Let me start by saying that Fiverr is a great platform used by multiple upright affiliate marketers on a multitude of reasons. Some are finding affordable help (copywriters, web designers, coders, video production services, etc), others are earning money with Fiverr’s own affiliate program, but the group to which I want to draw your attention today is “making money on Fiverr” in a very different way — one that all managers (and especially those who handle pay per lead affiliate programs) must be aware of.
These guys aren’t easy to spot on the sign-up/application level. They will not list “fiverr” in their URL or promotional methods, but will more than likely portray themselves as content or SEO marketers. Their profile may look like this (this is a screenshot of an actual rogue affiliate’s profile page):
Once accepted into your affiliate program, they will go to Fiverr, find a user who offers something similar to this (we’ve actually caught this particular Fiverr member being used in such a scheme by another affiliate fraudster):
…and in a matter of just a few days your “leads” count will soar! Let’s just zoom into the above-quoted affiliate’s statistics to highlight the red flags:
Red Flag #1: Spike in referrals: from zero to hundreds of leads a week.
Red Flag #2: Conversion Rate: 21 * 100 ÷ 36 = 58.33%.
Red Flag #3: Inflated EPC: when we compare this affiliate’s average earnings per 100 clicks with the average EPC figure of the top 10 affiliates in the program, we see that it is some 10 times higher.
Note: The zero in the “click-through rate” row is not a red flag, as impressions (to which CTR calculation is tied) are not being registered when text links are being used.
Any time you see (i) a sharp increase in referrals, (ii) a conversion rate that exceeds your average 5 times or more, or (iii) an unusually high EPC, you want to take a close look into the “promotional methods” the affiliate is using.
In principle, the above-described scenario is no different than situations where affiliates incentivize their users to perform the action for which the affiliate receives compensation. Whether it is done via virtual currency, points, cash, prizes or any other incentive, if the advertiser’s desired action is motivated by something other than the genuine customer desire to try their product or service, it yields useless “leads.” In the situation outlined above, rogue affiliates are, basically, using someone else to assist them in the fraud. Beware of these situations, watch out for the red flags, and ensure you reverse any such “commissions” before they lock.