Posted February 29, 2008 1:42 pm by with 24 comments

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Affiliate Summit, a conference for affiliate marketers and affiliate managers, just ended in Las Vegas. I usually attend but I didn’t go this year. Gary Marcoccia at AvantLink told me about a new affiliate tool that debuted at the Summit, that I wish every affiliate network had. AvantLink is a smaller network of affiliate programs.

The tool is called the Affiliate Link Encoder (ALE) and it makes the process of adding affiliate links automatic. Any time you link to a product or service with a merchant in Avant Link’s network, a piece of javascript automatically changes the links redirects it to an affiliate link. As an affiliate this would make my job much easier, because it’s so tedious to change your links one by one.

In my view, affiliate marketing is still underappreciated, despite its size and potential to help small businesses make money on their content. Here’s an illustration of how the tool works. Let’s say Andy’s new book, Radically Transparent (which I just got a copy of and look forward to reading it) was being sold by a merchant in Avant Link’s network. You sign up as an affiliate of that company. You write a review of the book and link to a merchant that sells the book.

If you’re signed up as an affiliate you can earn a percentage of what someone spends on that book. It takes a little technical know-how to figure out how, but essentially the merchant gives you a unique URL that identifies you as the referrer. Then if someone buys the book, you get paid. Rather than getting paid for a click you get paid part of the purchase price.

Speaking of reputations, there’s some reason for affiliate marketing’s sometimes bad rap. It has to do with rogue affiliate marketers gaming Google with ads that gave users little value. Over time new policies (like the Google Quality Score) has helped reigned things back in. Even though the industry has changed over the years Affiliate Summit still has that energy of entrepreneurialism (see the blog).

Given the sometimes tenuous relationship between Google and affiliates, and Google’s frown on paid links, some worry that the tool could hurt their Google rankings. Gary responded, “We can’t say with 100% certainty what Google will or will not see this as sneaky, but…the network redirect link shows in the browser status bar when the site visitor hovers over the link text.”

  • ALE sounds interesting, but I guess I’m a little confused about how they are proposing the redirects to work?

  • Sounds really interesting. I will try it in work.

  • Is it effective? and how effective?

  • Pingback: Affiliate Marketing » Blog Archive » New Affiliate Marketing Tool Debuts at Affiliate Summit()

  • that would be good to have

  • Sounds good, although I’ll have to try it out. There is already several WP Plugins out there that will cloak aff links on your WP blogs and/or add aff links to keywords in your blog post. One can never have too many affiliate tools!

  • This tool sounds great if google doesn’t frown upon it and ding users implementing it.

  • I agree that this tool sounds pretty cool.

  • This sounds really cool. I could definitely use a tool like this.
    Do you want a Guaranteed #1 Listing on Google and Yahoo for Free? Visit My Blog and I’ll show you how!

  • Gabriele, guaranteed number one, eh? I’ve heard that pitch so many times before. What makes your service unique?

  • @ Gabriele – I just looked at your blog…If you think for even one second that 1on40 is a legitimate service, you are crazy. It’s such a scam. Please don’t spam marketing pilgrim.

  • Does anyone know how Google plans to crack down more this year on paid links? Inquiring minds want to know.

  • Interesting tool, though how Google views it will have a lot to do with how useful it becomes.

  • Pingback: Who’s Talking about Affiliate Summit this Week? | Affiliate Summit Blog()

  • I’m quite interested to know what Google are doing to paid links too.

  • Thanks Janet for the article. Better late than never, but I wanted to comment on our Affiliate Link Encoder (ALE) tool. Google et al won’t see the network tracking links as they are embedded on the end user click only. All direct links from blogs, forums, static web pages, etc. are detected with a Javascript so long as there is a domain match with one of our merchants. If detected, the Jscript places the appropriate tracking details for the Affiliate who is using the ALE. We created this tool so forum and other web community owners could get commission credit for direct links to merchants that community members might post. And it’s proven very useful across many other platforms. One Afffiliate blogger had several thousand pages of archives with direct links to outdoor gear merchants (that are in AvantLink) throughout. He added the ALE to his WordPress header and wala: Intsant tracking links through direct links in years of archives and comments. He’s rightly being credited now for many sales every month that if not for the ALE, he would never get credit for! Gary M

    Gary M’s last blog post..By: AvantLink Support

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  • The ALE tool sounds very similar to what is provided through CBProAds, in that by entering a few bits of information and your ClickBank ID you engage in a Pay-By-Sale model rather than a Pay-Per-Click model.

    Until we correspond again,
    Your Online Business Advisor

  • As a novice to affiliate marketing, I treasure anything that will make getting started easier. The learning curve in internet marketing is quite gentle to simply get involved but very steep to become competent and competitive. As someone working on developing a new affiliate program, it’s easy finding resources but difficult separating the wheat from the chaff.

  • this new marketing tool could be just what we needed. great..

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  • I hope I can make it to Affiliate Summit for 2009. If I went, I’d be able to see some of these cool new tools first hand. I caught some of the videos of the conference online though. I was paying special attention to the Amazon Associates portion.

    PuReWebDev’s last blog post..Amazon S3 has Akamai Laying off 7% Of It’s Work Force, Maybe.

  • Excellent information i will try it out soon. I read many blogs earlier about this topic. But I never found complete information

    Baxtor’s last blog post..Affiliate Idol Review & $298 Bonus!

  • Robin Smith

    great impact with nice tool.