Hustle Ideas

Is Affiliate Marketing A Scam?

Affiliate Marketing has become very popular in in some countries, especially around West Africa, where it has become another fraudulent enterprise. The dictionary explanation for Affiliate Marketing is a system in which a person makes a commission for bringing (or directing) a buyer to purchase an item from a seller.

This is not entirely a new idea; it has been working in different forms for many years as many businesses built their marketing efforts around the people. Affiliate marketing therefore has certain similarities with Network Marketing- another controversial marketing system.

However, there is growing concern that the whole idea of affiliate marketing is a cleverly disguised method of stealing money from people.

Is Affiliate Marketing A Scam?

When a person collects money from an eager group of people, promising to teach them something valuable, but only dumps useless information on them which does not lead to them making even a single penny, then it is a scam.

The affiliate marketing that you hear about today is a scam because the purpose is just to get money from people. At best, the people too can find other people; deceive them into paying money to learn “Affiliate Marketing.”

They are just going round in circles; after one person has been affiliated, he too looks for others to affiliate, and on and on it goes. It does not bring any value, and it is not sustainable.

But that is not the real idea behind the name- affiliate marketing is a real thing.

Affiliate Marketing-Not The Scam

In the real sense; the idea behind affiliate marketing is to connect a buyer to a seller and then get a share of the profits. For example; while reading a blog, you may be shown a product. If you go ahead and buy that product, the owner of the blog would get a share of the profits as an affiliate.

It does not even have to be a blog; the same thing happens on social media, on video sharing platforms, and everywhere else on the internet.

Of course, the advertiser needs to have previously registered with the selling company; in which case he would have been given the link. His job would then be to share the link, and to convince as many people as possible to buy the product or service. Yes, affiliate marketing is not only about buying products- it can also be about signing up for services.

But now, this raises a few questions: would you buy from just anybody? Should you just go and start sharing any link? What makes affiliate marketing successful?

Successful Affiliate Marketing

For affiliate marketing to be done successfully, a few things have to be in order. Affiliate marketing is all about you the person. The brand (the company) is probably going to make a lot of money with or without you, so have to position yourself so that you too can make money. This is how:

You Have To Be A Seller

It makes zero sense to come up from nowhere, and say you are an affiliate marketer. Selling is a talent. Yes, it can be learned, but to most people it comes naturally.

Therefore, one needs to be an accomplished seller. Whether by nature or by training, one needs to be proficient in the art of selling. One needs to have already gained the confidence that comes with making money as a seller.

A person who is an accomplished seller should have no problems making the transition into affiliate marketing. On the other hand, a person who is not a seller may end up feeling frustrated like a fish on land because that is not their natural environment.

But not just do you need to be a seller, you need to be selling the right thing.

It Has To Fit Your Niche

People tend to underestimate the value of a niche, but it is something one can simply not escape. For affiliate marketing not to be a scam, one needs to be selling his niche- selling the right thing. For example; readers of this blog may find it easier to take a suggestion about The Best Laptops In Africa, than they would about A Good Assault Rifle.

The latter is not the niche of the publication. In order words, it is not something the writers at this blog know about.

Any suggestion about assault rifles from this blog would therefore be a scam because the information would be useless, and potentially harmful. The gun can backfire and kill the shooter.

And yet, there are blogs who have that expertise. Both the selling companies, and the readers know that the blogs know what they are talking about. The companies would be happy to give them the links, and the audience would be happy to follow their direction.

How Did Affiliate Marketing Become A Scam?

The above are tips on how affiliate marketing actually works, and how it can be done effectively. The question now is “how did affiliate marketing become a scam?”

Well the answers are many and quite complicated, but the most prevailing answer seems to be the environment. After all, to the British and Americans, Affiliate Marketing is not a scam. It is only in deeply corrupt environments like Nigeria where everything else is fraudulent that mischievous people decided to take advantage of the desperation of their fellow poor people to rip them off.

What they call “affiliate marketing” is just another one of the numerous scams that have become popular in places like this. Other popular scams include “network marketing” and “investment schemes.”

They have two things in common: poverty and desperation. Desperate people generally do not ask questions, and they generally do make any attempt to evaluate the “opportunities” in front of them.

Is Affiliate Marketing A Pyramid Scheme?

Pyramid Schemes typically build a system in which early comers make money off the sweat of new comers. Every member is required to bring in new members which will serve as their downline. The larger your downline, the better your chances of earning.

This is typically not the way affiliate marketing works. Therefore, affiliate marketing is not a pyramid scheme.

Nevertheless, it should be done with caution so as not to lead to losses.

Further Reading:


If anyone asks you to pay money upfront to learn “Affiliate Marketing” then it is already a scam. The real affiliate marketing is a profitable arrangement for those who have built the structure and the reputation that will enable them to sell products to their audience.

However, it is not for everyone; it works best for those who already are involved in some of marketing or another.

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