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…

List of Internet Marketing Dont’s

If you’ve been dabbling in the world of Internet Marketing, I’m sure you’ve purchased several Internet marketing reports advising you about ‘what you should do’… but, does the same report guide you about the things ‘not to do’? It’s necessary for you to combine both and apply them accordingly to your business. Let’s touch on a few…

Don’t Think It’s Easy

Internet Marketing DontsE-marketing is simply not that easy for the beginner. Never think that by purchasing a few DIY guides, you can replicate the same massive results as the ‘big guys’ with your website and ride the wave of wealth in a matter of days.

The successful marketing strategies and tactics other marketers discuss may be suitable for them, but that doesn’t mean these same techniques will work for you.

If you want to progress, you have to work hard and apply the same amount of devotion as the successful marketers do.  Internet marketing is not a ‘get rich quick’ scheme by any stretch of the imagination.

Don’t Buy Products Carelessly

On a start-up level, you may be hard pressed for cash so don’t go about buying every marketing strategy book, programs, guides and products online. On a score of 10, roughly 4 will be of any use to you. Be choosy…

…use your common sense here. Depending on your skill set, level of  online experience and knowledge, only purchase products or services that will allow you to attain the desired result you’re trying to achieve.

To get a feel for what product or service you’re needing, frequently visit marketing and affiliate forums – interact with fellow marketers and ask for recommendations from those you trust.

There is nothing more valuable than an honest review from the average person who has purchased a product or service and has actually used and applied it. Ask questions. They have the inside scoop on whether or not they felt the product was well worth their investment or not.

Prepare a list of DIY guides and products on Internet marketing that you feel would be useful and talk about them with other marketers. Don’t even think about wasting your hard earned cash on ones that are consistently getting bad responses. Purchase the ones that others are raving about.

Don’t Fall Into Paid Links Trap

Several Internet marketers fall into the trap of buying paid links and traffic for their website – this is the cardinal sin of Internet marketing. The Google search engine is not a fool to think that your website is receiving natural traffic in a wave of thousands all of a sudden.

Moreover, getting paid links and traffic proves to be a negative because Google can shut down your website instantly if its search engine finds out what you’re doing.

Another point is that most of the paid links are from useless sites; sites that do nothing to help your search engine rankings. Same case with paid traffic.

What few Internet marketers tend to do is space out their paid links and traffic exchange over a few months. Even then you have to put in a lot of hard work to get natural unique links and traffic to your website.

Don’t Spend Tons of Cash on Advertisement

Even ten or twenty years back, advertisement expenditure formed a major part of a company’s budget but with the Internets’ advanced technology, there are endless options of free advertisement.

No matter what kind of online business you have, you should not spend reckless amounts of cash unless you’re sure of what you are doing and your investment proves to yield a positive return.

Like any other business promotional strategy, you need to test and monitor different marketing methods to see which options work best for you. While some may earn a good deal of money with AdWords, many earn with free advertisement. Choose these options wisely that fit your budget.

Don’t Buy Lists

Purchasing lists of thousands of people’s names, email addresses and other details is expensive and kind of like taking a shot in the dark. There are several unscrupulous websites that collect personal information and sell them online.  These details are supposed to be private and should always stay private. Regardless… is the list truly targeted?  Not on all accounts they’re not.

Instead, put your efforts in major research to begin with, and you’ll find your true market…resulting in only marketing to potential customers searching for exactly what you have to offer.  Short cuts to ‘success’ never last.

Don’t Use Multi-Level Marketing if Unsure

There is quite a debate regarding Multi-level marketing because some critics consider this method to be illegal. Multi-level marketing is a business system where goods and services are sold through a pyramid scheme structure, with distributors on the top supplying others lower down the scale in return for commission.

Making the pyramid scheme work is rather difficult, very time consuming and the competition is stiff. Unless you research all the ins and outs and prefer that business model, you may want to choose an alternative if you’re just starting out.

Don’t Be Greedy

Several Internet marketers fail to find success online because they tend to get too greedy, too soon. These are people who are being fed to the wolves – so blinded by money they talk themselves right into thinking that earning money online is a piece of cake.

If you are one of them, it’s time for a sincere reality check. Nothing worth having ever comes easy in life so don’t disappoint yourself by thinking making money online is any different.

Internet marketing is not your money spinning machine. It’s a skill, one that needs to be mastered. You have to sweat it out, work hard and devote the time to expect decent returns. Patience my dear, lots of patience.

Don’t Make Tall Claims

Phil Greenough of Greenough Communications says that “even if you are not making a big splash, it is more important to be true than to dress a product to be different than it really is.”

In other words, what he’s saying is never make tall claims about a product or service if not true. Remember, those bad reviews catch on faster than you’ll ever know.

Sure in the short-term you may be able to drive 100 sales the first month but buyers are very smart. Once they hear the product is not up to par, you may as well kiss success good-bye. Negative reviews that go viral are simply unstoppable.

Don’t Create Replica Sites

Some people think they are too smart – they create replica sites of their main websites and promote them. It works but for a short while. Search engines can track them and if promotion gets too popular, people can easily identify these sites and may perceive them to be fraudulent. If you have too many products to sell, create different websites with unique content. Keep it simple and honest.

Don’t Use Black Hat Techniques

Have you read the not-so-recent JC Penney problem? Apparently they used black hat techniques and flourished the Internet with their links. They may have made millions for a few months but Google found out and now their search engine ranking is below 100!

Black Hat search optimization are techniques used to get higher search engine rankings in an unethical manner.  These characteristics include breaking the search engine rules and regulations and unproperly presents content in a different visual or non-visual way to search engine spiders and search engine users.

Black Hat techniques to avoid;

Keyword stuffing: Packing long lists of keywords and nothing else onto your site

Invisible text: This is putting lists of keywords in white text on a white background in hopes of attracting more search engine spiders.

Doorway Pages: A doorway page is basically a “fake” page that the user will never see.

Make sure you never follow black hat techniques and risk being banned or blacklisted. While they are tempting…stay away.

Don’t Ever Ignore Consumer Feedback

It is the consumer – not the advertisers that results in revenue. If you make the mistake of ignoring your customer’s feedback, you stand to lose repeat business.

Few years back Intel made the same mistake when buyers commented on a faulted chip. Soon media got wind of it and Intel had to announce product recalls – a loss of both time and money.

Therefore, honor all consumer’s feedback both positive and negative. And… don’t think twice about refunding anyone’s money if they are dissatisfied with your product.

What are some of your Internet marketing Don’ts. Leave a comment and let us know…