The Ninja Mindset – Protecting Your Affiliate Links

The Ninja MindsetNinjutsu was developed as a collection of fundamental survivalist techniques during political turmoil in ancient Japan.  The main character (Nin 忍) is translated as stealth, secretiveness, endurance, and perseverance, while the second character (Jutsu 術) means art or technique.  Based on these interpretations, It would be safe to say that most successful affiliate marketers practice some form of Ninjutsu in one way, shape or form – they just don’t know it yet.  Now it’s time for me to school all you greasy gurus on The Ninja Mindset and how it relates to affiliate marketing:

You have to be stealth amongst your competition.

You must be secretive with your top performing niches.

You need endurance to adapt with the changes in technology.

You must persevere and be consistent with your actions and words.

You need to build your own technique using proven fundamentals.

There are 18 disciplines that must be mastered within Ninjutsu training, and today we are going to talk about the 11th discipline, Shinobi-iri, which is the art of stealth and entering methods.  Stealth is often overlooked in the ebooks of affiliate marketing, but it’s a vital skill when it comes to protecting your links from hijackers, as well as making it less painful to update existing links – should your affiliate networks change anything.  This is where affiliate link redirecting can make your life easier while increasing the efficiency of your online business.

When a targeted individual ends up on your blog or website, ultimately you want them to do one thing – click.  Taking into consideration that most androids and shopaholics surfing the web are savvy enough to recognize a shifty looking url, your contextual links will not perform as well as they could because of the long-ass links companies like Amazon provide you with.  Here’s an example of bad link vs good link:

http://www.amazon.com/jd3ekd88payme76=383i3f9jdsuperfly.html

or

http://www.yoursite.com/go/jump.php?m=amazon

Pretty obvious right?  Now there are tons of software scripts that you can purchase such as Affiliate Link Cloaker which is $59, or Amazing Link Cloaker for $65, blah, blah, blah (funny how they sound the same).  Here’s what I say, visit SteveDawson.com and check out his PHP Affiliate Jump Script – it’s free and it works like a charm.  I know zip about PHP and I downloaded the script, and had it configured in 15 minutes.  Here’s what you need to do step-by-step:

  1. Visit the site and download the script (jump.zip)
  2. Save the zip file to your desktop or folder of choice and extract the contents to your desired location (I have every folder on my server duplicated locally on my computer, so it’s easier when uploading).  You should get a file called jump.php
  3. Log onto your FTP or web hosting provider (Godaddy, Hostgator,etc..) and create a new directory within the root (if your root folder is “Poverty101.net” you want to create a folder within there called “referral” or “go” or something along those lines – just don’t name the folder “redirect” for obvious reasons!
  4. Double click the jump.php file that you saved on your computer and replace the the required lines of script with your affiliate link information.  Below you’ll see 3 lines that start with an “if” statement.  On the first “if” statement line you want to replace the area I’ve colored blue with your domain name and directory.  So if you created the directory “referral” then you want to enter within the quotes http://www.poverty101.net/referral/ – and don’t forget the trailing forward slash.  That’s it for the first line.
  5. The second and third lines of code starting with “if” can be copied and pasted as many times as needed for each affiliate product you have (for example if you have 15 affiliate products, you will have 15 “if” statement lines below the first one)  All you do from here is copy and paste as many lines as needed, replace the area I’ve colored in yellow with your ID of choice for the product like “wordtracker” or “hostgator”, and then within the quotes replace the url I’ve colored green with the affiliate link for each related product.  It’s that simple.

$m = $_GET[‘m’];
if ($m == “”) {$link = “http://www.stevedawson.com/mobiles/“;} // Default Blank
if ($m == “Just Phones“) {$link = “http://www.awin1.com/awclick.php?mid=97&id=38362“;}
if ($m == “UKPhoneShop“) {$link = “http://tracker.tradedoubler.com/click?p=985&a=949731&g=5119“;}

Once you’ve updated the jump.php file on your computer, save it and upload it into the directory you created.  Once you’ve uploaded the file, test it out.  Type into your browser http://www.yoursitename.com/directoryname/jump.php?m=productname and witness the stealth madness of this awesome script.  Click here to see it in action.

The Ninja Mindset can be adapted to any area of your business, just as I did above.  I knew I needed to protect my assets so I did some research, tested a few things out, and now I can be comfortable putting affiliate links out there knowing that they are safe and stealth – while proving you guys with some great content at the same time.  It’s a win-win situation!

Cheers,

Elijah

17 thoughts on “The Ninja Mindset – Protecting Your Affiliate Links”

  1. Great tip! I have just recently set up my first redirect and I think it was very similar … but I was taught to set up a separate php file/doc for each product … are you saying this is one document where you list each product in the same doc?

    If so, in your example (blog mastermind) did you add the ?m=blogmastermind to your url/link?

    Sorry, not very techie so I’m just clarifying … and I really appreciate the help. *SmiLes* Suzanne

    Suzannes last blog post..The Best $5 Bucks I’ve Spent in a Long Time!

  2. Sorry … another question … so does that mean you don’t use the links that are provided through the affiate sites? You just use the images and then use this method to actually link to the product? Thanks again! S

  3. I like it…I cloak links most of the time, sometimes I don’t. Honestly though,to me, I don’t like how most cloaked links look. I don’t like the url/goto/link or url/reccommends/link I hate that crap….and the output you get from this script is almost the same lol. If I mouse over it…it still looks like a crazy link!

    For a long time, I’ve been using affiliate defender, and it works like a charm. I have to create my links…which is fine, and it outputs an html/php file for me. I name that file whatever and upload it.

    My aff links look like

    http:/elijahcheckdisone.com/theproduct.html

    It looks like a sub directory, even when you mouse over it, and even when you go to the site it stays the same. Maybe it’s just a personal preference, but most of the cloaking methods I’ve seen don’t make the link look much better lol…I know…I’m splitting hairs 🙂

    Oh yeah, I got affiliate defender for free.

    Normal Joes last blog post..Back At It With The IMwithJoe.com Update

  4. Cloaking links is a great way to add another level of trust for a visitor. I think most people nowadays are used to seeing long URLs with a whole bunch of text, but any bit of trust that we can gain from a user is essential.

    I’m the same way as Joe in that I try to make my cloaked links look like a normal URL to a subdirectory. I am not sure how much of an effect that has compared to using /recommends/ or /goto/ or any other form though.

  5. Great points from both you guys, and you know what? I wish i could shorten it even more – but for now I guess this script is definitely better than not having anything at all..

    And it makes it much easier to manage if something needs to be changed.

    @Jarret – thanks for stopping by. I agree, I actually wouldn’t mind seeing some sort of cross comparison of ctr depending on one cloaking script versus another..

    I’m sure only dorks like you, me, and joe would actually make time out to read a post like that!

    Elijahs last blog post..25 Things About Elijah That You Might Not Know

  6. For a shorter url you can just take the code snippet out of the file and stick it into your main index.php file.

    Just make sure that you don’t have anything that redirects the page to the same page.

    So in your example that you gave, just take out…

    if ($m == “”) {$link = “http://www.yourlinkhere.com”;}

    As an example, if you had an $m variable set to…

    if ($m == “google”) {$link = “http://www.google.com”;}

    By adding the code into your main index.php you could just link to it by the following example…

    http://www.theathomecouple.com?m=google

    Can’t get much shorter then that 😉

    Jarrets last blog post..Google AdWords Does Not Play Nice

  7. Hey guys, I tought I’d chime in on what I do, because I do it manually and name it whatever I want as a directory without any plugins or scripts, etc.

    Funny Joe laughs at the”goto”, etc. I actually add the /go directory manually just so it’s “organized” on my server.

    Anyway. I create a directory. Let’s say it was “hostgator”. So, the URL would be suitej.com/hostgator if I wanted it to be.
    Inside the hostgator dir that I created, I have an index.php file with one line of code that looks like this:

    Then, I just make a duplicate anytime I wanna quickly make a new aff URL/link, and change that affiliate link in the one line of code.

    I can call it what I want, and put it wherever I want. It’s manual, but still only takes like 55 seconds to do.

    Hope that made sense. It’s pretty late over here. lol
    Cheers!
    Jay

    SuiteJs last blog post..How To Find Inspiration For Customizing Your WordPress Theme

  8. The ninjas banished the shaolin secret code man. Someone tell me how I paste it in without it being removed and I will do that pronto. 🙂

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