Industry Experts Share Real-World Examples & Address the Challenges of Affiliate Fraud
Affiliate marketing is proving itself as a viable way to generate revenue, and everyone from online merchants to networks to publishers to traffic providers are eager to cash in. However, those who join the advertising craze but fail to acknowledge the associated risks can easily turn any earning potential into a major liability.
Affiliate fraud steals revenue, damages a business’s reputation, and threatens long-term sustainability.
Because the risk is so great and modern fraud tactics so misunderstood, Chargebacks911 reached out to our partners and other industry professionals for real-world examples of how affiliate fraud is impacting the industry today.
Industry Experts Share Valuable Insight
We asked industry experts to answer three pressing questions. Their reflections on first-hand experiences shed light on the current condition of the world of affiliate marketing.
Astoria Company was formed by industry experts who build and develop genuine customers for trusted brands. Their veteran team comes from the heart of the advertising industry. They understand real quality lead generation and campaigns that scale. Liza Schubert manages the pay-per-call network for Astoria Company.
Adcash is a real-time advertising trading platform that delivers maximum exposure for advertisers and a simple, effective way for publishers to make money. The company uses a unique combination of industry experience and advanced optimization technology to provide their customers with digital advertising solutions that deliver results. Anton Konnov is the finance and anti-fraud senior product manager at Adcash.
Affiliate Window, part of the zanox Group, is an award-winning, global performance marketing network that generates incremental value for advertisers and provides publishers with the best tools and services. Niche retailers to top consumer brands including Etsy, Hyatt and HP grow their online presence by leveraging the company’s market-leading technology. Jeannine Crooks is the client services manager at Affiliate Window.
MUNDOmedia is a global ad technology company, based in the growing tech hub of Toronto. With more than 125 dedicated employees located in 3 continents worldwide, clients receive around the clock services and unparalleled mobile marketing expertise. Jordan Cunningham Nadalin is VP of Business Development.
Can you share a real-life example of affiliate fraud tactics put into practice?
Just how innovative are fraudsters? What tactics are being used to cheat the system?
Another issue we are currently facing is a publisher who is both an affiliate and a direct partner with our client. They drive more traffic via the affiliate channel, but have a lower payout on the affiliate program. In an effort to get the most ROI, this publisher is redirecting its affiliate traffic to the profiled and hard-coded partner landing pages for essentially a higher payout.
What affiliate fraud trends do you expect to see in the future?
One of the most devastating characteristics of affiliate fraud is that tactics constantly evolve. When one method of gaming the system is detected and blocked, fraudsters will simply create a new strategy.
What do you see as the biggest challenge when it comes to affiliate fraud mitigation?
Because affiliate fraud tactics are so dynamic, mitigation can be a real challenge. Our experts shared the issues they deal with on a daily basis, from identifying fraud red flags to proving an affiliate is actually a fraudster in disguise.
Therefore, it’s challenging to identify fraud and because iframe technology doesn’t easily allow for traffic source identification, it’s difficult to trace.
Effective Mitigation Demands Tactics Just as Dynamic as the Fraudsters
Chargebacks911’s founder and COO, Monica Eaton-Cardone, was an ecommerce merchant before launching her latest business venture. Her ecommerce store relied heavily on affiliate marketing and Monica was overjoyed when the advertising tactic began paying off. However, she soon realized she had celebrated her ‘success’ too quickly.
This particular instance was just one of many cases of affiliate fraud that Monica dealt with over the years. Eventually, she took all her first-hand experiences and turned them into a new fraud detection product—Chargebacks911’s Affiliate Fraud Alerts.
“Effective fraud management demands a multi-layer approach,” Eaton-Cardone explains. “You can’t use just one or two tools and call it a day. Fraudsters are cunning. They change tactics as soon as they realize their efforts might be detected. You need to be just as agile and innovative.”
Affiliate fraud is likely the most dynamic challenge industry members will have to face. However, finding the right combination of tools and services means minimizing risk without sacrificing revenue potential or alienating valuable industry connections.
If you’d like help managing affiliate fraud, contact Chargebacks911® today.