Affiliate marketing is a proven way to drive sales and growth, but fraudsters have found many ways to undermine the performance of legitimate marketers. Undetected fraud can wreak havoc on web analytics, making key business goals hard to achieve and damaging brand trust. With the right detection systems in place, preventing fraud is easier than you might think.
The most common form of affiliate fraud is cost per acquisition (CPA) scams. This happens when a shady publisher falsifies customer data, uses bots to fill forms and submit false conversions. It’s especially problematic for advertisers who run CPA campaigns that pay out only after the consumer has made a purchase.
Malicious affiliates also use cloned websites to steal traffic. This type of fraudulent activity is commonly known as shell sites and can be detected by looking at bounce rates and the average time spent on a page. If these numbers are very high, this could indicate that a large number of clicks are being artificially inflated.
Another common affiliate fraud method is the use of stolen credit card numbers. By purchasing stolen credit card numbers on the dark web, a shady publisher can impersonate real consumers and complete transactions on their behalf. This type of fraud is most often seen in pay-per-acquisition (CPA) campaigns, but it can be used in a variety of other ways as well.
Fraudsters are always coming up with new tactics to defraud marketers, and it’s important for businesses to be aware of what these techniques are so that they can proactively prevent them. The first step in identifying possible fraudulent activity is to make sure that you’re deploying a robust, comprehensive terms and conditions document that includes clear compliance guidelines. Then, ensure that your team is prepared to quickly investigate and respond to any instances of suspicious behavior.
Lastly, it’s crucial to establish a list of banned affiliates and publishers. Keeping this up to date and communicating it with partners is the best way to prevent fraudsters from infiltrating your campaign. Additionally, ask publishers to identify any third-party sources of their traffic and be wary if they’re reluctant to do so. Finally, invest in a scalable affiliate publisher fraud detection solution like IPQualityScore that can be integrated into your web assets and easily detect invalid traffic caused by bots, malware, human fraud farms and other bad actors. By combining powerful data analysis and machine learning with intuitive visual interfaces, IPQS makes it easy for anyone to spot fraud in real-time. Using this type of system, you can protect your revenue stream from fraudulent affiliates and focus on what matters most – achieving your business goals. With these tools at your disposal, you can reclaim the integrity of your analytics and online reputation. And who knows, you might even save some money along the way!