Text Link Ads To Use TinyURL

by derek on August 23, 2007 · 23 comments

Just a few minutes ago I received an email from Text Link Ads regarding their affiliate program and the fact that they are going to be using TinyURL links in place of their current affiliate links.
The email that I received explained the following (emphasis added):

As a Text Link Ads affiliate we’re pleased to let you know that we’ve begun using tinyurl.com to shorten and secure our affiliate referral links. We encourage you to update your affiliate links using the
following:
Homepage URL
http://tinyurl.com/2wrt9j
Starter Promo URL
http://tinyurl.com/2jxw9o
** Please note that our old affiliate urls will no longer work in one week so please update today. Thank you!

My first reaction was that this was a scam attempt and someone was spoofing an email from TLA to get people to update their affiliate links.
After taking a quick look at the Link Building Blog, which is the blog for link marketing and news at TLA, I noticed that there was no announcement of it on the blog. Given the nature of the news, I figured that there would be some sort of announcement on their blog about the change. When I didn’t see anything there, I was really questioning whether this was legit or not.
The headers on the email message appeared to be legit so I logged into my account to see if there was anything that would indicate this was true. When I navigated to the Affiliate tab and attempted to create a link, I noticed that they are in fact using TinyURL for their affiliate links.
Update Your Links
As noted in the email message above, any old affiliate links will no longer work in one week so be sure to update all of your affiliate links accordingly. If you haven’t done so already, now may be the time to introduce link cloaking into your site as that would mean you only have to update one or two links in your .htaccess file in order to redirect all TLA affiliate links to the new TinyURL value.
One would think that Text Link Ads would provide a little more lead-time on a change like this to allow people to update their links accordingly. Further, I find this to be a somewhat odd development for Text Link Ads to pursue as I inherently trust a TinyURL link less than a blatant affiliate link on another site.
What do you think of this change by Text Link Ads?

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Malok August 23, 2007 at 6:12 pm

Thats kind of an odd way to roll out a new program/system. You would think they would have at least made an announcement on their home page.

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Damien Riley August 23, 2007 at 8:23 pm

Seems the marketplace across the board nowadays is more geared toward the company and less toward the consumer. they should have slowly rolled this out I think.

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Nick August 23, 2007 at 9:44 pm

I’m wondering why they are using a site like TinyURL, which, as you mentioned, will make people somewhat skeptical. Couldn’t they have just used redirects to make it the same principle on their servers?

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derek August 23, 2007 at 10:24 pm

@Malok :: That is what caught me off-guard and made me think it was some sort of scam email trying to swipe any of my affiliate referrals.
@Damien :: Yeah, I think the timing of the change is a little aggressive. If for some reason you don’t check your email regularly, you can miss the one week deadline and have dead affiliate links.
@Nick :: It would be nice to see a little more explanation from TLA on this change. Rather than display the TinyURL link, I’ve changed my site to use a RewriteRule in my htaccess file. I think that looks cleaner and less skeptical of a TinyURL link.

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Rose August 24, 2007 at 12:15 am

You’d think they would have announced it differently. No notice on their site?

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Mystery Woman August 24, 2007 at 3:06 am

Do you know who else uses tinyurl for affiliate links? Payperpost! Do you know why they do it? To hide the link back to their website from the search engines. Everyone has an affiliate link from TLA and it is as simple as searching “text-link-ads.com” “?ref=” and you’ll find thousands of listings. All of people who proudly shout, “I SELL LINKS!!!”

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Hari frmo GotChance August 24, 2007 at 10:12 am

Nice point mentioned there !

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GettyCash : Make Money Online August 24, 2007 at 7:59 am

I don’t like tinyurl much.
PayPerPost also use tinyurl for affiliate link.

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derek August 24, 2007 at 10:19 am

@Rose :: When I looked yesterday, there wasn’t any information that I could find on their site about the change. Only the email that was sent out.
@Mystery Woman :: You’re right that PPP uses it as well. With the TinyURL link you are able to hide the affiliate id and this can help with people trying to snipe the referral away from someone else.
@GettyCash :: My issue with TinyURL is that you have no idea where the link is going to take you. I’ve read of instances where people have used TinyURL for malicious purposes to redirect people to a site with a virus. Without knowing the destination of the link, I have a hard time trusting a TinyURL link.

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Chris Gray August 24, 2007 at 1:08 pm

Got this one this morning…and thought it was a scam as well. I am surprised they are relying on a outside service such as TinyURL. What happens if TinyURL goes away?

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inflatable bouncers August 28, 2007 at 4:11 am

derek: is not to hide the affiliate link and protect from being snapped
Search engines are the reason….finally TLA figured that out…and try to stay under the radar

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Carlo September 27, 2007 at 5:43 am

People are largely skeptical of these services.

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Living Off Dividends & Passive Income April 7, 2008 at 1:37 am

i checked my TLA account and they’re all javascript. was this changed again?
Living Off Dividends & Passive Income’s last blog post..How I Made $2,667 In Passive Income In March ?08

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Johnnie@Auto Insurance June 19, 2008 at 4:04 pm

Living Off Dividends, you’re a year late…lol. Did you realize when he created the post? I can see how some people thought it was a scam though since tinyurl is a public service and you would think they would have created there own url shortening service. I guess they was broke and was trying to save some money…lol.

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Adam February 5, 2009 at 12:26 pm

i prefer href.in to tinyurl

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Neil@Free Wii February 5, 2009 at 3:36 pm

I have just started to use TLA for some advertising

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derek February 5, 2009 at 3:47 pm

And you signed up with my affiliate link, right? 😉

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Harvey@Free PS3 February 7, 2009 at 2:31 am

Does Google penalize you if they find out your using TLA?

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derek February 7, 2009 at 9:49 am

Well, this blog used to be a PR4 at one time and now has a PR0 so I would say the answer to that is yes. However, you need to decide how important that is to you and your site. While my PR has disappeared, I still get quite a bit of organic search traffic – and the extra money doesn’t hurt either.

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