Exposed: How Shady Networks Shave Leads

by Josh Todd on November 16, 2010

The other night I was relaxing at home after work and watching a movie. I have my AIM forwarded to my cell phone in case anyone needs to get in touch with me in the evenings. So I get this text from a guy that went by “Nicky Noodle”. Check this out:

Nicky Noodle: Josh, my name is nick, I run a service for 17 networks currently, I’m not sure if getads shaves leads, however we provide a service
Nicky Noodle: if you are interested we can have you set up within 24hrs
Me: A lead shaving service?
Nicky Noodle: correct
Nicky Noodle: our system works on any platform and you can shave leads by offer by entering a %
Nicky Noodle: most networks using our service shave 15%-30%
Nicky Noodle: we recommend 20%
Me: How did you hear about us?
Nicky Noodle: When we are out of networks from word of mouth we go affiliatepaying and approch a few networks
Nicky Noodle: we never share our clients with anyone, or name names ever.
Nicky Noodle: set up time takes less then 24 hours
Me: Sorry, we are not interested.
Nicky Noodle: np

Now I’m not naive, I know that there are networks out there that shave leads. Even so, I never would have guessed that somebody has started up a 3rd party service to cater to these shady networks and provide a way for them to shave even more leads away from their affiliates. As an affiliate myself, this really pisses me off. Sort of like when Packet Stuffer came out. It never ceases to amaze me how people will try to cheat each other out of a buck instead of working together to make more money and legitimize the industry as a whole.

The most interesting part of this conversation to me was that he has already got 17 networks that are using this service. I wish I could have found a way to get his client list from him, but I felt like if I went any further in the conversation or showed any interest (just to lead him on) then people would accuse my network of trying to shave leads.

The moral of the story is this: know who you are doing business with. The best way that you can protect yourself from lead shaving and other shadiness is to build strong relationships with your Affiliate Managers and your networks so that you know you can trust them. Also, if you want to make sure you aren’t being shaved, just split test the offer that you are currently running with the same offer at another network. It doesn’t automatically mean that you are being shaved if there is a discrepancy, since offers will often convert differently across multiple networks. However, if you find that you are consistently seeing anywhere from 15-30% less conversions on a bunch of offers from a single network, run somewhere else.

I’m a firm believer that integrity will win in the long run. I hope that someday we won’t have to worry about this type of thing happening in our industry. But until then, keep an eye on your stats to make sure that you are getting paid as much as you deserve for your traffic.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Antoine Dudson November 16, 2010 at 1:13 pm

It's a trap?


Josh Todd November 16, 2010 at 1:16 pm

That did cross my mind… I guess the only way we will ever know for sure is if some blogger publishes a list of networks that took the bait.


mike pacheco November 16, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Ya that dude hit me up the other night also i told him to get lost. He must be making his rounds with the networks. Id like to know how many take him up on his offer, at first i thought it was a prank or something.


Yo Hood G Akhan November 17, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Link Bait lol

Post doesnt live up to the title

Anyway its probably just an affiliate trying to start drama… maybe its the crew just getting some ideas for a blog post…. What kind of noob contacts an AM about this shaving stuff contact the owners for some real biz


Affiliate Paying November 18, 2010 at 2:44 am

“When we are out of networks from word of mouth we go affiliatepaying and approch a few networks”

Urrr… sorry Josh and Mike. 🙁


Josh Todd November 18, 2010 at 7:54 am

Heh heh, that’s ok. Nothing you can do to prevent people from using your website. That means you’ve truly made it!


StackThatMoney November 21, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Wow a 3rd party shaving service. Thanks for outing this, i’d love to see their client list


John Harkins November 18, 2010 at 2:46 pm

You guys realize that every major tracking platform can basically shave leads? No one would need to hire a 3rd party to do so. This guy was probably baiting into saying that you shave affiliates lol


Josh Todd November 18, 2010 at 4:48 pm

As far as I know, Hitpath is the only platform that has a built-in shaving function. I know for a fact that LinkTrust and HasOffers do not, and I don’t think DirectTrack does either (it just sucks on its own).


Craig Snyder November 21, 2010 at 11:18 am

Josh would be correct.


Justin November 19, 2010 at 8:05 pm

Businesses are built one sale and relationship at a time.

They are crushed by one stupid move that is exposed to their clients.

Nice work pointing this out.


Craig Snyder November 21, 2010 at 11:20 am

Maybe this was just some guy trying to get a grasp on if you’d be willing to disclose if GetAds was interested in shaving or not to do this same sort of similar blog post? That’s giving him a huge benefit of the doubt, either way this was a fail.


Marko Pyhajarvi November 26, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Unbelievable. It’s really annoying that there are so many shady players in this industry. I heard about shaving from Gauher Chandrey couple years ago, and that time it was shocking news for me. Yeah, I was naive 🙂

Thanks for exposing this, Josh!


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