In this post, I’ll show you how to spot affiliate marketing scams. It’s crazy how many websites sell fake “make money online” products and it’s even crazier how many rookie affiliate marketers promote these products without knowing.
This is why it’s important to be able to spot affiliate marketing scams.
I’ll show you how to do it by using two scam products I’ve reviewed in the past.
After reading this post you’ll have the tools to discern products that are actual game changers from products that’ll scam you out of your money and fill your inbox with spam.
For those that don’t know what affiliate marketing is. Here’s a short 1-minute explainer video.
How do I know how to spot affiliate marketing scams
Hey, My name is Rogier the founder of this website.
I studied architecture on one of the top 5 universities for architecture but I realized after a while that I wanted a job that gave me more flexibility so I could travel and maintain my social life.
I found out about affiliate marketing and bought a $200 course that was supposed to teach me everything I needed to know.
I ended up with 3 pdf’s containing dated information I could easily find on Google and a video promoting another product they’d launch in 2 months.
I was pissed!
Luckily I got my money back but literally a day after signing up I’d receive at least 10 emails a day from websites offering sketchy “make money online” products.
After that, I became very cautious when it came to investing in courses but then I found an online marketing training platform with that offered a free starters account without having to give any kind of credit card info.
They taught me how to make money online by creating product reviews and I slowly learned how to spot fake products by looking at a few points most scams have in common.
Now let’s look at these points so you can use them in the future.
1. Affiliate Marketing Scams often don’t sell any product
Products that make money by getting other people to join is what is called a pyramid scam. The moment you hear you can make affiliate earnings but nowhere they talk about what they’re selling you should proceed with caution.
Here’s an example of what gave me pause to cause with the Email Processing system.
This is a screenshot of the video on the landing page of the email processing system explaining how the system works. You put ads on Craigslist that tell people to join the email processing system and you’ll receive money.
There’s no product that’s being sold here and even if this actually worked it’d still be illegal because it’s a pyramid scheme which means you’re putting yourself in jeopardy just by associating with them.
2. Affiliate marketing scams often give unrealistic guarantees
To spot unrealistic expectations you need to know the process of creating an affiliate marketing business. You make money with affiliate marketing by partnering up with companies that have affiliate products and referring people to their website.
The moment someone buys something on your recommendation you’ll receive a commission based on a pre-determined agreement.
When you are a newbie affiliate marketing you’ll have to work on directing traffic to your website. You can do this by using 2 different methods. Get traffic either by using time or money.
Boost traffic using time
You do this by consistently creating high-quality content over a long period and creating your own audience on social media platforms.
You can also use the same strategy to get organic traffic by ranking on the first page of search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Boost traffic using money
You can also get traffic by investing money. You pay for advertisement on:
- social media platforms
Instagram sponsored ads, Facebook advertising, etc.
- Search engines
Google Adwords, Bing Ads, etc.
- Influencer marketing
Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook influencers.
Both Explode My Payday and Email Processing System only require a one-time payment, no further financial investment, and claim that no experience is needed to make money but the people from the testimonials talk about making 4 figures in their first week.
Getting organic traffic in one week while you’re a newbie affiliate marketer is almost impossible without paying for ads.
When you think about it logically what they’re offering can’t be true no matter how much of an outlier you are.
3. Affiliate Marketing Scams often use fake scarcity elements
As a freelance copywriter, I’ve used scarcity elements myself to sell products so I know how powerful they can be but there’s a line even the worst honest salesmen won’t cross and that is the use of fake scarcity elements.
The moment you use these and people find out you’ll probably lose their trust forever but scam websites don’t care about your trust. They just try to scam as many people as possible and disappear.
You can see that at the top of their landing page they put a scarcity element.
“We Are Closing Todays Registration: Tuesday, March 26, 2019 Act Now”
In the video, they say the program is for a select group of people and will after that be closed forever. I remember visiting the website at a later date and seeing the date for registration changed to that date.
I just looked at the website again and the date changed to today again.
4. Affiliate Marketing scams often offer no information about the founder
It is save to say that the people creating these affiliate marketing scams don’t want to get caught so it makes sense they don’t want to reveal themselves.
This is why I consider an absence of information about the founder of a product a huge red flag. Even when they do reveal some information such as a picture I often still look up his or her track record.
When there’s no information about the founder on the product page doesn’t always means it’s a scam some people just like their privacy but I do always advise people to look for their information on other platforms.
I begin by looking up:
- Their personal website
- Linkedin Profile
- Other Social Media platforms
- Images on the internet
- name mentions on Google Mentions
With Explode My Payday I started by doing a Google reverse image search and that seemed to be enough because I found this. This is Maegan Harper the founder of Explode My Payday according to the sales video.
I made a screenshot and used Google reverse image search to find the picture underneath. Apparently, the pictures used were stock photos you can buy and use for your own products.
I honestly don’t know any bigger red flag than presenting a fake founder for your product.
5. Affiliate marketing scams often have sketchy testimonials
Especially when you’re selling products on the internet you need to gain the trust of your potential buyers and stimulate desire. A great way to do this is by adding testimonials to your sales pages.
The funny thing is the same things that stimulate trust also reveals scams. It makes no sense to use testimonials if you aren’t going to include the things that built trust.
In the Email Processing System, the founder Bob talks about his life story and uses it as a testimonial for the products. The problem is there’s no way to confirm if Bob is real.
No last name, no real photo, not even a mention of where he’s from.
Everything that could be used to trace Bob isn’t presented in the video. This doesn’t necessarily have to mean the product is a scam but it gives you a reason to investigate further before you purchase the product.
6. Affiliate marketing scams often tell on themselves in the disclaimers
A great way to find out if a product is a scam is by looking at the disclaimer in the footer of the landing page.
They either put something in there that doesn’t make them liable for what you receive when you’re purchasing a product or they just make stupid mistakes that make it painfully obvious that the product is fake.
In the earnings disclaimer, they say they can’t guarantee you’ll earn money which is a pretty normal thing to include in your disclaimer.
Often it’s up to how much work you put into a “make money online” if you succeed or not.
The problem is they gave multiple guarantees that you’ll earn money the moment you sign up while saying in the disclaimer there’s no guarantee.
These are two conflicting messages that in my opinion raise a red flag.
Tips for when you’re looking for “Make money online” products
1. Google product review and user ratings
Buying products without looking at product reviews or ratings increases the chances of getting scammed especially in the “make money online” niche where new spam websites show up every day.
I’ve been tricked before so I know how it feels.
Luckily websites like mine spend a lot of time reviewing online products so that you can make a safe choice. Take advantage of that the next time you’re thinking about buying a product online.
2. See if they have a free starters account
Although there are a lot of affiliate marketing products without a starters account the ones that I’m 100% sure of that they aren’t scams do have a free starters account.
I’d try those out first and see if the product is a good fit.
3. Trust your gut
We often underestimate our gut feeling while it’s often right. When something feels off most of the time it’s likely that something doesn’t add up.
So even after everything checks out I’d advise you to trust your gut.
A few words
Although finding out if a “make money online” product is a scam is relatively simple it does take a lot of time. So just in case, you don’t want to spend time doing that you can request a product review.
Since I love playing Sherlock Holmes when it comes to reviewing online products I’ll gladly take a look at products you might possibly be interested in.
My personal recommendation
I make a living promoting affiliate products on this website. I learned how to do that on an affiliate marketing training platform called wealthy affiliate.
If you’re by any chance interested in making money online using affiliate marketing I’d highly recommend you to take a look at my wealthy affiliate review and see what it’s all about.