Using HopLinks

A HOPLINK™ referral tracking URL, or HopLink, is a URL that does two things: It links a potential customer to a vendor's site, and it informs ClickBank which affiliate brought the customer there.

As a ClickBank affiliate, you need to know how to use a HopLink to promote ClickBank products. This article will teach you everything you need to know about creating and using HopLinks.

The following subjects are covered in this article:

Overview

A HopLink is a URL for a vendor's page. It serves two functions: It directs users to a specific vendor's sales page, and it tells ClickBank which affiliate was responsible for the visit by routing the traffic through the ClickBank HOP™ referral tracking system.

When a potential buyer visits a vendor's page by clicking your HopLink, ClickBank's referral tracking system records that you were responsible for the traffic. If that user buys the product within 60 days, you get credit for the sale and receive a commission.

If you are a vendor, you see information about how much of your traffic and sales were driven by each affiliate. 

Creating HopLinks

You can create HopLinks for vendors' products using one of two formats. The formats are:

  • An encrypted HopLink created through either the ClickBank Marketplace or HopLink Shield. In this format, the vendor and affiliate names are not visible in the URL. This HopLink format is more secure. You can create this format of HopLink using the Marketplace or using the ClickBank HopLink Shield tool.
  • A readable HopLink that includes the vendor and affiliate names. In this format, the vendor and affiliate account names are visible in the URL string. This HopLink format is less secure. You can create this format of HopLink with no special tools.

You can also add tracking IDs or additional parameters to the HopLink, to track traffic sources or to pass information to the vendor's page.

The following subjects are covered in this section:

Creating an Encrypted HopLink From a Product Listing

You can generate an encrypted HopLink using the ClickBank Marketplace or using ClickBank Insights.

  1. Search the Marketplace or ClickBank Insights to find a product to promote.
  2. Click the Promote button in the product's listing.
    The Promotion page is displayed. For example:
    This image shows the promotion page. Text at the top indicates that an affiliate can make a 75% commission for promoting the offer. The fields are Account Nickname and Tracking ID (Optional). There is a Create button in the center, beneath the fields, and a Close Window button at the bottom of the page.
  3. Enter your account nickname and an optional Tracking ID. If you are logged in to your ClickBank account, the account nickname field is populated automatically.
  4. Click Create.
    The encrypted HopLink is displayed. For example:
    This image shows a page with the generated HopLinks using the data supplied in the previous steps. Text at the top indicates that an affiliate can make a 75% commission for promoting the offer. The first field contains the encrypted HopLink. The second field contains the encrypted HopLink within an HTML href tag, with the link text 'Click Here!'
  5. Copy the HopLink.
  6. Save the HopLink for use in your promotional materials.
  7. Click Close Window.

Once you have created the HopLink, you can add parameters to pass to the vendor's page, then test the HopLink before you use it.

Creating an Encrypted HopLink Using HopLink Shield

You can create an encrypted HopLink using HopLink Shield. You must know the vendor's account nickname as well as your own.

  1. Go to HopLink Shield.
  2. Enter a vendor nickname and your affiliate nickname.
  3. Click Encode.
    The encrypted HopLink is displayed. For example:
    This image shows the encrypted HopLink generated by HopLink Shield. The heading at the top says 'HopLink Shield'. The HopLink is introduced with a sentence naming the vendor and affilate. Below the HopLink is a link labeled 'Check Another?' to create another encrypted HopLink.
  4. Copy the HopLink.
  5. Save the HopLink for use in your promotional materials.

Once you have created the HopLink, you can add Tracking IDs to track your traffic sources and parameters to pass to the vendor's page. You can then test the HopLink before you use it.

You can verify the affiliate and vendor for an encrypted HopLink using the HopLink Decoder.

Creating a Human-Readable HopLink

You can create a readable HopLink using a vendor nickname and your affiliate nickname.

NOTE – Readable HopLinks are not as secure as encrypted HopLinks. We recommend generating an encrypted HopLink using a product listing or HopLink Shield.

The HopLink uses the following format:

http://AFFILIATE.VENDOR.hop.clickbank.net

To make the HopLink work, replace AFFILIATE with your account nickname and VENDOR with the vendor's account nickname. Some ClickBank vendors have their account nickname listed on their product website if they have a page for affiliates.

Once you have created the HopLink, you can add Tracking IDs to track your traffic sources and parameters to pass to the vendor's page. You can then test the HopLink before you use it.

Using Tracking IDs

A Tracking ID is an alphanumeric string of up to 100 characters, including numbers, lowercase letters, and underscores, that you can add to the end of a HopLink. Your Tracking IDs are visible only to you as the affiliate, so the vendor you send customers to won't be able to view your Tracking IDs. The format for a Tracking ID is:

http://example.hop.clickbank.net/?tid=ExampleTID

When a customer follows a HopLink with a Tracking ID, and when they purchase a product, the Tracking ID is linked with those events. You can use tracking IDs to differentiate between different sources of traffic and compare your promotional methods.

For example, let's say you're promoting the same product on a blog, in a forum post, and on Twitter. Rather than using one HopLink across all traffic sources, you could use three HopLinks with different Tracking IDs for each medium. If the initial hoplink was http://example.hop.clickbank.net, you could use these Tracking IDs and HopLinks:

  • Blog
    • Tracking ID – blog_feb_2017
    • Hoplink – http://example.hop.clickbank.net/?tid=blog_feb_2017
  • Forum
    • Tracking ID – forum_feb_2017
    • Hoplink – http://example.hop.clickbank.net/?tid=forum_feb_2017
  • Twitter
    • Tracking ID – twitter_feb_2017
    • Hoplink – http://example.hop.clickbank.net/?tid=twitter_feb_2017

Then, when a sale is made using one of your HopLinks, the Tracking ID is passed into ClickBank's reporting, so you'll be able to see which of your promotional efforts led to the sale.

Using Parameters

If you want to pass additional parameters through your HopLink that will arrive at the HopLink Target URL, you can do so. We will pass up to 128 bytes of QUERY_STRING data through to the HopLink Target URL.

For example, if a user follows this HopLink:

http://affiliate.vendor.hop.clickbank.net/?ZZ=1&YY=2

They would be redirected to this URL:

http://vendors-site.com/script.php?hop=affiliate&ZZ=1&YY=2.

NOTE – Parameters are optional. 

Testing Hoplinks

Once you've created a HopLink in any format, you should test it to make sure you'll receive commissions for sales you promote.

To test your HopLinks:

  1. Follow your HopLink, either by clicking it or by entering it into your browser.
  2. Click the Buy Now button or the equivalent.
    The ClickBank order form is displayed.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the order form.
    • If you see [affiliate=yournickname], the HopLink is working.
    • If you see [affiliate=none], the HopLink is not reporting you as the affiliate. See the Troubleshooting section for more information.
    • If no [affiliate=] line is displayed, the vendor may have disabled the display of that line on their order form. 

Using HopLinks

Once you've created a HopLink, you can use that HopLink in your promotional materials.

When you create a HopLink using the Marketplace, you'll see the following two HopLink formats:

This image shows a page with generated HopLinks. Text at the top indicates that an affiliate can make a 75% commission for promoting the offer. The first field contains the encrypted HopLink. The second field contains the encrypted HopLink within an HTML href tag, with the link text 'Click Here!'

The top format is the direct URL, which you can use when you just want to paste a link directly with no HTML formatting. For example, this link format is often used in paid advertising or sharing a link over email, Twitter, or instant messenger with a friend.

The second format is what the HopLink looks like in HTML code. You can use this type of format if you have your own website and want to post your HopLink. For example, you can use this format if you write a product review and want to link to the Pitch Page using your HopLink. You can replace the text that says "Click Here!" with any promotional text you want. You might also use the HTML format when posting a link in a forum or other message boards.

Invalid HopLink Use

To ensure proper tracking of your HopLink referrals, your HopLink must open into the top level of a new or existing window. Do not attempt to hide your HopLinks by having them open into other types of sub-window objects, such as frames, iframes, layers, applets, or images. These types of HopLinks are considered invalid, and could result in lost affiliate referral credit, incorrect display of your website, or, in the case of abuse of the HopLink system, could result in account termination without notice.

HopLinks that open into pop-up, pop-under, or "exit" windows are valid and can be used.

If you're a beginner affiliate and don't understand the terminology above, don't worry. The HopLink creation methods discussed above always create valid HopLinks.

Troubleshooting

If you've tested your HopLink and it doesn't seem to be working properly (for example, you get to the vendor's order form and your affiliate nickname doesn't appear), check the following things:

  1. Make sure that both your nickname and the vendor's nickname are spelled correctly in your HopLink. If you used the Marketplace to create your HopLink, ClickBank automatically enters the vendor's nickname, so you'll only need to check your nickname to make sure it's spelled correctly. If you have an encrypted HopLink, you can check to make sure both parties' nicknames are spelled correctly using the HopShield Decoder.
  2. Make sure you are using a properly formatted HopLink, which should look like http://SAMPLETEXT.hop.clickbank.net. Do not use the vendor's Pitch Page URL with your nickname at the end (e.g., www.samplesite.com/?hop=nickname) as your HopLink, as ClickBank cannot track your sales using this link.
  3. Our HopLink tracking system includes cookies. Make sure that you have cookies enabled in your browser, and that you're not using any anti-spyware or ad-blocker software that could be blocking cookies.
  4. If clicking through the HopLink results in a 404 error page, it means that either the vendor's website is down or the vendor doesn't have a HopLink Target URL listed in their account. Please inform us if this happens by submitting a ticket.
  5. Submit a ticket if you've checked all of the above and are still having problems.

FAQ

Q: What happens if multiple affiliates promote the same product to a customer?

A: In most cases, the most recent affiliate to promote the product using a HopLink receives credit for the sale. For example, if a customer clicks Affiliate A's HopLink on Monday but does not make a purchase, and then clicks Affiliate B's HopLink on Tuesday and makes a purchase, Affiliate B receives the commission.

The only exception is if the vendor has given an affiliate a lifetime commission for the specific customer. If an affiliate has a lifetime commission, they receive the commission whenever a specified customer purchases a product from the vendor, regardless of how the customer arrived at the pitch page. See the Lifetime Commissions article in the Vendor Help section for more information.

Q: Can vendors tell which affiliate has sent traffic to their site?

A: Yes. We pass the affiliate's nickname to the vendor using the "hop" parameter.

Q: Can I use link shorteners such as tinyurl or bit.ly to compress a HopLink?

A: We don't generally recommend it, since we can't guarantee that they will be tracked correctly. If you want to use such a service, you should check your HopLinks regularly to make sure that they're working correctly.

Q: Can I use a forwarding domain?

A: Yes. However, if your HopLinks are masked, affiliate attribution will not work reliably. Make sure that any masking functionality is removed from your forwarding domain before using it to forward HopLinks.

Video

Resources

These resources may be useful when you are starting out as an affiliate and learning how to work with HopLinks.

  • The Using the Marketplace article provides information about finding products to promote.
  • The Affiliate Help section contains FAQs and additional articles about affiliate marketing.
Have more questions? Submit a request

51 Comments

  • 0
    Avatar
    Owen Allen

    Sunny,

    Affiliates can only redirect customers to the vendor's HopLink target page (i.e. their pitch page) using a HopLink.

    If you want content to use in your advertising, see if the vendor has an Affiliate Tools page. These pages often contain images, branding information, and other resources for affiliates to use. If you want material beyond that, you'll have to contact the vendor.

  • 0
    Avatar
    Vai S. Thean

    Good day Owen,

    Started my Affiliate journey in Feb this year. Subscribers base are increasing daily but no sale. I use the created hoplink in my email marketing campaign. 

    So I did a test last week by clicking on the email link (i sent to myself & friend) which leads us to the vendor's landing page, which then lead us to the order page. We both tried making a purchase and to my horror, we got the error message of "Your order was not approved, please try another card". Tried several other cards and got the same message. (on Safari browser & phone).

    Contacted Click Bank Support and their reply - "I had the security team run a check on the regions where you are promoting to see if there are any issues and they have confirmed that we are actively accepting orders from all of the areas where your traffic is coming from". By the way, I'm promoting to the South East Asian Region i.e. Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia etc..

    Next, I reached out to the vendor and they gave me a trial credit card and it works (on safari browser).

    Today I tried again with my own card, pasting the hoplink directly onto Google chrome, placed an order and it works.

    I also did a test as suggested above and my affiliate ID is at the bottom of the order page.

    Q.

    1. Any difference between ordering using Safari & Google Chrome? 

    2. Any difference between clicking on direct hoplink or clicking on hoplink inserted as hyperlink in the email?

    3. What other the ways to simulate test to ensure the hoplink is working?

    Desperately need help! Thanks!

    Vai

  • 0
    Avatar
    Owen Allen

    Vai,

    The HopLink should work equally well regardless of browser or placement. As you note, the best way to make sure that your hoplink is working is to follow it and make sure you are listed as the affiliate when you reach the order form.

    It sounds like you were hitting an issue on the order form, but that doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with your HopLink.

  • 0
    Avatar
    Michal Bahno

    Hello Owen,

    Based on your experience;

    Is it a good strategy to put a hoplink directly to the paid ads using f.e. BingAds or other  search engines offering ads ?

    Or is it better to create my own site with specific topic and building slowly the traffic ?

    Thanks in Advance

    Mike

  • 0
    Avatar
    Owen Allen

    Mike,

    I don't know if you can really say that one is better - it's more a question of which one suits your strengths.

    If you feel that you'd be able to effectively target ads on other sites, you can be successful through that route. Ad buys can often involve an upfront investment, but they can be rewarding if targeted effectively.

    On the other hand, if you feel that you'd be more effective at building readership over time through your own site, and investing your time in chunks, you can be successful that way too.

  • 0
    Avatar
    Justin McFadden

    Can HopLink be secured using SSL like https ?

  • 0
    Avatar
    Owen Allen

    Justin,

    HopLinks can't be https at the moment.

  • 0
    Avatar
    Silviya Howe

    Hi, I try to promote few affiliate websites and I want to send my visitors to a paticular PRODUCT page, no home or sale page of the site. How to form my hoplink to DEEP link to any page of their site?

    For example: I want to link exactly to this page http://www.meditation-power.com/alpha-meditation.htm

    This is what vendor say:

    "Step 2: Set up your affiliate link. Change the "URCBIDHERE" to your own Clickbank affiliate ID for this link: http://myName.medipower.hop.clickbank.net/ (This is your product link.) Every time a sale takes place, you earn a commission. In fact, you can even use your own link to purchase a copy for yourself to review.

    Step 3: Add your affiliate link to free content and spread it around to start making commissions."

    How to link to " link to free content " properly???

    Thank you

  • 0
    Avatar
    Owen Allen

    Silviya,

    Some vendors have set up a redirection system to redirect customers from the HopLink target page to the correct product page. If the vendor has done so, you can find information about their system on their affiliate tools page, and information about using that scheme here: Redirecting Customers From a Vendor's HopLink Target.

  • 0
    Avatar
    Tarlochan Singh

    Owen Allen

    Hi,

    I just want to say that I am new at this. But you have helped quite a bit by answering all the questions. I will be writing to you in case I get stuck somewhere. Thank you.

  • 0
    Avatar
    Owen Allen

    Tarlochan,

    Thanks. I'm happy to help.

  • 0
    Avatar
    Ryan Davenport

    How do you know if your getting paid for promoting a product?

  • 0
    Avatar
    Owen Allen

    Ryan,

    You can look at Transactions Reporting to see if there are transactions for which you've earned commissions, and look at the How We Pay You article for information about seeing what you're getting paid.

  • 0
    Avatar
    William Jones

    This is a great tutorial series so far. I have two questions though:

    1) I already created and have used an encrypted affiliate HopLink. I followed the video and went through the process again and it generated a new HopLink. Does this mean that my old HopLink is now inactive and this new HopLink is the active one or is this just another HopLink I can use in addition to the first HopLink I created?

    2) I used my HopLink and hit the Buy Now button, but didn't see my affiliate ID on the order form. Nothing appeared down there (between the terms of sale and copyright notice). However, I have checked on my reports tab in my account and seen that 70 or so people have visited my HopLink. Does this mean that it works correctly and I should receive payments without issues or do I need to see my affiliate ID in order for it to work?

  • 0
    Avatar
    Owen Allen

    William,

    1) Generating a new HopLink shouldn't have any impact on an older HopLink - they should both work fine. Testing your HopLinks using the procedure in the Testing HopLinks section is the best way to make sure they're working correctly, though.

    2) If you don't see your account nickname listed as the affiliate on the order form, that could indicate a problem with the order form, or a problem with the HopLink. If you can't identify a problem with the HopLink, I'd file a support ticket to make sure there aren't any other issues.

  • 0
    Avatar
    Mostafa Mahmod

    I have a private case with my affiliate work in clickbank, that's because this scenario:

    - I will give my affiliate url to my students, they will work with me, and they will do ads in facebook, adwords, ..etc, so how could I know the traffic source for each one of my students in order to give him a commission (as a shared between me and the student)

    eg, a book here in CB give a commission $4 for every sale, so I will give my student who achieved a full sale $2. so my issue now, how could I know this data in CB that give me source traffic for each student and his full sales. ofcourse the issue happen because of that I give all student a one affiliate URL. so any advice or solving might help in this issue?

  • 0
    Avatar
    Owen Allen

    Mostafa,

    You could have each of your students create an Affiliate JV Contract with you. That would let them automatically share a percentage of their affiliate commissions with you.

  • 0
    Avatar
    Fran Mobo

    I am trying to test the hoplink and so far I can only tell that it seems to be tracked with correct hop count for today and yesterday's test pay.  Yesterday's test order was actually paid with the right dollar for trial order of $1. But in the reporting, the dollar was not tracked.  In today's order, there is no tracking of dollar because I did not enter dollar. In fact, it does not let me pay with any of my credit cards. It started to reject my payment with one credit card, and prompted for a different one, when I entered a new card, it still got rejected. I am stuck. I really would like to test whether the hiplink really tracked the correct dollars or not. Please advise.

    Best,

    Fran

  • 0
    Avatar
    Mostafa Mahmod

    but this feature give me a limited shares, by another mean if I reach out the 100% so I can not give my affiliate URL for more students.

    this feature is good but limited. any advice ?

  • 0
    Avatar
    Owen Allen

    Fran,

    That sounds a bit in-depth for me to diagnose from the comments section. Go ahead and file a support ticket.

  • 0
    Avatar
    Owen Allen

    Mostafa,

    For the JV Contract to work, each student would create their own account. Since they'd be sharing their revenue with you, they'd be the ones limited by the 100% cap.

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