Affiliate Fraud: Malicious Browser Extensions

Affiliate Fraud has become a daily challenge in the affiliate marketing industry. This article mainly focuses on affiliate fraud via malicious adware and browser extensions.

What Is Malicious Browser Extensions?

Many extensions are useful, and offer a convenient way to customize your browser. Others are designed to be harmful, and can attack the security of our computers—-that’s what we call “malicious browser extensions”.

Malicious browser extensions often appear legitimate and highly rated in browser’s “extension stores” and in many cases perform real functions. The most popular marketplace for extensions: the Google Chrome Web Store

We highly suggest our customers and affiliates disable or uninstall malicious browser extensions to avoid affiliate fraud happening.

How do they cheat in affiliate marketing?

In normal affiliate marketing, affiliates insert tracked link id in their promotional content that leads to Gearbest store page, product pages, and registration pages. When a specified purchase action takes place, such as a click or sale of a product, the affiliate is paid a commission. 

However, it’s extremely simple for a fraudster to change the promotion link id automatically via a malicious extension. The fraudsters do not actually promote the link, but instead to get people to download adware or browser extensions and generates fake conversions from other affiliates.

How to Stop Affiliate Fraud?

Luckily, we have developed ways to identify these tricksters.

#1 When affiliate fraud via malicious extensions actually takes place, we will take the following actions:

Firstly, we’ll contact and inform the affiliate with a fraud screenshot proof, asking the affiliate to stop the behavior of spoofing traffic and sales within 5 days.

Secondly, if fraudsters stop the behavior within 5 days, we’ll get back 75% of the commissions generated during the cheating period; if fraudsters continue affiliate fraud after being warned, their accounts will be deactivated in Gearbest affiliate system and all the commissions will be canceled.

# When affiliates are found promoting normal promotional extensions, we will take the following actions:

  1. Offer default commission for new customers and 0%-1% for existing customers;
  2. If the affiliates have other active content websites, we could offer 3% for existing customers;
  3. For affiliate who promise stops using extensions during their promotion, we will return to a normal commission as usual.

Note: The above actions will come to effect from Sept.1st, 2019.


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