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Black Hat Affiliate Link Cloaking. Opinions?

Discussion in 'General Affiliate Marketing Forum' started by Rainbow41, Jul 15, 2006.

  1. Rainbow41

    Rainbow41 Affiliate affiliate

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    Okay, I came across this Black Hat link cloaking tool, and am wondering what everyone thinks of it? It has a lot of features that go way beyond your average link cloaker, and some of these features seem questionable, when it comes to ethics.

    On the other hand, it seems like it would be a powerful tool in many ways, and would certainly help any affiliate to potentially increase their earnings.

    I'm just worried about it's potential for abuse.

    Here's the link to the article I found on it:
    Black Hat Affiliate Elite - article

    What would be others opinions on it? Is this a good thing, or something to stay away from?
     
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  3. Linda Buquet

    Linda Buquet <span style="color: #daa520;font-weight: bold;">Me

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    Hi and welcome (I think?)

    "Is this a good thing, or something to stay away from?"

    Most 1st posts that ask or talk about a product are really ads for the product using an affiliate link so I'm suspicious of this post. I assume that's your site and you are doing some 2nd tier recruiting but don't have time to prove it. Prove me wrong??? :p
     
  4. Rainbow41

    Rainbow41 Affiliate affiliate

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    What proof can I give you, aside from my word?

    I'm not actually using this black hat tool, yet. I don't generally use affiliate forums, and I don't even generally use affiliate tools, aside from whatever tools the affiliate programs managers have to offer.

    When I came across this tool though, I thought it did look useful, but I'm looking for peoples opinions on it, because I'm curious, and an affiliate forum is the only place I can think of to get some opinions. I don't actually know a lot of other affiliates personally.

    I'm certainly against adware, and I don't want to jeopardize my commissions for using an adware tool. I'm not so sure this is adware though, it looks like something different, but it also looks like it's bordering on being adware.

    I mainly focus on natural Health and wellness affiliate programs, and you can view my site here if you like: http://www.superhealthhub.com

    Peace
     
  5. StephenR

    StephenR Affiliate affiliate

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    So...do you even need to go any further than that if you already feel it's unethical? Nuff said.
     
  6. Rainbow41

    Rainbow41 Affiliate affiliate

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    I'm not so sure it is unethical.

    Well, I'm not so sure it is unethical. That's why I'm asking.

    Some would say a knife is weapon, others would say that a knife is a tool.

    and which is it? Maybe neither? or Both?

    I'm looking to hear what other peoples opinions are. Isn't that what forums are for? to discuss things, share opinions, ideas, strategies, tips.

    I'm not asking anyone to buy this thing, just to tell me what you think of it.

    Has anyone actually read that article? Or looked at the sales page for the product?
     
  7. Fall-down

    Fall-down New Member

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    I am new to this affiliate thing, it is one thing to use link cloaking. But when you use a program that embeds code that steals another persons commission. Here is a quote from the review page you direct us to in your first post
    "- Taken a step further, this cookie embedding process can also allow the black hat affiliate to embed multiple affiliate cookies into their link for the affiliate program that they?re promoting as well as any competitors cookies. This way, if the customer doesn?t buy from the site you send them to and then later ends up on a competitors? site, the black hat affiliate still earns the commission.

    - Now taking this feature another step further, this black hat affiliate tool can secretly hide rotating affiliate cookies embedded within a webpage. This sneaky tactic allows for cookie after cookie to be added for numerous affiliate programs that are all tracked to the black hat affiliate."


    If you ask me this is wrong, and is stealing from someone else! This small site has 3 different link cloaking products on it.Affiliate Tips
     
  8. Rainbow41

    Rainbow41 Affiliate affiliate

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    Is it wrong to embbed cookies for a competitors sites?

    It does sound sneaky, as the article states, but it's not stealing from anyone else. It's just adding the cookies with your affiliate code so that IF they happen to end up on the competitors site and make a purchase, you will get the commission.

    If the extra cookies weren't added, then no-one would get the commission, right?

    I think generally affiliate programs go by the most recent cookie that was added anyways, so if another affiliate referred them there in the end, they would probably get the commission. I'm not totally sure on that though. Can anyone verify that it works that way? It might be different depending on the affiliate tracking software they use.

    Anyways, I promote multiple affiliate programs for competing products, and I can see this as being valuable to add all the affiliate program cookies at once, then give them the straight urls with no funky "?=affid987678" or whatever. It just makes it simpler, and it's easy enough for the person to get distracted and surf away without going back to your main site to click on the other links you have. Yet, they might end up on one of those pages anyways, and then you just wouldn't get the commission.

    I think it's more a matter of either you get the commission or nobody gets it. Unless they're reffered again through someone elses link, and then that affiliate gets the commission.
     
  9. Nguyen73

    Nguyen73 Affiliate affiliate

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    Depends on how you use it...

    http://www.GoTryThis.com

    Looks like a great tool.

    I've used many link redirector and cloaking tool. However, something seems to be missing from each one of them. So most of the time I end up using more than one to do what I need it to do.

    I find this new tool to be the most complete.

    - I could create redirects and cloaked links "on-the-fly".
    - There's no need to upload.
    - I could rotate different destination URLs to see which affiliate programs pulls better. Returning visitors will always be served the same URL.
    - I could track each and every link click-throughs.

    That's just some of the things that can be done that I haven't seen in other affiliate link cloaker. So far nothing comes close. And I haven't even touched black-hat stuff. So still powerful without the other stuff. So with additional capabilities, does it make it an "unethical" product?

    I don't think so. Unethical or not comes down to the person using it. So where exactly do you draw the line?

    Let's take someone using simple link cloaking method...

    Sure, you have to admit everyone including your most trusted and "ethical" marketers are using it.

    You know...it looks like this: http://www.marketingguru.com/recommends/product.html

    If I am hardcore white-hat and divine I would accuse these guys of stealing stealing content...???

    Most of affiliate cookie method credits the last affiliate. So even IF I drop a cookie on a visitor and that visitor is later referred by another affiliate then I still won't get the commission. The commission is still paid to the rightful affiliate.

    Most of the time it's scumware and the buyer themselves hi-jacking the links. Cloaking tools used correctly prevents/deter this exact issue that we're discussing.

    Okay, I need to go...but that's something to think about.

    Nguyen
     
  10. AndrewJ

    AndrewJ New Member

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    GoTryThis is adware in my opinion.

    It's designed to hijack commissions from other affiliates, and earn commissions from merchants without any real promotion of a product.

    I'm disappointed that some 'gurus' out there are promoting it for quick cash.

    Andrew
     
  11. Cyclops

    Cyclops Affiliate affiliate

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    I bought it and don't agree at all with what you think it does.

    First off, don?t be fooled by the title of the product or the hype surrounding it, a lot of the so called gurus are claiming this is ground-breaking information, and that they?ve never seen anything like it. All those "gurus" are proving is that they are not experienced affiliate marketers. They are just after the affiliate $ from selling the program.

    The techniques are nothing new and the fact is that this ?black hat? resource has very little to do with true back hat techniques and it has nothing at all to do with black hat SEO, which is most commonly associated with the term ?black hat?.

    Most of the techniques are pretty much standard stuff that you could find in any number of affiliate software programs. The good thing about GoTryThis is that it ties a lot of stuff into the one program.

    It?s easy to use, and the reporting functions are great. The techniques are good and the program will save you time, and will add an important dimension to your affiliate marketing business, particularly if you?re not employing basic strategies like link cloaking and split testing. For people who haven't been in affiliate marketing for long it will put the tools in your hands to be able to do some things that would otherwise be difficult for you to do.

    The bottom line is that Yes it is worth the money ..... No it isn't Black Hat, that was a very clever marketing ploy that grabbed attention and got a lot of people to check it out when normally they would have passed.

    Note...no affiliate link in this post and there isn't one secretly embedded in here anywhere either lol.
     
  12. Linda Buquet

    Linda Buquet <span style="color: #daa520;font-weight: bold;">Me

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    Thanks, for weighing in on that Cyclops. I'm very anti-adware especially about parasite programs that steal commish. Wasn't sure about this program. Thanks for sharing your 2 cents.
     
  13. Cyclops

    Cyclops Affiliate affiliate

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    That's ok Linda...I couldn't pass on this one because people are thinking it does stuff like steal commissions when it absolutely does not.

    That said I bet quite a few people bought it on that assumption. They are going to be pretty pissed when they realise it's not going to make them a fortune unethically ;) Serves them right..... :D
     
  14. frogengine

    frogengine Affiliate affiliate

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    Hey Cyclops, cool to see you here! (sorry, going offtopic :) )
     
  15. Linda Buquet

    Linda Buquet <span style="color: #daa520;font-weight: bold;">Me

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    Ok all, I just watched all the videos and get what this product does.

    1st off I think MOST of it is awesome and makes link redirects, split testing, affiliate link organization and campaign tracking SO much better. I'm really quite impressed with what it does and may buy the white hat version.

    The black hat part could easily be mis-used to do cookie stuffing in a way which could in fact take commission from other affiliates. However the ethical ramifications of what they say you can do with cookies makes so much sense. A merchant has a cool product but a sucky site - you can do a better job of pre-selling, why send the visitor to the home page if it sucks and you have already pre-sold? If the visitor is ready to buy send them right to the buy page and set a cookie. Makes sense.

    But again it could be mis-used. However any tool can. A hammer is designed for building things but people have used hammers as a murder weapon.

    The only thing I have a problem with is that they sort of use the fact that you COULD steal commission from other affiliates, to sell the product. I don't think that's ethical at all.
     
  16. AndrewJ

    AndrewJ New Member

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    Hello? Embedded multiple cookies?
    As an affiliate you might think this is great, but as a vendor this sucks for me and my 'white hat' affiliates who actually promote my products.

    Andrew
     
  17. Linda Buquet

    Linda Buquet <span style="color: #daa520;font-weight: bold;">Me

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    Hi Andrew,

    Like I said, it could be used to do bad things, like cookie stuff but I don't think good affiliates, the ones that know how to drive traffic would do it. The main ones that would try stuff like this are affiliates that can't make money any other way. Therefore they don't know how to market. Therefore they won't get any traffic and no cookies will ever be set.

    I'm majorly against cookie stuffing. Your program should be set up so that the last affiliate gets credit and your TOS needs to spell out and prohibit setting a cookie without a user initiated click. This way if you catch someone you can delete their account.

    I just bought the whate hat version because I like what it does as far as link tracking, split testing and measuring campaigns. I'll let you guys know what I think if and when I ever get around to setting it up. I don't do enough affiliate marketing personally to even really need it, but the videos enticed me enough to want to check it out. They also offer a FREE version for those that just want the limited features.
     
  18. Linda Buquet

    Linda Buquet <span style="color: #daa520;font-weight: bold;">Me

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    Hey guys, the black hat version is sold out which is good. I'm glad they made it a limited quantity.

    But I still really like what the white hat version does and think it could be a huge time saver for affiliates as well as helping them market more efficiently.

    I just blogged about this program and everything it does
    if anyone wants to learn more.

    Cloak, Track, Organize Affiliate Links EASY - GoTryTHIS
    http://affiliate-blogs.5staraffiliateprograms.com/2006/07/26/affiliate-link-organizer-cloaking/
     
  19. Nguyen73

    Nguyen73 Affiliate affiliate

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    There are actually link redirect/cloakers out there that doesn't come out and say we do "blackhats", whatever that means, but they essentially do the same thing that http://www.GoTryThis.com does. The same thing here I'm referring to just the "blackhat" part of it.

    Anyways, it's a nice tool to have regardless. If you do any affiliate promotion at all, you're gonna need it unless you want to create redirect files by hand and manually upload them to your host. I think it's time-saver plus you're more organized because of the centralized link management.
     

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