Guest post contributed by Peter Nevis.
If you have taken up affiliate marketing as a way of making extra money, you're probably already aware of the many pitfalls you might encounter in the process. There are scams everywhere online, including in the affiliate marketing industry.
Affiliate program owners run into scams sometimes, such as people trying to sell products and pocket the refunds, affiliates who promise bonuses and don't deliver, and so on. Affiliate marketers, too, can be scammed by the program owners or even by the public. Make sure your website stays scam-free with these crucial strategies.
Research first, apply later.
The first red flag you should look out for is pressure, especially time pressure. Any affiliate program that tells you that spots are limited and you can only apply in a certain timeframe could be trying to pressure you into committing to market their products before you find out the truth about the company. Before you apply to a program, search for their name on Google and include the words “scam” or “payment” to make sure they have no outstanding complaints.
Make sure your links stay intact.
Your website can look beautiful, but if people are stealing your traffic, you won't see any income. Some affiliate programs will refuse to acknowledge your hand in making the sale if you aren't careful. Once you add your affiliate program link, always double-check by clicking on the link and viewing the product page yourself. Make sure your affiliate ID is still on the page or in the URL.
Research payment terms first.
Whether you're marketing a product to a consumer in exchange for a cut of the profits or doing affiliate marketing for online products and services, you should know when and how you will be paid. The research you do on the company should make sure that they actually pay out, but you won't know exactly when to expect the check unless you look in the terms and conditions.
Make sure your customers will be satisfied.
It's just as important to make sure that your website isn't scamming people, as people can destroy your reputation or even sue you if you go about marketing improperly. Plus, it's just good ethics to make sure you're selling something worth the price they will pay. Request a review copy of the product or check a lot of customer reviews before deciding to try marketing the product as an affiliate.
Stay honest all the time.
Contrary to popular belief, it's not a good thing to write entirely positive reviews if you're going about affiliate marketing this way. Even if your intention isn't to scam people, it can look like your website is a scam if you never have anything negative to say. Try criticizing a few weak points of what you're trying to sell, then point out how people can overcome that problem or when the advantages outweigh these disadvantages.
Affiliate marketing is a noble enterprise: connecting people who desperately want solutions with the solutions they need. If you're not careful, however, you can fall victim to some of the many affiliate marketing scams. Make sure you follow these strategies and trust your gut instinct when something feels too good to be true. Your website can be scam-free and profitable!