How to prevent & detect fraud in Affiliate Marketing
With more and more people dedicating their lives to affiliate marketing on a global scale, it is also becoming increasingly clear that more and more people are in the game for making a quick buck and are not afraid to trick the system. Add to that, the “lawlessness” and anonymity of the internet, and you have a magnet for fraudsters – and fraud traffic.
So how do you distinguish a good affiliate from a fraud? On the surface they look the same, and fraudsters are smart and dedicated people who do everything to mirror the same behaviour and patterns of a good affiliate. One should definitely not underestimate them. On top of that, there are thousands of affiliates out there which makes it harder to filter the good ones from the bad ones.
No reason to start panicking. There are a few ways and tools an affiliate network can work with in order to seperate the good guys from the bad ones. At Chameleonads we take this very serious, and we keep on investing in our technology and manpower to assure high-quality traffic for our advertisers.
So, how do you do it?
1. Analyze the approval rate. Although at first sight the traffic looks clean and the affiliate looks trustworthy, eventually the advertiser will get back with specific feedback on the conversions provided by every specific affiliate (ChameleonAds uses PubIDs for that). Fraudsters will generally have a disapproval rate of their conversions that is well above 50%.
2. Implement an anti-fraud system (SaaS software). We work with Forensiq to filter not only our traffic sources but also our publisher sign up process so we get a better view on who we work with.
3. Analyze IPs. Most fraudsters will drive multiple conversions from the same IP, which never happens on a good traffic source. Or the IPs will be very similar and go in ascending/descending order.
4. Analyze conversion rates. If the conversion rate of any given traffic source is significantly higher than the average conversion rate on your campaign, then this could be an indication of fraud. I put this measure on the last place in our list because most fraudsters are smart enough to not drive insanely high conversion rates – they know affiliate networks look at this.
There are a few measures that, at first sight, look like great anti-fraud measures but actually these measures don’t prevent fraud at all, such as:
1. The affiliate puts a fake name/address in the sign up process or pretends to be someone (s)he’s not. This happens especially with Asian affiliates. The reason they do this is because 1) they believe it increases their chances to get accepted into the network if they provide an American or European sounding name and 2) Asian cultures – especially Chinese people – have a tendency to use Western names when working with people in the Western hemisphere. This doens’t mean they deliver fraud traffic. There are many amazing affiliates, with very good traffic, coming from Africa, Asia, the Middle-East and Latin America.
2. The affiliate puts a website or traffic source on the signup form that is not his. Many affiliate networks have two divisions. One is the affiliate arm, the other is the media buying arm. Affiliates are afraid that if they reveal their real traffic sources, the network will cut them out once they start delivering good revenues on a certain campaign. And they are right to be afraid – this happens a lot. In order to avoid this clear conflict of interest with our affiliates, at ChameleonAds, we do not engage in any media buying activities ourselves. We focus 100% on our affiliates and want to provide them with the best personalised service & technology there is.
I hope this article brought you some extra knowledge, and that you enjoyed reading it.
If you are a real affiliate, we would love to work with you. We have more than 650 global campaigns with unlimited budgets, superhigh payouts and weekly payments. Just sign up to our network as a Publisher to get started.
But, if you are a fraudster and you’re reading this. Don’t sign up to our network because we’re on to you! 🙂