I was considering starting an affiliate program for a product I sell and read this on one of the sales letters that got me thinking. Can affiliate links count as inbound links and boost your link popularity?

I'm thinking that for certain sites (In my niche) that I really want links from, I can offer them higher commissions to get htem to link to me. It wouldn't make sense if I wasn't gettng the benefit of their strong inbound link.

Here is an excerpt from the sales letter, I'm curious on your thoughts:

"Their "Dirty Little Secret" Exposed!
Here's something that my competitors REALLY don't want you to know:

One of the big reasons that they insist you link your traffic through their URL is because this dramatically increases their "link popularity," which is an important factor in how highly a site is ranked in the search engines.

Since everyone wants to be ranked highly at sites like Google and Yahoo!, these companies thought a good way to increase their link popularity would be to force you to send traffic that was rightfully YOURS to them. They are the ones capitalizing on the popularity of your affiliate program!

Some affiliate tracking programs will -- for a very hefty (around $1000) fee -- let you drive affiliate traffic through a domain name similar to your own (which THEY register and control), but keep in mind that this does absolutely NOTHING for your search engine rankings.

Needless to say, *we* would never try to get away with this. With AssocTRAC, all of your affiliates' links point to YOUR web site -- not ours! Period."