Avoid Affiliate Marketing Black Hat Tactics 

 January 12, 2015

By  Michel

Using Black Hat Tactics for Affiliate Marketing

For today’s Marketing Monday, I cover an important topic that you’ll want to seriously consider making part of your affiliate business. Simply put, that’s to avoid affiliate marketing black hat tactics.

As you make your way through the affiliate marketing business model, you’ll hear a lot of advice. Unfortunately even though it will be from a number of different sources, not all of it is above board. They refer to these as grey hat or black hat strategies, and you should avoid them like the plague.

They become quite temping to implement as well. This is especially true if you’ve been online for some time and are struggling to make a living. Maybe even to make your first online sale.

What are grey-hat or black-hat tactics?

Anything unethical, borders on spammy, or possibly outright illegal puts your online reputation and your affiliate income at risk. Even though you might be tempted to try it “just for a little while” until you start seeing profits – Don’t! It’s simply not worth it.

Besides, all of your online activities leave a footprint. So if you ever get caught, most affiliate programs will shut you down instantly! And very few will listen to what you have to say to excuse your behavior.

Not only will you lose your account, but if there are funds waiting in it, you lose those, too. You can scream and shout all you want! But it will make no difference. Because when you signed up to become part of an affiliate program, you also agree to their terms of service. And believe me, you can be assured they’ve covered any bad tactics you just employed.

It is always best to employ white hat business practices (the ethical, above board tactics) – even though it might mean taking a bit longer to achieve success. The efforts you put in to it will be worth the reputation you gain and give your business a better chance of longevity.

What sort of tactics are considered “Black Hat”?

One of the tactics black hat marketers use in the affiliate game is doing shady things like tricking customers. A prospect will be sent to a site different from the one they think they’re on when they buy something.

black-hat-seoBlack hat affiliates may do things like inject cookies onto people’s computers without permission, or override other affiliates’ cookies unethically when they’re not meant to get credit for making the sale.

Other black hat techniques used by affiliate marketers are just flat out fraudulent, which not only get you banned, but can even lead to you being investigated by the authorities – possibly prosecuted, too. examples are ones who use stolen credit cards and hack into people’s accounts to get their commission.

Some black hat marketers will go as far as impersonating truly ethical marketers. They may create a Twitter account or Facebook fan page similar to a white hat marketer to siphon off traffic of unsuspecting followers and customers who buy through this link thinking they’re buying from the original person.

Final Thoughts

It’s always better to rise above the scummy tactics of black hat marketing that others use to temporarily boost their income in an unethical way.

You started online to build a secure business, not to become a rip off artist so you can realize a short- quick profit and hide behind the computer.

By remaining white hat, you can be proud of all that you accomplish online – and your business can last a lifetime.

What struggles are you currently facing with your online business? Leave me a comment below… I just may have a solution and I’d love to help!

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Michel has actively been online as an Internet and affiliate marketer since 2009. He has experience with many systems and programs that he has used throughout those years, finding some to be great and many not so good. He’s learned what works, and what doesn’t work and is willing to share it with you. And it is always changing!

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  1. Although we all like to think we can browse and purchase things online without fear, there is always the “hacker” lurking for opportunity. Whether you prefer to call them blackhatters or hackers is your choice.

    Nowadays, I watch the browser to see how many redirects are flipping by. Too many, and I’m off the link.

    I would not know how to be a blackhat marketer…and for that I am grateful.

    And as usual, I have questions for you. Can you be certain that when you go to a https checkout page, that a hacker has not injected their code prior to that? Or, is that one of the reasons the push is for all websites to carry the SSL certificate?

    1. As usual, Dawn, you ask a good but loaded question.

      There are differences between online thieves, hackers, black hat marketers, and link hijackers. Also redirects don’t necessarily mean someone is hijacking the link you selected; it might be a legitimate redirect link setup by the original affiliate to protect his/her link to make sure they get proper credit.

      Link injection can occur right from your own laptop or mobile device! How this works is you downloaded some sort of help app that can be anything from a legitimate looking toolbar to a search app. However, whenever you go to buy something, the software that is already on your device changes the link to their affiliate ID as you are being directed to the offer. Doesn’t matter if the original site has SSL.

      Now what you are asking, if I’m correct, is if you are ordering something online that you want, how do you know the link you selected is an untampered link? And the quick answer is that you don’t. Smart affiliate marketers know this and will offer a bonus along with instructions how to get their bonus. For example, if it is through Clickbank, when you go to the order page, you can see the name of the affiliate at the bottom of that page. If it matches the name given by the smart affiliate, then both you and that affiliate can be sure he/she is getting credit (a legitimate link).

      Also, once you arrive at the site where you place the order, SSL assures that your order information you provide isn’t being hijacked (at least during the transaction). If the merchant keeps your information on their server, a skilled hacker can still gain access to it later.

      Another secure order method is for the merchant to send the person to a third party payment processor, like PayPal, with an encrypted link to get you there without alterations being made (can be done with or without SSL). Once there (on PayPal), your order information is secured and encrypted payment confirmation sent back to the vendor to verify a purchase was made so that the product can be released to you and PayPal processed your payment information without the merchant knowing how you paid. So SSL isn’t necessary for the website merchant to have to assure your information is safe. 🙂

  2. Huh Michel… your reply to Dawn is another lesson by itself!! Got to digest it a little more ;p

    Now back to your post,
    “The efforts you put in to it will be worth the reputation you gain and give your business a better chance of longevity.”
    “You started online to build a secure business, not to become a rip off artist so you can realize a short- quick profit and hide behind the computer.”

    These, are my greatest take away from this post. Thanks, as always! To your Abundance, Sandy 🙂

    1. Thank you, Sandy for your compliments and encouragement!

      You’re correct in saying that I started online to build a business, not to become a rip-off or scam artist for a quick buck! Those who practice it also quickly find that their short-term profits don’t last long and then have to deal with their shady reputation if they have to go back to make more!

  3. Hi Michel, another awesome post. I don’t use any black hat techniques. It is unfortunate that online marketers resort to that.

    Your mention about “Black hat affiliates injecting cookies onto people’s computers without permission, or override other affiliates’” is a pretty scary thought. I wouldn’t even know if that would happen. How would you know that someone else is taking your commissions?

    1. Hi Dita, you ask an excellent question!

      One way to check it is to click on your own affiliate link (or better yet, someone who you know) to see if it changed (who gets the credit) when you or they arrive at the offer (order page). Also be aware that some affiliate programs are easier to inject than others, like Clickbank or Amazon, than a private run program like iPro. If you do find that it is happening, you need to contact the affiliate program manager to let them know what is happening, so they can directly address the issue (like ban the offender). 🙂

  4. Very informative post on Black Hat tactics – I’ve heard there are easier ones that bloggers can use, and also heard that Google will stop visiting your site when they sniff them out.
    I don’t want to know how to’s on these points that’s for sure! 🙂

    1. Hi Donna,

      Yes, there are all kinds of ways that black hat offenders can use to cause damage or “gain an edge”. It is also true when they are caught, the consequences like black listings from major search engines can be devastating. Sadly though, it is important for you to know something about it if you are a website owner. Why? Because they can use your site to do the damage and Google will think it is YOU! That is one of the reasons why I periodically go to check on a verification service to see if any of my sites are “black listed”. 🙂

  5. Wow – I never knew there shady practices…

    I had an unfortunate experience of some of those “shady” people put a corrupt link into my website and it was shut down for a couple of days…nasty stuff

    Dr. Lisa

    1. Unfortunate, Lisa, but you can directly relate to what can happen with the dark side of online marketing and how it can affect a web business.

  6. Oh, it’s all about doing thing the legit way – this underhand stuff rarely works long term as you say.

    Things like invisible text and link farming haven’t worked for years, but you can still find people ‘teaching’ it! Why don’t they simply teach ‘find what people want – give it to them!’

  7. Hey Michel

    Great advice to people that want to start to learn affiliate marketing. There are too many of such guru, tempting to make it seem so easy to new comers. For those who like and think affiliate have short cut are likely to fall into the trap.

    Great post! I sharing it on my page great info.


  8. This was an awesome with helpful content. I believe in professionals so this is a very useful article for everyone. Thank you very much for sharing..

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