Are You a ClickBank Affiliate? Here's How to Link Directly
to the Product
The normal ClickBank system
of product sales and affiliate referral links are addressed in this article.
Some of the system's problems are identified. An easily implemented, workable
solution is presented.
An overview description of the normal
system, for those unfamiliar with ClickBank.
A list of three drawbacks to the
normal system of linking.
A solution to the problem.
How the solution works.
How to implement the solution.
A method of testing the
Our Master Series of CGI programs
is sold through ClickBank. Many sales are the result of affiliate referrals.
Example ClickBank affiliate links in this article will be actual, working
links so you can test them as you go along.
Normal Linking System Overview
ClickBank is a service where merchants can offer their products for sale.
ClickBank has affiliates who can earn referral commissions selling those
ClickBank merchants control the amount of commission paid for their products.
And ClickBank affiliates can refer their site visitors (or ezine readers)
to the products/merchants of their choice.
Each ClickBank merchant and affiliate has a unique account nickname. The
nickname is how ClickBank tracks who is owed what. ClickBank does all the
bookkeeping and pays its affiliates and merchants on a regular basis.
(If you are not a ClickBank affiliate and want your own nickname, URL
takes you directly to the sign-up form.)
This is what a normal ClickBank affiliate link looks like (replace XXXXX
with your own ClickBank nickname):
When the above link is clicked, the browser is taken to ClickBank where a
cookie with the merchant and affiliate nicknames are set (for credit in case
of a sale), and then immediately redirected to the Master Series' referral
It's fast. The browser arrives at the landing page within a second, or
thereabouts, but can be a bit longer if network traffic is congested or
ClickBank's servers are slow.
The term "referral landing page" needs a bit of explaining: ClickBank merchants
have a control panel where, among other things, they specify their "Homepage
URL." This Homepage URL is where all referrals end up at (where they land)
when the normal ClickBank affiliate link is clicked. Because the term "homepage"
is easily confused with other definitions, we're using "referral landing
page" or just "landing page" in this article.
A problem with the normal affiliate linking system is these three
Drawback for ClickBank affiliates:
Others who are also ClickBank affiliates can easily substitute your nickname
for theirs whenever they are ready to buy. All they have to do is copy your
affiliate link, paste it into the browser's address bar, substitute their
nickname for yours in the URL, and then go buy the product. Not only will
they earn a commission from the transaction, they also make sure you
Drawback for both ClickBank affiliates
and ClickBank merchants:
If the merchant has more than one product, each with it's own product page,
the referral may be required to click another link or two before finding
the right product page. That's because the referral is redirected to the
one and only referral landing page when clicking on an affiliate link. Scrolling
through a list of products to find the right link may be too much trouble
for someone with only a weak interest in the product anyway.
Problem for ClickBank merchants:
The usual method of linking does nothing to boost site ranking in search
The problem can be solved with simple, easy to implement, copy and paste
Other ClickBank affiliates don't
see a normal ClickBank link to take advantage of.
The referral goes directly to the
product page, before interest wanes searching for the right link.
The merchant's site is now in position
to count in search engine link popularity algorithms.
ClickBank affiliates, this is for you
See the "How It Works" section below for an understanding of how this solution
still lets you get paid the referral commissions you are due.
After merchants implement the solution, you can link directly to product
pages without publishing your normal ClickBank affiliate link. The solution
is already implemented at the Master Series site, so we'll use one of its
products for working examples.
The example links are to Master Form (replace XXXXX with your own ClickBank
You'll notice that the link is the normal product page URL followed by a
? or # character and your ClickBank nickname.
Because index.shtml is the default page for the /form/ directory, the file
name may actually be omitted:
(Note the / character before the ? or # character when the web page file
name is omitted. Some browser software becomes confused without that /
ClickBank merchants, this is for you
"Implementation" section below, following "How It Works").
One of the beauties of this system is that ClickBank affiliates do not need
to also register with you. Thus, you don't lose ClickBank affiliates who
are reticent about giving out their email address or who prefer to link to
some of the many other ClickBank merchants who don't have what can be seen
as gratuitous requirements.
With this system, you are not adding requirements. Instead, you are making
it more attractive for ClickBank affiliates to send referrals your way.
How It Works
When the referral comes to the product page, the referral's browser goes
through three hops -- to ClickBank, to the landing page, and back to the
original product page. Here are more details:
takes a look at the URL used to arrive at the page. If the URL contains a
? or # character, everything following that character is assumed to be a
ClickBank affiliate nickname.
If the URL does not contain a ? or a # character, the browser just stays
stores a cookie in the referral's browser with information about which product
page was the original destination. Then, it constructs a normal ClickBank
affiliate link and redirects the browser to it.
The browser arrives at ClickBank,
which stores the affiliate and merchant nicknames in the browser as a cookie.
The browser is immediately redirected to the merchant's referral landing
looks for an "original destination" cookie. If found, the browser is redirected
back to the product page it originally came from.
It's fast. The browser returns to
the product page within a second, or thereabouts, but can be a bit longer
if network traffic is congested, if your server is slow, or if ClickBank's
servers are slow.
The referral was sent to the exact product page, yet ClickBank was able to
cookie the information required so the affiliate can get paid.
One set for your referral landing
page, the web page at the "Homepage URL" as specified in your ClickBank account
Another set for each of your product
pages, and other pages you think affiliates might want to link to.
and paste it into your pages.
For the referral landing page
You need to specify a cookie name.
The cookie name can be any sequence of alphanumeric characters. It should
be different from cookie names you're using for other things on your site.
the sooner it can run and redirect the referral's browser.
For the product pages
product pages and also into the source code of other pages affiliates can
faster it can load and the sooner it can run.
That's all there's to it :)
It's important to test your installation.
To do so, use a browser where you can control the cookies.
Set your browser to to ask your permission before accepting cookies. Now,
type an affiliate URL into your browser -- a URL to one of your products
with ? or # and an affiliate code appended.
When the browser arrives at the affiliate URL, it should ask you to set a
cookie. Say "yes."
Once you say "yes," your browser will redirect to ClickBank, where another
cookie will want permission to be set -- which would be ClickBank's tracking
After you say "yes" again, your browser will redirect to your referral landing
page and immediately return to the product page that was your original
When your browser returns to the product page, the # or ? character and the
affiliate code will no longer be in the address bar.
Okay, now set your browser so it no longer asks permission before accepting
cookies. Type the same affiliate URL into your browser as you did before.
This time, notice how fast the whole process really is.
Pretty nifty, huh?
About the Author:
Bontrager Programmer/Publisher, "WillMaster Possibilities"
Are you looking for top quality scripts? Visit
and check out his highly acclaimed Master Series scripts. Some free, some
for a fee.