Recognizing Affiliate Marketing Scams


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Many people don’t truly understand affiliate marketing although they are familiar with the term. Affiliate marketing is marketing that rewards affiliates of a particular business as a result of that business’s marketing efforts. Some are legitimate and some are not.

There are several different ways to tell if a specific type of affiliate marketing is genuine or if it is a scam. A sensible thing to do when it comes to spotting legitimate versus not legitimate affiliate marketing programs is to get a hold of testimonials from the affiliate marketing company.

Cost versus no cost

Genuine affiliate marketing programs don’t cost anything to join and the only way that you will ever make money affiliate marketing is if you sell something. Many of the affiliate marketing programs are two tiered and in that case, the only way that you will make money from the second tier (if you are in the first tier) is if your second-tier colleagues sell something. Additionally, there is no membership fee in an affiliate marketing program if it is on the level. If you come across an affiliate marketing program that says that there is a fee for setting up or that offer to sell you a website with which to market. If you are considering getting involved in one of those programs, please don’t. They aren’t on the level. Bear in mind that it is very easy to be fooled by scammers.

Degree of difficulty

When it comes to affiliate marketing, you absolutely have the potential to be successful. However, that doesn’t mean that your success will come to you with very little work or effort involved.  You will have to work at it in order to be successful. Also, even if you work hard at becoming a success and in maintaining success, you have to be careful that the business with which you are getting involved is offering you something genuine and worthwhile and is not merely playing on your emotions.

Beware of empty promises

One of the most common ways in which people fall into affiliate marketing scams is by being convinced to buy tools, systems, and/or information products. They buy these items because they promise that if someone buys them, that they won’t have to do any more work. A weight-loss pill is a perfect example of this. The marketers promise that if you take the pill,  you will never  have to diet or exercise a day in your life and the pounds will just melt away. There isn’t a person alive who would prefer to work hard in order to lose weight rather than just swallowing a pill once or twice a day. Of course, the marketers support their claim with graphic evidence. They show you photographs (before and after) of people who have taken the pills and have shed numerous pounds as a result.

Ignoring the hype

The best way to never fall into the trap of scams is to make sure that you thoroughly understand what to look for when it comes to red flags. If you educate yourself on the basic principles of affiliate marketing, the scammers will not be able to scam you. After you have become educated, you can think in terms of those principles that you have learned and you will be protected. There are some common red flags that you should watch out for to start:

  • A promise of money without doing any work
  • Photos of fancy cars and other outrageously expensive luxuries
  • “Fool proof” anything
  • Photos of earnings with no details attached to them except for a mention of affiliate commissions

The true potential of affiliate income

The best way to avoid scams is to remain calm when hearing about some affiliate marketing program that seems too good to be true. The fact is that you can make a successful career from affiliate marketing. On the other hand, it is not a large percentage of the people who actually become tremendously successful from affiliate marketing programs. It is critical that your expectations are realistic and that you don’t allow yourself to distance yourself from the reality of the situation.


Many people have gotten involved with affiliate marketing programs and have become tremendously successful. However, it is very important to be knowledgeable to recognize legitimate from bogus affiliate marketing and to protect yourself when you thing that something might not be right. If you are unsure of a particular program, don’t make a decision that you will regret afterwards. Having your own business can be wonderfully rewarding and satisfying. A lot of people can potentially benefit, if done correctly. However, you must go into it with both eyes open and make decisions from you head, not your heart.


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Carolyn Cohn

Co-Founder and Chief Editor at CompuKol Communications LLC

Carolyn Cohn is the Chief Editor of CompuKol Communications LLC. Mrs. Cohn has a wealth of experience in business writing as well as having a strong editorial background. She manages all of the company’s writers, journalists and editors as well as writing, editing and publishing several business articles a week on a consistent basis, which are syndicated globally.

Mrs. Cohn has run several editorial departments for other companies. She has over 25 years of editorial experience and her expertise covers a wide range of media, such as online editing, and editing books, journal articles, abstracts, and promotional and educational materials.

Throughout her career, Mrs. Cohn has established and maintained strong relationships with professionals from a wide variety of companies. The principle that governs her work is that all words need to be edited.

Mrs. Cohn earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo.

Mrs. Cohn is a member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA).

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