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Fraud, Brand Control & Confidence in Affiliate Programmes

Fraud, Brand Control & Confidence in Affiliate Programmes


Managing fraud, tighter brand controls and confidence in affiliate programmes were among the topics discussed with attendees at the Performance Marketing Insights (PMI) event in New York last week.

After conducting a survey at the two-day Manhattan conference, when it comes to the issue of whether people feel comfortable in the knowledge that their affiliate programme policies are being adhered to, just 32% of people said ‘yes’ they were convinced plans were being followed accordingly.

A total of 46% said ‘for the most part’ and 8% said 'no'.

Confidence Needed

Ticketmaster’s senior director of affiliate partner marketing, James Revell, who attended the A4u hosted event, said he felt that 32% was not a high enough figure and that more people should feel confident on such an issue.

He also said that Ticketmaster has ‘strict business rules’ in regards to its channel – perhaps suggesting that other advertisers should formulate a rigid and steadfast policy to build more confidence across the industry?

When attendees were asked if their brand would invest more in the performance marketing channel, if tighter brand controls and regulations were enforced (as they have been in the UK), 56% said yes. A total of 22% said ‘no’ and 22% said they ‘didn’t know’ what they would do.

With more than half agreeing to carry on investing in the performance marketing channel, this can only be a positive sign that despite the looming possibility of a future clampdown on performance marketing rules, cash would still be injected into this booming US sector.

Revell said: “It’s really about the return on investment of this paid channel. If the numbers back out against cost and prove incremental at the same time, we’ll continue to fuel this channel, and that is my goal (and job!).”

Taking Charge

On the widely-discussed subject of who should be ‘primarily responsible’ for managing fraud, regulation and transparency within the performance marketing industry, survey results proved to be a mixed bag.

Of those asked, 38% said it was down to performance marketing ‘agencies’ to deal with, next up to take responsibility was the ‘advertisers’ - as 30% of people said the duty should lie with them.

A total of 13% said such responsibilities should fall to ‘third parties’, 11% said it was down to the affiliate/publisher and 8% said it was down to the networks.

US affiliate marketing expert and founder of All InclusiveMarketing, and, Sarah Bundy, said she thinks the networks should have a significantly higher accountability here.

“Third party vendors who specialise in identifying fraud should be working with each network to ensure quality control,” Bundy begins.

“Affiliate managers, affiliates and agencies are also responsible. Quite frankly, I believe all of these parties are responsible for fraud control, including the affiliates themselves. However, I feel the first touch point for fraud control should be the networks using trained third party vendors to get the job done.

“By doing so, everyone will be more successful because affiliate managers and agencies can focus on programme growth and optimisation through recruitment, strategy, relationship building, training and communications with affiliates, and pushing out content and offers rather than spending many essential hours policing the program.”

From a UK stance, marketing strategy delivery manager from digital marketing agency Brightpath, Steve Masters, said he believes the affiliate network, or the manager of the affiliate system, should be responsible for managing and monitoring fraud.

US Scene

The American debut of PMI took place from March 12-13 and was well received.

Many figures from across the performance marketing landscape in the US, and beyond, attended PMI to network and listen to debates and key insights from a wide variety of speakers.

“I think this event in the US scene is overdue really,” Revell said.

Revell said the highly-focused PMI event was better positioned than some other US events, in terms of attendees, panels, exhibitors and there was more time to ‘dig in’ with attendees.

“The attendee list was extremely high calibre, it allowed for a more intimate opportunity to meet with industry leaders and top brands without ‘sifting’ through people, and I came away with new inspiration and ideas that I will be implementing right away,” Bundy added.

The survey conducted at PMI also found that over half of people questioned have concerns about brand control.

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Pippa Chambers

Pippa Chambers

Freelance News Journalist at PerformanceIN - working to source the latest and breaking news in performance marketing. 

From newspapers to national B2B magazines and technology reporting, I have covered a variety of genres. NCTJ/NCE qualified.

Please email me at and follow me @PippaC1

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