Affiliate Marketing Scams; What Are They? How To Recognize Them?


In our previous articles, we have reiterated plenty of times how affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make money online in Malaysia, especially in 2019. But due to affiliate marketing’s popularity and attractiveness to potential home entrepreneurs, it also means that it’s ripe with scammers who just want to make a quick buck out of you. So today, in this article, we’re going to discuss what are affiliate marketing scams, and how to recognize them.

In Malaysia, affiliate marketing is still a growing market. It’s growing in popularity, but not too the point where it’s getting too saturated. Hence, the reason why it’s one of the most popular ways to make money from home in Malaysia right now.

But one of the biggest factors that discourage or hinder newbie affiliate marketers is the prominence of affiliate marketing scams out there. To make it worse, some affiliate marketing scams present themselves in very convincing ways.

So in this article, let’s unpack what affiliate marketing scam really is, and how to recognize it.

What Is An Affiliate Marketing Scam?

In understanding affiliate marketing scams, first we have to point out that there are two distinct types of an affiliate marketing scam; Affiliate Fraud, and Affiliate Scams.

What’s the difference between these two? Let’s look at affiliate frauds first.

Affiliate Fraud

affiliate marketing scams
Affiliate fraud is one type of affiliate marketing scams

In the loosest sense of the term, an affiliate fraud refers to any false or unethical actions taken in order to generate leads in an affiliate marketing campaign. This means that the affiliate marketer takes actions that gains them conversions that were not earned by them.

In simpler terms, this means that in an affiliate fraud, the one who does the scamming is the affiliate marketer.

Types of affiliate frauds includes;

  • Using stolen data to generate leads. Eg; using stolen credit card data to generate sales.
  • Copying other affiliate site’s content to drive away traffic from the original content maker.
  • Cookie stuffing website visitors.
  • Forcing people to download adware or spyware that adds in their affiliate code automatically.

Hence, it’s suitable to classify affiliate frauds as an affiliate marketing scam that is utilized by the affiliate marketer, as opposed to the affiliate marketing campaign.

Affiliate frauds is easily tracked and discovered though, and most affiliate marketing campaigns have safeguards implemented in place to help them against affiliate fraud.

Affiliate Marketing Scams

Which is why it’s more imperative that we focus on affiliate marketing scams. Before this, we mentioned that affiliate frauds are methods taken by unethical affiliate marketers to generate conversions for them.

Meanwhile affiliate marketing scams are campaigns that pose as a legitimate affiliate marketing campaign, but their true goal is; cheat money from unsuspecting affiliate marketers.

This is done in multiple ways, which we will discuss later.

Unfortunately, affiliate marketing scams in Malaysia is very common. This is due to the fact that affiliate marketing in Malaysia is still very new and very young, with more and more people just discovering and trying out affiliate marketing.

This means that the field is ripe for these unscrupulous vultures to take advantage of these people’s innocence and lack of knowledge in affiliate marketing.

Which is why we have taken up the task to educate newbie affiliate marketers.

So now that we’ve discussed what is an affiliate marketing scams, let’s look at the types of affiliate marketing scams.

Types Of Affiliate Marketing Scams

Now that we know what is affiliate marketing scams, and why it’s so popular, let’s look at the types of affiliate marketing scams.

Fake Products/Services

affiliate marketing scams
Fake products or services is one of the most popular affiliate marketing scams out there

The first affiliate marketing scam that we’re going to look at is an affiliate marketing campaign that advertises fake products or services.

This is pretty self-explanatory, an affiliate marketing campaign that advertises fake products or services. What happens when you sign up for these affiliate marketing campaigns is that your readers buy the product or the service you’re affiliated with, only to find out that it does not exist.

These can be done in multiple manners, by advertising fake products, fake tutorials, workshops, or services.

Your readers will hold you accountable, and you will be losing out on valuable readers and visitors to your website.

So how do you recognize a fake affiliate campaign? Simple. This is why we always advocate buying/trying out any product/service before engaging in an affiliate marketing campaign with them.

But if you don’t want to risk being scammed, try going through their website. Usually, there are tell-tale signs of a fake affiliate campaign such as overly positive reviews. Or, you can contact the business owners directly. If you find it very hard to contact them, that’s a red flag.

Pay-To-Join Programmes

Let’s look at it this way. Joining an affiliate campaign is basically you offering free advertising service for a company or a product. Which means that you are working for them.

Does it make sense that you have to pay to work for someone? No right?

Hence the reason why you should always avoid any pay-to-join affiliate programs.

Get Rich Quick Schemes

Get rich quick schemes are super notorious on the internet, and this goes for affiliate marketing as well.

Now here’s a super popular scam that has been around forever, the ‘get-rich-quick scheme’.

This kind of affiliate marketing scam is fairly easy to identify, it promises crazy and unrealistic returns. This can be done in many ways, but in affiliate marketing, it’s mostly done by promising insanely high commissions.

Although you might think that it’s crazy how in 2019 there are still people falling for get rich quick schemes, there’s one thing you need to understand.

For some affiliate marketing campaigns, a high commission rate is normal. For example, there are products on ClickBank that offers up to 70% commission.

So the next time you see an affiliate marketing campaign offering high commission rates, remember to do further research on it to determine it’s legitimacy.

No Products/Services (Pyramid Schemes)

affiliate marketing scams
Pyramid schemes are one of the worst scheme to fall for due to it’s nature.

You might be confused, if there is no products or services, then what is the affiliate campaign for?

The answer is, you are advertising a pyramid scheme. What it typically needs you to do is find people to join the affiliate program, and you will earn a commission.

This is usually the worst kind of scam to fall for, because not only you are promoting NOTHING, you typically have to pay in order to join this as well.

And to make it even worse, you have to rope in other people in order you want to earn money, which means that you are now actively scamming people as well.

How To Avoid Falling For These Scams

So now that we have looked at popular scams, let’s look at how to avoid these scams.

Google It Up

The simplest way you can recognize an affiliate marketing scam is by Googling it up. If you Google it up and see mostly negative reviews, it’s most probably a scam. You Googled it up and  found nothing on the Internet about it? It’s probably a scam.

Even if you Google it up and see nothing but praising reviews, it’s probably a scam as well. Always remember to do your due research on affiliate marketing campaigns.

Look Up Their Company Website

If Google’s result is not substantial enough for you, then go through their company website.

Usually, the company website for a scam is very spammy, poorly built, and furnishes very little details.

If they don’t even have a company website, just consider them as a scam.

Too Good To Be True? It’s Probably Not True.

The Internet works pretty much how the world works. If you see something that’s too good to be true, that’s because in most cases it’s not true.

So every time you see affiliate marketing campaigns that offers crazy bonuses, insane commissions and more, it’s probably a scam.

Just remember, if it’s too good to be true, there’s probably a catch.

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