Wednesday, July 16, 2008

To Cloak Or Not To Cloak


Since the inception of Build a Niche Store 3.0, BANS store owners have been given the ability to cloak the url of product links. Since the ability to do so, a ton of changes have occurred outside of the BANS platform. First and foremost, eBay has taken over their own affiliate program from Commission Junction and Pepperjam has exploded on to the scene as an alternative to the Ebay Partner Network. There has never truly been one definitive answer to if cloaking is or isn't allowed. First let's take a look at what cloaking is. The word cloak means: something that covers or conceals. To cloak a link means to hide the true destination of the link. Now at least we can agree what is means. What exactly are you trying to conceal? Are you concerned that the rover url may cause concern to the surfer? Are you afraid the surfer may know it is an eBay ad? I have done a few split test in the early release of EPN and found that stores uncloaked, did slightly better than cloaked stores. Was this test scientific? No, not at all. A further deeper inquiry into both EPN and Pepperjam has led me to believe that cloaking the url can get you in trouble with either program. I have nothing written to back this up and neither source wanted to go on the record about this. Read the EPN Code of Conduct very thoroughly and you can interpret this in many ways. Just because Build A Niche Store gives you the ability to cloak, does not mean that it will not break either programs code of conduct. Since running my test and research, I now have every one of my stores uncloaked. My earnings have not suffered one month. My EPC ratio is still solid and I still convert the same amount of bids to winning bids, give or take a percent. I am in no way telling you that you will get banned from either program for cloaking, but I am telling you that I highly advise against it through my interpretations and conversations. Why would anyone want to jeopardize something so good, which such a fine line. I do not think the benefits justify the consequences. If you have any doubts yourself, you should contact either EPN or Pepperjam directly and make a clear definition and get a clear answer.

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2 comments:

Manuel Merz on July 16, 2008 at 3:28 PM said...

I prefer uncloaked links as long as I don't have anything to "hide". I can see seo realted disadvantages of this but as long as it brings in the money - its fine with me :)

Don Bistrow on August 5, 2009 at 11:25 AM said...

I tell the surfer it's Ebay and also use a "call to action" to try a sponsor.

Not sure if this is a good idea but sometimes a product line is not on Ebay for the moment.

Old sales habits tell me use a call to action.

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