Watch Out for Country Changers!

When as a Commission Junction advertiser/merchant you get a “Publisher Country Change” notification (see example below) in your network mailbox, treat it as a red flag.

Publisher country change notification

In my experience, in the majority of cases it means nothing good. C’mon! How often do people change the country of their residence from USA to Kenya or China as below screenshots show?

Affiliate country change from USA to Kenya

Affiliate country change from USA to China

However, no week passes by without me seeing over a dozen of already-approved affiliates doing this. My guess is that they realize that applications from China, Thailand, other Asian, and also African countries get screened more carefully by affiliate program managers (some even choose to auto-decline them). So they pick USA (or UK sometimes) as their country of residence while opening a publisher account with CJ, and when there are already commissions in the account, and it’s time for them to withdraw the money, they change the country, putting in their real location.

Looking at the above two instances in more detail, I’ve found out that the Kenyan publisher had an inactive blog (with two generic posts), while the China-based one was using a URL or a website that belonged to someone else.

I don’t know if any other affiliate networks notify merchants/advertisers of affiliate country change(s), but these notifications can be extremely useful in spotting suspicious affiliates.

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