Affiliate Marketing is all about generating enough traffic to your site and then when they are there – encouraging them to click on your link to buy someone else's product via you. You then get a slice of the purchase price for your efforts. However the whole process is open to unscrupulous people who can take your money from you. It is all down to a little known thing called Commission Theft.
Commission theft is rife amongst people who click on affiliate links. Now I have to say that most of the people who click on one of your links do not realize what it is. They have never heard of affiliate marketing and even if you tell them what kind of link it is they will not do anything with that information. However as with most things today there is a small group of people who will exploit your link and prevent you from getting your hard earned cash. What they will do is see that it is an affiliate link and then sign up to that program themselves, get their own link and click on it saving themselves 50 – 75% off the purchase price (depending on the commission).
Now you understand the problem – how can it be prevented? Well the first thing is to sign up with an affiliate program that makes it hard for people to find the program and sign up to it. For example one such program I use only signs you up as an affiliate after you buy one of their products. This program is also able to track where that lead first came from. This means that even if someone clicks on your link and then tries to buy it via their own link you will still get the commission – very clever. The issue is, is that these types of features are only offered by very few programs.
The best way to prevent your hard earned tasks from being taken is to cloak the link. This is to change the link into something else, so it does not look like an affiliate link. The new link will then re-direct to the product site and you will still earn your money. There are several ways to do this, but the simplest one I have found is called Easy Redirect Script, which you install on your own site. You can use sites like tiny url or bitly, but these links look odd making people less included to click on them. Easy Redirect Script makes the link into something from your own domain, so you have complete control of it.