3-Ways to Spot Affiliate Marketing Scams

A savvy Internet marketer can easily spot affiliate marketing scams but for newbie marketers, it is difficult to distinguish one from the other.

The desire to earn money online quickly often blinds newbie Internet marketers against checking the genuineness of affiliate marketing programs.

Affiliate Marketing Scams More than 80% of the affiliate marketing programs found online are not authentic and the reason why unsuspecting newbie Internet marketers fall prey to them is because of their ‘convincing’ marketing strategies.

The unauthentic affiliate marketing programs spend thousands to brag about their sales and create an endless number of ‘false’ testimonials. When you want to talk to their support system, you are either redirected to spurious websites or you are connected to virtual or automated customer care people.

On this basic background, your first step to spot trustworthy affiliate marketing programs is RESEARCH. Research the background of the merchant you are interested in representing. How do you research? Just Google the name of the merchant, website name or the address given on the sales page and see how the results fare. Concentrate on forums and discussion sites where Internet marketers normally communicate scamming and fraudulent websites.

Moreover, a genuine Internet marketer will have more than an email address on the website such as telephone number and a physical address. If the owner lives in the same state as you are in, it won’t harm to pay the person a visit. Or you can call up the number and have a real chat.

To verify further, ask another friend to call up the same number after few days and you both can compare responses.

A genuine affiliate marketing website will be eager and readily interested to answer your queries and not give practiced or stock replies. You need to check various rip-off detection websites and look for tell-tale signs.

Your second step to spot trustworthy affiliate programs is to check the PAYMENT PLAN. Spurious affiliate websites will ask you to pay upfront for joining. According to them, the joining fees is for running the affiliate account and pay for necessary maintenance.

Now, ask yourself – why should you have to pay to receive work? And these websites create such a hype like “this is your ultimate opportunity to earn money the legitimate way at low cost” or “you won’t pay this joining price twice” that newbie Internet marketers take at face value and willingly step into their trap.

Again, let me caution you, do not ever join affiliate merchants who promise exceptional or “too good to be true” earnings. They typically promise daily cash pay, 5 level residual income or 300% commissions. Run as far away as you can. You are wasting your time on these scamming offers.

When I search for affiliate merchants online, I deliberately chat with their so-called support system and ask – “Why will you charge me for signing up?” or “Can’t you deduct the ‘account maintenance’ fees from my first payout?” I wish I had kept a record of their answers and posted it here. From the flimsiest of excuses to the subtle insult “can’t you afford to pay $47 for lifelong earning?” you will be rolling in laughter hearing them!!! Anyways, let’s move forward.

Your third step is to know the difference between MULTI-LEVEL MARKETING and PYRAMID MARKETING. Most people use the terms synonymously but there is a difference and if you want to do ‘real’ affiliate marketing, you must keep it in mind.

Multi-level marketing or affiliate marketing involves selling of real products and services. It also has a recruitment system where you bring in more affiliates and you earn a commission from their incomes.

In contrast, a pyramid marketing scheme does not involve any real products and services. You pay to sign up and market the website for recruiting other people under you. Why would you do that? It promises a ‘pot of gold’ or lots of moolah once you reach the top of the pyramid and that my friend, is really difficult to achieve.

Most of the time the pyramid fails or breaks midway and you have to start again from scratch. Stay away from pyramid marketing and seek real Multi-level marketing opportunities. Amway is one example of a successful multi-level marketing venture.

The main thing is you should not run after making quick money. Affiliate marketing takes as much effort as others. Best thing is to associate yourself with large corporations like Amazon, ClickBank and Commission Junction where you have the surety to get paid and moreover, their brand popularity is immense. You won’t be cheated and certainly, there is no money involved for joining.

Leave a comment if you’ve been scammed…

Making Money with Amazon

If you have a credit card and 25 USD at your disposal, you can set up your affiliate account with Amazon and start earning an amazing 15% commission from all affiliate sales.

Now you may have heard this endless number of times but with Amazon, it truly is a heaven for affiliates. It is one of the best paying affiliate marketplaces ever, not only in terms of generous commissions but also in a way that you can depend on to be a reliable source of income for a long time. Apart from becoming an Amazon affiliate, there are countless other ways to earn from Amazon.

Amazon – A Brief History

Jeff Bezos laid foundation of Amazon way back in 1994 and went online in 1995. Earlier the company was called “Cadabra Inc” but later, the name was changed to Amazon as it implies the company’s large size.

Amazon did not sell multiple kinds of products in the beginning; it was just a good old online bookstore and later they diversified into electronic items, furniture, apparel, foods, toys and others.

For people in the online business, you will be surprised to know that Amazon never made any profit or a substantial amount of profit for the first four years.

Since Amazon incorporated and issued its first initial public offering in the year 1997, there were complaints from shareholders who were not earning any profits from their investment.

But this soon changed when the Internet bubble burst in 2000 and many Internet / online businesses went down. But, Amazon sustained itself – its persistence and perseverance didn’t go to waste and they earned their first quarterly profit of 5 million USD in 2001.

A tip: The founder never lost hope or faith in the business tactic or model he was following and went through four grueling years sustaining business expenses and maintaining a high value driven service to consumers – this should be the attitude of new age Internet marketers. NEVER GIVE UP.

Making Money with Amazon – What Are Your Options?

Keeping aside the option of becoming a seller on Amazon, which means you create an account and sell your products, you have three other options to think about:

Becoming an Amazon Advertiser

In this option, you have the chance to display your product in front of millions of qualified shoppers and follow a cost – per – click advertising on Amazon.

You can use ‘Amazon Product Ads’ to drive traffic to your website. The blueprint to follow – you create a free account, upload your product catalog, enter your budget, Amazon displays them with highly targeted shoppers and you pay only when someone clicks on those ads and is redirected to your website to make a purchase. You don’t have to pay Amazon for allowing shoppers to pay a visit to your website.

Currently, the Amazon Advertiser offer is available for baby products, computers, electronic items, health and beauty, home products, jewelry, office products, shoes, toys, watches and children toys – if you are dealing with any of the products above, you can set up Amazon account easily.

Becoming an Amazon Affiliate

If you have a website that is a few months old and has a purpose (keep in mind the Google’s Farmer Update 2011), you can set up an account with Amazon Affiliate program. When you advertise Amazon products on your website and visitors from your website actually buy from those ads, you get up to 15% in referral fees.

The affiliate program is available for almost all Amazon products but check out in detail after your sign up. Doing thorough product research is important because you would want a product that sells and not something that looks ‘good’ on your website.

The Amazon affiliate program was launched in 1996. Do the math – they have a 15 year track record behind them and you can definitely trust that kind of experience.

For a start, you can begin with link building and adding widgets on your site. Use Amazon links and banners to add an endless number of products to your website. You can use custom-made Amazon widgets to provide an interactive experience for people visiting your web page.

You can create links and widgets from any Amazon page – it is called Site Stripe. With Site Stripe, you can “create links directly from the Amazon.com site without having to visit Associates Central” (Amazon).

Becoming an Independent Publisher

Are you a writer and looking for ways to publish your book? Surely the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing option will sound like a godsend as compared to waiting and sulking to get publishers to notice your book and then publish it after 2-3 years, unless of course, they find it so worthless that it goes into the shredder!!!

You can reverse all this by becoming an independent publisher with Amazon’s Kindle edition of new – age publishing technology. With Kindle, you can create and publish a complete version of your book within minutes and start promoting it.

Kindle is “fast, free and easy” (Amazon). Not only this, you get to participate in a 70% royalty earning program when people purchase your book. Moreover, your self – published book will be available for purchase on Kindle supported devices – iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone, PC, Blackberry, Mac and Android devices.

Furthermore, if you want a little variation, you can go for “on – demand” publishing through Amazon’s “Create Space” program.

Here, you advertise to millions of potential buyers and only self – publish the book when consumers want them. Create Space works on “on – demand” model and thus, you create the product when customers order.

This way you don’t have to pile up on books, unlike how the brick and mortar publishing industry works. The self published books on Create Space can be made available through CDs, DVDs, books, MP3 and video download format.

Finally, to enable potential buyers to search about your book, Amazon has formulated a revolutionary search engine strategy where the search engine uses actual words from inside participating books and displays them on search results page – this is known as Amazon “Inside Search.”

Customers can also preview sample pages from your book to assure that it is the title they are looking for.

Conclusion

You have three options to making money with Amazon – while advertising with Amazon is an indirect way because you earn only when shoppers visit your website through Amazon links; the other two options are such that you can earn directly from Amazon.

Nevertheless, all three ways can turn into a reliable source of income in the long term. Just make sure that you are advertising or turning into an affiliate for the right kind of product (read: “a product that sells”) and if you have written a great fiction or non – fiction, sign up with Kindle first.

Do you like Kindle? Let’s hear your pro’s or con’s about it. Leave a comment below!