Affiliate marketing is one of the oldest and the strongest forms of a performance-based marketing model that rewards affiliate partners for driving the desired action. In the past two decades, it has grown into a multibillion-dollar business and is being widely used by companies of all sizes and sectors. However, with its rapid growth, the industry is facing a major challenge of fraudulent activities. These actions are harming the industry policies which ultimately affects the relationship between merchants, buyers and affiliates. In return, it also affects the quality publishers who follow legal practices.
Therefore, to keep your company safe, Admitad India Expert,a recently hostedglobally renowned conference by Admitadthat provided a platform to share insights, experiences, strategies and set trilateral meetings for the affiliate industry.Understanding the problems faced by the industry, Admitad India, in its agenda had a special session on affiliate fraud, an ongoing and a massive problemof the market.
Post the event, the company consolidated some major highlights that are beneficial for anyone that deals with affiliate networks.
The biggest problem for companies is that they fail to recognizefraudulent activities. Therefore, being aware and noticing drastic traffic sources on the website is of the utmost importance. Also, knowing the different forms Fraud: Defence Against the Dark Side of the Affiliate that your business can come across can also help businesses understand the sudden changes, if not related to a promotion. They are-
- Click farms
- Cookies stuffing
- URL Masking
- Manual Punching
- Pop-Up traffic
- Illegal transactions
- Site cloning
If any of the above activities happens, the sites falsely attribute affiliate activity to the fraudster that results in-
- payments of commission which they did not generate
- ruining potential legitimate and successful affiliate relations
- skewing the analytics, the channels
The merchants can also bear the loss through these false claims if they have not checked the affiliate’s activities. Once your company has identified fraud, take the below actions immediately-
- Regular audits
- Invest in infrastructure
With the little alerts, the scammer affiliate will be more mindful of doing anything. Also, to safeguard your business, the affiliate networks are taking innumerable measures to controland balance healthy business practices between publishers and affiliate, advertisers and merchants and the end user.
The CPA market is an integral part of affiliate marketing, and hence, there are always publishers who have the tendency of generating doubtful traffic. Therefore, as another important step, the advertisers should have proper details about the affiliates. Hence, under the advertiser’s program, they should be informedaboutthe sources that would be used to driving traffic to the advertiser’s website. Also, nowadays, networks have built a strict regulation the restrictspublishers to join the affiliate program in case of ambiguity.
To keep fraud at bay, Admitad India, for instance has their own traffic control department that identifies and divert all attractive traffic to the advertiser’s website and eliminates the fake clicks, violators, cookie stuffers etc. The company’s traffic quality control department uses different tools like-
- Brand guard tool
- IC stuffer
- Referral Checkers
- IP whitelisting
Being a global affiliate network Admitad has strict inspection processes like highlighting duplicate queries on filling forms, IP white listing for non-generated orders, brand guard tool that checks brand bidding, referral checker if there are fake referrals through affiliates etc.
The impact of affiliate fraud on networks, merchants and buyers is massive. Be it a bot traffic or fake sales or simply low-quality clicks, the result of frauds can result in waste of precious time inreprocessing returned items that were never actually sold or refunding of money. Fraudulent publishers affect all sides ofaffiliate marketing.
Also, with the growing technology, nowadays, affiliate networks have many tools and techniques to take care of such fraud publishers and their activities. Customers who suffer from false or misleading claims made by scammer affiliates can file for cashback requests or claims made in the promotions.
To conclude, being result-oriented, affiliate marketing has everything going it’s way except the frauds. The constant growth of affiliate fraud will ultimately harm the image of the entire industry. Not only will it pose a challenge for honest publishers and partners but will also harm the relationship with the customers. Thus, all efforts need to be directed towards minimizing or eliminating these deceitful activities.
The author of this article is Deeksha Bhasin