How to Avoid Affiliate Marketing Scams- 3 Telltale Signs

How to Avoid Affiliate Marketing ScamsAffiliate marketing is an industry filled to the brim with scams, frauds, cons, and other synonyms of the word. Oftentimes, these scams are cleverly made and marketed. Believe me, some scams are extremely well made. So, you’re probably wondering how to avoid affiliate marketing scams. Have no fear, friend!

Although I have a review section where I analyze scams (and legit products), using the 3 signs I’m gonna present right here can often let you know right away.

I also recommend reading my affiliate marketing introduction, if you’re not familiar with the business.

Lastly, although I say ‘scam,’ most products aren’t actually so. They give you what they promise, but the misleading marketing and deceit involved means you can call them ‘scams.’

Get Rich Quick Claims

 This is pretty obvious. We’ve all heard it it at one point or another:

  • “Get started now and make $150 in your first 24 hours!”
  • “Make $10,000 in 2 months using this program!”
  • “Sign up and make $100 in an hour with this trick!”
*Obligatory cartoon.* This is actually incredibly true in essence.

You get the idea. This is where the affiliate marketing industry gets it’s bad reputation from.

This sign really burns my britches. Look, we all wanna be rich instantly. It’s a core desire, and fortunately for scammers, it appeals to everyone. For a marketer, what could be a better demographic?

Most of these scammers are known as ‘gurus’ in the industry. Even though they’re shady. they’re still very good at what they do. When you see a sales page showing how much cash the author makes in a day, that boasting is probably true. They likely do make that much.

And they only got to that point after years of learning and experience! Actually, that’s not some fact I’m proud of mentioning. Most of those sales pages make it clear how hard it was for the creators… right before going on to say it’s possible to get there in a day.

This is from the sales page of a product I recently reviewed. As you might have guessed, those daily earnings are nowhere near practical.

That’s how you know you’re being cheated. No one who just got through years of hardship would say they have a way to skip it all. This kind of false promise preys on those desperate not to work.

I’m not saying it’s impossible to make money through affiliate marketing, but thinking you can make 200 smackers a day with a bogus technique is just being unrealistic.

Think about it, would these guys really give away their secret to success for $20 (around that range)? Of course not, which brings me to the next sign…

Upsells, Upsells, Upsells!

I repeated the headline thrice! So you have to pay 3x as much attention!

You know what really grinds my gears? Upsells. For those who don’t know, upsells are basically more expensive offers thrown on you after you buy a cheap product.

Upsells are the one defining factor of a scam. After a sales page promises you untold riches for 30 bucks, then forces a $100 upsell on you, it’s time to walk away.  Just, the nerve they have saying there’s more to what they promised would be the only thing to buy!

The trouble with upsells is a lot of products only tell you about them after you buy! Pretty sneaky, huh?

A sales funnel made of upsells. You basically get your cash sucked outta you like a Dementor sucks your soul.

These upsells are the building block of a ‘sales funnel.’ Put simply, as you buy more products, more and more are thrust upon you. Eventually you end up spending a 1000 greenbacks on what you thought was $10 technique! See the damage upsells cause?

It’s important to mention that not all upsells are bad. A simple membership upgrade from a free trial is not an upsell. Using Amazon Prime in not an upsell. Upsells are full of false promises.

Always look around and see if a product has upsells before spending. If it does, just leave.

Done for You

This sign really ruffles my feathers. And I don’t even have feathers to ruffle in the first place!

So you’re a total internet novice who just happened to find this amazingly tempting sales page. If you’re anything like I was, chances are you’d immediately notice one of these phrases:

  • Completely done for you!
  • Just copy and paste!
  • No work needed!

This is the kind of talk that makes newbies salivate (er, not that I would know). Especially when compounded with the common ‘even newbies can do this’ exaggeration. I remember thinking,

“Wow! It’s so easy to make money online!” I wish it were, Makki, I wish it were.

But this is also exactly the kind of talk that assures a careful observer that this purchase isn’t worth it. How on Earth could anyone make money just copy and pasting? It contradicts the laws of physi- business! Laws of business.

I recently reviewed a product that promised a ready made website and hundreds of dollars a day in eBook sales. Sounds cool, right? In reality, the website was a simple landing page. How is a newbie supposed to get traffic?

‘Done for you’ are the words you need to avoid. More generally, anything that assures you that you don’t have to work hard or wait a long time to make a quick clam (I’m using up all of my dollar synonyms here) is  just not worth a purchase.

Extra: Testimonials?!

That’s right! I said I’d give you 3 signs, but you’re getting an extra one! It’s totally not because I wanted a longer article or anything. Um, let’s forget I wrote that and move on, OK?

Anyway, if you’ve ever been on a sales page, you’ve surely seen the testimonials. These are where some allegedly real customers share their successes with the product.

Now, these can be pretty damn convincing, since real accounts are relatable  and often are marked ‘real.’ But sadly, some of these, I should say most, aren’t real at all.

F***! Yeah, I said the F word! These guys are fake! Don’t be mislead!

The fact is, if you see a positive review of a product that otherwise looks scammy, it’s probably paid. If you’re seeing extraordinarily positive testimonials on a sales page, then be aware that they might be bogus. There’s no way to prove their authenticity.

And if you see a video testimonial, know that there’s a whole industry of actors specializing in testimonials.

Look at this guy! He doesn’t even hide it! The nerve of this guy and his $5 fabrications. Why I oughta…

If you’re reading a full positive review on another website, then keep in mind that the reviewer could be trying to score some commissions by getting you to buy the product. It pays better than a truthful, negative review, right?

But just hold on! Not all testimonials ever are fake. Most indeed are, but if you see a product that otherwise checks out, there’s no reason to doubt the reviews.

Decisive Discernment!! Reader Takes Watch!!!

These 3 (ahem, 4) signs will go a long way in helping you fend off scams. Remember, always try to read as much reviews as possible to be sure that you’re not being played. I shamelessly recommend my reviews, if you want a bona fide, certified opinion.

You’ve got me bona fide certified!

(I’m not really bona fide, certified, but I just watched Aladdin and  those lyrics from the Genie song fit here.)

A saying I recall that’s relevant here is, ‘when in doubt, throw it out.’

OK, that’s for rotten food, but it works here quite nicely! Don’t forget that scammers can be very believable. I’ve been fooled by some of the most authentic looking people you can find.

If you’re looking for a proven, scam free (also just free, period), and genuinely helpful affiliate marketing service, check out my #1 recommendation here. You won’t be disappointed!

Were these signs helpful to your scam evasiveness level? Have you fallen for scams of these natures in the past? Don’t be shy, do tell! I’ve been played like a sucker more times than I can count!


Your pal in scam hunting,




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19 thoughts on “How to Avoid Affiliate Marketing Scams- 3 Telltale Signs

  1. This goes a long way to learn how to analyze a “how to make money from home” product. Or any “how to make money” product.

    All the “warning signs” you outline are present in almost all the promotional materials you will see that cost money and leave the buyer disappointed.

    One thing that you touched on but didn’t emphasize (maybe you did, but worth repeating) is search for the product reviews on line. It’s easy enough to do. It takes only a few minutes and doesn’t cost any money.

    Caveat Emptor. Let the buyer beware.

    1. You make a good point Jeff. I probably should have explained the reviews a little more, as you said. I’ll do it in a future post. You’re right about Caveat Emptor too. You have to keep on your toes! Thanks for sharing!

  2. This is a great article on explaining how to avoid scams. The thing is, all those scams look SOO fake, it’s hard to believe people actually get lured in.

    1. People do get lured in, because they oftentimes they have no clue anyone would lie so blatantly. They wanna make money fast, so it clouds their judgement. Thanks for your thoughts Julius!

  3. I am glad you are teaching people on how not to be scammed. Unfortunately there are a lot of scammers out there and if you don’t know what to look for you could fall prey to their scam. Great article.

    Best Wishes


  4. Wow! I keep getting an email that says a Prince in a collapsing government would like to send me 100 million dollars. I just need to send him $300 for postage and handling. Are you saying that is a SCAM? LOL.

    I love your point on the up sell. That just burns me. That is a major deal breaker for me. I was nodding my head the whole time I was reading. Good information.

    1. That’s a puzzler Tony. I don’t know, that Prince email sounds legit to me! Knowing you feel the same way is very encouraging. Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. Great article with lots of useful info. I too have fallen for a few scams in the past and this makes me very leery of legitimate offers when they come along. I loved the section concerning beware of the shortcuts. I think in a sense, we are all looking for those.

    Thank you for posting.

    1. We’re in the same boat, Lee. After getting burned so many times, I decided to prevent the same thing from happening to others. Yes, shortcuts are tempting, but its necessary to dismiss them all.

      You’re welcome! Hope to see you again!

  6. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on scams. You absolutely right, scams attract people who wants to make money online quickly.

    I have also experienced with some scams and realized.I was thinking testimonials which are published in sites are real. I appreciate your hard work on providing tips to identify scammers.

  7. Your site regarding scams is so important to the beginner marketer. You break down what to & not to look out for.
    Mohammad, have you ever fell victim to a scam? You should ask how many readers fell victim to a scam? And ask did they deter from online marketing programs?

    1. Yes, I have fallen victim, as I admitted in the post. It’s what inspired me to write the article. I got tired of being cheated so blatantly. I’m sure there are people out there who will never find great programs like Wealthy Affiliate because they’ve been turned off of online by these horrible liars. Thanks for sharing Ronald!

  8. Hi there Makki,

    Thanks for sharing this post. Rather kind and humble of you to educate people on how to spot a scammer.

    Those paid for actors and the testimonials , oh my goodness, really ought to be ashamed of themselves and grow big noses like Pinocchio. Selling their souls for five bucks! Shameful!

    Looking forward to reading updates and new posts on your site.

    1. Those actors surprised me the most. Just, why? People waste hundreds of dollars because these clowns’ testimonials convince them everything’s legit. Glad to see you like it Derek! Thanks!

  9. Hi Makki

    I agree with everything you said here. I have been scammed countless times and the funny thing is when you see all these testimonials and videos etc you don’t really think straight. You realize that it might be a scam but it just sounds so much better than the life you are living at the moment.

    I thank God for websites like yours these days. Please continue to keep the scam hands from our money. Keep spreading the word.

    Thanks for sharing

    1. That’s exactly what I think! When I used to fall for scams, I had doubts, but I wouldn’t listen. I wanted to believe it was true. Glad you like the site Helen! Thanks!

  10. Thanks for the great list man, its really making sense, I agree that scam is common in every industry, most of the newbies are facing problems with fake registration and payments, I am sure this will be helpful for them, keep doing this great work.

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