The DirectLinks is an advanced feature that allows your affiliates to link directly from their website to your website without additional parameters in the URL.
So for example, instead of: https://www.yoursite.com/?a_aid=12345&a_bid=67890
the affiliates can use only: https://www.yoursite.com/ in their website.
This method won't work with Facebook or Instagram. Facebook always posts for HTTP_REFERER value only "https://www.facebook.com/"
If your site redirects automatically from HTTP://example.com to HTTPS://example.com, then your affiliates must use in their pages/blogs the HTTPS:// instance of your web-site's URL, so that there is no redirect (it would affect the HTTP_REFERER value)
There are also some special cases in which the HTTP_REFERRER would be empty, these are described here
DirectLink advantagesThis kind of linking has several advantages:
- Visitor doesn't know he is clicking on an affiliate link.
Many people are not so keen on clicking on a link they recognize as an affiliate link. If your affiliates will use affiliate links in their blog or review site, visitors will know that they earn commissions for the promoted products, and they would rather not trust the review and wouldn't click the link.
If you use DirectLinks nobody will know the links are promoting your products.
- Visitor will not damage or remove the affiliate parameters from the URL.
There are people who don't like to purchase through affiliate links, even if there is no disadvantage for them. Such people rather copy the URL to their browser and remove the affiliate parameters.
Your affiliates can protect against this using the affiliate link cloaker, but if they'll use DirectLinks, they don't need to worry about anything.
- It is the best Search Engine friendly method.
To reach high position on Google, you (as a merchant) need as many backlinks pointing to your website as possible.If your affiliates use DirectLinks, they link to your website without any additional parameters, it is the best SEO method.
How it worksVisitor referred through DirectLink is recognized by the HTTP_REFERER information sent by the browser. It is the address of the page (if any) which referred the visitor to the destination page. In short, when the visitor clicks on a link on the affiliate's page, the address of the affiliate's page will be the HTTP_REFERER.
Our system will then check this page in our database, finds that the page belongs to an affiliate, and assigns him the referral (and click).
This method is dependent on the browser, so it is reliable for 90-99%. All the modern browsers send this information, and with the advantages mentioned above you can use it as your main linking method.
How to use itTo use DirectLinking, your affiliates have to set up their DirectLink URLs. These are URL addresses of YOUR AFFILIATES' OWN pages, where they'll place their affiliate links or banners. They can be defined in the Banners & Links -> DirectLinks URLs section.
This will open the DirectLink URL manager.
Your affiliates can enter URLs of their websites using the Add URL button. All URLs have to be manually reviewed and approved by the merchant before they will be active.When a URL is approved, every link to your site (even without affiliate parameters) from that page will be treated as affiliate's referral.
You can use non-direct link tracking and DirectLinks altogether (check the checkbox 'Support DirectLink linking' at Configuration -> Tracking settings -> Affiliate linking method).
When a button/link is clicked and tracking parameters are present in the banner, those are used for tracking, they are superior to DirectLink method and campaign is matched according to the banner parameters.