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How Affiliate Marketing Became Synonymous With Fake Traffic And Fraud

Guy Tytunovich is the founder and CEO of CHEQ, a leader in go-to-market security.

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One of the key challenges of the modern-day go-to-market operation involves scaling leads, your pipeline and ultimately your revenue. Anyone can enjoy pinpointed success with a specific channel or campaign, but turning it into large-scale, predictable, reliable and consistent success over time is another thing altogether.

In fact, today, few channels can deliver predictability and consistency. PPC marketing, for example, is a staple of inbound marketing, but with wild fluctuation in costs, black-box algorithms that frequently change and constantly evolving privacy regulation, many marketers struggle to get a sense of predictability.

Event marketing, which used to be a key channel for B2B marketers, has been upended by the pandemic, and even in a post-pandemic world, the future of the physical event space isn’t clear. Virtual events and webinars, which have stepped in as a substitute, can be great channels for market education, but they aren’t the most scalable of channels either.

So, when it’s all said and done, taking a marketing program and “going big” is anything but trivial in today’s world, which is exactly why affiliate marketing is still so popular—as it is built for scale and strongly tied to bottom-of-the-funnel lead generation, conversions and purchases.

But affiliate marketing has a massive fraud problem, and trust is eroding quickly.

Already in 2020, CHEQ data showed that affiliate marketers were losing $1.4 billion a year to fraud, amounting to roughly 10% of all affiliate marketing revenue, which, at the time, stood at $15 billion. In the meantime, affiliate marketing has surpassed $20 billion in revenue and is expected to hit $37 billion by 2030. If you consider that fraud and fake traffic rates…

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