Recently, TLA has been sending out emails to publishers notifying them of changes to their affiliate URLs. Apparently TLA is now using TinyURL’s redirecting service to replace their direct affiliate links.
According to the email, the reason for these changes are:
- To shorten the referral URL
- To secure the affiliate link
Personally, I find the exercise fishy. The shortened URL is only five characters less than the old referral URL. In fact if you take out the www. portion, then the TinyURL link is merely two characters shorter than the old TLA referral URL. In addition to that, when more people make use of TinyURL’s service, the URL would definitely be about the same length as the original TLA referral URLs. After a certain time, the TinyURL link will in fact be longer.
What’s even funnier is TLA playing the “security” card. TinyURL has a feature where visitors can preview the actual URL being redirected by a TinyURL. In addition to that, the URLs where visitors are being redirected to is still the old TLA referral links! There’s absolutely no changes at all of the referral link on TLA’s side.
I can only conclude that the security feature being used by TLA is security by obscurity.
What’s even funnier is the fact that these changes are happening when the issue of sponsored links is becoming a hot topic in the search engine circles.
Google seems to be hell bent on pursuing its war on sponsored links. Although other search engines are relatively quiet on this issue, the fact that Google is the de facto leading search engine means that other search engines will be watching this episode and taking notes.
Could it be that TLA caught wind of the potential negative impact of Google’s war on sponsored links on their business and are making some pre-emptive changes?
While scouring the internet for TLA-related information I stumbled on these links:
Are you a TLA advertiser or publisher? What’s your take on the changes? I’d love to hear from you.