Thursday, September 07, 2006

Affiliate Marketing Identity Theft

by Ian Williamson

Identity theft is a hot topic today and the Internet is no exception. Aside from banking online and ordering via credit cards online security concerns, have you considered that your online affiliate identity might also be at risk?

The numbers vary depending upon the source quoted, but conservative estimates indicate that 10% to 40% of affiliate sales are lost. Why? Internet pirates can, and often do, steal, bypass or otherwise mutilate your affiliate link, thereby robbing you of hard-earned sales.

Are you fed up with lazy and unscrupulous people who, instead of using their misplaced energy to create something special of their own, prefer to just suck the life out of someone else's endeavors? Are there ways to stop these pirates who can spoil your online marketing efforts?

Yes, there are. One solution is called "redirecting," which simply means that you set up a domain name that will forward to the specific link you want to go to, but will not show your entire affiliate ID. The redirect will show only your domain name. Not only is this a "prettier" picture than those long, cumbersome, ugly, and often distracting affiliate links, but it will give you more credibility, which in turn can build more trust in you and/or what you are offering. Some companies offer e-mail forwarding as well, so that your e-mail contact information can also reflect your domain name.

Should this cost a lot? No. You can find a company that costs you pennies a day for their services. Several features should be considered when choosing a domain forwarding or redirect company. Ideally, the company should:

Charge a one-time set up fee for your domain name;

Offer unlimited sub-domains, which allow you to manage multiple affiliate programs from one domain name;

Offer domains that can be bookmarked, which means that every time a customer goes back to the site, they see your domain name (and you get the commission);

Optimize search engine indexing, allowing you to change the title, mega description and keyword tags for your domain name, easily and in minutes. Normal affiliate links are almost never indexed, so choose a domain provider that is designed to be indexed by all major search engines.

Do not require that you pay a monthly hosting fee or require you to buy software, ever; and,

Do not require software or technical expertise in order to use. Choose one that is user-friendly to your level of technical or software knowledge.

Finally, choose a keyword-loaded domain name that is easy to remember looks attractive and represents you in a professional, yet personal manner that suits your personality and/or what you are promoting.

Domain forwarding will take you a long way towards building a credible, trustworthy business. Good domain forwarding companies who offer most, if not all, of the benefits listed here, are worth their weight in gold.

About the Author
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