Affiliate marketing scams do exist, right alongside legitimate business opportunities. The Internet makes it easy to find both kinds, so it’s a good idea to arm yourself with a couple of strategies to weed out fakes. What you’re looking for is a dependable affiliate marketing program that offers high quality, in demand products. Here’s how to tell at first glance if what you’re looking at is not of this breed.
For every affiliate marketing opportunity that you’re interested in, make sure there’s a reliable way to get in touch with support. Valid affiliate marketing programs will at least offer an email or contact form, if not a toll free telephone number. If you’re still unsure, send them an email and see how long it takes to get a response. If it takes a while, or if they fail to respond entirely, you should probably look elsewhere. It doesn’t mean that it’s a scam, but it certainly indicates that the business is not being optimally run.
Another indicator is a pretty obvious one. Make sure the affiliate marketing opportunity that you want to invest in has a detailed Web site. Any legitimate business that has a proven record of success will have a professional-looking and informative Web site, as well a support help line. Scams are usually just thrown together to appeal to negative emotions. They don’t have much to back them up — if looked at too closely, they’ll collapse. You want to see that a lot of time and energy was put into building an affiliate program Web site. It indicates committed team members, an honest purpose, and a history of participants who have achieved success.
Affiliate Marketing Scam Warning Bells
The absence of a tangible product or service to be sold. If the “opportunity” that’s offered is really just a money-making ploy, then what you’ve just encountered is not an affiliate marketing program, but a pyramid scheme. In order for real commerce to take place, something of value must be exchanged between parties (e.g., cash for a real product or service). In a pyramid scheme, the only people paying are those who sign up for the opportunity. And the only person who actually makes any money is the one who organized the scheme in the first place. Pyramid schemes are illegal in the United States — avoid them at all costs.
This leads us to the next point. If an affiliate marketing program requires you to pay something in order to get the privilege of accessing the opportunity, then what you’re actually looking at is an MLM company. MLM can prove to be a valid course for some people, but if you want to make your money as an affiliate marketer, don’t be confused by the two. Real affiliate marketing programs are free to join.
Finally, you need to make sure that the affiliate marketing program you’re interested in has a proven success record. Scour the Web for positive testimonials and reviews. They don’t all have to be good, but you do have to get the general sense that the opportunity works.