Advertisers lose about 20% of the total Marketing Budget to losses caused due to Affiliate Marketing Scams.
Cookies are a crucial part of affiliate marketing. Cookies are pieces of information designed to store a user's data when visiting a website. This data is stored on the user’s browser. As the user cruises on the Internet, the cookie crumbles.
There are third-party cookies used by black hat affiliates to infiltrate the user’s browser or system without their consent to monetize any purchases taking place through that browser. And this is called cookie stuffing or cookie dropping. Cookie stuffing enables the nefarious affiliate to insinuate unwanted cookies or overwrite a preexisting legitimate cookie via digital tools.
Adware is software programmed to display ads and pop-ups on a user’s browser or system once installed. It works by changing the configuration settings of a browser. Advertisers and marketers use adware for effective promotions. Still, threat actors use this to change the user browser to exploit user browser settings, add spyware, or ravage the user browser with ads.
Most nefarious affiliates use adware to inject cookies into the user system and earn commissions without driving any user traffic for the advertisers.
Pop-Ups are very common in cookie stuffing. A malicious affiliate can inject their affiliate link and cookie into the user’s browser by installing pop-ups. Pop-up ads drive the users' undivided attention, instantly turning into clicks. Malicious affiliates use Adware to bombard a user with ads and pop-ups, and when the user clicks on an ad, the cybercriminals inject fraudulent cookies into their browser. Through these injected cookies, they monetize and earn commissions from every sale their browser makes.
iFraming, or inline framing, is when an affiliate embeds an HTML page inside a pre-existing HTML page. Websites across the internet without ample security can suffer from iFrames.
Advertisers have a readable products listing page, and the malicious affiliates (with another line of code) insert an affiliate link on the target page with their affiliate link. When the user makes a valid purchase from that page, leaving an affiliate link, the fraud affiliate earns a commission.
Affiliate frauds insert a zero-pixel image with an affiliate URL on advertisers' web pages. That image is either transparent or invisible to the user and appears as a blank space. When a user clicks on this image, the web page is redirected to a product page with an affiliate cookie installed on the user’s browser. Whenever the user makes a purchase from the browser, all the commission goes to the illegitimate affiliate.
As a result, these fraudsters receive an unearned commission; exploitation of an internet user occurs, and the misguided websites end up paying for a service they did not receive. Moreover, it takes away opportunities from other honest affiliates. Not to mention, it screws with a company’s marketing metrics since they become invalid. According to an estimate, the losses due to affiliate marketing fraud are bound to increase every year, with Cookie Stuffing playing a significant part in it.
With VPT’s Affiliate Management Services, monitoring publishers has never been easier.
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Check the backgrounds of your publishers, and monitor the newly registered affiliates. Furthermore, keep a check on high-earning publishers and how they are doing it.
VPT services are regulated by FTC and EU General Trade Data Protection, followed by Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
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