As you proceed through the affiliate marketing business model, you’re going to encounter a lot of advice that isn’t exactly above the board. They call these grey hat or black hat strategies, and you should avoid them.
Anything that’s unethical or borders on spammy is putting your affiliate income at risk. It’s simply not worth it – even though you might be tempted to try it “just for a little while” until you start seeing profits.
Your activities leave a footprint online, so if you’re ever caught, most affiliate programs will shut you down instantly – and very few will listen to what you have to say to excuse your behavior.
Not only will you lose your account, but if there are funds waiting for you in the account, you lose those, too. You can stomp your foot and complain all you want, but when you sign up to an affiliate program, you agree to their terms of service – and you can guarantee they’ve covered the bad strategy you just employed.
Adhering to white hat business practices (the good, above the board tactics) might mean it takes you a bit longer to achieve success, but the efforts you put in with give your business longevity.
Blackhat marketers in the affiliate game will be doing shady things like tricking customers. They’ll be on a site different from the one they think they’re on when they buy something.
They do things like inject cookies onto people’s computers without permission, or override other affiliates’ cookies unethically when they’re not meant to profit from the sale.
Some of the blackhat techniques used by affiliate marketers are flat out fraudulent, and can even get you investigated by the authorities – possibly prosecuted, too. These are the ones who use stolen credit cards and hack into people’s accounts to get their commission.
Some have mentioned black hat marketers like to impersonate truly ethical marketers. So they might create a Twitter account or Facebook fan page similar to a white hat marketer and siphon traffic away from unsuspecting followers who buy through their link when they think they’re buying from the original person.
It’s always best to rise above the scummy tactics that others use to temporarily boost their income in an unethical way. You came online to build a secure business, not act as a rip off artist because you can hide behind the computer. This way you can be proud of all that you accomplish – and your business will last a lifetime.