Fighting Affiliate Fraud From All Angles


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This presentation is from Affiliate Summit East 2013 (August 18-20, 2013) in Philadelphia, PA). Session Description: Learn how merchants, CPA networks and affiliates can all work to minimize fraudulent transactions and keep programs profitable. Examples, data and tips from a range of programs and niches.

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Fighting Affiliate Fraud From All Angles

  1. 1. Affiliate Summit East 2013 Fighting Affiliate Fraud From All Angles Tricia Meyer, MeyerTech, LLC, @SunshineTricia (Affiliate) Michael Esposito, Costume SuperCenter, @mjesposito13 (Merchant) Samantha Murphy, Marathon Ads, @MarathonAds (Network)
  2. 2. Agenda • Introductions • Fraud from the Affiliate Perspective • Fraud at the Network Level • How Merchants and OPMs Can Combat Fraud • Q&A
  3. 3. Fraud from the Affiliate Perspective Tricia Meyer, Sunshine Rewards @sunshinetricia
  4. 4. Fraud from the Affiliate Perspective • A little story about “Sarah” Fraud prevention falls on affiliates if we want to ensure strong merchant programs!
  5. 5. Types of Fraud Affiliates See • Incentive/Reward/Loyalty Sites • More likely • Intent is to get rewards without paying for merchandise • Buy online, return locally • Subscription cancellations with big payouts • Fraudulent lead generation • Non-Incentive • Credit card fraud • Intent is to keep products and not pay @sunshinetricia
  6. 6. How Often Does It Happen? • Sample of 1500 Sunshine Rewards Transactions • 44 Reversals (3%), 1 Possible Fraud (.06%) • Thompson Cigar $4050 Purchase 1500 44 1 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1st Qtr Transactions Reversals Fraud @sunshinetricia
  7. 7. How Affiliates Can Spot Fraud • Reporting • Inconsistencies • Brand new members with big purchases • Fake Names • Multiple Purchases • Same IP Purchases • Types of Merchants • Search terms • Backlinks/Traffic Sources Image Source: McGruff the Crime Dog @sunshinetricia
  8. 8. How Affiliates Can Stop It Before It Starts • Monitoring social chatter for “cheater talk” • Waiting periods before delivering rewards • Weighing the incentive versus the cost • Phone/Address verification for membership • Higher rewards for “proven” members • Talking to merchants about what has/has not worked for them in the past Because remember—we are in this together with the merchants! @sunshinetricia
  9. 9. What Should You Do If You Suspect It? • Investigate (stalk the member, check your stats/links) • Simple things like searching for your site name and the name of the offer • Contact merchant with pertinent information • Possibly suspend/cancel member account • Re-evaluate your promotion methods @sunshinetricia
  10. 10. Fraud at the Network Level Samantha Murphy, Marathon Ads
  11. 11. Merchants and OPMs Fighting Fraud Michael Esposito Affiliate Manager / Business Development
  12. 12. Reclaiming what’s yours! Prevent  Typosquatting also called URL hijacking, is a form of cybersquatting which relies on mistakes such as typographical errors made by internet users when inputting a website address into a web browser. Violators can redirect traffic to search engines, competitors sites, or other sites in which CPC may gain them profit. Solution  Citizen Hawk •Found 109 site infringements with 40K unique visitors per month with no link to us, and continues to recapture more. •No up-front costs, just base affiliate commission (6-10%) •From 9/1/2012 – 7/3/2013 Citizen Hawk has already driven over $30K (missed most of Halloween) in Affiliate sales that would’ve been in jeopardy •Retrieve full ownership of rights in 3 years with no additional costs
  13. 13. Search Engine Advertising • Prevent  URL and Company Name Theft • Affiliates will purposely leave out the state in which a site is based or a corporate office exists and advertise and essentially generate volume / commission from a traditional google advertisement • Solution  • Mask IP address and create search from any location to find the guilty affiliate with a hand in cookie jar. • Solution  Changing Ads • Periodically (more frequent in season) change actual advertisements since affiliates are resourceful and will just mimic your own so that a simple glance won’t show the infraction. • This technique applies also to affiliate bidding bidding on TM+ – Promo code, coupon, free shipping, discounts, etc.
  14. 14. Double Reporting / Multiple Networks Prevent  Paying Affiliates for same order in 2+ networks •Discovered $20K in program in 2012 that was actually double counted. This accounted for $2,500 in commission unnecessarily spent. • Sales in both Share a Sale & CJ •Discovered $40K+ in program in 2012 that was double and sometimes even triple counted. Translating to over $7,000 in overpay in commission. • Sales in Share a Sale, CJ, and an internal program. Solution  Consolidation or cross referencing •Consolidated all programs into Linkshare starting late August 2012. • Negotiated better network fee by leveraging total volume outside of network • One network = No double commission • One network = single dashboard, reporting tools, and focus of internal Linkshare team on our family of sites •Prior to consolidating I used V-Lookups in excel to cross reference all orders with multiple commissions paid and then used our Omniture tool to reward the appropriate party (actual last click) for the order, and removed commission from other. •Removed internal program for
  15. 15. Get an Audit
  16. 16. Questions for Our Panel?
  17. 17. Contact Information • Tricia Meyer Twitter: @SunshineTricia • Samantha Murphy Twitter: @MarathonAds • Michael Esposito Twitter: @mjesposito13