Affiliate Marketing & Fraud: Separated At Birth?

by Josh Todd on February 2, 2010

What is it about the Internet that brings out the worst in people?  Is it because there is so much money to be made online, and it infuriates the people that aren’t making it?  Or is it just because the anonymity provided by the computer and the distance between users that allows them to behave in outrageous ways that they never would in person?

There a lot of people that make a good living by effectively marketing a product or service to a targeted audience through many different methods including PPC, SEO, Email, PPV, and Social Media.  However, I would venture to say that there are way, way, way more people out there that are working just as hard even harder to make money by scamming & cheating their way along.

Just look at the majority of users on the Black Hat World forums, for example.  There is thread after thread on that board about how to make illegitimate monies online.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with automation or campaign optimization tools that make our jobs as marketers easier.  I’m all for those.  Every industry has its tools of the trade.  What irks me is when it goes farther than that.

Case in point: Packet Stuffer.  This is a tool that was designed to steal commissions from legitimate affiliates and give it to people lazy and stupid enough to use it.  I’m sure there are plenty of angles that could be argued in favor of a tool like this, but it rubs me the wrong way.  When you have spent a bunch of time building the perfect landing page, optimizing your ad copy, spending money on PPC until you get the campaign profitable and finally get back into the black, the last thing that you need is some idiot siphoning off your commissions.  It doesn’t matter if it’s only one here and there, every lead counts and can have a huge effect on the EPC of your campaign and whether or not it makes sense to keep it going.

So please, if you are a new affiliate (or even an experienced affiliate) that is tempted by the dark side of the industry and the allure of getting something for nothing, just remember the old adage: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.  You will not make tons of money.  You will have your affiliate accounts terminated at all of the networks that you work with, and you will have wasted your time and money.  Furthermore, you are only helping to paint the entire Affiliate Marketing industry in the type of negative light that doesn’t do any of us any favors.  If you want this industry to become more accepted in the mainstream and continue to see growth over the next decade, you need to start treating it like you would any other job: with respect.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s not that hard to be a legitimate affiliate, just do some actual marketing and you’re all set.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Lin February 6, 2010 at 6:05 am

Hi Josh,

Great article. Do you have any tips on how legit affiliates can protect against tools such as packet stuffer?

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Josh Todd February 8, 2010 at 7:34 am

There's not really a good way to defend against Packet Stuffer, because it works on a packet level. The good news is that most affiliate networks would sniff out this bogus traffic and disable the affiliate accounts asap. I know I will be on the lookout for them.

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Packet Stuffer February 9, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Good luck people. We came out with an amazing product and ofcourse thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people will be bashing it because what it does is immoral. It does make people money and it is 100% legal. This is a brilliant idea and unfortunately anyone who isn't using it is just against it due to the fact that they aren't making as much money as the people who do use it.

Thank you for your insight though Josh,

Maybe you can write another article explaining the pros of this software 🙂

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Josh Todd February 10, 2010 at 5:52 am

@Packet Stuffer – I didn't even go into the details of how you get people to install the software. Essentially you are encouraging affiliates to hide a Trojan in software or movies or other files that they are distributing through Torrents (or other methods) to infect computers with Packet Stuffer.

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Dan February 10, 2010 at 1:14 am

excellent tool , I must say that developer of that tool has excellent skill.

Josh why not you try this product and earn money.

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Packet Stuffer February 17, 2010 at 4:35 am

No Josh, this is not a trojan. This is simply an executable file that has one simple purpose. That is changing the filtration rules. People still get the same program they intended to to download/install. Packet Stuffer is not malicious and has no negative effect on anyone's computers.

Thanks Dan for your support. Many people including Josh will always be against such software.. Look at piratebay and how many people were against them when they just launched. How many companies tried shutting them down etc.. This is the same story. Of course people will try shutting us down, but there will always be one packet stuffer.

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Enrico March 2, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Fucking moralists..

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aria March 4, 2010 at 11:14 am

in all areas of business there are always people who got greedy and wanted a lot of money with instant way.

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del hickman June 30, 2010 at 10:40 am

I dont know if thats been happening to me but I get thousands of clicks and no sales.cj..nothing…cb…nothing-.-I had 500 clicks at linkshare and some cost me 3.00 a click and no sales.almost seems impossible.

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