The following is what Veronica Dubak of surveybounty.com had to say in response the the question, What is wrong with affiliate marketing and how can it be improved?
Online affiliate marketing is a relatively new field, and yet ethics are lacking.
‘Cyber-crime’ sums up what’s wrong with online affiliate marketing today. Those who create spyware that redirects website affiliate links through their own affiliate links are a huge problem.
This malicious programming is not only difficult to trace but it is difficult to combat, and costs honest affiliate marketers huge sums of money.
Blackhat SEO techniques applied to websites are also frustrating in the affiliate marketing arena. Gaining recognition in the major search engines is difficult and takes time – especially for the little guys.
How can one compete with webmasters who generate thousands of dynamically generated web pages, and spam the search engines with their affiliate link filled content-less pages?
This problem not only affects affiliate marketers, but also the quality of search engine results in general.
Clickfraud is another big issue affiliate marketers are faced to deal with. This usually stems from the jealous competition, and is a problem within the affiliate marketing community.
Clickfraud allows a company to directly cost a competitor money, without them knowing, thereby allowing a powerful sense of anonymity.
A crackdown on these who infringe on user’s privacy needs to happen, search engine indices need to be cleaned up, and the issue of clickfraud needs to be tackled. Because there is no official governing authority of the internet, nobody seems to want to combat these problems.
They are touchy issues, but they will only become bigger and more serious if nothing is done. The internet is here to stay, and it is up to those who are a part of it, to participate in its cleanup so it can continue to thrive.
Education is the first step – educating users on affiliate marketing and how it works, will help weed out the unethical players in the industry.
Affiliate marketing need not remain an underground industry – once websurfers understand the concept of affiliate marketing, they will recognize the value in it, and will be more cautious of who they choose to support.
Ignorance on this topic has not benefited affiliate marketers to date; users have often not realized that they are making webmasters money by clicking through a simple web link – and who can blame them?
Once they are provided with the proper knowledge, the power of affiliate marketing will go back to the people, and they will be given the option to choose which websites survive.