WARNING: The Shady Affiliate Networks and Traffic Sources

– All right. This is the
Shady Affiliate Networks. (hip-hop music) Hey, yo! It’s your boy, Ngo. I’ve been in the CPA space
for the past ten years, and the CPA space, the
affiliate marketing industry, doesn’t exactly have
the greatest reputation. A lot of people call us “shady.” So top to bottom, affiliate networks, affiliate marketers themselves, everyone in this whole industry kind of has a reputation of being shady. Now with affiliate marketers, we use a lot of aggressive techniques and we promote some aggressive offers. So with today’s video, I want to highlight some things that a lot of
people may not know about. Some of the things that affiliate networks
and traffic sources do that are a little bit shady. I want to talk about this because if you’re brand new to the space, it’s important that you’re aware of this so it doesn’t really happen to you, and if it does happen to you, you have an idea of what to do next. Now with this video, it’s
more of an education video. I’m not saying that
every affiliate network or every traffic source
in the world is shady, and I’m not really here
to call anyone out. Like I said, understand what’s going on so that if things do happen to you, then you know what to do next. All right. Let’s get started, guys. Now if you’re gonna do
affiliate marketing, sooner or later, you’re gonna have to use
an affiliate network. Affiliate networks are the marketplaces where you get the offers from. Now you don’t have to use them because you can always go
direct to the advertiser. But if you’re starting fresh in affiliate marketing, you’re probably gonna
use affiliate networks because it just makes things easy. Now, affiliate networks, I love them. They’ve made me a lot of money, but sometimes, they do
things that are not right. Let me give you guys some examples. The first thing is some affiliate networks do something called scrubbing and shaving. Now scrubbing and shaving means If I send a thousand clicks to an offer, then instead of reporting
a thousand clicks, they have a built-in feature
where they can show that I only sent 800 clicks. Or maybe I sent 50 conversions today, but they’re only gonna show 45. That way, the five
conversions that I don’t see, they kind of keep it as profit. So you guys are wondering,
” Why do they do this? Isn’t it in their best interest
to help us make money?” Well, yeah. But not every
affiliate network thinks that way. There’s a lot of
different things going on. For example, maybe they
lost a lot of money on this offer last week,
or whatever reason. But the point is a lot of these … Tracking software that they use, like, “Hey, they have
this built-in feature that does let them scrub and shave.” So that’s the first thing
you have to watch out for. So if you guys ever promote an offer and it’s very consistent, and all of a sudden, the
conversion rates are down, scrubbing and shaving
by the affiliate network could be one possible reason. Now, not saying it happens often, and if your conversion rates do go down, there’s a million things
that could happen. But that is one possible option. The proper solution to this
is to always be split testing. Now if Affiliate Network A has the offer, you can split test the same
offer on another network and just 50/50 split test. See which one makes more money. So that’s a simple way
to keep them honest. The second thing that affiliate networks do sometimes that can be a little shady is they just straight-up don’t pay you. This happens sometimes where … The affiliate networks you
sent $5,000 worth of traffic and sometimes for whatever
reason, they may not pay you. They can argue that the
leads were low-quality or that they sent fraudulent
leads or I don’t know. There have been some
affiliate markets in the past that didn’t pay because they ran out of
money and they went bankrupt. So my advice for this is if you are promoting an affiliate network or an advertiser and they miss a payment, pause traffic immediately. Pause traffic immediately. I’ve seen a lot of guys who didn’t get paid
$5,000, they complained and then the advertiser or
the network were like, “Oh!” You know, something
wrong with a bank holiday and they keep leading them on. They send more traffic.
Next thing you know, now they’re out $50,000 or $100,000. So I know that it can become kind of this drag racing
because you’re like, “Wow! There’s all this profit coming in. I just can’t pause the traffic.” But the point is if you
don’t get paid at all, it doesn’t matter how many
theoretical profits there are. Because whatever you
see in the volume stats, your affiliate marketing stats, it’s all theory. Until the profits or the cash
actually goes in the bank, all the profits are merely theory. So once again, remember, pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. If you are promoting a
network or an advertiser and they do not pay you, stop working with them. Simple as that. And remember, sometimes, the affiliate networks may not pay you, but it wasn’t intentional. You have to understand that their accounting
department is run by humans and humans do make mistakes. So I’ve had situations before where they forgot to send me
a wire for like $20,000. If I didn’t have the right
bookkeeping, accounting systems and I wasn’t on top of my shit, I may have never noticed. So as soon as people are not paying you, you want to be on top of that shit. Pause traffic, hunt that stuff down. If it’s a popular offer on a bunch of different
affiliate networks, then just send it to
another affiliate network. No harm, no foul. The third thing is some affiliate networks actually have internal media buying teams. So what’s going on is
if you promote an offer, perhaps they can see your landing page, they can see your offer, they can see that you’re blowing up. So now they have all this information, and their internal media buying team is gonna compete against you. So they can see where
you’re buying traffic from, they can see the landing
page you’re using, so you’re competing against them. The problem is they have a lot
higher margins than you do. Because if you’re getting paid $8 a lead, then maybe they’re
getting paid $11 a lead. So you’re at a disadvantage. So that’s one problem I think a lot of affiliate networks … They may not admit it,
but I know a lot of them do have internal media
buying teams, and … It is a conflict of interest, but they do it to make more money. Because a lot of affiliate networks are operating on small margins, so they’re always trying to
find ways to make more money and one of the ways they do it is the internal media buying team. And the fourth way that affiliate networks can
be shady is the whole … If you blow something up, they may share your information with other affiliate marketers. Now think of it this way. Let’s say there’s a new offer,
no one’s ever run it before. And I take the risk. I
try it out for a month. I finally get a profit.
I start blowing it up. Well, these affiliate managers may start telling all the
other affiliates like, “Hey, try out this offer.
Here’s a landing page. Start running this.” Right? You gotta understand,
affiliate managers … A lot of them, they make
a lot of their money through commissions or bonuses. So with them, they always
want to make more money and if you’re blowing something up, they may share their information with their other affiliates. So let’s just say your affiliate
manager is loyal to you and they don’t share that information. Well, there might be ten
other affiliate managers at the network that don’t
give a fuck about you. So they may be like, “Hey, start running this
with this landing page while this traffic source is blowing up.” So those are four things
you gotta watch out for when it comes to affiliate networks. So let’s start talking
about traffic sources. Because traffic sources, some of them, can be shady, as well. The first one is some traffic sources also have internal media buying teams. So you can imagine how difficult it can be to compete against a traffic source that’s running the same
offers that you are because they’re getting their traffic a lot, lot cheaper than you are. Not only that, but they have internal data on all the placements, all the stuff. So if you want to … It’s very important not
to share your information with affiliate networks. So you can always hide
some of your information through double meta refresh, or maybe, you gotta be very careful when you’re sending conversion pixel data. Because if you’re working
with a traffic source, you’re sending conversion pixel data and now they can actually see which placements are doing the best. So watch out for that. The next thing that traffic
sources do that is shady is bot traffic. So remember, traffic sources
are kind of the medium where sometimes this traffic source, is not really the traffic source itself, it’s the network and they have a hundred, 500,000 different publishers. So just like how we’re
trying to make money, publishers are trying
to make money, as well, with these websites. So what some of these websites do is they get paid for every person
that clicks on a banner. So something that they do that’s a little aggressive
and frowned upon is they use bot traffic. So they will have these fake robots that
will click on your banner, and every time your
banner gets clicked upon, you have to pay money. Well, if I’m paying for
$500 worth of traffic, I want 500 clicks to be human. So what happens if those 500 clicks are actually from a robot? Because a robot is not gonna
pull out their credit card and buy whatever I’m trying to sell. So you can see the issue here. Now a lot of traffic sources, yes, they do try to
block this bot traffic, but it’s this cat-and-mouse game. And sometimes I’ve been very disappointed where I have the proof of the bot traffic and they won’t give me a
refund or do anything about it. So it’s kind of this
conundrum that they go into because they don’t like bot
traffic, but they also like the money that comes from the bot traffic ’cause they are getting paid. So every traffic source is different. Places like Google and Facebook have a lot better technology whereas if you’re working
with some native ads or some pop traffic, they may
not have as good technology, so that’s how all the traffic
sources are different. So all right, guys. I hope that was helpful. Understand I’m not saying that all traffic sources, all
affiliate networks are shady. You have to do your
research, always be testing, communicate, build a relationship, keep them honest. But the most important thing is always be testing! That’s your way of keeping them honest. That’s your way of making sure that the numbers work out right. So I wanted to educate you guys on this, because on your affiliate
marketing journey, you’re gonna encounter all these problems, and it’s always important to be logical and not
be emotional like … I understand if you have a campaign that’s making $1,000 a day, and maybe they missed a payment. It’s tempting to keep
that traffic going on because they’re tempting you with all these lies and promises, but your $1,000 a day is not real unless it’s going to your bank
account, it doesn’t happen. So that kind of reminds me of … You always want to be careful. Use your street smarts and
this is a shady industry. Everyone’s shady to some
degree from the affiliates to the advertisers to the traffic sources and you have to watch out in the future. I think, you know, so … This is kind of like an
off-topic tangent, but I think a lot of affiliate networks are going to have a lot of
trouble in the upcoming years because number one, a lot
of these affiliate networks, they pay a high salary to
these affiliate managers and they have a lot of these fancy offices or doing all these fancy parties. Well now, there’s a lot
of competition for them, coming internationally. There’s a lot of new networks
coming from Eastern Europe, a lot of networks coming from China, and the overhead is a lot smaller there. The offices are cheaper, the
affiliate managers are cheaper, everything is cheaper, so they’re facing a lot
of competition from them. Not only that, but a lot
of affiliate networks, the elephant in the room is e-commerce. A lot of affiliate marketers are abandoning affiliate
networks to pursue e-commerce. So there’s a lot less traffic going to these affiliate networks, and a lot less traffic
means a lot less money. So I’m telling you this because
a lot of affiliate networks, I don’t think they want to be shady. I really don’t. I think everyone deep down
doesn’t want to be shady or doesn’t want to be unethical, but when profit margins are smaller and you have to pay your staff, you have to keep
aggressive with the growth, you’re gonna try … It’s tempting to try
all different shortcuts. So it may be tempting to not pay someone. It may be tempting to scrub or shave leads and hope no one notices. So, all right, guys. I
hope that was helpful. Good luck! (hip-hop music)


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