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  • “How to protect affiliate links from loss of commissions?”

    – Cloak affiliate links by the URL redirect method.

  • “How to improve product page rank in search engines?”

    – Make meaningless URLs meaningful.

  • “How to get more clicks to a web page?”

    – Make the links relevant and attractive to visitors.

  • “How to stop getting spam email?”

    – Encode email addresses in hexadecimal format.

The Abacus Link-Cloak software does all this, and more. The importance of how your web page addresses look is explained below.

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View the presentation larger in a new window.                                Link-Cloak presentation transcript.

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This is easy-to-use link-cloaking software that offers many methods to cloak a link, be it a standard URL, an affiliate link or an e-mail link.

It does not use “shortened links”, which can discourage visitors from clicking on them, because they are encrypted and look suspicious. Dangerous malware and “phishing” sites often disguise their real web addresses by means of encrypted URLs.

Affiliate links are cloaked to look like links on your own web site, thus giving the impression that the products or services being sold are your own. This encourages cynical visitors, who wish to deprive affiliates of their commissions, to click on them. It also prevents thieves from stealing your commissions by inserting their own affiliate ID into your affiliate link.

E-mail links are encoded to prevent your e-mail address from being harvested by spam-bots, thus protecting you from email spammers. Hexadecimal encoding is used, because it is much safer than decimal encoding, which other encoders use. Believe it or not, most web site owners don’t encode their email addresses at all! this is an open invitation to have their inbox deluged with useless junk.

Here is a step-by-step guide to show you how to cloak an affiliate link with the Abacus Link-Cloak software. For guides showing the other functions of the Abacus Link-Cloak, see the Support page.

The two meanings of “cloaking”

As frequently happens with Internet jargon (e.g., “AutoResponder” to mean “AutoEmailer”), two different meanings of “cloaking” have arisen, and the distinction needs to be clarified.

When used alone, the word “cloaking” tends to mean “content cloaking”. To use Google’s own words: “Cloaking refers to the practice of presenting different content to users and search engines.” Displaying results to a human visitor that differ from those displayed to a search engine crawler (“spider”) may cause a site to be perceived as deceptive and be removed from the search engine’s index. An example of content cloaking is displaying a page of HTML text to search engines, while showing a page of images or Flash to users.

The Abacus Link-Cloak software does no such thing, of course. It merely redirects one web address (“URL”) to another. The same content is displayed to both human visitors and search engine spiders. This Abacus product is called “Link-Cloak”, only because the term “link-cloaking” has become popular among Internet marketers who wish to hide their affiliate links from unscrupulous people who steal their commissions by hijacking them, and from genuine buyers who may be averse to buying items from an affiliate rather than directly from the vendor. “URL-Redirect” would, really, be a more accurate name for this software tool, but, unfortunately, it was unavailable as a domain name.

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From time to time, Abacus Data Systems will give you advice and tips on the use of link-cloaking to improve your Internet marketing efforts, and keep you updated with Abacus software development news.


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I use Link-Cloak far more often than I thought I would, and my operations would not be the same without it.

Peter Fitzgerald – Internet Marketer