Affiliate link hijacking is a big problem, some people will change your affiliate URL to their own before purchasing a product so they themselves get paid the commission giving them a discounted product.
This problem is far worse if you are promoting to the affiliate marketers crowd as they can spot an affiliate link from 100 yards away! They will just replace your affiliate ID with their own and „hijack“ your commissions.
Some people just simply hate the thought that you will make a commission from their purchase and will just cut off your affiliate ID at the end of the URL. If you don’t take steps to try and hide your affiliate links from hijackers, then you will carry on losing commissions.
Using a redirect php script
This is an easy technique to implement, all you have to do is create a single php file that includes a small piece of code, so if you are trying to promote www-yourID.merchID.hop.clickbank-net then you way create a blank page called, say, http://discounts.php that just contains the redirect script, so the actual link you promote would be www-yoursite-com/discounts.
Unfortunately this technique does have one drawback, some affiliate merchant links will still be visible in the browser address bar, it works great with clickbank products.
Using .htaccess to hide links.
This is works very much the same as the one above except you don’t need to use any scripts, you just need to add a line of code to your .htaccess file.
As with the redirect script above, just create a blank page and upload it to your server, then add the following line of code to your .htaccess file.
Unfortunately this has the same drawbacks as the redirect script method, your affiliate link may still be visible on the merchants site in the browser address bar.
Using a zero-frame to cloak links.
This is the cloaking technique I use most often to hide affiliate links.
Using this method makes it look as if you are sending people to a page on YOUR site, even your URL will be still be visible in the address bar unlike the above cloaking techniques, people will think they are still on your site but they are actually viewing the merchants site.
You simply create a page as mentioned above and insert a few lines of code, I also add a title meta tag to fit the description of the product I’m selling.
However, you MUST test your link before promoting it! This technique can effect the tracking on some sites, so make sure that you will be getting credit for all the traffic you send their way.
How to hide links in a browser.
This technique is used on your website so that when someone hovers over a link, they don’t see the actual destination link in their browser status bar.
So if your actual link was www-affiliateproduct-com/uglyaffiliatelink?123 they would only see http://www.yoursite.com in their browser.
So there you have it, 4 easy ways to hide or cloak your affiliate links, using these techniques will certainly increase your sales and reduce link hijacking.
If you aren’t using any techniques to hide your affiliate links then I can guarantee that you are losing affiliate commissions! You must protect yourself from these hijackers, the harder you make it for people to recognise an affiliate link, the more commission you will make.