Archive for the ‘ Link Cloaking ’ Category

I logged in to my link/click tracking system the other day and discovered that another new feature has just been added.

And that has inspired me to talk about this earlier than I'd planned.

This is a tool which has been working for me for almost 4 years. If you know about it, it's likely you also use it, because there has been almost zero promotion of it by anyone for about three years.

It is GoTryThis, from John Reel.


GoTryThis2 Screenshot


There's not much of a sales page there – but don't let the lack of hype fool you. If there's a product that justifies hype, it's this one!

GoTryThis was launched in 2006 with a massive promotion, especially for the more expensive "Black Hat" version that did clever (but slightly naughty) things.

It was such a huge launch that John was not prepared for the impact and the whole thing nearly knocked him out!

After some time, John started talking about GoTryThis-2 – and how great it would be… but the promises of the launch were never fulfilled, and the date kept slipping and slipping. After a while I seriously considered switching tool because for such a critical piece of my business, I needed a system that was being enhanced and properly supported (not that I ever needed any support or had any problems – but still…).

Eventually, my patience paid off and GTT-2 was launched, but only as an alpha version. Then quite some time later, as a beta version. That was months ago – perhaps a year ago (I can't quite recall). And STILL John does not have a fixed date for the official launch: the product is still in beta.

Think about it: this sort of software manages the pathways between your customers and your websites, so it is critically important that it works smoothly and correctly.

So I'm very happy that John is not rushing into anything: unlike far too many marketers, he is putting 95% of his effort into the product and (for now) 5% into the marketing, rather than the other way round.

I've watched as he has:

  • Adjusted his business model twice,
  • Handled the horrendous task of migrating everyone from GTT-1 to GTT-2 without losing any historical data (he's helped me out with this and I can attest to his professionalism),
  • Pioneered new auto-installation technology that can handle all sorts of standard and non-standard hosting accounts (if you understand about hosting accounts, you'll be impressed by that)- and
  • Developed a backend server that talks to and coordinates with the software that gets installed on your all your domains,

He's had to do all that just to get to the point where he can start enhancing the product functionality in his new business and technical environment. Impressive thought that is, though, it doesn't do anything to enhance his customers' business.

But he's underway on that as well.

Over the last month or two he's added some cool new features (including a link shortener that mirrors your cloaked links) and he's in the process of adding a "scarecity" link which redirects to a different destination after X clicks or Y period of time.

That is so neat, I'll be using it soon for sure!

For me, the two scripts that form the mainstay of my business are Delavo and GoTryThis. Although there are tools which you might consider as alternatives to Delavo (but not as good in my opinion), I don't know of any tool that stands comparison with GoTryThis-2 in its new incarnation.

I like this so much, I asked John to present it at a future Internet Professionals Webinars event. He has agreed – but only after he gets some more functionality in!

However, I can't wait till then to promote it to you, because I don't want him to run out of half-price subscriptions!

He has 19 slots left for this month (down from 50) at the time of writing, so GoTryThis right away! I know you won't be disappointed.


Oh – and I nearly forgot the whole point (and why using one of the hundreds of free link shortening services is NOT the answer)

Firstly – you can cloak links based on YOUR domain (see the above for an example), and

Secondly – you can use ANY domain that you own, and manage everything from one control panel.

There are stacks of other cool and clever features as well – but THAT is nub of the whole thing.




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Masters of Link Manipulation

A useful way of regarding the internet is that it’s all about links and clicks.

Links are not only the means of moving people from one web page to another, but they are also the carriers of information that gets transported between web pages – sometimes directly, and sometimes via cookies.

From this point of view, our jobs as internet marketers is to become masters of link-manipulation.

That means, whenever we place a link anywhere, we need to be thinking of two – sometimes three – things:

1. Does this link contain the right information?

This can mean “does it contain my affiliate ID?” if it links to a site you are promoting.

It can also mean “will this link pick up the ID of my affiliates?” if it is a link to one of your sites.

It can also mean much more complex things related to tracking and passing information via links.

2. Will I be able to obtain all the information I need about clicks on this link?

This is to do with click tracking and tracking visitors to websites.

Do you need to know how many people are clicking on that link? And when? And where they came from? If so, what are your options for getting that information?

For example:

  • From the stats tools in your cPanel, such as AWStats
  • Using Google Analytics
  • Using special tracking URLS with Google Analytics
  • Using your own link-tracker, on your own domain
  • Using a third-party link tracker
  • Using the tracking service that may come with the affiliate program you signed up with
  • Using the tracking service that may come with your autoresponder service (e.g. click-tracking in Aweber emails)
  • Using a combination of the above

3. Is my link so long and/or ugly that people may be reluctant
to click on it
do I want to mask my affiliate ID in the link?
In this case, we are concerned with link shortening/link cloaking.

Again, we have several choices:

  • Using a link shortening service, such as (most of which nowadays also provide link tracking)
  • Using a third-party link cloaking service (which are now pretty much redundant, given all the free link-shorteners, which obviously also serve as cloakers)
  • Using your own domain for cloaking/tracking/shortening

Often, people use several of these techniques at the same time, so that when we click on a link, there are often two three or more “processing” levels that manage it before we get presented with the final URL in our browser.

Perhaps this will make more sense if I describe what I use, on different occasions:

Google Analytics

For links to my websites that appear on other web pages, I need do nothing other than set my sites up to be tracked by Google Analytics:

This is a hugely powerful system – and it’s completely free.

However, if I have a link to a site that appears somewhere which Google cannot track – such as in a PDF or in a Tweet that someone may click on in a desktop tool, for example: then I use a special tracking URL where I can set a variety of parameters which Google will track for me. Such a URL looks like this:

Horrible, isn’t it? So then I need to use something else, such as…. or

These are link shorteners that also provide link tracking. Both have become popular due to the growth in Twitter – especially

Although provides link tracking, if I really want to track a link, I will use my own domain for that, via….

Go Try This

This is the “Rolls Royce” of click-tracking tools. I’ll almost certainly be writing more about this, but for now I’ll just say that I really love it. Apart from its excellent tracking and report features, now with Version 2, I can centralise the tracking over ALL my domains.

In other words, I can go to ONE management panel, and control all my links on, for example:
…. and more…

For example:

… is my cloaked affiliate link to the Got Try This site, which I have set up on my own domain ( using … GoTryThis, of course! This will allow me to track the number of clicks (and unique clicks) on that link.

Off course, I could have also used the free, except that:

  • The interface is not so good
  • It’s not aligned with the branding of my newsletter
  • I can’t use “gotry” as the extension – it would be some random numbers and letters generated by
  • Spammers use these link shorteners a lot, with the result that some spam filters are suspicious of of emails that contain links shortened with them.

It takes some time to figure out how to use the various link shortening, cloaking and tracking tools effectively (individually or in combination). This article will, I hope, help you understand the bigger picture and show you what is available.


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