There’s a huge problem with affiliate marketing and it all stems from the simple fact that there is more money being made teaching people how to be an affiliate marketer than actually being made through affiliate marketing. People fall into these types of schemes, buying eBooks, tools, systems and informational products that promise the world in profits, but often deliver little more than you could find through a quick Google search for free.
Nevertheless, these types of schemes are only the scrapings on the burnt toast of affiliate marketing scams—something far more sinister lies closer to the crust. Of course, this is the Internet and learning how to avoid scams should be one of the first things that you do, so it should come as no surprise that as time goes forward, scammers will continue to grow their book of little dirty tricks. This means that you’ll have to not only learn the scams that are out there, but figure out how to avoid the ones that haven’t even been thought up yet.
How to Spot Affiliate Marketing Scams—Five Tips from the Pros
Fortunately, this isn’t as hard as it sounds. By learning to look for the key markings of a legitimate operation, you can virtually avoid any current and future affiliate marketing scams. That’s because with the following five tips, there really is no way around being a legit operation without some semblance of the following:
- Physical Presence. If an affiliate marketer isn’t showing their physical location on their landing pages or home page, it’s a scam—bottom line. Check the address on Google Maps and go into street view. Is it a fish cannery or a legit office? Call the number listed there—is it disconnected or going to a cab company? You need to be able to verify a source, just like citing a term paper in college. If there is no bibliography for the marketer, don’t believe the hype.
You can also check to see who owns the site by Googling “Who owns X?” where X is the name of the website. Some places may choose to hide their address, but if they don’t make sure the address given on the ownership result matches the one given on the website. The last thing you want to do is get in bed with someone who is doing everything they can to hide who they are—why would a legit business do that?
- Reviews. Don’t just go by the reviews written on the affiliate marketing site since many of them are made up by the affiliate marketer themselves. Instead, read independent reviews written by actual customers or members of the affiliate marketing program. Check to see if there is a way to contact the person writing the review to make sure they are real as well.
If all you have to go on are the reviews on the site, check for consistency—in this case, it’s a bad thing. When reviews are written by actual customers, they will be written in different styles, with different misspellings, different punctuations, etc. When everything is perfectly written or—on the other side of the spectrum—certain words are constantly misspelled throughout numerous reviews, it’s a safe bet to say that one person wrote them all—the affiliate marketer or a hired copywriter.
- Better Business Bureau. A company needs a good track record to get ranked by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Look for a seal of approval from the BBB on the affiliate site. It proves that they are recommended by the BBB and are in good standing. Also check the BBB’s website and look for complaints, violations and other signs that the affiliate marketing scam is too good to be true.
You can also Google the website or company’s name followed by the word “scam” and see what pops up. Many sites that have burned people are widely reported and reviewed by the angry customers who were taken for a ride. Read through a few of these, but take some of them with a grain of salt. Just like the false positive reviews some marketers write, other marketing competition could be creating false negative reviews for their competitors. Use the same guidelines for authenticity and consistency as mentioned above.
- Fees. Any site that charges you “set-up fees” or anything of the sort is always going to be a scam. Legitimate affiliate marketing networks will never charge you a fee to do business. Only sites that are trying to make a quick buck off of you will. Other “fees” that they might try to pass off on you could be selling you websites from which to do your marketing or signing you up to some kind of “one-step” system that you’ll only have to pay a one-time fee for.
- Information Profits. Information on legit sites will always be free. Don’t pay for any type of sites that are making more money off of selling information to marketers than they are actually doing the marketing. If they had the “secret to affiliate marketing success”, they’d be using it themselves.
Of course, the real secret to affiliate marketing success could very well be scamming other marketers, but that’s just downright dishonest and in the end, it will catch up to you.
This post is written by John Gibb on behalf of HealthyWealthyAffiliate.com, a premier resource for health affiliate marketing. Interested in signing up as health affiliates and want to reap dividends? Do get in touch with John today for some great affiliate marketing tips and tricks.