Thirsty Affiliates is an affiliate link management plugin for WordPress that helps you cloak your links. It has a lot of advantages over alternative cloaking solutions such as the ability to track stats, place links into categories and assign images to links.
Adding a link is very straight forward. The first thing you need to do is name your link. This is for your reference only. It’s best to make it as descriptive as possible as generic names might make finding links difficult once you have added a few hundred links. Next you need to enter your destination URL. This will usually be an affiliate URL though if you want to click the number of click thrus to all of your links you can add non-affiliate links here too.
The cloaked URL can be edited easily through the links area. This is useful if you want to make a shorter URL that is more user friendly as by default it creates a UL based on the name of your link. For example, if you called the name of your link ‘Sony LCD 32 Inch TV – Amazon UK Link’ it would create a URL such as www.mysite.com/recommends/sony-lcd-32-inch-tv-amazon-uk-link. A much prettier URL would be www.mysite.com/recommends/sony-lcd-32.
The nofollow tag setting for each link can be set too and you can also open links in a new window. To help organise your links better, Thirsty Affiliates allows you to create categories and assign each link accordingly. Those of you who cloak hundreds or thousands of links will find this particularly useful, particularly as you can create sub categories.
A unique feature of Thirsty Affiliates is the ability to attach images to links. This makes promoting products and services through your site much easier. For example, going back to my Sony television example, I could assign several images to the link including the Sony logo, images of the television from different angles and perhaps a promotional banner for the TV.
One of my favourite features of the plugin is the ability to set your link prefix via the settings area. On WP Mods I use the prefix go (e.g. www.wpmods.com/go/linkname) however the default for Thirsty Affiliates is recommends. There are dozens of prefixes to choose from such as link, goto, click and offer. Prefixes can be overridden in URL settings for each link so you can use different prefixes for different links if you wish.
The plugin adds a button to your post editor (as long as you are using the visual editor).
When you click on the button a pop up appears that shows all of your links. You can insert your link directly or insert your link using a shortcode (e.g. [thirstylink linkid=713]). You can also attach any of the images that are assigned to your link into your post.
The ‘all affiliate links’ page lists all of your links. It shows the categories and and sub categories it’s attached to and the number of clicks that the link has had this week, last week, this month and last month.
I was very impressed with what Thirsty Affiliates can do. Those of you who are starting a new website (or don’t have a lot of cloaked links to transfer) should give Thirsty Affiliates a try. It gives you a lot of control over how your links work, lets you assign images to links and tracks the number of clicks for each link. Plus, because the plugin uses custom post types to save data, you can save and restore all of your links via the WordPress admin area using a regular backup and restore.
I have been using the free plugin Simple Link Cloaker for years to cloak all of my links. It’s a very simple plugin but it works well. It uses htaccess to redirect links though therefore my cloaked links can’t be imported to Thirsty Affiliates easily. If I find an easy way to transfer my cloaked links I’ll definitely make the move to Thirsty Affiliates as I’m not currently tracking the number of clicks for my affiliate links.
There are two licenses available for ThirstyAffiliates. The standard license retails for $39 and allows you to install the plugin on one website. The premium license retails for $59 and allows to install the plugin on an unlimited number of websites.
The premium license also gives you unlimited upgrades for life, a statistics add on for tracking clicks for tracking the number of clicks on each link and an importer option. The importer currently only works with MaxBlogPress Ninja Affiliate though support for other plugins is in development. For me, the premium license is the best option as it allows you to track stats.
For a good comparison of the features of Thirsty Affiliates and MaxBlogPress Ninja Affiliate, I recommend reading the article Hesham Zebida’s article ThirstyAffiliates VS MaxBlogPress Ninja Affiliates.
Do you like the look of Thirsty Affiliates? If so, stay tuned to WP Mods as we will be giving away 2 premium licenses of Thirsty Affiliates in a fun Facebook competition tomorrow.
If you have any questions about the plugin please let me know and I’ll do my best to address them :)
Link: Thirsty Affiliates
* Thanks to ThirstyAffiliates for sending a test copy of their plugin for the purpose of this review.