Certainly, you can make money with affiliate marketing. But as with any business, some people will resort to underhanded tactics just to make lots of money. But we all just want to make an honest living, and at the same time we don’t want to get ripped off. Which is why you should be wary about the affiliate marketing scams that exist today.
I’m not going to name them, but I don’t have to. You yourself can identify such scams just by seeing three clear signs.
1. Lots and lots of negative reviews
This is perhaps the easiest to spot. All you have to do is pull up a Google search page, type in the affiliate network’s name, and add the word “scam” at the end. If Google gives you page upon page filled with people saying they’ve been conned, that’s your cue. Stay away from it by all means.
Reddit is also a good place to go scam-hunting. Just use the search bar on the reddit homepage with the same search terms. There are even subreddits dedicated to online scams, so that’s the place to go.
2. Fake articles and websites
Legitimate affiliate marketing networks do not have to resort to in-your-face advertising to get you to join. If they’re trustworthy, their own affiliates would vouch for them on their behalf. It is them who would write good reviews of the affiliate network, instead of the latter writing stuff to praise itself.
Affiliate marketing scams, on the other hand, have no word-of-mouth leverage. Instead, they have to create overly self-promotional content claiming to be informative. Clickbait is their weapon of choice here. Some are even clever, adding in some statistics, studies, research, and other data that make it look legitimate. But of course, all of that “data” is false upon closer inspection.
More so, they even go as far as creating fake websites that, again, are self-promotional. Or, they could be sites that seem to have a different owner yet promote the same scammy affiliate network. Usually, fake sites have the following symptoms:
- Poor visual design (colours all over the place, cringeworthy fonts, ALL CAPS everywhere, and an unhealthy mixture of big and small font sizes)
- Hard to navigate, or no other pages to navigate to at all
- Lots of error messages (403, 404, etc.)
Legitimate affiliate networks, on the other hand, have professionally-designed websites. They look clean, navigate smoothly, and give you all the information you need. They are maintained well, and are updated regularly to give you the latest offers, changes to company policies, and other relevant information.
3. Recruitment-based earning
Affiliate marketing depends upon products to give commissions to affiliates. When there’s no product to promote, then that’s a big red flag. Additionally, some may offer more money to affiliates who recruit new affiliates, and put their focus on just that. If this were the case, then it’s the last straw. That is no longer affiliate marketing; that is called a pyramid scheme. Don’t fall for that one.
As an additional warning, more and more agents of pyramid schemes masquerade as affiliate marketers these days. If you see any of these warning signs when they offer their “business opportunity”, steer clear of them right away. Again, affiliate marketing is only legitimate when there are proper products to promote.
So, if you’re new to this industry, watch for these clear warning signs of affiliate marketing scams. Not every affiliate network out there is trustworthy, and of course you don’t want to lose your money.
Then again, on the other side of the coin, not every affiliate network is a scam. If you’d like to know a few trustworthy networks you can be a part of, watch this video for my top 3 picks.
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