Read in

enEN ruUA

Fraud publishers – beware of scammers!


Affiliate marketing can be a great tool for attracting customers and a good way to make money. However, you need to be careful when operating in this industry. Fraudulent publishers are becoming increasingly common to defraud advertisers in many ways. Below we will take a closer look at some practices they commonly employ.


Affiliate marketing... is it legitimate?


Many budding publishers wonder whether affiliate marketing is legal. The answer is yes but under certain conditions. While the affiliation itself is legal, it is necessary to complete the necessary formalities and pay particular attention to a few important issues. What should legitimate affiliate marketing be characterised by? The work between the parties, i.e. the publisher and the advertiser, must be based on a contract. This type of document protects both parties from dishonest players and, moreover, avoids inaccuracies and misunderstandings relating to settlements. For those operating outside an affiliate network, the contract should be drawn up in accordance with the prevailing law in the country concerned. If it is an affiliate platform, this can be done by accepting the applicable terms and conditions. It is also important to be aware that there are certain areas that cannot be promoted with affiliate marketing in some countries. These include, among others, gambling. Nevertheless, it is important to choose an ethical industry. Promotional activities for alcohol or electronic cigarette companies, for example, may prove problematic. Each publisher should carefully select the brand it wishes to become the face of. Depending on the level of involvement of the publisher, affiliate marketing can earn both symbolic amounts and impressive sums. Regardless of their amount, they must be accounted for in the eyes of the law. How? It all depends on the legislation of the country in which the taxes are settled. However, what is important is whether the affiliate network you are working with actually exists and accounts for its income.



Is it a scam?


Fraud in affiliate marketing is something that everyone in the industry will encounter sooner or later. Fraudulent activities can be detected by analysing the data provided by customers. Fraudulent publishers go to great lengths to make it difficult for affiliate networks to find signs of them. This is done by covering their tracks online. The losers are the advertisers, who are obliged to incur additional costs, and the other publishers, who lose customers dissatisfied with the results due to such actions.



Typical scams


To begin with, it is worth defining what fraud is. Fraud is the crime of intentionally misleading a person, causing them to mismanage their property, or acting to take advantage of someone else's mistake or inability to understand their actions. It is motivated by a desire to gain financial gain.


There are three main types of affiliate fraud. The first of these is affiliate fraud, i.e. prohibited actions that lead to undue commissions from an affiliate network or affiliate programme. Which of these is legal in the context of a particular campaign is determined by its terms and conditions. The second type of fraud encountered in affiliate marketing is ad fraud (Ad Fraud). This term refers to a method of conversion manipulation whereby a scammer, using illegal methods, fabricates events such as clicks on a banner campaign. Consequently, the advertiser pays a commission for an action that did not actually take place. Sometimes in affiliation, there is also Loan Fraud using someone else's data.


One of the most common frauds in affiliate marketing is those related to the emission of advertising, i.e. making it available to users. During this fraudulent process, the publisher can impersonate another person by contacting the customer directly. The fraudster's main objective is to achieve conversions by means of various manipulation techniques. Here, the scammer may also aim to hack the recipient by encouraging him or her to take a specific action. At the broadcast level, there may also be fraudulent use of unauthorised channels. By running the campaign in a manner prohibited by the advertiser, the fraudulent publisher seeks to cannibalise the used advertising content.


Another category of fraud is affiliate programme fraud, which focuses on exploiting system or user errors. Such practices may be based, for example, on the fraudulent construction of an offer by misleading the user, thus exposing the advertiser to reputational damage.

It is also worth mentioning incentivised traffic, i.e. activity based on offering the recipient remuneration for performing a specific action. This type of fraud is encountered in CPL (Cost Per Lead) campaigns, where the lead may be a viewing of an advertisement, downloading an application or performing an action on the advertiser's website. The fraudulent publisher offers the customer money, cashback or other means of remuneration for the conversion. This process takes place without the knowledge or consent of the advertiser.


Scammers often use the devices they have taken over. As a result, they perform an action in the background during standard use by the owner. Malware-infected equipment displays adverts in such a way that the affected person is unaware of it.


Fraud publishers... how to avoid them?


Despite the various types of fraud perpetrated by affiliate platforms, there are ways to effectively protect yourself against fraud. If an advertiser acquires relatively low-level traffic via affiliates, he can constantly monitor the activities of his publishers. When, on the other hand, he spends considerable money on this type of marketing, he should invest in professional protection. The market-leading affiliate networks have their own mechanisms to filter out fraud.


It is already known what a good, honest affiliate platform should have. Work in this area should start with thorough research to find a legitimate, professional operator. One of the recommended affiliate platforms is Click Hub. No experience is necessary to start working with Click Hub. How is this possible? The Click Hub platform assigns each user an individual Affiliate Manager who will introduce them step by step to the ins and outs of the affiliate business model. Click Hub operates in as many as 28 markets and brings together affiliate programmes from many categories. Click Hub's affiliate platform processes payments on a daily basis, at the request of the publisher, which allows the publisher to maintain liquidity. Fraudulent publishers commit various types of fraud. Among other things, they can be related to the provision of ads to users or exploit the error of the recipient or the device they are using. If you choose to work with a reputable affiliate platform such, as Click Hub, you can be sure that the work will be done safely and legally.