Some people avoid clicking affiliate links out of spite, but will click links that don’t look like affiliates.
Some forms of cloaking are black hat and can hurt your site, but if you cloak the right way, you can stay SEO friendly while still getting that bump in profits.
Is obviously an affiliate link and that an affiliate will get the commission if the visitor buys the product.
Some visitors just don’t like the idea that they were referred by an affiliate… So they are quite reluctant to buy a product via such link.
Affiliate links are tricky to use properly, however. You need to mark them clearly,
Google does not however consider affiliate links a good measure of popularity, as those links point to sites for the purpose of making money. Google therefore wants all affiliate links to be coded with the rel=nofollow attribute, which is a direct pain in the butt if you must code each link manually.
If you post affiliate links on Facebook or Twitter, your post either won’t get seen in the news feed (Facebook), or worse, you might get your account suspended (Twitter).
Under Abuse and Spam in the Twitter Rules you will find the following statement – “If you post misleading links (e.g. affiliate links, links to malware/click jacking pages, etc.).”
Affiliate links are usually ugly and impossible to remember without doing a copy/paste.
Redirects allow you to create short, memorable URLS for them and allow you to access commonly used affiliate links from memory.
If you’re in an industry where you market to other affiliates, it can help prevent folks from switching out your affiliate ID with theirs.
If the merchant decides to change networks or linking methods, you can edit a single redirect instead of needing to edit every instance in which you linked to them throughout your entire site.
If you decide to change which merchant you’re using to promote a product, you can edit one redirect instead of needing to edit every instance in which you linked to them throughout your entire site.
If a handful of the merchants I mention on a regular basis don’t have affiliate programs, you’ll often still cloak the link to their main website. This way, if they ever do launch an affiliate program, you can affiliate all your previous links to them by updating the one cloaked link.
If you’re running an affiliate datafeed site, anything you can do to make your site more technically unique than the other 4000 affiliates using the same datafeed is a bonus in regards to affiliate datafeed SEO.