BizSugar, Mashable & Others Being Impersonated (by Affiliates)

BizSugar, Mashable & Others Being Impersonated (by Affiliates) - Avatar Posted by prussakov under Online Marketing
From 3435 days ago
Made Hot by: mssux on December 29, 2012 3:18 pm
In the course of the past few months we have seen major websites (like Mashable, for example) being impersonated on major affiliate networks. Today, a BizSugar impersonator was caught red-handed...


Written by lyceum
3431 days ago

Anita & Geno: Thanks for your informative comments! Please be safe out there in cyberspace!

Written by lyceum
3434 days ago

This is scary stuff! Geno and Anita: Thanks for pointing out this issue Do you have any idea what the impersonators are trying to do? I am so sorry to hear about parasites on the Internet.

Written by prussakov
3432 days ago


In the vast majority of cases the reason for using another (established) website on their profile would be to expedite the approval process. Unfortunately, (a) many of the new(er) affiliate managers would be easily deceived by such a tactic, and, as a result, (b) have their affiliate programs fall prey of fraudsters.

This is just another reason for *active* and *diligent* affiliate program management.


Written by smallbiztrends
3434 days ago

Hi Martin,

I'm not 100% sure, but here is what I suspect.

First they set up fake affiliate accounts. Then they put the affiliate links on other sites, and push through a bunch of fraudulent clicks, perhaps using stolen credit cards. Then they hope to get a payment before they are found out, or before the credit cards are reported stolen.

Or maybe it is even simpler: they are out of the country and can't get approved for an affiliate account directly, so they steal another site's identity. And they don't have to have U.S. taxes withheld.

It's hard to fathom their devious thinking. All I know is, as the innocent site owner you are at risk. You have to spend time (I've put in many hours) just to protect your business or you could end up paying taxes on earnings you never made.

It hurts enough to pay taxes you legitimately owe. The last thing you want is to pay taxes on something you never actually received!

- Anita

Written by smallbiztrends
3435 days ago

Hi Geno,

Thanks for catching this! This is a problem for (1) merchants selling through affiliate programs, (2) affiliate managers, and (3) for Web publishers. My sites have been impersonated at least a couple dozen times that I am aware of.

Another publisher once asked me "Why do you care? It's not really you - it's the problem of the company managing the affiliate program."

But you see, it IS a problem for Web publishers.

If you run a publishing company your good name may be dragged through the mud in connection with nefarious frauds. On top of that, it could cost you a lot of time to protect your business from a problem.

Here's an example: a few years back we got a 1099-Misc income form from eBay, supposedly reporting sales made under its affiliate program. This would have been considered income that we needed to pay taxes on. Luckily for us it had all sorts of incorrect information so we were able to show that it had nothing to do with us. But not before we spent hours of time writing letters to eBay and to the IRS, essentially proving that it wasn't us.

I wasted many hours. That did nothing to grow our business. But it was necessary to protect us from paying unnecessary taxes on income we did not earn.

- Anita

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