Are CPA Networks Dishonest? The Value of Honesty.


Honesty (noun): a fairness and straightforwardness of conduct; adherence to the facts.

Trust (noun): assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.

Transparency (noun): something transparent; (adjective): characterized by visibility or accessibility of information especially concerning business practices.

Honesty. Trust. Transparency. According to Merriam-Webster’s definitions, are these principles on which you’d run a business? I imagine if you poll a variety of business leaders, they’d all say these are important foundations of their company’s mission. They would probably say they strive to maintain these ideologies personally and that they certainly conduct their business using these guiding rules.

While they’re all honorable philosophies, they don’t mean much unless they’re put into practice. Unfortunately, the affiliate marketing industry has been a less-than-stellar keeper of these values as of late. Over the past few months, we’ve seen players in our industry take some pretty heavy hits. Some well-deserved; perhaps not so deserved for others. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. No matter who is to blame for the “shady” activity, the industry as a whole inevitably takes a hit. When folks outside our industry read about marketing scams that they may be vulnerable to, they automatically place all companies within the same bucket: a dishonest, untrustworthy and non-transparent one.

As an industry, it’s time we take a stand. Everyone who considers themselves a part of the affiliate marketing industry should step up and act in an honest, trustworthy and transparent manner. What are some examples of how we can collectively move forward to repair our image? As an advertiser, present your company in an open manner and target those who would truly benefit from your product, service, or other offering. As a publisher, only seek to monetize and market content that you know is ethical. Don’t seek to make money from illegal or immoral content.

As networks, it is our responsibility to provide relevant and ethical offers for affiliates and be responsible with timely and accurate payments. It is also our duty to be the face of the industry. If someone has a complaint, respond to it. If there’s a suggestion, consider it as a potential strategy moving forward. In our digital world, it is all too easy to remain a nameless, faceless brand behind a computer. It’s time to step up to the plate. In fact, my company has taken an unprecedented step in offering a reward to anyone who could show evidence that they hadn’t been paid. Doing business online means accepting that there will always be individuals with hidden agendas making accusations anonymously. However, any company that stands by its products, services and reputation should be willing to conduct business with a level of transparency that speaks for itself. I feel we did exactly that in challenging individuals to step forward with evidence in return for a generous reward. Thus far, as expected, we have not had a single publisher approach us with a complaint or evidence.

Honesty. Trust. Transparency. In my opinion, you can’t run a business, let alone an industry, without these qualities. I challenge everyone in our industry – affiliate marketers, advertisers and publishers – to do their best to work towards these goals. Bit by bit, I believe we can rebuild our image and gain back the trust we may have lost from some of those who have been burned.

What's your opinion?