There is a policy at www.zyra.org.uk to help to eliminate this problem!

In the Affiliate Marketing business it's important for merchants to know that affiliates aren't CHEATING. Cheating takes various forms, some of which are of deeper levels of despicability than others. One of the worst has to be the generation of fraudulent leads, where the merchant is paying for entirely bogus goings on faked up as real business. Needless to say, this site does not get involved in that kind of thing!

Having also pointed out that the site does not indulge in PPC bidding or incentivised leads, and regards spam e-junkmail sending in low regard, it should come as no surprise that it doesn't get involved with fraudulent leads either.

I encourage merchants wherever possible to set up their affiliate programs so affiliates only get paid for actual business transactions which are completed. That way, fraudulent activity is cut out.

Some merchants leave themselves open to fraud from unscrupulous affiliates by paying per click or even per impression. This is easy to exploit by devious means such as spyware which invades computers around the world and artificially inflates traffic. Also, when merchants are paying "per lead", it's easy for fraudsters to hype up ill-gotten gain by paying for teams of people to send in fictitious leads. Many good companies have come unstuck by this kind of thing, and it looks bad for affiliate marketing. There are many honest affiliates, and some of them prefer the "per click" marketing model, but they too must realise that fraudulent activity by a minority of dishonest affiliates brings the game into disrepute.

The solution is, as I recommend, for merchants to only pay the affiliate commission on actual business brought to the merchant's site. As an honest person I am happy to be paid after the transaction has completed successfully and payment has cleared properly. I don't mind waiting for commission payment, and it's worth waiting to make sure everything is honest and above-board.

The fact that I take this view of affiliate payment verification helps to show (as if you needed showing) I am honest and keen to eliminate fraudulent activity in the affiliate business.

I have another reason for preferring payment per action (for example as a percentage of sale) than per click or per lead, which is that the conversion rate or take-up rate at this site is much higher than on most sites. By the time people have visited the merchant they have generally already decided to buy.

Also see site policies, the judging page, what is an affiliate program?, and how an affiliate program can be good for your business (the business advantages explained).