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How to avoid scams in Affiliate Marketing (and schemes to get rich quick)

Many of us would like to run our own businesses, but we usually don't have the capital to start one.

Affiliate marketing is a great way to get around startup risk and costs.

It costs nothing to participate and the risk is minimal.However, there are many profitable affiliate programs in which you can get involved, as well as with anything you need to be cautious.


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You have to work very hard to build your affiliate marketing business, so you'll want to be legitimate.

In this guide, I'll teach you some of the signs to look for and tell you how to avoid affiliate marketing scams.

When you sign up for an affiliate program, you usually sell a physical or digital product and get paid for how much you produce.There are no costs and risks.Put what you choose and you are rewarded accordingly.How you decide to do this is primarily up to you.

However, many scammers out there are ready to take your money or work to use to their advantage.Countless people lose money because of these online business scams.

Although it's impossible to mention every precaution you should take, there are a few signs you can look for.

Obvious red flags screaming affiliate marketing scam

Earning promises

How many times have you seen an ad that promised high earnings?Things like "Earn $1000 a day" or Join our program now and become a millionaire.Ignore companies that promise huge wages with little effort; It's just not going to happen.

Many people achieve success with affiliate marketing programs.However, they work incredibly hard.If you are looking for some of the most successful affiliate marketers, they have earned a lot of money after failing with a few tries or after a year or more. 

Pat Flynn, for example, earned more than $50,000 5 years after starting with affiliate marketing.The same goes for Jeremy Schoemaker, except that he earned $2,000,000 to $4,000,000 in 5 years.

Making money fast scamMaking money fast scam

Schemes to get rich fast

Any offer to earn overflowing wealth in a matter of days or hours is rarely legitimate. 

Unfortunately, many people still fall for it due to the need to make money easily.This is probably why fast getting rich programs remain prevalent and cause serious problems for reputable affiliate marketing programs. 

If you had to choose between a strategy with long-term and short-term returns, you would probably choose the latter.Why take the long way to go when you can take a shortcut, right?

In the world of affiliate marketing, such scams are endless, from selling overturned real estate and houses to trading stocks and other ways to earn a lot of money with little effort. 

The real advantage is that you will be asked to send money to receive a training kit or whatever you should use to get rich quickly. 

Remember, joining legitimate affiliate marketing programs is free.

Another red flag is unrealistic returns.Think about; Can you really earn a thousand dollars in just 3 hours after signing up?Based on the experience of real successful affiliates, the answer is no. If it's too good to be true, then it probably is.

Alibi products or no product/service to sell

If you look closely at some companies, you realize that they don't actually sell anything.However… In most cases, they have a low-quality daily product.

Obviously, the value of those products does not matter much in this case, only the opportunity for resale.A company that only sells the opportunity to make money is probably a scam.

When you search for information, you will probably find a detailed description of what the company sells.They should also have a disclaimer and terms and conditions listed.So, before you enter, check to see what the company is selling.

Companies that sell the opportunity to make money are probably pyramid schemes.You don't create income, you don't create added value, you just pass money from one person to another.Not only are these scams and you may lose what you have invested, but they are also illegal and you can be prosecuted.

It is unfortunate that this kind of internet marketing scam has evolved into fake products and services sold under the name of an established company. 

An unsuspecting marketer like you might believe that the deal is credible, considering how bull and professional fake programs are created.They even make product catalogs and write customer reviews.They even go so far as to hire bogus spokesmen to show a legitimate front.

One way to spot this type of scam is to check reviews.If you see nothing but overly positive praise, be suspicious.Even the best brands have negative reviews or comments. 

You should also be wary of product images that look unrealistic or taken from stock photos.Real merchants will always make an effort to glamorize the products they market.So anything that is blurry and with poor resolution is likely to be fake. 

Fake training or online courses

This is one of the most popular affiliate marketing scams because many people are trying to learn something new in the most convenient way.Many beginner affiliates have fallen victim to trainings offered to get started in the industry. 

There are e-books, courses, webinars, and other training programs offered that are nothing but a rip-off.

scam_earning Promise of Income Declaration Scamscam_earning Promise of Income Declaration Scam

After you separate yourself from your money and receive what is supposedly your training material, you won't actually learn anything useful.Chances are the e-book you'll receive is fraught with less-than-real or actionable lessons. So make sure to research before you pick any training program. Read reviews and find out what other people are saying. If it's a fake training for affiliate marketing or something else, an unhappy client is sure to leave feedback or negative comments. So watch out for those.

You should also check if an e-book is offered on Amazon. If it's a ripoff, you are sure to find lots of negative reviews.

In addition to scams, affiliate fraud can also happen. This is characterized by:

  • Stolen data that will be used to generate leads. In this case, your credit card is likely to be compromised.

  • Cookie stuffing is when a visitor's computer is loaded with cookies when they visit a fraudulent site. The affiliate then gets paid for future purchases, regardless if a user clicks the affiliate link or not. 

  • Adware or spyware that needs to be downloaded, so that a fraudulent affiliate marketer can automatically add their affiliate code. 

But a more sinister form of affiliate fraud is when a website copies the content of the original affiliate website to divert traffic from it.Not only do they hurt you, but also the real affiliate program.

Imagine if the scams and fraud in affiliate marketing came from a single source.You will face twice as much trouble.

So the best course of action is to protect yourself from such scams.You already know the red flags.Now is the time to beat the system, so to speak.

How to Avoid Affiliate Marketing Scams: Bogus Affiliate Programs

How to Avoid Affiliate Marketing ScamsHow to Avoid Affiliate Marketing Scams


You should definitely ask the company for testimonials.You should not rely on those who post on their website.Anyone could have written them.Ask for addresses and names of people you can contact to find out how the program worked for them.Also try searching on your favorite search engine.By checking the scams or the company name, you have a great chance of digging up all the dirt that's out there.

Study the testimonies carefully.If you find negative reviews, this shouldn't discourage you.People are sometimes not cut out for certain programs.With more good than bad out there, things will probably go well.You could also use these testimonials for advice on what to do and what not to do.

Free participation

Another sign to watch out for is the absence of free participation.In case you have to pay to join, you may have stumbled upon an internet marketing scam or multi-level marketing program.MLM programs are completely legal, and some people do well.I have no problem with MLMs if they offer high-quality products and not just so-called alibi products.

A real and legitimate affiliate program is free.This is part of its attraction.There are no costs for you and it should also be risk-free.Any affiliate marketing program that requires your money may not be legitimate.

You should ask yourself why they present themselves this way if they are legitimate.If you find a company you're interested in, check the start-up costs.These should be minimal or completely free.

However, if they want you to invest a lot of initial money, find something else.Chances are high that they will take your money and run away, leaving you with a worthless product.

Company track record

Check the company's track record.If you do not find the correct information, this should be a warning.

Beware of new companies.

Good affiliate programs have been around for a while and have a track record.Resist the temptation to sign up while the offer is still hot.

If it's a great program, it will still be there in a few months.

Support, website, physical address

An affiliate marketing program should also provide you with some kind of support.This may include someone you can contact with questions or issues.

They should also give you advice on how to market their products.A real company always wants you to do well.The better you perform, the better they do.It should contain at least one toll-free phone number, a landline street address, and an email address.

GetResponse Affiliate ProgramGetResponse Affiliate Program

For an online affiliate marketing company, the lack of a website or email address is definitely a red flag.Other things, like the absence of a phone number or address don't necessarily mean they want to scam you.However, it is necessary to examine them further.

A good test is to send the company an email with some basic questions.If it takes weeks to get back to you, then you need to carefully consider this feat.If they are poor in communication, this could be a sign of other internal problems.

If the company doesn't have a website, you should consider something else.Legitimate affiliate marketing programs generally have a detailed website with all the necessary information.You should be wary of companies that only operate through email.

These factors do not always mean that the affiliate program is a scam, but it should be watched carefully.

Search results

The quickest way to check the legitimacy of any affiliate program is to perform an online search.A well-known scam will always have reports and reviews made by frustrated victims.Even when complaints don't last a mile, about 5 negative comments should be reason enough to avoid it. 

You can even ask Google if a particular affiliate program is fake. 

  • Is the "affiliate program name" a scam?

  • Is the "affiliate program name" a hoax? 

  • Is the "affiliate program name" legitimate?

For testing purposes, I performed a search using the phrase "Is Bluehost's affiliate program a scam?"

There are no search results that answer the question directly.What I found is a Bluehost review that lists some of its downsides.See?There is no perfect affiliate program. 

There's something else interesting I found: a YouTube video of someone who lost money from the HostGator affiliate and bestowed his frustration through a rap song. 

This is a program that you should tick off your list.

Commission percentage

Similar to schemes to get rich quick, an affiliate program that pays unrealistic commissions can be a scam.It is true that there are legitimate affiliate programs with high payouts.

  • The Bluehost affiliate program offers affiliates a one-time payment starting at $65+.

  • Hostinger pays up to $150 per sale using a tiered pricing structure.

  • Bigcommerce has a 200% to 500% size payment, which starts at $60 and goes all the way up to $1,500.

  • Wix pays affiliates $100 for each sale made.

As you can see, the payments are high but there are conditions that must be met.If an affiliate program pays an unhindered commission, think twice before becoming a partner. 

A smart business will also guarantee its profit before anything else.Why would they pay someone more than they earn from a sale?It doesn't make sense if you think about it. 


Affiliate marketing is a fantastic way to start working for yourself.With a lot of hard work and creativity, you might be well on your way to big money doing something you enjoy.

Click here to read my full list of the best affiliate programs with recurring commissions.

There are many great affiliate marketing programs around, and choosing the right one can seem like a daunting task.Hope this guide helps you avoid affiliate marketing scams and choose the right ones for you.