought this subject up because I have always been suspicious as to the validity of the claims that people are stealing your commission.

    I do cloak via my website ie……cothivale/recommends….only because I think it looks better. BUT…I also follow the link to say Clickbank and make sure that the right affiliate name is at the bottom of their order page.

    As far as I am concerned 99.9% of newbies would probably have no idea how to play around with any links so I think it safe to rule that out as a problem.

    Nobody can alter the links actually on your webpage so that used to puzzle me as to how anybody could steal your prospects.

    That only leaves the visitor to your site that sees something he wants but does not intend you to claim your commission. So he changes the hoplink to his own. Surely this is against Clickbank rules anyway that you cannot buy through your own link and if you get caught they will cut you off.

    The only other route is for someone to see your offer and then google the information for a direct link but if you have been to Clickbank page already then the cookie is in place and so all the clever tactics are in vain.

    I am certainly no expert on this subject but as I said at the start I cannot see how this could ever really be a big problem. No doubt there is some obscure way around the system, there always is but the majority of people in my experience are honest and have no objection to the commission being rightfully paid.
    Thanks again for raising the subject.

    Regards

    Chris

  6. Celine Yong says:

    Hi Dan,

    Thanks for such a great post! I was just looking for such a link cloaking software and I was about to pay for one. I’ve just saved some money and I really appreciate it!

    Have a great day!
    Celine

  7. Paul says:

    Hi Dan,

    Great post, and one that needed to be stated!

    Perhaps there are those out there with somewhat good intentions wanting to warn of the possiblity of commission theft, but on the other hand, could it be that some are just trying to get others to be worked up and worried over something that does not warrant our time to be wasted?

    I think there are plenty of newcomers who “hear” about these horror stories, and they are overwhelmed already, that to have just one more thing to make them work more, keeps them forever spinning wheels rather than working quickly to build their business.

    I do agree with you that the true reason behind the “cloaking” should be to make it look nicer, or to shorten some of the lengthy ones out there!

    Enjoy!
    Paul

  8. RandySmith says:

    Hi Dan,

    It’s nice that I don’t have to agree with you 100% of the time…..

    I know from seeing my CB stats that there are a good few people who do change the links BEFORE they click on them.

    If it shows as http://elpasso.rsmithuk2.net (or whatever the link might be…)
    Then people will copy the link and change the elpasso to their own id.

    That said … Paula at her blog has shown how to set up a redirect link… http://paula-brett.com/blog/how-to-create-a-redirect-page/
    and I have some software that does it all for people on my http://www.MonthlyBargains.co.uk site – which is a free download in exchange for an email addy naturally …lol

    Personally – I would always recommend cloaking a link and changing it into a http://www.mysite.com/Recommends/product – not only does it reduce any chance of links being changed … But it also looks more professional.

    I just wouldn’t go spending $97 on software when you can find it free – or great instructions like Paulas free …

    So there you go
    A different view to some marketers comments here whom I also have a great deal of respect for (as well as my fellow Yorky Dan) ;)…. but I wouldn’t be true to myself if I agreed for the sake of it!

    Warm Regards as ever
    Randy
    http://www.MonthlyBargains.co.uk

  9. Sally says:

    Hey Dan,

    Always good to keep your commissions. nice post, keep up the good work.

    Sally 🙂

  10. zowoco says:

    Yes, I agree, do every thing you can to make your affiliate links user friendly.

    Because people will feel elpassoblog.com/recs/newoffer is always going to look more credible than 123amazingaffiliatejunk.com/cgi.x?agentid=345TREW321wwkih6HHgvv56789andrefid=tyr654IKH76gTr59876pwqb

    I mean come on! But for me the primary reasons are
    1. it makes me feel good!
    Does that sound silly? I feel organised, on top of the game and ready to go. I feel I have checked out a product that has much to offer my prospects. I feel I am proud to be associated with this affiliate product. And therefore I feel I want to go all-out to promote it!
    2. if this affiliate product is so hot I think it will benefit a lot of people online then I actually go as far as to register a domain and redirect with URL forwarding. Because I feel A1 about this domain now: it really has something to offer!
    3. my new domain pointing at the affiliate offer must be catchy and memorable – so now instead of an affiliate link, or even a cloaked URL, I have the ultimate: a specific domain which I can reel off the tongue easy as you like!

    Here are three examples of domains I use – none uses my own hosting, yet with these redirected URLs I feel proud as a webmaster!
    http://www.zowoco.com
    http://www.zowocomarketing.com
    http://www.passion8adsense.com

    Now I really feel ready to promote actively, it’s like I have given my promotions a platform for success. What do you think? Perhaps this idea will help your affiliate promoting!

  11. Justin Case says:

    Interesting post Dan. Good to know information and some nice differences as well. In the end I guess we do not need to really worry about it, at least outside of the IM world.

    Keep up the great information and thanks bunches.

  12. Jim says:

    Being new to website marketing, but seasoned in computer security, I find this post to be both misleading, and incorrect. Possibly worse, is the false sense of security it creates for noobs who want to believe they are safe.

    Most ‘successful’ malwares these days are created by sophisticated, talented, hackers from all over the world. Successful means your AV scanners haven’t detected it because there’s no definition for it yet in the AV definitions list, also called a 0day or zero day attack (Google it). You are only considering direct url editing in the browser for this article. Not good.

    “IF” infected with the right malware (your customers), the browser clicks can be intercepted from within using the malware already running on their pc. As the code is sent to your browser to create a page for display on screen, the affid, pubid, click bank id or whatever code the hacker has defined, can be intercepted and replaced as the page is being downloaded.

    If your affiliate ID is cloaked, then you have hidden that ID from being intercepted/processed in the browser. POST data can be manipulated BEFORE its sent to the server for processing. However, a cloaked link is processed by the web server and not your browser.

    Believe what you like, but this article is wrong, and you MIGHT be losing more than you think.

    • Dan (el_passo) says:

      Hi Jim,
      Thanks for the comment, you are right in what you say about the cookies that get hijacked via Malware/Spyware on a users machine, but this post wasn’t referring to that.

      It was simply to dispel the myth that going to a sales page and changing the hop variable to another userID and refreshing the page would cause the original affiliate to lose commission, which it wouldn’t.

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