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I run a site where the majority of links on my page link to content on other sites. Lets say we are looking at movies for example. If my sites are:

 www.siteA.com 
 www.siteB.com 

What I currently do is have all my links point at my API domain:

 www.siteC.com/tracking.php

This does a redirect to the original content on say IMDB.com or disney.com, whilst tracking the visit for analytics purposes.

Question

Is there any advantage or disadvantage to linking directly to the content on IMDB from SiteA and SiteB rather than going via my redirect?

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1 Answer 1

Back in the 90's we never had things like Google Analyics and other trackers - in this day and age I'd say there should be no reason to use a redirect 'unless' you want some kind of disclaimer or message that says 'You are now leaving the site, do you want to continue?' You know the ones, bloody ignoring... Anyhow.

Using a tracking URL makes things easier for yourself but ideally its not ideal for several reasons:

  1. Your links are not clean and in no way can the visitor assume that they will end up at the location where you say they will, of course you can by pass this by using the `title="http://www.blah.com" but that gimps the user experience as you could be using it for something much more useful.
  2. Using a redirect also uses extra unnecessary processing time in several ways, one for each time someone clicks a out going link they going to tracking URL which is a server side request, then you also have the processing involved to log that out going, when today's analyics are off-site for the majority of sites meaning the processing is not done by your server.
  3. The other problem is that its annoying for people who copy and paste links, for example say you have a page about Turbo V16 Engine, and link out to another site, what if they want to share that link? They right click, copy and paste it too a friend which again would put load on the server nevermind make the logs look like they got more outgoings then it really has.

I'll try and think of some more negatives, but ya... Again cloaking aka tracking URLS :P

You can track URLS without using a tracking redirect so in this day and age there should be no reason to, yes using tracking urls is easier than say using Anayltics but while there's no huge benefits to not using trackings as I can think off it sure does look cleaner for your audience.

Links should be

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