Calling all affiliates and those interested in affiliate marketing. You shouldn’t miss this news!
Recently, an affiliate marketer was put behind the bars for malpractice over the Internet. Shawn Hogan, who was apparently best affiliate marketer for the e-commerce giant, eBay, was charged with a civil suit. He has already spent 5 months in federal jail and will face 3 years of strict probation due to this. We are talking about a case that has been going on for 7 years now.
It all started in 2006 when eBay suspected fraud. Hogan apparently earned millions from eBay by scamming them and taking credit for sales that were in no way related to him or his affiliate marketing business. In 2007, eBay decided to cut all chords with him and take the problem to the federal government. Then it was revealed that he earned about $28 million from eBay in malpractice. In 2008, the civil suit was filed not only against him but also his entire company. In 2010 the matter was taken to the US District Court.
Affiliate marketing is a considerably easy business online in which affiliates earn money through referral links that they posted for a particular brand or website. Any sales made through visitors reaching the website(s) using their links are tracked and then the affiliates are paid on commission for every sale. In this particular case, Hogan apparently used a fraud technique called “Cookie Stuffing” that enabled him to take credit of sales that he was not helping with at all.
Hogan said, in his defense, that eBay was aware of his activities for many years and encouraged him to continue. He also said that he enjoyed many dinner parties with eBay authorities and was relied upon to “increase traffic” for their site. When he said it was not possible, they asked him to “experiment” and that is exactly what he did.
Some people say he got off easy, though, with only 5 years in federal prison and $25,000 fine, which is not even a fraction of what he earned. Having said that, affiliate marketers across the globe should beware of the pitfalls of malpractice. He may have got off quite easily but you may not. Also, the defamation and the hassle associated with lawsuits can ruin your entire career because absolutely no one wants to be associated with someone who has a criminal record.
Affiliate marketing is a good way to earn money but it requires some effort and patience from your end. It is important to be honest and not do what Hogan did so that you stay on the safe side and create good relationships with everyone online.
This case about an affiliate marketer being dragged to court and sent to federal prison is a lesson to everyone who thinks malpractice is easy in the world of affiliate marketing. If you are caught (and chances of being caught are very high) you will face embarrassment and all your businesses will crash.