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- ThirstyAffiliates Pro Review
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- 1 What Is ThirstyAffiliates?
- 2 What Makes ThirstyAffiliates Pro Different?
- 3 What Are the Primary Benefits of ThirstyAffiliates Pro?
- 4 What Features Are Offered by ThirstyAffiliates Pro?
- 5 ThirstyAffiliates New Design
- 6 Using ThirstyAffiliates
- 7 Pricing
- 8 Support
- 9 Overall Impressions
- 10 Pros
- 11 Cons
- 12 ThirstyAffiliates Pro Review
In this ThirstyAffiliates Pro review, I cover the version 3 core features and the new Pro plugin.
Are you an affiliate marketer who needs to protect his earnings? Do you use affiliate marketing to monetize your WordPress blog or website?
If so, this article is for you.
What Is ThirstyAffiliates?
ThirstyAffiliates is a free WordPress plugin that helps you creating branded URLs from your affiliate links. It uses cloaking to achieve this. ThirstyAffiliates also has a Pro version that offers much more features.
Based on this plugin author:
“Link cloaking is the process of disguising an affiliate link to remove the obvious affiliate codes and perform a redirect so your commissions are protected”.
Let me give you an example with my SiteGround affiliate link.
When you navigate my website, would you trust this link:
Or this one:
Obviously, you would trust the second link since it is branded with my website URL. Besides, cloaked links are shorter and easier to remember.
Here is how these two links will appear in ThirstyAffiliates:
The first URL is your affiliate link whereas the second URL is the cloaked one.
Using a cloaked link will not expose your affiliate ID and will protect your affiliate commissions.
Commission theft commonly involves unscrupulous cyber criminals setting up malware in people’s web browsers to replace your unique affiliate code on affiliate links with their own affiliate code, thereby giving these hackers your commissions should that person turn into a sale.
ThirstyAffiliates Pro is not just a link cloaking plugin. It offers unique benefits that will help you in your affiliate marketing activities.
Here are the benefits you will get with ThirstyAffiliates Pro:
- Provides branded links
- Better affiliate link organization
- Saves you tons of time with automation
- Protects against commission theft
- Collects statistics for you (link clicks)
- Integrates with Google Analytics
- Geolocation links
Here is a list the technical features you will get in ThirstyAffiliates Pro. More detail in the use cases below.
- Shortening / Destination Cloaking
- Link Categorization
- Redirect Types (301, 302, 307)
- Affiliate Link Picker Tool
- Smart Uncloaking (for Amazon Associates compatibility)
- No Follow
- Open In New Tab
- Uses Custom Post Types
- Shortcode Link Type
- Image Link Type
- Basic Statistics Reports
- Automatic Keyword Linking
- Advanced Statistics Reports
- Geolocation Link Redirect
- CSV Import / Export Tool
- Amazon API Importing
- Google Analytics Click Event Pushing
- High Speed HTAccess Redirect
- Link Event Notification Emails
ThirstyAffiliates version 3 is a complete redesign of the plugin. Here’s what the developers did:
- Rebuilt the free ThirstyAffiliates plugin from the ground up
- Created a brand new “Pro” plugin
- Refined existing features for speed & performance
- Added some seriously cool new features
Instead, they are now maintaining a single “Pro” plugin.
ThirstyAffiliates Pro has all of the existing add-on features you know and love plus a handful of new surprises. It’s also one single plugin, instead of seven.
In this section, I cover both the core and Pro plugins.
ThirstyAffiliates Core Review
The ThirstyAffiliates Core plugin is free and has 10,000+ installs. It is available from your WordPress dashboard:
- Plugins > Add New > Search for keyword “ThirstyAffiliates”
- Next, click Install Now. Finally, click Activate.
Your WordPress sidebar will now display a ThirstyAffiliates menu:
Here is an explanation of these menu options:
a) Affiliate Links: this will display all your affiliate links
b) New Affiliate Link: lets you create a new affiliate link
c) Link Categories: enables you to create affiliate link categories. These are great for organizing your links especially for use on the reporting side (you can report on all links in a category). You could group all your Amazon links together, or all links relating to a certain product type (eg. WordPress plugins), or all products that are with a certain merchant.
d) Settings: Configure your default values such as link prefix, link category inclusion in URL, link redirect type (default is 301), no-follow link, open link in a new window, etc.
You also get a Modules tab whereby you can enable/disable the modules of your choice. With the free plugin, you get three modules: Statistics, Link Fixer and, Uncloak Links.
In ThirstyAffiliates 3.0 you will be able to selectively flag individual links or even whole categories for smart uncloaking.
On the back end, you get the benefit of managing your ThirstyAffiliates links as normal.
On the front end, your links are dynamically uncloaked, meaning they’re now compatible with Amazon’s strict Terms of Service and any other similar affiliate programs that take an unkind view on redirecting links via a shortened URL.
Now you get to use ThirstyAffiliates redirects and all the benefits that come with it while staying 100% compatible.
The Import / Export tab lets you export your ThirstyAffiliates settings. You can import them later into another WordPress installation. That will save you configuration time.
e) Reports: Provides you with a link performance report. To get the reports, you must enable the Statistics module. Here is an example:
There are a few ways you can insert affiliate links into a WordPress blog post or page.
Method 1: From your editor, click on the TA icon. Next type a keyword (e.g., Siteground). You will get a confirmation that the keyword. Click return and the affiliate link will be added.
Method 2: From your WordPress editor, highlight a word or sentence. Click the paperclip icon to add a link. From the link box, type a keyword that represents your affiliate link. You will get prompted with a list of articles containing that keyword. Select the one that is an Affiliate Link (on the right-hand side). Click return to confirm your choice.
- Later I will explain how you can automate these steps with the auto linker function of the Pro plugin.
ThirstyAffiliates Pro Review
After you purchase the Pro plugin, you get download instructions along with your License Key.
To install the Pro plugin, go to your WordPress dashboard:
- Plugins > Add New > Upload Plugin > Browse & select your Pro plugin in .zip format
- Next, click Install Now. Finally, click Activate.
- From the ThirstyAffiliates settings, select the License tab and provide your activation email and license key.
From the settings, select the Modules tab.
From the modules tab, you can enable the desired functions. In our previous discussion about the Core plugin, we already covered: Statistics, Link Fixer and, Uncloak.
With the Pro version, the module list has expanded. Before version 3, all these functions came as separate plugins. Not anymore. Let’s discuss these Pro modules:
The Amazon Import module lets you create affiliate links to Amazon products by searching and importing them into ThirstyAffiliates.
You will need to provide your Amazon credentials such as Access Key ID, Secret Key, Tag, etc. You can retrieve these from your Amazon affiliate account.
Other useful options during import: specify an image size, assign Link categories and, enable Geolocation. When you have the Geolocations module enabled, you can add alternative destination URLs for people visiting from different countries. E.g. you might like to send all your USA based traffic to amazon.com whereas all Canadian traffic for that same link you will send to amazon.ca. You can do this for any link; it doesn’t have to be related to Amazon, I’m just using that as a common example.
Autolinker is one of my favorite features of the Pro plugin. It automates the insertion of affiliate links. It will replace your words with affiliate links. For instance, I just typed LongTailPro and this inserted my affiliate link automatically.
How is it done?
Whenever you create an affiliate URL, specify a list of keywords. Here is an example:
The above example has four keywords. If I type one of these keywords in a blog post or page, it will become anchor text for my affiliate link. The Limit (per keyword) is set to three affiliate links. You can adjust that value to suit your needs.
By default, auto-linking inside headings (H1, H2, H3, etc.) is not allowed from the global settings. You can override this for a specific affiliate link. Idem for Random Placement of autolinks.
What if you have 30 affiliate links with two keywords each? That’s 60 keywords to remember. I suggest you keep a list of these keywords handy. Whenever you write your articles, you have these keywords ready to be used. In my case, I use a neat utility called Typinator (MacOS only). By typing a few keystrokes, I get the all my keywords displayed. I can select any keyword, and it will be typed automatically. Example:
If for some reason, you want to disable Auto Linker for a specific post, you can disable it. From your WordPress editor, check the “Disable autolinker for this post” box.
The Geolocations module lets you add alternative destination URLs for people visiting from different countries. Eg. You might like to send all your USA based traffic to amazon.com whereas all United Kingdom traffic for that same link you will send to amazon.co.uk. You can do this for any affiliate link; it doesn’t have to be related to Amazon, I used it as an example.
After you activate the Geolocations module from the Modules tab, the Geolocations tab will show. Clicking on it will display the following options:
The free MaxMind database file is updated every month by ThirstyAffiliates once the plugin has been installed. MaxMind release a new version of the free database roughly every three months.
The Premium and Web Service use data that is three months more up to date. IP addresses change all the time, MaxMind does a great job of keeping up with it, but the cost of that latest data is that you need to pay them for it. Personally, I’ve found the free one more than adequate. It’s really only in location sensitive niches like insurance, loans and other things that you would want to make sure you’re using extremely up to date data.
The CSV Import/Export module enables you to bulk import or export affiliate links in WordPress.
This feature will help you when:
- You want to reuse your affiliate links in a different WordPress site. No need to recreate them manually;
- You need to import links from another link management plugin.
After you enable this module, two entries will display in your WordPress admin sidebar:
Here is an overview of the CSV importer interface. More options are available when scrolling down:
Now, here is the CSV Exporter view:
This CSV file will be compatible with the ThirstyAffiliates CSV Importer.
This module lets you track clicks by way of Google Analytics Events to affiliate links that are inserted.
Whenever a website visitor clicks one of your affiliate links, ThirstyAffiliates will push an event to Google Analytics.
If you use Google Analytics to track your goals — I encourage you to do this — then you get a way to measure your affiliate marketing results.
You will enable the Google Click Tracking from the Settings. Then click on the Click Tracking tab.
Next, provide a name for the event category. The default is “Affiliate Link.” I explicitly typed is in the box and saved that setting.
There is also an option to use the Legacy Analytics. By default, ThirstyAffiliates Pro uses Universal Analytics.
Here is what it looks like from my Google Analytics dashboard:
The above displays two event categories:
- Social_media: represents visitors who click my website Social Warfare sharing buttons
- Affiliate Link: represents all affiliate link clicks. You can drill-down by clicking on this event category. It will provide you with a) the affiliate link that was clicked (event action) and, b) the website URL – blog post or page that contains this affiliate link (event label).
Are you starting to have fun?
In my opinion, the Google Click Tracking is a must have for serious affiliate marketers.
This module moves your affiliate link redirects from PHP based redirects to .htaccess server based redirects. PHP is no longer involved and it’s much faster redirects for visitors.
Event Notification is quite helpful to use as a notifier when specific links reach a threshold. Ie. if you get up to 1000 clicks on a link it is interesting to know because then you can go and revisit that post as it’s getting impressive results.
According to the developer, pretty soon you will also be able to use it for notifying when you hit a certain threshold in a 24 hour period. Great for letting you know when you get big traffic spikes through certain links. For example, if you know you usually get 20 clicks a day on a particular link, then you can set the threshold to 100 clicks in a 24 hour period so that it notifies you if there’s an unusual spike.
Event Notification is easy to set up. First, go to settings and create an event notification:
The above configuration the event notification name is “Affiliate Link Click.” I provided my email address (hidden here). The trigger value is 100 clicks.
Next, edit an affiliate link and check the Event Notification box:
It is as simple as that. You can create as many event notifications you like.
The ThirstyAffiliates Pro pricing fits all budgets. You have the following three options:
If you run one website, then pick the 1-site license at $59.
A five site license goes to $99.
The unlimited site option is at $179.
All plans offer:
- 14 Day Money Back Guarantee
- 1 Year Email Support
- 1 Year Automated Plugin Updates
Before and after migrating to the Pro version, I had several email exchanges with the support team. They respond quickly and provided real value. I always enjoy dealing with them.
The ThirstyAffiliates Pro plugin helps in organizing your affiliate links. It will save you lots of time, especially with the auto linker feature, import/export of settings and affiliate links. It pushes events to Google Analytics so you can better track your goals. ThirstyAffiliates also provides statistics about your links from your WordPress dashboard.
ThirstyAffiliates Pro is reasonably priced, has excellent support and its development keeps evolving.
Verdict: I highly recommend ThirstyAffiliates Pro.
I hope you enjoyed this ThirstyAffiliates Pro review. If so, please share it on your social media channels.
Do you need good hosting? Please refer to my two reviews:
- How to Get Blazing Fast WordPress Hosting
- SiteGround Review: Your Easy and Affordable WordPress Host
- Will cloak your affiliate links and prevent commission theft
- Smart uncloaking to meet specific affiliate programs terms of service
- Auto linker will save you loads of time
- Ability to import / export affiliate links and settings
- Google Click tracking – a must for affiliate marketers
- Ability to import Amazon links & images
- Statistics reports
- Trigger based event notifications
- Excellent support
- Nothing wrong noticed with this product
ThirstyAffiliates Pro Review
Summary: A must have plugin for serious affiliate marketers!