This Week We Are Cloaking

Hi everyone, week 8 was a bit more complicated than usual and I really had to concentrate on what I was doing. I watched the video instructions over again. This is okay, because we have to get these things correct at our own pace, and that’s what the training videos are for. For if we get these things wrong it may cost us dearly in lost subscriptions and sales.

Black and White Masks

One of the topics we covered in week 8 was Link Cloaking.

What is Cloaking?

In the internet marketing world cloaking may have different meanings for different uses.

Some of the definitions of cloaking are: to hide, to camouflage, to disguise, to cover and to mask.

The cloaking of websites for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) reasons is very much frowned upon. This is when you treat human visitors and Google bots in different ways when they click on your site in search engines. For example sending the Google bot to a fashion site whilst sending human visitors to a completely different site such as a p*rn site.  This is something you should not be doing, and Google will ban you when they discover it. Have no doubt about it, they WILL discover it.

But in week 8 the cloaking we were introduced to was not web cloaking but LINK Cloaking.

Link Cloaking

Link cloaking should not to be confused with web cloaking. Although it is still a method of disguising a link it is not generally used with bad intentions. Although that could still happen.

A link is used to direct your visitors to another page on your site or to another site altogether.

Some Wrong Reasons Why You Might Cloak Your Links

  1. To hide the fact that you are an affiliate marketer and so will receive commission if they purchase through your link.  This is dishonest, you should have a declaration on your website or email declaring that you are an affiliate marketer and as such will indeed receive commission when they purchase through your link. If you check out the Legal Stuff in my blog header you will find an affiliate disclosure informing visitors that I am an affiliate marketer. This is to protect both myself and my visitors.
  2. In order to mislead you visitors about the destination of the link on your web page or email. If you are doing this you should stop immediately.

After reading the above you may be wondering if there is a good reason for using affiliate link cloaking. Well yes there is. In fact, there are several reasons.

Some Correct Reasons Why You Might Cloak Your Links

When you cloak your affiliate links it should not be to mislead your visitors; it should be about helping you to manage your affiliate business in a more efficient manner.  Link cloaking won’t get you penalized by search engines and it may improve your site statistics a little.

The first reason to cloak your links is to make the link more ‘visitor friendly’.  You are therefore giving yourself more chance of making a sale.

For example check out the following affiliate links:


Both of these affiliate links lead to the same destination, or they would if I replaced the row of xs with my affiliate nickname. That destination is to John Thornhill’s Partner to Success Coaching program introduction video 3.

I think you would agree that your visitor would be more likely to click the second link.  The second link, which is the disguised, masked or cloaked link, is not trying to misguide them but in fact provides more information and therefore seems more trustworthy.  It tells the visitor that I ‘Pauline Harris’ recommend that they watch this video.  Whereas the first affiliate link tells them nothing.

The second reason to cloak your links is that it makes for better link management.  Suppose the affiliate that you are linking to changes the affiliate link address (this would be No.1 in the above example), if you are using this link in many web pages or web sites then you would have to change each one individually. However, when the link is cloaked you only need to change the address in one place and all the links will be updated. This is so much easier.

The third reason to cloak your links is when sending emails. The actual affiliate link will probably be read as spam. Whereas the cloaked link is more likely to pass the spam test and be delivered to your subscribers’ inboxes.

The fourth reason to cloak your links is because of the chance that someone might delete your nickname and insert their own instead. This is so that any commission earned will go to them and not to you. All the work you have done on your site so that visitors will click your link will all be worthless. These thieves will benefit from all your hard work.

I am sure there are many other reasons for cloaking your affiliate links.

By all means cloak your links but ensure you are doing so for the correct reasons.


Important Reminder

Just in case you are not doing it already, please remember to back up your blog frequently. This is an essential task that you MUST do.

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Image credit: vmaster2012 / 123RF Stock Photo


  • Maneesha Malhotra

    Reply Reply April 22, 2014

    Thank you so much Admin for making aware about “Cloaking” serioulsy I wasn’t aware about Cloaking. Now I’m feeling good to know about Cloaking. Once again Thanks to Admin.

    • Pauline

      Reply Reply April 22, 2014

      Hi Maneesha,

      I am glad that I brought it to your attention. Obviously you need to do you own research on it. You will be told about in John Thornhill’s Partnership to Success Course, week 8.

  • igor Griffiths

    Reply Reply April 18, 2014

    Well hello Pauline, although it maybe splitting hairs it is as Randy points out an important distinction.

    When I started online it was pretty clear, cloaking was bad and masking was fine however these definitions appear to be getting blurred as far as I can make out.

    Cloaking is permanently hiding the destination url by way of perhaps a page frame such that the viewer has no clue as to what site they are actually viewing, obviously not good.

    Masking starts with the same premise, the URL in the link is not the real destination but when they arrive the real destination is revealed, often with our affiliate link tagged by a cookie and removed from the URL for commission security purposes.

    As I said this is how I understand it and I may have got it wrong but whatever the correct term, the points you make in this post are all very useful and relevant regardless of what we call the url transformation technique.


    • Pauline

      Reply Reply April 19, 2014

      Hey igor,

      Thank you for your interesting comment. You make a very good point.

      When researching Cloaking I came to the conclusion that cloaking the Web page to differentiate between where you send a human visitor and where you send a search engine for SEO purposes is very bad and should not be done.

      However when cloaking an affiliate link it is okay as long as the visitor is given information as to where he/she will end up that is fine. Plus the fact that the search engines will also end up at the same destination means that no deception is involved.

      This is a very interesting topic with many people taking different stances about it.

      Take care

  • Paul Wallace

    Reply Reply April 17, 2014

    Hi Pauline,

    Thanks for a fantastic and well researched post, you are putting me to shame as I think about what I have written. I found this post very interesting and informative as I have yet to sort my links out.

    Your blog is looking really good and I am impressed at the amount of comments you have, keep up the great work.

    Kind Regards

    Paul Wallace 🙂

    • Pauline

      Reply Reply April 17, 2014

      Hey Paul,
      Thank you for visiting.
      I think part of the fun is to do a little research to include in your post. Although I know it can sometimes be very time consuming, it is worth it. I actually learned that ‘Cloaking’ could be used in many different ways for different uses.

      Take care

  • Jon Crimes

    Reply Reply April 17, 2014

    Good points there Pauline, especially about the Affiliate Commissions.

    What I do with my Affiliate sites is to cloak the links just so that the Search Engines don’t see loads of links pointing towards one site (Amazon for instance!) and it looks nicer of course!

    You’re absolutely right about being honest though! I try to make sure that when a customer hovers over a link, they see a desciption of what that link is there for and where it is going to take them.

    For instance “Find Great Deals on Pool Cleaning Products at here…”.

    When I first started Affiliate Marketing I didn’t do this but you soon notice that when you start being honest,the customers start to trust you more and you get more click throughs.

    Very interesting article Pauline, thanks. Look forward to reading more.



    • Pauline

      Reply Reply April 17, 2014

      Hi Jon,
      Thanks for your comments.
      Please tell me Jon, how do you get you’re reader to see something different when they hover over the link?
      I have just been back to the Aweber mails we are sending out. I masked John’s links using Link Supercharger. But when I hover over these masked links nothing else appears.

      Take care

  • Romi

    Reply Reply April 16, 2014

    Hello Pauline,

    Week 8 was indeed very interesting. I share your excitement, as things really begin to take shape from now on. Little bit uneasy coz of the new things needed to be learned, but at the same time looking positively forward.

    Consistent actions indeed will get us to our goals.

    Cheers to all of us,

    • Pauline

      Reply Reply April 16, 2014

      Hello Romi

      Yes its starting to get a bit intense. Which means we are learning so much more.

      As you say be consistent and keep moving forward.

      Take care

  • Dave Thomas

    Reply Reply April 15, 2014


    It’s like an episode in Star Trek where the Klingon ship vanishes with their cloaking mechanism

    I like the way we have been taught as it does not appear to show any reference to the associate link you are pushing and I, for one, like that idea. The only problem I found was when I went to cloak the four different videos from John, you had to come up with a different title for each even though the link path was different so I just added V2 etc to the end of the link!

    And, like you, I am aiming to be that millionaire or as close to it as I can get and soon!


    • Pauline

      Reply Reply April 15, 2014

      HI Dave, thank you for your comment.

      Or it could be like Harry Potter’s invisible cloak.
      I did the same really just changed the ending to the particular video number.
      Dave we shall be millionaires together. Just need to keep on going.


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