Online affiliate marketing is on the rise, and that should be no surprize. Brick and mortar stores have seen the writing on the wall, online sales statistics are a clear indicator that the way to go is online! You only have to look at the figures released by Internet Retailer, 2019 (see the graph below) to realize that having an online presence is absolutely essential. Not only an online presence, but also an offering for your customers to purchase your products online. One of the simplest ways for a range of products to be sold online is via an Affiliate Marketing Network (which means the company does not need to create an Affiliate Program of their own to sell via accredited affiliate marketers).
The challenge comes, as it does with any industry, along with the increase of online sales and online affiliate marketing, there is an increase in online affiliate marketing scams. Never fear, this article provides you with 5 examples for you to avoid.
How Does Online Affiliate Marketing Work?
I wrote an in depth article entitled “What Is Internet Affiliate Marketing” which addresses this question in detail, you are welcome to read it.
Alternatively, allow me to take you on a “speed dating” version right here.
As you can see below, (1) a customer does a search online, (2) they land on an Online Affiliate Marketer’s niche website, (3) the customer purchases the product and (4) the Online Affiliate Marketer makes money (also known as a commission).
Essentially, the Online Affiliate Marketer owns their own website within a given niche, they write reviews and showcase items for purchase (from the likes of Walmart, Amazon, Ali Express, Nike, eBay etc). Customer purchases the product and the Online Affiliate Marketer receives a percentage of the sale.
It’s a great business model for the Affiliate Marketer because it means that he or she can market as many products as he or she wishes without carrying responsibility for product design, development, manufacture, warehousing, distribution etc. That’s right, the Online Affiliate Marketer has absolutely no costs involved with the product itself. Of course, there are costs for everything to do with their website (training on how to create a website, hosting the site, creative elements, all the online tools etc). But no direct product costs at all.
It is also a great business model for the manufacturers, they sell products without having to market them, without the costs of a brick and mortar store and pay percentages of the sale only.
Now we know what online affiliate marketing looks like, lets have a look at other business models which describe themselves as affiliate marketing but in fact are online affiliate marketing scams.
5 Scams To Avoid
1. Low Ticket To High Ticket Pricing. I consider these to be scams because they will sell you into their awesome system on a low ticket (or low price) level. Your understanding will be that everything you need to be successful is available to you at that price, say $10 to $30.
Once you are inside however, the up sells begin. Then you are offered products priced at $100 or $1000 and more, I have seen up to $20,000 and $50,000 (hence High Ticket). The methodology employed is also questionable. You are told that “you have to put some skin in the game to show your commitment and to become successful.” “You need to invest in yourself to be a true entrepreneur” These tactics make you feel inferior if you do not pay the higher price. Really not cool at all.
2. Join the Program & have a Standing Monthly Order to Promote (MLM or Multi Level Marketing). I know people who have done very well financially with MLM, but what they are doing is absolutely not affiliate marketing. Not only that, the folk I have seen do well, got in early in the game.
The two biggest differences between MLM and Affiliate Marketing are:
- MLM has comprises multi-levels and recruiting a team.
- In affiliate marketing, you do not have anyone positioned above you earning a commission on your sales, and you do not have a team to recruit below you.
Something to be very cautious of MLM is that the price tag is often extremely high. I have joined more than one MLMs in the past (yeah, I am a slow learner lol!) because their product ranges were really amazing. The catch came when I had to have a standing order to the value of hundreds of dollars per month to be an active participant in the business. In order to make that money back, I would need to sell an insane amount of products plus recruit downlines to stay in the business.
Often MLM’s are closed down by FTC for fraud, pyramid or ponzi schemes. The biggest challenge here is that if you are involved and promote then to others, you are liable too. Even though you are not an owner of the business!
3. Social Media Type “I am in” for details. I am sure you have seen this on Facebook – I know I certainly have. It also happens on other platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. The typical pitch is a marketer telling you that you will “change your life” and lets you in on how much money they are making. The next step is then offering to teach you how to make the money, just like they are.
The things to keep in mind, most of the folk peddling videos on social media are not making money (unless you decide to spend your valuable cash with then), plus your next step will be to sell the same rubbish onto others!
4. Lavish Lifestyles and Oodles of Boodle. Yeah, we have all seen these adverts. Good looking guy or woman filmed driving the latest, greatest luxury vehicle (Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche etc), parking in the expansive gardens of a mansion and pitching you on how you too can achieve the same lifestyle! These guys often sell concepts to change your “limiting mindset” and rope you into selling the same. These are emotional sales pitches, who wouldn’t want to live that way?
Make sure you research any program like this extremely well. Go through it with a fine tooth comb. It is highly likely that an offer like this is an online affiliate marketing scam. “Run Forest, Run!”
5. Free Book. Just Pay For The Shipping. I’ve seen these around in social media too, nearly fallen for then too because I love the look of the book. The theory of this is good, you get your hands on a book and all you need to do is pay the shipping fee. The truth is that you are probably paying for a book which promotes a product or range of products to you and, you have parted with your contact information in exchange. The promoters will then have access to promote a whole lot more to you too. How disappointing.
Why Do Affiliate Scams Exist?
Simply put, because they make money. People get sucked into the promises made in the promotions (you don’t even need to be naive to fall into this trap, just human). There is protection in place from FTC and other government regulatory bodies, but they do take time to uncover the scams – because there are so many of then. They tend to go after the bigger fish too, the companies generating millions really catch their attention!
There are smaller scams that last a long time but you can avoid losing your hard-earned cash to then because you’ve been informed now by doing your research.
What Does A Legit Affiliate Marketing Opportunity Look Like?
You may even be wondering if legit affiliate marketing opportunities exist at all. Allow me to assure you, there definitely are many, many legit affiliate marketing opportunities available. In fact, the affiliate marketing industry is highly ethical and is jam packed with incredible opportunities to make excellent money online legally!
I am a part of an amazing platform where I am learning everything there is to know about Affiliate Marketing, this is where I am experiencing the industry legitimately and ethically.
I am learning that there are affiliate programs available from all major brands and services in the world. Where and how to find then and how to qualify and apply. The numbers are overwhelming – as affiliate we have access to over 550 million products and services which we can promote and earn commission on! Isn’t that mind blowing?
This platform is even teaching me that you can build out your online business based on anything you are interested in. Yes, absolutely anything you have a passion for. From sport to health to animals to make up, to photography to mountain biking, food, cooking, recipes, fashion … you name it! This provides incredible opportunities for you to create your own successful online affiliate marketing business. The platform I am with is teaching me everything I need to know – that means, you do not even need to come into the industry with experience!
What Should Online Affiliate Marketing Look Like?
Here is what the legit process to building your online affiliate marketing business looks like:
1. You get to choose what your business is going to promote. The opportunities here are massive, there are as many niches out there as there are people (okay, almost)
3. Attract visitors (traffic) to your website. There is more than one way to do this which you will learn about within the platform. You could do this for free by getting your articles ranked by the major search engines (Google, Bing & Yahoo) and / or you can pay for traffic through PPC, social networks and email marketing, for example.
4. Create an income via affiliate programs. As mentioned above, there are literally millions of products available for you to promote – the key is to staying with products within your niche. You promote then and when there is a sale via your website, you earn an affiliate commission. The commissions vary greatly, anything from 2% to 75%, this depends on the company. As you can imagine, you could generate a really excellent money this way.
Getting Started In Affiliate Marketing
So, what do you need to get started in Online Affiliate Marketing? This is an honest question, perhaps you already know how to do all the things I have listed above. Perhaps not. If like me, you are looking for the right training and an awesome environment where you can learn how to create, develop and take your business to the next level. I highly recommend Wealthy Affiliate. You can join for free on the Starter Membership, without even sharing your card details
Once you join, you can work you way through the lessons available to you at the Starter level. These lessons will give you a solid indication of what is required to set up your online affiliate marketing business and if Wealthy Affiliate is the right place for you to continue. Remember, that is for free! You lose absolutely nothing and have the opportunity to enjoy some insight into the industry.
Insight Into Affiliate Marketing Scams
We did start out talking about Online Affiliate Marketing Scams though, so just rounding back to that topic, I hope that I have offered enough insight into what to avoid, and that helps you to go forward.
If you have any questions you would like to ask or information to share, please drop me a message in the comments section below. I love to hear from you and will always reply.