How do I know it's a 'hefty' amount? Well, ANY money that is stolen from me qualifies as 'hefty'.
There are two types of commission thieves, consumers and other affiliates.
Consumers steal affiliate commissions by removing an affiliate's ID from the URL prior to clicking through to the site.
It baffles (and cheeses) me that consumers would deprive the affiliate of their rightful commission. As it costs them no more money to buy through the affiliate, I must assume that these folks are inherently mean-spirited.
How do they change the URL to cheat the affiliate?
Well, for example, my affiliate URL for the One and Only Relationship Network is: http://www.one-and-only.com/index.htm?AssociateID=6486
A savvy, but mean-spirited consumer will see that URL in their browser status bar when their cursor is placed over the link.
To prevent credit going to my link, they could either type One and Only's main URL, http://one-and-only.com directly into their browser's address window. They could also right-click the link and then copy and paste it into the address window and then remove the AssociateID=6486 portion of the link before they clickthrough to the site.
Affiliates, who discover a product that they like through your affiliate link, will use the same techniques. However, they swap your affiliate ID for their own to get the commission when they buy the product. In effect, they are discounting their own purchase.
Responsible merchants have systems in place that don't allow this to happen, making sure that credit is given where credit is due.
However, most merchants do not, so it's up to you as an affiliate to protect your commissions.
To overcome affiliate commission theft, there are various methods you can use to try and beat the cheats.
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