As cybercriminals come up with new ways to compromise networks and target vulnerable data, businesses must take steps to protect themselves and their customers. Affiliate marketing fraud is getting worse, with studies suggesting it has doubled in the past two years.
As an affiliate marketer or program manager, how can you deter fraud and ensure cybercrime isn’t eating into your profits or damaging the reputation of your brand? We’ve put together a few tips to help:
What is Affiliate Marketing Fraud?
The first step you need to take when deterring affiliate marketing fraud is to learn what it is and how it works.
This year, cybercrime is expected to cost the global economy approximately $8.15 trillion. This figure is projected to rise to $13.82 trillion by 2028. All businesses must be aware of fraud and cybercrime, with affiliate marketers and program managers being no exception.
Affiliate marketing is a complex and multi-faceted industry, which means that there are various types of fraudulent tactics used by criminals to make a profit.
In some cases, fraudsters make use of bots and automated programs to dupe CPC and CPL advertising models. These bots can generate clicks and fill out forms, creating fake traffic and leads.
Other criminals use stolen credit card information to make fraudulent payments, which they then profit from through the CPA process.
Cookie stuffing involves covertly loading a user’s device with third-party tracking cookies from a range of sites. If the user then goes to on to purchase something from one of these sites in the future, the scammer will earn a commission.
As we can see, there are various different types of affiliate marketing fraud. How can you deter it and prevent it from damaging your business?
How to Deter Affiliate Fraud
As a program manager, affiliate fraud prevention begins with the partner acquisition and onboarding process.
You should thoroughly vet all new affiliates and maintain open lines of communication with them to assess their legitimacy and suitability. Run background checks and ask for references where possible. This will help you to weed out any potential fraudsters attempting to infiltrate your program.
Ensure that your program has comprehensive terms and conditions that explicitly forbid fraudulent tactics. Some types of affiliate fraud aren’t technically illegal, so having strict program rules in place will make it easier to cut ties with scammers.
Traffic monitoring software can also be extremely helpful when it comes to preventing affiliate fraud. These tools can be used to review network activity and flag incidents that could indicate the use of bots and automated systems. From there, you can investigate the situation further and stamp out any fraud taking place in your program.
Finally, ensure your platform is secured with SSL to protect it against attacks from cybercriminals. Failure to do so can leave your platform vulnerable and can even affect its performance in search engine results.
Due diligence is the key to an effective fraud prevention strategy. Stay vigilant and always keep your eyes open for signs of potential fraud and take action immediately should you suspect that illicit activity is taking place.
Affiliate fraud may be on the rise, but there are ways of protecting your program. Doing so is vital, as fraud can cause serious financial and reputational damage to your brand.