By Admitad Quality Control Department
Affiliate marketing is one of the most effective ways for e-commerce merchants all over the world to scale their businesses. No tool has more power to bolster sales and give advertisers access to new, untapped markets to ultimately strengthen their bottom line and brand recognition the way affiliate marketing can.
And yet, e-commerce merchants need to be acutely aware of the devastating potential that fraud can have on one’s affiliate marketing efforts. An inability to recognize and combat it can cause advertisers to do business with publishers whose sole intention is to take advantage of them, watering down the impact of their businesses, even to the point of bringing their businesses to a complete standstill.
The good news is publishers who engage in fraudulent activity are bound to get caught sooner or later; it’s not exactly a scalable strategy when it comes to bringing in advertising revenue. Even better for advertisers is that Admitad’s affiliate marketing network has the capability of detecting and preventing fraud to make sure its advertisers have the best defenses possible against being defrauded by a publisher.
What is fraud in affiliate marketing?
It would help to understand what fraud looks like in affiliate marketing. Fraud is any publisher’s attempt to cheat advertisers or affiliate networks in order to increase their earnings and for other self-serving ends pursued by violators. Sometimes it consists of creating copies of the advertiser’s website, other times it involves inflating clicks — especially the advertiser’s contract with the publisher is based on cost per action (CPA) model.
Buxes are another way advertisers can be defrauded. Buxes are schemes that prompt internet users to click more than they otherwise would. This includes pop-up ads, prompt boxes, and other methods, all of which ultimately artificially inflate CPA data for the publisher. Not only does this mean you are being forced to pay a vendor more than you should, but the presentation of the product is damaged as well.
And then there’s the bot problem. Astoundingly, bots account for about half of all browsing activity that happens on Chrome, the most popular internet browser in the world. As you can imagine, bots and other forms of illegal traffic have the ability to impact CPA data even more profoundly than buxes.
Fortunately, Admitad’s affiliate marketing network is specifically designed to monitor and combat advertisers from being defrauded.
Recent Examples of Affiliate Marketing Fraud
Every year, scammers find different ways to defraud publishers, advertisers, and affiliate networks. New scam techniques arise regularly — seemingly just as fast as affiliate networks find ways of defending against existing scams. A major example is from December 2016, when it was found that the fraudulent ad network Methbot was netting scammers as much as $5 million per day by inflating video results by 300 million views in some cases. Security firm White Ops found that hackers created more than 6,000 domain and more than 250,000 URLs in this sophisticated scame.
Another recent example targeted advertisers on the Financial Times. In September of 2017, the publisher discovered that 10 separate ad exchanges hosted domains masquerading as FT.com, and 15 ad exchanges hosted fraudulent videos attributed to FT.com. Remarkably, Financial Times does not even sell video advertising. The London-based publisher contacted notified some 11,000 clients and agencies, informing them that hackers were netting about $1.3 million per month.
Who monitors traffic quality at Admitad?
Admitad’s Traffic Quality Control Department is designed to monitor and regulate traffic coming through the Admitad affiliate network, specifically detects any kind of faker, violator and cookie stuffer and isolates them from the publishers compliant with the standards of the affiliate network, committed to maintaining only the highest quality of traffic on their sites. The team also analyzes and reports on the data pertaining to this type of activity.
As the Traffic Quality Control Department operates as an independent division within the company, neither advertisers nor publishers are able to influence or disrupt the work of the team, including any monitoring and combating mechanisms.
Ultimately, the Traffic Quality Control Department protects the integrity of activity both affecting and between publishers and advertisers, and even enables advertisers to strengthen relationships with trustworthy, compliant publishers who always drive consistent sales for your business and strive to do even better.
What tools are used by Admitad’s Traffic Quality Control Department?
Among the many tools Admitad uses is the Brand defence program. It monitors search engine keyword queries provided by advertisers and defends against nefarious brand bidding. This includes the all too common practice of poaching brand search terms and redirecting traffic to another site. If left unmonitored, this kind of activity can wreak havoc on the volume of traffic that goes to one’s website.
Another key constituent of Admitad’s toolkit is the CookieStuffing defence tool, which records information cookie stuffing activity. Data is also one of Admitad’s assets, as the Traffic Quality Control Department leverages it to make informed decisions on refining and expanding its capabilities. If data shows that a specific type of website — for example online sellers of jewelry — is more susceptible to bot activity than others, Admitad is able to design a defense mechanism that caters specifically to this problem.
What happens when Admitad discovers a violation?
If a publisher causes any kind of damage to an advertiser, Admitad will obligate the publisher to pay the advertiser for the damage that’s inflicted. If a violation has taken place without incurring any damage, Admitad will send a warning demanding that the publisher change his or her approach. If Admitad detects a publisher with a pattern of behavior of deliberately attracting bad traffic, the publisher is cut off from the affiliate network. In the case of brand bidding, if a violator has made a sale, the dates of the transaction that the search queries are registered, and the payment associated with the fraudulent activity is declined.
Clearly, Admitad’s approach to fraud enables e-commerce merchants to leverage the power of affiliate marketing to the fullest, to grow one’s business to new heights and to uncharted frontiers. Thanks to a judicious and efficient fraud monitoring system, advertisers can rest easy knowing they are not getting taken advantage of. While you may be able to put a price tag on the value this brings a business, the peace of mind it delivers is invaluable.
Admitad is a cost per action (CPA) affiliate network that connects advertisers with publishers across the world to drive sales for advertisers. Among admitad’s affiliates are advertisers such as Lamoda, KupiVip, AliExpress, Booking.com, GearBest, Qatar Airways, ASOS, YOOX, SHOPBOP, Papa John’s, L’Etoile, МТS, Delivery Club and others. Admitad works with more than 1,500 advertisers and more than 650,000 publishers, registering in total more than 5,000,000 target visitors per day.