Tapfiliate's fraud prevention methods
Tapfiliate's software uses a combination of checks on both your affiliates and the traffic/conversions they drive.
Among them is the blacklisting of several values for key attributes (like IP, domain, etc.), the comparison of attributes between click and conversion, and sliding window checks.
If an affiliate is using their own referral link to make a purchase, and the IP of the affiliate and the conversion match, Tapfiliate will track and flag the resulting conversion. It is up to the Advertiser to decide whether or not to approve or disapprove commissions tied to self-driven conversions.
We perform de-duplication based on the external_id and customer_id values. This ensures no duplicates are registered.
As a general disclaimer, we kindly ask you to also keep in mind that a 100% prevention rate isn't technically possible. This is because Tapfiliate only tracks incoming traffic and conversions taking place on the website in which tracking scripts are installed.
Any activities taking place outside the bounds of the website where tracking is taking place (before the user lands on your website and converts) are beyond Tapfiliate's control.
How you can prevent fraud
Tapfiliate's tracking tech is robust, but fraud is sometimes a difficult-to-detect thing. Oftentimes, it happens before tracking takes place.
With that in mind, here are our top tips for preventing fraud and ensuring your program's participants have the best intentions:
Enforce compliance with your Terms and Conditions. When you update your affiliate terms and conditions, it’s always a good idea to send a newsletter to all of your affiliates to let them know about the changes. Include a deadline for affiliates to amend their promotional activities to comply with your new conditions.
Screen and vet your affiliate program applicants. We ask for address, company and website information to make it easier for you to vet your affiliates, and determine whether or not you'd like to work with them. If you have a Pro plan, another great you can get to know your affiliates is by adding custom fields to your onboarding process.
Detecting fraud using data. Your data is the most potent fraud detection tool you have at your disposal. Here is a list of ways you can use your available data to detect fraud.
Monitoring traffic sources. When possible and available, we'll be able to retrieve click and conversion "referrers". This is the last page a referred user was on before they arrived at your website. Watch out for sources set a "Facebook.com" or "Google.com", as that may be indicative of the affiliate purchasing ads on those platforms. Read the FAQ section below for additional insight.
Communicate with affiliates. Having a relationship with your affiliates and communicating information in a timely manner is important. Not only do you foster a mutually beneficial relationship, but you'll also get to learn more about the ways they promote your business and where.
Tapfiliate also has two blog posts that dive deeper into the topic of fraud detection in affiliate marketing programs.
You can find them here:
Why are conversion referrers set to
google.com (or any other Google domain) or
The referrer is the last page your affiliate was on before they made their way to your website.
If the referrer is listed as
google.com (or any other Google domain for that matter) or
facebook.com, it may indicate that your affiliate is driving traffic via Google Ads, or purchasing ads on Facebook. These will have very high click rates and high intent, and thus result in high conversion rates.
Companies usually forbid this practice because it means that they're competing against their own affiliates for the same keywords and audiences.
What we recommend in these cases is to reach out to the affiliate and try to have an open conversation about traffic sources. If the affiliate is reluctant to answer questions about their traffic sources, that would be a red flag.
Note: There are cases where companies/Advertisers allow affiliates to promote in this way. In the end, it is up to the company/advertiser to decide whether or not they are okay with this practice.
The referrer is a strange link, and I don't see any affiliate links on that page. What is happening?
This may be indicative of the affiliate using a technique called "link cloaking". While this is a commonly used technique for affiliate marketers, it does hide the source of their traffic, and that can understandably raise questions regarding how they're promoting your business.
For example, the affiliate may be hiding that they're sending traffic by buying branded keywords on Adwords. These will have very high click rates and high intent, so high conversion rates.
The best thing to do in these cases is to reach out to the affiliate and trying to have an open conversation about their traffic sources.
The referrer in a conversion/customer is missing - why is that?
The referrer is the last place the user visited before they landed on your webpage. If this data is available, this information will be retrieved by our code and posted alongside the conversion/customer.
However, there are some situations where this data may not be passed along to Tapfiliate, and would not be displayed.
The referrer field may appear empty/unknown if the user:
entered the site URL directly in browser address bar.
visited the site by a browser-maintained bookmark.
visited the site as the first page in a new window or tab.
clicked a link within an external application (such as email, or a messaging service like Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or WhatsApp).
switched from a HTTPS URL to a HTTP URL.
switched from a HTTPS URL to a different HTTPS URL.
has security software installed (such as an antivirus or firewall, etc.) which strips the referrer from all requests.
is behind a proxy that strips the referrer from all requests.
has explicitly added a
"no referrer"keyword to the link that would prevent outbound links from sending a referrer to the destination site (your landing page).
It should be noted that a missing referrer is not indicative of fraud. It is simply signaling an absence of data.