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How to Protect Your Business from eCommerce Credit Card Fraud

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Ecommerce is growing at an alarming rate. While there is nothing new to the concept of names like Amazon.com and Jet.com wiping out retail locations around the world and killing ‘mom and pop’ businesses, it should be noted that it’s not all bad for businesses owners. Instead of succumbing to the big name giants that dominated the world of ecommerce today, it’s actually become quite the level playing field and opportunity for anyone looking to create an online business of their own — especially with ecommerce and through the power of dropshipping.

However, there are many things an entrepreneur or marketer might need to consider when starting up their first online store. It’s not just about choosing the right products and knowing how to target to your audience, it’s also about using the right platform and always being sure your customer data is safe. Just as important, is making sure you know how to handle online payments and make sure credit card fraud isn’t a disaster lurking around the corner.

Just like most of us are already aware of how affiliate networks can get wiped out if one big advertiser doesn’t make a payment or goes belly up on payments owed, the same can be said of a credit disaster for an online store. It’s sad to say, but one good run of chargebacks against your ecommerce store could put you out of business. This is why preventing e-commerce credit card fraud is of paramount importance.

Adhering to the policies below will help you protect your business.

1. Maintain PCI Compliance

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is designed to ensure the safest possible environment for credit card data. The standard includes precautions such as changing factory default passwords on all network equipment and establishing a firewall between your Internet connection and any system that stores credit card numbers.

2. Implement Transaction Velocity Limits

Yes, this means you’ll be limiting your customers to a set dollar amount in purchases each day. (What merchant in their right mind would want to do that—right?) On the other hand, you’ll also minimize the potential take, should a fraudulent transaction make it past your safeguards. (What merchant in their right mind wouldn’t want to do that—right?)

3. Require Two-Factor Authentication

In most cases, when a thief gets a customer’s credit card information, they do not have the Card Verification Value (CVV) data. This three- or four-digit number, printed on the back of credit cards, is a secondary authentication method to prove a customer has the card in their possession. The PCI DSS prohibits storing this information alongside the credit card number and cardholder’s name. In fact, best practices recommend not storing it at all, but rather asking the customer to provide it with each transaction.

4. Monitor Transactions and Reconcile Them Every Day

The fastest way to spot fraud is to know what a typical day’s transactions look like. Reconciling your accounts on a daily basis trains you to spot anomalies. The sooner you notice something is amiss and take steps to do something about it, the better chance you have of apprehending the culprit. You’re looking for red flags such as mismatched billing and shipping information. Pay attention to the physical location of customers to ensure it matches the information provided too. Some online store hosting can help you in this regard by tracking orders automatically.

5. Use Tracking Numbers on All Shipments

You will occasionally run into less than scrupulous customers who will try to claim a chargeback on the grounds their products were never delivered. Tracking all packages and requiring signature confirmation on orders above a certain dollar amount will thwart these perpetrators.

6. Keep Software and Platforms up to Date

Make it a point to install software updates as soon as they become available. In most cases, they’re issued in response to an incident, or the discovery of a potential threat. Similarly, always keep your anti-malware and anti-spyware up to date. Given the nature of what you’re up against, only business-grade products will do for these tasks. The consumer stuff isn’t robust enough to adequately protect financial data.

7. Force Customers to Use Strong Passwords

Set requirements including numbers, letters (both lower- and upper-case), and special symbols for repeat customers who want to establish accounts. Do not permit the inclusion of any of their generally available information as part of the password.

8. Instill Employee Security Consciousnesses

Employee passwords should be just as strict (if not more so) as customers’ login information. Train them to spot potential fraud and empower them to stop a transaction if something feels amiss. Do everything possible to help them understand how fraud can cost them their livelihoods and how important their vigilance is for the health of the business.

9. Maintain a Gallery of Rogue Attacks

Keep a file of all attempted (and successful) breaches. Use these incidents as teachable moments, so your people can avoid falling victim to the same scam twice.

Preventing e-commerce credit card fraud is essential to protecting your business. There will always be people out there willing to work harder to steal than they would at a regular job. These tips will help you force them to move on to easier pickings.

It’s Not Just About Protecting Your Customers… It’s Also Your Business

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to put precautions in place to make sure your customers and eCommerce transactions are safe, but at the end of the day, you also need to remember this is your business and its reputation is on the line. The last thing you want is to lose the trust of your customers, and let word start to spread online about possible attacks or customer loss of data. These can be some of the most detrimental issues when trying to grow an eCommerce site on the internet today.

One of the best ways to get around many of these issues is to simply go with a trusted eCommerce platform that already has a payment platform, third-party security and customer management already in place.

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Affiliate Marketing

How Attrace is Changing Affiliate Marketing with Blockchain Technology

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Every once in awhile something new hits the industry and it grabs the attention of audiences around the world. In the business of affiliate marketing we all know the importance of technology and crunching the numbers as much as possible to make a profit —  however, the core foundation, basic principles, and how affiliate networks are tracking leads and paying out commissions to affiliates haven’t changed much over the years.

Sure, there are faster payments, more offers, and better tracking technology, but doesn’t it seem like we should be more advanced and have more control over such analytics and data? With so much emphasis on blockchain technology and everyone talking about Bitcoin as being the future of personal and business finance, I think the next question is how blockchain will disrupt the affiliate marketing industry.

That is exactly what Attrace, a decentralized affiliate marketing network, wants to do with their brand new and blockchain technology-driven platform. Today we are going to look at not only how blockchain technology can disrupt the affiliate marketing industry, save merchants money, and also help affiliate marketers earn more than ever before.

The Time for Blockchain Technology is Now

As mentioned earlier, if you’ve heard of the phrase blockchain, you’ve likely heard it associated with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. The reason why blockchain is so popular and gaining so much attention, is because it’s changing the way data is transferred among users, makes only payments and transactions after, and also integrates the power of a decentralized internet in the process.

With so many companies using blockchain to protect their data, make transactions safer, and also keep all sides of the party safe and secure,  it seems like a perfect fit for affiliate marketing as well.

This is where Attrace comes into play.

Attrace Affiliate Network and Features

With so many opportunities in the world of affiliate marketing, every once in awhile you will come across a new network or tracking platform that takes advantage of the technology around it, and makes a solution that’s better for everyone. Today we can look at a trace and see that they are building a platform with the future in mind, while also catering to the affiliate and advertiser alike.

When you look at the impact of affiliate marketing around the world and see that billions of dollars are generated every year, it’s also important to realize there are hundreds of millions of dollars being paid to affiliate networks in transaction fees. With these basic concepts and financial figures in mind, it would make perfect sense for someone to develop a decentralized platform with minimum transaction costs to the advertisers, and making the withdrawal and payment process to affiliates more seamless.

That is exactly what Attrace has focused their efforts on creating, which we can see through the short explainer video below.

For anyone that has ever signed up to an affiliate network as an advertiser or merchant, you know there are several costs involved —  such as the initial setup fee, integration, program management and of course the ongoing transaction costs. If you are paying out several thousands of dollars to your affiliates, you will likely be paying thousands and transaction fees as well.

It’s not just on the merchant or advertiser side that you will find new improvements, features, and benefits, Attrace has built their network with the affiliate marketer in mind as well. As more people continue to use mobile devices and different types of browsers and ways to access the internet, it’s always a question of how well your leads and sales are actually being tracked. Just the smallest percentage of leads getting lost or scraped can be the difference between a successful campaign, or a failed one.

All of these elements and focus points are a top priority for Attrace, while also focusing on the following areas:

  • Very low fees
    Affiliate Networks charge 10-25% commission. Attrace reduces this to ~0.5%.
  • Faster Real Value payments
    Instant commission payout instead of waiting for weeks if not months, based on very precise definitions and dynamic scaling.
  • Fraud detection
    Smart contracts attached to every click/referral cannot be manipulated resulting in all statistics being the absolute truth.
  • No more tracking problems
    Every individual click/referral will have a unique ID, resulting in the fully reliable tracking of the Publishers’ performance.
  • Direct connection between Publishers and Merchants
    The Attrace platform enables direct communication between Publishers and Merchants via the advanced messaging board.
  • No Merchant restrictions
    Long Tail and Emerging Markets acceptance will be based on reputation, not at the discretion of Affiliate Network.

With so many features and benefits in place, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the floodgates open for advertisers and affiliates to join a new platform like Attrace. At the same time, with so many elements in play and the technicalities of the blockchain, this will likely be a transition and work in progress for months and years to come. You can actually see how all of this will come together through the timeline created by Attrace, while also seeing their projections and goals over the next year.

How to Get Started with Attrace Affiliate Network

There are two ways to get started with Attrace affiliate network —  the first is to sign up through their telegram group or to take part in their upcoming ICO token sale — which is also featured on their main page.

No matter which of the methods you decide to go after, it will be quite interesting to see how blockchain technology continues to change the way we all use the internet and especially in the world of affiliate marketing.

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Affiliate Marketing

GDPR Rules, Fines and Compliance – What You Need to Know

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As most business people know, taking care of sensitive and personal data of customers is of the utmost importance. Failing to do this could see you getting on the wrong side of your customers and the wrong side of the law – and the penalties can be severe. In the past, the Data Protection Act has provided regulations and guidelines to help businesses to implement data protection policies. However, this is now changing with the introduction of the GDPR.

How will this affect your current business and email marketing efforts?

The biggest question is always what needs to be done next to make sure you are compliant. iContact answers this easy enough with the following statement from the site:

The good news is, if you are already following email marketing best practices and asking your subscribers for permission to join your email lists via a subscription form on your website or requiring the subscriber to tick a box on your ecommerce site (and you can prove this ), you are well on your way to GDPR compliance.

Just like CAN-SPAM came out several years ago, and caused a big fuss, GDPR will likely do the same but everyone (and all of the major solution providers) will make compliance process quite simple and direct.

In order to ensure you do not end up being penalized as a result of failing to implement these new regulations properly, it is important to keep up with the latest developments. Businesses that do not follow these new regulations, which are due to come into play within a matter of weeks, could find themselves facing serious consequences. These regulations are all linked to how data is handled by businesses and it is important for all businesses, large and small, to get to grips with them.

Just like any new laws and regulations that are about to go into place, they have some hefty fines lined up for anyone looking to be made an example of. Imperva has a nice write-up and infographic on the new laws, and their associated fines as well. As you will see from the infographic below, the fines associated with the GDPR are quite high… with maximum fines hitting the $22 million range! In short, prepare your business now, or pay the price later on!

Fortunately, the government has already put a lot of information online about the GDPR, so those with lack of understanding can make sure they do their research to find out what needs to be done. Furthermore, specialist experts from specific industries are being taken on so that businesses can turn to someone with expertise in their specific industry in order to ensure they are following the new regulations to the letter.

One thing to remember is that your business does not have to be located within the EU in order to be tied to these regulations. The regulations also apply to businesses that are not in the EU but that sell products and services to others that are in the EU. Therefore, make sure you do not ignore these regulations just because of the location of your business, as you may find that they also apply to you because of the location of your customers.

How to Prepare for the GDPR Going Live on May 25th, 2018

As fun as it is to read up on all of these new laws and legal jargon, it’s much more exciting to watch a short video that breaks it all down. Not only will you learn more about what GDPR is, but you will also discover eleven things you need to make sure you have in place before May 25th hits and the law goes into effect.

An even better and more detailed resource on how to keep your business safe and compliant is this Forbes article on how the GDPR will affect advertising and e-commerce. With nearly all websites, blogs, and online businesses collecting emails, data, or placing cookies on their visitor’s computers, this is something we all need to be aware of.

How to Stay Up to Date with the Latest GDPR News

Since the new regulations are only just coming in, there may be some teething problems to begin with. This means that there is a chance there could be some changes and adaptations to begin with. In order to ensure you continue to implement the regulations properly, you should keep on top of any chances and developments. You can also hire the services of experts to help you get to grips with the GDPR as well as to help keep you informed as and when any changes are made.

With the introduction of the new regulations, all countries within the EU can benefit from the same data protection laws, which can help to make things much fairer and far easier to understand. Having different sets of rules from one EU country to another could be confusing and frustrating for both customers and businesses. Experts believe that these new regulations will help make things far easier to manage and understand as well as ensuring fairness across all EU countries.

However… only time will tell, and it will be interesting to see how the next few months play out after GDPR goes into affect.

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Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing in Asia – $1 Trillion Up for Grabs

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Affiliate marketing has completely changed the way advertising and business are done on the internet today. What started out as a simple referral-based monetization platform from Amazon, and then soon adopted by Google, quickly spread throughout the industry and is now used by millions of businesses and brands around the internet today. At the same time, affiliate marketing first got its start in the United States, but soon found itself making its way around the world over the years.

One of the most common things United States-based affiliate marketers and brands neglect to focus on is the power of affiliate marketing and targeting towards other countries around the world. Just because you are living in a specific country or region, it doesn’t mean that you should be focusing all of your advertising and online marketing efforts there. This is especially true when you factor in the amazing demographic and geographic targeting options available online today. At the same time, language and translation barriers are really no excuse as well — there are plenty of low-cost services out there that this can be outsourced to.

Affiliate marketing in the U.S. is expected to be worth $6.8 billion over the next five years; in the UK alone it is already worth $1.6 billion. With these two markets already in demand and quite saturated, it might be best to start focusing your efforts on Asia. It was also pointed out that “Asia’s e-commerce spending hit US$1 trillion in 2016 alone”. (source)

With all of this in mind, today we are going to take a look at affiliate marketing in Asia, and why it simply can’t be ignored. Special thanks to Leadbit, an industry leading direct advertiser and affiliate network, for providing the infographic visuals and stats on each of these breakdowns.

Affiliate Marketing in India

Of all the countries and regions in the world today, India is growing at one of the fastest rates — both with people and their technology. More people are getting online than ever before, and with a population of more than 1.3 billion, this market is huge enough for any business or affiliate marketer to see huge results from. At the same time, of those 1.3 billion, less than half of them have access to the internet (whether it be through the internet or mobile devices).

When it comes to internet usage, most Indians are spending their time watching online video and using social networking platforms — both of which offer amazing demographic targeting and advertising options. It’s also important to consider your language usage and targeting as well. While English is one of the main languages in India, it’s just one of many.

As for promoting offers in India, this is something that many affiliate marketers and brands might struggle with, as traffic to individuals with India is usually pretty cheap, but the conversion rate on any type of credit card or payment offer is usually low. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t find success. Evergreen offers like weight loss, health supplements, and anything else that everyday people need on a daily basis is well worth a test in this region.

Affiliate Marketing in Thailand

While India is one of the largest world markets that many brands and affiliate marketers are taking advantage of right now, Thailand is also making its way onto the radar. With a population of around 70 million, and more than half having access to the internet, this demographic is quickly getting online and looking to take advantage of what the internet has to offer.

Just like with promoting offers in India, it will be tough to find winners, but again… traffic costs are also at a fraction of what you would expect to pay to target countries like the United States, Germany, New Zealand and others.

Internet usage in Thailand is mainly focused on search engines, social networks and shopping online. Thailand residents who have access to the internet, are getting online nearly every day.

Affiliate Marketing in Vietnam

The common theme that we are seeing with affiliate marketing across Asia, is that the traffic sources are cheap, and the monetization and affiliate offers are slim. The benefit here is that the competition is low, but if you can master the art of finding success with one offer in an Asian country, you can likely replicate it with others as well.

Next, on the list, we have Vietnam. With a population of almost 100 million people and nearly half of them being online, this market is just waiting to earn affiliate marketers millions of dollars. Like many other countries on this list, social media and search engines are the best ways to reach such audiences.

When it comes to social media in Vietnam, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Google+ Lead the way — which is quite different from what you might be used to seeing in US and English-based markets.

Affiliate Marketing in Singapore

Singapore is one of the most well-known and recognized names in the world, yet they only have a population of around 6 million people, which more than half of them already being online. With an average daily internet usage of seven hours, most users are spending their time in the search results, social networks and watching online videos.

One of the key takeaways to remember about targeting an audience in Singapore, is that 91% of the people in the country are accessing the internet daily. Even though there are less than 10 million people in the country, almost all of them are accessible online.

Affiliate Marketing in Indonesia

As we move away from the small population of Singapore, we jump over the massive population of Indonesia, which is around 262 million. With more than half of the country already having access to the internet, it’s yet another country on our list that will offer an amazing opportunity with demographic and geographic targeting, while also offering low-cost traffic in the process.

Something to consider when marketing to Indonesia, is that Islam is the main religion of the country. Considerations here shouldn’t be just on the language and religion factors, but also what type of offers might better apply to them as well.

Like many other countries, Indonesia is very social media hungry — with more than 106 million people accessing social networks regularly. With Facebook being the number one social platform of choice, it also paves the way for great demographic advertising through the Facebook Ads platform.

Affiliate Marketing in Taiwan

Taiwan is another big name in Asia, and there are currently has more than 23 million people living in the country. What makes this country stand out from others in it’s surrounding areas, is that there is a heavy demand for Facebook, and a great majority of people in the country already have access to the internet.

With more than seven hours of internet browsing taking place daily, most of this time is spent on search engines and social media, while some shopping and emailing, of course, takes place as well.

Affiliate Marketing in Hong Kong

Another well-known name, yet small in population, is Hong Kong. With nearly all of their population already having access to the internet, if you can find a profitable way to market to this audience, you could find some big success.

More than 97% of residents within the country are accessing the internet daily, mostly to use search engines and social networks — while also spending 6 hours a day online in the process. The one demographic stat to point out here is that 38% of the population falls into the 25-34 age range, which is perfect for selling products, services and offers to. However, it’s simply a matter of finding the right offer to promote and squeezing enough profit out in the process.

Affiliate Marketing in China

Last but not least… we have the massive population of China, which currently sits at 1.4 billion. With so many different factors at play, China can be one of the most profitable, yet frustrating, markets to master. Not only will affiliates and brands have to master the art of language and translation, they will also need to cater to a whole new world of regulation, censorship, and limitations that Chinese users have to deal with on a daily basis.

Of all the countries mentioned in our list, China has a steady structure of what users are doing when they get online — which consists of mostly shopping online, checking the weather, communicating through social media and downloading photos online. Something interesting you will also notice is that none of the major social networks are in play here either. (as they are mostly all blocked)

China is a massive multi-billion dollar market, but also one of the most confusing to master. There is also a lot of focus on how affiliate marketing is bringing new brands and businesses into the Chinese market right now as well. Since this method has worked so well in other countries, there is no reason why we shouldn’t continue to see the same success as more brands make their way into China.

How to Find the Best Affiliate Offers to Promote in Asia

While we tried to cover the many different ways affiliate marketing can play a role in Asia, it’s actually more about how to best understand, target, and monetize the audiences around you. With so many traffic sources and demographic targeting options available today, it’s quite easy to run an ad campaign to any of the countries listed below, and also doing a quick split test.

The other factor in play here is to find an affiliate network that provides access to offers for each of these countries. When doing so, be sure to keep an eye out for different ad copy, creatives, and landing pages that are already pre-built to the specifications of each country (ie: in their own language and style).

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, special thanks to Leadbit for the visuals and stats to make this post possible. Affiliate marketing is changing all of the time, and if you want to stay ahead of the curve, you need to start expanding your campaigns to new areas of the world.

Leadbit currently has affiliate offers for all of the countries listed above. Be sure to check out their ad network and explore your options with affiliate marketing in Asia today.

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Hi, I’m Zac Johnson

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