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Affiliate Marketing

Don't lose by affiliating with fraudsters.

Affiliate fraud is costly to your affiliate programs. Affiliate fraud averages 45% of all affiliate traffic. Take control of your affiliate program and protect against invalid traffic from bots, malware, and human fraud.

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What is Affiliate Marketing Fraud?

Affiliate marketing fraud is a type of online fraud that occurs when someone tries to take advantage of an affiliate marketing program by generating fake leads or claiming sales attribution they didn't contribute towards. This can be done through a variety of methods, such as:

Cookie Stuffing

This method involves placing affiliate cookies on a user's device without their knowledge or consent. It can be done through techniques such as hidden iframes or pop-unders that automatically load affiliate links or cookies in the background, even if the user does not click on any affiliate links.

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Affiliate Link Hijacking

In this method, fraudsters intercept legitimate affiliate links and replace them with their own. When users click on the modified links, they are redirected through the fraudster's affiliate link, allowing them to earn commissions instead of the original affiliate. This can be done through various techniques, including browser extensions or URL manipulation.

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Fake Leads or Sales

Affiliates may generate fake leads or sales to earn illegitimate commissions. This can be done by creating fictitious accounts or using automated scripts to generate artificial clicks, form submissions, or purchases. By inflating the number of leads or sales, fraudsters can earn higher commissions or qualify for better affiliate program rewards.

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Domain Spoofing

Fraudsters may register domains that closely resemble legitimate affiliate websites or brands. They use these domains to redirect traffic or deceive users into thinking they are interacting with a trusted site. By doing so, they can hijack commissions or steal personal information from unsuspecting users.

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Adware and Malware

Some fraudsters use malicious software, such as adware or malware, to manipulate affiliate marketing programs. This can involve injecting affiliate links into a user's browser without their knowledge, then diverting commissions to the fraudster. They may also redirect users to affiliate offers or manipulate search engine results to benefit their own affiliate links.

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Unauthorized Promotion Methods

Many affiliate programs have specific rules and guidelines outlining how affiliates can promote products or services. Fraudulent affiliates may violate these rules by engaging in prohibited practices, such as spamming, incentivizing clicks, or using misleading advertising methods. These tactics can deceive users and lead to fraudulent commissions.

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Ad Fraud

Although not specific to affiliate marketing, ad fraud can impact affiliate programs. Ad fraud involves generating fake ad impressions, clicks, or conversions to deceive advertisers and earn illegitimate revenue. Fraudulent affiliates may use bots, click farms, or other methods to artificially inflate ad metrics and earn higher commissions.

John Smith

Learn How to Detect and Prevent Affiliate Fraud


Affiliate Fraud

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What’s the Cost of Affiliate Marketing Fraud to Your Business?

Affiliate marketing fraud aims to cheat your business and your legitimate affiliates out of money using misleading or fraudulent activities that incorrectly pay commissions to the fraudster. On Average, 45% of all paid traffic is lost to affiliate fraud.

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This can have several impacts on your business’ affiliate marketing campaigns:

wasted dollars icon

Wasted Ad Spend

Affiliate fraud feeds off your ad budget, transferring your hard-earned dollars to fraudsters not genuine affiliates.


Losing Legitimate Affiliates

When legitimate affiliates lose out on their rightful commissions, their trust in your program diminishes, hurting your business reputation.


Reduced New Customer Acquisition

As your budget is siphoned off by fraudsters, and genuine affiliates depart, your new customer acquisition rate suffers.


Potential TCPA Violations

Fraudsters often generate leads using stolen information, exposing you to potential TCPA violations and hefty fines.


Credit Card Chargebacks

Fraudsters frequently exploit the long chargeback cycle using stolen cards, causing you to lose both the payment and the goods sold.

Uncover Fraudulent Affiliates and Make Every Click Count with the Ultimate  Fraud Solution

Case Study
"Anura doesn’t just mitigate ad fraud, it grows your company. Since making the switch to Anura, our clients have seen a 100% improvement in the quality of traffic and increased their spend with us. Anura is boosting our ROI along with helping our company grow; no other ad fraud solution has ever done that for us."

- Joe D'Aloia, Director of Campaign Operations

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White Paper

The Rise of Affiliate Marketing Fraud

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Rely on Anura – Your Shield Against Affiliate Fraud

Anura's state-of-the-art fraud detection technology offers comprehensive protection against affiliate fraud. With No False Positives™ and unparalleled fraud identification capabilities, you can fortify your affiliate program against fraud and boost your ROI. Trust Anura to strip the cloak from fraudsters, safeguarding your revenues, your reputation, and your affiliate relationships

Protect Your Affiliate Marketing Program from Fraud

Signs of Affiliate Marketing Fraud

unsually high conversion

Unusually High Conversion Rates

If you notice an affiliate with an abnormally high conversion rate compared to other affiliates or industry benchmarks, it could be a sign of fraud. This may indicate that the affiliate is engaging in fake leads or sales to earn illegitimate commissions.

suspicious traffic

Suspicious Traffic Patterns

Analyze the traffic patterns of affiliates. If you observe a sudden surge in traffic from questionable sources or see a large volume of traffic from regions or demographics that are unlikely to be interested in the promoted products or services, it could be a sign of fraudulent activities.

click to sale

Abnormal Click-to-Sale Ratio

The click-to-sale ratio represents the number of clicks an affiliate generates compared to the number of resulting sales. If you notice an affiliate with an extremely high or low click-to-sale ratio compared to industry averages, it may indicate fraudulent behavior. High ratios could suggest click fraud, while low ratios may indicate cookie stuffing or other manipulation techniques.

unusual behavior

Unusual Affiliate Behavior

Keep an eye on affiliates who consistently violate program rules or engage in suspicious promotion methods. This could include excessive use of prohibited advertising techniques, such as spamming, incentivizing clicks, or misleading users. Repeat offenders may be more likely to be involved in fraudulent activities.

increase in affiliates

Drastic Increase in Affiliate Applications

If you experience a sudden influx of affiliate applications, particularly from questionable sources, it could be a red flag. Fraudsters often create multiple fake accounts to maximize their fraudulent activities. Be vigilant in screening new affiliate applications and thoroughly vet their legitimacy.

unusual audits

Unusual Affiliate Behavior During Audits

When conducting audits or investigations, if an affiliate shows signs of evasive behavior, such as refusing to provide necessary information, deleting or hiding relevant data, or providing inconsistent explanations, it may suggest attempts to conceal fraudulent activities.

Case Study
"Beyond the easy-to-use analytics dashboard, BriteBox trusts in the accuracy of Anura's identification of fraud, both in the pre-bid and post-click analysis. After processing over 18 million visitors and yet to see a false positive, BriteBox sees the long-term benefits of having accuracy in their ad fraud vendor."

- Penny Lee, Former Head of Sales

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Affiliate Fraud

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Case Study
"Anura was able to identify the affiliates who were not the best affiliates. We were able to start pruning our affiliate lists because of what we found in Anura."

- Judith-Ann Sarjaent, GlobalWeb Services

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Trust Anura to Uncover the Fraud.

Anura digs deeper into your data to help you understand the specifics associated with your affiliate sources. With No False Positives™ and industry-leading fraud identification, you can mitigate affiliate fraud and improve your program ROI.

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FAQs About Affiliate Fraud

If you think you might be losing monthly revenue because of fraudulent affiliate activities, there’s a good chance you’re right. Fortunately, there are steps you can take. Let’s cover some of the frequently asked questions about affiliate marketing scams so you can protect your business from affiliate fraudsters.

What is Affiliate Fraud?

Affiliate marketing fraud refers to deceptive practices employed by individuals or entities to manipulate or exploit affiliate marketing programs for their own financial gain, often by generating fake leads or sales.

How does Affiliate Fraud happen?

In the case of acquisition fraud or lead fraud, a fraudster will use stolen information to make a purchase or fill out a lead form using real information or aged lead data. This makes it look like a real person is entering their information, but it’s all an illusion to generate a commission for the lead.

Beyond creating false clicks, other examples of affiliate scams include impression fraud, CPI fraud, install fraud, using stolen credit cards for purchase fraud, and user login fraud. All of these tactics and more are used to collect unearned commissions.

How can Affiliate Fraud be detected?

Look for suspicious patterns, such as an unusually high number of conversions from a single affiliate, inconsistent traffic sources, or a significant increase in sales without a corresponding increase in website traffic or engagement.

Fortunately, Anura combine machine learning with expert data analysis are empowering affiliate marketers with the ability to detect all sorts of affiliate fraud. Right down to the specific affiliate link or affiliate ids, it's possible to reveal affiliate marketing scams that could be plaguing your cost-per-lead reduction efforts. By uncovering sophisticated invalid traffic, threats are identified tracing fraudulent human behavior and bot activity alike.

How can Affiliate Fraud be prevented?

Once you've found a solid system for monitoring your affiliate marketing networks to uncover fraud, you'll need a way to lock the fraudulent affiliate partners out of the system. When the solution has a dashboard to view recent activity, you can rest assured you won’t lose money on affiliate activity that’s less than ethical.

Anura provides an easy-to-use dashboard that enables you to view real-time traffic feedback on our fraud prevention efforts. Through our incredible granularity of intel, we pinpoint the source of your fraud. Potentially save thousands if not millions per month on your performance marketing when you protect your online business with Anura.

What should you do if you suspect Affiliate Marketing fraud?

Affiliate marketing scams are far more common than many folks would expect. This holds true for a well-established business, as the budgets for ad spend are typically more robust. More paid traffic means it's easier to hide fraudulent activity from an advertiser's company.

To figure out whether you’re dealing with fraud in your affiliate program, seek the help of a company like Anura. Through analysis of hundreds of data points about your affiliate traffic, our data scientists can detect fraud that might otherwise go unnoticed. By leveraging human expertise with machine learning, we provide you with deeper insights into where your traffic comes from.

What are the most common methods of Affiliate Fraud?

Common types include cookie stuffing, where affiliates fraudulently place affiliate tracking cookies on users' devices without their knowledge or consent, and click fraud, where automated software or bots generate fake clicks on affiliate links to earn commissions.

What are the most common motives for Affiliate Fraud?

Money. From bilking credit card companies from affiliate commissions to lead acquisition fraud, the average affiliate fraud attack has one main motive, and that's taking as much money from an advertiser as possible. Of course, there is also a degree of fun for these high-tech scam artists when it comes to the challenge of operating undetected.

Thankfully, with the advent of new tools for finding lead fraud and other forms of advertising fraud, it's becoming more difficult for these tech-savvy thieves to take advantage of affiliate advertisers. While the desire to steal commissions may still remain, the ability to do so can now be prevented with solutions like Anura.

What legal consequences can Affiliates face for engaging in fraud?

Affiliates involved in fraud may face legal repercussions, including civil lawsuits for damages, termination of their affiliate accounts, and potential criminal charges, depending on the severity of the fraud and applicable laws in their jurisdiction.

How can I protect my Affiliate Marketing program from fraud?

Implement strict affiliate approval processes, monitor affiliate activities regularly, and use Anura, a fraud detection tool to identify potentially fraudulent activities. Establish clear guidelines and terms of service and enforce penalties for affiliates found engaging in fraudulent practices.

What trends are emerging in Affiliate Fraud?

If your new app CPI involves paying affiliates for Apple Store or Google Play traffic, you might be targeted for app install fraud. This scam uses spoofed IP information to make it look like you've had a successful app install when you really haven't.

Gaming companies are another common victim of installation fraud. Affiliate programs that deliver commissions for a game installation could be targeted by scammers who use misleading display ads, pop-ups, or pay-per-click ads on Google search.

The beauty of Anura is that our system is always learning the latest trends in affiliate fraud along with how to best disarm threats early on.

If you didn’t find the answer you need, click here to reach out to one of our ad fraud experts

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