The Daily Dot published a very interesting and telling interview with a spammer on Pinterest, which is a relatively new social media site for posting photos. This spammer floods the site with fake accounts to increase popularity of his posts, which points to an Amazon.com affiliate account. His engagement on the site is purely for posting affiliate links. While he's not breaking any laws, people like that tend to ruin things for the rest of us. Well, that's my opinion anyway. Some may applaud his savvy in creating such a system, but really, social media has no place for bots. And this is nothing new. Twitter and Facebook have been overflowing with spammers since inception.
Affiliate marketing is one big gray area. Blogs such as wafflesatnoon.com sometimes require affiliate marketing to survive. I even have Amazon links on the site – but they are merely placed into relevant articles. There’s a huge difference, however, between a blog with a few Amazon products within relevant articles, and an affiliate posting thousands of random products on social media sites using fake accounts. Perhaps to the outsider there is little difference. To me, it’s huge.
I’ve purchased from Amazon by way of a blog before. That’s how it’s supposed to work. Bloggers should be rewarded for genuine content, if they can match a product up to it.
Spammers who flood social media sites with products and no content should not be rewarded.
If you see an item posted on Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, or Facebook that links to affiliate accounts for Clickbank, Amazon, or any of the other popular affiliate marketing sites, it is in your best interest to eliminate this phony middle man if you detect any odor of spam at all.
But wait a second! It can be argued that the spammer did me a favor in pointing me to the item I purchased and should be rewarded for this effort, right? Randomly tossing out thousands of links isn’t helping anyone. Purchasing items from a spamming Amazon affiliate on Pinterest will do nothing but make the problem worse across all social media sites.
You should reward true affiliates who are engaged in the process, not detached spammers ruining the system to make a fast buck.
Here’s how I’d get around a spammer if I wanted buy something they posted from Amazon.
- My preferred method is to merely open a different browser such as Firefox or IE ( instead of Chrome), go to Amazon, search for and purchase the product there. A different browser won’t use the tracking cookie placed on your computer by the spammer affiliate.
- Set the browser to eliminate cookies on exit… Then exit, re-open the browser, go to Amazon, search for and purchase the product.
- Manually clear cookies and cache for your browser…Then exit, re-open the browser, go to Amazon, search for and purchase the product.
Again, if you find a website useful, and you’re quite confident it isn’t a spammer or a fake blog, by all means purchase from the site to help out the owner. If you suspect that affiliate links are from a spammer, disengaged from the content and products shown – used the methods above to circumvent him. This is by no means a solution to social media spammers, but every little bit counts.