Cloaking an affiliate link means to use another link and redirect it to your affiliate link.
One reason to cloak may be because Google is not much into affiliate links, however another reason is so others won’t have it very easy to replace your id with their id. It is not a fool-proof way to protect your commissions, however it does help and is good practice.
Cloaked affiliate links look better.
There are several ways to use a redirect, one of the better ones would be using a PHP Redirect. All you need to do to create a PHP redirect is create a file in notepad and put the following code in it:
<?php header (“Location: YOUR-AFFILIATE-LINK-HERE”); ?>
After you replace your actual affiliate link, save the file with a .php extension, and upload it to your website. Now, your affiliate link is cloaked and you can use this link instead, and it will redirect to your affiliate link when clicked on.
When someone clicks on your link, it will redirect them to your affiliate link.
This became common practice when ClickBank links had both the affiliate and merchant usernames visible, so it was easy to be replaced by others.
While today ClickBank encrypts your links so they safer to use, it is still good to cloak and redirect your links, because they look better and are more user and search engine friendly.