Avoid Affiliate Marketing Scams – 7 Things to Watch Out For

As you browse the internet looking for ways to make an online income, you may have come across the expression Affiliate Marketing’.

With all the junk out there in cyberspace, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure about what this term even means (I know I was).  This is actually a very legitimate and fun way to increase your financial stability and the purpose of my article here is to help you avoid affiliate marketing scams.  I have seven things for you to watch out for.

I don’t want you to get ripped off by pouring tons of dollars of your hard-earned money into scammy products that promise you “get rich quick” programs.

Speaking for myself, at this stage of my life, I don’t have years and years ahead of me to recoup huge losses and frankly, I don’t have the energy to do the types of physical jobs I used to do.  My spirit is willing but my body isn’t listening anymore.

When a Handshake and Your Word Meant Something

Wow, this was a long time ago wasn’t it?

Do you remember when we were kids and our dads would make a deal with someone and they would ‘shake on it’?   Or even with the other kids, you would agree on something and would seal it with ‘I give you my word’.  Damn, that actually meant something back then, didn’t it?

Okay, I am not looking through rose-tinted glasses at the past, but honestly, it used to be that you were looked down upon and not trusted by others if you did not keep your word.  Everyone would know about it and we didn’t need Facebook or Twitter to get the word out!  Correct me if I’m wrong.

Forget all that now!

The internet has brought us many wonderful opportunities and we have seen it grow and expand to include millions of possibilities on a global scale.  That’s great!

However, along with all the good stuff has come the scammers and schemers who look for ways to get money out of people and offer nothing or, at best, very little, in return.  Nowadays, you can’t even look someone in the eye and make a judgement call as to whether they are truthful and honest or not.  Internet hoaxers can pretend to be anyone they want and hide behind cleverly written advertising and impressive images of fancy homes and expensive cars, hoping to lure us in.

What is Affiliate Marketing

For a detailed explanation of affiliate marketing, I suggest you read this article that Philip wrote.

However, in a nutshell, affiliate marketing is simply you, the affiliate marketer, receiving a commission from a merchant when someone purchases something from your ‘shop’, that is to say, your website.

If you can recall the Fuller Brush man (we had a great one that used to stop by when I was growing up), as an example.  He would come to the door with his wares, my mom would look at what he had to sell, decide what she wanted and put in a purchase order for that product or products, which would be delivered in due course.  The salesman would then receive a commission from the Fuller Brush company for that sale.  It’s kind of the same thing, only online.

The important point is, it took a great deal of trust to allow this man into your home (we weren’t so afraid of who came to the door back then and we would actually open it when the doorbell rang) and we liked the products he sold because they were good quality.  He became a trusted person and we would buy from him again and again because he offered helpful advice and reliable items.

I use this as an example, but you probably have some memories of vendors or merchants that your parents used to go to all the time, for years.  They had established a relationship whereby your parents knew they could rely on the service or products that individual or company supplied.  Even if they were not the cheapest, your parents had confidence in those companies because they had created that bond of trust.

It is this level of trust from our customers that we strive to achieve in affiliate marketing.  It has to be earned.  Just like the old days.

That’s why I want you to be warned about the scam artists out there who pretend to offer you affiliate programs that promise you wealth overnight, or in a very short time, because this is not realistic.  It takes time to develop an online business and to grow trust with people.

stop signHere are 7 things to watch out for when you are looking for an affiliate marketing program:

Scam Alert

Flashy cars and houses – lifestyle

Be very wary if the first thing you see in an online money-making program is somebody in an expensive car outside a huge house (often wearing flashy gold chains and so on).  This is a trick to wow you into thinking that if they can do it, you can too.

Companies like this tend to fall short in offering a product of real substance.  They hope you are blinded by all the expensive ‘toys’ you see and buy into their baloney.

Phony hype!

Low ticket to high ticket

This is another popular scam.

They will tell you that for one low price, only $20 or $30,  you will have access to everything you need to make tons of money.  You then pay that low prize only to get on the inside and find that there are immediate ‘upsells’ to that low price.  These upsells can add up to $100’s and $1000’s more. I guess they figure you are now ‘in’ and will pay more to get those ‘insider secrets’ to making big bucks.

Don’t you believe it!

It is a fact that ‘upsells’ exist in our day to day world, such as “would you like fries and a drink with that”, but I strongly object to not being informed about the upsell BEFORE I buy into the product.

Free book

When you see that they are going to offer you a ‘free book’, it is because this is the way to get your contact details.  Once they get hold of that, they can send you endless junk and that book you receive will probably be nothing more than promotional material to get you to join their program.

Don’t buy into it!

Join and promote to others

This is the classic, MLM, or “Multi-Level Marketing” scam.  This is NOT affiliate marketing!

This is where they get you to join, usually for a very high price, then they ask you to sell to friends and family, which you will need to do, to recoup your losses for having spent so much in the first place.  Often these companies hold really weird conferences that have become almost cult-like in their presentation with everyone cheering and validating each other.

Avoid at all costs!

Social Network Feed

If you are on Facebook, you will often see these ads come up by some marketer telling you how they have found the ‘secret to success’ and how their program will ‘change your life’ and then they will try to pitch you on their program.

Usually, this is just another network (or MLM) marketing scheme and they will be trying to get you to push their garbage onto others.


False Scarcity

This is one of my favorite (tongue in cheek), scammy practices.  You get to the sales page and suddenly a pop-up fills the screen that looks something like this:

Limited positions available in your area

Wow, only 115 positions left in Manta (where I was living at the time I reviewed this silly product).  I had better hurry or I will miss out!

The thing is, check back a few days later and the same thing will pop up.  There is no actual job here and in fact, there are no positions anyway.  Nor is there any qualification needed.

Sometimes you will see pop-ups telling you ‘don’t leave this page’ and then they offer you a greater discount on whatever junk it is they are trying to sell you, which will ultimately lead you into their sales funnel (vortex more like) to those higher-priced programs, which is what they are aiming for in the first place.

It’s a hoax!

Mysterious Owner/Developer

This really makes me laugh when I review online products.

If I can’t see a genuine photo of the owner/developer of a program, that really raises the alarm bells for me.  I want to see a clear image of the people behind the sales pitch.  I also check to see if the photo they show is not a ‘stock’ image purchased off the internet and that it is a real person.

Often, when one of these hustlers creates a program that is not legitimate, they get found out and shut it down, only to come back with a ‘new’ product a couple of years later that is basically the same garbage, just rehashed.

Don’t be duped!

Why Do Affiliate Marketing Scams Exist?

Well, unfortunately, they exist because they do make money for the swindlers who create them.

They lure you in with slick advertising and impressive images, with promises of great wealth very quickly for very little work.   Government bodies such as the Federal Trade Commission are always investigating these types of companies but there are so many of them out there and they often can’t take them down till they reach a very high-income bracket.

So, it is up to you to do your due diligence and up to us to warn you about these flimflammers in an effort to protect us all.

Authentic Program

Authentic, genuine affiliate marketing programs do exist!

We spent a very long time researching when we decided to start an online business.  Wading through the quagmire of garbage out there that would have required large dollar investments, we came upon a very transparent, no-pressure platform that was FREE to try.

No overnight promises of wealth.  No flashy images of expensive homes and cars. No having to sell to friends and family or any of those other red flags I just told you about.   Because we could check the platform out without paying anything we decided to give them a try and we are with that company to this day.

This program teaches you, in a step-by-step process, how to:

  • Choose a ‘niche’ for your business.  What are your interests/experience?  You can start a business on anything from pets to gardening to BBQ sauces.  There are a million ideas.
  • Build your own website
  • Promote your website online
  • Generate an income from affiliate sales from your website

We knew absolutely nothing about affiliate marketing or even how to work online before we joined this platform.  Now, we have two websites up and running and are outlining our third.

Will this make you tons of money overnight?  No. This business requires hard work, tenacity, and passion.

But, you remember those qualities from our youth, don’t you?  Those same principles can be applied online and if you work hard enough and give it some time, you, too,  can create an online income.

We Want to Help You

We needed to generate income because our retirement funds just weren’t enough.  We were so scared of investing in some kind of online ripoff because there truly are so many of them out there.

When we found Wealthy Affiliate, we knew that this was the best option for us because it is transparent in its pricing (remember free to try it out), the owners are real people,  it has been around for 14 years and it continues to grow.

If you would like more in-depth information on Wealthy Affiliate, please read Philip’s article here.

I hope you found some value in my article on avoiding affiliate marketing scams.  We don’t want you to fork out lots of money into worthless programs.

I would love it if you would like to share, in the comment section below, any experience you have had, good or bad, with affiliate marketing programs.

I am always here to help!


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