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Internet marketing: What to do when you get “stiffed”

If you haven’t been scammed or conned once in the course of running your internet marketing business, it’s probably a sign that you’re not doing enough.

A couple of weeks ago, Aden Mott posted about getting “ripped off” by Copeac (You can read the post here).

I think the fact that Copeac’s owner, Mike Krongel, posted a personal reply says a lot and based on my past experience in working with Copeac, I’m inclined to see things from Mike’s point of view.

My take on affiliate referral commissions is that you’re at the mercy of the network. I’ve had affiliate managers, and affiliate network owners suggest that I could get higher payouts by setting up a 2nd account and bypassing my referrer and get a higher payout in the process. I’ve not gone through this route and prefer to just give my referrer his due. If a campaign is predicated on being able to get an extra 1% or 5% to break even, then you might need to work on being more creative/innovative and moving away from the arbitrage model to creating more value for the lead.

At the same time, I’ve had referred affiliates whom I’d been getting comfortable referrals from, switch out of the referred account so they could earn a slightly higher payout (or so they were promised). I don’t think there’s much you can do about these situations, they’re a fact of the affiliate/internet marketing life. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the fire.

The majority of CPA networks which had initially offered a 5% referral comm have since reduced the referrals to the 1% to 2% range. In a number of cases, they’ve either discontinued the referral scheme (but still pay out for referred affiliates) and in extreme cases, axed the program altogether. As an affiliate, there’s not really a lot you can do about this, so you can either focus all your effort on building and scaling out campaigns, or develop your own product where you’ll have control over how it’s marketed and its price point.

Being able to manage risks sensibly is part of being a business owner. It might seem fun to aspire to be a network owner, but most don’t see the risks and losses that come with it. Having advertisers who renege on making payment because of lead scrubbing or fold up without possibility of payment. Having to deal with fraud affiliates who stuff thousands of leads each month (which are eventually reversed by the advertiser). Dealing with advertisers who have offers which are obviously scammy or have done the old bait-and-switch with their offers. It’s not all fun and games at the top.

Another friend who markets products on the Internet, had a broker that he was buying products from, suddenly disappear and stop answering his email and phone calls. The amount wasn’t high enough to destroy my friend’s business, but it is still a pain because this issue is delaying a project we’re collaborating on.

I don’t see what’s the point in scamming a couple of thousand bucks each from a couple of people because you might have a little play money for a while, but the world and especially the online world is a small place and it’s going to come back to haunt you.

At the end of the day, integrity and honesty are two traits which will carry you further in this business, and if you choose to play in the murkier adult/gaming/pharma space, then you should be more diligent about managing your risks.

6 comments on Internet marketing: What to do when you get “stiffed”

  1. Slave Rat
    October 15, 2010 at 10:45 am (4 years ago)

    Excellent point: Actively manage risk.

  2. Name (required)
    October 16, 2010 at 12:55 am (4 years ago)

    Even if you’re doing high volume, have network owners lick your balls, giving you presents etc, take everything with a pinch of salt. Publishers are rarely respected by networks and are considered very dispensable.

  3. Deck Jets
    November 23, 2010 at 9:52 am (4 years ago)

    It’s good to see you posting on this topic, I need to bookmark this web site. Keep up the good work.

  4. filmindir
    January 3, 2011 at 5:25 am (4 years ago)

    congrat then who is luck then you man

  5. oyun
    January 21, 2011 at 6:55 pm (4 years ago)

    Very good advice Its good to see others that accept failure as a key to success

  6. Amee Jucean
    August 27, 2011 at 5:38 am (3 years ago)

    Really enjoyed this post, how can I make is so that I receive an alert email whenever you publish a fresh article?

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