Affiliate marketing company LinkShare Corp. has launched a new identity checking service to ensure that affiliate marketing companies are who they say they are, CEO Stephen Messer tells InternetRetailer.com. The service serves two functions: It assures that marketers are operating under their real names and it ensures that all sites operated by a single marketer are identified as being part of the same organization.
Before the launch four weeks ago of Project Athena, as LinkShare has named the service, after the Greek goddess of wisdom, retailers and other online marketers using affiliates often didn’t know details about who they were dealing with, Messer says. “Marketers didn’t always know that they could trust the entities they were doing business with,” he says.
LinkShare verifies identity by comparing applications for affiliate partner status against certain business and individual databases.
Since the service began, Messer says LinkShare and its marketers have been surprised to find that some companies that appeared to be large corporations were simply individuals trying to appear bigger than they were. Conversely, the new service has also uncovered individuals operating a number of web sites under different names as a way to mask the fact that they were earning a lot of money from certain retailers. Although retailers often reward their biggest producers with larger commissions, Messer says some of the most successful affiliates try to mask their identity so as not to tip off retailers to the success they have achieved. “Some of these affiliates have come up with really ingenious ways to make money and they were afraid of losing that if others learned what they were doing and copied their techniques,” Messer says.
Affiliate marketers operates web sites that promote others’ brands and earn a commission when a consumer clicks a retailer’s link on the affiliate’s web site and makes a purchaseat the retail site.