Note: This article relates to the Direct Link Tracking pro add-on.

First, download and install the Direct Link Tracking add-on. If you’re unsure of how to install an add-on, see our installation guide for Arabianaffiliates (the instructions are the same).

Global settings

Allow Direct Link Tracking

When checked, this will enable all affiliate accounts to enter one or more domains from the Affiliate Area. If this option is left unchecked, domains may only be entered by affiliates that have the option enabled on their account, which must be done by a site administrator. See additional information below on enabling direct link tracking for individual affiliates.

Notify Admin

When enabled, an email will be sent to the site administrator when a direct link domain has been submitted for approval.

Notify Affiliate

If these checkbox options are enabled, an email will be sent to the affiliate when their submitted direct link domain has been approved or rejected.

Domains Allowed

This option defines the number of domains affiliates can register on their account. For example, if this is set to 1, affiliates will only be permitted to register a single domain on their account. Note: This option can be overwritten on individual affiliate accounts by site administrators.

Domain Blacklist

See: Blacklisting domains

Remove Data When Deleted

Enable the checkbox if you would like all of Direct Link Tracking’s data deleted when the plugin is deleted.

Per-affiliate settings
Each affiliate account can have the global options overwritten by a site administrator from the Edit Affiliate screen for the affiliate.

If direct link tracking is enabled for all affiliates, the Edit Affiliate edit screen will show like this:

If direct link tracking is not enabled for all affiliates, it will show this:

Once direct link tracking is enabled, either for an individual affiliate or globally, domains can be registered on the affiliate’s account.

When a visitor comes to your website from another site, Arabianaffiliates is able to see the URL of the referring website. If the referring URL is registered as a direct link for an affiliate, and the URL has been approved by a site administrator, the associated affiliate will be credited with the visit exactly like they would if the visitor had clicked on a URL to your site that contained an affiliate’s referral code.

An example:
Your site is called MyStore.com.
Jane (the affiliate) is promoting your site on a specific website, which she owns. The domain for that blog is JanesCoolBlog.com
Jane writes about the products/services on MyStore.com, and links to MyStore.com, without using her affiliate referral variable (eg, MyStore.com?ref=35 or MyStore.com/ref/jane:
Make sure to visit MyStore.com for great products and support!
You want every purchase coming from janescoolblog.com to be automatically credited to Jane’s affiliate account on your MyStore.com site, without Jane needing to use her referral variable.
After setting up Direct Link Tracking and notifying your affiliates of the new feature, Jane can now refer readers to your site directly.

Direct Link Tracking allows affiliates to link directly to your site without the need for an affiliate link.

This is a major incentive for your affiliates, and may help earn you more money.

If a visitor recognizes an affiliate link whilst on an affiliate’s site, they’ll know the affiliate will earn a commission if they click that link and purchase your product. In some instances, an affiliate link may make a visitor skeptical of your site content, and they won’t click the link. A potential customer turned off by an affiliate link could mean a missed sale for you (and a missed commission for your affiliate).

By using Direct Link Tracking, visitors will be completely unaware of any affiliate links, greatly increasing the chance of clicking a link to your site and going on to complete a purchase. You’ll be happy because you get more sales, and your affiliates will be happy because they earn more commission.

An increased opportunity for more sales
Visitors won’t know they are clicking on affiliate links.

Happier and more motivated affiliates
Since there’s no affiliate link, affiliates have a higher chance of earning a commission, and they’ll work harder to get it. Visitors can’t copy and paste the link into a new window and remove their tracking parameters, because there are none!

Enhanced SEO
Links to your site do not contain any affiliate parameters, so they will be more SEO-friendly.

Like Arabianaffiliates, the Direct Link Tracking add-on tracks an affiliate by creating a visit. A visit is created when a visitor clicks a link on the affiliate’s website and arrives on the target site. The target site is where both Arabianaffiliates and Direct Link Tracking is installed and activated.

Once a visit is stored, and for the correct affiliate, testing is essentially complete. Arabianaffiliates itself will go on to generate a referral when a purchase or conversion is made.

All you need to do to test is make sure the visit is correctly created by Direct Link Tracking. Follow these steps:

Make sure Arabianaffiliates and the Direct Link Tracking add-on is installed and activated.
From another site, (or local testing site) create a page and add a link to the target site where Arabianaffiliates and Direct Link Tracking is installed. Note down the URL of the page you have added that contains the link, this will be used in step 4 below.
On the target site, enable Allow Direct Link Tracking from Affiliates → Settings → Direct Link Tracking, or enable it on a per-affiliate basis from the affiliate’s edit screen.
On the target site, add a direct link domain for an affiliate. This will be the URL of the page where you added the link in step 2 above. You can add a direct link as either the site administrator, or as an affiliate.
Click the link you added to the page in step 2. You should arrive on the target site and a visit will be created on the Affiliates → Visits page. If you’re familiar with how to view cookies in your browser, you can simply check to see if Arabianaffiliates’s default cookies were created. These are affwp_ref and Arabianaffiliates_ref_visit_id. The Arabianaffiliates_ref cookie should hold the correct affiliate ID that had the direct link domain assigned to them.
That’s it! If you didn’t see a visit created in step 6, see the troubleshooting article.

A site admin can add a direct link from one of the following ways:

From the Edit Affiliate screen:

Go to Affiliates → Affiliates from within the WordPress admin

1.Find the affiliate that you want to add a direct link to

2.Click the affiliate’s name to edit the affiliate

3.Under the Direct Link Tracking section, add the direct link and then click the Update Affiliate button at the bottom of the screen to save your changes.

From the Direct Links screen:

Go to Affiliates → Direct Links from within the WordPress admin

1.Click the Add New button

2.Select an affiliate and enter the domain

3.Click Add Direct Link to add the direct link

A direct link added by an admin is automatically to an Active status, though the status can be changed by editing the direct link.

Editing a direct link

A site admin can edit a direct link in one of the following ways:

From the Direct Links screen:

1.Go to Affiliates → Direct Links from within the WordPress admin

2.Find the domain to edit and click the Edit link from the Actions column

3.Make changes to the domain and click Update Direct Link to save

From the Edit Affiliate screen:

1.Go to Affiliates → Affiliates from within the WordPress admin

2.Find the affiliate belonging to the direct link you want to edit

3.Click the affiliate’s name to edit the affiliate

4.Under the Direct Link Tracking section, edit the direct link and then click the Update Affiliate button at the bottom of the screen to save your changes.

Reviewing a direct link

A site admin needs to review all direct links submitted by an affiliate. A site admin can review a direct link from one of the following ways:

From the Direct Links screen:

1.Go to Affiliates → Direct Links in the admin

2.Find the domain to review

3.Click either Accept or Reject from the Actions column

Note :clicking Accept or Reject will send the relevant email notification(s) to the affiliate if the emails are enabled from the settings. See: Email Notifications.

From the Direct Link edit screen:

1.Go to Affiliates → Direct Links in the admin

2..Find the domain to review

3.Click Edit from the Actions column

4.Change the Status of the direct link to either Active or Rejected.

Note: changing a domain’s status from Pending to either Active or Rejected will send an email notification to the affiliate if the emails are enabled from the settings. See: Email Notifications.

From the Edit Affiliate screen:

1.Go to Affiliates → Affiliates from within the WordPress admin

2.Find the affiliate you wish to review direct links for

3.Click the affiliate’s name to edit the affiliate

4.Under the Direct Link Tracking section, click either the Accept or Reject radio button for the domain. Multiple domains can be accepted and rejected at once.

5.When you’re done reviewing the affiliate’s domains, click the Update Affiliate button at the bottom of the screen to save your changes.

Note: choosing Accept or Reject and updating the page will send the relevant email notification(s) to the affiliate if the emails are enabled from the settings. See: Email Notifications.

Adding a direct link domain
Affiliates can add one or more direct link domains from the Direct Links tab of the Affiliate Area.

The number of domains an affiliate can add is determined by the site admin. To add a new domain after the next, the affiliate can click the Add new domain link. Once an affiliate’s domain limit is reached, the Add new domain link will disappear.

Once an affiliate has added a domain, they can click the Save Direct Links button. A domain submitted by an affiliate must be approved by the site admin:

When an affiliate has a domain limit of 1 it looks like this:

If an affiliate has a higher domain limit they can add as many domains as they’d like until they reach the limit:

Deleting a domain
An affiliate can delete a domain by clicking the remove link next to the domain they’d like to remove. Alternatively, an affiliate can clear out the domain’s input field and click the Save Direct Links button.

Updating a domain
An affiliate can update an already approved direct link by changing the domain and then clicking the Save Direct Links button. Once the affiliate has made changes to the domain and clicks Save Direct Links, the admin will be required to approve it. The affiliate will be shown a message they can still use their old domain while their new one is being reviewed.

Rejected domains

If an affiliate’s direct link domain is rejected, a notice will be shown at the top of the Direct Links tab, informing them of rejected domains. An additional notice is shown underneath each domain’s input field.

The affiliate can choose to either remove the domain, or update the domain. Once the domain has been updated and the direct links have been saved, the domain will be set to pending for approval by the site admin.

Note, if an affiliate previously had an approved domain, updates it to another domain, and the admin rejects it, a different notice will be shown. This notice will let the affiliate know that their previously approved domain will continue to work and they are able to dismiss the notice.

Base domain

Direct link
The domain added by the admin or affiliate for which the visitor will come from.

Domain path
The path at the end of a domain.

Example: Given a domain of site.com/path/some-page, the domain path would be /path/some-page.

Target site
The site where both AffiliateWP and Direct Link Tracking is installed and activated.

Note: This article relates to the Direct Link Tracking pro add-on.

Which integrations does Direct Link Tracking support?
The Direct Link Tracking add-on includes support for all integrations.

How can I prevent affiliates from registering other people’s domain names?
Direct Link Tracking can be configured so that affiliates can enter their own domains from the Direct Links tab of the Affiliate Area. This means they could potentially attempt to add a domainregister a URL that does not belong to them. To prevent malicious affiliates from trying to claim traffic coming from URLs they do not own, Direct Link Tracking includes an approval system for submitted URLs. When a URL is submitted by an affiliate from the Affiliate Area, it will be given a status of Pending and will not function until a site administrator has approved the URL.

Important note: It is the responsibility of the site owner/administrator to verify the authenticity of the URLs submitted by affiliates.

Is the Credit Last Referrer option supported?

Yes, Direct Link Tracking supports the Credit Last Referrer option from Affiliates → Settings → General.

Are domains with paths supported?

Yes, as of version 1.1, domains with paths are supported. See: Domains with paths

Can subdomains be used as direct link domains?

Yes.

Can Direct Link Tracking be used with Fallback Tracking?

Yes, Direct Link Tracking supports the  Use Fallback Referral Tracking Method option from Affiliates → Settings → Misc.