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Thirsty Affiliates Review – An Affiliate Link Manager System

Some type of Superpower must have been listening when I was most recently complaining about a way to manage my affiliate links better. Few weeks back I was introduced to Thirsty Affiliates, an affiliate link manager system that in my opinion performs better than any other link management that I have tried.

I will tell you why. But before I do that, it’s important to discuss why an affiliate link manager program is important to appreciate what Thirsty Affiliates enables you to do.

Affiliate Marketing: Changing / Updating Your Affiliate Links

As your website or blog grows over time, so do your affiliate links presuming affiliate marketing is one of your revenue generation strategies.  As the number of your links grow and are scattered across several blog posts, pages and even websites, it becomes difficult to track what you have and make timely changes.

I own a successful paid survey referral website that generates income through lead generation.  Many times in the past vendors that I promote have changed their affiliate links.  A vendor may decide to do this when they move affiliate platforms, say from Commission Junction to ShareASale for example.

As an affiliate marketer, how do you know where all your links are?  Not only that, now you have to edit each and every link manually. Think about the amount of time that will take? Not to mention demoralization and de-motivation.

Managing the NoFollow Attribute Tag

When you link to an external web property, you are leaking some of your page rank (PR) away to the site you are linking to. The way to prevent that is to add a nofollow attribute to your link structure.

There may be some links which you want to be dofollow links, such as paid advertisers while others that you want to be nofollow, such as affiliate links.  Many times bloggers blog away building dofollow links overtime. When they realize what this does to their blog, it’s often too late and they have to go back and make changes to each and every link in previously published posts and pages. Not fun at all.

A robust affiliate link manager allows you to switch from dofollow to nofollow within seconds. You can do this on a link by link basis, or as a mass edit as I will share with you below.  Read my post on NoFollow DoFollow Links to learn more about this topic and its significance to your success online.

Opening Affiliate Links in Existing vs. New Windows

Similar to nofollow dofollow, as a website owner you need to decide whether you want your links to open in a new or existing window.  This often comes down to your objective (what you want the reader to do) as well as how you want the overall reader experience to be. i.e. do you want them to remain on your website or go to the affiliate link landing page?

A robust affiliate link manager should also enable you to make these switches within seconds, either on a link by link basis, or as a mass change across the website like I will show you below.  Because our strategies often change with time, it is important that we possess a tool that enables us to make changes easily when needed.

Commission Theft – Link Cloaking

A common problem in the internet marketing industry is commission theft that is perpetrated by tech savvy companies and individuals who set up malware of some sort on people’s browsers so that your unique affiliate ID or code is replaced with theirs. This happens with Google Adsense as well.

So while you work hard on building your business and getting all that traffic to your website, it is them who are benefiting from all the commissions earned.  Not fair! But guess what, it happens all the time everywhere.

Link cloaking is one way web property owners prevent such theft by disguising an affiliate link and “removing the unique code or ID” and incorporating a redirect instead to protect their commissions.  Too technical, messy and confusing if one was to do this manually.  Thirsty Affiliates enables you to protect your affiliate commissions from theft by cloaking your links automatically.

The Thirsty Affiliate Link Manager

Thirsty Affiliates is an impressive affiliate link management system that addresses all these concerns with ease.  Have a look at one of the options where you can apply mass changes to your links:

making mass changes

Here is what the plugin looks like when integrated with WordPress:

thirsty affiliates integrated

Simply click the link to insert links in one of three different ways, image, auto link or CSS link which allows you to style and specify any type of underlying text you want.  This plugin is a one and done operation.

Here is what the menu looks like when you click the button to add an affiliate link:

affiliate link manager

Simply highlight the text you want converted to an affiliate link and click on the affiliate link of your choice. This will turn the highlighted text into a pretty affiliate link.

affiliate link highlight

enabled affiliate link

Once you have set up your affiliate links in the affiliate link manager, you have unlimited flexibility in how you use them and make edits to them over time. What is nice about this layout is that you can categorize your affiliate links similar to how you’d categorize your blog posts.

This allows you to easily locate a link when you need to. This is particularly important as you grow over time. Here is how link categorization looks like in the affiliate link manager:

affiliate link categories

The affiliate link manager also has an import and export function, which allows you to transport all your links in masses.  Let’s say you find a better tool down the road, or you want to create multiple other blogs to form a blog network and use the same affiliate links, you can use the export function and migrate your links within seconds.

To summarize the features, Thirsty Affiliates allows you to perform several tasks in a matter of seconds. These tasks include link cloaking, management of follow and nofollow tags, opening links in existing or new windows, hierarchical link categorization, importing and exporting and link picking through a tool that easily inserts various types of links when authoring posts (including images).

In addition to the benefits discussed above, there are a couple other attributes in the Thirsty Affiliates plugin that I’d like to highlight.  As you saw in the image above, once installed, the plugin integrates with WordPress very nicely as if it’s a part of it.  With the import link function and automated scheduled backups, you can ensure you never lose your data. Moreover, if and when you set up other blogs and websites, you don’t have to re set up your affiliate links as you can simply import them over.

The best part of using Thirsty Affiliates is that it felt invisible to me as the focus is clearly on the ease of affiliate link management.  I personally spoke to Josh Kohlbach, founder of Thirsty Affiliates and was delighted to experience his enthusiasm about this plugin.

He and his team are and will continue to be active with the development efforts behind this product, so it will likely only continue to improve over time. He mentioned that they have been gathering people’s ideas and already have a healthy pipeline of features to add.

You can go through a full tour of this affiliate link manager system here.

Affiliate Link Traffic Tracking

I also like the affiliate link stats section, which allows you to track each successful click on your affiliate link that leads to the affiliate offer.  You can use this feature in conjunction with Google Analytics goal tracking or the stats software of the affiliate program you are promoting to measure conversion rates.

Link traffic tracking is important because without such data or intelligence, a marketer is simply shooting darts in the dark.  With the affiliate link stats section, you can eliminate al the guessing game and pinpoint which one of your affiliate ads is working better than the others.

Here is what the link stats section looks like under one of the new affiliate links I just created in Thirsty Affiliates:

Affiliate Link Stats

What Does This Mean for You?

As always, I like to relate each post to what it means for you.  This blog is all about expedited wealth building.  And if you are going to choose or have chosen to expedite your wealth creation by leveraging the internet, either as a blogger or internet marketer, you can’t afford to lose valuable hours, days and even weeks depending on how big your site is chasing around nonsense because someone who you have no control over did something to affect you (sigh).

As successful individuals, time is our limited commodity, not money. I recommend using some of that discretionary money to make your life better, easier and expedite the results you are attempting to achieve with your online endeavors.

Maximize your limited resource and focus on what’s important to help your business grow.  Can you do without this affiliate link management system? Yes, of course. Do I recommend using a tool like this to expedite results? Absolutely.


I am still in the process of testing this plugin, hoping it would break and clunk at some point so I can uninstall and return it (joking). So far the experience has been great. I think Josh and his team are onto something with this product.

Regarding price, I was expecting the plugin to be priced closer to other similar plugins, which are typically in the $79+ range. Compared to that however, Thirsty Affiliates is selling at a bargain.

The bottom line is that for non-technical bloggers and internet marketers, such that read this blog, the main reason to purchase this plugin is the sheer ease of affiliate link management so that you can make changes without going through each and every post or page of your website. Instead, you have one convenient place where you can make changes due to changes in law, changes in vendor affiliate company platforms, etc.

Affiliate Disclaimer

I am affiliate of this product and receive a modest commission for every sale made through my affiliate link.  This plugin comes with a 30 day money back guarantee that as of the time of this review had never been used (so I was told).  I can see that after having taken Thirsty Affiliates for a test drive.

The website has a comprehensive FAQ page where you can find answers to some of the most common questions customers ask about the product. If you can’t find your answer, you can email the product’s founder Josh directly at josh (at)

I hope you found this review helpful, and I am sure you will find the product simply the best at what it does.  If you are going to play in the internet marketing landscape for good, you cannot afford to keep going without a robust affiliate link manager like Thirsty Affiliates.

Readers: Any experience using this product or one of similar functionality?  What are your thoughts? Do you think a product like this is important and can assist you achieve your objectives? What are your pain points with affiliate marketing? What did you wish these plugins enabled you to do that you cannot today?

Note: I will be giving out 2 free versions of Thirsty Affiliates to two lucky readers. Stay tuned – but in the mean time let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Managing Effectively

Previous: Saving for Retirement IS Rocket Science. Don’t Let Financial Experts Fool You!

Next: Free Giveaway: 2 ThirstyAffiliates WordPress Plugins

23 Responses to “Thirsty Affiliates Review – An Affiliate Link Manager System”

  1. Naomi says:

    I’ve been using the free version of the Pretty Link plugin for a while. It’s not quite as advanced as this, but does the basic job of making sure that I can change all my affiliate links in one go. The main problem I have with it is that it also tracks every click by robots too – so it’s hard to know how many clicks you are really getting.

    • Sunil says:

      Welcome to the blog Naomi. What features, benefits, enhancements to an affiliate management system like the Pretty Link do you think would compel one to pay for the tool? Or do you think this is a tool one should not pay for?

      • Naomi says:

        I don’t know. I’ve been pretty happy with pretty link but this is obviously much better. For example, I like that button in the visual editor – it makes it so easy to insert and affiliate link. That’s why i’m entering your contest!

  2. HI Sunil, the link to the dofollow/nofollow post is non-functional.

  3. SLee says:

    How common is “commission theft”? I’ve heard of it before, but I wonder if it is as ubiquitous as it is portrayed.

    • Sunil says:

      I don’t have statistics on the matter, but I would say the more popular / traffic heavy a site the more prone. I can tell you that one of my niche sites was a victim. Because I don’t check all site’s individual income frequently, it wasn’t until three months later when I realized the site had loads of traffic but no sales. Further investigation revealed code hacking. Google it and you will find several stories. Changing Adsense code to steal ad revenue is also common.

      • Geoff says:

        Sunil, I worry a little about hacking which is why I setup cloaking on every link from within Commission Junction. However, do you know if those hacks (malware being inserting a different affiliate id) result from a hack on the website itself, or from malware on the users’ PC?

        • Sunil says:

          That’s a good question Geoff. While I cannot say for certain, I can tell you that in my case my PC was perfectly fine (at least I think after running various programs on it). I have also read that intrusion hacks are more common.

    • Hi SLee,

      In my research while developing ThirstyAffiliates I found estimates all over the place about how prevalent link commission theft is. I don’t think it’s a huge problem but it definitely exists.

      The problem is that it’s mostly invisible which makes it hard to determine how prevalent it is.

      The most common form of attack is via plugins on browsers that look for affiliate links and replace the tracking ID when the user clicks on the link. To the webmaster this method of attack is pretty much invisible.

      The other form, as Sunil mentioned, can come from within your site. I haven’t seen one myself, but I’ve heard rumours of WordPress plugins (and other CMS plugins) that replace affiliate link codes as the page is being generated.

      If anyone finds some more solid stats on this I’d be very interested.

  4. Sunil – you’re a genius! Thanks for this post… I’ve just spent the afternoon juggling affiliate accounts, and wondering the same things you spoke of in your post. I will check out Thirsty Affiliates via your link – and I’m anxious to read the No-Follow/Do-Follow post when it is available.
    *Yakezie Challenger*

  5. Mike says:

    Just starting out no web site yet. Thanks to you I have learned a lot. I had tried SBI once but didn’t complete my web site. I plan on trying to renew it from the income I generate. Your have great content.


  6. Sunil says:

    Mike – thanks a ton for the encouragement. When readers benefit from what I write, it motivates me to produce even more. Would love to hear what you want more of. SBI is a great program – just stick to it long enough to see success. All the best to you

  7. Cesar Diaz says:

    Thanks for the review and the giveaway.

  8. Erni says:

    Nice post/Blog, I’m on learn SEO/IM, thanks for sharing.Thanks ya, Erni

  9. dileep says:

    Great info and very helpful for me sunil bhai.

  10. Topolewski says:

    This post helped me to take an extra step in SEO venture. Thank you Sunil.

  11. Well after reading this article I have to Say you are doing good job and I have gone with your e-book and the information is really good for newbies and Thanks for the resources reviews which will help others us to go with proper good resources which are already in the game. All the best Bro.

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