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.