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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager Government Auctions AM's Avatar
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    Possible lead fraud?
    I have a publisher who has been sending, which I believe are false leads. I see from the back end of our system that the user accounts created by the people supposedly sent to us by the publisher, have very similar passwords. However, the IP addresses, which the leads are coming from are all different and are actually coming from different physical locations. None of the leads have ever turned into sales.

    Is it presumptuous to think that this would be fraud? If so, how do I properly handle the situation, as I have no concrete evidence. I would like to be as diplomatic as possible!

    Thanks!
    Steven Shnayder
    [B][URL="http://www.governmentauctions.org"]GovernmentAuctions.orgŪ[/URL][/B]
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  2. #2
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    When you pay for leads instead of sales, this type of thing is inevitable. Some fraudsters will be incredibly obvious (all from the same IP address), but others will be much more creative. Some will defy all explanation until you dig really deep. Something like you observed is a good red flag that you need to dig deeper.

    I saw one once where the affiliate also ran a porn site which gave a "scavenger hunt" to get a password to unlock a password-protected porn file.

    Step 1: Go to a specific site (the affiliates).
    Step 2: Click a link (the affiliate link being promoted on the site).
    Step 3: Complete the free signup.
    Step 4: The 7th word on the confirmation page is the password.

    It was almost undetectable. From the merchant's side, the traffic was coming from the affiliate site, it was all unique users, and there wasn't any abnormal pattern. But the leads didn't convert, so I dug deeper and discovered this scheme that was generating the leads.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager craigstephen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey View Post
    When you pay for leads instead of sales, this type of thing is inevitable. Some fraudsters will be incredibly obvious (all from the same IP address), but others will be much more creative. Some will defy all explanation until you dig really deep. Something like you observed is a good red flag that you need to dig deeper.

    I saw one once where the affiliate also ran a porn site which gave a "scavenger hunt" to get a password to unlock a password-protected porn file.

    Step 1: Go to a specific site (the affiliates).
    Step 2: Click a link (the affiliate link being promoted on the site).
    Step 3: Complete the free signup.
    Step 4: The 7th word on the confirmation page is the password.

    It was almost undetectable. From the merchant's side, the traffic was coming from the affiliate site, it was all unique users, and there wasn't any abnormal pattern. But the leads didn't convert, so I dug deeper and discovered this scheme that was generating the leads.

    I got your point Michael, whereas i was thinking to open up a CPL method to encourage leads but most of the time i have heard the same issues that is faced above. IP Track helps to an extend... but some people are just creative
    [FONT="Georgia"][SIZE="4"]Craig Stephen[/SIZE][/FONT]
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  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager Government Auctions AM's Avatar
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    Ye, the tricky part is figuring out the back-end of the whole process. Right now, I am pretty much going on a hunch because there is a slight pattern and the buyer behavior is a little off than what we normally see.

    I don't want to be jumping the gun and causing unnecessary trouble with the affiliate though.

    I wish integrity was more of a priority.It's not fair to merchants who offer quite a generous lead and sale commission on a very high converting product to begin with.

    Should I approach the affiliate? If so, what do you believe is the most non-incriminating way?

    Thanks!
    Steven Shnayder
    [B][URL="http://www.governmentauctions.org"]GovernmentAuctions.orgŪ[/URL][/B]
    Join us on [URL="https://signup.cj.com/member/brandedPublisherSignUp.do?air_refmerchantid=2932365"]CJ[/URL] [URL="http://www.shareasale.com/shareasale.cfm?merchantID=10834"]SAS[/URL] [URL="http://www.governmentauctions.org/home/partners.asp"]ClickBank[/URL] [URL="http://twitter.com/GAORGAFFILIATES"]@GAorgAffiliates[/URL]

  5. #5
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Government Auctions AM View Post
    I wish integrity was more of a priority.
    I think it's largely a matter of perception. The vast majority of affiliates are good, hardworking people with integrity and great ethics. But those few who aren't "generate" an inordinately larger volume of sales than the average affiliate, so the problem appears much more widespread than it really is. Plus, they keep coming back with new identities.

    The easiest way to prevent it is to align your commission structure with your own objectives. If you're paying commissions on things that actually earn you money, rather than on leads or clicks or some tangential factor, there's much less possibility for fraud.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Government Auctions AM View Post
    I see from the back end of our system that the user accounts created by the people supposedly sent to us by the publisher, have very similar passwords.
    That's definitely suspicious and you should look more into it, but to me a bigger concern is that you're storing passwords in plaintext.

  7. #7
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheStranger View Post
    to me a bigger concern is that you're storing passwords in plaintext.
    If encrypted, say with md5, they would all still look identical - just encrypted...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager Government Auctions AM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheStranger View Post
    That's definitely suspicious and you should look more into it, but to me a bigger concern is that you're storing passwords in plaintext.
    Thanks! The problem was solved. Passwords can only be viewed when certain queries are input into the system. We store them for customer support purposes. This is necessary for the business that we run.
    Steven Shnayder
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