Author Archives: Keeton

Now Accepting PayPal!

Just a quick note to let everyone know that Linktrack is now accepting PayPal!

If you have a free account and would like to upgrade using PayPal, just log in to your account and look for the “Upgrade to a Premium Account” link.  Premium users who wish to switch their billing to a PayPal account, just look for the “Update Billing Profile” link.

Thanks to everyone who requested this feature.  If you have any questions or need more information, please feel free to drop me a line anytime.

Thanks again,


Unique Visitor Tracking

Linktrack is proud to introduce unique visitor tracking to our growing list of features! We added unique tracking last week in response to a TON of requests. The new feature is available on professional accounts, and we’ll be tracking unique vs. repeat visitors going forward.

Thanks to everyone who requested this feature, and keep the feedback coming!

A Fresh Look

We just rolled out some really cool site updates to give LinkTrack a little sharper look and to address some little issues that have been bugging me. If you see something we missed, please drop us a line and let us know.

The big changes in this release include:

  • Lots of minor layout changes to give the site a more “put-together” look
  • Some pretty major changes to the front page of the site based on our marketing feedback
  • Integration of our blog and social networking efforts into the main site
  • Made the ‘link search’ feature a little more user friendly – i.e. it now searches more fields and paginates the full result set.
  • Changed the default sort order of the links page to show the links you made last at the top of the list, rather than sorting them by the most clicks in the last 24 hours.
  • A new contact form and re-organization of the FAQ and tutorials

As always, thanks for supporting our site and being part of Linktrack.

How to Make a Tracking Link

Here’s a quick video tutorial showing how to make a tracking link using a free account.  Watch me make a link using a demo account, place it in our Twitter stream and follow the results. Shutdown

While not exactly breaking news, I still feel obligated to comment on the shutdown of the popular URL shortening service.  I was/am a big fan of the service, but from the beginning felt that its business model was going to be its Achilles heel., the other powerhouse in the industry has the same issue.  While their focus on selling tracking data to corporate customers has merit, the model requires a much more costly setup and maintenance budget just to get to the point of having a marketable product. seems to have acquired the funding that they need, but their focus on data mining can still leave its users in the lurch dependent on the whims of their real customers.  LinkTrack uses a subscription based business model which puts the focus of our product on the users who rely on it, which I think is a good thing.

Reverse Conversion Tracking

Below I’ve written an advanced tutorial on how to collect conversion data using a LinkTrack link rather than the Adwords conversion tool.  The difference is that instead of having Google collect the data and filter out the conversions for you, we reverse the process so that we’re collecting the tracking data and filtering it ourselves.  This gives you a lot more control and flexibility for your reporting.  This tutorial assumes that you have created a LinkTrack tracking link that targets a web page designed to take orders, collect email addresses, etc. that also collects IP address and date/time information when people buy/signup/etc.


What is Google Adwords conversion tracking?

If you’re a fan of Google Adwords (like I am) you might have already discovered the conversion tool that you can use with your Adwords campaigns.  In a nutshell, the conversion tool tells you not only how many clicks your ad received, but also how many of those clicks resulted in the action you were trying to achieve – product purchase, information request, newsletter signup, etc.  This type of data is very valuable when determining the worth of an advertising campaign.  It’s great to generate a lot of traffic with an advertising campaign, but if that traffic is not converting into customers then you’re wasting money.

Why should I track my own conversions?

While I like the conversion tracking system in Adwords, I’ve always been a little leery about using it, and I have a couple of reasons:

1.       It’s JavaScript dependent.  JavaScript is my least favorite programming language because the code is interpreted by the user, meaning they can turn it off to ignore whatever you’re trying to achieve, or worse, alter it do something you didn’t intend.

2.       As an extension of #1, I also don’t like that I have to add a block of JavaScript code to each and every page I want to track conversions on and keep them updated as I change my business changes.

3.       Each Adwords link is allowed only one conversion tracking script.  What if you have more than one ‘success’ metric?  For example, what if a visitor comes to your site and signs up for the newsletter without purchasing a product?  With Adwords conversion tracking, you can only measure one or the other even though I would view either as a successful conversion.

4.       My gut feeling is that Google factors in the success rate of a particular ad into what they charge me.  They could very easily look at my conversion data and say, “This ad is bringing you lots of customers – we think you’re going to need to pay a premium for that.”

5.       To take that a little further, I have an overall concern with the amount of data Google is collecting about my business.  I’ll rant about this in another post sometime.

6.       Lastly, wouldn’t it be cool if you could track conversions through other PPC and advertising programs besides Google – and do it all from one place?

How do I do it with LinkTrack?

For my example, I’m using my LinkTrack tracking link as the destination for one of my Adwords ads so it will keep a separate record of individual clicks on each ad.  Since the LinkTrack web site records the IP address and timestamp whenever someone creates a new account, and I have that information available in a separate .csv file that I can open in Microsoft Excel.

Now all I have to do is download report data from my LinkTrack account (either for the specific link in question or my entire account at once) and compare it with the data from my own collection system.  I typically use IP addresses for comparison purposes and occasionally filter that with date/time stamps to get the most accurate results.  A little fancy Excel work will automate that process for you.  Here’s a copy of the Excel formula I use to compare two columns of data:

=IF(COUNTIF('LinkTrackData'!A:A,A1), "Conversion!","")

The best part about using LinkTrack to measure conversion data is that it you can use it on multiple marketing platforms!  It works equally well with Google Adwords, Yahoo! YPN, email advertising, banner advertising, etc.  and can tell you exactly where you’re traffic is coming from as well as which specific links to your site are generating the most revenue.

While this method is not for the faint of heart, it’s added a valuable metrics component to marketing system.  I’m also really proud that I’m able to use the utility I built in the course of my every day business.  I think that really says something about the quality of the product.

Password Protection

Lots of users are using the ‘password protection’ feature that comes with the premium accounts, so I thought I’d elaborate on what it does here and find out if anyone has any questions about how it works.

Usually, when you create a LinkTrack link and someone clicks it they get taken directly to the final destination you choose when you created the link.  With password protection, they’ll need to provide a password in order to reach that destination.


I’ve seen this used:

  • On publicly linked special offers where the link owner doesn’t want the general public to have total access.
  • With email marketing campaigns to more accurately gauge interest levels.
  • And when the link owner really wants to distinguish human visitors from automated ones (bots won’t enter passwords).

If you want to see how it works, the link below will take you to Bill Gates’ Facebook page.

The link:

The password is: bill

What is Remote Host?

remote_hostThe “Remote Host” field seen in a link’s tracking history indicates the fully resolved host name for the IP address of the visitor.  The remote host is resolved using a reverse DNS lookup of the IP address in question.  This usually resolves to an address issued by the visitor’s internet service provider (the ISP) and can be used to determine the owner of the IP address.

Many businesses and a few individuals own their own static IP addresses and their remote host field will often resolve to a company owned domain.  In addition, I’ve found that many internet service providers include identifying information such as region and state in their naming scheme.

For example, my IP address resolves to  This indicates that the IP address issued to me is owned by Verizon, and is part of their fiber-optic (FIOS) service. The ‘dllstx’ portion might indicate that I’m in the Dallas, Texas area (which I am).

For more information on reverse DNS lookups, check out  the Wikipedia page at

Re-Target Links

One important benefit of using a full-control link tracking service like LinkTrack is the ability to re-target your links anytime you want with just a few clicks.  Here are some examples where you might want to re-target a link:

  • You’re an affiliate marketer and your parent affiliate updates their tracking software and issues new affiliate links to you.  Rather than go around and beg hundreds of web site owners to update your link, just re-target the destination in your LinkTrack account.
  • Likewise, if you decide to drop an affiliate provider – why let all your previous marFlickr photo by viZZZual.comketing effort go to waste?
  • If you’re in to social networking you probably have a profile page with Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Linkedin, etc.  Rather than listing your home page in your profile, try using a LinkTrack link.  Not only can you see which profile is generating the most interest, but if you move web sites you can re-target them all in one place.
  • Lastly, let’s say you’re tracking traffic to a particular product on your ecommerce site and decide to stop carrying that product.  Rather than show your visitors an error page, just update your tracking link to point to your homepage, or better yet, to a similar product.

Just a few example off the top of my head.  If you have any suggestions for how to make use of re-targeted links, let us know.

Personal Vs. Free

The advantage of the professional vs. the free account is the number of options available to you when you create a tracking link.  If you have a free account, here’s what you get when you want to create a link:


There’s a spot to put the URL you want to link to, some notes so you remember what it’s for, and a description that’s publicly available to the audience.  Links created with a free account expire after 30 days by default.

If you have a professional account, you see:


Which gives you the same URL, notes and description fields, plus:

  • The ability to add a title to your link both for organization and if you want to make a vanity link.
  • Ability to add an alert email so you get notifications for each of your click-throughs.
  • Password protection in case you want to define a password to access the link.
  • Ability to turn the link on and off whenever you want.
  • Field to set your own expiration date (if you have a limited time offer for example), or no expiration date at all.

Here’s an itemized list of what you get with the paid accounts.