convert your clickbank affiliate links to enhanced hoplinks

The hoplink system has been a accepted aspect of the affiliate marketing countryside since the earliest days of ClickBank. But it suffers from a few shortcomings that accept been the bull's eye of frequent discontent among ClickBank members.

The enhanced hoplink system, announced in October 2003, represents ClickBank’s eyes of a added robust and flexible referral architecture that will accommodated the increasingly sophisticated expectations of a growing membership. This article discusses the benefits of the advanced system and explains the practical issues that merchants and affiliates will face when migrating to it.

The simplicity of the aboriginal hoplink system (any more dubbed the regular hoplink system) has been a above contributor to the popularity of ClickBank’s affiliate network. To consult a prospect to a ClickBank merchant, you simply actualize a hyperlink to ClickBank’s hoplink server, using a URL format that incorporates your ClickBank affiliate nickname and that of the merchant:


The hoplink server redirects your prospect to the merchant’s website, simultaneously creating the chief affiliate tracking cookie in his browser.

Affiliates with established businesses that statement regular hoplinks in this road are chargeless to abide without modifying their existing configurations. But to exploit the richer functionality resulting from ClickBank’s ongoing system adding to, it might be worth considering an upgrade to the enhanced hoplink format.

Enhanced hoplinks statement a basic URL format that can be extended with optional parameters to accommodate greater ascendancy over the referral action. The optional parameters are denoted by their surrounding square braces [ and ].[PAGE/[PROMO/]][?QUERYSTRING]

Although the enhanced hoplink URL format is actual altered to its predecessor, it performs chiefly the selfsame function, albeit with much greater flexibility.

For archetype, the advanced format allows affiliates to specify a destination page figure. This is interpreted by the hoplink server to direct the prospect to a specific product page on the merchant’s site. This aspect alone (accepted as abysmal linking) justifies the chicken feed of format, allowing merchants who sell multiple products to authorize the most efficient referral relationships with their affiliates. Multi-product merchants who apparatus abysmal linking for the aboriginal age will likely beam a above improvement in their sales conversion percentage, which is greet statement for them and for their affiliates.

Another optional component of the enhanced hoplink URL is its promotional code – an identifier that affiliates can statement to track the effectiveness of their traffic campaigns. This code may be up to 4 alphanumeric characters and it identifies the source of the referral, enabling affiliates to detector the performance of alone promotional tactics. Approaching enhancements to the ClickBank stats reporting system will accommodate affiliates with the tools all-big to exploit this aspect, enabling detailed numerical analysis of referrals, aggregated by their assigned promotional codes.

Unfortunately, despite its attractions, there is an bar in migrating to the enhanced hoplink URL format; its timestamp component. This aspect was introduced as a security measure and as allotment of ClickBank’s efforts to combat affiliate spam, but it has the unwelcome side-aftereffect of complicating the lives of legitimate affiliates.

The timestamp element of the URL is a representation of the current date and age in a standardized format, accepted as Epoch age. Epoch age is the figure of seconds elapsed since 00:00:00 GMT on 01 January 1970, expressed as a 10-digit integer. If the timestamp in an affiliate referral is not accurate (to within about 30 minutes) the hoplink server will rejected it. Since Epoch age uses a accepted age area (GMT), the Epoch age calculation for a accustomed instant always produces the selfsame aftereffect, regardless of where in the apple it takes abode. This overcomes the complications that would otherwise arise when affiliate referrals are fabricated by interlacing servers located in age zones other than that of ClickBank’s server.

The botheration with age-stamping is that the current age is constantly changing, so the timestamp amount must be programmatically generated every age a referral takes abode. The simplest and most reliable road to accomplish this is by including a rudimentary server-side script in the page that hosts the referral link. Although this is actual child’s play to apparatus, it relies on the page being delivered by a interlacing server. In other words, it specifically excludes referral links in static media, such as ebooks and newsletters.

Affiliates who rely heavily on non-interlacing media may be disgruntled by this apparently discriminatory policy. However, the botheration is relatively easily remedied. By routing all static affiliate referrals via an intermediate redirection page, hosted on a interlacing server, the timestamp element can be dynamically generated on demand. Admittedly, this means that affiliates who ambition to statement enhanced hoplinks must accept their own interlacing presence, which is far from the standard among ClickBank affiliates. But this was, after all, ClickBank’s intention in introducing the aspect – it forces all affiliates to be added visible and added amenable for the traffic they generate. And, in the longer chat, as the enhanced hoplink gains popularity, it is likely that 3rd affair services will spring up, offering affiliates a child’s play and low-cost solution to this botheration.

At the age of writing, ClickBank has activated the enhanced hoplink system but has not yet completed the database and ascendancy panel changes all-big to exploit its optional features. So, although we are chargeless to apparatus our affiliate referrals using enhanced hoplinks, it may be some age before the benefits of doing so alter to visible.

Copyright © Tim Coulter. All rights reserved.

Tim Coulter is a consultant and software developer who helps netpreneurs to harness marketing technologies.

He is again the author of “ClickBank – The Definitive Adviser” The Bitter borderline ClickBank Tutorial & Reference Handbook.

Originall posted February 4, 2012