affiliate marketing, cookie stuffing, fraud, affiliate fraud, data tracking, EU, Uk, regulations, Canada

5 Things you Need to Know about Affiliate Marketing Compliance

Compliance is a large part of affiliate marketing. Not only is there the marketing aspect to think about and the ethics around who you are marketing to, how you market to them and what you are marketing, etc. but affiliate marketing in particular is built on partnerships. Affiliate marketers have teams and partners to think about when it comes to compliance, on top of the affiliate marketing compliance element.

So, where to start? We’re looking at the five most important things to consider when it comes to affiliate marketing compliance.

1. There are different regulators to consider around the world

The internet is global, and your demographic and your access is also global, then you need to make sure you are meeting global digital ethics regulations. Everything from data use to journalistic integrity is a consideration, but clearly, the biggest issue for affiliate marketers is ad regulations.

With governments like Canada and its Online News Act, the UK and its Online Safety Bill and the EU’s Digital Services Act within the Western demographic alone, there is a lot to think about. Each of them has their own priorities and measures for enforcing their policies, not to mention their own consequences for ignoring them.

2. To prominently display ad declarations

The reins are tightening on what is considered a legitimate declaration of an ad on social media and what is considered an attempt to skirt the rules. Both the UK’s Online Safety Bill and the EU’s Digital Servies Act are adamant that any affiliate partnership content has to be clearly labelled for users to understand that it is a paid-for advertisement, and there are even guidelines to that effect.

3. Cookie stuffing is fraud

On top of the various indicators of fraud below, cookie stuffing is a very common form of affiliate fraud. It is a concept where an affiliate uses cookies to track clicks and sales that haven’t actually occurred and comes in two forms: image cookie stuffing and counter cookie stuffing. Image cookie stuffing involves placing invisible images to place cookies on a user’s computer without their knowledge, while counter cookie stuffing uses counter scripts that track false clicks and sales.

4. Use fraud prevention measures

As we have covered in the past, fraud is a big concern in the affiliate marketing industry and there are a lot of ways in which affiliate partners can attempt to boost their numbers online to gain a bigger commission.

There are a number of things online that can indicate affiliate fraud amongst your affiliate partners, including:

  • Deceptive banner ads
  • Forced clicks
  • Using malware and adware
  • Pop-ups
  • Typosquatting, or using a website that is so similar to a popular brand that people might get there by accident, like “Amazin” rather than “Amazon”.

The best way for an affiliate manager to avoid fraud is to enforce fraud prevention measurements like anti-fraud software and a strict screening process for new affiliates.

5. Monitor your affiliate partners

It’s not only new affiliates that need monitoring. It’s important to keep an eye on your affiliate partners as your relationships develop. Make sure your tracking software is showing no suspicious rises in numbers, and regularly converse with your affiliate partners to ensure that they are up-to-date with regulations and complying with them.

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