Types Of Fraud In Affiliate Marketing


Fraud in affiliate marketing is any behavior that violates the terms and conditions of an affiliate marketing program to steal a commission. It is a concern for every advertiser and every other player in the industry. Such fraudulent actions do not bring any income to the program but damage advertisers’ budgets and affect everyone else. Let’s take a look at the most commonly performed types of fraud.

Click fraud

One of the most popular frauds in affiliate marketing is the practice of inflating the number of clicks through unethical ways in a cost-per-click (CPC) affiliate campaign. The publisher benefits at the advertiser's expense since the site will be owed a greater payout than it should if the numbers had not been skewed.
Click fraud occurs in two major ways. The first is when an affiliate manually fakes the clicks or pays someone else to click on ads, while the second is using bots to target a website and click on the ads. In many instances, the fraudster also infects many computers with malicious code to create a botnet, a group of computers directed to websites to click on ads.

Cookie stuffing

Also referred to as cookie dropping, cookie stuffing can be likened to parasitism in that the fraudster loads a modified cookie onto an unsuspecting visitor’s computer without informing the visitor or prompting any action. The visitor will carry the malignant bug to every other website they visit during that day without knowing.
When the visitor makes a purchase, the publisher is given credit for that purchase instead of promoting the product. In other words, the fraudster makes sure to place their cookies last, so they exploit the ‘last cookie counts’ principle. Most affiliate networks do not permit this method because it erodes the direct line between product and provider.


We’ve all made the mistake of typing in URL into a browser only to discover a misspelling. This is exactly what typo-squatting is all about. In this method, the fraudster targets users who misspell a web address by buying a domain name that is almost identical to the official website. The difference is usually one or two letters that visitors are likely to miss.
As a result, when users type in the URL with the accidental typo, they are redirected to the genuine site and an affiliate link. This practice is wrong because it is not genuine click-through traffic brought to an advertiser via the site they are paying to advertise on.

Domain spoofing

Domain spoofing refers to a situation where someone pretends to be a premium publisher while they are a low-quality publisher. The idea is to make advertisers think that their ads are displayed on trustworthy and profitable websites to get paid more than they deserve, even though it’s false because they end up on irrelevant ones.

In conclusion, Fraud in affiliate marketing profits no one but the fraudster, so it is important to fight it. The first step to halting affiliate marketing fraud is identifying the methods used and then taking measures to eliminate them before such actions affect the affiliate marketing program.

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