HUGE site linking to Amazon... without affiliate tags?

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Website in question: improb.com
Sample article: https://improb.com/best-canister-vacuums/

They are linking to Amazon, but there are no affiliate codes on the links. The tag doesn't get added during the redirect either - I just see a clean Amazon URL in my browser bar once I've clicked through.

Does anyone know what's up with that? Why would someone do this?

I've kept an eye on these guys since the summer, the site's built on an expired domain (used to belong to some science magazine) and it's a big agency running it.

I thought they'd have added the tags in by now. It's puzzling, to say the least.
 
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I don't know how it works technically, but if you go in incognito-mode and hover over the 'purchase' links, you will see a completely custom url that goes via a site called Geni.us. Seems to be some kind of service to hide the fact you use affiliate links. Pretty interesting.

EDIT: Seems that Genius is mostly a localizer, so it could just be that AdBlockers do something that makes their links not work, and the standard url is a fallback. Could be wrong here.
 
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Ryuzaki

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This isn't directly relevant but they're jocking the design of a site I used to like a lot: Uncrate

It looks to me like you're using an ad-blocker and missing that they're actually using GeniusLink, which is geo-targeting based on the user and then adding an affiliate code. (I see @city17 already caught this). It's not used to hide anything. It's just being blocked by ad-blockers.

They'd be wise to set up their links using affiliate ID's from the get-go. They're going to lose out on a lot of revenue they could have from ad-blocking peoples.

Ad-blockers also catch Amazon OneLink too, which does the same localization, albeit much poorer.
 
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Thanks guys, I had no idea that adblockers were blocking raw geni.us links. That's a major flaw I wasn't aware of, I don't know how I overlooked this.

It's a surprise because I'm actually using geni.us on my site through their plugin, and my setup actually "kinda" works with adblockers. Just tested and the process in my case goes like this:

No Adblocker:
  • amazon.com aff link → buy.geni.us → localized Amazon page
With Adblocker:
  • amazon.com aff link → amazon.com aff link
Takeaway:
  • As Ryu said, Improb's mistake is using Amazon links without the affiliate tag to generate their geni.us links. If they had affiliate tags on their original links, they would not miss out on commissions from U.S. visitors who are using adblockers.
 

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They should really have the amz link, and then if no ad blocker is detected (easy in JS), substitue with genious links using data properties.
 
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Looks like the traffic has been holding stable till now. Another example of trust trumping link relevancy hands down. I bet it 'll be the reverse in 2020 :smile:
 
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Heh, never seen anyone going to these kind of lengths before. Is there a particular reason you'd go about it this way?

I get the geolocation aff links but this part:

No Adblocker:
  • amazon.com aff link → buy.geni.us → localized Amazon page
Why go that extra step and have a "middle man" type website that then redirects to amazon? Why not directly to amazon?

Nice initial find though!
 
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Why go that extra step and have a "middle man" type website that then redirects to amazon? Why not directly to amazon?
Besides wanting to geo-locate and get paid from multiple countries, Amazon's own geo-locator OneLink sucks and doesn't find the right product a lot of times. Genius has a far greater success rate of finding the right product or a similar one.