How To Safely Use Affiliate Marketing to Protect Yourself from Affiliate Fraud

by Jason Dobrzykowski, on Jun 9, 2022 11:30:00 AM

In today’s market, consumers are looking to purchase from brands who share similar values and goals as they do. Affiliate marketing is an easy way for brands to connect with these like–minded customers through promoting their products or services to their affiliate’s niche audiences. It’s so effective that according to BigCommerce, brands have increased affiliate marketing spending from $5.4 billion in 2017 to $8.2 billion in 2022. 

Affiliate Marketing is when a business pays other websites, retailers, or individual influencers to promote its products and services with the goal of acquiring new customers and revenue. In exchange for this, the affiliate is then paid a commission based on the sales they were responsible for driving.

To determine the appropriate amount of commission to give their partners, many brands pair up with platforms who specialize in this type of marketing. Many of these platforms work in a last-click attribution model, which uses cookies or UTM parameters to track the last channel the shopper was on/engaged with before completing the purchase. It is this last touch affiliate that is then credited with the sale. Unfortunately, this model isn’t foolproof.  

Engagement security companies like have discovered that many coupon extensions  hijack affiliate credit through pop-ups on the checkout page and are then falsely attributed with the sale. Merchants are left with inflated customer acquisition costs, muddied attribution reporting, and a false sense of true value from their affiliate partners. 

Because of this, you’ll want to protect your business from affiliate fraud when using this form of  marketing.  Not only can it  eat at your profits, but it also prevents proper attribution, which in turn can derail your strategy and misguide future marketing investments. So how can you protect yourself? 

-- Article Continues Below --

New call-to-action

-- Article Continues Below --


Keep An Eye Out 

If you’re concerned your brand might be impacted by affiliate fraud, you can first manually check, by reviewing which affiliates are getting credit for your sales. If you see affiliates such as Honey or CapitalOne at an unusually high attribution rate, and thus a large percentage of your commission payout, you might be a victim of affiliate fraud. You can also download these extensions on your browser and check your site’s user experience firsthand to see if their pop-ups attempt to enter scrapped coupon codes– which will almost immediately during checkout if your codes are present in their database. 


First-click Attribution 

You can also run both first-click attribution with last-click attribution to see how they compare. While this is a little more time-consuming than testing just one, it will give you better insight into what sites are driving stronger conversions. This is because you can track the full length of your customer's journey, from how they discovered your brand to the final push that led them to a conversion. This will then help you decide which channels are most effective at bringing you sales and how to target your future marketing efforts.

Download cleanCART

Don’t fear, there are solutions our there that can help protect you. One of the best defenses against affiliate fraud is to remove these coupon extensions permanently from your site with defensive software. cleanCART not only protects your eCommerce business from coupon injections but it also protects your affiliate’s commission. cleanCART disables the last-second claims from browser extensions, protecting you from paying commissions to the wrong partner and rightsizing your affiliate strategy. 

cleanCART offers a free 14-day trial here.

cleanCART demo

Topics:ecommerceDigital Engagement Security

Our blog

Where businesses come to learn more about protecting the points of digital engagement with their customers, audiences and users.

Subscribe to Updates