Why Cloaking is not Good for a Long Term Affiliate Business

In the past  2 weeks, I have been contacted by almost 20 people on facebook and through emails, basically asking for a way out, As they are tired of the regular cat and mouse game with traffic networks.
First of all, cloaking itself is not bad and can be a very effective tool against bot traffic and to prevent your competitors from spying on you..

The concept of Cloaking

The concept of Cloaking is very simple, using cloaking you can redirect the unwanted traffic to another page or website. For example; let’s say I don’t want traffic from a certain country, city or a traffic source on my blog, I can easily redirect them to another website based on their visitor data.

How affiliate marketers use traffic

In affiliate marketing, cloaking is mostly used to deceive traffic networks. Let’s say I want to promote an offer which violates Google/Facebook advertising policy, using cloaking we can show a legit offer but in reality promote the offer which violates the traffic network policies to people.

For example, let’s take  a scammy Offer like  “forskolindietdr.com”. If I promote this offer directly on Google adwords/Facebook ads, my campaign will never be approved by the traffic networks, as it violates their advertising guidelines.  In order to promote my offer on these networks I would have to use cloaking, which simply means I will redirect Google/Facebook reviewers to a reputable website, something like this NHS Article.  This website is for the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, I can easily get away with it and get my campaign approved; where all Google/facebook reviewers and Bots are redirected to the NHS website, and all the other traffic ( visitors ) are sent to the scammy weightloss offer.

affiliate Cloaking

How affiliates use Cloaking

Why Cloaking works

The main reason people tend to go for such offers is the over exaggerated trust that people have on sites such as Google and Facebook. This relates more to the older generations, because they are less aware of scams and how the internet is used to manipulate people into spending money. For example, grandpa’s and grandma’s  are more susceptible to buying things online, without researching, as compared to younger generations. To some, the internet is still fairly new and a large group of people are still unaware how internet works.

Another reason is the attractive ads, the colors and the pull element to them. Advertisers are aware of what their users are searching for and what they want, so they appeal to that nature. Like any ad. For example weight loss consumers will want imagery, and information about how “quick and effective” the products are, they are less likely to read the fine print, because they have already been lured by the attractiveness of the ad. these offers are more likely to focus on attractive ads rather than factual information, their aim isn’t to gain the trust of their consumers, but to just make sales.

Why Cloaking is Not Worth your time

Now let’s talk about cloaking in 2017, have you noticed cloaker prices are falling down ? There were days when cloakers used to charge thousands of dollars! These days you can easily buy a cloaker tool for $200 per month. The reason is that the good days of cloaking are gone, now everyone and their dog has a cloaker account and the competition is getting higher and higher.. Apart from that, traffic networks are coming down hard on affiliates using cloakers, which has caused the account ban rate to increase … It’s really hard for the affiliates to make sure they have sufficient supply of ad network accounts as compared to the ban rates by the ad networks.

So if you are thinking to just enter the world of cloaking, I would advise you to save your time and efforts and use them on something better, long lasting and completely whitehat, instead of shortcuts like cloaking. Just like the last stage of blog networks, they were a big thing amongst affiliates a few years ago, until google wiped them out completely. Yes there are still blog networks, but only those who know their stuff. All those who were in the market who had no real skill got wiped out, I am sure that’s what’s going to happen here soon. Especially with tech giants specially focusing on Artificial intelligence, it won’t take long… Facebook has already started; Read this  : News Feed FYI: Addressing Cloaking So People See More Authentic Posts Adding to this, Google is already working against cloaking behind the scenes and they have  shifted their anti cloaking preparations to a new office ( un confirmed source).

Focus on Long Term Business Goals

I have been working in this industry for 7 years and i have seen many shortcut methods like this which play with systems. Again I would like to mention private blog networks as one of the best examples. If you are serious about an affiliate marketing business, you should always try avoiding shortcuts which play with the system. You might make some money for a while but at the end of the day you will learn no real skills and once your method dies down you will have to start again from zero.

I always advise people to start with whitehat methods , It could be slow, but will teach you skills which you can use anywhere in your life. It also often takes the same effort as Black Hat methods. However once you are established you have skills that  can yield better results, as compared to shortcuts like cloaking. It also depends on your own morals as well, if you want to sell scammy products to people or if you want to make a living by promoting legit products. That Decision is yours …

Google Ads to get Buy Button – What does it mean for You?

There have been rumors floating about for some time that Google was going to be adding a buy button to their ad options.  In a recent interview at the Re/Code Code Conference, however, that rumor was confirmed.  Google’s Chief Business Officer, Omid Kordestani, commented that the buy buttons would be showing up soon, though he didn’t expand on what exactly soon really meant.  He also didn’t provide much information as to how these buy buttons would operate.

Businessman pushing shopping cart

Businessman pushing shopping cart

With so little confirmed information it is natural that there is a lot of rumors and speculation being put forward.  There are some things, however, that we can be fairly confident on based on some quality reports from the Wall Street Journal and other locations.  While not technically confirmed by Google, let’s go over the items that we can expect to see when this new feature rolls out:

  • Landing Page – Once users click the ‘buy’ button they will be directed to a landing page where they will complete the transaction. This landing page will be hosted by Google.  What we don’t know, however, is exactly how much control the marketers will have on what that landing page looks like, what type of payment options there are or even what (if any) cut of the sale Google will take.
  • Merchants Handle Shipping & Handling – The merchants who are actually selling the product will still handle all the shipping, handling and other logistical items involved. Google is just going to be serving as a ‘middle man’ where the transaction is made.
  • Merchants Handle Support – In addition, the merchants will continue to handle all the support for the products or services they are selling.
  • Some Information Gathering – There will be some options for merchants to gather information like emails and addresses on the buy page. Whether these emails will be able to be added to existing lists or other things, however, we don’t yet know.

What we Don’t Know

There is, of course, a lot we don’t know about the service.   Of course, everyone will have a different set of questions and concerns to deal with, but these are the key questions I’d like to see answered by Google as soon as possible:

  • When do Merchants see Money – When a purchase is made does the money immediately go into the merchant account, or does it go into some type of Google account for a time?
  • How are Returns Handled – If a customer doesn’t like the product or service, do they work with Google at all for returns or go directly to the merchant? Does Google have any requirements on what type of return policies are in place?
  • What does the Buy Page look like – Do merchants or marketers have the ability to create their own landing page, or does Google control that? How much flexibility is there?
  • When will the Program Roll Out – Of course, when will this option officially launch?

While many people think the program will be rolling out in the coming weeks, we don’t know anything for sure.  This is going to be an important feature to keep an eye on both now, and well after it has launched.