As a business owner, you know that affiliate marketing can be a great way to earn additional revenue.
However, there is a downside to affiliate marketing: fraud. Unfortunately, affiliate fraud is becoming more and more common, and it can have a severe impact on your bottom line.
If left untreated, affiliate fraud can result in wasted ad spending, loss of legitimate affiliates, and reduced customer acquisitions. It can even lead to TCPA violations and credit card chargebacks.
Affiliate fraud is a serious concern that should be nipped in the bud. This article discusses some of the most common ways that affiliate fraud occurs and how you can prevent it.
How Affiliate Fraud Happens
Affiliate fraud happens in many forms, but the most common cases are:
1. Click Fraud
Click fraud occurs when someone clicks on an affiliate link, not because they’re interested in the product but because they want to earn the commission.
2. Commission Theft
Commission theft occurs when an affiliate tries to cheat you out of your commission by referring customers through a different channel (e.g., email or social media) or using their own promotional code instead of yours.
3. Lead Fraud
Lead fraud occurs when an affiliate generates fake leads to collect a commission.
This can happen in several ways, such as using bots to submit phony contact information or taking advantage of referral programs that pay for leads without verifying their validity.
4. Attribution Fraud
Also called app installs, fraudsters steal credit card information and install your app to manipulate app tracking attribution.
An unauthorized charge can be charged back by the original owner, which results in a double loss for you.
5. Cookie Stuffing
Browser cookies help affiliates track referrals. Fraudsters place various cookies on a visitor’s browsers, so they’ll earn a commission when the visitor makes a purchase.
Ways To Prevent Affiliate Fraud
Now that you know how affiliate fraud happens, it’s time to learn how to prevent them.
1. Carefully Screen Affiliates
Adopt a strategic vetting process to check that affiliates are legitimate persons with websites that align with your products and services.
When you approve an affiliate application, communicate the terms and conditions and ensure they understand it’s strictly implemented.
If you are using sub-affiliate networks, work only with reputable ones that will allow you to review sub-affiliates before they can join your program.
2. Monitor Affiliate Links
Know where your visitors are coming from by checking if the leads coming from your affiliate’s links are legitimate. Visit any suspicious websites you don’t recognize.
If you notice a link with a sudden surge of activity, double-check and examine its validity.
3. Utilize Link Cloaking
Protect legitimate affiliates from fraudsters by hiding their affiliate ID in shortened, branded URLs. With information hidden from plain sight, fraudsters are less likely to hijack their commissions.
4. Use an Affiliate Fraud Detection Service
An affiliate fraud detection program like Anura automatically flags fraudulent activities, so you can be aware of them before the problem explodes.
Anura can determine whether a lead came from an unscrupulous affiliate by analyzing every visitor’s data.
5. Block Suspicious IPs and Terminate Unethical Affiliates
Monitor IP addresses and check if one IP produces multiple purchases. This can be a signal that someone is purchasing using stolen credit cards and engaging in illicit activities.
Don’t hesitate to block suspicious IP addresses and terminate any unethical affiliates.
If you suspect an affiliate is violating your terms and conditions, don’t think twice about removing them from the program.
Start Using Affiliate Fraud Detection Services Today
Affiliate fraud can be costly and time-consuming to deal with—not to mention frustrating.
By being aware of the most common types of fraud and taking steps to prevent it, you can protect your business and keep your affiliate program smoothly running.
Anura’s affiliate fraud solution analyzes website traffic in real-time and flags you for any fraudulent action. With our affiliate fraud detection services, you can quickly spot affiliates attempting to game your system.
It’s time to stop affiliate fraud and pay only for legitimate traffic. Check out Anura’s affiliate fraud detection services and have peace of mind that your affiliate campaign is in good hands.
Common Ways To Prevent Affiliate Fraud
It is a harsh reality that affiliate fraud exists. Anura’s affiliate fraud detection services help stop affiliate fraud leaving you only legitimate traffic.