I was on a website the other day, trying to purchase a new WordPress Theme. At the end of the video review, there was a suggestion for me to right-click the purchase link and choose “Open Link in Incognito Window”.
Incognito mode or private browsing is when you surf the internet without leaving any history behind. This means when you close the browser, your history won’t be recorded. Not a single bit. However, this does not mean your activities on the internet are not traceable. Anyway, that’s for a separate discussion and I should stay on course.
Opening Links in Incognito Window?
Many product reviews come with affiliate links that provide a quick way for the readers to buy the products directly from merchants such as Amazon, eBay.
When someone clicks on the affiliate link and eventually buys the product, the merchant will be able to trace which website the person was directed from and pays that website owner (known as a affiliate) a commission for connecting the sale. This commission is the bread-and-butter for affiliate marketers who invest time and sometimes money to buy the product and use it before reviewing for others.
Now, here’s the reason why there may be a need for such incognito links.
Depending on what stage of the purchasing cycle, someone who is a ready buyer may find your review very convincing and thus he decides to buy immediately. However, this is not the first time he is researching on the product. He has actually visited another similar review website a week ago. Not only that, he had also clicked on that website’s affiliate link but a week ago, he wasn’t full convinced enough to buy. He needed more time to muse things over and this is a very typical purchasing behaviour.
If you think about it, you probably agree that this is how you make your purchasing decisions as well.
Today, the timing is perfect, and your review helps to seal his decision. He clicks your link but the cookie on his browser indicates he has a previous record with the other affiliate link. The merchant awards the commission to the other affiliate member even though it was through your website that he decides to buy. All this happens in the background and the buyer is not affected in any way. He still gets the same product.
By using the incognito window, what happens is that the buyer is directed to the merchant using your affiliate link bypassing all his existing affiliate cookies. This ensures your affiliate link is recognised as the one and only link that leads the buyer to the merchant site. In this case, you are assured of your commission even if the buyer has been to several other review websites prior to yours’.
In short, when a incognito window is launched, everything starts ‘fresh’ ensuring no previous traces of affiliate cookies that might prevent you from earning your affiliate commission.
The only other way to achieve the same result is to ask your buyers to clear their browser cache of all cookies, existing history, autofill information. It is unlikely anyone would do this prior to their purchase decision.
Opening Links the Incognito way
To open any link in incognito mode, just right click on the link and you will see the option to “Open Link in Incognito Window” (for Chrome) or “Open Link in New Private Window” (for FireFox). You can do the same in Safari (Mac) by going to File > New Private Window.
Incognito as Best Practice?
There is no doubt there is a strong incentive in getting your readers to open the links in incognito mode but is this the way moving forward?
As a consumer myself, I wouldn’t mind taking that extra step to open the Incognito Window as I want to recognise their efforts and doing a right-click isn’t going to take up a large chunk of my time.
Parting question: Would you ask your readers to open the link in incognito window? Do you think this should be the best practice?