HootSuite gets Owly at ClickBank Affiliate Links ©

ClickBank affiliates who have been using the Ow.ly URL shortener received a nasty surprise from HootSuite recently.  Vancouver’s social media management giant is now blocking all ClickBank affiliate URL’s through Google Safebrowsing.  Attempting to submit a ClickBank affiliate URL now results in the message, “Submitted URL has been blocked.”

ClickBank affiliate links set up prior to the block will now go to a warning page that implies all links going through the affiliate network are dangerous.

Hootsuite blocking Clickbank affiliates

Maybe the idea of tackling a giant like Google is too daunting for ClickBank, but it would seem several legal avenues could be open to them.  Judging all of their merchants to be dangerous is more than a little slanderous to both ClickBank and their clients.  It could result in the loss of clients and affiliate income for ClickBank, their clients, and their affiliates.  We tested several other affiliate network links and all appear to be fine (for now).

ClickBank focuses on the sale of information products (eBooks, eCourses, etc).  I’ve made many high quality, safe purchases from ClickBank merchants and fail to see how this blanket blocking can be justified.  Online shoppers are more than capable of being wary of any website, all of which have the potential to be dangerous.

Now that Google and HootSuite have singled out ClickBank’s clients and labelled them the equivalent of a phishing scheme or malware, we’ll have to use alternative URL shorteners.  We will also have to go back and change all Ow.ly URL’s to another shortener to ensure our visitors don’t receive the warning upon clicking.  Our post, What to Look for in a URL Shortener, offers some alternatives.

I suspect it will have a negative impact on them to some extent since their target markets overlap to some degree.

Comment on Canadians Internet BusinessWill the Ow.ly block impact you?  Please tell us about it in the comments below.


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Melody McKinnon
Digital Business & Marketing Manager at Online Business Canada | Website

Melody McKinnon is an internet entrepreneur with 25 years of experience in a wide range of online business models, backed by a formal business education and enhanced by training and mentorship. She has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available from all major ebook retailers.

Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on CanadianDigitalMedia.com, CanadiansInternet.com, CanadianFamily.net, and AllNaturalPetCare.com, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.

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SERIOUSLY?????? Bite the hand that feeds you much????


I wonder how they’d feel if someone blocked their affiliate program and said it’s because they’re malware???

Max Charger

OUCH! Nothing like biting the hand that feeds you Hoot Suite!!!


Thanks for notifying us. I have a lot of links to change and I’m not happy with hootsuite.


Google has a god complex and I expect more business friendly behaviour from hootsuite. It’s the first seriously bad move I’ve seen them make.