Is The Advertiser Stealing Your Affiliate Commissions? (Yes)

I was recently asked a question by a reader named Tom, who asked something important  that I’m going to answer here.

“How do you make sure that the advertiser (owner of the offer) doesn’t steal your commissions? (e.g. cookie overwritten.)”

If you’re an affiliate marketer, your job is to sell someone else’s product for a commission. It’s probably the fastest and easiest way to make money online, but there are a few downfalls.

For one, you don’t control the entire process. You control the initial ad click and the landing page (if you use one) and then the customer is sent somewhere else to complete the transaction.

Video answer from my YouTube channel.

In most cases, the customer is actually sent two places:

  1. First they go through the affiliate network
  2. Then, they are sent to the product owner

Bon Voyage

After the potential customer leaves your page you turn control over to your business partners, the affiliate network and the product owner. And for this relationship to work there has to be a certain level of trust.

  1. You have to trust that the affiliate network won’t redirect your link to their own link and claim the commission for themselves.
  2. You have to trust that the product owner will credit you for the sale when a purchase is made.

The truth is that at each of those two levels there is an opportunity for you to get screwed. Many (most) affiliate networks take 5-25% of your sales to supplement their bottom line and product owners don’t always fire your affiliate pixel and pay you out of greed or honest technical errors.

How To Fix It

Sadly, as an affiliate there is no way to completely fix the problem. There are however, a few things you can do.

  1. Split test affiliate networks. If more than one network has the same offer split test the networks. If Network A outperforms Network B there may be something going on at Network B. Keep that in your mental rolodex for future campaigns.
  2. Make a profit anyway. If Affiliate Network X is taking 10% of your sales and Advertiser Y isn’t firing your pixel on another 10% but  you’re still making a 70% ROI on your campaign, you’re winning the game. Keep moving.
  3. Make your own offer. If you want total control over the transactions, build your own offer. But as many affiliates have learned (the hard way), product ownership comes with it’s own set of problems. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Worry Less, Profit More

Try to free yourself from the extra worry about what is going on behind the scenes.

  • If you’re profitable, run it.
  • If you’re not and you think something shady is going on, move on.
  • If you think an affiliate network or advertiser is ripping you off. Never work with them again.

One of the best things about being an affiliate marketer is that you can change directions whenever you want to.

So if you’re getting a negative vibe – make a move. A winning campaign could be just a few steps away.

  • Petre Veluda

    Now I better understand why you have to split test offers on different networks. Did not know about this. Thanks for sharing!

    • Malan Darras

      It’s one of those things that is good to know, but not worry about much. You can’t change it, so just keep plugging away.

  • george nosak

    rubbish!!! If you don’t have any potent solution to the problem, why bring the topic up!

    • Malan Darras

      george, what i wrote is the the most potent solution for the problem there is. you either A) deal with it, B) move on.

  • Andrea Costa

    george there is no solution, he is right that you like it or not! move on!