Selfishness in Affiliate Marketing

So last night I was up all night with my allergies, didn’t get to sleep until 7:30am. In that time period I got up and took a shower, and started to really think about my life, and affiliate marketing. I started thinking about something I had completely avoided thinking about, because I knew it would change my perspective on the industry, and knew it would also severely negatively affect my income.

Whether we like to admit the fact or not, A LOT of business in affiliate marketing completely scams and screws people over; and we’re the guys in the background making a profit from it. I started thinking about the most popular niches out there and the effect it had on the hundreds of thousands of people signing up for these offers. I myself have promoted these offers, and even was currently promoting them, until now. We completely take for granted all the money we make online, and the lengths we’ll go to to make that money sometimes. Let’s just look at a few of the popular niches out there today…

Payday Loans

Payday loans are one of the biggest verticals in the financial sector. I personally know affiliates making over $30k/day on payday loans, and I myself have gotten into them quite a bit. What is a payday loan? Simply put, a person in desperate need (here comes the first moral issue, targeting people who are desperate for money) signs up for a loan. When he doesn’t pay the loan back, he’s charged 400% in interest and ends up being in debt for years. Rather then rambling on about it, I’ll just quote some real testimonials I searched and found last night.

Small Loans, a predatory lender owned by Money Tree, Inc, gave a $200 “payday loan” to a disabled, elderly, illiterate man and thereafter took in his benefits check for him and paid him a small “allowance” out of it, less the money they deducted as “repayment” on the loan. All told, they took thousands from the man over a period of years, bleeding him so badly that he ended up homeless, begging for power to run the machine that treated his chronic lung infection.

Source and read more

Mr. Milford is chronically broke because each month, in what he calls “my ritual,” he travels 30 miles to Gallup [New Mexico] and visits 16 storefront money-lending shops. Mr. Milford, who is 59 and receives a civil service pension and veteran’s disability benefits, doles out some $1,500 monthly to the lenders just to cover the interest on what he had intended several years ago to be short-term “payday loans.”

Source and read more

Sure most of these people are stupid, but can we use that as a legitimate excuse to ruin their lives? Hell no. Payday loans completely screw people over, and for this argument’s sake we’re going to disregard idiots using it for gambling debt or something like that, because either way we’re still harming thousands of good people.

Green Tea/Acai Berry Diet Pills

The green tea/acai phenomenon is huge right now in affiliate marketing. There’s ads all over Facebook urging overweight people that they can really lose weight for free with the help of green tea. The fact alone that we’re leading these people to believe that drinking green tea is going to make them lose fat is bullshit. The sites are filled with fake testimonials and people even pose as fat chicks to get conversions. It gets worse though, they think they’re paying $3.95 to get a free trial bottle, but in the fine print they opt-in to be sent a bottle a month if they don’t cancel within 7 days. These assholes charge $90 for a 1 month supply bottle and just rebill the persons credit card every month. Most people don’t realize it until they’ve been hit a couple times and paid $200 bucks and gotten crappy pills that didn’t help anyways. What makes it worse is that these places don’t pick up their customer support number, don’t respond to emails, and don’t try to every provide ANY help to the poor suckers that were charged. I’ve bought this stuff to examine it myself, and it’s a crappy little bottle in a small plastic wrap that gets mailed to you. Do you know how much it costs the advertiser to produce a bottle of this shit? UNDER $1.00. Trust me, in the past I looked into doing it myself. They charge people $90 for something that cost them a buck, and then upsell them on 10 other crappy products that don’t work.

I took the week’s supply…felt no different…and said “oh well…I’ve done worse things with $3.99.”

I know you’re waiting for the other show to hit the ground and duck…here it comes!

I get a package in the mail with a bottle of 60 pills. I go on line and look at my credit card and they have charged my card an additional $74.99!!!!!!

First I called the c/c company and am disputing the charge but I know I will lose. I contacted Performance Products USA at and was refered to their webpage buried among millions with a click on accept terms which has a negative marketing plan and they will continue to hit my card for $74.99 until I opt out of the program.

Source and read more

I used the sample GreenTeaLLC sent for 4.99 they claim I signed a contract to take 84.90 a month for their Product I did not! It does not work it is a scam.

I called the told them to cancel any further orders.

They have charged me for three orders 2 i didnot

receive.I was told they will only refund 60 dollars.

THey were supposed to stop taking the money from

my Acct. But Haven’t. I received my bank statement

and they taken another 84.90 out I am very angry

what can I Do ?

Source and read more


I don’t even really have to go into ringtones and mobile stuff because everybody knows they’re deceptive. Again these people are idiots for reading the text that says $9.99/month or $2.99/day, but either way we’re taking advantage of them because they just read the PIN and confirm it. I did ringtones for a long time, who hasn’t tried them? Sure they’re the least harmful of any of the other offers I’ve mentioned, but it’s still the principle of ripping people off. Crush offers advertise “You have (2) new crushes!”, so you sign up to find out and just get a retarded horoscope subscription service.

Flycell, a NY company, billed me $20 a month on my cell phone bill for four months (total $80). By the time I tracked down who was billing me, I contacted them and told them I never asked for or received any service from them (I don’t even know what they do) and asked for a refund. They refused.

Source and read more


The sources above took me literally 10 minutes to find, and there’s hundreds of other stories out there. Now sure you’re going to have pissed off people in any niche or any place; there’s always people who aren’t satisfied with what they bought into. But the point is at least they knew they were buying into it. People taking out payday loans are unaware to the fact that if they don’t pay the loan back, they’re going to end up in debt for years. There’s a reason payday loans are completely BANNED in several states. Fat people signing up for the next hot thing in acai don’t realize they’re going to be billed $90 for a horrible product; they just want to try it for a week and see that it does nothing and only a healthy diet and exercise will help them achieve what they want. Teenagers with cellphones don’t really care what’s on the bill, most of the time their parents are paying it so the parents end up being the ones screwed and pissed off.

I’m certainly not saying that now we should just all stay away from every niche out there, because there are consumers out there who do want to buy products. Even if the product doesn’t work out for them how they wanted it to, they still were aware of the fact that they had to pay for it. I believe in karma and that’s what got me thinking on the subject, and I’m done promoting these things that either completely ruin peoples lives, or scam them for a quick buck. Is it worth making a lot of money for yourself when you know that you had to screw literally thousands of people to do it? Just think about the kind of negative effect you’re having on all these peoples lives.

I’m going to lose A LOT of profit but I’ve already paused my campaigns and sent emails out to the networks/direct advertisers that I was working with giving them my reasons for cutting the campaigns. There’s plenty of legitimate money to be made online and I do have a few of them running so I’ll be fine. I already have enough money and doing these things to thousands of people just isn’t worth it and I feel better already now that I’ve stopped. Sure just because my ad drops off means someone elses ad will take it’s place, and this stuff will always be promoted, but that’s not the point.

If you do want to promote in these shady/deceptive niches, head over to my page for shady affiliates who want to do shady things and let me know what you’re interested in and I’ll see what I can do.

Bring it.


  1. September 7, 2008

    Quite an interesting post… not sure I agree though

  2. September 7, 2008

    By the way, care to share some of those ‘unethical keywords’? :p

  3. Tundra
    September 7, 2008

    lol go back and read the paragraph before you click on random links haha

  4. September 7, 2008

    Include the clickbank ebooks, make money online products etc.

    But this doesn’t apply to all niches. Automotive finance, debt settlement , credit reports ,dating , dish tv , dvd rentals, game memberships, inkjets cartridges,insurance , home repair, timeshare , ecommerce/shopping sites aff programs, business cards, jewellery , swimming pool quotes,

    and countless others which actually benefit the guy

  5. Gagan
    September 7, 2008

    Real nice Paul. I can’t believe it’s coming from you. I always dubbed you as spammer. But good for you. It’s time to move on.

    I guess now after making real money you’re losing interest. Everyone does i suppose. It’s boring to wake up every morning to see $5000k you made yesterday. Do that for few years and you’ll get bored eventually and would want to move to something else. So what’s you got in mind?

  6. September 7, 2008


    How do you know barack obama, and why is he talking about you in this video?

    Did i miss the post where you said you and barack are friends? Seriously, thats kind of cool you know barack.

  7. September 7, 2008

    If you prefer to become emotionally connected to business you may want to find something else to do.

  8. September 8, 2008

    A salute to you Paul. I agree with most of what you wrote.

    The only really dumb and immature thing you did was link to gay porn (some people that clicked it may have had kids around). I didn’t have my kids around but I was one of the dumbasses that actually misread the sentence and clicked on it.

    I’ve always stayed away from payday loans and offers that are going to the majority of the time hurt the person. I have however run a couple diet offers that could be questionable. I personally don’t think ringtones are that bad. There is always going to be some people that don’t read the fine print but most of them do want the ringtones and $10 a month isn’t getting ripped off IMO. With the new ringtone rules it’s hard to overlook the pricing.

    Some people will always make up excuses about why they still run some offers such as “what about that person who got that payday loan and didn’t lose their house etc…” Yea, like maybe 1 in 5000 of them. A payday loan will just get the person further in debt the vast majority of the time.

    This post is going to make a lot of people rethink what is most important. Would you be proud to tell your mother or friends about all the offers you are running? And for the Christian affiliates out there such as myself, are you doing the right thing?

    You bring up a bigger question as well. What about the affiliate networks that run these offers? I’ve yet to find a “CPA” network that doesn’t so we shouldn’t single out any of them.

    There are still tons of niches and ways to make a living online without running the SCAM offers.

  9. September 8, 2008

    So you are using the “it’s just business” excuse?

    I’m totally screwing someone over, but “it’s just business.” LOL

    If that’s what you meant then that’s lame.

    You CAN run a business with integrity.

  10. Jason Forthofer
    September 8, 2008

    Forget about Karma. What about just integrity and respect in the industry? I’m so old fashioned.

  11. Jason Forthofer
    September 8, 2008

    show some business integrity man – you just lost a feed subscriber.

  12. Gagan
    September 8, 2008

    TimSchroeder write: “The only really dumb and immature thing you did was link to gay porn (some people that clicked it may have had kids around).”

    I hope Paul to mature up a bit like most other grown up supper affiliate marketers in his league. Considering he is still 20, you can sense the kid in his voice sometimes.

  13. david
    September 8, 2008

    I must say, you’re very good at building trust, Paul.

  14. September 8, 2008

    Hi Paul,
    Just got an email from the pepperjamnetwork promoting stupid fat pills that will never work, cost less than $1 to produce but offering me $35 per sale…
    do you still work with these guys so?

  15. September 8, 2008

    Ooooh, almost got rickrolled! Good points though.

  16. September 8, 2008

    Uh… Jason, maybe you need to look at the offers on affiliate networks. Tons of offers which just sell products that don’t provide extra ample opportunity for a person to get ripped off.

    e.g. sports gear, electronics equipment, books, exercise equipment, the list goes on and on…

  17. September 8, 2008

    Tim, I’d say it doesn’t matter what the affiliate network is doing. I didn’t see Paul telling anyone else what to do or setting himself up as judge and jury. He was just sharing his most recent epiphany. The cpa network would have to have that epiphany for themselves.

  18. September 8, 2008

    Yeah, did anyone notice how Amazon pushes used items so much more now than even selling their own stock? That’s because they make a ton on an (ahem) affiliate commission. they churn that 15% 24 hrs a day and don’t stock anything in their warehouse. They just have the traffic. is really just an internal affiliate site for experian. The list goes on. Affiliate marketing is completely sustainable and actually a better idea in volatile markets because one can support many merchants instead of being roped to one product’s ability to provide for market needs.

  19. Alfred
    September 8, 2008

    Another good post that worth reading!. Looking for more legitimate & long term offers now.

  20. Hi Paul,

    I landed in your blog through a post made on referencing this one, and even though I always have intended to run my business with integrity, I could say that selling as an affiliate is like selling arms, you’ll never know what the buyer are going to do with what you sold him/her, and is not your business anyway.

    Below, I’m pasting the comment I left on Moneybites referring to this subject:

    That’s an interesting and food-for-thought post :)

    First, we should differentiate promotion from endorsement. I’d never endorse a product I don’t know about, but don’t see any problem on promoting a product which is not an evident scam.

    Do you think The New York Times or The Washington Post (to name some big media publishers) screen all the ads they publish to check if all of them are legit? I bet not.

    And would you blame any of them if you fall prey for an scam advertised on their pages? So, why people on Internet demand that affiliates screen their promotions for legit ads? Does Google do that?

    We, as adults, should take responsibility for our own decissions and make our own due dilligence before purchasing and not put the blame on the site where we clicked an ad.

    Furthermore, even if website owners were willing to screen all advertisement that is shown on their sites, they could not use any type of contextual ads delivery, as nobody knows what will appear on the next ad block.

  21. TF
    September 9, 2008

    C’mon, Paul.

    Yes, I chuckled when he said he was in public, but what if some kid was around when that happened? People don’t exactly expect that type of stuff when they come here.

    Seems immature to me. But, it’s your blog.

  22. rottencupcakes
    September 9, 2008

    Great post Paul! I saw Cakes’ post above and hats off to Cakes too for putting beef aside and giving props where props are due. Nick kind of hit on the fact that networks need to get legit shit to promote but its just a big web of douche baggery in this industry and that is what is keeping mainstream money away.

    Scammy networks, scammy offers, scammy affiliates. I attended my first summit in Boston and I came back feeling like a dick for being a part of this unprofessional douche bag industry. There are always going to be freeloader, lazy people, out there that will do anything to make a buck but props to Paul and everyone else that takes the high road. To those of you that don’t…no stress…you’ll get yours someday…

  23. September 9, 2008

    I’m certainly glad I looked at the status bar mouse over before clicking the link to “promote shady stuff”. I didnt know where it led, but knew it couldnt be good.

    Was at a meetup in SF with like 25 affiliates. Someone else read your post and clicked it with all these people around. It was pretty funny, more so cuz I didnt get suckered into clicking it and others who should know better did. haha

  24. September 10, 2008

    Yeah, good for you man… I’m sure you’ll make just as much doing non-shady things anyways… plus you’ll have a clear mind and maybe your allegeries won’t kick your ass until 7:30am lol


  25. September 10, 2008

    Yeah, I’m also a little interested to see how long it will last… I mean, what happens if the money stops, you have to do what you have to do, right?


  26. September 10, 2008

    And can but I think he was just saying that MOST were?


  27. Brian
    September 10, 2008

    Very, very true. Just because you CAN promote an offer, doesn’t mean you SHOULD promote an offer. You do reap what you sow. It’s amazing how things can come back later in life to really bite you. What people don’t realize is these stupid offers are really hurting affiliate marketing. They are killing the trust factor with buyers. One bad transaction could prevent a person from ever buying on the Internet again. Who wins? Nobody.

  28. September 11, 2008

    Stop trying to screw it. Also,man up and use your full name.

  29. September 11, 2008

    Good to see someone with a following speaking up about the garbage in the industry. Keep up the good fight!

  30. September 13, 2008


    Good stuff! Way to go for standing up for what’s right. Come join Raj and me in doing Affect Change— let’s do some good.


  31. JB
    September 14, 2008

    the embarrassing thing about this is that people believe you.

  32. September 17, 2008

    Respect is the word!

  33. September 17, 2008

    well said, principle above all

  34. no_thanks
    September 20, 2008

    Another gay ass post by a gay broke ass marketer.

  35. Bottom Line
    October 1, 2008

    All you haters are idiots.

    The real issue here is that Paul is taking the moral high ground after making a profit. If he were genuinely sorry, he’d take the money earned on bullshit offers and bail out poor sods like the guy with no money for electricity.

Leave a Comment