Earlier this morning, as I was going through affiliate applications into one of our clients’ affiliate programs, this one
really made me raise an eyebrow:
I’ve known Anita Campbell for years, and have personally been active on her BizSugar.com website/aggregator. And what affiliate manager wouldn’t be happy should a resource like BizSugar apply into their affiliate program? But two things have alerted me:
(i) the affiliate’s “New” status in the “Network Performance” column (I, actually, happen to remember exactly when Anita started her affiliate account, as we were in detailed talks on how to promote some of our clients on her web properties), and
(ii) seeing them classify their website (or BizSugar.com) as an “Internet Service Provider” (which they are clearly not).
So, I’ve reached out to her, and received the following reply (edited to conceal sensitive information):
Hi Geno — that is not us. In fact, I just checked with [name here], who also manages the CJ account and handles our affiliate ad placements, and he was not aware of [our client name] either.
We have one account, and it’s for both BizSugar and [other websites] under one. [Client name] is not showing up there as an approved advertiser, and we don’t recall applying for that program.
Sounds like a red flag to me…
Of course, not every affiliate manager will have the luxury of being in personal contact with the owner of the website that is, likely, being impersonated; but this isn’t even necessary! If you anything in an affiliate application raises an “impersonation” red flag for you, first contact the website’s real owner(s) (either via a “Contact Us” page on their website, or by pulling their information from WHOIS database); and if your if your suspicions are justified, then report them also to the affiliate network/platform (unless you’re running an in-house affiliate program).