Is Affiliate Marketing A Scam? (+6 Common Scams To Avoid)

The affiliate marketing industry is very exciting as well as lucrative when you first get started with it but later, a lot of things happen that force you to ask the question – is affiliate marketing a scam?

There are many beginners who have had good and bad experiences because of some not-so-good products/services in the market.

I’ve been working in this industry for a long time now and I think I’ll be able to help you with all the music that you might be facing.

Yes, in this post, I’m going to share with you whether or not affiliate marketing is a scam, explain to you what this industry is all about, and expose some common affiliate marketing scams that should be avoided.

The intro can be even longer but I think it’s enough or else you’ll bounce off (just for fun)! Let’s get into the details now.

Is Affiliate Marketing A Scam?

A lot of times, I have to answer the questions indirectly but for this particular question, here’s a straightforward answer for you:

No, affiliate marketing is not a scam. It’s a real industry that is worth hundreds of millions of dollars and is leveraged by huge companies like Apple, Amazon, eBay, etc.

Affiliate marketing is a business model that involves the promotion of other companies’ products for commissions. It’s an industry with mass involvement and hence, is legit.

Just to explain to you in a better way – you must have used a lot of popular applications/software programs out there that reward you for referring, right?

The ‘refer and earn’ scheme is very common nowadays. Want to know what that is? It’s affiliate marketing.

All you do in affiliate marketing is recommend products and services to other people (your family, friends, YouTube channel viewers, blog readers, social media followers, etc.) and in return, you get paid a certain percentage of money.

This marketing channel/industry/sector is not a scam for sure. There are millions of people like me and others who get benefited from this business model and the numbers are only going to get even higher with time.

Why Affiliate Marketing Is Not A Scam

There are a lot of reasons why affiliate marketing is not a scam and they are as follows:

  • Size of the industry
  • Connection of products with industry
  • Big brands being proof
  • People earning money

No worries! I won’t just list the reasons unexplained. It’s time to discuss them all in detail here:

1. Size Of The Industry

Affiliate marketing is not a very small industry that has gotten popular in the past couple of months or even years. It has been around for decades and if we ignore the dates, it has been around for centuries.

To give you some solid data, I have a stat from Hosting Tribunal. Hosting Tribunal shares that the affiliate marketing industry’s worth is $12 billion currently and is expected to double in a short period of time.

That’s not a small number, right? And no marketing channel can get this big if is a scam. Even if one can, it would not have its roots tied to history.

As you can see, this screenshot from Google Trends shows how long affiliate marketing has been around officially even before some of you were born:

is affiliate marketing scam google trends

2. Connection Of Products With Industry

A lot of times this happens that people often connect bad products with the business model or the industry as a whole, which is not appropriate from any angle at all.

There are so many people who are selling crappy products in the industry and it is making people think ‘affiliate marketing is a scam,’ and that’s definitely not true at all.

Just think about it, just because some people are selling bad courses teaching you the stock market doesn’t mean the stock market is a scam, right? The same thing applies to every single industry/business.

3. Big Brands Being Proof

If this business would have been a scam, huge companies like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, eBay, Lenovo, Tesla, Shopify, and Google wouldn’t be leveraging it.

Yes, that’s right! Affiliate marketing is being leveraged by some of the top brands on the entire planet. I don’t think there is any further requirement to explain this.

4. People Reaping Benefits

The fourth reason why this business is not a scam is that there are a lot of people who are actually making money with this. And not by scamming people, but by actually helping people.

According to an article by BloggingX, about 48.36% of the affiliates are earning $20,000 per year and 3% are earning $150,000 per year.

That’s way better than the average pay an employee gets by working a nine to five job.

Why People Think Affiliate Marketing Is A Scam

Some of the reasons have been discussed above already but there is a whole of a lot of other ones left as well:

  • Fake gurus selling bad products
  • Overcomplication of things/process
  • Untrustworthy affiliate programs

1. Fake Gurus Selling Bad Products

The very common and probably the biggest reason why people consider this business not so good or doubtful.

Since, it’s a hot topic currently, fake gurus present it as a fancy way of generating money while sleeping and working only for 30 minutes per day.

Not saying that it’s not possible, but before you reach the stage, it requires a lot of hard work, consistent effort, capital (money), and time. Things don’t happen overnight.

2. Overcomplication Of Things/Process

The next thing here that puts people off in this industry is the over-complication of things as well as the process.

What I mean by this is that many people in here get started, they learn 50 different things from 50 different people who think differently, overcomplicate things or process, try one thing for a short period of time, don’t get results, and then start thinking that the business model doesn’t work/or it’s a scam.

Once again, that’s not true as well. You have to stick with one thing until you find success or else, there are a million different things to engage in.

3. Untrustworthy Affiliate Programs

Another big issue that’s making people believe affiliate marketing isn’t legit is participating in untrustworthy affiliate programs.

Now, this is where people actually get scammed for real. Some beginners join ‘amazing’ affiliate programs, generate sales, and don’t get paid because the company is a fraud!

This only happens if there is no proper research conducted. The only solution to this problem is that you first research a particular company thoroughly and then commence doing things.

6 Common Affiliate Marketing Scams & How To Avoid Them

Now that you learned a few things about this industry, we’ll take a look at six serious affiliate marketing scams and I will also tell you how to avoid them at all costs.

The six common affiliate marketing scams are as follows:

  • Advertisements & Presentations with Fancy/Expensive Things
  • Fake Income Screenshots & Promises
  • Pyramid Schemes With No Value
  • Useless ‘Free’ E-Books
  • Affiliate Programs That Ask For Money
  • Fake Domain Names/Fake Brands

1. Ads & Presentations With Expensive Things

fake gurus with cars

This is a major scam that comes out when you get to know that there’s a way to make money while you can sleep.

These scammers will start showing their adverts everywhere you go with their expensive cars, mansions, planes, and will excite you to get their ‘free training’ where they will show you more of what you have seen in the ads and convince you to purchase their products.

You can easily avoid these facts by using simple common sense. Not all of the course sellers/product sellers will be scammers in this circumstance but it’s better you avoid them because that’s not what I call ‘smart marketing.’

Marketing is all about being genuine and helping people get good results in terms of growth, business, and satisfaction.

2. Fake Income Screenshots & Promises

Let’s face it – nothing and nothing is guaranteed in business. Business itself is all about the ups and downs it brings to people’s lives.

If someone is showing you a lot of income screenshots and convincing you to purchase a product, that’s a red sign again.

No one can promise you that you are going to make ‘$10000 per day’ taking their courses and if someone does, smart people will avoid that.

A lot of times, people who show you a lot of income screenshots might have edited them.

I mean, it doesn’t make sense to show thousands of dollars when you are trying to learn a business model/skill. Education must be the top priority and not results like ‘$5000 per day easy money.’

3. Pyramid Scheme With No Value

Another thing to consider while going through things is to make sure whether or not the product you are thinking about with a purchaser’s mind is actually a pyramid scheme.

A pyramid scheme is a business where all you do is add more customers/affiliates under you in a company and this is how you will make money.

There’s no value created at all. A lot of times, products promising you $1000 a day are going to be pyramid schemes…make sure you avoid these at all costs.

The best way to go about deciding whether a product is a pyramid scheme or not is by searching for genuine reviews on YouTube as well as Google. Try to find as much info as possible before you make the purchase.

4. Useless ‘Free’ E-Books

is affiliate marketing scam ebooks

This strategy is used by a lot of the ‘smart’ marketers who sell expensive products to beginners by creating a fake environment where the customers feel like they are getting loads of value for $1, less, or free!

An easy way to decide if someone is trying to trick you to buy a more expensive product by offering a free e-book or is precisely trying to add value to your life is again by searching for reviews.

5. Affiliate Programs Requiring An Investment

I’ve been scammed by these ones back in the day when I got started. A simple description that this title need is that you have to avoid affiliate programs that ask for money before joining at all costs.

No matter what happens but you will never participate in an affiliate program that requires money to signup. Keep that in mind.

6. Fake Domains/Fake Brands

The next type of fraud in the industry is fake domains. Sometimes, people don’t notice that a website/brand is a different one because there’s a minor difference in the domain name and they easily get scammed for hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

When I say minor difference, I mean:

  • &

Scammers will keep all the design and elements as they are but will tweak the domain name a little bit and trick you. Make sure you avoid this type of fraud by being very aware of the steps that you are taking.

In Conclusion

Well, here we are, in the last section of the blog post. As you have found out till now that affiliate marketing is not a fraud industry and it’s a hundred percent legit business model that has been active for decades.

The only advice I have for you is that don’t get mesmerized by other people’s results. Put together a plan, stay consistent, develop your own strategies, and those achievements will start running after you.

I hope you found what you were looking for. Any type of questions or suggestions is welcome down below.

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