How Bot Attacks can Damage your Affiliate Marketing

Opening a business is one the most straightforward steps you will take when compared to the rest of the grueling path that leads towards success. Every business owner wants to ensure their business reaches the right audience and continuously grows, but unfortunately, that is more challenging than they might hope. Some might be stuck trying to find ways to reach the right audience, while others might be able to find the audience but need help converting it into customers. This is why it is essential to implement all the means at their disposal that help them reach their potential and grow their business.

Marketing is, and will always be, one of the most important tools any business needs to utilize if they want to succeed. In recent years, there have been various tech trends making a positive impact on the marketing world and introducing new marketing methods. Affiliate marketing quickly became one of the most popular ones.

How Bot Attacks can Damage your Affiliate Marketing

Why are businesses using affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a marketing method in which an online retailer and an external website make a business agreement in which the retailer provides a commission for sales that originate from the website. This way, online retailers can expand their audience and generate more sales while affiliate marketers earn a commission for their efforts. It is a win-win for everyone, even the customers who can find products they wish to buy more quickly. Finding the right target audience is challenging, which is why companies are investing a lot of money to reach as many people as possible. This can be a waste of not only money but also other resources. By utilizing affiliate marketing, companies can let their partners do the hard work of attracting potential leads and converting them into customers while cashing out only when the marketers make an actual sale. Unfortunately, there are some risks connected with affiliate marketing alongside all its benefits. Malicious actors constantly try to find different ways to exploit hardworking businesses, and using bots is one of them.

What are bots?

Bots have been present for a long time, making our lives easier by automating different tasks. While they can be used to damage your affiliate marketing and other aspects of your business, they are not necessarily a bad thing. They can have different uses that are determined by the intent of the ones using them. When used by legitimate actors, they can be used to improve the business’s operations, such as optimizing digital marketing strategy by emulating live chat, personalizing the user experience, and even increasing their engagement.

However, only some have good intentions, which is why there are many bad bots whose primary goal is to make a profit for malicious actors by exploiting your business. This is why you should educate yourself about the risks bots can bring and utilize bot detection software and other steps that can help you protect your company.

How can “Bad Bots” hurt your business?

Bad bots are explicitly designed for a malicious purpose, and fraudsters continuously work on making them more destructive. They can steal your data, spam your organization, create fake leads, infect your devices with malware or even launch Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, and they can do that almost completely undetected. Malicious actors disguise their bots as legitimate traffic, which is why nobody is suspicious until it is too late and cyber criminals have already damaged your business.

How Bot Attacks can Damage your Affiliate Marketing

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How can they affect your affiliate marketing?

Malicious bots can seriously impact different parts of your business, especially affiliate marketing. These are the most common consequences bot attacks can have for your business and your brand:

1.   Seriously damage your revenue

Fraudsters use malicious bots to generate fake leads after they join your affiliate marketing campaign. While you believe that your marketing efforts have paid off, the actual truth is that you are paying commission for nonexistent sales or customer interactions. By the time you notice the figures do not match, fraudsters have already seriously damaged your revenue.

Worst of all, this doesn’t even require fraudsters to be technological experts, as they can simply and cheaply purchase bots that do all the work and reap the benefits.

2.   TCPA Violations

Even though you are not aware bots have provided you with bad data, you might still be in real trouble if you use them. Bots often use data they have stolen from real people that have actually never given their consent to receive any communications from you. When you contact someone that hasn’t given you permission to do so, you are violating the rules of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA), which can result in fines of $500 to $1,500 per person.

3.   Reputational damage

Bots can have different purposes, one of which can be stealing confidential data from you and your customers. This can be anything from intellectual property to financial data, which fraudsters can use for further malicious actors or to sell on the black market. While this can cause serious financial damage, it can have an even worse impact on your reputation and brand. Nobody wants to do business with a company they feel doesn’t respect their data enough to keep them safe or one that contacts them without their permission.

Fraudsters can even use bots to create spammy ads for fake products they connect with your site to give them a sense of legitimacy. Once customers realize the products are fake, they will come after your company creating negative PR.


Having an effective marketing campaign is essential for the success of any business, but often it can be what prevents you from reaching your goals. Implementing affiliate marketing campaigns is not enough; you need to ensure you take the proper steps to prevent malicious actors and bots from exploiting it.