Cloaking service: what tasks does it solve in affiliate marketing
Cloaking service is a program that distributes traffic and replaces landing pages depending on the visitor’s data. You can choose which landing pages to show to specific users with its help.
Affiliate marketing is most often used to bypass the moderation of advertising networks. For example, Facebook or Google will not allow you to promote many offers from the field of health and beauty – ads will not miss the check.
Cloaking will help you pass the verification because with its help you can choose which landing pages to show to the user.
Already guessed how it works?
The affiliate sets up the program so that the moderators of ad networks see a “white” and compliant site. The target audience will get to a real affiliate landing page with an offer.
With the help of a cloaca, you can even promote products prohibited by advertising networks, until page spoofing is detected 🙂
Why is a cloaking service needed and how does it work?
In affiliate marketing, the cloaca solves several problems:
- Bypass moderation. Many offers, landing pages, and promotion approaches are prohibited, especially on Facebook and Google have strict rules. With the help of a cloaca, you can bypass these restrictions and show one piece of information to moderators, and another to users;
- Protection against bots and spy services. Direct bot traffic to third-party landing pages to protect campaigns from copying and collect reliable statistics;
- SEO optimization. Cloaca is often used by SEO specialists so that the search engine indexes “black” and over-optimized pages. As a result, the site rises in the search, and the content does not suffer due to optimization;
- Personalization. You can use the cloaca to personalize landing pages for viewers from different geos. For example, you can change the language depending on the visitor’s region.
The principle of operation of the cloaking service is simple – first, the affiliate creates two versions of the landing page. One of them must be white and comply with the rules of the ad network, and the other must be focused on users and sales.
The white page should correspond to the theme of the offer so that the creative does not arouse moderation suspicions. For example, if you’re promoting a weight loss product, you could advertise a workout program or nutritional advice on a white landing page.
When both pages are ready, you need to set up cloaking, we will talk about this in more detail later, in the corresponding section. After setting up, the program will separate traffic and direct moderators to the white page, and real users to the affiliate program landing page.
As a rule, the following solutions are used to configure the cloaca:
- Trackers. Most trackers include TDS – a traffic distribution system. Using this functionality, you can set up cloaking, and the trackers themselves often have databases to configure for different ad networks;
- Services. There are services focused only on cloaking – we will tell you more about them in the selection below. Such services are distinguished by flexible settings and opportunities for customization. Services are either cloud-based or selling self-hosted solutions;
- Through scripts. You can set up the cloaca manually – using redirect scripts that you need to insert into the site. This option is suitable for specialists with programming skills who want to save on paid plans.
Cloaking service is prohibited by advertising networks, for its use your account will be banned sooner or later. Nevertheless, without it, it is impossible to promote many offers, and therefore all that remains for the affiliate is to stock up on consumables.
What if you don’t use the cloaking service?
Often beginners ignore cloaking due to the complexity of setting up and the burden on the budget. This is a mistake because without cloaking, several serious problems will arise at once:
- Blocking and denial of promotion. Without a cloaca, accounts are blocked faster, and many campaigns simply will not be missed;
- Limited choice of offers and approaches. Most of the offers and profitable approaches to promotion are prohibited by advertising networks. If you do not use the cloaking service, you will have to work with “white” offers, or refuse to promote on large sites;
- The risk of “burning” the bundle. If you find a profitable approach and do not protect the link with a cloaking service, other affiliates will be able to track it and the strategy will run out faster.
Cloaking service allows the affiliate not to limit himself in the choice of offers and approaches to promotion. It protects against blocking, helps to pass moderation, and run traffic more comfortably.
Setting up a cloaking service
Most cloaking services are configured according to the same principle. We will look at the setup using the example of IM CLO, one of the most popular cloaking solutions on FB and Google.
The main thing to start with is the preparation of landing pages. Prepare two versions of the landing, one is white and follows all the rules of the ad network, and the second is black, focused on sales.
Next, you need to install the program to configure the cloaking service. It all depends on what you use – for example, cloud trackers do not need to be installed anywhere, and if you bought a self-written cloaking service, you will have to install the software on the server.
IM CLO must be installed on the server, for this:
1.Go to the root folder of your hosting account via FTP;
2.Upload the IM CLO admin panel files to the public_html root folder;
3.Go to the MySQL database management of your hosting;
4.Create a new database, name it, create a password, and transfer the file econom5c_klo.sql.zip to it from the public_html root folder;
5.In the /application/config/database.php file, you need to enter the name and password for the database from the previous paragraph. The password is on line 53 instead of “Password”, and the name is on line 54 instead of “Database”;
6.In the file /application/config/config.php on line 25 you need to enter the address of the domain to which you uploaded the cloaca files;
7.Next, you need to set up commands on your hosting. Go to the hosting panel to install automatic commands and create 3 new commands:
Command #1 – Cloaca domain/api/update_net;
Command #2 – Cloaca domain/api/update_status_domains;
Command #3 – Cloaca domain/api/update_sx.
The first two functions must be performed every hour, and the third – every day.
8.The last stage of the installation is to set the permissions for all files in the /public_html/application/db/ directory to “777”
Now IM CLO is installed, it remains to configure it.
Follow the algorithm:
1.Create a folder /land in the root of the site, upload the “black” landing page into it, and rename the file “Index.php” to “b.php”;
2.Upload the “index.php” file from the standard cloaca files to the /land folder;
3.Go to the “index.php” file and specify the address of the cloaca in the second line, and the link to the white landing page in the third line;
4.Go to the IM CLO admin panel and add a domain. Leave the boxes for links to white and black landings empty;
5.Go to the /public_html/application/db/ directory and replace line 126 with <a href=”/land/”>.
Now IM CLO will automatically filter traffic and redirect FB and Google moderators to white landing pages.
In the case of trackers, the setup method is slightly different – you need to create different traffic flows for one link, insert the addresses of the white and black landing pages, and then write down the rules for filtering and redirecting traffic.
If you have any difficulties with the configuration, do not hesitate to contact the technical support of the selected project. As a rule, specialists from such companies help with setting up, and in some cases, they can do it themselves.
A selection of the best cloaking services
Most cloaking services work on the same system and have similar functionality. Therefore, in our selection, we paid attention to the key features and pricing to help with the choice of a specific solution.
Also do not forget that the cloaca can be configured using most trackers.
One of the most popular solutions in the CIS is a self-written cloaking service from IM Group.
- Works with Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Yandex;
- Installed on the server independently;
- Open source code with the possibility of improvement;
- Many automatic filters for traffic distribution;
- More secure than cloud solutions, as it is installed on your server.
- $330 – lifetime license with technical support and updates;
- There is a free demo version.
Popular cloaking service.
- Works with Google, Facebook, Insta, MyTarget, TikTok;
- Filters traffic using machine learning technologies, the bot database is constantly updated;
- Many types of integration, including with trackers and website builders;
- Collects statistics and visitor data;
- Cloud service does not require technical skills to set up.
- Start – $100 per month;
- Basic – $200 per month;
- Premium – $400 per month;
- There is no free version or demo mode;
- There are discounts for annual payments.
Another cloud-based traffic filtering solution.
- Works with most major ad networks such as FB, MyTarget, and TikTok;
- Easy setup without technical skills;
- Detects bots based on neural networks and constantly replenishes the base of unwanted visitors;
- Flexible filters – you can manually configure filtering and create blacklists;
- Collects statistics for each click.
- Initial – $30\month;
- Basic – $100\month;
- Premium – $200\month;
- There is a free trial for 7 days;
- Discounts are available for annual payments.
A simple cloud cloaca.
- Setup in a few clicks, without the need for installation on the server;
- Small price, simple pricing;
- Minimalistic interface and a minimum of additional functions;
- Best suited for Facebook, but can work with other networks.
- For a month – $25, you can link up to 10 domains;
- There is no free version.
- Cloaking service – a tool for filtering traffic and replacing landing pages;
- Cloaking service is needed to pass moderation, protect the campaign from monitoring and bots, improve search indexing;
- Many offers and approaches cannot be used without a cloaking service;
- Cloaking service can be configured using trackers, self-written scripts, and cloud services;
- The cloaking service will require a “white” version of the landing page to redirect moderators to it;
- Cloaking is prohibited in advertising networks, but many offers cannot be promoted without it.