How to Tell If a Link Is an Affiliate Link


Have you ever clicked on a link and wondered if it’s an affiliate link? Maybe you’ve come across those sneaky links that secretly earn someone a commission if you make a purchase. Well, fear not! In this guide, I’ll show you how to easily spot affiliate links so you can make informed decisions while browsing the web.

What Is an Affiliate Link?

Before we dive into spotting these tricky links, let’s clarify what an affiliate link actually is. An affiliate link is a URL that contains a unique tracking code assigned to an affiliate marketer. When you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, the affiliate earns a commission from the sale.

Look for Tracking Parameters in the URL

One of the most common indicators of an affiliate link is the presence of tracking parameters in the URL. These parameters typically include special codes or identifiers that help track the referral back to the affiliate marketer. Look for strings of characters like “?ref,” “?affiliate,” or “?utm_source” in the URL.

Check for Affiliate Disclosures

In compliance with regulations and ethical practices, many websites and content creators are required to disclose when they use affiliate links. Keep an eye out for phrases like “This post contains affiliate links” or “We may earn a commission for purchases made through these links.” These disclosures are often found at the beginning or end of an article.

Hover Over the Link

A quick and easy way to check if a link is an affiliate link is to hover your mouse pointer over the link without clicking on it. In the lower left corner of your browser window, you will see the actual destination URL that the link will take you to. If the URL looks suspicious or contains tracking parameters, it’s likely an affiliate link.

Look for Redirects

Affiliate links often use redirects to mask the actual destination URL. When you click on an affiliate link, the URL may briefly redirect through a tracking or affiliate network before landing on the final destination. If you notice multiple quick redirects when clicking a link, it could be an affiliate link.

Use Browser Extensions

There are several browser extensions available that can help you identify affiliate links automatically. These extensions typically highlight or display a notification when you visit a website that contains affiliate links. Consider installing one of these extensions for added convenience.

Pay Attention to Product Recommendations

Content that heavily promotes or recommends specific products or services may contain affiliate links. If you see phrases like “Our top pick” or “Highly recommended,” accompanied by a link, it’s likely an affiliate link. Be cautious when making purchasing decisions based on such recommendations.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, being able to identify affiliate links is essential for maintaining transparency and making informed choices online. By keeping an eye out for tracking parameters, disclosures, redirects, and product recommendations, you can easily spot affiliate links and decide whether to support the affiliate’s efforts or not. Stay vigilant while browsing the web, and remember that not all affiliate links are inherently bad; they simply exist as part of the digital marketing landscape.

About the Author:
Hi, I'm Dale. I'm the founder of Simple Website Profits & for the past 10+ years I've been earning a living from the internet by creating small, simple websites that generate daily, passive commissions. I launched this website to show others how I'm doing it, and how they can do the same (even if they've got no previous experience). Learn more here.

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