This article has been guest blogged by David Wilkinson – 13-Year Old Affiliate Marketing Expert.

Link cloaking, or plain old affiliate link redirection. You might have heard the buzz about how you can ‘increase your sales by up to 400%’ or something equally ridiculous, but what can link cloaking actually do for you as an affiliate?

Imagine the situation. You’re a complete Internet newbie who’s been searching away for some time, trying to find a viable way to earn money online. All of a sudden, this fantastic opportunity pops along (courtesy of you, the affiliate). You’re about to click through to check out the product, when all of a sudden you see an affiliate link, something the stupid ‘Internet 4 Idiots’ book (or whatever they’re calling their silly little franchise now) earned you NEVER to click on. The end user, or Internet newbie, having seen a blatant affiliate link, and now in the knowledge that there’s a chance you’re only promoting a product for it’s excellent commissions is in serious doubt whether to buy or not.

Except the problem is bigger. If the newbies know, then chances are the more ‘advanced’ people up the Internet food chain will know too. Infact, everyone on the Internet who knows what an affiliate link is will immediately have second thoughts about your trustworthyness. The product could be world class, your presell could be so fantastically convincing, that Bill Gates would drop backwards off a Christmas tree on reading it. But at the end of the day? If they don’t buy… If they have second thoughts… If they doubt your opinion and your integrity… Then you will NEVER make a sale online.

Long 30-character affiliate URLs in themselves are quite naturally not the prettiest things in the world, either. If you can disguise your links by making them a simple short snippet such as…

as opposed to…

…then you’ll find yourself in a better position when dropping links around forums and such, as well as when targeting a general audience as your affiliate link will now be in the most part hidden. The real advantage of using cloaked links though? The bit that will actually save you money in the long run? All the nasty affiliate snipers out there (people who save money on purchases by switching your affiliate ID with their own) will be in the most part stumped. If they were desperate, even with a cloaked link, they could view your source code, but if you use fancy encryption techniques such as the ones at the heart of Ninja Link Cloaker (a product from Matt Haslem whom which I personally use), then you’ll be covered by all manner of fancy MD5 code encryption and super-fast execution script implementation. Complicated stuff, eh?

I’ve explained to you the ‘why’ and shown you the ‘where’ (when promoting products), but the real bit that stumps most people is the plain and simple ‘how’.

How can you create a cloaked affiliate link? How can you protect your earnings? How can you make a link redirect? There are hundreds of options out there, but I’ll narrow it down to my favourite, top-performing three.

The TinyURL re-direct. Free, though less effective than the options to come, it has no server demands and is externally hosted on

The PHP re-direct. Free and effective, though it requires your own server to upload said PHP file to.

The Ninja Cloaking method. Super-advanced, ninja-style, uber-sleek protection and cloaking.

TinyURL. It’s free. It’s quick. It perhaps doesn’t give the world’s best impression either, but all the same. It gets the job done nicely and there’s not much more to say. You simply go to the TinyURL website, pick a link to re-direct to and wham. Link is done and live on the TinyURL server. Just point your links that way and re-direction is instant. You can start cloaking right away at>.

PHP Re-direction has obvious advantages over TinyURL. If you make a typo and have already published a TinyURL link on your blog, there’s no much you can do in the way of changing where the TinyURL points. With PHP on your own server, you have full control over where your links go and what they do. A PHP re-direct isn’t powerful, but it is effective and for a novice affiliate marketer I’d highly recommend it. You can learn how to create a PHP re-direct at the website.

Ninja Link Cloaking. I’ve already mentioned how I prefer to use Ninja Link Cloaker for many reasons. The sheer power in the software is remarkable. It runs straight from your desktop and boots up at the click of a button. On startup, you’re presented with two options. Do you want a ‘normal link cloak’ (basically an affiliate link in a full-page iFrame as permitted by most major affiliate networks) or a Ninja Link Cloaker special ‘ninja’ link? The ninja link has all the fancy encryption methods in place, coupled with fancy (yet ‘usually’ permitted) cookie dropping tactics, goes in for the big double-whammy.

I use link-cloaking all the time when Affiliate Marketing. On my blog, in e-mail campaigns, on forums, everywhere… Without them I’d be losing a serious chunk of my online profits and you believe me – I wouldn’t be the happiest ‘little’ kid on earth. 😉

— Author’s Unrelated Random Sidenote —

On a sidenote, lots of you commented on my last article, ‘Upselling – The how, the where, the when’, by stating how you’d love to signup to some form of Affiliate Defined pre-notification list. You can do just that now I’ve added a few little boxes to the page, and if you’re interested in my little ‘Affiliate Marketing Revolution‘, I’d advise you to signup now. Thanks for all the encouragement everyone!

By Jeremy Schoemaker

Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of ShoeMoney Media Group, and to date has sold 6 companies and done over 10 million in affiliate revenue. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 International Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. You can read more about Jeremy on his wikipedia page here.

201 thoughts on “Link Cloaking – The why, the where, the how”
  1. Great article. As a newbie to affiliates, for the most part, I’m going to try some of your techniques. thanks for the tips.

    1. Everything about link cloaking can be found at Including information on ninja link cloaker and other cloaking products. There is even videos on the website about free cloaking advantages and disadvantages

  2. Thanks David – I’ve recently suffered quite a bit of link theft, so I was looking for a product like the Ninja Link cloaker. I’ve checked it out, and the cost of just one stolen link will cover the purchase price. Brilliant – thanks again. We’re going to miss these tips when you go back to school in September!

  3. This article seems like one big sales pitch for the ‘Ninja Link Cloaker.’ $67 to disguise a link? I’ll pass.

  4. I agree with Manthem. Shoe, why are you letting guest bloggers proffit from your well established site? This is like a payperpost article.

    Apparently this 13 year old kid has a lot to learn. Decieving people into buying a product is a plan for failure. sure you`ll have short term success but given time, everything will backfire.

    Flashforward 7 years from now, when everything has failed … David Wilkinson will gather all your email adresses and become the new spam king.

  5. I think most of the stealing comes from the fact that a buyer can easily sign up to become an affiliate themselves and then get the product for half price most of the time. The writer still gets paid, so does the buyer, but the affiliate doesn’t – Cloaking isn’t going to save any of that.

  6. And I personally don’t like tinyurl too. people can easily understand there is something hidden behind that “tiny” url . I can guess that easily if not other.
    Php redirect is the best way I think.

  7. I wrote a script that does this on your own server (as it still kind of looks suspecious to be directed offsite)…a few other things as well. Long story short, .htaccss and php. If you want to know more I’m working on a short howto tutorial which I’ll be releasing on my blog this next month. I’ll probably couple it with a small download to make it easy for everyone. (assuming you meet server requirements)

  8. […] Contact the Webmaster Link to Article bill gates Link Cloaking – The why, the where, the how » Posted at ShoeMoneyâ„¢ – […]

  9. Hiding (Cloaking) Affiliate Links to Fool Peope … is Unethical and Deceptive : The Blog Columnist says:

    […] (source) […]

  10. The easiest way not envolving php (hey some of us grew up on perl) is to create a 302 redirect in .htaccess

  11. I agree… I’ll just code my own using asp. I’m dying to know how this little man gathered so much marketing know how by the age of 13. I have a feeling there’s a Gipedo pulling the strings somewhere behind the scenes.

  12. Shoe whats the big deal?! I come here to read shoe’s thoughts, not to see a “post” that is 4x as long as it needs to be that avoids a lot of major points of interest and only focuses on promoting a stupid product that can be recreated for free in 5 minutes.

  13. Is there any chance it will be ported to ASP as well? Maybe I could help you out with this project. Sounds interesting…

  14. That’s what I was just thinking!! What an incredible kid!!

    I came up with some pretty profitable (or what I thought to be) ideas at his age too but never had the ingenuity to carry them out!! Kudos to you!!

  15. Me too shoe… I think this little man needs to be taken down a notch. It’s pretty balzy of him to spam your 10k+ readers. I was impressed by his drive when I saw his first guest post. Now i’m annoyed that he has the sack to push link ninja or whatever that product was called on your loyal readers.

  16. I don’t believe that this author is 13. If whoever wrote this can come up with all of this stuff about link cloaking, then they could probably come up with the thought that others would think it was neat that a 13 year old kid knows it. It’s a good marketing strategy because you get an instant wow effect coupled with “it’s so easy a kid can do it”, plus it makes the rest of us feel dumb. I think it’s annoying.

  17. Thanks Marc. Glad you enjoyed the post.

    And for the record – I have ethics. I don’t spam (and I /WON’T/ spam). I wrote about link cloaking. I showed people 3 ways to do it. I included, as one of them methods, the one I use (what would be the point of practicing and not preaching?) – And you have a problem with me using an affiliate link? Sheesh… Since you obviously don’t have anything better to do than make hypothetical, unfounded, degoratory accusations – I’d appreciate it if you just kept yout trap closed.

  18. Andrew – you recreate me Ninja Link Cloaker in 5 minutes and I’ll pay you $1000… If you think freaking MD5 encryption comes this cheap usually and can be done with .htaccess – be my guest.

  19. Good point. Kind of like when the 47 year old dude pretends to be the hot 18 year old female to get attention in a forum. I think this may be someone’s clever marketing technique.

    Besides, link cloaking is free.

  20. That’s right Eric! Skip over all the content! All the actual tips and FREE services I mentioned. Highlight the one thing about it you didn’t like and spam the comments.

  21. Come on man “md5 encryption” is not all that. Its an open encryption scheme free to anyone. Its available via native libraries in C# and php just to name 2 languages.

  22. Yeah I kind of got that feeling to after hearing it would cost a good chunk of money.

    I think tinyurl is also a bad choice since it is being overused for everything

  23. Try googling him before you start running your mouth off. He is actually 13.

    Think before you speak.

  24. So you’re jealous and you’re attacking him because you can’t do what he’s doing – getting promotion from Shoemoney.

    Great way to big yourself up – beat up on someone who is actually 13 (read his blog or Google him).

  25. I’m not here to get into a fight, but how many people know PHP, C# and who else knows what, let alone has the time to package it all into a software package?

    There might be better things out there, sure, (I invite you to check out all the options open to you before spending ANY cash), but I use NLC and that’s why I promoted it as part of the article.

  26. David, not to be a dick, but MD5 encryption is built into PHP. It’s a standard function. Just call md5() with a string arguement, and you get the MD5 hash of that string. It’s not complicated.

    Also, any competent PHP programmer should be able to whip up a solid PHP redirection system in less than an hour. Adding so-called MD5 encryption doesn’t help anything…at all. It’s a useless buzzword that has NOTHING to do with link cloaking.

    Also, you aren’t really cloaking your links. You are masking them. The search engines following your links still will end up finding them as affiliate links. To fully cloak them you’d be using robots.txt to keep the search engines out. From what I can tell, you a aren’t using robots.txt, so when you drop links like that, the engines will see them as aff links and penalize accordingly.

  27. Agreed. There are lots of flaws to tactics like TinyURL, and if you can get your own hosting, go for a software package, PHP, .htaccess, or run some form of a script on your server.

  28. Even better – you promoted a product using one of the tactics I mentioned. TinyURL. Hypocrite…

  29. Not trying to fight either. I’m just pointing out that md5 is not a big secret or technically difficult to use. I liked your guest post. It was well balanced and provided viable alternatives to the product your recommending.

    Wish you the best of success

  30. If you’re short and cash and can’t be bothered with TinyURL, try using PHP like mentioned.

  31. What I can’t figure out is why you should need MD5 encryption to generate a redirect-URL..

    I hope you don’t mean that Link Ninja is using some kind of encryption to protect its source code?

    Then again, I can’t figure out either why Shoe is letting a 13y old fuck up his blog :-‘(

  32. I don’t think it’s such a problem to drop affiliate links into a blog post, heck that’s what I do in my blog. But there needs to be a balance. I think you dropped the Ninja Cloaker link 5 times, your own blog 6 times, and the helpful resources only 4 times.

    I really enjoyed your last post and I wish you the best of success in future articles.

  33. I found out the hard way about what not cloaking aff links does to getting listed in the SEs, heh. Very valuable post here, Shoe. Thanks!

  34. Thanks Scott – Sorry if I came across as a bit overly defensive/agressive. Just trying to hold my ground against the hoardes of people who aren’t keeping so much of an open mind as yourself. 🙂


  35. Agreed, many simple hosting packages nowadays have PHP available. It’s a great resource for even the n00b, due to flexibility for marketers and bloggers alike. That being said, I need to brush up on scripting with it.

  36. I am already using such cloacking… The advantage is that I can also number of clicks on the link.

  37. This is truly great advice for anyone hoping to successfully promote an affiliate site online. Based on my own experience with affiliate sites, it truly is essential to use cloak linking. Especially since Google and Yahoo will only show one URL per search results page, if you choose to use your own site (or alternatively have the registrar forward the domain directly to the merchant site from your site) you will most likely get more action in the sponsored links.

  38. Thanks for the info, David.

    Contrary to popular belief, not all of us familiar with “md5 encryption” and stuff like that.

    Again, thanks and continues success.

  39. The article was a giant sales pitch for a useless product and then he comes in here and is pretty aggressive towards anybody who comments about his tactics. Please skip the junky 13 year old articles in the future.

  40. You said yourself andrew… you came here to read shoe’s thoughts… so why did you “waste your time” by reading anything past the first line of this post todaY???

  41. Giant sales pitch…

    *cough* As for being agressive, I’m merely standing my ground. People accusing me of being a spammer, or suggesting I’ll become one clearly aren’t here for a constructive conversation… I’ll match them in turn, manners for manners. They want to bitch about? I’ll bitch back in their faces.

  42. This is a great guest post packed with tons of top notch info! Kudos on hiring this kid to help you out…

  43. Dude, I downloaded your report, and its crap. Theres nothing in it, i’ve seen more genuine information in a digitalpoint post. Good thing i used a junk e-mail that I never check.

  44. im a quick reader. I’m not gonna rule out anything thats not posted by shoe. I just expected a better editorial process on shoes part.

  45. Exactly. If the post was 1/3 as long, maybe I would have let it slide without a comment. But several of the top commenters on this blog are here complaining about this. Unless you are getting paid for these posts shoe, dump the junk and keep up the good work. Just my 2 cents. (6 cents now)

  46. Who cares most of the top commentors suck. Ever since Shoe installed that god damned “Top Commentors” plugin comments have gone to shit. Its mostly just a big circle jerk of comments consisting of “OMFG SHOE great post!” and “I totally agree”.

  47. This post has been brought to you by the letters “M” and “D” and the number “5”.

    I want a cookie for reading that.

  48. Rants and Raves of an SEO Lurker » Blog Archive » PHP Link Cloaking Surely is Powerful, If You Know What You are Doing says:

    […] I just read the guest post over at on Link Cloaking. And while the guest poster took some crap for what many felt was just an affiliate link post, he […]

  49. I’m to lazy to check but if he’s doing a proper job the software should block google based on IP and referrer agent too.

  50. the important question is…does this really work? anyone besides david have used this?

  51. Keep doing David… most of these whiners haven’t done 10% of what you’ve accomplished in the last few months. Some have come a long way however, they can at least identify your strategy.

    Freeloading whiners… get busy.

  52. How do you know he is trying to profit from Shoe? Maybe Shoe is letting him to help a kid out. What he learns now can set him up for a long time. Maybe a lifetime.

  53. Hey David. Don’t sweat the haters. Anytime you market to a sophisticated crowd, you need to use different tactics. The blog readers here are experts (when compared to the average Internet user), cynics, and can smell a sales pitch a mile away.

    Next time, just focus on writing an outstanding article for your end user and if you really MUST sell a product, do it with more sophistication.

    One more word of advice, don’t respond to every Internet critic. They’ll just drag you into a shouting match and you’ll never win (it just makes you look worse).

  54. Good article David. I think the big problem is that you chose a tough product to sell to this kind of crowd.

  55. Great post. I’m sure this guy will be making more money then his parents in no time.

  56. my point was simply that his top commentors spend a lot of time on the blog, and make comments on almost every post. Almost every top poster that commented complained about the post.

  57. I have no issue with David, if he is 13 doing all that on his own. Power to him. I find it hard to believe that he doesn’t have a strong mentor involved, but what do I care?

    His success doesn’t effect me in anyway.

    My issue is simply that the post could have been 1/3 as long and covered the same issues, and only dropped a link to each thing once rather than 4-5 times.

  58. I use php, have for a long time now. The script I have set up goes way beyonds the benefits or cloaking your AF links to the use. I can track keywords, clicks, and manage all my links in one file making it easy to just change one link to an offer instead of changing all the links on every page it occurs.

    Do you need to cloak? Nah but with the script I built and use it makes life a whole lot easier for me.

  59. How can you all a 13 year old an expert at anything? Has he been doing this for 5+ years like most people “in the business”? Why anyone would take the time to read anything that he writes is completely beyond me.

    People come to read this blog for a reason. You have extensive experience in the things you talk about. Having some 13 year old punk post an article is just a waste of time.

  60. “His success doesn’t effect me in anyway.”

    Then PLEASE stop complaining. As for a mentor… No-one as such. I’m friends with a lot of guys in the biz, but no-one ‘mentors’ me or helps me write my articles. Thanks anyhow – Andrew.

  61. “Has he been doing this for 5+ years like most people “in the business”?”

    I’ve been making more money with affiliate marketing sinec last November than most of the guys “in the business” have been. I’ve interviewed guys like Mark Joyner, Shawn Collins, Michel Fortin, Michael Cheney and a whole host of other people “in the business”.

    Why woul anyone take the time to read what I write? Stop being so synical and shunning the work I write. And for the record – don’t call me a punk. I am NOT a male prostitute.

    “Why anyone would take the time to read anything that he writes is completely beyond me.”

    You took the time to read. To write. To flame. With any luck, I won’t be seeing you around, “punk”.

  62. Yeah – if you track it all and play yoru cards right you can make sure the AdWords traffic is doing exactly what you want it to, and not just hanging about for the free reports. 😉

  63. Maybe several are – but I also counted (at least) three who weren’t – but were leaving genuine constructive comments, with a bit of advice here and there.

    And heck… What does top commenter mean? “I can type ‘I agree’ and ‘Great post’ 30 times a month? Uh… Yeah. Great to see we set store and rank people’s social status based on the amoutn of comments they leave on an A-lister’s blog.

  64. […] Link Cloaking – The why, the where, the how, ShoeMoney […]

  65. Hi,

    Don’t believe this guy is 13, looked at his address in manchester, uk as well and does not seem to exist.

    Looks like a marketing front.


  66. […] they did it all. They even suggested people’s social status should be set based upon how much whoring they do on people’s comments. Last time I checked, typing “I agree” and “great post” 30 times a month, […]

  67. Further to my post, i would add that i think this guy is either related to day job killer author,(as mentioned in the above post) also from manchester, uk. Sorry I don’t buy it, but its a clever trick.

    keep smiling


  68. yea, i’m sure he started when he was 8… didn’t you know they start teaching PHP coding in 2nd grade now? Plus in the uK you have your choice of electives, Phonics or Marketing…

  69. Great article..just what I was looking for. I won’t use it for my affiliate links though..I use tracking on all my link outs, by my programmer had me attach this really long line of script to my url to get it to work..It makes me look like an amateur affiliate marketer in my viral strategy..Hope this works for me.

    For all the haters out there, I don’t care if David posts a million affiliate links in his article. It gets the job done. I got the information I need and he was able to pitch his piece.

    Again, thanks for the info. And whoa..13..I envy you..I wish I started that young.

  70. Hey my comment disappeared. Anyway, just wanted to congratulate you for a great article. Learned a lot. Don’t mind all the haters, I learned a lot from this post.

  71. blah.. its not like php is hard to figure out. I was writing simple BASIC programs on a TI-99 when I was in 4th grade. It just takes half a brain and some interest.

  72. I am surprised that after 94 comments and no one has worked out that this “Ninja Cloaking” thing

    1. Does not use MD5 but URL escape. At least not from your “bonus-access.html” that redirects to Ninja Cloak
    2. Depends on Javascript
    3. Can be literally written in 10 minutes

    In fact I have just written something similar here:

    Well. I did not fork out $67 to check out all its functions, but like most products sold by affiliate sites, it is most likely over-hyped.

  73. Man!! Tough crowd. I think it was a good idea letting him guest post on your blog. You must have been impressed with him to give him such an opportunity and I think he did a fine job with the post and an even better job handling some harsh (unwarranted, childish) criticism.

    My first thought was, I wish I had know this stuff when I was 13… I wish there had been an internet when I was 13. You can guest post on my blog anytime David, I’ll even php redirect the links for you 😉

  74. I’ve just started messing with affiliate programs, already earned 300 last month 🙂

  75. David, don’t let the people talking shit get to you. Your probably making more money than all of them combined=) People in Affiliate Marketing who bitch about other people for promoting useful products and services will never make it big because they don’t understand their own industry=)

  76. Does not seem to exist?

    LMAO! My last Clickbank Affiliate cheque seemed to get through alright.

  77. LOL! As it happens – I have spoken to Chris before. Not even a proper conversation – just lil’ things, like when I was an affiliate for Project Black Mask, setting up a cloaked affiliate link hosted on his site… That’s all.

    Hey – maybe one day I’ll have the pleasure of JVing with Chris, but till then, my friends. 😉

  78. Just a thought, but couldn’t you cloak the really long tracking links? Then you could cloak, track ‘n’ earn. 😉 There are a tonne of free ways to do it aside from Ninja Link Cloaker… Flick through the comments and you’ll find a few additional ones people have recommended.

  79. Good article even if the “sell” was a little hard. Hope Shoe is getting a percent of your comissions for this!

  80. I’ll admit, the first time I say a post by David, I was a bit suspicious, but then I thought back to when I was about 16, and was going about trying to set up my own affiliate site. Back in the day, Google bombing still worked and I got my site up to #2 for a particular keyword (with no actual affiliate links yet). It wasn’t real popular but it got a little bit of traffic. I had to get my dad to approve a CJ account since I was under 18, and the conversation ended with him saying “No.” That is prolly a big reason why I have a day job at 21. That and I have less drive. I assume when David asked his parents “Can I buy a domain?” they said “yes,” and they also said yes to his requests for them to sign up for affiliate programs and the like.

    But with regard to your post here David, I must say you simultaneously got balls and lack brains. Your article is about cloaking affiliate links since having an affiliate link out in the open can hurt your credibility, and then after saying how to do it, you include one of your own. You are writing to a huge crowd of affiliate marketers or wannabe affiliate marketers. Many already knew this trick (I prefer the .htaccess approach myself.) Additionally, Shoe goes out of his way to say if a post of his is sponsored, or if he’s getting something out of it as in the case of Free Tshirt Fridays. If you thought no one would catch it, thats further evidence you really are 13, and if you thought that no one would care or that it wouldn’t hurt your credibility, well now you know better.

  81. Why would you need to pay for the software or use tinyurl? Most of us here know html and can make a sales page and hide the affliate links in a page like the nice thing if you maintain control of your traffic and sales page and the affliate disappears at least you can change the sales page internally to redirect without having egg on your face. Come on Shoe this post and the last post bout airport is way off kelter

  82. Yeah this post does seem a little Spammy. I have seen similar products to Ninja Cloaker for free which in some cases are even better

  83. Hey Joe, “suggests” “recommends”

    Regardless of how good your cloaking is, using either of these two words in your link screams “i’m an affiliate…. give me money”

    There’s little use cloaking your links if your going to give away that your an affiliate that easily.

    Ofcourse, if your marketing to elderly aged gardeners… well happy days, but if your in the IM scene, you may want to consider other wise.

    Good point about the maintaining control, theirs nothing worst than having a widely spread viral ebook filled with dead affiliate links.

  84. see..the software says it’ll cloak the links so it’ll just show the actual URL instead of another file in another directory (

    is that even possible?

  85. Alright David, so now that the comment storm has died down and everyone has forgotten about this string, is it true what they say about there being no such thing as negative publicity? I’m sure you got a tsunami of traffic to your site from this. What did the numbers look like and did they convert to any affiliate commissions for ya? Come clean, full disclosure buddy…

  86. Haha… Scott – I hate to break the news, but you managed to get points 1, 2 and 3 wrong. 😉 LOL!

    It /DOES/ use MD5. Not URL escape. It doesn’t depend on JS (it drops a cookie via pre-loading affiliate page and then flipping site that the user sees. And as for how long it took… Like I said to the other guy – write it in ten minutes and I’ll spin one thousand dollars your way.

  87. No offence Eric, but you lack balls AND brains. It was pretty darn obvious I’d used affiliate links, wasn’t it? I was writing about an affiliate related topic, afterall. Next time I include affiliate links – I’ll make sure I fully disclose them for you – Eric.

    No offence mate, but the way you started suggested you were kinda pissed at me because my parents think I’m smart enough to have an affiliate account – when you were three years older and they either didn’t trust you, or didn’t think you could handle it.

    Best wishes… 😉

  88. No such thing as negative publicilty? Balls. 😉 Looking at the wider scope of things though, I’d say this has been (contrary to what the comments might suggest) great publicity. Are the guys commenting the guys who’d succeed in using my future product (yes – it will be a product) Affiliate Defined? No. They’re people who don’t take action. They site there and take the piss (subsequently get mauled) and run off bawling their eyes out. Simply because they have nothing better to do.

    The right people have seen this the right way. The wrong people have seen it THEIR way. I’ve not lost anything…

  89. Most people consider it good practice to disclose when they are getting something out of a link in their blogs. Its not that I didn’t expect an affiliate link, its that I expect it to be disclosed, especially on a blog that typically includes a disclaimer saying such at the very beginning of such a post. Also, not sure how such an expectation means I lack balls…

    Anywho, my dad didn’t trust CJ. You must have forgot or didn’t know about the large amount of private information that affiliate companies collect, including the social security number. Privacy and protection of identity trumped my desire for affiliate money in his mind.

  90. Well, as long as you don’t come away from this experience all butt hurt that you got some negative feedback, you can take away some important lessons.

    1. There will always be critics.
    2. Some people don’t know WTF they are talking about.
    3. Some people do. The trick is knowing the difference.
    4. Don’t piss off your friends.
    5. You don’t know it all and if you think you do, you actually know even less.
    6. Don’t post your affiliate links inside a guest post to Shoemoney.
    7. Don’t take yourself so seriously. None of this will matter in a hundred years anyway…

    Have a good weekend.

  91. Well I don’t care if some of these commentors reckon they can make something like this dead easily. I can’t, and i couldn’t be bothered to even if i could. I’d rather spend the twenty odd quid on this Ninja Cloaker thing and save money.

    David, I have suspicions that a particular affiliate program may be ripping me off. Basically, the click throughs I’m getting to that program on aweber are way more than what’s showing up on their stats. Would Ninja Cloaker stop them from being able to rip me off?

  92. NinjalinkCloaker is generating the ‘hidden’ link the same way most existing cloakers are doing: using javascript ‘escape’ codes to write the EMBED and the optional METAFRESH tags. The use of MD5 encryption to disguise the link is a LIE.

  93. WTF are you talking about. He provided a decent article on link cloaking. Even though it appears he’s promoted a product, he’s provided alternatives for anyone to use. How is that deceiving? Most people are so full of shit when they comment, its ridiculous.

    Flashforward 7 years and I’m sure you’ll be purchasing his how-to books and making money online.

  94. I’m not David, but hopefully I can help you out….

    By cloaking links we can improve three basic things straight up…
    Clickthrough rates, conversions & preventing/deferring commission theft.

    Now your concerned that the actual affiliate program is ripping you off right? Ok firstly you’d have to take a look at how they count their clicks vs how aweber counts theirs, eg. Are you comparing uniques vs hits? this may account for the difference.

    Also, their is often a distinguishable difference from one hit counting service to another. For example… Awstats Vs Google analytics

    Is aweber showing similar results for your other affiliate programs your signed up to? Ie. Higher click volumes. If so, I wouldn’t be fussed at all.

    I can see how an affiliate program could rip you off when it comes time to hitting the buy now button… but an affiliate program not counting all your clicks seems abit odd.

    Btw, is this a clickbank product? If so… the new “hop hits” counting feature in clickbank analytics is awesome! Is this what your cross referencing with aweber?

    The ninja software can help you protect against buyers stealing your commissions, but in reference to people running dodgy affiliate programs, I’m sure our advanced videos could help you out alot, especially when it comes to making custom buy now buttons & your own salespages.

    Catherine, I was going to just make this deal for you, but I’ll open this up for anyone. Those videos I just mentioned will be free for everyone who orders in the next 48 hours…. (thanks to catherine)

    Good luck! If you’d like me to take a look into the program personally, feel free to shoot me an email: contact(AT)

  95. It’s not really the tips and tricks that make it, it’s the essence in which the business is founded upon.

  96. David

    I don’t think the backlash is really about your blatent sales pitch, I think that most people are surprised that Shoe let someone do this on his personal blog.

    As people said above, Shoe would normally warn people if it was a advert rather than a genuine post.

    I haven’t seen a response from Shoe (although I might have missed it amongst all the haters!)

    Enjoy the big bucks!


  97. Aside from being sufficiently technically proficient to be able to post on an internet forum such as this one, and find my way around search engines, I’m close to being PC illiterate and have no interest in the subject matter of this splendid site; and thus no competence to assess, let alone judge, David Wilkinson’s technical expertise, which many, at least, seem impressed with, and some downright skeptical of.

    I came upon this site and subject by an internet search engine happenstance, and reading posts made by DW intrigued me; not as the “techie” I’m not, but rather as a writer.

    A couple of years ago, I wrote a short story that was published on an internet zine, and which I have built a website around concerning the story’s subject matter of school bullying. One of the two main characters is a twelve-year old boy. As I am now well-removed from childhood, and as I have no children, nephews or nieces and have had virtually no association with kids since having been one myself, I didn’t feel competent to write the character. As a result, I asked my neighbor if I could spend a day with his then twelve-year old son and himself, treating them to a pleasant day at an amusement park and playing pool. I wanted the opportunity to study the boy’s vocabulary and speech patterns so that I could write my character’s dialogue in a credible fashion.

    The youth in question had been a perfect role model for my character, as he comes from the identical ethnic, religious, social and economic backgrounds. Also like my character, he was a very bright boy, though not what one would term a prodigy. After adjusting slightly for certain environmental differences between the boy and my character, I was well-pleased with the result. I have read too many books and stories where authors put impossibly precocious dialogue into the mouths of juvenile characters, which is what I wanted to avoid.

    If DW is really thirteen (and twelve at the time he wrote some of the posts attributed to him that I read on his blog), and if he really wrote the material I read, then I would say that young Mr. Wilkinson is a prodigy of the ilk of Mozart. I have never read writing with this level of sophistication of thought (leaving aside the technical aspects of it, which I could more readily accept; just concentrating on the verbiage per se) from a youngster this age. I mean *never*! I’m afraid that had I chosen him as the model for my character, I would have been laughed out of every publication I had submitted the story to.

    I remain, like many folks here, most skeptical. David, if you really are thirteen *and* if you really did write all these posts and articles, unedited by someone older, then instead of being offended at the skepticism of people like myself, you should feel greatly pleased as such amounts to a rather backhanded whale of a compliment towards your prodigious accomplishments. You must have spent many hours reading since you were very young to be able to write with such sophistication.

    Perhaps you might one day consider turning such a gift to the field of creative writing. There are numerous internet zines to get a start. I must add, however, that as proud as I would be to have you as my son, if I were your father I would be less than enamored with some of the adult-themed references and allusions you have included in some of your your blog posts. I suppose such is a sign of the times, but call me hopelessly retrograde in my sentiments concerning how youngsters should deport themselves. I would also recommend you reacess the flippant nature of some of responses. If you were really smarter than others, then you wouldn’t let them know it.

    If you’re “for real,” best of luck to you. If you’re a front for someone, well, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame….”


  98. Carnival of Cool and Interesting Stuff Around the Net » msdanielle - just another ego blog site » Blog Archive says:

    […] over at TechZi had the opportunity to guest blog at ShoeMoney last week and was flamed by a bunch of haters — a lot of people who assume every ShoeMoney […]

  99. HEY!! My comments are mostly helpful and always relate to the post or poster. You will rarely, if ever, see me with a two-word comment! All us top commentators aren’t bad ya know.

    Furthermore, people complaining about the plugin fail to realize that all of this — even me typing this reply — just adds fuel to the fire. A debate erupts, and people come back to see what is said. That was the original intent of the plugin, and it is working flawlessly. Some people (not naming any names) WISH they could have half the level of comments that Shoe gets — good, bad or otherwise.

    Andrew – I feel you.

    Gary – You wild!!

    Web – I agree.

    And Corey – 1up. 🙂

  100. Does that work fine with CJ Links? i have heard CJ use image 1x1px to track. If redirect is applied does that rise flag for CJ? or the tracking is done nicely without any problem.

  101. so is that how he’s able to just show the actual link and not an affilate link or a “cloaked link” ( as an example)

  102. It’s difficult to say. Probably not… Your best bet is to use a few different tracking platforms simultaneously on a page to get an average CTR – then take your findings to Aweber directly. I’ve used their program before though and have seen some nice returns via AdWords marketing. All the best!

  103. […] Shoemoney has a guest post from a 13 year old affiliate marketing genius about link cloaking. I don’t implement this here but it is interesting nonetheless. […]

  104. […] recent. But when people like Everett Sizemore, Sebastian, Joost de Valk, Hamlet Batista, John Chow, Shoemoney, and Dave Taylor all think that the subject deserves a post, then maybe there’s something to […]

  105. If you’re using wordpress and you want to cloak your affiliate links you might want to look into my plugin that let’s you define thse redirects without writing any code.
    the plugin will let you manage your links from a nice web interface using AJAX inside your wordpress admin, it’s free and you can get it from:

  106. David, Your not the age you say you are, and I know your not 🙂 next time you lie i will personally show the proof i have :).

    Good Day.

  107. I guess anything could be done free or cheaply, though it all comes down to time vs cost, I would much rather pay for a desktop application like your ninja secret thingy, then mess around with finding a free solution that may not do everything I want it to.

    Cheers for the post, I may have to check this ninja secret society out 😛


  108. Seriously, there’s no reason to pay for link cloaking when you can just execute a SIMPLE php script to do the whole thing for you. meh.

  109. md5 encryption… like md5($some_var); – amazing! Dude, md5 isn’t a big deal.

  110. ah ok, will try this out thanks. I decided to install and using it as a redirection/cloacking script thing. Lets see how far it goes. If not that then i might try That works as well most of the times.

  111. Thanks for the tips. I just purchased the Ninja Link Cloaker and i’m testing it out right now.

  112. What the fuck?!?!? Go for it! I’m 13 – “lying” again!

    Haha – Please, seriously, show me your proof so I can roll around on the floor laughing.

  113. Great article and a very cunning sales pitch!
    i will use the powerful php method myself….and it costs me nothing except a small amount o time!

  114. If you are using this Ninja Link Cloaker, why are your links showing up as “recommends” I think you are just trying to make some money on this program and you don’t even own it… Personally I found a program that does EXACTLY what this so-called “Ninja Cloaker” does and it only cost me $7 as compared to the $67 they are charging (which by the way is a complete rip-off) all it does it makes a small javascript from your affiliate link using an image tag that sets a cookie without anyone knowing.

    I got suckered into buying this program and he never even delivered it, but he sent me emails trying to get me to promote it, what does that tell you? REFUNDED, THANK YOU.

    I got a refund, did a little searching and found this litte bugger for $7, check it out:
    Covert Affiliate Pro, no I am not spamming, I am simply trying to make people aware that the Ninja Link Cloaker is a complete scam and there are products that are much cheaper and do the same exact thing.

  115. […] This little bugger only costs you $7 and does exactly what Ninja Link Cloaker does at a huge $60 discount! Don’t get scammed like I did, ninja link cloaker is a complete rip-off and you’ll be lucky if Matt Haslem even sends it to you. If you wanna see the site I am complaining about, Click Here […]

  116. Provided you’ve got your own server and assuming you’ve not got the funds/desire to pay for a program, I’d say you’ve made a wise choice. 🙂

  117. hey dave.. pretty smart for a 13 year. wish I was that smart when i was 23. and thanks aj. thats great.only $7!!? definitely beats Powerlink generator or any of that other stuff. I personally use viralurl. its a great way to build your list , cloaks your link and compliments your opt-in list. and its free also. have a program that cloaks your link and is free also. just email me if your interested. i think we should give the kid a break. I mean i’m sure lots of people have learned from his post.

  118. Thanks for that post, everyone just talks about link cloaking as if it is some sort of “assumed knowledge”, at least this post explained it rather than assuming you know how to do it…

  119. Well you never bought through my aff link anyway and the fact you used your own for the product you swear your “not spamming” is rather suggestive. I’ve used CAP too and to be honest – it’s no match for NLC.

    I quote from the trackback.

    “Don’t get scammed like I did, ninja link cloaker is a complete rip-off and you’ll be lucky if Matt Haslem even sends it to you.”

    You didn’t get scammed. You never even bought. No wonder he didn’t send it to you. *groan* Feel free to contact me through my website if you’d like to take this further – I’m always up for a good bitch fight. I’m not a nicey-nice “lay down and let the idiots flame” kinda guy. Not that you’re an idiot, or anything.


  120. I stumbled a page that features the top 50 SEO posts of the year.. I saw the link of your post there..I read your post and it really deserved to be in the list^^..Wow!..Congrats Shoe!..^^..Keep it up!

  121. The funny part about this nice written article is that your hop link is still visible when you are transferred to the nija website. No matter how many times you cloak your link, your hop link will still appear on the vendors salespage (if a click bank product).

    Better sell products to people who have never heard about affiliate marketing. This will increase your profits dramatically. My 2 cents.


  122. Thanks for the link to Ninja link cloaker – been looking for some decent link cloaking software.

    ~ Dave

  123. It’s also not the SEO type of link cloaking. Makes me wonder how well the writer read this article. 😉 This is affiliate marketing link cloaking – not some evil blackhat silo spoofing tactic, though if Shoe wants, I could probably write a fairly controversial article on that, too.

    – David

  124. yea, i first started using the php redirect just a short time ago. This link presents the idea of using keywords as your link php file to make them easier to remember… it’s been very helpful.

    Keep up the great work Shoe!

  125. […] David Wilkinson wrote a great article about affiliate link cloaking […]

  126. Jesus Christ!!! Aaaah! I’m never coming back here again!!! I feel like biting someone!!! Maybe I’ll bite a Ninja!!! Where is all the cool free advice from Shoemoney?? It’s like the world has come to an end!!! AAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  127. LOL! Aside from the affiliate links, the article 169 comments above has plenty of free advice.

  128. Hey dude… My new site launches on Feb 13th. I’ll be “lying” again then. Please show me the proof you have. Pretty please? I’m dying to see it. Good day. ROFL.

  129. Hmm… is it really a 13 year old, or is that simply part of their marketing efforts? Hrmm…

  130. I’ve been cloaking my url’s with php. I’ll have to give tinyurl a try, my problem is I’ve always been a little worried about what I can’t see that’s going on.

  131. This is great information to know. I’ve been using clickbank affiliate marketing to make extra money and I never really knew what the deal with tinyurl was. Now I do–I “prettified” all of my ugly affiliate links. I’m hoping I increase sales drastically–your check’s in the mail. Just kidding–I would if I could.

  132. I’ve been using this kind of thinks for some time now, but anyway, it’s an great article 🙂

  133. i use which is free. It is so easy to use and you get a good keyword link rather than the tinyurl with number which is not good for SEO or adwords quality.

  134. Sorry if this has been said above, but I could not find it hence this comment. You can also buy a cheap domain name from someone like godaddy and just redirect it to your link.

  135. Or you can always register a domain very cheaply, and use it and each of several subdomains to forward/cloak a URL.

  136. Well, this is all very interesting. I am surprised to observe that no-one has mentioned the FTC ruling that affiliates must declare their affiliations.
    Does no-one know about this? Or does no-one care? I definitely think it is a good idea to “pretty up” long links into short ones – but as for “stealth marketing”, it might seem like a good idea from the point of view of “earn a butt load of money” but anyway… might be a good idea to at least be aware of the laws you could be breaking…
    See the original FTC article here:

  137. Most of peoples using WordPress Blogs hsould know , that there are many good plugins for that kind of things like cloaking URL’s. Anyway, good article.

  138. […] PHP and htaccess (the latter two are the best). You can read more about the various techniques here and […]

  139. […] Re: How to identify cloacked links? you might want to read this: Link Cloaking – The why, the where, the how – ShoeMoney® […]

  140. PhP redirect are always the easiest to use for link redirects. There’s no need to spend a couple hundreds on any software to cloak your links.

    Simply google “PhP redirect” — there are two lines of code, pretty sneaky 🙂


  141. Excellent post pretty much covered all the aspects of link cloaking, my personal favourite would be the simple php redirect.

  142. […] Link Cloaking […]

  143. […] another good article by Shoe – Link Cloaking – The why, the where, the how – ShoeMoney® It has a link to PHP Redirect – Redirect Script – Redirect Web Page too. __________________ […]

  144. Affiliate Link Cloaking is 100% necessary. I believe that in order to make any sort of commission from these products you have to hide your links.

  145. Just wanted to say this blog is very good. I always like to read something new about adrenaline sports. Thanks for sharing so much in your blog.. Greets, Etha Mceachern

  146. I really enjoyed the article, but like any product you should do your research to make sure this is for you.

  147. I am very new to IM, so after reading this article, I tried a couple other, less-expensive, link cloaking tactics: Affiliate Link Bomber and Pretty Link specifically. Pretty link left my affiliate link in the address bar when the redirect was completed, so I wasn’t pleased with that. ALB was quite excellent, but I could still see my affiliate info by viewing the source code of the sales page.

    So, I have now downloaded and tried the Ninja Link Cloaker… it is extremely easy to use and I really like how the redirect is done. My affiliate link was not viewable in the source, nor was it displayed in the address input field in my browser. Further, I could choose which page my link landed on. This may not be anything special, but to me, I was impressed that I could direct my affiliate link to any part of the vendor’s site – either their own landing page or directly to the “buy” page. Pretty slick.

    I must also say that the customer service I’ve been receiving from Matt, the creator, has been amazing. As soon as I ordered he sent me a personal email (note: in addition to the usual autoresponse, of course), and he has been very generous with his advice.

    I’ve been super impressed, so I’ll also be checking out his project. I’m currently with Get Response, but I like the features I see so far.

    Service and product like this earns my loyalty.


    P.S. I am NOT an affiliate and have no financial interest in writing this review. I just feel great work needs to be recognized and supported.

  148. That’s excellent writing for a 13 year old, regardless of the quibbles people have with the content.
    I would have liked this beefed up with an explanation of how to do it yourself with php – of course it would be easy to do, but I never thought of it before. That would have beefed it up a little I suppose.
    Anyway, great writing.

  149. I would like to express appreciation to this writer just for bailing me out of this type of matter. Because of researching throughout the online world and finding opinions which were not pleasant, I figured my life was well over. Being alive without the presence of solutions to the difficulties you have resolved all through your site is a crucial case, and ones that could have in a negative way affected my entire career if I hadn’t discovered your web blog. Your personal skills and kindness in dealing with all the details was valuable. I don’t know what I would’ve done if I hadn’t come across such a point like this. I am able to now look ahead to my future. Thank you so much for this professional and sensible guide. I will not be reluctant to recommend your blog post to any person who should get support on this issue.

  150. Your page is simply what I was looking for at this point. I’ve rarely been interested in this topic and I’ve got to say your article is the first one to cover it suitable.

    I’ve saved your website for future reference.

  151. I’ve also heard other affiliates could steal your commissions if you don’t cloak your link. Is this true?

  152. I enjoy what you guys tend to be up too. This type
    of clever work and coverage! Keep up the
    excellent works guys I’ve added you guys to my blogroll.

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