2020 has been a year of profound change for marketers entrusted with the task of driving maximum sales from digital channels. More than ever, marketers need to maximize performance for every digital channel, especially partnership.
Having worked with many different types of companies on their paid search compliance strategy, I’ve seen my fair share of program abuse. Paid search abuse takes many forms and involves a variety of bad actors, including trademark abusers or affiliate program violators.
With the rise of referral programs that reward users for referring new members, a new type of abuse has emerged. Referral programs are a useful means of acquiring new customers and users. By encouraging word-of-mouth with incentives, companies can accelerate growth at a reasonable and consistent cost. Referral programs are also a great way to transform loyalists into full-fledged brand ambassadors. With the opportunity to gain some extra perks, these star customers can bring on a lot of incremental traffic and revenue.
For online retailers, Q4 is undeniably the busiest time of year. Everyone knows that. Less well known, however, is that this quarter is also a boon to third-party trademark infringers and affiliate abusers. For those interested in making some easy commission income, the temptation to divert branded traffic is great.
Keeping your affiliate channel compliant and free of fraud is a challenge. Success requires persistent vigilance. Akin to weeding a garden, if you stop, the weeds take over.
In a recent webinar, “The Art of Fraud: Keeping Your Affiliate Program Compliant” we asked our panelists, Michael Swensen, Senior Manager, Brand Quality and Regulatory Compliance at Rakuten Marketing and Greg Hoffman, Founder and CEO of Apogee how to set up, scale, and monitor an affiliate program so that it doesn’t get overrun with fraud.
They concluded that there are 5 actions you can take to minimize your fraud risk.
Black Friday is more than a sale for retailers, it’s the main event of the year. Weeks of preparation culminate in one rapid-fire sequence that can make or break annual goals. It’s no wonder that so many ecommerce teams are on lockdown this time of year.
If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you’ll know that here at BrandVerity, we’ve been thinking a lot lately about regulations and disclosures--particularly with regard to the FTC and its take on affiliate marketing. Today we’re happy to have a post by our own Mason Smith about a new, somewhat concerning development, in this field: Bitly’s announcement that they are testing a new partnership with VigLink. This news was a hot topic of conversation at AM Days a few weeks ago and we thought it would be of particular interest to our readers. Mason, take it away!
The recent announcement that Bitly is testing a partnership with VigLink presents interesting questions for companies with affiliate programs. For those who haven't heard, Bitly is testing out a partnership with Viglink that transforms their shortened links into Viglink affiliate links. In other words, if someone shortens a link to an ecommerce site using Bitly, that shortened link is now an affiliate link. Any clicks on that Bitly link will be routed and monetized through Viglink’s platform.
Since we’re still fresh off of a wonderful few days in San Francisco at AM Days, I wanted to take the opportunity to share the slides and recap the presentation I delivered at the event. I thought this could be a useful reference—whether you were able to attend the talk or not. For those of you that couldn’t be there, I’ve provided a synopsis of my points below (along with my slides). You can also feel free to connect with me over LinkedIn or send BrandVerity a note!
A lot of the time, detecting potential bad actors in the affiliate world can be hard: these guys are smart, and it’s in their best interest to hide (and hide well) from brands, affiliate managers, and honest affiliates.
But sometimes they come right to you.
We’ve been hearing recently that someone had been aggressively marketing an adware platform to numerous people in the affiliate industry--including, ironically, a lot of folks who work on the front lines of affiliate compliance and who have little patience for adware.
Last week I was fortunate enough to attend my first ever Affiliate Management Days conference in San Francisco. I was thrilled to be there—everything from the location (I don’t get to visit the bay area enough!) to the expert-level content created a positive atmosphere for networking and learning. Now that I’ve had some time to reflect on the experience, I wanted to share some of the key themes and moments that I remember. I hope this recap will prove useful for you—whether you were at the conference or not!