Using the wrong affiliate marketing techniques can get an entire affiliate program’s url blacklisted. Potential customers may even be warned that the website is blacklisted via browser popups. Here’s the proper way to market affiliate products to avoid these problems.
affiliate marketing,blacklisting, affiliate link cloaking, affiliate link redirecting
Copyright 2006 Willie Crawford
A few weeks ago I started getting popup warnings saying that given sites were blacklist when I’d click on a link in my email. I’d then be asked if I was sure that I wanted to go to that site.
Since these were sites that I knew to be reputable, I’d click “OK.” In many cases, these were sites running special offers for Internet marketing products.
After doing some research, and asking questions on discussion forums, I discovered something shocking. The most recent version of Pegasus (the email client) was apparently triggering these warnings when you clicked a link to a site listed in one of the blacklist databases.
Further research indicated that Pegasus even went so far as to regularly check for updates to this database. Yes, the software running on your desktop, regularly updated itself by accessing a database of blacklisted sites.
A surprising number of MAJOR Internet marketers’ sites were in this database. These were sites that had a lot of affiliates who do ?silly? things. Some of these were sites that had done major big ticket product launches recently.
What caused the problem in the latter category above? Too many affiliates used the url of the affiliate program’s site, and there were simply enough complaints to get given sites blacklisted.
One of the problems with major product launches is that when enough people email for the same promotion, on the same day, then many people can get dozens of emails promoting the same product. This is especially true in the Internet marketing arena where some people subscribe to dozens… even hundreds of ezines. Some of these people out of frustration will file spam complaints!
Some of the recent big ticket launches have offered 50% commission on $997 – $1497 products. Those commissions are nothing to sneeze at! On top of that they often run affiliate contests that offer fabulous prizes. The temptation to get as many promotions out as possible, often using poor techniques,is simply too much for some affiliates!
The solution to the problem caused by too many people emailing using the same affiliate program’s domain is simple. First, make sure that you use accepted email practices (Don’t Spam). Secondly, use a redirect url or a promotional domain. This offers some protection, in that if complaints are filed due to the massive promotions, the number of complaints against the affiliate program’s url will be reduced. This also reduces the chances of YOUR email generating one of those dreaded “Blacklist Alert” popups when your link is clicked upon.
There are side benefits to using redirect url’s including the ability to change the destination of the url. If you become displeased with one affiliate program, and find a more suitable competitor, you can change where one of your redirect url’s point to. Without this capability, once your links are in cyberspace, you lose control over them!
There are many ways of setting up redirects, to include redirects coded into the header of a web page, java script redirects, and php redirects. I won’t explain how to set all these up in this article. You can go to any search engine and find hundreds of sites explaining how to do this.
There are also services, and pieces of software, that will redirect url’s for you.
My favorite technique is to use a promotional domain. You can purchase a domain, and then, without even building a website, simply redirect that domain?s url to your affiliate url. This takes less than 10 minutes to set up. You can purchase domains for less than $9 a year at: http://WillieCrawford.com/domains
If you read through many of the more than 400 articles that I’ve written, you’ll see that many of the links promoting affiliate products use promotional domains. This is because it work!
Many people also think that affiliate url’s look less professional. There are also some people who simply don’t like the idea of YOU earning a commission off of their purchase. So when they see an affiliate url they simply snip off the end. This sends them to the base url, and you lose the commission. The customer still pays the same price, but they’ve just cut you out of a hard-earned commission.
I could give you a dozen other reasons to use redirect url’s or promotional domains. However, I feel that just the problems mentioned above should suffice. One other consideration is, how do you think a potential customer feels when he sees one of those popup warnings?
The title of this article begins with “WARNING.” That’s fully justified, because if you’re not heeding the warning, you’re losing a major percentage of your affiliate sales!