Sometimes, it's my unfortunate duty to warn others about scammers that I recommended in the past. That's the risk we take as Internet marketers. Today, it's the ProductReview.com.au Affiliate Scam.
How ProductReview.com.au worked?
You were paid $0.05AUD(5 Australian cents) for each visitor you were sending to their site. If an Australian person would write a review for a product, you would get $0.50AUD(got 2 of them). If you registered to be an affiliate, they would deposit $10AUD in your account until your had reach $50AUD.
The referrer(me) would not get anything if you became an affiliate. I just got an email but I figured that was for a future option or they had stop doing that.
Send me that traffic
When I started, they were no restriction on the kind of traffic you were sending to them. So, on the advice of the person who introduced me to this affiliate program, I also used traffic exchange. For $5.95US, I sent 1000 visitors thus would be making $50AUD in theory. This tip spread like wild fire.
Unfortunately, the total of recorded visitors were about 40% based on the traffic exchange. The visitor had to stay 20 seconds on the site to be counted. But, I did not mind since I was still making $20AUD or $13.98US(today's rate) on a $5.95US investment.
If you check your stats on your site, you would see a big difference between multiple stats software. Plus, their site was sometimes down.
Soon after I was prepared to do it again but on a larger scale, I guest they were alerted because they added this new restriction: no traffic exchange. Okay, but they did not deduct the amount from my account. This should had been easy for them since they recorded the referrer site. I guessed, at that time, that they took it as the cost of not being too specific.
From that point on, I was sending them normal traffic without using traffic exchange.
And it happen!
In November, I was almost at $40. I had recently bought 2 domains with good traffic(800 visitors combined/day). At first, I used them to make test and I still do.
Then, in December, I was near $45. So, I decided to "unleashed" that 800 traffic over a weekend by redirecting visitor directly to them. On Saturday, I had reached over the $50 mark. On Monday(Dec. 8), I received this email:
Our systems have detected that your affiliate account has been engaged in fraudulent activity or violates our Terms of Service.
They had also canceled my account on the spot thus lot the $50+ I had earned. I expected to be near the $60AUD by Sunday night.
Giving them a chance
To give them a chance, I emailed them 2 times to see if we could be able to reach an agreement with them. I also explained that I was sending traffic to them from 2 new domains thus my sharp increase in visitors over that weekend. I did not mind if they deducted the traffic exchange I had used 8 months before. But, they never replied.
Even if I was getting nothing for referring someone, I still received an email from them that a new affiliate used one of my affiliate links. The funny thing is that my account was canceled yet I received such email from them soon after.
That they changed the rules yet never deducted past traffic exchange was not professional of them. Affiliates, like me, who stopped that practice were now sending them the "required" traffic. After all, I did send them at least $30AUD (600+ visitors(40%) or 1500 visitors(100%) ) over many months.
Even if I had made $0.02USD per click with Adsense, I would earned $30USD(1500 visitors). At least, the Adsense stats are better than them and if you get click fraud, you can still email Adsense if it happens to you.
If I had known that I would had been penalized 8 months later, I would had dropped them then instead of wasting my time oops ... traffic/ clicks.
Here is my theory about the ProductReview.com.au Affiliate Scam:
They will find any excuses(past usage of traffic exchange) not to pay affiliates like mentioning you used fraudulent methods. Plus, since this happened, I now think that their stats(40%) are faulty on purpose and that it's them who are doing the fraud on their affiliates.
Too bad because they were a good alternative to Adsense.
I would like to hear from others. Were you in the same situation? Did get paid? How many times?
P.S. If you get too many 1-2 cents clicks with Adsense, it's because your whole account has been smart priced. You are sending low quality traffic to advertisers. You should keep Adsense for your high paying niche sites. You can use NBN(my review) for content.
Keywords: adsense, affiliate, Blogging, Business, fraud, Internet, Money, News, ProductReview.com.au, scam, Traffic