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Keeping Your Affiliate Program Clean  Graham MacRobie ,  President and CEO , Alias Encore, Inc.
Understanding the Conflict <ul><li>Asymmetric Warfare  - a conflict in which combatants attempt to exploit each other's ch...
Know Your Partners <ul><li>Reach out to new affiliates. </li></ul><ul><li>Stay in touch with top affiliates. </li></ul><ul...
Countries to Consider Checking Twice <ul><li>(AI) Anguilla </li></ul><ul><li>(BS) Bahamas </li></ul><ul><li>(BB) Barbados ...
Know How Your Partners Work <ul><li>Understand how they plan to (or currently) send you traffic. </li></ul><ul><li>Who els...
Typosquatting <ul><li>Misspelled versions of your domain name. </li></ul><ul><li>Capitalize on typographical and spelling ...
Proxies <ul><li>A proxy is computer software and/or hardware which services the requests of its clients by forwarding requ...
Tor - The Onion Router <ul><li>Allows you to view a website as if you were located somewhere else in the world. </li></ul>...
Recording Proxies <ul><li>Allow you to examine traffic in detail. </li></ul><ul><li>Opposite of referrer logs (outside in)...
Charles Screenshot
Tiered Commission Structure <ul><li>Particularly useful for making fraud more visible. </li></ul><ul><li>Exploits a charac...
Program Policies <ul><li>Don’t assume a problem will go unnoticed. </li></ul><ul><li>Well thought out rules indicate vigil...
Contact Information <ul><li>Graham MacRobie </li></ul><ul><li>President and CEO </li></ul><ul><li>Alias Encore, Inc. </li>...
Keeping Your Affiliate Program Clean David Naffziger, CEO, BrandVerity
Operating a Clean Affiliate Program Abuse is Inevitable <ul><li>Forms of Abuse to Watch Out For </li></ul><ul><li>PPC </li...
PPC Policy Violations (Trademark Poaching) PPC policy violators have become very sophisticated <ul><li>Techniques Utilized...
Malware / Toolbars <ul><li>Pop Up Advertisements  that drop affiliate cookies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Often triggered by: </...
Cookie-Stuffing <ul><li>Close to sale </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Found off of organic search results </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul...
Transaction/Lead Fraud Do you pay commissions on invalid sales? <ul><li>Some of the techniques used </li></ul><ul><li>Co-r...
Brand Squatting Own your brands. Everywhere. <ul><li>Domains </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Typos (nikee.com) </li></ul></ul><ul><u...
Techniques to Clean a Program <ul><li>Discussion </li></ul>
Contact David Naffziger CEO, BrandVerity Search Ad Monitoring [email_address] [email_address] www.naffziger.net/blog www.b...
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Keeping Your Affiliate Program Clean

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Learn advanced approaches to running a clean affiliate program. A review of the systems, processes, tools and techniques used by leading affiliate programs to keep their programs clean.

David Naffziger, CEO, BrandVerity (Moderator)
Jamie Birch, Owner, JEBCommerce (Twitter @JamieEBirch)
Graham MacRobie, President & CEO, Alias Encore (Twitter @grahammacrobie)
Joshua Sloan, CEO, Sloan Tech (Twitter @sloanzone)

Published in: Business, Technology, Design
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Transcript of "Keeping Your Affiliate Program Clean"

  1. 1. Keeping Your Affiliate Program Clean Graham MacRobie , President and CEO , Alias Encore, Inc.
  2. 2. Understanding the Conflict <ul><li>Asymmetric Warfare - a conflict in which combatants attempt to exploit each other's characteristic weaknesses, even though their resources and power differ substantially. </li></ul><ul><li>Advertisers’ exploitable weaknesses – size, speed, and time. </li></ul><ul><li>Fraudulent affiliates’ exploitable weaknesses – greed, visibility, and to a lesser extent, accountability. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Know Your Partners <ul><li>Reach out to new affiliates. </li></ul><ul><li>Stay in touch with top affiliates. </li></ul><ul><li>Consider occasional phone calls. </li></ul><ul><li>Google the addresses, looking for other businesses at the same location. </li></ul><ul><li>Check the WHOIS contact information for the affiliate’s domain name(s). </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.BetterWhois.com . </li></ul>
  4. 4. Countries to Consider Checking Twice <ul><li>(AI) Anguilla </li></ul><ul><li>(BS) Bahamas </li></ul><ul><li>(BB) Barbados </li></ul><ul><li>(BZ) Belize </li></ul><ul><li>(BM) Bermuda </li></ul><ul><li>(IO) British Indian Ocean Territory </li></ul><ul><li>(VG) British Virgin Islands </li></ul><ul><li>(KY) Cayman Islands </li></ul><ul><li>(CK) Cook Islands </li></ul><ul><li>(CR) Costa Rica </li></ul><ul><li>(CY) Cyprus </li></ul><ul><li>(DM) Dominica </li></ul><ul><li>(GI) Gibraltar </li></ul><ul><li>(GG) Guernsey </li></ul><ul><li>(IM) Isle of Man </li></ul><ul><li>(JE) Jersey </li></ul><ul><li>(LB) Lebanon </li></ul><ul><li>(MU) Mauritius </li></ul><ul><li>(MC) Monaco </li></ul><ul><li>(AN) Netherlands Antilles </li></ul><ul><li>(KN) Nevis </li></ul><ul><li>(PA) Panama </li></ul><ul><li>(SC) Seychelles </li></ul><ul><li>(WS) Samoa </li></ul><ul><li>(TC) Turks and Caicos Islands </li></ul>
  5. 5. Know How Your Partners Work <ul><li>Understand how they plan to (or currently) send you traffic. </li></ul><ul><li>Who else do they work with? </li></ul><ul><li>Is their plan consistent with their performance? </li></ul><ul><li>Do they have traffic patterns that are very different than other affiliates? </li></ul><ul><li>Engage your network. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Typosquatting <ul><li>Misspelled versions of your domain name. </li></ul><ul><li>Capitalize on typographical and spelling errors. </li></ul><ul><li>Currently millions are registered. </li></ul><ul><li>Affects mid to large-sized sites (Alexa 50,000 or better) with domain names longer than 5 characters. </li></ul><ul><li>Traffic converts very well. </li></ul><ul><li>All the “best” names are already taken. </li></ul><ul><li>Compete.com, Alexa, etc. are frequently inaccurate on volume. </li></ul>yo o tube.com 86,042 yo o utube.com 68,486 you b ube.com 36,286 yout a be.com 31,481 yout r ube.com 34,831 youtu v e.com 334,113 y p outube.com 14,929
  7. 7. Proxies <ul><li>A proxy is computer software and/or hardware which services the requests of its clients by forwarding requests to other servers. </li></ul><ul><li>Useful for investigating traffic fraud. </li></ul>Web server responds with web page, images, etc. Web browser sends request to web server Proxy sends request to web server Proxy responds to web browser Browser sends request to proxy Web server responds to proxy
  8. 8. Tor - The Onion Router <ul><li>Allows you to view a website as if you were located somewhere else in the world. </li></ul><ul><li>Similar to the “routing phone calls through multiple satellites” cliché from spy movies. </li></ul><ul><li>Both the software and the service are free. </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes slow or even very slow. </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.torproject.org . </li></ul>
  9. 9. Recording Proxies <ul><li>Allow you to examine traffic in detail. </li></ul><ul><li>Opposite of referrer logs (outside in). </li></ul><ul><li>Pay particular attention to redirects. </li></ul><ul><li>Rex Swain's HTTP Viewer (free) - http://www.rexswain.com/httpview.html . </li></ul><ul><li>Charles Web Debugging Proxy ($50) - http://www.xk72.com/charles . </li></ul>
  10. 10. Charles Screenshot
  11. 11. Tiered Commission Structure <ul><li>Particularly useful for making fraud more visible. </li></ul><ul><li>Exploits a characteristic weakness – greed. </li></ul><ul><li>Relatively easy to apply. </li></ul><ul><li>May make your program unnecessarily complex for some legitimate affiliates. </li></ul><ul><li>For example: </li></ul><ul><li>$0 to $4,999 pays 5% </li></ul><ul><li>$5,000 to $9,999 pays 6% </li></ul><ul><li>$10,000+ pays 7% </li></ul>
  12. 12. Program Policies <ul><li>Don’t assume a problem will go unnoticed. </li></ul><ul><li>Well thought out rules indicate vigilance. </li></ul><ul><li>Help protect legitimate affiliates from unfair competition. </li></ul><ul><li>Much easier to sort out in advance of finding fraud. </li></ul><ul><li>Consider gray hats as well as black hats. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Contact Information <ul><li>Graham MacRobie </li></ul><ul><li>President and CEO </li></ul><ul><li>Alias Encore, Inc. </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.aliasencore.com </li></ul><ul><li>(866) 608-8202 </li></ul><ul><li>(949) 870-0633 direct </li></ul>
  14. 14. Keeping Your Affiliate Program Clean David Naffziger, CEO, BrandVerity
  15. 15. Operating a Clean Affiliate Program Abuse is Inevitable <ul><li>Forms of Abuse to Watch Out For </li></ul><ul><li>PPC </li></ul><ul><li>Malware / Toolbars </li></ul><ul><li>Cookie-Stuffing </li></ul><ul><li>Transaction / Lead Fraud </li></ul><ul><li>Domain squatting </li></ul><ul><li>Techniques for Combating and Cleaning a Program </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion </li></ul>
  16. 16. PPC Policy Violations (Trademark Poaching) PPC policy violators have become very sophisticated <ul><li>Techniques Utilized to hide from Merchants </li></ul><ul><li>Copy search ads </li></ul><ul><li>Use special characters in trademarked terms to evade Google’s filters (ex: lowercase “L” instead of capital “I”) </li></ul><ul><li>Reverse geotargeting: all regions but your office </li></ul><ul><li>Reverse ip-targeting (comes with any email you send): all IP addresses but yours </li></ul><ul><li>Narrow geotargeting: specific regions </li></ul><ul><li>Dayparting </li></ul><ul><li>Referrer Laundering </li></ul><ul><li>Entry Pop Ups, Exit Pop Ups </li></ul><ul><li>Affiliate ID protection </li></ul>
  17. 17. Malware / Toolbars <ul><li>Pop Up Advertisements that drop affiliate cookies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Often triggered by: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Google searches </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Visits to your website </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Visits to your competitor’s website </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Legitimate Link Replacement : They rewrite existing links (affiliate or otherwise) with their own affiliate link </li></ul>Malware affiliates utilizes two primary techniques
  18. 18. Cookie-Stuffing <ul><li>Close to sale </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Found off of organic search results </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Especially Forums </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Triggered by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1x1 iframes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Invalid images </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other Javascript </li></ul></ul>Drop affiliate cookies without user consent
  19. 19. Transaction/Lead Fraud Do you pay commissions on invalid sales? <ul><li>Some of the techniques used </li></ul><ul><li>Co-registration: Sign up for service 1, user registered for service 2 </li></ul><ul><li>Incentivised registration: Fill out this insurance application, get more points/guns/life in Facebook game X </li></ul><ul><li>Lead padding: Fake leads (often taken from yellow pages) </li></ul><ul><li>Stolen credit cards: Stolen credit cards are used to make fraudulent purchases so affiliate can get CPS or CPA </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More common on digital goods </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Brand Squatting Own your brands. Everywhere. <ul><li>Domains </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Typos (nikee.com) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Brand Extensions ( nikeshoes.com ) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Twitter </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook </li></ul><ul><li>AnySocialNetwork that overlaps your customer base </li></ul>
  21. 21. Techniques to Clean a Program <ul><li>Discussion </li></ul>
  22. 22. Contact David Naffziger CEO, BrandVerity Search Ad Monitoring [email_address] [email_address] www.naffziger.net/blog www.brandverity.com
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