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Case Study

Managing Affiliate Fraud: Getting Ahead of Click Fraud & Arbitration

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Affiliate marketing has long since been a lucrative channel for businesses looking to drive sales and expand their reach while paying on a performance commercial model. However, as with any industry involving online tracking there is some complexity around how to manage fraud prevention from traffic sellers — particularly click fraud and arbitration schemes.

These malicious practices not only undermine the integrity of affiliate programs but also pose significant financial risks to both advertiser brands and genuine affiliates alike.

What is click fraud, and how does it work?

Click fraud occurs when individuals or automated systems generate illegitimate clicks on affiliate links, with the sole purpose of fraudulently earning commissions. These fraudulent clicks do not represent genuine user interest or potential conversions, yet they still trigger payouts to the affiliates responsible for generating them.

Click fraud can be triggered through various tactics, including:

  • Bot Networks: Fraudsters leverage networks of compromised devices or servers to simulate human traffic and generate automated clicks on affiliate links.
  • Click Farms: These operations employ low-wage workers or use automated tools to manually click on affiliate links repeatedly, mimicking human behaviour.
  • Cookie Stuffing: In this scheme, fraudsters surreptitiously place affiliate cookies on users’ browsers without their knowledge or consent, attempting to hijack commissions from legitimate sources.

The impact of click fraud extends beyond just the companies financial losses, as it can also skew campaign and source performance data, undermine attribution models, and erode trust between merchants and affiliates.

How Anura helped VPP fight Ad Fraud

Here’s how Anura helped VPP — one of the oldest direct Yahoo feeds in Search Arbitrage — in their fight against fraud:

The Problem

VPP found itself grappling with the challenges of ad fraud and the limitations of traditional fraud detection solutions. Despite their best efforts, they struggled to identify and prevent fraudulent traffic effectively, hindering their ability to scale and deliver value to their customers.

Why were VPP targeted?

Digital Marketing is one of the biggest industries that suffers from Ad Fraud — and Search Engine Marketing (where VPP operates) is one of the largest channels in the Digital Marketing industry.

Fraudsters target online advertising all the time as they can continually innovate their methods to ensure that ad platforms cannot keep up. You need to be able to monitor your traffic to keep it clean, otherwise you are just paying for fraud, or passing fraud to your revenue providers. Neither is good for business.

Why Anura?

The big thing that sold VPP on Anura was their no nonsense approach to catching the bad guys. Where other solutions presented them with a “fraud scale” Anura approached fraud from a stand point where a visitor was fraudulent or they weren’t.

“If Anura told me it was bad, I can be really confident that it’s bad.” says Nick Szabo, Revenue Ops Director.

Not only that, but their analysis was spot on. Within the first month, Anura found more fraudulent traffic across the VPP network than any other fraud solution.

“They catch more bots than any other IVT solution that I’ve been able to test” Szabo says.

The Anura solution was also flexible enough to work with VPP’s in-house solution. This means that VPP is able to update the Anura algorithm with custom fixes that the IA finds themself.

The Result

This collaborative approach not only enabled VPP to identify and stop a large-scale fraud event early, but it also highlighted Anura’s commitment to delivering a superior fraud detection solution that continuously adapts to new threats.

“They are so responsive and they work really close to you, it’s like having a boutique service, and that’s what transforms Anura from being a third party vendor to being a partner or even a member of the team!” comments Nick Szabo in his recent video testimonial of the service.

Anura has helped VPP to scale in a way that was not possible before. When the company was fearful of fraud, VPP were reluctant to invest in buying a lot of traffic. Now, they are able to invest in large amounts of traffic, confident in the knowledge that they are now in a position to stop bad traffic before it becomes an issue.

What features do they use the most?

Given that they paired Anura with their own in-house solution, it’s perhaps not a surprise that VPP is now a long term user of Anura’s fast acting simple to use API. They find it “fantastic and fast” and use it to pull Anura data into their own system quickly and efficiently, helping the industry clean up traffic.

What sets Anura apart from its competitors?

Speed is a standout benefit across the platform. The Anura dashboard is intuitive and displays information much quicker than most other platforms on the market.

Excellent customer support is also highlighted by the VPP team. Requests to update the algorithm are met promptly to ensure that the entire solution is updated quickly. As such, VPP is able to ensure that their entire network is constantly protected.

One such request took place over the holidays. A request was sent, analysed and actioned despite the fact that most of the working world wasn’t working. As such, VPP was able to identify other fraudulent users who had a similar footprint to the source and they were able to get ahead of the game and prevent a huge fraud event.

“They are so responsive and they work really close to you, it’s like having a boutique service, and that’s what transforms Anura from being a third party vendor to being a partner or even a member of the team!” - Nick Szabo

Taking action: Uncover the truth in your program or network with a FREE trial from

Don't overlook affiliate fraud—it's a serious threat. That’s why offers a free trial of their industry-leading fraud detection solution, empowering affiliate managers to uncover the truth about their traffic. With advanced algorithms, real-time monitoring, and continuous adaptation, you can uncover potential threats and protect your program's integrity and profits. Don't ignore this issue. Safeguard your business, your affiliates, and your bottom line. Visit now to sign up.