Previously, the only way you can use a custom domain in Linktrackr is to modify the CNAME details of a domain within your domain registrar’s control panel. This is still the best way to brand your tracking links, but new marketers may find dealing with CNAMEs a bit daunting.
So, we’ve added a simple script that you can upload to your website and use your existing URLs as your custom domain. Here’s how it works:
- Download the script from the custom domains page within your LinkTrackr account to get your customized script. This script will be pre-coded with your default tracking URL for example username.linktrackr.com
- Upload the entire script folder to your domain using any FTP application, and rename the folder to anything you want. For example go or track or even just x.
- Enter the full path to your script folder in your LinkTrackr custom domains page, for example yourdomain.com/track or track.yourdomain.com if you’ve set it up as a subdomain.
- Set your domain as the Primary domain, and it will appear in all your tracking links.
Take not however, that link cloaking will not work with this method because all the script does is complete a permanent redirect to your default LinkTrackr URL.
A full set of instructions is also included in the script folder detailing step-by-step instructions to setup your custom domain script, as well as the requirements.
We’re excited to announce two new features for Linktrackr that have been requested countless times. In part of our push to get LInkTrackr to the next level, these two new features were released quietly last week. Let’s go into the details here.
New Overage Pricing Features
Previously, Linktrackr worked on a pre-paid system for overages. If your clicks were getting close to your monthly click limits, you had to buy more clicks in advance. We’ve corrected that to match what our users expect.
Now, once your account is over your click quota, we continue to keep tracking every single click, and bill you later for overages. Of course, you have the option to turn off overage billing, if you do not want that to happen.
We send you a warning email when your click limit exceeds 75% of your quota, and another email when it has exceeded 90% of your quota. Therefore, there’s ample time for you to decide if you want to scale back on usage, or keep going past your limit.
If you’ve turned this off, you can still access your dashboard and look at your stats. However, your clicks will no longer be tracked and we will display a message at the top of your dashboard informing you as such.
How Overage Pricing is Billed
With the new method, we’ve also reduced to the cost per overage click to just $0.0005. That comes up to just $0.50 for an additional 1,000 clicks above your monthly click limit. Overage clicks however cannot be more than 2x your monthly click limit. If you force to get a huge surge of traffic, you can upgrade to a bigger plan to accommodate for the surge.
You will receive a new invoice on the 3rd of the next month for your overage clicks in the current month. This invoice has to be paid separately from your normal monthly subscription. If your total billable amount is less than $1.00 no invoice will be issued. Instead, this amount will be deducted from your account credits.
Niche marketing website builders are a must-have tool for anyone serious about creating autopilot niche websites. Without a system, and the correct methodology, niche website building becomes impossible when you have hundreds of sites to manage and curate.
Niche Website Builder – Is WordPress Really The Answer?
The most popular niche website creator today is WordPress, and the reasons are obvious. WordPress is free, open-source, highly customizable and is well supported by thousands of designers and developers. However, there are other hidden costs and issues to using WordPress as a niche affiliate website builder.
Here are the most obvious drawbacks of using WordPress, which most peopler overlook when they drool over the idea of WordPress being “free”:
- It’s not really free – You need to pay for your own domain name, web hosting, niche WordPress theme, and email marketing software. You can find ways to squeeze the cost down to a minimal amount, but by doing so you generally compromise uptime and security.
- Management nightmare – No niche marketers I know of has only one website. In fact, it’s not uncommon to hear of marketers building hundreds or thousands of niche websites. Imagine how much time you typically spend on a monthly basis updating your WordPress software, themes, plugins, and approving comments. Now multiply that by a thousand, and suddenly you realize the long-term costs of using WordPress is huge.
- Constant security threat – Being one of the most popular open-source publishing platforms, its source code is open for everyone to hack. It’s a constant game of cat-and-mouse between hackers and the open source community to either exploit or fix vulnerabilities. Almost everyone I know who use WordPress as a niche websites builder have experienced a hacking episode or two. The cost of recovering your websites can be huge, and the cost of installing extra security measures to prevent hacking can be expensive as well.
- Scalability costs – One of the most underestimated component of niche marketing with WordPress is the spiraling cost as you build more sites. You will soon need to pay for a tool like ManageWP, or hire freelancers to manage and update your WordPress niche sites.
So WordPress is good, it’s great to start with. Ultimately however, its not great for scaling your niche marketing efforts into a real business capable of generating thousands of dollars per month in bottom-line profits.
Manage Multiple Niche Websites With Nichify
After our nightmare with WordPress hackers and bugs, we decided that perhaps the world needs a better way to create and manage niche websites. When we decided to create our own niche website builder software, one of the things we focused on was multiple website management. As a result, Nichify is very user-friendly and switching from one niche site to another is a breeze.
Right from the dashboard, you can see how each website is doing in terms of website visitors and optin subscribers. Click “Manage” to launch that particular site. Adding new sites is also easy. You need only one login to manage all your niche sites.
With Nichify we also decided to focus on 3 vital aspects of build niche websites: automation, email marketing, and content creation.
Niche Marketing Website – Affiliate Automation
One of the biggest challenges in building niche websites for affiliate marketing is finding and promoting related affiliate products. It’s easy to do that when you first create your site. However, over time some advertisers go out of business, some switch networks, and others simple abandon affiliate marketing. You end up with tons of broken affiliate links that get tons of click, but generate zero revenue.
With Nichify, we have a built in affiliate link automation feature. All you need to do is enter your affiliate ID, and Nichify will automatically:
- Convert keywords within your content into relevant affiliate links. We use our own contextual algorithm to match your page content to the most profitable affiliate products.
- Display “Related Websites” at the bottom of each post, each embedded with your affiliate link and relevant to the content
- Display banner ads and other affiliate tools automatically, also contextual
At the moment, Nichify only works with Ashadee. This is because Ashadee is our sister company and is the most equipped for Nichify. Other networks like ClickBank and JVZoo are the next top priorites, also it will require more data manipulation and even some manually copywriting by our team.
Email Marketing & Autoresponder Integrated Into Your Niche Website
List building and autoresponders are a key aspect of any niche website builder. With WordPress, you would have to subscribe to a service like Aweber or iContact, generate your option forms, and integrate the option forms into your WordPress blog. This mean that right off the bat, you would be paying between $17 – $69 a month just to enable email marketing for your niche site. It may take you months to generate enough traffic to actually start getting optin subscribers, but you will be paying ever single month for your email marketing software.
With Nichify, we developed a built-in auto responder with basic email marketing features like sequential follow-ups, option forms, double opt-in confirmation, HTML emails and unsubscribe links. Now, you’re ready to start getting optin subscribers as soon as your niche website goes live, without incurring any additional costs. For most niche marketers, the basic features we have are more than enough, although we’re open to adding more key features in the near future.
Simple, Clean Niche Website Builder Interface
As with all our software like Heylo, LinkTrackr and Ashadee, Nichify will focus on simplicity, ease of use and speed.
Nichify will be launched soon, and we’ll update our progress on this blog when its ready. Our team is putting enormous effort in updating our current system, adding multi-site capabilities and updating the user interface.
When it’s done, I hope Nichify will be the ultimate niche website builder software the world has ever seen!
What is CPA marketing or Cost Per Action marketing, and how does it work?
Here’s the de facto WikiPedia explanation on CPA marketing:
Cost Per Action or CPA (sometimes known as Pay Per Action or PPA; also Cost Per Conversion) is an online advertising pricing model, where the advertiser pays for each specified action – for example, an impression, click, form submit (e.g., contact request, newsletter sign up, registration etc.), double opt-in or sale.
That’s a very broad definition of CPA. In reality, the advertising world uses the term CPM (Cost Per Mille) to track banner impressions, and CPC (Cost Per Click) to track clicks and unique visitors.
We find the word CPA used in many affiliate networks and advertising platforms, each with a slightly different variation of what CPA means. So here’s a diagram to explain what CPA really means, according to us, in layman terms:
CPA Marketing for Agencies
For advertisers and agencies, CPA marketing means generating a lead or sale on their website. This is also referred to as “Performance-Based Marketing”, or a method for pricing ads and traffic based on the action generated by that ad. For agencies, this is something new, as their typical model is CPM or CPC. In fact a lot of agencies today still display on those two models.
CPA Marketing for Affiliates
For affiliates, CPA affiliate marketing means getting paid for a sale or lead. However, here’s where the misnaming occurs.
Some affiliate networks use the term CPA to refer to lead generation offers, which are also called “Lead Gen” in some instances. In such cases, the traditional model of getting paid a percentage commission based on sale is referred to as “Rev Share”.
Also, since affiliates are more concerned with how much they get paid, the term PPL (Pay Per Lead) and PPS (Pay Per Sale) is also used in some networks.
There is no industry standard naming guide, so it’s messy and confusing. Generally speaking however, the term CPA has been used so inaccurately by tons of CPA marketing networks and CPA marketing programs, that the term now simply means getting paid a fixed sum for generating a lead to a free offer.
In our own affiliate network, Ashadee, we refer to it as CPL or Cost Per Lead. This is what the mainstream advertising industry uses, so were sticking with that.
No matter what actual term is used, CPA marketing is beneficial to advertisers and affiliates.
In this Market Health review, we try to give you an honest opinion of MarketHealth as an affiliate network, and reveal if MarketHealth is a scam. Please check our review of a similar affiliate network focused on health offers, called SellHealth.
MarketHealth Review – Offers and Products
Market Health as you can tell, is focused on the health & fitness niche. So unless you’re in this niche, there’s no real reason to signup for Market Health. If you are in it however, then MarketHealth has tons of offers that can fill your bank with affiliate commissions.
Most of the offers are CPA offers, with a fixed “bounty” or “reward” per action. An “action” is a sale or lead. There are also “revenue sharing” or “rev share” offers, which as calculated as a percentage of sale.
One thing you will notice is the focus on many different regions, countries and languages. If you can build a niche health site in French, for example, you can easily fill it up with related offers with landing pages in French. This is a great opportunity most affiliates in into US are not fully tapping in to.
Market Health Review – Affiliate Tools
While doing our Market Health review, we realized that it runs of the HasOffers platform. Therefore, it inherits a lot of awesome affiliate tracking tools such as tiny URLs, source attribution, up to 5 sub ids, QR code and impression pixels. As a LinkTrackr user, you can easily integrate our ad tracking features into any HasOffers platform, which is especially useful when tracking PPC clicks.
Other Related Market Health Reviews
Of course, you should also read what other people have to say about MarketHealth before making up your mind if you want to be an active affiliate. Here are some of the more complete MarketHealth reviews we’ve come across:
If you’re satisfied with our Market Health review, you can signup free for MarketHealth here.
PPC click tracking is something all PPC marketers have to pay extreme attention to, since each untracked click literally costs you money!
There are tons of existing PPC click tracking software, but generally speaking they cost a bomb and is typically for really PPC advertising agencies. But what about a simpler software just for managing your own PPC ads?
At LinkTrackr, we’re planning to include PPC click tracking into our campaign feature, so you can track up to 5 variables such as Campaign, Subcampaign Ad Name, Ad Type, and keywords. In fact, PPC click tracking has been one of the most requested features for the past year.
PPC Click Tracking – Google AdWords
I will explain the rest of this post by taking Google AdWords as the primary example for our discussion, since it’s obviously the largest, and most complex, PPC advertising platform around.
With Google AdWords, you can automatically pass all data to your Google Analytics account, specify a goal, and you’ve solved all your click tracking issues. That’s great when you’ve using Google AdWords to drive traffic to your own website, but how do you implement click tracking when you’re advertising an affiliate offer, or any other site that you do not own?
That’s the challenge with third-party click tracking software link LinkTrackr. Furthermore, Google AdWords doesn’t play nice with anything other than Google Analytics. To track PPC ads accurately, you need four things right:
- Compliance with Google’s terms of service
- A way to pass campaign, ad name, keywords etc to your tracking software
- A way to assign a cost to each click
- A conversion tracking mechanism to see which ads are converting to sales and leads
We’ve tried and studies many other PPC click tracking applications. Some were downright ridiculous, some were pretty decent, but almost all lack accuracy. Though we understand that accuracy is subjective, since Google controls all the data and is not too happy to share it easily, we wanted to get our new PPC click tracking feature as accurate as possible.
So here are the features we’re testing, and how it works.
PPC Click Tracking – Campaigns, Ads and Keywords
The first (and most important) part of PPC click tracking is to define your campaigns, so that you can view your performance in LinkTrackr instead of having to login to Google AdWords all the time. You can set up to 5 variables:
- Campaign – As per your campaign name in AdWords
- Subcampaign – You can further define a campaign by sub-campaigns such as Search Network, Content Network, Mobile Only etc.
- Ad Group – If you do PPC right, you will be having a few ad groups, and each ad group will contain a handful of related keywords. You can enter the same ad group name you used in AdWords in this column.
- Ad Name – You can either put in the headline of your ad (easier but not recommended), or you can enter the unique ad ID. You can get a unique ID for each ad you create in Google AdWords, but you’ll have to toggle a few fields to be visible in your AdWords page, like the example show here. This will give you the most accurate tracking, since a new ad id is created every time you edit your ads.
- Keyword – This is where you input the actual keyword you’re bidding on.
These are all existing features, so you can read more about how it works on our ad tracking page.
The new features we plan to add are:
- Destination URL – By checking this, you will display the actual website’s url in your tracking link. This is optional, but some PPC networks may require you to display the actual URL when you’re using third-party tracking software like LinkTrackr.
- Unique identifier – A unique string of numbers and alphabets you can use to track affiliate sales from ClickBank and other affiliate networks that do not support pixel code tracking.
PPC Click Tracking – Cost Per Click
In our proposed new PPC click tracking feature, the most obvious challenge is tracking dynamic click prices. As you’re aware, the CPC or cost per click for Google AdWords depends on a lot of different variables, and is never fixed. However, since getting real-time click bid prices from AdWords is out of the question, the next best alternative is to set an “average cost per click”.
Basically, you’ll need to determine the average price you have paid for the last 20 or 30 clicks, and enter that value into LinkTrackr’s campaign page. You will have to update this value frequently to get the most accurate CPC reports. You can also choose to apply the CPC to unique visitors only, all visitors, and even include bots.
How you configure this really depends on how a PPC ad network like AdWords or Bing charge you. By allowing you to choose how to apply the CPC prices, I think we’ll be making this feature way more flexible to cover almost every single PPC ad platform you can think of.
PPC Click Tracking – Sales & Leads
Once you’ve created a tracking link for each campaign / sub campaign / keyword, and set your CPC prices. the next step is to track sales and conversion from these ads, in order to get your ROI (Return on Investment). This can be done by the existing conversion tracking tools in LinkTrackr. Then, we will create a special “ROI Report” that show you:
- The number of PPC clicks you’ve receive
- The total cost of your PPC campaign
- The amount of conversions, and value in USD
- The Return on Investment for your PPC ads
As I said, implementing PPC click tracking with a third-party software like LinkTrackr can be a challenge simply because Google AdWords only shares its data completely with Google Analytics. With every other software I’ve tried or seen, similar methods are used as an alternative for tracking PPC clicks and ads.
Before we actually start working on a final version of our PPC click tracking features, we would love to get your feedback.
- Do you know of a better way to automatically get PPC data from Google AdWords?
- Is there a better way to do this, based on your experience?
Let us know your thoughts on our proposed PPC click tracking features for LinkTrackr in the comments below.
In this Shareasale review we try to break down the pros and cons of being a Shareasale affiliate.
Shareasale Review – Merchants and Offers
One of the key factors in deciding if you should join an affiliate network is the size of their merchant database. In this aspect, Shareasale does really well.
Shareasale merchants range from small businesses like us, to Fortune 500 companies. You can search offers and merchants, see new merchants added recently, top 100 merchants, and all the standard stuff you would expect with similar networks. Merchants can also use sponsored posts and placements to get more exposure via Shareasale’s login page, and other areas of the website.
You can also engage merchants in the Shareasale “Aquarium” – which is a weird name for nothing more than a forum. However, the forums look dead.
Shareasale Review – Design and Usability
This is where Shareasale sucks big time. While most affiliate networks like Commission Junction and ClickBank have revamped their design and improved their usability in the past year, Shareasale’s interface remains a big turn-off for most new affiliates.
There’s way too much information, too many options, too many features you will probably never use, and a total lack of coherence in design.
As a new affiliate who just signed up, you will find the Shareasale website too clunky and confusing. Affiliates who have been on board since the last design update (like 99 years ago) would have no trouble finding what they want, but it’s one heck of a maze for everyone else.
In fact, the vast majority of complaints from Shareasale affiliates have been about it’s overwhelming, rigid user experience. It’s a turn-off for any newbie affiliate.
Shareasale Review – Tools and Integration
The more tools an affiliate network provides, the more ways their affiliates can make money. Shareasale has its own share of features such as a text ad widget builder, where you can build your own Adsense-styled widget for your blog or website. You can also create custom deep links, which is a much better way to promote a merchant. Datafeeds are also readily available for more advanced affiliates.
Other tools include an affiliate API, affiliate page builder, and RSS notifications. Although it may seems like Shareasale is choked full of these awesome tools, I find that the quality and ease of use of almost every tool is mediocre.
In fact, it feels like they have added all these features just for the sake of having them. Actually using them will be a struggle, unless of course, you’ve been a Shareasale affiliate for a while and have learned to navigate the maze.
Shareasale Tracking and Payments
How do you get your commissions?
For international affiliates, you have to choose check as your payment option. Unlike networks like Ashadee or JVZoo that allow payments via PayPal, international affiliates may find it too cumbersome to wait weeks for their checks to arrive, only to spend another few weeks waiting for it to clear in their local bank.
For US / Canada affiliates, you can opt for bank transfer. There’s a fee of $30 for checks via FedEx in the US, $35 for FedEx to Canada, and $55 for all other countries.
On a side note, LinkTrackr’s affiliate program is also on Shareasale, and you can earn up to $331 per sale for each referral. Our program has one of the highest EPCs in the Marketing category, and we are frequently in the Top 100 list at Shareasale. You can get more information about our affiliate program here:
I hope this Shareasale review was helpful, and cleared any doubts you may have had if Shareasale is legit or just another scam. If you have anything to add to this Shareasale review good or bad -please leave a comment below.
Last month, I came across an article in Business Insider about cookie stuffing, and how two eBay super affiliates got on the FBI shitlist for using it.
It’s a very compelling and shocking story – and I recommend you read it carefully – but what I want to talk about in this post is what cookie stuffing really means, why we avoided it in LinkTrackr, and why you should stay away from doing it yourself.
Shawn Hogan eBay Cookie Stuffing Saga
According to the article, Shawn Hogan, the CEO of DigitalPoint, and Brian Dunning, together generated more than $28 million in affiliate sales for eBay.
However, they did this with many “grey hat” methods at that time, including cookie stuffing. Today, cookie stuffing is a clear violation, but a few years ago everyone and their grandma was doing it without even thinking twice.
eBay has also prosecuted other affiliates for cookie stuffing, including a six month prison term for selling tools that can help other affiliates defraud eBay with the same cookie stuffing method. The most interesting part of the article, is that “some marketers do not appears to realize that cookie-stuffing can trigger criminal charges”.
Is cookie stuffing illegal?
Damn right it is. You can get away with it for a while, and you may even be doing it by accident. However, it’s still going to get you in trouble eventually.
So What Is Cookie Stuffing?
Every time you click on an affiliate link, the affiliate tracking software places a cookie on your computer. This cookie stores important data about your click, visited pages, and the referring affiliate. When you complete a purchase, the affiliate tracking system will locate this cookie on your computer, and with the information contained inside, reward the referring affiliate with a commission.
With cookie stuffing or cookie dropping however, you can make commissions from people who DID NOT click on your affiliate link at all.
In other words, you’re making money not by referring people to the merchant’s website as you should be doing, but by secretly loading the website (and dropping the affiliate cookie) in the background without the visitor’s knowledge.
Here are some common cookie stuffing methods:
- Image or iFrame cookie drops – With this method, you insert a 1×1 pixel image or iframe on your website that loads your affiliate link. For the visitor, your tiny image or iframe is invisible, but nevertheless he gets your affiliate cookie on his computer and you’ll make money off his purchase for all the cookies you drop.
- WordPress plugins – There are some WordPress plugins (I won’t mention them here) that basically do the method above, but in an automated way across all your posts, or only selected ones.
- Pop-ups or pop-unders – These are very easily blocked by your browsers today, but in the glory days of popups, tons of people used them to stuff cookies.
- Browser toolbars or malware – Shawn Hogan, in the eBay case, used browser toolbars that he created to implement cookie stuffing. Some computer software you’ve downloaded for free may also be stuffing cookies on your PC every time you use it.
- Adobe Flash and Flash components – Everyone knows Flash is not secure. You can load an affiliate link in Flash, both you your site and on third-party sites
Cookie stuffing works best for large affiliate programs like Amazon or eBay. Most US consumers buy from Amazon regularly, therefore by loading an Amazon affiliate link using cookie stuffing, you actually earn commissions from the visitor when he checks out at Amazon.com – even though you never actually brought him to any Amazon page.
Cookie Stuffing Script & Software
Before LinkTrackr, I used numerous tracking software to manage, redirect and cloak my affiliate links. Among those was a software called GoTryThis, and one of the features in that particular version I had was cookie stuffing. I used it, it worked, and I made easy commissions.
(I sent traffic to one web host as an affiliate, but also loaded cookies from all their competitors. So even if the visitor ended up buying hosting from someone else, I still got the commissions. )
I did it mostly as an experiment, and never really went all out with it as I felt it was wrong. Also, I understood the risk of using cookie stuffing, and that it might get my affiliate accounts banned.
Today, in LinkTrackr we have link cloaking and conversion tracking, but we made a conscious decision not to include any cookie stuffing capabilities. It can get us, and you, in a lot of trouble. It’s not worth the extra commissions you could be making by using the technique in the first place.
Still, we keep getting inquiries every now and then about cookie stuffing from many affiliate marketers.
Tons of cookie stuffing software still exist, mostly in “black hat” forms and closed groups. Here’s an example of one that proudly proclaim how awesome they are at cookie stuffing:
Use them, or don’t, you have to decide.
Whatever you decide on, you must be aware of the serious shit you can get into (did you read the article above) when you do cookie stuffing. There must be more legit ways of earning a living!
This Ashadee review is interesting, since it is a newcomer in the world of affiliate marketing. However, Ashadee offers a fresh take on making money online by combining traditional media ads with pay-for-performance marketing.
With Ashadee, you can get paid not only for sales and leads you generate, but also for clicks, banner impressions and other actions. Other affiliate networks like Clickbank, Commission Junction, Shareasale, Peerfly and SellHealth offer one or two of the above, but not all.
In short, Ashadee is a affiliate and advertising hybrid like no other.
Ashadee review disclaimer: Ashadee is a sister company of Kreydle, owners of LinkTrackr, Heylo, Nichify and other software.
Ashadee Review: How You Get Paid
Let’s get right into the juicy details: how you get paid!
Like all the other affiliate networks reviewed on this blog, Ashadee is free to join. You have an option to verify your identity by producing personal documents (drivers license or identity card) in order to qualify for top tier programs.
You get paid every two weeks via PayPal or bank transfer for revenue generated in the prior two weeks.
In fact, Ashadee offers more bank transfer options than most US or UK based affiliate networks. Affiliates in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philiphines and Singapore should be able to receive commissions in their local currencies directly to their bank accounts, instead of having to wait for a check to arrive in the mail.
Ashadee’s long term goal is to build a solid following in this region, with a population of over 200 million but routinely ignored by US-based networks like Commission Junction or ClickBank.
Ashadee Review: How You Make Money
With traditional affiliate marketing, you make money when someone clicks on your affiliate link and buys something. With CPA networks, you get paid for generating leads. With ad networks like Goggle Adsense, you get paid for displaying ads or for generating clicks to the advertiser’s website.
With Ashadee, you can get paid for all of the above. So, to call Ashadee an affiliate network is inaccurate. In fact, Ashadee uses the term ‘crowd advertising’ to refer to their business model.
It’s important to note in this Ashadee review, that Ashadee places more importance on localization.
This means affiliates will see more offers and products based on their geographic location. So if you’re an affiliate in Indonesia, you are more likely to see advertisers and merchants based in Indonesia, with commissions and offers in Indonesian Rupiah.
However, you are free to promote any offer in any currency. All your earnings are converted back too your local currency for payment.
That aside, everything else is similar to anything you’ve tried so far. You have unique links that you need to use to track your sales, leads and clicks. You have banner and text widgets that you can use on your website to make money from impressions and clicks, just like in Google Adsense.
Ashadee Review: Usability and Dependability
Ashadee is easy to use, and is definitely more more modern compared to a lot of aging affiliate networks out there. Being the new kid on the block has its advantages – Ashadee offers more tracking and reporting, as well as the possibility of integrating a lot of popular services.
Ashadee sports a “flat design” with a minimalist layout. The user interface is intuitive, with easy access to important pages and functions. The responsive design also makes Ashadee a breeze to use on touch-based devices like tablets and smartphones.
Most affiliate networks are boring, complicated, and not optimized to maximize the income of affiliates. Ashadee hopes to avoid those pitfalls, while looking to the future where mobile platforms and technologies are becoming the center of our lives.
You can signup for Ashadee here: www.ashadee.com
This Ashadee review is meant for publishers or affiliates. If you are an advertiser, you can read more on the Ashadee review page for advertisers instead.
Most new affiliates misunderstand what link masking means. They confuse it with link cloaking or link redirect, similar terms sometimes incorrectly used to describe link masking.
So what is link masking / URL masking then?
Imagine a mask. You wear it to conceal your real face from everyone; to show them a different face; a face you want them to see.
Link masking or URL masking, when you think about it, isn’t really all that different.
Link masking is about covering up a link so that it looks like another link. There are a few reasons you may want to mask your links:
- Masking affiliate links – Some people resist clicking on your affiliate links simply because they know you’re about to make money off them.
- To shorten or beautify a link – Some long URLs are a pain to copy and paste anywhere else online, and a greater pain to dictate over the telephone.
- To track clicks and stats – Link masking is often used with a reporting software (like LinkTrackr) that helps you keep track of who clicked on your links and where the clicks are coming from.
How to Implement Link Masking
The simplest way to do mask a URL or link is by implementing cPanel link masking or HTML link masking. URL masking with a URL shortening service like Bitly is great for making short and easy-to-remember URLs. However, all these methods lack reports and useful stats.
If you want to mask, shorten and track the performance of your links, LinkTrackr is the obvious choice.
As per the screenshot above. you will create a “tracking link” which is the “mask” and the “destination URL” is the actual link you want to drive traffic to.
Here’s another example
Destination URL: http://www.aweber.com/?213608
With Link Masking: http://gobala.linktrackr.com/aweber
When you click on the masked link, Linktrackr will capture vital information, and redirect you to the destination URL.
Plus, with LinkTrackr you can always use as many custom domains as you want, so you can implement link masking using various domains. If you’re using Twitter regularly, you can also use a shorter custom domain to fit your links into Twitter’s 140 character limit, like this:
Short Domain: http://gigurl.com/aweber
In your LinkTrackr dashboard, you can see useful reports about each visitor who clicked on the link.
Is Link Masking Legal And / Or Ethical?
A few years back, there would have been no debate as to whether you implement link masking or not. Every serious affiliate marketer did it.
Today however, some people are concerned with FTC recommendations that all affiliate links should be disclosed. However, FTC did not say that you cannot mask your links – they simply mean that you should inform people that the masked link is an affiliate link.
The easy way to do that is to have a visible disclosure policy on your blog that clearly states your affiliate relationship with products that you recommend. If you’re putting a masked link in emails, a short “This is my affiliate link” disclosure within the content of the email should be more than enough. How you do it is subjective, but just the act of disclosing affiliate links can save your ass from possible FTC inquiries.
I truly believe that people will still click on your link even if you disclose your affiliate relationship. In fact, since link masking typically has more useful visible information (what you can read) than a long link with a string of characters and numbers, you’re actually doing them a service!
Without using link masking techniques, there’s no real way for you to track outbound clicks, especially for affiliate marketing. Therefore, everyone should be using link masking in their affiliate campaigns.
If you take a look at your Google Analytics stats right now, you will notice that a large percentage of it is “Direct Traffic”.
Direct Traffic is a term used in Google Analytics and other analytics software to represent unknown or untagged referrers. But there’s much more to it than meets the eye..
Typically, direct website traffic is represented in Google Analytics as:
(direct) / (none)
What does direct traffic mean?
According to this post on direct traffic and this discussion on direct traffic, it is a result of:
- Visitors typing in your website URL directly into the browser
- Clicks to your website from within a PDF
- Clicks to your website from inside an email (that doesn’t have proper click tracking)
- Clicks on a shortened URL that doesn’t pass data properly
- Clicks from mobile apps
- Visits from bookmarks in the browser
- 302 redirects
- Auto-loading home pages
- Other technical reasons
So basically, there are a ton of reasons why a visitor to your website may be labeled as Direct Traffic, but here’s the rule of thumb:
Any visitor who lands on your website without a HTTP referrer agent string, is regarded as direct traffic.
The problem is, most Direct Traffic is not by accident.
Here’s the truth: Some applications and websites deliberately remove HTTP referrer agent data before sending the visitor to your website, and Google is one of them. But why?
It’s simple: Because information is king.
Direct Traffic – Information is King
Google understands this, and so do many other ad networks.
Referring clicks and referrer URL is ultra-valuable to any ad network or service, Google doesn’t want to share this data with anyone else, and especially not you!
Think about it: How often do you see Gmail appearing as a referrer in your Analytics? Take a look at your account right now, and you may be shocked!
Gmail is the largest free email service in the world, and yet you won’t find a single visitor who “came” from Gmail. Isn’t that a bit weird?
(Note: We discuss more about Gmail click tracking here)
Don’t think for a minute that Google isn’t tracking URLs in every single email, as well as the clicks on all those URLs. They ARE, but they are not sharing it with you.
Direct Traffic – Solving The Puzzle
The percentage of Direct Traffic keeps growing on a daily basis. You will find more Direct Traffic in your Analytics today as compared to two or three years ago. Why is Direct Traffic on the rise?
A huge part of this is due to the growing number of mobile browsers, mobile applications, and mobile traffic. Most mobile applications do not send any information about a click from within the app.
Plus, blog readership is on the decline, while social media is on the rise.
Blogs are great at passing referring URLs to your website, so visitors that end up from your site via a blog is easily trackable. With social media however, the referring URL may get blocked by built-in URL checking and redirect scripts. So when a user ends up on your site from FaceBook or Twitter, they are more likely to be recognized as Direct Traffic.
Instant messengers like Skype, and chat applications like WhatsApp and WeChat also remove or block HTTP user agent data. You could have received 50 clicks from a WhatsApp group conversation, and you will never know about it.
To solve the problem of Direct Traffic, we recommend that you use LinkTrackr’s ad tracking features with campaign tagging. You can enter up to 5 variables – Campaign, Subcampaign, Ad Group, Ad Name and Keyword.
LinkTrackr’s ad tracking feature plays nicely with Google Analytics too. You can choose to pass all 5 campaign variables to Google Analytics, by matching LinkTrackr’s campaign to tags to those used by Analytics. You can see all available tagging variables in the edit page, as shown below.
(Note: You may not want to do this is the destination URL is an affiliate website, as you’ll literally be revealing your traffic sources to the merchant)
Here’s how your modified destination URL will look like:
“Direct traffic” in your Analytics is a treasure cove of useful data. Some of this data may ultimately help you make more money by highlighting profitable traffic sources. The sooner you start using campaign tags in all you ads, the sooner you can have this data in your hands,
Start using LinkTrackr now, to decode Direct Traffic once and for all!
Heylo is our new customer support and email ticket management software designed for small businesses and online entrepreneurs. You can signup for a free account here to give it a spin and see how it works.
While developing the new version of LinkTrackr, we learned a lot about cloud servers, Amazon AWS, SAAS, GitHub, project management and software engineering. We put all that know-how into creating our own customer support application.
Heylo does the same thing services like ZenDesk, FreshDesk or Kayako do – it helps you and your team collaborate on viewing and replying support requests via email. However, Heylo is very new, and we have a long way to go.
The good news: It’s dirt cheap right now.
For just $9 a month you can have up to three customer support agents replying and managing tickets. Others services charge you upwards of $27 PER AGENT.
By locking in your account right now, you will always enjoy the current price even when you upgrade in the future as your support team grows.
So head on to Heylo and find out more about how to manage support tickets like a pro.
For the past few months, we’ve been dogged by Uri.bl, a URL blacklist monitor used by many other applications and software.
As a result, you cannot use the default link tracking structure in many places, including Aweber, FaceBook, Google AdWords and Bing. You may have encountered this issue if you are using the default username.linktrackr.com/trackingname format for your tracking links. If you’re using your own domain name, you wouldn’t have encountered any issues.
We’ve submitted many requests to “whitelist” our domains and they comply every time. However, a few weeks later it’s back in the blacklist.
The Uri.bl service is so poor and vague, to the extent that you cannot even find out why your site was submitted to their database in the first place. Therefore, we were completely helpless.
It didn’t take us long to discover the root cause of the issue – a Linktrackr user spamming others using our link cloaking feature. Since we cannot get the offending URL however, we do not know who this user is.
In fact, we changed how our cloaking feature works after the Uri.bl episode. You now need to use your own domain name to activate the cloaking feature.
However, the issue effected EVERYONE who used the domain “linktrackr.com” in their ads, including us. Users who were not exploiting the cloaking feature could not use the default tracking links in a lot of places, and we thought this was unfair.
So we’ve recently added a second default domain tkr.me as you can see from the screenshot above. For older users, you can switch to this domain within your account, under Settings > Domains. For new users, you will only see tkr.me as the default domain and you do not need to change anything.
Please note that when you change to tkr.me you will need to update your conversion codes as well to use the tkr.me domain. In other words, your conversion codes will need to match the domain you set as the primary domain.
We hope this helps our users get through spam filters and avoid getting their ads suspended.
So, can a cloaked affiliate link get top 10 Google rankings? Yes, apparently it still works if the keyword has very little competition, and the amount of inbound links to the cloaked link is of good quality.
As you can see in the screenshot above, an affiliate for LinkTrackr, none other than the great Mr. John Chow, got his cloaked link ranked #4 for the term “linktrackr”. The URL is actually a custom domain used with his LinkTrackr account. There’s no real content in that URL, except the actual LinkTrackr website cloaked in an iframe.
This means, people searching for LinkTrackr can actually visit the cloaked affiliate link, and Mr. Chow would be earning some pretty easy money. No advertising involved, no money spent.
How to Create a Cloaked Affiliate Link with LinkTrackr
Although there’s no guarantee that your cloaked affiliate link will rank in Google, here’s how you can optimize it in your LinkTrackr account.
First, you need to enter your own title, keywords and description. If you are duplicating LinkTrackr’s own meta information, ranking higher than LinkTrackr is unlikely. It’s also possible that your cloaked link will not be indexed at all due to duplicate content.
Next, make sure you allow the cloaked affiliate link to be indexed by search engines. This means you will allow Google’s bots and spiders to treat your cloaked link like an actual unique page or website.
Ranking Your Cloaked Affiliate Link
Of course, the hardest part will be to get enough inbound links to your cloaked affiliate link. In the case of John Chow, his high ranking blog makes it easy. He just needed to put the link in one or to pages in his blog. So he did not optimize the title.
However, if the keywords you target are not competitive – for example long tail keywords – then you might just get ranked on page one of Google with a handful of links to your cloaked affiliate link. This technique also works with basic domain name cloaking.
And what’s better than free traffic from Google?
We’ve just enabled custom referral pages for all LinkTrackr users. Here’s how a custom referral page looks like LIVE: http://ww3.linktrackr.com/offer/gobala
You can view your offer page by replacing “gobala” with your own LinkTrackr username.
- Pages only exist if you are an active LinkTrackr user (excluding LinkTrackr classic users)
- Your name is derived from the information in your LinkTrackr account.
- Your profile image is taken from Gravatar.com – make sure you’ve added the email address you use in your LinkTrackr account.
- Your friends get an additional 5% discount for yearly payments (total 25% discount) when they signup for LinkTrackr from your referral page.
Help someone you know make smarter marketing decisions and get karma points when their business makes more profit.
Commission Junction has just rebranded themselves to “CJ Affiliate”. I first realized this after reading the news on NetProfitsToday. Their revamped their website again, to a “flatter” version, although their logo remains the same. Here are some screenshots of the home page and account area.
Ever since we started our own affiliate network at Ashadee, I stopped using CJ frequently. In fact I’m still making some residual commissions at CJ but the focus has shifted to Ashadee as we intend to make it the number 1 affiliate platform in Asia.
They’ve used the name CJ now for quite some time, so I don’t think most affiliates would realized the minor changes in the name. You can read our review of Commission Junction / CJ here.
Last September, we introduced a new version of LinkTrackr that is 100% based on Amazon AWS and the latest cloud technologies.
Along with the new version came a new homepage design, using the now popular “flat UI” concept. We’ve received a lot of praises for the new design. Our customers have called it cool, clean, attractive and modern.
However, the LinkTrackr blog still clings on the the old design. We’ve searched everywhere for a theme that we can use with minimal customization to look like the rest of the LinkTrackr site. However, it seems the smarter option would be to just design our own theme.
So we’ve settled in using the Genesis framework from StudioPress as it offers significant advantages in SEO. However, we’ll be designing a new “child theme” for Genesis that resembles the overall look ad feel of the current LinkTrackr site.
What do you think of the pre-development design concept? Too simple? Too boring? Awesome?
Let us know below.
UPDATE: We’ve decided instead to use the Salient wordpress theme for now. It’s an awesome theme with tons of options that make it easy to customize. It fits just about any type of site – landing page, product site, or blog.
Starting mid-September 2013, we’ll be rolling out the new and improved version of LinkTrackr (version 3.0 if you’re keeping track) for new signups. In this version, we’ve done a complete overhaul and coded the entire LinkTrackr application from scratch.
The first thing you will notice if the awesome new clean User Interface, designed to be fully compatible with tablets and mobile phones. In other words, LinkTrackr will work perfectly no matter how and where you access it. No more pinching and tapping.
What you may also notice is the faster loading time and quicker link redirects. Since we’ve removed our dependency on all third-party software for the new version, we can optimize just about anything we want. And we did optimize a whole lot!
For existing users, you can of course migrate to the new LinkTrackr once we’ve completed our migration process. Take note however that the new version of LinkTrackr is not an “improved” version of the old. It’s built from scratch, so there are a few key points to note:
- You will be able to migrate your existing links, campaigns and conversions, but not your stats. Stats in the new LinkTrackr is not compatible with the old. You should export your links stats into CSV format if you need to refer to it later.
- Not all features in your old Linktrackr account will be available in the new version. The omissions are minor but you should read our migration guide carefully before deciding to switch.
- The pricing is the same as your current LinkTrackr account, but the total links and clicks allowed may be different. Again, do read the migration guide that we will publish on our site.
- The way we handle custom domain names is also different in the new LinkTrackr. You will have more options including using subdomains instead of the whole domain.
We will support the existing version of LinkTrackr as well, so there’s no need to migrate to the new platform if you really don’t want to.
Migration of current customers will only start after 1st October 2013. We need some time to test our migration process and to credit existing affiliates for the new accounts. We will reserve all current usernames, so no new customer will be able to take your current username.
Stay tuned for more updates, and for our migration guide.
Thank you for using LinkTrackr. In this video, I explain why we created LinkTrackr, and where we’re going with it.
Look out for more news on the new LinkTrackr – subscribe to our blog updates now.
If I had a penny every time someone asked me “Does affiliate marketing still work?”, I would own a private jet by now.
Is seems, for some people, that affiliate marketing is a fad that will soon, like other fads, die a slow and painful death. These people have not been around the Internet as long as I have.
Affiliate marketing, when drilled down to the core, is simply an act of rewarding someone for bringing you new business. The reward is usually cash. That’s it!
How can affiliate marketing die, when it’s a natural part of all businesses? That’s why I was intrigued by the podcast on CopyBlloger about the “Second Coming of Affiliate Marketing”. It seems that over time, a business model may be rebranded and called many things, the most recent being “Commerce Journalism”.
No matter what it’s called, it’s still the same thing. Just different words by groups of people who feel better if their affiliate marketing work had a more “noble” name.
Google Affiliate Network is shutting down for good in the next few months. When I first read the news from Marketing Pilgrim, I wasn’t very surprised. Companies like Google like to dabble in a lot of projects, but eventually most of them (like Google Reader) will be killed off.
Read the Google Affiliate Network announcement here.
For the most part, I never really used Google Affiliate Network.
I guess the main reason was my distrust for Google and their view of affiliate marketing.
On one side of the coin, Google has been increasingly critical of affiliate marketers using the Google AdWords platform, with many affiliates losing their entire businesses overnight every time Google updates their AdWords policy to be even more anti-affiliate. On the other side, projects like Google Affiliate Network highlights the fact that Google will try just about any business model once.
I never felt like Google Affiliate Network would be a long-term thing, and I didn’t want to get burned by Google again. Luckily this time, I made the right choice.
If you’re an affiliate, you should have noticed by now that ClickBank has a new design. Cleaner and more up-to-date with the latest design cues, it’s no doubt a big move for CB.
But behind the new interface, something else is brewing – and has been brewing for a while now for those who noticed – that may effect your future as an affiliate.
Here’s what it is: ClickBank is moving out of “get rich quick” programs.
In fact in our previous ClickBank review, we noted that one of ClickBank’s biggest boo-boo is the proliferation of scam-type ebooks and digital products related to the make-money-online niche. ClickBank vendors would already know by now how much CB has tightened it’s product review process for just about anything that mentions the possibility of making money online since 2012.
This year, the trend is becoming more obvious. ClickBank is trying to rebrand itself as a place where you can “Put Your Expertise” to work. It’s refocusing its efforts on selling digital products in “real” markets, and de-emphasizing make-money-online products.
In fact, in ClickBank’s Featured Products page, there is not a single make-money-online product mentioned:
Even under the “Business” category, ClickBank does not feature any online marketing or affiliate marketing product. I see this move as a push to “clean” it’s image and appeal to a more mainstream audience.
Furthermore, ClickBank is also attempting to engage affiliates and merchants directly by providing tools and guides previously done by their own affiliates. In fact, ClickBank already has a website builder called the “Audience Builder” for affiliates and vendors who want to maximize their ClickBank potential, at just $27 monthly.
This falls under the new “ClickBank Powered” account type, which is perfect for marketers with little or no knowledge in building their own website. This is truly the “last mile” that for years have prevented the lass-tech-savvy from selling their own digital products with ClickBank. Now that barrier has fallen.
In other words, ClickBank has changed.
It’s no longer a place for dishonest, greedy Internet scammers to sell rip-off products and hype others to do the same. It is now a more professional, mainstream outlets for just about anyone to turn their ideas into products and sell them at a global marketplace, without worrying about merchant accounts, online security and customer service.
At least, that’s what they want us to believe.
JVZoo is perhaps the most talked-about affiliate network among Internet marketers today, and in this JVZoo review we’ll tray to explain why.
There’s a very good reason to love them: they pay your affiliate commissions instantly to your PayPal account.
I mean, why wait weeks or months to get paid for your efforts?
Although relatively new, JVZoo has achieved amazing traction among marketers in the “make money online” or “get rich quick” niche market. In this JVZoo review, we’ll find out exactly why most marketers prefer to promote JVZoo Products on their blogs and to their mailing lists.
Click Here to Signup for JVZoo
JVZoo Review: Instant Commissions to PayPal
First and foremost, JVZoo commissions are instant via PayPal. In my opinion this is the number one reason affiliates are flocking to JVZoo. As compared to ClickBank who makes it hard for new affiliates to get paid, and traditional networks like Commission Junction that may take up to 90 days to pay your commissions, JVZoo uses PayPal’s Adaptive Payments technology to pay you instantly at the point of sale.
According to their site:
Our system runs on Paypal’s adaptive payment system which allows your payments to go directly into your PayPal account the moment a sale is made. Unlike other instant payment systems with Paypal, JVZoo has a true payment system that allows you to be paid for EVERY sale that is made.
If you’ve been in affiliate marketing long enough you would have probably tried various affiliate programs that implement “instant split PayPal payment” for sales and commissions – sites like . In theory the program will split payments received from buyers between sellers and buyers, directly to their PayPal account. In practice however, it uses a rotational order button to distribute payment between the seller and affiliates at the percentage set by the seller.
In other words, if a seller set commissions to be 50%, the first sale will be made to the seller’s PayPal account, while the second sale will be made to the affiliate’s PayPal account. The third sale goes back to the seller’s PayPal account, and so on.
There’s a massive problem with this model: REFUNDS!
When a buyer requests for a refund, the seller would have to check if the payment was made to his PayPal account, or to the affiliate’s PayPal account. If he did not receive the payment, he would have to ask the buyer to contact the affiliate directly (or contact the affiliate on the seller’s behalf) to get a refund.
As you can expect, this is a very messy and potentially destructive for your online reputation. Buyers would find it difficult to get their money back from the affiliate, especially when some of them may have never known a third person was involved in their purchase.
It has also landed more than a few marketers and affiliates in trouble with PayPal, partly due to the complaints by buyers when they do not receive their refunds.
With PayPal’s adaptive payment however, a single payment is truly split between the seller, JVZoo, and you. When the seller initiates a refund for the buyer, PayPal will automatically deduct the split amount from all three accounts.
But it gets even better – JVZoo offers customer services to all buyers.
As you can see from the PayPal screenshot below for a commission I received from JVZoo, they list their URL and phone number for customer service.
This creates the ideal win-win situation for all parties involved. Sellers get to be hands-free on billing matters, customers get good service and prompt refund fulfillment, and affiliates get paid instantly.
JVZoo Review: Integration With Warrior Forum
Another big thing we want to mention in our JVZoo review is the integration with Warrior Forum, probably the largest marketplace for Internet marketing products. This is done through their “Automated WSO Failover System”, which is basically a replicated offer of your original WSO post on their own forum.
A WSO (Warrior Special Offer) forum is where hundreds of Internet marketers in the “make money online” niche post huge discounts for their products. Some even sell exclusively through the Warrior Forum.
However, Warrior Forum has frequent downtimes, and every second the site is down both sellers and affiliates lose money.
According to JVZoo:
JVZoo’s new system checks to see if the Warrior Forum is up and running every few seconds. If it is down, your backup URL kicks into gear. That means all of the affiliate links will now point to your backup!
JVZoo Review: Instant Affiliate Bonus Fulfillment
Offering a bonus to your subscribers and blog readers is a great way to rake in higher commissions. However, the manual process in delivering bonuses can be quite tedious.
With JVZoo however, you have a built-in system for delivering any bonus you want to your buyers.
According to the JVZoo website:
Now, when you promote a product through JVZoo, we will also deliver your bonus for you, completely hands off to you! All you need to do is simply enter your URL of where your bonus is, or upload the bonus file to our servers and when someone goes through your link and purchases, their bonus from you will be waiting for them on the receipt.
JVZoo Review: IPN Notification System for Developers
Developers and third-party software owners would love JVZoo’s each integration via their own IPN, as well as PayPal’s IPN.
Their IPN seems to be copied from (or borrowed from) ClickBank’s IPN, and I think it’s a smart thing to do if you want ClickBank affiliates to be able to migrate easily. We managed to use it without much issues when setting up Sociabot, our social media automation product.
Documentation is reasonably well-prepared, another plus for developers who don’t want to waste too much time figuring out the JVZoo backend.
JVZoo Review: User Interface
Of course, we cannot conclude this JVZoo review without commenting on the look and feel.
Although JVZoo’s interface leaves much to be desired, it’s practical and easy to navigate. A lot of thought has been put into helping you find the information you need when you need it, although the poor design betrays that.
No mobile version site or mobile app is available for JVZoo at the moment of writing. I also noticed quite a number of irregularities when using different browsers.
However, I think a design makeover could be just around the corner. If they do redesign their website, it would make JVZoo much more appealing to potential affiliates.
So is JVZoo a ClickBank killer? Yes they are, in my opinion.
Although there are no numbers, I don’t think JVZoo has even 10% of the affiliates ClickBank has. That could change in a few years though, as most affiliates seem to be disenchanted with ClickBank’s recent policy changes.
It’s not easy to unseat one of the largest digital product affiliate networks on the Internet. But perhaps that’s not what JVZoo needs to succeed. As long as they keep engaging sellers, buyers and affiliates the way they do now, they could carve out a strong niche market for themselves and ensure survival in a competitive market.
Click Here to Signup for JVZoo
If you liked this JVZoo review, feel free to recommending it by linking back to this post.
New LinkTrackr features and updates have been rolled out to all accounts. Here’s what’s new:
1. Faster Stats and Graphs
We’ve completely revamped the way we store click data, and as a result you will notice that your graphs load almost immediately.
Even if you have a huge amount of clicks monthly, your Dashboard and stats pages will be super-quick.
2. New Campaign Creation Feature
In the past campaign creation used to be confusing to new users, and we were also limited to just ONE tracking variable. In the new update, you have a campaign creation tool and we now support up to 5 variables for maximum tracking options.
Our individual link graphs have also been updated to you can now analyze your clicks by Campaign, Subcampaign, Ad Type, Ad Name and Keywords.
You can save your campaigns to get a short URL, and to reference it later. You can also easily duplicate tracking campaigns, and make it compatible with Google Analytics.
3. New Conversion Tracking Tool
In the past, each link had it’s own conversion code. The problem was you had to put in multiple conversion codes into a single page if you’re tracking multiple sales and products.
With the new conversion tracking tool, you only need to place ONE code on your pages to track one conversion type. Plus, you can easily save your codes and re-use it later.
4. Download Your Stats in CSV
We’ve always tried to simplify our graphs and stats to give you a more meaningful experience when trying to track the effectiveness of your campaigns. Hardcore users however have always wanted to analyze their clicks in many different ways.
With the new release, you can easily download your complete stats log for the past 60 days in CSV and export it to your own spreadsheet. Now you can play around with your data any way you want!
5. More Accurate Clicks
We’ve improved our tracking system to report more accurate clicks for UNIQUE visitors. We’ve also updated our system to exclude more bots and spiders. As a result, your will get the most accurate click count possible.
We are in the process of updating our video tutorials. In the next few days we’ll be emailing you the video link for the new Campaign and Conversion modules. It’s pretty easy to use, but we want to make sure everyone understands it as much as possible.
If you don’t have a LinkTrackr account yet, now’s the time to get one and take your marketing to the next level.
Signup here: http://www.linktrackr.com/signup.php
In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to use Amazon affiliate links in your LinkTrackr account to track clicks and other important data. Getting a regular HTML link should be easy if you know the basics, but since Amazon now has tons of different product widgets and links it can be pretty confusing to a beginner.
Step 1: Login to your Amazon Associates account at http://affiliate-program.amazon.com and make sure you are working with the correct account. In the example above, I am working with the ID “classicguitar-20”.
Step 2: Enter the product name or search term and click on “Go”. Amazon will return a list of related products.
Step 3: Find the product you want, and click on the highlighted icon (not on “Get Link”). This is the easiest way to get a regular HTML link.
Step 4: How just highlight the raw HTML link as per the example above, and right click to copy the link. This is how the raw link looks like:
All raw HTML links should start with “http://www.amazon.com/…” – these are the only type of links that will work in LinkTrackr, PPC ad networks or any other link tracking software. It should also contain your Amazon affiliate ID.
Amazon also offers a short version of the link. The get it just click on “Shorten URL with amzn.to”
The shorten link is encrypted so you will no longer see your affiliate ID or any other variable like ASIN or the product name. It’s much easier to work with and the chances of making a mistake with your links a much lower.
If you click on “Get Link” in step 3 instead of the HTML link shortcut, you will be taken to the complete linking options page filled with all type of widgets and link formats. If you are on this page, you can choose the “Text Only” tab and manually copy the required HTML by highlighting only the link as shown above. However, unless you are very careful, it’s easy to make a mistake.
So we would recommend you just right click on the link preview and choose “Copy Link Address”. This is safer and actually much easier. With either method, the actual HTML link you get is the same.
Now login to your LinkTrackr account, click on “Add New Link” and fill up the form. The example above shows you how to do it by entering only the HTML link – no widget codes, no image or pixel codes, and no iFrame codes.
After creating the Link, make sure you test it out. When you click on your tracking link, it should take you directly to a page on Amazon.com. If you do not see a complete page, you have not done it correctly.
- Entering the “iFrame” code into LinkTrackr. Your link will work but you will only see the iFrame widget and not the Amazon.com page
- Entering pixel image codes.
- Not including “http” in your link
So we hope this Amazon tutorial has helped you understand how to get a regular Amazon affiliate link and use it within your LinkTrackr account.
We’ve added some useful new features to all LinkTrackr accounts to enable more flexible and powerful link cloaking. The first is the ability to add a “Meta Image” to your cloaked affiliate links.
Although this is entirely optional, a Meta Image will allow FaceBook and other social media services to display a thumbnail next to your link, making it more attractive and compelling.
We’ve also added a “Basic Cloaking” option that allows you to cloak your affiliate links without having to display the viral bar. This is useful in some circumstances, and has been one of the most requested improvements in the last couple of months.
All your previous cloaked links will display the viral bar by default. You can easily change this by editing an individual link.
Lastly, we’ve also updated the viral cloaking bar.
Google Buzz has been replaced by Google +1, and the old FaceBook share buttons have been replaced with the new Like / Send combination allowing for even more reach on FaceBook.
I think the video above explains everything about the new geo-reporting for LinkTrackr. This has been a much anticipated feature for quite some time now, but we’ve been bust testing a few methods to determine the best way to do it.
Well it’s finally here (or soon if you don’t see it yet) – and this new feature will allow you to see clicks and conversions by country, for all links or individual links.
Let me know what you think.
NOTE: Only clicks after the update will be tagged to a certain country, all previous clicks will show up as “Unknown”.
FaceBook conversion tracking is a tricky issue, but if you’re planning to buy FaceBook ads then you’ll just burn a hole through your pockets without the correct tracking system setup.
FaceBook used to have it’s own conversion tracking system, but due to unknown reasons they had it shut down. Perhaps they were worried that advertisers would start to realize just how bad their conversion rates are, and doubt the quality of their advertising platform. No real official reason was given though.
Till today FaceBook has not introduced a replacement to their native conversion tracking, so most marketers are spending blindly on FaceBok ads. This is surprising when you consider the fact that FaceBook Ads are often hyped up to be “the Google Adwords replacement”.
The good news is that you can easily track your FaceBook conversions with LinkTrackr. Unlike the defunct native FaceBook conversion tracking system however, LinkTrackr can also be used to track affiliate products you may be promoting. As long as your affiliate program supports pixel tracking or TID tracking, results should be accurate. You can read more about affiliate conversion tracking if you’ve never attempted to track affiliate sales before.
Here I’ll give you a step-by-step walkthrough on how to create your own FaceBook conversion tracking campaign.
FaceBook Conversion Tracking Step 1 – Naming System
FaceBook’s ad platform is different from Google Adwords. FB only tracks by campaigns and ads. They do not have “Ad Groups” to help you group together different ad targetting options. Therefore you will need to create your own naming system if you want to implement your own FaceBook sales tracking.
To make things simple, whenever I start a new campaign, I name my first ad “FB001” and continue this incremental numbering system for all ads, like below:
To keep the data accurate, I just keep giving the ads a new number regardless of whether they were approved, or whether I paused / deleted them. Never use the same number twice.
FaceBook Conversion Tracking Step 2 – Tracking Links
Now that we have numbered each ad, create a new tracking link in LinkTrackr for the product or affiliate offer you want to promote, and enter that tracking link with the ad number as the campaign name. Example:
With this simple method, you will be able to see right away in your LinkTrackr dashboard the amount of clicks you get from each numbered ad. If you have an account that supports conversion tracking, you should also be able to see the sales and optins from the numbered ads.
Multiple Campaign FaceBook Conversion Tracking
The example above is when you’re running a single campaigns for a single product. If you’re running multiple campaigns, you need to append a campaign ID to your campaigns and in your tracking as well, for example:
This is my reference for campaign 01, ad 01. If you want to test more complex campaigns however you’ll need a spreadsheet to keep track of your numbering system.
FaceBook Conversion Tracking Limitations
The limitation with this method is that you cannot track how many “Likes” you got from the campaign. If your objective is to get more likes then advertise your FaceBook page instead. FaceBook will be able to tell you exactly how many Likes you got when you advertise a page or “sponsored story” with the default stats.
Like I said before, FaceBook conversion tracking is not easy and never will be until FaceBook intriduces a new conversion tracking for advertisers, but this method will work pretty well.
Do you have a YouTube affiliate link tracking strategy?
If you’re like me, then you’re probably uploading product reviews, screen capture tutorials and other short videos on YouTube to promote your affiliate website or affiliate links. But how are your YouTube promotions really impacting your profits? Is YouTube really worth your time?
There’s no real way to know unless you implement a systematic way of tracking your YouTube clicks and conversions. And of course, you can do this easily with LinkTrackr.
The easiest way to do it is to embed your LinkTrackr tracking link right on the video page. On your video editing page, you can actually insert a short description of your video. Put your tracking link right up front followed by a short description as you can see below.
YouTube only makes a portion of your description visible, so make sure you enter the most important text right after the tracking link. Now your video display page will look like this:
When anyone shares your video URL on FaceBook, your YouTube tracking link will also be share and will be clickable (unless they just clicked on “Like”), as you can see below:
This will go a long way in helping you track clicks from your YouTube videos and shares, and also with your YouTube conversion tracking efforts.
However, this is only useful when someone views your videos on YouTube itself. It doesn’t appear when someone embeds your videos on their website. For that you need to work with “annotations”.
YouTube Conversion Tracking With Annotations
Annotations are another great way to implement YouTube conversion tracking, especially due to the fact that annotations appear on all embedded videos on any website or blog.
Since YouTube only allows you to link to other YouTube videos or pages, enter the full tracking URL as per the example below. It will not be click-able but at least you get to display the entire link. To make it even more effective you may also want to use domain name cloaking or cPanel link cloaking for shorter, easier to remember links.
Other YouTube Conversion Tracking Ideas
Here are some other ideas to make your YouTube conversion tracking more effective:
- Video Splash Screen – Create a 5-10 second introduction “splash screen” with your tracking link displayed on a plain background with some text, so viewers know where to go to get more information.
- Video Credits – Just like the splash screen, but at the end of your video. Make it play for 5-30 seconds so your viewers can actually remember or write down the URL.
YouTube Conversion Tracking with LinkTrackr
With LinkTrackr’s dynamic campaign feature and TID conversion tracking feature (which is available in all accounts), I can clearly see how may people registered / opted in to my free webinar:
I can also see the conversion rate so I know exactly how effective YouTube is as a traffic source for my webinar. If I find that the traffic is too low quality, I may just decide to stop marketing this product on YouTube and turn my attention to more qualified and responsive traffic sources.
With the correct strategy, you will know for sure if your YouTube efforts are paying off or if your time is better spent elsewhere. So start tracking your YouTube conversion tracking campaign now!
We written a lot about ClickBank on this blog, including our Clickbank review, introduction to ClickBank hoplinks and conversion tracking for ClickBank affiliates. Now we should probably tell about the scary stuff no one told you about ClickBank.
Unlike most affiliate networks, there’s a real good chance that you will never get paid from ClickBank unless you’re making regular commissions via their network. Here are three reasons why.
1. You Need To Make At Least 5 Sales to Get Paid
You will never get paid if you make one or two sales. In fact, you need to make at least 5 sales (best case scenario) to actually get paid the first time.
According to ClickBank:
ClickBank will withhold payment of any account balance until the following criteria is met:
- Sales made with 5 or more different credit card numbers; and,
- Sales made with two different payment methods (either Visa, MasterCard, PayPal or European Direct Debit(ELV)). Note: PayPal purchases do not count toward the minimum 5 different credit card numbers.
This requirement is in place to help prevent Affiliates from abusing the ClickBank Affiliate program by using their accounts for the sole purpose of fraudulently collecting rebates and/or discounts on their own purchases.
Once you have met the Customer Distribution Requirement, your account will begin issuing payments normally, in accordance with our Accounting Policy, beginning on the next payment issuing date.
What this means is that a single sales doesn’t matter. 100 affiliate sales don’t matter either if everyone paid via their VISA credit cards or PayPal. Make sure you understand this requirement, as it closely relates to the next shocking fact you never knew about ClickBank.
2. There’s a “Dormant” Fee Up to $100 a Month
Yes, if you do not make any new commissions, ClickBank will penalize you for it. Deductions start at $1 per “Pay Period” which is every two weeks in ClickBank.
According to ClickBank:
Accounts with a positive balance but no earnings for an extended period of time are considered dormant. Dormant accounts are subject to a charge of $1 per pay period after 90 days of no earnings, $5 per pay period after 180 days of no earnings, and $50 per pay period after 365 days of no earnings.
The above example is from one of my joint venture ClickBank accounts. Unfortunately, after the initial sales for this product none of the partners (including me) bothered to do anything about the income. We thought we’ll just leave it there till be can get more JV partners to promote the product. That never happened however.
From several thousand dollars in the year 2007/08 you can see how this had depleted to $0 simply because this account was dormant and we had set the minimum payout to $5,000. Last year we had $50 deducted from our account every pay period, which is biweekly, resulting in a $100 deduction per month. Needless to say in a couple of months our earnings were completely wiped out.
I only realized this after checking that dormant account. We should have taken the money out sooner while there was still something to be paid out.
3. You May Never Get Paid
If you decide to promote Clickbank products, you need to keep it going till you get past the minimum 5 sales requirement, and set your minimum payout as low as possible, to actually start getting paid. If you decide to “take a break” from ClickBank you may return a year later to find that your earnings have disappeared.
There’s a real chance that you may never get paid from ClickBank despite all your hard work promoting their products as an affiliate. Be glad you read this!