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

67 Comments

  • 0
    Avatar
    Owen Allen

    Ryan,

    Thanks! Here are the answers to your questions:

    1. If you currently live in a country that's not listed in the country options during the signup process, then you cannot create a ClickBank account right now. You can create one later if you change your place of residence, or if our list of allowed countries changes.
    2. You can create multiple ClickBank accounts, yes.
    3. You can promote as many products as you choose from your ClickBank account.
  • 0
    Avatar
    Venu YEDLAPALLI

    if I use hoplink as "http://itemid.affiliate_vendor.clickbank.net", will it work properly?

  • 0
    Avatar
    Owen Allen

    Venu,

    No. The HopLink formats described in the documentation are the only valid ones. If a vendor has multiple products and you want to direct customers to a specific one, see the Redirecting Customers From a Vendor's HopLink Target article.

    We are aware that people are interested in being able to direct customers to a specific product through a HopLink, rather than having one target per vendor. If we make any changes to what HopLinks can do, we'll update this page to let you know.

  • 0
    Avatar
    Puru Kashyap

    Hi

    How Can I Promote My Products? Newly User.

    Thank you.

    Edited by Puru Kashyap
  • 0
    Avatar
    Owen Allen

    Puru,

    You can use a variety of methods to promote your products:

    • You can run your own site, and promote products from there.
    • You can promote products on social media.
    • You can purchase ads on other sites.
    • You can emails, if you have access to quality email lists.
  • 0
    Avatar
    Joojo Minkah Eshun

    Greetings to you Mr Owen and thanks for the in-depth explanations.Please I am trying to promote a certain product but i cannot find my nickname as you explained above.

    [Edited by ClickBank to hide private information]

    NB:Testing the hoplink directly from the vendor's page (2) or testing the one given by clickbank (1) all leads to the same sales page without showing my nickname.

    Please Mr Owen,kindly look into this for me as i am new and dont know the mechanism why my nickname is not showing.thank you.

    Edited by Joojo Minkah Eshun
  • 0
    Avatar
    Owen Allen

    Joojo,

    The affiliate attribution isn't displayed on the vendor's page - it's displayed on the order form. If you go from the vendor's page to the order form you should see the attribution.

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