Are link shorteners costing you sales?

Do you use a link shortener to cloak your links? It seems like everyone these days is using a free link shortening service in order to shorten their long affiliate links.  Cloaking links makes sense and protects your affiliate commissions too, so shortening your link for free is a good thing, right?

Maybe yes, maybe no.

While shortening makes perfect sense (and I do it every time I promote) did you know that using certain free link shortener services might actually cost you sales?

It’s vital that you know which services to use and which carry risk. This article by the good folks at Aweber sheds light on this growing problem and will help you make sense of what service to use.

Read the article here

My take? I would never use a free link shortening service unless I absolutely had to due to money. Great link trackers like Hypertracker (my favorite) and others offer cloaking and split testing and sale tracking and much more. I know you are serious about your business so, when you can afford it, I feel it makes sense to invest in your success by using a professional grade link tracking service.

Hope you find this helpful.


39 thoughts on “Are link shorteners costing you sales?”

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  4. How is it different a free cloaker/shortener from a paid one?

    When I see a hypertracker url I know that it is cloaking something.

    And one of the problems with cloakers is that when it is clicked the landing page has the affiliate link in the browser, so the real affiliate url is revealed.

    Any way, hiding a ClickBank affiliate link is almost impossible, at least, it is when the target is an online marketer, all of them know CB, and most will use their own affiliate link to buy the product.

    Probably, the best option, up to where it is possible, is to use affiliate programs that will accept affiliates only if they buy the product, this way the buyer won’t be “saving” any money by trying to buy the product with his/her own affiliate link. But these programs are rare.

    I even know that when I see, that it is a cloaked affiliate link.

    I consider that the best way to cloak an affiliate link is to use a system where the original affiliate link is hidden even up to the payment pager.

    And the best way to track traffic is to do it, also, up to the payment page. Of course, this requires special software from the affiliate program. And to embed a special script on ones own website builder.

    Just some thoughts on the subject,

    Your friend,

    Luis Antonios

  5. I’ve never even liked the look of shortened links, and to me they can look like the marketer is hiding something because there’s nothing identifiable in such links. It doesn’t stop me from ever clicking one, but it does make me stop and think before doing so.

    A nice method I learned a few years back is to create my own custom links that look something like http://[mydomain]/recommends/%5Bproductname%5D, or use “go” instead of “recommends”. Not everyone has the means to do it that way, but if you do, I am more likely to click on it.

    1. I use tracking links all the time but don’t like the ones that are obvious. Nothing wrong with tracking but a prettier link is more clickable. I’ve been using Pretty Link on my blog for a while now and really like it. I use your method too and like that as well.



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  11. Thanks Charlie, for give me a warning. I am only beginner start learning about affiliate marketing that involve in shortening the url. I start using . Know after reading your article I have to change it. Once again “Thank you”

  12. Hi Charlie,

    thank you for this very informative post. I have a question.
    If you are an affiliate can you still cloack you links? I hear that Clickbank recently penalised a lot of “Link Cloackers” but I believe that was refered to people wanting to steal commissions from affiliates

    I am also aware that Clickbank provide all affiliates with a special affiliate link 1 with a special ‘Hop Link’ but are we still able to hyde our links and “cloack” them
    to ensure no one steals our commission?

    And what do you think is the best and safest link cloacking system out there?


    1. Sergio,

      To the best of my knowledge cloaking your links is 100% fine. I certainly cloak mine as I use Hypertracker to track everything. Clickbank themselves offer every affiliate a cloaked link right within the Marketplace so I can’t imagine them having an anti-cloaking position.


      1. I hear all the time how a dishonest affiliate could steal your sales if they recognize your promoting an affiliate product from a well known affiliate network, how would they be able to do that? I was curious, so I know what to do to prevent that from happening.

      2. If they recognize that you are promoting a product for which they can become an affiliate they could become an affiliate and buy under their own link. I’m not sure this is as big a problem as some make it out to be but it does happen and can be prevented by using a professional link tracker like Hypertracker or Linktrackr.

  13. Walter Gavurnik

    After reading the posts after mine, and before, I just checked the five most used link shorteners. As of today the only one blacklisted is by Spamhaus!
    The five checked where;
    Does this mean it is safe to use URL shorteners? That’s up to you I guess…
    I simply won’t put my money on any of these sites any more! I NEED my mail to be opened
    and read, so if using link shortening services has any chance of compromising that ability,
    there is no way I will use them at all!
    May GOD Bless everyone and endow you with prosperity in all your endeavors!

  14. This is interesting.

    I normally use Tinyurl and for the most part have been fine with it.

    It is interesting that you recommend Hypertracker.

    I notice they are owned by the same company who own GetResponse. Will certainly take a look at purchasing that.

    But do I actually need to?..because GR Track everything in my emails already?

    Thanks for the post Charlie.

    I’m actually going to be in touch with you very soon to join your DOE club.

    Thanks again.

  15. Thank you very much, that was great information. More grease to your elbow!
    I have been using tinyurl too.The service is ok for now.

  16. May be this information is true but until now i don’t have any problem with deliverability of
    my e-mails. I have using always tiny url.I have testing my e-mails with main e-mail providers such Google,Yahoo and MSN and i never had any problems .



  17. Thanks Charlie, I read the article at AW and was surprised to see on one spammer list, I will not use that one again. Is there a way of just writing our own short link without getting a domain etc etc which I did not understand how to do. I mean like the h ref code we all use for anchor texts.

  18. Hey Charlie,
    Thank you so much for this helpful article and information. I’ve learned a lot here about link shortners and the effect it can have on one’s messages being delivered or (spammed) trashed. I use, my own domain with extentions, affiliate links, in many promotions… and have used hyper-tracker in the past. All of them don’t track conversions though. What I was wondering is ‘How should I track my own domain with extentions added?
    I currently have the Affiliate Link (WordPress) Plugin installed, but I’m not sure of the best way to track this. My statcounter does track visitors, length of time on site, etc.., and I don’t want to sound stupid, but I’m not sure how the AL cloaker is tracking clicks, etc. However, I might be missing something using the A-L-Plugin. Am I making any sense? (e.g.. http://my…, OR…). Plus, my domain name is not the shortest, but it is far from being the longest… but with the extentions, it can be a pinch longer. Any feedback is beneficial and helpful to me.
    P.S. Sometimes I forget the best place & time to use my domainname with the AL Cloaker, ext.
    Thanks in advance! You guys are so amazing and caring.

    🙂 Bettie

  19. Perry Roberts

    As always your info is valuable.I am now changing my thinking on link shoteners.
    Thanks again

  20. Excellent article. I always avoid the short links that I see in emails that use the service and others. It tells me that the marketer isn’t serious about what they are selling. There are a lot of scripts out there that you can use for free just go to Youtube and you’ll find several free options to cloak your link and make it look much more professional.

  21. Charlie,

    This is another great article with sound advice from you.

    Your articles are always timely and straight to the point. That is greatly appreciated by me.

    Thanks very much.

    James Lane

  22. Walter Gavurnik

    I read that article from Aweber. Very enlightening…
    Funny thing is I was in the middle of writing a plugin to cloak and track links!
    I’m both proud and happy to say I finished and never have to worry about my
    links being banned or worse again!
    Want to test it with me Charlie? I could use the testimonial…


  23. Martin Findling

    Great Article Charlie, I am using links only in social media not in e-mails. I wasn’t aware of the problems using short links could cause. Thanks for the great info.
    Cheers, Martin

  24. Good point, Charlie.
    I’m really careful about when I do & don’t advise my clients to use Link Shortners & the mirade of ways to use / not to use these to best advantage. I’m not into “Internet Marketing” in the most usually understood sense of the term but in Social Media optimisation – and it’s just as important in that field to!

  25. Thanks, Charlie. This only reinforces the notion that something like Hypertracker is the better solution. I’ve seen others use it for quite a while but just haven’t gone that route. Now I’m considering doing just that.


  26. Rebecca Hadley

    Thank you very much Charlie, I will use it next time I want to shorten my site. I have signed up with BetterWebBuilder System to promote my business. Can I use your articles on my blog with BWB?

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