If you’ve been around me for more than a few minutes you probably already know I’m a big proponent of cloaking your links.
Not necessarily to slow down link-hijackers — that’s just a fringe benefit. The main reason is so you can know where your traffic is coming from.
Plus, by cloaking your links you are able to change the redirect (where the link sends the person who clicked) at the drop of a hat. Why would you want to do that? Let me give you a real-world example.
I like to promote products and services that have an affiliate program, but if the “best” option doesn’t have one, I’m not going to promote the second choice just so I can make a commission.
NameCheap, for example, is where I register all my new domain names. They don’t have an affiliate program so I make nothing by promoting them, but I think they’re the best.
However, I still cloak the link when I promote them because one day they may start an affiliate program and all I have to do to capitalize on all the links I’ve used for them is to change the redirect to use my new affiliate link.
Voila! Instant affiliate links — in all the forum posts, blogs, articles, ebooks, special reports — everywhere that I’ve promoted NameCheap.
Today I found out my link to HostGator (my absolute favorite web site hosting provider) was not working because of a problem with my Commission Junction account. I still don’t know what that problem is, but in about 15 seconds I had the HostGator-generated affiliate link in place — so all the links out there are once again going to HostGator via my affiliate link.
If you’re not cloaking ALL your links you’re in danger of losing a lot of money. And don’t rely on a 3rd-party link cloaker such as bit.ly or tinyurl — you need something YOU control. Those other guys could go out of business at any time and then your links are toast.
The best all-around link cloaker/tracker on the market is my Sonic Sneak. It’s web-based so you can use it from any location, even when you’re on the road without your laptop. Second choice is my Cloak and Tracker software which runs on Windows and Mac.
Whichever one you like, get one and put it in place right away. Cloak your links starting today and you don’t have to worry what happens down the road — you can change the destination for all your links in the blink of an eye.