The different types of fraud and how to identify them

You will find below which are the main types of Affiliate fraud and which methods are used in TrackAd to identify them.

Then, we will present the safeguards that TrackAd has in place to ensure no false positives (identifying legitimate traffic as fraudulent).

Types of fraud and methodology to identify them

  • Cookie-stuffing

The method used is as follows: the fraudulent publisher forces the installation of an affiliate tracking cookie on as many computers as possible.

Then, if the user buys on one of the shops concerned, tracked by the cookie, the CPA platform will claim commission for the fraudulent publisher.

More details about this topic here:

Cookie Stuffing (or Cookie Dropping) accounts for nearly 60% of CPA affiliates’ total fraud.

The methodology of TrackAd Cookie-stuffing identification is based on the absence of the publisher in the conversion path.

  • Toolbar

It is browsers application or extension. It can be 2 types: Black and White. The white one is an official extension that user installs by himself. Black extension is installed by the user on his browser but he doesn’t know that it will act differently than expected, for ex. by changing the tracking codes. One of the main characteristics of black extension is that the rewriting of the tracking code occurs very quickly after the previous touchpoint.

The methodology of TrackAd Toolbars identification is also based on the conversion path. If the time between 2 touchpoints inside the conversion path is less than 1 minute, TrackAd highlights a Toolbar suspicion. You can consult the details about each publisher with toolbar suspicion here .

Depending on the type of publisher, you decide if you pay or not. For cashback publishers, this behavior is normal. For a content website, it’s not normal behavior (e.g. : the client who came to your website from organic traffic and in 30 seconds he is redirected by this publisher already).

  • Wrong deduplication 

The situation when a publisher is present in the conversion path but not at the position to receive a commission. For example, there may be paid traffic touchpoints after the one initiated by the publisher, or traffic may have come before the pre-order period (cookie time).

The methodology of TrackAd wrong deduplication identification is also based on the conversion path. TrackAd automatically allows you:

. to identify all touchpoints of the conversion path and to arbitrate the commission according to the priority of each source

. to validate that the winning click has been made within the pre-order period set with the CPA platform (cookie time)

  • Brand SEA

These are SEA campaigns in Google or Bing with keywords based on the brand name. It competes with your organic traffic and your own brand SEA. Concretely, you pay an additional commission for clients you would get in any case.

The methodology of TrackAd Brand SEA identification:

The main KPIs of this traffic are the same as your own Brand SEA campaigns (big amount of page views and a long time on the website). Take characteristics of you own SEA brand campaigns and use KPI-alerts inside TrackAd. TrackAd will send you an email in a case when some of the publishers will have  traffic that looks like Brand SEA.

And after you will be able to analyze the details of each publisher and decide to block it or to keep it.

 Safeguards TrackAd have in place to ensure no false positives 

The main safeguard is that TrackAd does not have its own tracker and that TrackAd uses only your data (First-party data).

TrackAd collects data from your Google Analytics to display all the touchpoints of the conversion path. Two types of fraud are then possible:

. intentional fraud when a publisher generates cookie stuffing or black toolbar to steal commissions

. unintentional fraud when there are differences between the tracking of the affiliate platform and the tracking of GA

In the event of unintentional fraud, the publisher is not liable. The problem is with the affiliate platform.

One thing is certain: the publishers concerned should not receive a commission for these orders.

There is an exception for the orders missed by GA but existing in your CRM, generally between 5% and 10% of the total orders. As soon as we do not have information about the conversion path, we recommend that you pay the publishers for these orders.

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