The Dark Side Of Affiliate Marketing - Merchant Fraud
As you know by now, Affiliate marketing can be incredibly rewarding when done properly. There are also a lot of pitfalls you need to watch out for as well. One of these is Merchant fraud.
Merchant fraud, unfortunately, does happen. Merchants can use any number of clever tactics to cheat you out of your commission. One of these methods is to offer multiple payment options to customers without linking each one to their Affiliate tracking software. For example, let's say that a Merchant offers credit card payments, payment via Paypal and payment via check to the customer.
The Merchant tracks your Affiliate ID up to the point of sale and credits you if the customer chooses to pay via credit card through the Merchant's main payment gateway.
However, if the customer chooses Paypal or check, your Affiliate ID is immediately tossed.
The only way around this clever trick is an "exercise of caution" on your part.
When you evaluate a potential Affiliate program, check to see how many payment methods the Merchant offers and whether commission is paid on all of them. Secondly, after you sign up for an account, examine your referral links. In fact, if you have the budget to spare, follow your own link and choose one of the alternate payment options and purchase a product.
If you got credit for that sale. Great!
If you didn't receive credit, it's time to can that Merchant and move on to more ethical waters.
Here's another 'advanced' tip to consider:
Use Affiliate networks like Commission Junction, Affiliate Window or ShareaSale ato evaluate potential Merchants. Joining programs via a network is often a better choice than signing up at individual, non-networked sites.
The reason is simple: Membership in an Affiliate network imposes stricter standards on Merchant behavior. You also have access to a wealth of data on the overall performance of other Affiliates in that Merchant's program.
Last but not least, you need to focus on building trust among potential customers. If your Merchant site doesn't do a very good job of this, then send your visitors to your web site. Make it clear what products and/or information you have to offer.
Also, be vigilant about posting your contact information in a prominent place. Anonymity might be fun in a chat room, but it turns off consumers very quickly.
We’ve now reached then end of these short tutorials. I hope you have found it useful and informative. Now it’s time to take action and put into practice the things you have learnt here.
To learn how to become a successful Affiliate Marketing I highly recommend you get yourself a copy of this book by Super Affiliate Rosalind Gardner.