Is affiliate marketing legit? Affiliate marketing is a lucrative and popular way to make money online. However, as with any industry, it comes with its fair share of scams.
Scammers prey on newcomers to the field, offering promises of overnight success, instant wealth, or secret systems for making money online. In this blog post, we will discuss what affiliate marketing scams are, how to identify them, and what you can do to protect yourself and your online business from falling prey to these devious tactics.
Understand what affiliate marketing is.
Before diving into the world of affiliate marketing, it’s crucial to understand how the system works. In essence, affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing model where affiliates earn a commission for promoting a product or service on their website or platform.
Affiliates refer website traffic to the merchant’s website, and when a sale is made, the affiliate gets a percentage of the revenue. This is a legitimate way to make money online, but it’s important to do your research and learn from reputable sources before starting your affiliate marketing journey.
Common types of affiliate marketing scams
1. Multi level marketing or MLM programs
There are various “Digital Multi-level affiliate marketing programs” promising people passive income. They sell digital products or services that pay little commission, and at the end of the whole line there is no actual physical product being sold! Such programs want affiliates to enroll more affiliates in the program, and that is what most of the commissions are attached to.
Such programs may seem attractive to begin with, but in the long run, they are not profitable for affiliates. The time and energy you spend on a program like this can be spent on a genuine program that will earn you affiliate revenue for a long time.
2. Affiliate marketing pyramid schemes
These are the most dubious affiliate scams. They offer no service or product. The whole model is based on getting more affiliates through existing affiliates. An affiliate program joining fee is generally charged by such programs. Your initial investment is distributed to the affiliates who helped in enrolling you. You dive in the same vicious cycle of enrolling other affiliates to earn commissions.
Affiliate marketing pyramid schemes should be avoided, period! You can use that time and money in setting up a genuine affiliate marketing business or on learning affiliate marketing methods that will earn you real money.
3. Paid affiliate programs
Like pyramid schemes, there are other affiliate marketing scams that involve you paying for access to their program! These programs have products or services to sell, but they charge a fee from affiliates to join the program. Often, such programs turn out to be scams that collect a small fee for joining.
You can easily find free affiliate programs online. There are many reputed affiliate programs that are free to join and that offer transparent dashboards displaying the clicks and sales you drive for them.
4. Become rich quick affiliate scams
Scammers often lure victims with the promise of overnight wealth or shortcuts to success, which are unrealistic expectations in any legitimate business.
This is an age old trick in the book. Many affiliate programs promise that they will make you rich in a few days, weeks or months. They show shiny offers and reports so that you are lured into subscribing to their programs, but at the end of the day, they turn out to be full of empty promises and substandard products.
You can become rich quickly through genuine effort. It doesn’t always have to be hard work, but it has to be the right type of work. You will have to put in what is required to succeed at affiliate marketing. Avoid chasing fluffy programs and promises to waste your time and energy.
5. Inflated Income reports
One thing common about many fake affiliate programs and scams is that they display affiliate income reports of their affiliates, that are either inflated or fake. Sometimes such reports are true but they misrepresent the earning of an average marketer on their platform.
Always use your instinct and discretion to assess such reports. Do not be bedazzled by statistics that seem too good to be true.
6. Substandard or fake products
Always pay attention to the quality of the products you will promote through affiliate marketing. Do not fall into the trap of affiliate marketing scams promising to pay high commissions on the sale of substandard products. Some products like AdFly and Pat Flynn are often categorized in this section, because of their unclear offering.
You can be successful at affiliate marketing only if you are selling genuine products and services. Marketing substandard products will require more time, energy and money and will not get you the desired returns in the long run.
How to Avoid Online Affiliate Marketing Scams
Now that we have listed the most common affiliate marketing scams and lies in the market, Let’s talk about the most basic and easy ways to identify an online affiliate marketing scam and avoid it.
1. Visit the company’s website & Do Research
Always visit the company website of the affiliate marketing program to assess how genuine the company is. Check the reviews on their website, see how old the company is, read about their existing affiliate network, read about their payment methods, etc. If a company is not clearly revealing its policies and methods, it’s most certainly hiding something. Online marketing scams often leave a lot of loopholes in the information they display. Read between the lines, if any form of essential information is missing from their website.
2. Google It
Always do a Google search about an affiliate program. When you Google a program, you will come across news, website pages, reviews, and much more about that program. Look up to the 2nd or 3rd page of the Google search engine results to learn about your affiliate program’s legitimacy.
3. Read Reviews
Try to find and read reviews about your affiliate program. If it’s a good program, you’ll know by the kind of reviews people have written, and if it’s a bad program or a scam, then you will most definitely find a lot of reviews about that, too. You can visit Reddit and Quora to learn about programs and courses.
4. Follow your gut – Is it too good to be true?
After you have done the required online research, follow your instincts about a program and its products and services. If something seems too good to be true, then it’s probably an affiliate marketing scam. The internet reveals a lot about any product or service if you do the right research. Always know a program well to dive in and start marketing their products as an affiliate or to subscribe to their affiliate marketing courses.
So, if you’re wondering. ‘is affiliate marketing legitimate?’ The answer is, ‘Yes’. But you have to be careful in selecting a program that is genuine and trustworthy.
I hope this guide about identifying and avoiding affiliate marketing scams is helpful. If you have any specific questions about any particular program, then leave a comment below.
Stay tuned for more affiliate marketing-related content.