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How we prevent affiliate marketing fraud

Posted 4 years ago by Skimlinks

Skimlinks is proud to partner with 60,000 publishers around the world to power their commerce content strategies. While we are delighted by the size and quality of our network – we affiliated over a billion clicks in 2019 –  from time-to-time bad actors take advantage of our equally esteemed merchant network for their own ends. We are not alone in this regard, with affiliate marketing fraud forecast by one study to cost over $1 billion this year. We take this seriously and this is where our Network Quality Team steps in. 

What is Network Quality?

At Skimlinks Network Quality boils down to two important questions: 

  1. Does this publisher drive incremental sales to the merchant?
  2. Does this publisher drive genuine value to the merchant’s brand?

Our Approvals team will use these questions to determine which publishers join our network: Only 20% make the cut, which means access is limited to only the very best publishers each year. 

When publishers sign up, they agree to adhere to our robust Program Policies, which outline expectations and rules when working with Skimlinks. 

We take a zero tolerance policy towards Publishers who breach policies and remove them swiftly.

Investigation and actions

All traffic in our network is constantly monitored for any sign of anomalies. 

In rare instances where these arise, automated warning systems alert the Network Quality Team, who investigate. With extensive experience from all sides of the affiliate marketing industry, our team has seen every trick in the book and are adept at catching miscreants. 

We have taken steps to identify new fraud patterns and guard against the most common instances. Transparency partnerships with the major Affiliate Networks are now in place to improve transparency across the industry, so there is nowhere to hide .

The pace of our response can prompt negative online backlash from players in violation of the Program Policies. Anyone considering this course of action should be aware our main priority is our valued relationships with quality Publishers and Merchants. Comments online about our company will not prompt a change in course of action. 

Working with the industry

We participate closely with Affiliate Networks and merchants to expose fraudulent behavior. Collaboration across organisations ensure bad actors are unable to continue their actions elsewhere in the industry. 

Publisher and Merchant partners of Skimlinks can be confident of the security of our network. 

To fraudulent Publishers, our team is watching and if you violate our Program Policies, we will remove you. 

In summary our recipe against fraud is a mix of:

  • Automatic tools to monitor traffic of thousands of publishers and billions of clicks
  • Transparency with the networks to identify new patterns
  • An expert team to analyse the data and respond quickly
  • Clear Program Policies to protect our merchants and other publishers

What Publishers need from Merchants this coming Holiday Season

Skimlinks unveils winners of the third Commerce Awards for Publishers, as commissions increase 140% year-on-year

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