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Clever Affiliate Scam

Wish I’d thought of it (and then I’d hate myself for it…)

People spot the coupon code part of a purchase form and decide to look online for a coupon code. More often that not, the retailer has never offered coupon codes, or only did so years ago. Which means the search is fruitless, but worth a go. I do this, so I am sure many others do.

There are many sites that list coupon codes, but they only list actual, real, current or recent codes.

The art of this scam is to show up in the search engines for coupon codes that never existed, but people still vainly search for. This is from the founder of Kogan.com, who found that no matter how much he lowered his commission rate (even to zero), sales seemed to still come in:

1. Someone comes to Kogan.com and finds a product they want to buy.
2. They add the product to cart and start to checkout.
3. At checkout, they notice a “Discount Code” field.
4. They open a new tab and Google search for “Kogan Discount Code.”
5. They click around the various affiliates who claim to have a “Kogan Discount Code.”
6. When they visit the affiliates, they drop a cookie and tag the user as coming from that site.
7. They fail to find a discount code that works and come back to Kogan and finish their checkout.
8. Because the affiliate tagged the user, their reporting system claims that they referred the sale.

There are some people out there earning 7 figures from very little work, at the expense of merchants with affiliate programs.

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