August 19, 2020

3 Toxic Affiliate Marketing Scams You Have to Avoid

Affiliate marketing is a great way to get started making money online. When you’re an affiliate marketer, you can promote someone else’s product or service and make a commission for leads or sales that you send them.

But if you’re just getting started, you need to be cautious of affiliate marketing scams that can cost you money and time.

What is an Affiliate Scam?

People want to make money online. Anytime someone is learning a new way to make money, there is someone out there trying to take their money without giving them benefit in return.

A lot of people make a full-time income online, and there are even some that have become millionaires due to affiliate marketing. But affiliate marketing is a really hard industry to break into if you’re not taking it seriously.

If you want a shortcut to riches, chances are, you’re going to fall into affiliate marketing scams and lose your money.

How to Avoid Internet Affiliate Marketing Scams

If you’re going to avoid being scammed, you have to know what to look out for, as an affiliate marketer. Scams can cause more than just monetary loss; they can cause you to lose your credibility and get a bad name in the industry. This makes it harder to make money now and in the future.

The three major scams that I want you to look out for and know about include:

Get Rich Quick

I have helped many people in the affiliate marketing industry, and it’s an industry that I know quite a bit about. One of the major issues that I see is that people don’t take this seriously. You can make a lot of money, but this is not an industry where you’re going to make money overnight.

You need to think of affiliate marketing as an actual business. You need to put money, time and patience into your business. Many businesses don’t start making money for years, but you can start making money with affiliate marketing in a few months.

Get rich quick schemes seem like legitimate ways to make money, but they’re trying to scam you out of your profits. I won’t mention names, but I remember watching a video where a master marker was teaching others how to make money, and they started making sales within hours. 

The truth is, if any of these people actually did make money, it is not the norm. Chances are, you’re not going to be making hundreds of dollars your first day.

If someone is promising you that you’ll make profits in three hours or less, run the other way. 

If it was that easy, these people would just use their own techniques to scale what they’re doing and keep all the money for themselves. The money, these people are making, is from selling get rich quick schemes to unfortunate affiliate marketers who truly want to make money and put their trust in someone else.

General rules to follow:

  • If you’re promised riches, it’s a scam
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it’s a scam

A lot of these scams will also include “checks” or “income reports.” The person tries to gain your trust by showing you just how much they made during their career. Some of these checks or reports are real, but a lot are fake.

Be sure to look at the date on the check and also look out for income reports where the person only makes more and more money.

Fluctuations are natural, so if income never dips from month to month, something is wrong or unnatural.

Pay-to-Join Platforms

Is affiliate marketing legit? Yes, but what is not legit is that there are some companies, which ask you to pay money, to join their affiliate programs. You are promoting these companies and making them money. You should not be paying for this privilege because you’re making them money.

You should never have to pay money for signing up for an affiliate program where you’re promoting different products or services.

Fake Products/Services

What is it that you are promoting? There are a lot of companies out there that have great sales pages, thousands of reviews, and they are selling absolutely nothing. These companies will take people’s money, sign up affiliates and show great profits on their dashboards. Then they disappear overnight because they never actually deliver the products to their consumers.

The fitness industry had a lot of these different scams for many years when people would sign up to lose weight in 30 days, but the products never actually arrived.

You’ll need to do your own due diligence and:

  • Read reviews. If all the reviews are positive, chances are, there’s something wrong -someone always complains
  • Read through forums and other affiliate marketing platforms
  • Do any research you can on the company promoting these products

Of course, as you build up your website and reputation, you will receive some of these scams right in your email. A lot of people will start reaching out to you, offering their products to sell to your audience and make money from them.

But a lot of these companies are going to try to scam you out of your money. You may send them leads, and then all of a sudden, they say that the leads are fake, or you never receive your payout.

You have to do your due diligence when dealing with any of these companies because there are a lot of companies that pop up for a few months and then all of a sudden go bankrupt and never actually pay their affiliates in the end.


Is affiliate marketing a scam? No, but there are people out there that will try to take your money to get rich programs or refuse to pay for the leads that you send them. You’ll have to do your own due diligence when signing up for affiliate programs or learning platforms that teach you how to be an affiliate marketer to avoid these marketing scams.

There are marketing scams in every industry, but if you’re willing to put the time and research into the companies you’re promoting or thinking of learning from, you can reduce your risk of being scammed.

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