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Is there a better alternative to Offto.net?

An interesting post about cloaking your links from Jonathan Leger, I have always been an admirer of his obvious SEO skill and his innovativeCloaked-Links products. However I was a little surprised when he wrote this post purely to promote his Offto.net service. Now at first glance you may think that Offto.net is the answer to all your cloaking problems, but if you take a closer look at Offto.net you may not want to use it as your preferred cloaking option.

The main reason for my reluctance to use Offto.net is the apparent blocking by popular firewalls that flag Offto.net as a possible phishing or spam site. My own firewall (PC Guard-Virgin) has constantly blocked any URL with Offto in the address, so if I am getting this message then thousands of other users are just a likely to be getting it to; because of this most users will just move on and ignore your product. If you checkout the post, there are other users who have had the same problem. This happens on any Offto link that you have on your site or sites.

Benefits of Offto.net

Jonathan likens his Offto.net service to Wikipedia in regards to inbound links and his traffic stats for Offto.net are impressive with a large number of inbound links showing up in Yahoo Explorer. What I found interesting was the search engine traffic coming from Google, Yahoo and MSN; this was attributed to the keywords being used by members. So clearly this has big benefits for Offto.net, but how does this benefit the members? It seems that only 10% of the traffic was generated by users searching for Offto itself. A lot of the other traffic was coming from keywords ranging from all sorts of products like T-shirts and diet products.

So for users of Offto they benefit from its authority in the eyes of Google, Yahoo and MSN in rank placement. And according to Jonathan Leger your cloaked links will rank higher especially if you use keywords in your link. In order to get extra traffic you will need to check the “Hide links to affiliate program on landing pages” box. Apparently this is what causes your page to get ranked in the search engines.

For me I’m’ a little bit sceptical and for the reason given earlier about firewalls have opted to use redirect scripts on my own server. As an example I would use this type of link >>

http://www.web-workathome.com/reccomends/pdfpowerbrander.HTML

With this type of link it clearly has my Home Page as well as the product, so this gives plenty of variation for the search engines. I do use quite a few variations and other services like Leads Leap for cloaking and I think it benefits me better. The application that I use to cloak and redirect my affiliate links is called Profit Protector. And I discovered this through Tara Dipalma, so thanks for the info Tara.

Check her site out http://taradipalma.com/ Also checkout CenayNailor.com the second link on Zementa’s related links, this is an excelent link cloaking application that redirects your link in HTML or PHP and includes SEO attributes to enhance searchability.

So what do you think? There are lots of ways to cloak your affiliate links, so what’s the best option to use or do think it’s a load of cobblers? Some might say that leaving your links uncloaked will give you a higher click through rate and encourage longer page visits.

Please feel free to comment

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  • OffTo.net (tagedge.com)
  • iFrameGen PHP Redirect Software (CenayNailor.com)
  • Affiliates Click Phishing in Twitter (revenews.com)
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9 comments to Is there a better alternative to Offto.net?

  • Do not cloak your links. It might work in the short term but as soon as Google stumbles across them it is game over. It is that simple, just keep things nice and simple and you can’t go wrong.

    • Bill MassonNo Gravatar

      @heat pump, Hello,
      This may be the case for certain types of cloaked links but it doesn’t affect redirects that clearly have the “recommends” in the URL. If you read Jonathan Leger’s post he explains in more detail about his offto.net service which as i have said can have negative actions for users.
      Thanks for your comment

  • Oh, I thought cloaking your links is good. I’ve been doing this for some time and it seems to work fine.

  • Be A Mortgage Broker

    Excuse my ignorance Bill - can you give a very quick summary of what a cloaked link is and why you prefer to redirect?

    • Bill MassonNo Gravatar

      Hello,
      Well as you probably know a cloaked link is used to hide the clickable link destination from any would be hacker, I won’t get into the ins and outs of that. Cloaking your link can be viewed as a disservice to your visitors because they don’t know where they will end up, but as long as you write a fair and honest opinion of the destination i don’t see any problem with it. Check out the post as to why i prefer Redirects. It really comes down to the personal choice of the individual webmaster. I am always open to discussion about link cloaking and would like to get more views on the matter, how about your friends; do any of them use cloaked links?

  • Online Piano Lessons LiveNo Gravatar

    I used to think that you need a lot of tricks to get ranked. Found out you will only get downgraded.

    • Bill MassonNo Gravatar

      It happens….Search engines move in mysterious ways , and they are a lot more savy than people give them credit for. My site over at billmasson.com lost its PR2 not because of blackhat, probably cause i use twitter/doodle. But the ironic thing is the PR2 showed up on another new e-commerce site….you win some you loose some…go figure!

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