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How to identify bad credit risk merchants

Who can we trust to pay affiliates?

7:12 pm on Feb 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I've been running affiliate ads for a company that pays per signup (lead) and per sale, since early December. The product is totally on-target for the pages (similar adsense ads on same pages get better than 10% CTR). More than $500 in affilate payments due so far, and first little check received.

Now, I log onto the merchant's control panel, and find my signup doesn't work, password reminder doesn't work. Emailing support they say (paraphrased) "your account was terminated due to fraud ... traffic was not cost effective.".

So, their pages don't convert the traffic well, they claim. Not really my problem but they are free to terminate an affiliate if they want - but their T&C state clearly that notice must be given (even if they want to use the excuse of "fraud" for totally on-target low volume traffic).

So, is there a way to find out about these fraudulent outfits before signing up with them? Is there an merchant-rating scheme anywhere? They're a major long-established company, presumably they grow by getting free traffic - get affiliates to sign up, then quietly drop the tracking and hope they don't notice.

It's the sort of fraud that gives affiliate "schemes" a bad name, but I expect it's a common practice. Most affiliate schemes pay so slowly that the amount of credit affiliates extend them can be considerable, so we need to find these outright scams.

1:33 am on Feb 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I have yet to see what you are looking for, but generally affiliate boards will be quite active in which programs pay, which don't etc.
6:47 pm on Feb 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I would agree that the best course of action for you is to name and shame them via affiliate fora in the country in question.

This may not get you paid, but at least it will help others avoid a similar fate, and it may deter other networks/affiliates from working with the merchant.

[edited by: Michael_Anthony at 6:47 pm (utc) on Feb. 21, 2007]