Sponsor Help: How Sponsors track and report traffic you send them.

I still remember the morning I made my first sale. It wasn’t very many days after my first banners went up that my first sale came in, this was 1996 so tossing a banner up did a little more. But even 12+ years later one thing hasn’t changed, if anything it has gotten far worse.

I speak of the several different methods that Sponsors use to track and report the traffic you send them. Traffic being the Visitors on your site that you sent to a Sponsor, also called: Visitor, hit, unique, click, traffic, and click-through.

The very basic of sending a visitor to a sponsor:
At this point, you have a banner and proper linking code up on your own Website. You have sent some of your Visitors to the Sponsor directly. And in the Sponsors Statistics area you see Unique or Raw Clicks showing up, like most of us you are probably waiting on those sales to start rolling in.

This is often where the confusion can begin. Once traffic has started flowing to the Sponsor it doesn’t appear, to you at least, that the Sponsor is tracking all of the Clicks.

Issues you may see in the Sponsor Statistics:

  • You have tested several links to several sites and Clicks aren’t reporting.
  • Your Primary Sponsor shows far less clicks than less promoted Sponsors.
  • No clicks are reporting into the Sponsor Statistics at all.
  • The list can go on and on…

All these variations can happen due to ‘how sponsors track clicks.’ That’s right, sponsors do not track traffic the same way. Even if the Sponsor uses the exact same software to do the tracking as another, they can still track everything differently.

Before you start: Make sure you don’t have any errors. If clicks don’t appear to be reporting, it’s possible the Linking Code you are using is incorrect. Always be sure to grab fresh links from the Sponsor’s Affiliate Area. Do not ever modify the Linking Codes unless you know exactly what you are doing!

About Sales, Visitors that Purchase something:
Before we go on, when it comes to tracking people that make a Purchase, this is basically the same for all Sponsor Programs. In the Adult Industry, it’s basically standard across almost all Programs, even if a click-through isn’t tracked but yet a purchase is made, you will still get credit for the purchase.

Honest Sponsors:
In my opinion, if a Sponsor will not display the proper statistics for all traffic I send, then they aren’t being honest, even at the most basic level. That isn’t a warning to stay away from Sponsors you like or convert, it’s just the way I see things.

Sponsor Methods on Tracking and Reporting Visitors:
As stated above, Sponsors can and do use various methods of tracking and displaying your click-through statistics. Below is a breakdown of the most common methods of Click Tracking and a definition on what the methods mean.

  • Quick Information: Any of the below methods can be mixed together. An Affiliate Program could use a Redirect Code, but report only Second Page Clicks on U.S. Visitors Only.

Redirect Linking Codes: These are normally linking codes that have different URL’s than the ending Tour you are promoting. The linking codes, redirect to the tours. This provides the highest chance of tracking all Visitors. This linking code method is the most widely used across Adult Affiliate Programs.

  • Also known asInstant Click Tracking or Link Code Tracking.

On Page Tracked Hits: Many linking codes that direct link to Tours or Pages track the Visitor once the promotional page is loaded or opens. The loading of the page or a hidden image can lower tracked clicks but overall this is still a great tracking method.

  • Also known asFirst page hits and first page loads.

Second Page Clicks: Several of the top programs use this method. The click is reported once the visitor clicks anything on the front tour page, like the next tour page, a trailer or a join link.

  • Also known asSecond Page Hits

Join Page Clicks: The few Sponsors that do this only report clicks once the Visitor clicks a link to the Join Page directly. Normally Join Page Clicks are displayed as an extra statistic.

  • Also known asJoin Page Hits and sometimes Join Page Submits

JavaScript on Clicks: Some sponsors for some reason choose to load Tours and Join page links based on JavaScript. The kicker, the click can’t happen and no possible sale can happen if JavaScript isn’t on! I personally avoid any Sponsor with tour or join links that load through JavaScript.

Country Filtered Visitors: Many programs do not track the clicks, at all (but they do the sales) from several different Countries. Often, they only track clicks from U.S. Visitors. This is a major click scrub factor and is probably the largest used method of lowering click-through rates for Affiliates.

Country Scrubs: Some Sponsors fully scrub (ie: remove or redirect) some County visitors from being able to see the tours or promotional material. You may have to look around the Sponsor Terms or Affiliate F.A.Q. to see if this is happening. No worries though, this feature is almost always an exclusive feature of very large programs, some of which share the scrubbed money, while others don’t.

Cookie Only: This is very rare to see today. These are Sponsors that track traffic based only on the Cookie that is set. As a standard, this method is normally used as a Backup tracking method.

Unique Site Tracking vs. Full Program Tracking: Some Programs do not track the same visitor sent to different Websites under the same Affiliate Program as unique visitor, but rather a return visitor (raw hit). Example: If you market two Websites from the same Sponsor Program, and you send the same visitor to both sites, the Program would only track one hit, instead of two.

Don’t get stuck on the tracking methods!
At the end of the day, sales are the only important factor! If a sponsor only ever shows a handful of clicks but the Sponsor always get sales, it’s a perfect sponsor! On the other hand, a sponsor that reports and tracks 100% of everything that never gets any sales, isn’t good at all. So use click-reporting as a gauge and not the end factor on deciding if a Sponsor is good or not

Jan 21

Hide Sponsor Links and 301 Redirect the Visitor for proper SEO

Hiding Sponsor Links is an old school trick that was once achieved through java script onMouseOvers. These days, PHP is a bit more practical and works across all Browsers.

When you mask your affiliate links, you will often see an increase in click-through rates. This can happen for two reasons, one the Visitor is more likely to click something they don’t think is an affiliate link. And two, some Visitors copy and paste the URL’s from Sponsor promotions, and then they rip out the Affiliate ID in the process.

Below is a basic redirect script for Sponsor Links that is also Search Engine Friendly. The script uses the switch statement, which contains variables in it called a case. This works exactly like an if statement. Meaning, if something matches, it does something. If not, it moves down the list until it can find what it should do. Using switch statement instead of an if statement reduces the amount of code used.

/* cut below this line */
<? // Hide Sponsor Links and Redirect to Sponsor
$idx = $_GET[‘idx’];
switch ($idx) {
case “1”// ?id=1
// sponsor url
default// default i
$url = “http://www.adultwebmasterskills.com/?id=Test_URL_One”;
header(“HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently”);
header(“Location: $url”);

case “2”// ?id=2
// sponsor url
$url = “http://www.adultwebmasterskills.com/?id=Test_URL_Two”;
header(“HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently”);
header(“Location: $url”);

case “3”// ?id=3
// sponsor url
$url = “http://www.adultwebmasterskills.com/?id=Test_URL_Three”;
header(“HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently”);
header(“Location: $url”);
/* cut above this line */

Using the Redirect PHP Example:

  • The first line, $idx = $_GET[‘idx’]; The $idx is the name of the variable being passed into this script. Like: ?idx=1
  • The first case is named 1 or case “1″: You don’t have to use numbers, it could be words too. Like: ?idx=sponsorname
  • Under the first case, and only under one case, is default: This is the default record to pull up if no ?idx match is found.
  • Then comes $url, which is the Sponsor URL that you are promoting.

Test it out! I uploaded the redirect script above to my theme images folder for testing. This is the first link, second link, third and default with no idx passed in. Each click should redirect you back to this article, while adding a little note to the end of each url.

Jan 14

How to Setup and use 301 Redirects in a .htaccess file

Anytime a file or directory is deleted from a Website a 301 Redirect should be setup within an .htaccess file. This is the proper way to seamless redirect all visitors and Search Bots to the new location.

If you fail to setup a 301 Redirect the document or directory will not be found, creating a 404 Error. When the Search Engines encounter the 404 Error long enough, they will remove the resulting page and any possible traffic you gained from the listing.

A few key factors to note:

  • Always double check your changes each time you upload the htaccess file. A miss-configured .htaccess file can totally break a Website. Not to worry, if you do break your Website simply delete the .htaccess file or upload a blank copy.
  • If you can’t create a .htaccess file on your PC or FTP Client, try naming it htaccess.txt. Then once you upload the file, rename it to .htaccess.
  • When you upload the .htaccess file make sure you upload it in ASCII Mode. Uploading the file in Binary Mode will probably cause errors, breaking your Website
  • Some FTP Clients HIDE the .htaccess files. If this happens try the free FTP Program FileZilla.
  • Sometimes when you upload a .htaccess file you can’t see it even with FileZilla. This could happen if the Hosting Company has it hidden. You should be able to upload over the file, but you can’t see, select, or delete the file from the Server. Some hosts will make it visible if you ask.
  • Before you start working on .htaccess files it’s always best to test them in a sub-directory. If something doesn’t appear to work or works differently, ask your Hosting Company Support for help.

Copy between the /* start and end */ of the comment marks.

Move a single file or an entire directory.

/* start */
Redirect 301 /old-page.html http://www.adultwebmasterskills.com/new-location.html
Redirect 301 /directory/ http://www.adultwebmasterskills.com/new-directory/
/* end */

Redirect WordPress Feed URL to Feed Burner.

/* start */
Redirect 301/feed http://feeds.feedburner.com/AdultWebmasterSkills
/* end */

Move an entire Website to a new Domain.

/* start */
Redirect 301 / http://www.some-other-domain.com/ http://www.some-other-domain.com/</a>
/* end */

Redirect one file extension to another, carrying through the file name.

/* start */
RedirectMatch (.*)\.gif$  http://www.adultwebmasterskills.com$1.jpg/ http://www.adultwebmasterskills.com$1.jpg
RedirectMatch (.*)\.html$ http://www.adultwebmasterskills.com$1.php
/* end */

Redirect random added on file file variables/garage to the proper page.

/* start */
RedirectMatch 301 /info.html(.*)http://www.adultwebmasterskills.com/info.html
/* end */

Redirect affiliate links/variables to new page passing the values through.

/* start */
RedirectMatch 301 /old-page.php(.*)http://www.adultwebmasterskills.com/new-location.php$1
/* end */

Redirect www to the non-www version of a Website.

/* start */
Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.adultwebmasterskills\.com/$
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://adultwebmasterskills g.com/$1 [R=permanent,L]
/* end */

Sample 2: Redirect www to the non-www version of a Website.

/* start */
Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} .
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^ adultwebmasterskills \.com
RewriteRule (.*) http:// adultwebmasterskills.com/$1 [R=301,L]
/* end */

Redirect non-www to the www version of a Website.

/* start */
Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^adultwebmasterskills\.com/$
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.adultwebmasterskills g.com/$1 [R=permanent,L]
/* end */

Sample 2: Redirect non-www to the www version of a Website.

/* start */
Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^yoursite.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.adultwebmasterskills.com/$1 [L,R=301]
/* end */

Dealing with the .htaccess file and all its various rules can be a real pain. The best advice I can give is to make sure you fully test your changes as you make them. And finally, if something in the .htaccess file appears it should be working, but doesn’t then try finding another example online to test, after a few attempts you should find an example that works for you.

If you would like to test your 301 Redirects try this free online HTTP Status Checker.

Jan 09

Tips on installing and setting up WordPress for the first time.

Learning how to install and setup WordPress can be a real nightmare for any newer web-developer can quickly burn several days, if not weeks of time. This probably pushes some new web-developers to seek out free blogging services due to lack of understanding how to install a PHP driven system that uses mysql, plugins, themes for templates, and contains lots of other goodies you may have never heard of.

Starting things off is the information from WordPress directly. WordPress provides a Codex Knowledge Base that covers everything WordPress. It’s well written and most features are easy enough to follow. If you plan on working with WordPress at all, you will want to bookmark the Codex.

  • Codex Main Page: Index listing allowing you to jump off to topics. I also recommend the search feature in the top right corner.
  • A great place to start is the Getting Started with WordPress section which highlights some of the main topics for WordPress installs, setup, and uses.
  • From the Codex: How to Install WordPress including the famous 5-Minute installation, common problems and other detailed installation instructions.

WordPress Codex is a great resource, but sometimes it can get a little confusing. This is where other Bloggers and Web Developers have stepped in to help. Below is several different view points on installing and setting up WordPress from some of the top Bloggers on the Internet.

  • Solostream offers a text version and flash video version on how to install WordPress. The text outline is simple but the video goes into plenty of details that even the newest web-developer can follow.
  • Kentuckyclassroom explains through a YouTube Video on how to install WordPress through C-Panel. You can also check out other WordPress Video Tutorials Kentuckyclassroom’s Homepage.
  • Check out the article from Free WP Training on How to Install a Plugins on WordPress for a great detailed guide on finding, downloading, and setting up WordPress Plugins.
  • Learn how to install and setup WordPress on your Windows PC for local testing.
  • WordPress Upgrade Tips: Make sure you have the basics covered, your theme is compatible, and your plugins will properly convert over.

If you are currently new to WordPress and just downloaded WordPress, you need to be sure that you only use Themes and Plugins that are WordPress compatible. WordPress has gone through several major changes over the years and some plugins, themes and versions are not compatible with today’s newest features.

Jan 07

Add a Warning Page on all Nude Adult Pages

If you own a Website that contains nudity you should have a Warning Page. Law or no law, having a clean warning for mistaken visitors and a clean place for some book markers, is the decent thing to do.

The Warning Page should be a basic Landing Page, which pushes the visitor to the next or real page of the Website. The basic structure of a Warning Page has been listed below.

  • A graphic or text header with the site logo in it, and no-nudity.
  • A small amount of text about the site and the warning page.
  • The actual Warning Message, example below.
  • The exit link or exit option.
  • The enter link with a bit more search engine love added to it.
  • Other text relevant to the enter link and why they should enter.
  • Random links, trade links, copyright, footer, etc.

The Warning Message: (Full Example Warning Page can be seen below)
The information found within this Website contains links, images, graphics, writings, photos and videos that may contain sexually explicit material. By entering this Website you understand and agree with the below Terms and Conditions.

  • I am at least 18 years of age or older.
  • You are voluntarily choosing to access explicit material for your own personal use within the privacy of your own home.
  • Viewing, reading and downloading of sexually explicit material does not violate the standards set by my community, town, city, state or country.
  • I believe that a sexual act between consenting adults is neither obscene nor offensive.
  • All actors and actresses that appear within this website are over the age of 18 and have consented to be photographed and/or filmed.
  • This agreement (entry-page) constitutes a legal agreement between this website and yourself.

By entering this website you have read and fully understand the above conditions and statements. By continuing below you affirm and swear to this agreement. If you do not agree then please close this page.

The Exit Link:
What a better time to toss up your own mainstream search engine, game page, review page, cooking page, bike page, and start a small but steady traffic stream to your own mainstream site. Toss the link below the Enter button and make it a good bit smaller than the Enter link.

The Enter Link:
Most Adult Websites use Sample #1 below or a style like it, on Warning pages. Sample #2 however allows for a bit more Search Engine love. Put in your Website name and maybe include a simple keyword. If you must have a Warning Page you might as well use it to your advantage.

Sample #1: I Agree: Enter Here
Sample #2: I Agree Enter: The Pay site Name or Keyword & Pay site Name.

What else you can add to a Warning Page:
Don’t forget to add links to your support areas, trade pages, affiliate program, terms/privacy statements, 2257 link, members area and whatever else you like. One common feature you see is a download links for protecting minors from setting explicit material.

If you have minors in your household, please download:
Cyber Patrol | NetNanny | CyberSitter | SurfWatch

Keep the Warning Page as simple as possible and easy for the surfer to follow. The focus should be to push the surfer to the Next Page. Adding really good non-nude thumbs that jump to the Next Page will greatly increase your click-through rate. And finally, make sure the Enter link is large and above the top half of the page!

It may be the simplest of all pages to create but it’s the first page Search Engines list and an area most of us should probably pay more attention to.

Jan 01

How DNS and the Domain Name System Works

Currently the way the Internet is setup without a Domain Name System, Internet Websites and Email would fail to work.

Every Website and Computer on the Internet has an IP (Internet Protocol) Address. The IP Address is part of the numerical method as to which DNS Servers talk to each other, like making a phone call. When the browser calls a domain, such as adultwebmasterskills.com the domain is resolved to the proper location in the world, by DNS.

Your Internet ISP and other Internet Backbones use a cached copy of the Root DNS records allowing them to instantly look up what the real home (hosting company) of the domain is when your Computer asks for the information.

Root DNS Servers or the Central Registry is controlled by an organization called ICANN. All other DNS Servers around the world are mirrored from this registry. ICANN is a large directory service that stores name records and then shares it through a distributed cached database to a massive amount of other servers around the world. It’s basically the largest database, ever!

The Hosting Company not only hosts the domain it probably keeps its own Name server records. The Name server is like a giant phone book that stores the IP Address and domain name records within it. This information is then shared back with the registry controlled by ICANN, updating the registry.

This basically completes the loop, other than the 8-48+ hours it takes for a domain to propagate through the registry, the registrar, your hosting company and all the ISP providers around the world!

  • Before you register a domain ask your Hosting Company for the Name server information you need for registering a domain.
  • Register the domain and enter the Name server information in when the Registrar asks.
  • Contact your Hosting Company and get them to add the domain name.
  • At this point your host will update its Name server records and shortly afterwards the central registry will be updated.
  • Then between 8 and 48 hours later, the rest of the mirrored DNS Servers around the world will update making the domain live.

Overall DNS is much more complex than this but this is about as basic of a run down as I could give. If you would like more information check out the articles below for a good bit more detail on Domain Name Systems.

Hope this quick little guide helps you understand a bit more about how DNS works and why it’s probably one of the most important aspects of making the Internet function.

Apr 14

Welcome to Adult Webmaster Skills

Hi and welcome to Adult Webmaster Skills. Overtime things will build up to include basic tips and newbie tutorials for the beginning Web Developer. Learn the basics of HTMLCSSSearch EnginesBloggingWebmaster ToolsPHP Examples, Snips and Links, Free Templates of all types, Web Design and Photoshop TutorialsHosting InformationSite Building techniques, Link BuildingSoftware InfoSocial Media Marketing and much much more.

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