Affiliate fraud is a nefarious practice that can damage your brand and your reputation. It involves misleading marketing tactics, deceptive promotions, and spoofing traffic to generate fake sales. It’s an issue that affects every merchant and should be a top priority for your compliance department.
Detecting fraud can be difficult, but there are some things you can do to increase your chances of detecting it. Regularly monitoring affiliate analytics is one of the best ways to spot suspicious activity from your affiliates. This will help you identify traffic upturns, page redirects, and unusual amounts of transactions from the same IP address.
1. Identifying fraud early on can help protect your business against chargebacks and unearned commissions that can result from fraudulent affiliates. You can use tools like FraudScore and AdVantage to monitor your traffic for signs of fraud in real time, and you can also set up your affiliates’ terms and conditions to make sure they don’t engage in fraudulent activities.
2. Ensure your terms and conditions are clear so that everyone understands what is and isn’t acceptable in your affiliate fraud detection program. This will help you avoid wasting time and resources on campaigns that aren’t effective or damaging to your business.
3. Establish a strict zero-tolerance policy on all forms of affiliate fraud. It is essential for online retailers to clearly define what constitutes legitimate traffic and what isn’t in order to protect their brand and their reputation from fraudulent affiliates.
4. Ensuring your affiliate platform is secure and able to handle all traffic is another crucial step in preventing fraud. This includes ensuring your web host is secure, requiring that all your affiliates’ links are protected by SSL certificates, and implementing an automated tool to check all their URLs against a blacklist of suspicious domains.
5. Using tools that allow you to check all affiliates’ websites against a blacklist and keeping up-to-date on industry trends can prevent many scammers from getting into your affiliate program in the first place.
6. Adding a click-level fraud prevention feature to your offer is another way to protect against fraudulent traffic. You can enable this feature while setting up your new offer, or you can apply it to your existing offers.
7. Inflating traffic is one of the most common affiliate fraud methods, and it is often automated with botnets. It can include sending out spam, cloaking affiliate links, spoofing traffic, and cookie stuffing.
8. Using stolen IDs and credit card numbers to fill out form submissions or conversions is another common fraud method. This can lead to huge chargeback fees for your company.
9. Using a fraudulent referral link to lure a user to your site is also a popular scam. Using this method, fraudsters can create a fake referring website that sends users to your site by impersonating the online retailer you are promoting.
10. Getting people to download adware that inserts affiliate code into their browser is another popular form of affiliate fraud.