As an affiliate marketer it is your sole job to promote and attract potential customers to a third party websites for some form of payment or gift. This third party is generally named as the Vendor/Merchant.
Can You Spot Affiliate Marketing Scams
Do you know what to look for and how to avoid them…
Affiliate marketing usually revolves around the use of such tactics as the use of e-mails, search engine optimization and several other popular methods such as marketing through a large internet based community such as Facebook, Twitter.
Why Are There Affiliate Marketing Scams
Affiliate marketing scams are possible because of the very simple fact that there is a high exposure to a large group of people getting involved in the online business, who firstly have very little knowledge about online marketing and secondly don’t do their research.
Also another very key reason is how affiliate marketing is promoted by many as a get rich quick scheme so people grab the first program they see that promises that they will make 100,000 a month and run with it.
All that a Vendor/Merchant has to do is to promote the affiliate program and product or service initially using their website or some legitimate third party affiliate network, insuring that everything seems real to get approved and they will almost do anything to make sure that this happens.
In doing this they actually gain access to thousands of affiliates who trust the affiliate network to do the due diligence on their behalf but as with any professional scams they are hard to pick up in the early stages which is why their is a huge benefit to the owners of the website to do this.
If you are already a clickbank affiliate then you would notice how some programs vanish virtually over night especially the music download sites and not to say they are scams but if clickbank gets to many complaints then the program is removed. However and in defense of the affiliate networks if the vendor insures that all the information is correct and up to date when submitting the website for a approval the probability of scamming by the owner to gain more freelance affiliates increases dramatically.
As in the real world where many companies try to mislead and deceive for their own personal gain, it is no different online when it comes affiliate marketing scams where some fraudulent websites will take advantage and attempt to grab as much money from online users as they can and then vanish.
If they are good at what they do and promote the product correctly then they only need to be online for a few days to earn a large amount of money online and with many such success stories (testimonials) of individuals mentioned in the fraudulent affiliate marketing websites, it is possible for someone to fall victim for such affiliate marketing scams and lose their money.
So What To Look At For Both Affiliate Marketer And Buyer
To not get caught up in any affiliate marketing scams there are few simple steps that you can take to make sure that the website you are dealing with is legit and safe. Firstly make sure that the website has accessible information about them and their business such as Contact, Privacy and Disclaimer pages on their site.
Check out the payment gateway are they asking for your credit card details directly or is it though Paypal or a Clickbank or another third party processor.
Ensuring that the payment gateway is from a third party provider and not the vendor themselves gives you a extra level of protection where you can contact the third party and tell them that you have been scammed or the product was not up to standard and they will in most cases refund the money immediately.
As an example last year I purchased a program from a so-called guru only to find that it was still in BETA testing and even though I had paid full price they wanted the end users help to refine it. As far as I am concerned I was mis-lead into believing that this was the finished product and once I realized it wasn’t I tried to get a refund for my purchase of $670 USD.
Everyone that I was contacting was pleasant enough right up until the 30 days had passed and still no refund. And then the attitude changed as per their policy I had now gone pass the refund date so now all my requests were being declined by the vendors support department. Because I had not used a third party and had entered my credit card directly.
I had a lot of trouble trying to recover the funds which by the way I never did get back even though I had contacted the credit card company and asked them to action this for me.
Can You Still Earn Good Money As An Affiliate Marketer
Of course there are plenty of opportunities to earn decent amounts of money with affiliate marketing, but you will have to be careful and sensible. There are websites where you are assured to be played fair and earn a bit of something to pay your bills. The best advice I can give you as an affiliate marketer myself is not to ever pay a penny for any affiliate promotion.
You should also be monitoring your clicks to that affiliate website and if you are not making any sales after say two hundred click-throughs then you need to consider removing that link as there is either a problem with the link or the vendor is not passing on commissions to you, and in some cases the sales page is bad that you shouldn’t be promoting the product or service in the first place.
Using The Many Online Resources Can Help You Avoid The Many Marketing Scams
If you are new to affiliate marketing you especially need to be aware of this things as you can become a prime target by these scammers to unknowingly promote their products or services. Something that also can mislead new affiliates are the many success stories (testimonials) which are made to look very authentic so you can see that the deception is done in the highest grade of quality.
I have even seen a testimonial on a website that had my website URL which we never did so you can see how easy it is to fabricate this information. For those that choose to be dishonest in this manner it makes it almost undetectable from the new comers point.
There are many websites out there that are actually willing to help you get educated about this subject and be more resistant as well as aware to the many affiliate marketing scams. If you want to make your affiliate marketing career productive and profitable make sure you stay informed by choosing the correct path. And remember this, if you as the affiliate are being ripped off by the vendor then what is the vendors intention for the purchaser.
If you are promoting the product then you are also going to be implicated with the affiliate marketing scams from the buyers point of view.
We would really like to hear you stories when it comes to purchasing products or services that were mis-leading or just down right affiliate marketing scams.
Have you been scammed online, we would really like to hear your story. Just enter your comments below about any affiliate marketing scams you have encountered and share your experience with all our readers.
Yes this blog is really just a diary of my online experiences over the last 8 years online such as what I have found to work online and what really hasn’t or what has been a complete waste of money and time.
Something that always stands out though on any of these scam sites is the lack of business or personal contact information. Even if you do find that it does have these things send them an email and see what happens usually it will bounce or you never get a response.
Thank you for sharing incredibly valuable information. We need more writing like this on an issue which has so many different opinions. I’ve never been to this site before but I just bookmarked it so that I can keep coming back. Gervais Group is a online website marketing company
Carole B. says
I am so glad I read your blog. The Affiliate Marketing business (!) seems so fascinating at first and then goes downhill. I am always suscipious when people loudly declare how much integrity they have. And the testimonials sound so great but how does one veryify them?
They do NOT get verified and there is no way to do so. I do think this can be a steady but slow way to make some – note I said “som” – money online. As regards investment of money to get on line with one of these marketing entities, the minute I said I did NOT have $300, I was given the “hard sell” to go to friends, relatives, even neighbors for the money. I told the person that I would be able in a couple of months to go forward. I have not heard from him since although I left 2 VMs and sent 2 emails. Bad move on his part!!
Please stay in touch. Your info is invaluable. Many Thanks, Carole B.
It really doesn’t matter whether it is affiliate marketing or a offline business you have to do your due diligence before you commit to anything. This is the problem with so many people getting ripped off they only focus on the money as the person selling the product is relying totally on the desperation of the person reading about the product. And this is where the testimonials come into play.
I have said it before and will say it again make sure there are contact details on the site, if you feel the product is a good fit send the vendor an email and ask some questions to see what answers if any you receive and make sure it is not from a free email address such as yahoo or hotmail. I am even a little skeptical of vendors that use Gmail considering they have a registered domain so why wouldn’t you use a domain email.
You can also do a Whois on the domain to see what information you receive and I always make sure I use a third party payment processor such as Paypal or through Clickbank and never give direct payment information to the vendor.
However in saying all of this some of the programs that are branded as rip offs or scams are actually very good to help people make money, unfortunately this results from people buying the product but never really using the information or only using some of the information which does not achieve the advertised results they were looking for so they call it a scam.
Carole B. says
I just sent a long email just now but forgot to click the “Notify…” comment below.
I have replied to your first post 🙂
anne marks says
Thanks for your article. Today I was contacted by äffiliate marketing” they called themselves. I thought it was the name of the company as I hadnt heard of it before so didnt ask for a comapany name. I was passed on to listen to a message and then to a person in Phoenix Arizona. i always ask where people are cos its interesting . Im in Australia. Anyway, the next fellow spoke for about 15 mins. It would cost from $149 to $477 to participate. They set up my website and domain for free. The 4 companies are Amazon, Yahoo, Unbeatablesales and realnetwork which render the cash flow, plus $100-$300 when others are referred through my website. I am able to run my own products on it which would be good except Im not quite ready yet to do that. They also wanted my credit card details(red flag) but do use paypal.They wanted me to say yes right then and got huffy when I said I would need to talk to hubby about it. I asked for a phine number and got a 1800 no. if I decided to go ahead.
have you heard of this lot? is it valid or a scam? I like to have material in front of me to look at and review. Who doesnt. I asked could they email me some material but he said no, he had just given it all to me. (another red flag)
at least today I have discovered this thing called “affiliate marketing”and could well be the way to generate income when I retire on top of all my other projects. Obviously I need to learn a lot more tho.!!
If I were you I would definitely stay well clear of this type of thing (affiliate marketing scam). I have seen similar scenarios on Ebay but not for that much money. I am glad you did not give over your credit card details that could have lead to a lot of trouble for you.
And you are right if you can not find out any details and the company in question is not prepared to give you more information then stay away from it. It also sounds like they could be making money simply from the phone calls did you call them or did they just cold call you.
Again Anne thanks for the comment I am sure my readers will appreciate it as well.
anne marks says
Wow so thats two helped ladies now! Thanks for your input, and encouragement. I am always suss when you cant pin people down for details on paper., and when you have to DO IT NOW.
Glad I could help Anne
If you are looking at getting involved in Affiliate Marketing please ask what ever questions you want and if I can I will help you out.
I’ve been looking at affiliate marketing as an added channel for generating sales and have contacted a variety of affiliate networks. A couple are very basic and don’t seem to do much to push me to affiliates. Others have come across rather aggressive, with one in particular proposing that I offer a $50-$75 incentive for affiliates to push traffic to my continuity program. My offering would charge $6.95 shipping and handling and then $30/month thereafter if not canceled. When I voiced my concern over the business risk as well as the risk of fraud the response from the affiliate network’s representative was, “don’t you believe in your product?” Is this a scam?
Sorry about the delayed response, we had two months of technical issues which have been corrected.
If you are looking for a good affiliate network then if i was you I would be talking to ShareAsale. They know what they are talking about have a wide range of affiliates promoting products. i have been with them for more than five years as an affiliate.
I am very suspicious when people want money up front. They are guaranteed to make money, you aren’t! I would not work with any group which is at all pushy, can’t or won’t give contact information, and wants money up front. If you can really help them make a profit, they should be willing to give you a free start!
Yes it is really hard to know whether or not to pay up front for any products… However if they offer you a trial and have suitable information identifying themselves online and by that I even mean doing a “whois” on the domain name to see if that all matches what you are being told then you should not have to many problems.
I also try to stay away from sites that want direct credit card details and opt to go through third party sites such as paypal, at least that way you can also use them to help recover any funds if you find that the purchase was not what was advertised.
There are also other types of Affiliate Marketing Fraud
Many people ask what is Affiliate Marketing Fraud? Basically there are two separate types of Affiliate Marketing Fraud.
The first kind of Affiliate Fraud is carried out by the Affiliate Marketing Business Owner. It generally happens in a PPC (Pay Per Click) situation.
How does it occur?
Let’s look at the working relationship between merchant and affiliate.
In PPC circumstances the vendor receives traffic through the affiliate marketing website. In return for directing traffic to the merchant site the affiliate receives revenue. More Traffic means more hits which will result in more Affiliate Marketing Revenue.
The temptation is for the Affiliate is to increase their Affiliate Marketing Revenue through the following scenarios:
The Affiliate is not producing sufficient traffic to the merchant site therefore the revenue received will be quite small. The Affiliate Marketer could now fall into the trap clicking his own advertising links or ask all his friends or relatives to visit his site and click the advertising links. Because there is intention to purchase this is classified as Affiliate Marketing Fraud!
After a while and with more experience the Affiliate Marketing Owner understands more about his business and has come across some magic software which promises to increase his PPC payments. The Software tool is generating fake traffic and the vendor will be forced to pay the Affiliate Marketing Company without ever receiving any real traffic. This is a more sophisticated and serious case of Affiliate Marketing Fraud.
The second kind of Affiliate Fraud affecting the Affiliate Vendor and the Affiliate Marketing Business Owner.
Also here are different scenarios how this can occur.
A merchant in competition could be tempted to pose as a Affiliate and use the above scenarios to damage the competitor through fraudulent traffic and extracting money.
This version is more complicated the fraudulent merchant infects an Affiliate Marketer’s computer which phony Software which will produce false clicks. If the merchant discovers the fake clicks the unsuspecting affiliate marketer gets accused of Affiliate Marketing Fraud.
In a pay per Sale Scenario the Affiliate Marketing Fraud Scenario can be more devious.
The first Scenario is affecting the Affiliate Merchant Site
A criminal affiliate who is in passion of false identities or stolen credit cards sets up an Affiliate site with a false identity and then he uses the stolen credit card to purchase goods. Not only receives he the goods in addition he receives the Affiliate commission. By the time the fraud is discovered the fraudster can have cashed thousand of dollars plus goods.
The second scenario is affecting the Affiliate Business Site
An experienced ill intended Affiliate Marketer infects your computer and replaces your affiliate merchant link with an imposter link. The ill intended Affiliate Marketer will receive your commission and you receive zero dollar of affiliate revenue. In addition you are perhaps out of pocket because you may have used legal means to create traffic and most likely paid for your efforts
How can Affiliate Fraud be detected?
Google and the other search engine provider like Yahoo or MSN have methods prepared to spot affiliate fraud. Some Affiliate Marketing people have been successfully taken to court. In some countries Affiliate Fraud can get you in to jail.
Avoiding Affiliate Fraud
Do not click your own ads of you are receiving PPC affiliate marketing revenue is the easy way not to get involved in this type of fraud. Monitor your clicks and your affiliate revenue and you will discover if things don’t add up
Keep your computer firewalls and virus scanners up to date to ensure you are protected against malicious software.
Monitor your traffic and results, keep your firewall’s and virus scanner up-to-date and if possible cloak your Affiliate links.
This should ensure to maximise your affiliate marketing revenue.
Thanks for the very in depth explanation on Affiliate Marketing Fraud I am sure my readers will appreciate the effort that you have made…
This is a great article for me. I am just now starting to explore affiliate marketing. I was drawn in by an infomercial ad on TV and bought Anthony Morrison’s book Advertising profits from home. which gives some good starter information but this web site has help me out greatly with some information that I fell fill in some blanks on what I have read in his book. I am still doing research and will keep this web page bookmarked. Thanks
I am glad you mentioned that you are still doing research as this is what affiliate marketing is all about, not just to drive traffic but to also ensure that any products you are promoting are the right fit for your visitors and not a scam.
Ed keep us posted on your progress…
Thank you for sharing this about affiliate marketing scams. There are a lot of them going around. A common one is per Craigslist job listings…. preying on desperate job seekers.
Yes unfortunately there are many forms of scams going around online and as soon as something becomes very popular the scammers move in, either trying to get information from you or selling you a product that is going to make you very rich in 30 days. It is just not practical and the internet would be a much more pleasant place without all that going on.
It all so makes it much harder for legitimate business to build trust and sell their products.
Yes! I use Craigslist for pretty much everything and I’ve come across way too many scams. I was in a rutt at a time and looking for anything and everything on CL for a job. I can’t believe how some of these scammers get away with obtaining account numbers, getting home addresses..it boggles my mind. Thanks again for your blog.
I have learnt to stay clear of all these sites now, just to many negatives in using them for me. More people need to understand the many dangers that await them on the internet especially if they don’t think about the consequences of releasing to much information online to complete strangers.
Can you tell me the differnce between console and console free when it comes to affiliate marketing an witch is the best one to sing up for if promoting free sign-ups for webcam sites..
Thanks 4 your time
You are going to have to give me a little more information about that, not really sure what you are referring to as i have never been involved with webcam sites.
I am not constantly worried about marketing scams, and not just affiliate ones. It seems as though everyone is selling information now and the sad thing is that the scammers are just taking the focus away from those people who have something genuine to offer. I am just cynical about all scams and ‘marketing offers’ now.
Hello again Dana
The truth of the matter appears to be that people on the internet are looking for a very quick fix for their financial problems or lifestyle change so any offer that even looks like it could work is being picked up as the next best thing. However in reality it is probably only a very short term fix to their problem and after all is said and done they have accomplished no more than to waste their own time and deplete valuable funds that they need.
This mentality online is something that really needs to be changed and people need to realize that it takes time to build any business whether it is online or off and their is no magic program that is going to fix all their worries in a month.
When we talk about affiliate marketing scams, you also have to understand that their are also those that buy these programs, whether good or bad and never do anything with them. Then once the money back period has ended they spend hours of their time online telling everyone that it didn’t work even though they made no effort to even give it ago. Again it all comes down to the get rich quick mentality so many people seem to have. Buying the program is the first step then you need to implement the strategies and take action.
At the end of the day you need Hard Work, Perseverance and of course Patience to see some success online.
the more i see the more i think we all at sometime have been caught at least once by an Affiliate Marketing Scams, now before I buy anything I google the person or company, or make sure they have a trial of at least 10 days my rule now is no trial no buy, that way I can also see if that program is the right one for me.
Yes this is a very good policy to have to avoid the many scams you will encounter online. For me it is nearly the same if I am interested in any product or service I will follow that person for a while and even subscribe to there newsletter. But the minute I read anything about making thousands of dollars in your first month or they start sending me other offers for more products I am gone…
I’m new too all this but the learning challenge is fun, better than watching infomercials. Here’s my question: I’ve been going to craigslist and a dating site. When I send someone a message and get a reply asking me to go to another site I know that’s a scam. Now I’m getting “form letter” replys that all say about the same thing and ask me to contact them thru another address at Hotmail or Yahoo. What’s up with that?
If I was you I would be getting as far away from that as you can. both of the places you mentioned are renowned for scammers, make sure you have some very solid internet protection and do not give out any personal information.
I am interested in getting involved in affiliate marketing, but am afraid of being scammed. I tried once before, but was not successful at it, although I was lucky and did get my money refunded, so all I lost was my time and pride!!
I have purchased Rosalind Gardner’s book, and just started reading it. Do you have any opinions on her program?
Rosalind is is a good choice when wanting to learn about affiliate marketing especially with her book. Remember however you need to to stay focused and avoid the many distractions online when wanting to build a solid affiliate business.
You are more than welcome to post any questions you may have on our site and i will do my best to help you out.
Affiliate marketing is simply SOPS, meaning Selling Other People’s Stuff.
It is selling stuff that you don’t own, from the people you don’t even know, on line. Affiliate marketing is composed of three important people, the “merchant”, the “affiliate” and of course the “buyer”. Read More