Commission Hijacker Hidden Inside Your Web Page Design!

by : Vishy Dadsetan

As a person almost obsessed with Web site marketing, I am often at odds with my Web site designer friends as to what is important. They know that I love them and I mean no offense so all is good.

For all Web masters especially those who count on commissions selling other people's products, some Web design flaws could really hurt. The following are some common and some not so common flaws that can rob you of commissions by masking your affiliate links from visitors without your knowledge, sending the visitors to wrong landing pages, lowering your Web sites search engine ranking and wasting your valuable time on maintenance and tracking.

Fixing these flaws creates a clear path to more productive Web design and higher commissions.

1- Error 404 Disease.

Test your Web site for this widespread and deadly disease that keeps sending your potential customers to the never land of server error 404. Go to your Web site home page, which in our case is . Then add a slash and something after the main url. For example, "emailmarketing.html". The complete url of this example is

What will you see? Our home page, right?

Now, go to your own Web site and repeat the process. Enter a url from a page on your Web site that you know does not exist. Do you see a message related to error 404? If so, your Web site is losing hard earned traffic and potential customers. Contact your Internet hosting provider to help you cure this and place a customized error message on your site. A custom error 404 message displays your sales message or redirects these lost visitors to your home page.

2- Long Affiliate Links & Ad Blockers

Long affiliate links always create problems especially when they break up in email campaigns. But now there is a more serious threat: Ad blocking. These ad blocking scripts view your affiliate links and banners as advertising, assume the client doesn't want to see them and block them entirely from view. The dark humor in this is you're your stats show the banners and links as displayed but the visitors do not see them. What will this do to your sales and commissions?

The most popular Internet Security and Firewall software comes with default ad blocking ON! Most if not all users will never take the time to turn it off for your sake or mine.

This blessing in disguise forces us to solve several marketing issues at the same time.The solution is fairly simple and it is done in four steps.

Step one – Create an internal directory and call it something like merchants or resources. We use "find" in one of our Web sites.

Step two – Create a page and name it after the merchant. In this case we called it "the business end of Websites." The complete url looks like:

Step three – Within your page, you can place a redirect url code. So instead of showing a link to :

You show a link to:

Of course in this example we are using a little more sophisticated system and database driven Web site and this is why you see those strange code "v19605."

Go ahead and test both urls, you will not see any difference in destination, but Ad blockers may block the first one but not the second one. You can lose commissions using one and get paid using the other. Significant difference, don't you agree?

This process will also help improve keyword base internal linking which we will discuss more in later articles.

3- Published Work-In-Progress

Don't use your Web site as a filing cabinet for work-in-progress projects. Any time you place your work-in-progress page or script on your Web site, you risk having them included in search engines. Go to Google and type in:

At risk of making it too obvious I like to mention that in the above url I mean for you to replace the term "yourwebsite" with your actual Web site.

Look at the list. Are these pages you want to have listed on the search engines? Click on a few links, do they end in error 404?

Remember that every unproductive page of your Web site may replace a productive and completed page on Google and other search engine directories. Can you see the damage this could cause? Yes, we can always recover but how long will it take?

Work-in-progress does not belong on your Web site. Complete your projects before you place them on line.

Warning – Before you remove any pages, make sure you have a back up and your customized error 404 is in place.

4- Missing robot.txt file.

Some directories and files are necessary for running your Web site but have no marketing value that you want to announce to the world. Robot.txt text file tells search engines to leave these files alone and do not index and show them to Web surfers.
For example, your image directory or your policies directory does not contain anything of value so you tell visiting search engines not to bother with them. An example of robot.txt file that excludes these directories is:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /images/
Disallow: /policies/

For more details refer to

Do you have a robot.txt file on your Web site?

May both Web site pages and days of your life be productive.