Wednesday, 27 June 2012
Affiliate marketing fraud affects everyone who works in affiliate marketing. Itís incredibly important for merchants so as to ensure minimal (or ideally zero) losses of revenue, stocks or worse still, both. Itís important for fellow affiliates as it has an unseen impact on our lives too.
Affiliate Window has outlined how it protects both affiliate and merchants from rogue elements on its network.
From the latest blog post from Affiliate Window it seems that fraudulent affiliate applications are still prevalent. They use an identity verification tool from 192 Business (part of Experian) to help identify rogue affiliates right from the start.
Some affiliates make genuine applications but then end up going down the line of Adware and the like. For this Affiliate Window use a piece of policing software called Agent99 that actively seeks out and flags sales driven from forced click.
BrandVerity is a tool mainly tailored to protecting merchant reputation as it seeks out trademark abuse and offers brand monitoring so that merchants can be assured that their program is being marketed reputably.
This might all seem like it benefits the merchant but the hidden underside for affiliates is that it can affect the affiliate program itself. The commission rates set are often based on a whole manner of things and arenít plucked from the sky. One aspect in that calculation is fraud from unethical affiliates.
Obviously with Adware and similar technologies thereís a risk of commission theft by deliberately setting new fresh cookies.
Reputation management may not be an obvious one for affiliates but should the merchants brand come under virtual attack or be misrepresented in some way (e.g. poor choice of photo to advertise an offer) then if the merchant begins to think twice about whether the benefits outweigh the costs of running an affiliate program, and therefore decides to close their program or radically alter their terms, the result could be disastrous, especially if they are a key brand for your site.
Potentially fraudulent sales can have a similar affect to reputation management in that it could become a significant problem, especially for highbrow merchants with high value goods for sale. As affiliates we cannot control who uses our website, who clicks off and who places an order so itís really down to the merchant and networks to assess the legitimacy of each customer.
Kount is another tool in the Affiliate Window toolkit and is specifically designed to identify fraud on a transaction basis. Every transaction that is run through Kount is checked and scored, and then flagged if it has been given a high fraud score.
I believe this is offered on a case-by-case basis rather than network-wide but for merchants stocking high value goods it could be a useful weapon in minimising the impact on the business as well as the impact on the affiliate program. Nipping fraudulent transactions in the bud before the merchant has released the goods is arguably a better option than losing both money and stock as a result.
Fraud will no-doubt always be a factor to consider in affiliate marketing, especially when money can be made out of a situation. As technology evolves and develops so the risks and threats change. It would be interesting to see what how the fraud detection element of the network changes in the years to come.
You may also be interested in reading:
Comments are manually approved and hence can a while to appear. Questions, informative posts, and feedback comments are gladly accepted. Spam is deleted. Spam-type comments have their links removed (Comment Policy)
One of my client is so pissed off because he has become a victim on one affiliate fraud. Wish I won't be like him and I hope those affiliates fraud will be expose much to many as possible.
Written on Friday 13 July 2012 at 11:17:43 GMT (Permalink)
Thank you to all previous commenters.
Comments are now prohibited for this post.
This could be for a number of reasons but is most likely due to prevent the discussion from digressing.