Affiliate marketing fraud, or at the very least the perception of it, remains an industry-wide blight. Regardless of federal regulations and threats of increased government oversight, affiliates, advertisers and publishers continue to do themselves more harm than good playing a constant game of one-upmanship. Whether it’s buying bad conversions, deceptive ads and links or charging for clicks that haven’t been used, affiliate marketers must cease and desist with these irresponsible practices.
The temptation of affiliates to adopt new traffic sources without considering the effect they will have on advertiser conversions is an example of individual greed undermining industry growth. But affiliates are not solely at fault. Advertising and publishing networks have their own bottom lines to meet. As profits and conversions rise, networks tend to concern themselves less with the long-term health and tricky legalities of affiliate marketing. But this needs to change.
Affiliates, advertisers and publishers need to resist the temptation of the quick money fix. Business owners rely on sound publishers just as publishers rely on legitimate network offers. Advertisers, publishers and business owners must view themselves as being part of a trilogy responsible for driving results and continuously improving profitability and the industry as a whole.
Though affiliate marketing fraud is a problem, all is not lost. The release of the Blue Book’s Top 20 performance marketing networks proves that following the rules can maximize profits. Still, these performance marketers must apply the best practices they used in achieving their top 20 rankings to put an end to the misleading affiliate offers currently polluting the online space. Affiliate abusers have been one step ahead of the game for far too long. As skilled marketers, this is one game of one-upmanship we need to win.