Direct Link Tracking has been updated to version 1.1, bringing support for domains with paths, email notifications and some welcome improvements to both the admin interface and front-end Affiliate Area.

Improved Affiliate Area settings

Previously, affiliates could manage their direct links from the Settings tab of the Affiliate Area. Now, affiliates have a dedicated Direct Links tab, making it easier for them to add, update and delete their direct links.

A new [affiliate_direct_links] shortcode has also been introduced which can be placed on any WordPress page. This allows an affiliate to manage their direct links from outside of the Affiliate Area.

The new Direct Links tab in the Affiliate Area. Shown with the Twenty Sixteen WordPress theme.
The new Direct Links tab in the Affiliate Area. Shown with the Twenty Sixteen WordPress theme.

Domain path support

We’ve had many requests to allow domains with paths to be used as a direct link, so we’re excited to announce this is now supported! This feature is perfect for situations where the affiliate might be a guest writer on a site they do not own. The affiliate can submit just the link of the article they wrote, and visits from that domain and path will be attributed to the affiliate.

We highly recommend reading this doc which outlines different scenarios with regards to domains with paths and Direct Link Tracking.

Site administrator email notifications

It’s important for site administrators to review direct links as soon as possible, so we’ve added email notifications to Direct Link Tracking. When email notifications are enabled from Affiliates → Settings → Direct Link Tracking, the site administrator will receive an email as soon as an affiliate submits a domain for approval. The email will be sent when an affiliate submits a domain for the first time, or when they update a previously approved domain.

Affiliate email notifications

Similar to site administrator email notifications, affiliates can now receive emails if the admin option(s) are enabled. When enabled, the affiliate will receive an email when their direct link domain is approved, or when it is rejected.

Blacklisted domains

Domains can now be blacklisted via a new admin option from the Affiliates → Settings → Direct Link Tracking tab. Any domain added to the blacklist will prevent any affiliates (or site administrators) from adding that domain as a direct link. Blacklisting a domain will also prevent a visit from being stored if that domain already exists for an affiliate. See this doc for more information on this new functionality.

Domains can be blacklisted from the Direct Link Tracking admin settings.

Dedicated admin screen for adding new direct links

In addition to adding a new direct link from the affiliate’s edit screen, a site admin can now quickly add a new direct link, for any affiliate, from a dedicated New Direct Link admin screen. This can be accessed by clicking the Affiliates → Direct Links → Add New button.

Site administrators can now add a new direct link for any affiliate via a new admin screen.

Dedicated admin screen for editing direct links

A site administrator can now edit direct links from a dedicated Edit Direct Link admin screen. This can be accessed by clicking the Edit link under the Actions column on the Affiliates → Direct Links admin screen. As in earlier versions of Direct Link Tracking, a site administrator can still edit all direct links for an affiliate from the affiliate’s edit screen.

Site administrators can now edit a direct link via a new admin screen.

Additional updates

  • A dashboard-tab-direct-links.php template file has been introduced to allow for customization by developers.
  • A Date Added column has been added to the Direct Links admin screen, and is sortable.
  • The Visits column on the Direct Links admin screen is now sortable.
  • The Domain column on the Direct Links admin screen is now sortable.
  • Domains on the Direct Links admin screen are now sorted by the most recently added.
  • Direct Link Tracking can now be used with the Fallback Referral Tracking Method from Affiliates → Settings → Misc.
  • Domains within the Affiliate Area can be removed via a new remove link.
  • Domains on the Edit Affiliate admin screen can be removed via a new remove link.
  • Domain input fields are now wider to match other URL fields in the admin.
  • Notices shown to affiliates in the Affiliate Area have been improved
  • Domain validation has been greatly improved.
  • Error notices shown to the admin and affiliate have been improved.
  • A new Remove Data When Deleted checkbox option has been added to the admin settings.
  • A scenario was fixed where domains could be overridden by the site administrator.
  • A scenario was fixed where cookies could be stored for the affiliate when direct link tracking is not enabled for them.

Direct Link Tracking version 1.1 is available today and can be automatically updated from your Plugins page, or downloaded manually from your account page.

This update for the Direct Link Tracking pro add-on is available to all Professional and Ultimate license holders. If your license has expired and you need to renew it, or you wish to upgrade from a Personal or Plus license, you may do so from your account page.

Andrew Munro

About the author: Andrew Munro co-founded AffiliateWP in early 2014. His trusty treadmill desk allows him to write code at an incredible 3 mph, making him the fastest developer around.


    1. Good spotting! That’s actually expected behavior. Previously, the visits on the Direct Links screen counted all visits from any URL, including visits where standard referral links were used. In v1.1, only visits from actual direct links are counted. It’s showing 0 because there haven’t been any visits from direct links for that domain.

      In version v2.0.2 of AffiliateWP (released February 16, 2017) we added support for visit “contexts”, so Direct Link Tracking will now add a context of “direct-link” for any direct link visit. You can see this new “context” column on the Affiliates -> Visits admin screen. I’ll add this question and answer to the Troubleshooting doc for Direct Link Tracking. Thanks!

      1. Hi Andrew, but what regarding past visits prior to this update? now all stats are Zero 🙁

        Oh, and I’ve added the shortcode to my custom affiliate area (I have the Affiliate Area Shortcodes plugin installed and active) but nothing shows now that it was removed from settings tab 🙁 so me thinks the Affiliate Area Shortcodes plugin needs to support the new shortcode or something.

        on my the7 theme site with visual composer , in VC tab:
        [dt_gap height=”40″ /]


        [dt_gap height=”30″ /]


        [dt_gap height=”40″ /]

        nada shows.

        What am I doing wrong?

        1. One more note…. In direct link admin tab all says zero under Visits now. I click on visits link for an affiliate and it of course shows zero.
          However, at top, if I enter the aff’ name and hit on Filter button I then finally get a list of visits. Maybe a bug here. Shouldn’t need so many steps to get reporting.

          1. When you click on the “visits” link from the Direct Links admin screen you’re only shown visits that came from direct links. These are not the same as visits from standard affiliate links which is why it’s showing no visits.

            If you look in the URL you will see &context=direct-link. This is because it’s filtering the visits by affiliate, and only visits that have come from a direct link (the new context functionality).

            I’ll see what we can do about making this clearer, perhaps offering an easier way to clear out the context filter so it then shows you all visits. Thanks!

          2. Oh, silly me. You are right, it’s zero for direct links. maybe a column nearby should enable to see all links from affiliate as an option and for faster navigation for admins?

            Suggestion – in visits section of reporting maybe a column to see direct links? or ‘Direct link?’ Y/N [not to catch up much space]. Me thinks, maybe more interesting to see direct link data than visitor IPs.

            Great job on this plugin.

          3. Thanks for the kind words!

            There’s a “context” column on the Affiliates -> Visits admin screen that will show “direct-link” for any visit that came from a direct link. Is that what you’re kind of after with the Y/N idea? Looks like this: You can click any of the direct-link links in that column to then filter all visits that came from direct links.

          4. was actually thinking of simpler looking column, – maybe a Y/ Yes and N/No where ‘Yes’ can be linked if that is needed, or a bubble on hover with the direct link info? Or would that be heavier on server resources? IMO the less i need to click the better 🙂
            Wastes lots of time going back and forth to see one direct link.
            Some people might like to know / sort direct links that send most traffic.

            This could perhaps also be utilized as a simple tracking method when testing a/b. Even for site owners. Like custom campaign URLs. Taking it to a new level of usability for aff/ site owners… If I as super admin can track from my own domain for FB or other promo campaigns I run, to see conversions, since you track that so well.

  1. Didn’t realize ‘context’ column was for this direct links. I have a few blond streaks. Why not call the baby in its name?

    1. Good question! By calling the column “context” we can support other types of “visits” in the future and also allow developers to register their own.

    1. Hi Larry!

      Correct me if I’m wrong but your site doesn’t appear to be using WordPress. What shopping script are you using?

      Here are the integrations that AffiliateWP supports:

      If you’re not using WordPress and one of the above integrations you’ll be unable to use AffiliateWP and this Direct Link Tracking add-on.

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