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Mar 17, 2020 · 4 min read

Fraud Prevention in Affiliate Marketing

Creating a routine for the management of your affiliate activity is key for ensuring the smooth running of your account and to aid in fraud prevention.


Affiliate marketing has matured a great deal globally over the last 20 years and the majority of affiliates are legitimate businesses and individuals who follow the guidelines and terms provided by both the affiliate networks and the advertisers directly.

Unfortunately from time to time, there will be some people who attempt to break the rules, therefore it’s important to be aware and to ensure you are doing everything you can to avoid anything untoward occurring on your program.

To start with, what do we mean when we say “fraud”? Specifically, we refer to something as fraud if an affiliate or the company they represent is involved in criminal activity. However there are other activities that can also be tied into this terminology, we will often refer to them as compliance breaches and can include such things as:

  • Affiliate breaches the specific advertiser’s program terms, including their coupon or paid search policy;
  • Affiliate or the company they represent is involved in Criminal Activity, such as obtaining commission using stolen credit cards (fraud)
  • Affiliate conducts or facilitates the use of SPAM, Malware, Virus, Unapproved Toolbars or Cookie Stuffing;
  • Affiliate is deemed under policy definition to be knowingly False Advertising

To help identify and limit the impact of such activities, we have put together some quick tips on how to prevent fraudulent activity:

1.) Manually screen all of your affiliates: Commission Factory provides the functionality for all advertisers to review each individual affiliate who is applying to join their program.

Best practice affiliate application review:

  • Is the website or traffic source still live?
  • Does the website display correctly? No 404 errors, or broken content for example.
  • Does the website content match up with your vertical?
  • Has the affiliate categorised their website correctly?
  • Do they have a decent level of traffic and social media following?
  • Will they promote you with a permitted marketing method according to your terms and conditions?

If the answer is no to any of the above, feel free to decline the application or contact the affiliate for more detail.

2.) Regularly check the active affiliates on your account,  in particular, the affiliates that are generating conversions; look at:

  • Their listed traffic sources - check the site and review traffic levels, their engagement with their userbase (social media).
  • The traffic sources showing in the transaction report (the referring url)
  • Country of origin for their conversions
  • Larger than the usual average order values
  • A sudden spike in conversions

3.) If you are not sure about an affiliate you can contact them via the Commission Factory dashboard or direct email if they have made that available. Simply ask them how they are promoting you with some links so you can review them. Regular communication is key to both the success of your program and understanding who your affiliates are.

4.) Ask your Commission Factory Account Manager questions about affiliates too, do we know them directly, can we look at their account to see if they are active with other advertisers. We are always available to help with any queries you have and we have more visibility on their activity across the network.

5.) Ensure you are regularly validating the transactions in your account against your own database. This should be done at least once per month.

6.) Create a routine to regularly check the details and transactions being generated by a new performing affiliate if you are not familiar with them. 

By working closely with Commission Factory and setting yourself up with a routine process for validation, screening and communication will ensure your affiliate program achieves the best results in line with your terms and conditions.

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