Internet Security is something we all need to take seriously, particularly if we are wanting to make a living online. To be successful online you will need competence in many areas such as; search engine optimization, content writing, key word selection and an understanding of Internet marketing methodologies.
It takes hard work, commitment and a solid understanding of what you are doing and it all could come apart, very quickly if you have poor internet security or you aren’t aware of the security loopholes that can be exploited.
Five Security Tips Every Affiliate Marketer Should Consider
The internet has been growing immensely and it has opened the doors for many companies and vendors to sell their products and services online. That allowed the affiliate industry to grow significantly as well. New opportunities opened the doors to big rewards, but also risks.
In this article, we’ll talk about five internet security tips that every affiliate marketer should consider and what to look out for.
1. Affiliate Network Reputation
The availability of affiliate networks is endless with countless of networks in all sorts of different niches. Almost naturally, with that many networks, there are also shady networks. You’ll read many success stories of affiliate marketers that have made millions in collaboration with a certain network while other marketers have been cheated by other networks.
Therefore, it’s extremely important to check and validate whether the affiliate network you might want to go for is a legit one. A particular network might have drawn your attention because of the high commissions, but what does it matter if the network doesn’t pay you – it could be a scam.
A recent example of an affiliate scam is M.O.B.E. You can read more here
However, if you want to be on the safe side, it’s recommended to join a reputable affiliate program that has many active (and happy) members. I’m talking about (but not limited to) ClickBank, AliExpress Affiliates or Rakuten.
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2. Not Getting Paid
It’s a major risk to join a program that has no reviews, little background and is relatively unknown. But even with trusted affiliate programs, you might not get paid. It happens more often that you might realize.
What do you do if you’re not getting the commissions you’re entitled to?
Obviously, that depends on various factors. Did you sign a contract with the affiliate partner? What country are they located in? And so on. Imagine if you live in the U.S. but you want to file a lawsuit against an Asian affiliate program. Without major resources, there’s probably not much you can do, timewise and financial wise.
At the end of the day, you simply want to avoid such a situation from happening in the first place, thus, I highly recommend to only join a program if you’re absolutely sure it’s a legitimate one.
3. Affiliate Fraud
Investopedia defines affiliate fraud as:
“Affiliate fraud refers to any false or unscrupulous activity conducted to generate commissions from an affiliate marketing program.”
That basically means any kind of illegal activity aimed at cheating program members, merchants and even buyers. Hackers or other types of cyber criminals use different tactics to commit fraud, potentially leading to the downfall of a merchant or affiliate.
Here are a few examples of tactics used to commit affiliate fraud:
1. Website cloning
Cloning an existing affiliate website aims to mislead potential buyers and to redirect them to other sites to make a purchase. It could even happen that people are redirected to another malicious fake site and make a purchase there. But in fact, their credit card details are stolen and then sold or used for fraudulent activities.
2. Mislead buyers
It may happen that someone creates various domains with small variations of an exisiting affiliate domain in order to mislead buyers. Then, the domains are registered to sign up for affiliate programs.
3. Stolen credit card purchases
This is mainly an issue for merchants, because if the merchant already paid out the commission to the affiliate but then finds out the purchase was made with a stolen credit card, the purchase has to be refunded – even though the commission for the sale was already transferred.
4. Malicious software
Hackers could run scripts or write software that generates fake clicks and transactions.
The security of your website should be taken very seriously. Regardless whether you’re just starting a new site or already own a well-established one. Don’t think that hackers aren’t interested in your website, simply because it’s a “small” site.
Hackers could use your website in a botnet, steal customer data for fraudulent activities or install malicious scripts that will redirect your visitors to other websites.
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Make sure to follow the best practices when it comes to the security of your website and, again, take it seriously.
5. Website Plugins
When you build your affiliate website(s), there are plenty of plugins you can install to improve customer experience, create funnels, run little scrips, and so on. Unfortunately, hackers often abuse weak and outdated plugins and infect it with scripts.
An infamous threat was the “Man-in-the-browser” attack. The script allowed hackers to install a Trojan horse and modify web pages, transactions and content without the website owner or visitor realizing it happened.
In short, only install plugins of trusted developers with many good reviews and always update your plugins. If word breaks out your website is infected and people know, you can start all over again.
Many Ways To Increase You Online Security
There are many way to improve your online security and for some using a VPN. A VPN is a Virtual Private Network and is a way of connecting your computer (or smartphone) in order to circumvent the restriction on access to blocked sites. But also allows for privacy when browsing online. For more about using VPN (in other countries – such as China) you can see my post here
About This Post
Much of this post was written by Bill Hess from PixelPrivacy.com who are all about making the world of online security accessible to everyone. They pride themselves in writing guides that they’re certain even their own mother could understand! Be sure to head over to their blog if you’re interested in keeping your private information just that: Private!
Take a look at other posts on my site and you will see that I discuss a variety of topics to do with making money online.
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