So where was I? Somewhere around Asymmetric Warfare. This was a great panel about affiliate fraud, something I'm not entirely familiar with how to combat. I picked up some great tips and can't wait to receive a copy of the presentation from moderator Graham MacRobie. There was a TON of information, such as tips on how to prevent fraud, a list of countries to be careful of applications from (these countries are REALLY easy to create offshore corporations at so it could be fraudulent), and information on typo-squatting, tasting, and kiting (not sure if I spelled that right).
Some highlights I noted:
- Know your partners & reach out to them. Staying in touch will help weed out fraud.
- Check the WHOIS contact info for the affiliate domain name - will help ID fraud but also give you a chance to see if they have any other websites that your program would be a good fit for.
- Do what you can to own your own typo'd websites and redirect to your official website to avoid typosquatting (costly, but probably the best way to protect your brand).
- Don't assume fraud will go unnoticed.
- Be wary of affiliates using redirects - not always a sign of fraud but worth a second look.
- www.torproject.org - proxy site to see the affiliates website as the rest of the world sees it, just in case they have an IP rule on you so it looks legit to the manager.
- Well thought out rules indicate vigilance against fraud & help to protect against it.
- Networks can help protect you because they trade info about globally bad affiliates and provide a first line of defense against fraud before the affiliate even gets to you.
- An audience member asked if it's better to let everyone in or to be really selective, and the panelists advised to go for an approach right in the middle. Give the new affiliates a chance to succeed as lots have potential they just need to gain experience. Reach out to the little guy & try to help rather than cutting them from your program when they don't perform.
- A good way to stay in touch with affiliates without being annoying to them is to just get an agreement with them about how often they want to be contacted. One call per month can be much more effective than a weekly blanket email.
- Understand how your company deals with transactional fraud before setting a policy that will affect paying your affiliates.
- If you're really concerned, there are a lot of local task forces on police departments revolving around cyber-crime that can give you more information.