Hey, Stop Stealing My Affiliate Commissions!
Don't get offended, I was not speaking directly to you. I was speaking to the horrible companies who are stealing not only my affiliate commissions, but yours too!
These companies are called "spyware." They specialize in invading a consumer's computer through unethical means and then literally replacing YOUR affiliate ID with their own! It is almost as if you never even existed!
Not only that, they even steal your future affiliate commissions by making sure that all future IDs are automatically replaced with their own. Even more, they can make it so that if the consumer goes to a website, a pop-up for a competing website (with their own affiliate ID) pops up and makes it impossible for you to get a sale.
As you likely agree, this is a major problem and it gets bigger and bigger every day. The more we fight back, the slicker these companies get.
How much are they really stealing?
Would you believe that studies have shown that these companies could be stealing more than 50% of your affiliate commissions! Some studies have shown that it may even be higher, but 50% has been a repeated number in more than a few studies.
That means, as an affiliate marketer, you could potentially be making twice the money you are making now.
How does Spyware work?
Spyware is basically a program that consumers will download onto their computer. They usually get it "along" with another program that they download for free. Spyware companies develop freebies for consumers to download so they can invade their computers.
Then, the software pretty much takes over the consumer's computer. The software can replace affiliate IDs, create new cookies, make pop-ups appear and even steal passwords or other private information.
In other words, spyware companies are also the masters of viral marketing - they spread their disease via freebie information and programs that unsuspecting consumers download.
Who pays the price? You and I.
What is being done to stop it?
In all honesty, not much. It is not because no one cares, but more because the more we try to stop it, the more technical these companies get. As always, human eyes are being required to track down and stop these companies.
Affiliate managers and companies are becoming far more active in monitoring their affiliates to catch spyware. Affiliates are also becoming a bit more vigilant in reporting these companies (although not near enough).
There has been a moving trend towards software products that block these spyware agents. Consumers are slowly becoming more aggressive in trying to stop their computers from being invaded (they are tired of pop-ups).
How you can help in the fight against spyware?
The biggest area we need to work on is by applying pressure to affiliate networks like LinkShare and Commission Junction to be far more active. Although these companies have strictly stated that they will immediately shut down spyware companies, more and more cases always seem to slip through.
You cannot really blame them, since the more affiliate sales, the more money they make. But, if enough genuine affiliates apply pressure, these companies will be forced to be even stricter.
Do not get me wrong, they ARE starting to become a lot more active.
In all honesty, the next thing you can do, short of designing a break-through program to stop this problem, is to be more careful and report more actively. Any time you see an uninvited pop-up on your computer that has an affiliate ID in the link - you can be 98% sure that it is spyware.
Take the time to report it!
Other than that, for now, being educated about spyware is enough - spread the word and make sure more affiliates know.
Copyright 2005 Kurma Group
This article has been authored by Anik Singal, an extremely successful and young internet entrepreneur and affiliate marketing consultant. If you like to receive his coaching for FREE, visit the following link:
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