People have different definitions of “cloaking and masking”. You are likely referring to the “bad” kind that is manipulative. However, most affiliate also refer to “cloaking” as changing a link to look pretty. Changing this link: nichepursuits.com/amazon/associate-20/123ma9/producta to nichepursuits.com/cameras. That kind of “cloaking” is just fine.
The concept of affiliate marketing on the Internet was conceived of, put into practice and patented by William J. Tobin, the founder of PC Flowers & Gifts. Launched on the Prodigy Network in 1989, PC Flowers & Gifts remained on the service until 1996. By 1993, PC Flowers & Gifts generated sales in excess of $6 million per year on the Prodigy service. In 1998, PC Flowers and Gifts developed the business model of paying a commission on sales to the Prodigy Network.