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Parasitic Affiliate Marketers and Why You Should Not Be Like Them

In the natural world, there are many parasites. One of the most common parasite is the tape worm. A tape worm lives in your intestines and it eats the nutrients that you get from your food. Sometimes it affects your growth. There are certain types of intestinal worms that stunt children’s growth, in particular the whip worm. While these parasites just siphon off nutrients that should be going to your body, they are not necessarily harmful. There are some parasites that would kill their host, the most famous being malaria. Malaria is actually a parasite that gets into mosquitoes and the mosquitoes then bite human beings and the parasite uses human blood cells to complete its reproductive cycle. In this sense, parasites not only live off the host, but can also kill the host.

Parasitic Business Models

There are many parasites in the natural world. It is, so to speak, a natural business model. It is not the most effective business model. The most effective would be to produce your own food and that is why there are so many plants. The next most effective is to eat producers of the plants and that is why there are many herbivores. The next model is to eat the animals eating the plants. Which explains the number of carnivorous animals. Next to that are the parasites.

Parasitic Affiliate Marketing

In affiliate marketing, parasites abound. These are parasitic marketers that do not really know how to generate traffic on their own. They do not know how to start a website, market it so people would be drawn to the brand, go to the website and develop a loyalty to the brand so that they keep coming again and again and really derive value from the brand. Parasitic affiliate marketers would go to a website that has successfully built a large traffic base and then they would put content “hooks” or other devices in the host website to draw traffic away. We will be discussing some forms of parasitic affiliate marketing practices. This is really bad practice, not just for the website host that is being preyed on by parasites.

Everyone loses with Parasitic Marketing

It is very easy to see why they do not profit from it because they do not get anything in return. The traffic that they worked so hard to get, because of their stellar brand or because of their compelling service or product, is just being siphoned off by people that do not really offer anything of value in return for that traffic. In essence, it is stolen advertising money.

Users lose Big Time

The users of that website also lose out because they are going to a website that they find credible and somebody that is not affiliated who that website has vouched for places materials on that site that siphons them off to another site that is not really vetted or has credible references. The user is taking a big risk. What if they click a link and they go to an attack site that loads spyware on their computer? What if they click a link and they go to a site that loads a virus? There are so many things that could go wrong, but people do it all the time. They click an outside link all the time. That is why Facebook, for example, has been putting up a lot of safeguards to protect its members from being siphoned off to harmful sites. They are doing a better job with preventing people from clicking spyware links, but they could always do a better job.

Shady Affiliates Lose Out Too

Finally, the third loser in a parasitic affiliate marketing situation is surprisingly enough the affiliate marketer himself or herself. Why? Getting traffic through easy and cheesy methods like parasitic marketing really prevents the marketer from growing as a responsible and ethical participant on the internet. A responsible marketing participant on the internet produces value, contributes something to the conversation, and gives something of value to the host website. By engaging in parasitic behavior, these affiliate marketers become addicted to the lifestyle of easy money. Sure, you make a lot of money in a short amount of time, but everybody hates parasites. Eventually the gravy train will stop. What do you then? Do you find another website to be a parasite on? What if that dies, can you go on to the next one and so on and so forth? It is not really the way to go for an ethical or a dignified or value-driven life. It is quite scummy actually. It is very transient, looking for the quick buck or easy money. Also it leads to marketers not developing the successful mindsets that they should be developing. The most successful mindset is having discipline. How can you build discipline when your only “discipline” is to live off somebody else’s work or to steal somebody else’s traffic? There are many fundamental things that are wrong with parasitic affiliate marketing. Be that as it may, it is a very, very popular way to make money online.

Learn to Identify Parasitic Marketing

Here are just some examples of parasitic affiliate marketing techniques. In no way does condone these practices and in fact, we condemn these behaviors. The only reason that we are spelling them up in this article is so users can be aware of how their favorite websites are being hijacked by unscrupulous marketers. By knowing how parasitic marketing works, they can then change their behaviors so they do not contribute to or encourage such behavior. Remember that the more you click on parasitic links, the more you buy products or services that were marketed in a parasitic manner, the more you embolden these people to do what they are doing. If you stop encouraging them with your purchases or your support, then they would be forced to develop better discipline and become more productive members of the internet community.

Yahoo! Chat Parasitic Marketing

There are many lonely people all over the world and thankfully, Yahoo! Chat is there for them. Everybody gets lonely and somebody would go on to Yahoo! Chat, find a room usually based on geographic location, age group or interest. There are some rooms that support web cams. These chat rooms are extremely popular. It is not uncommon to see several thousands of people go in and out of a chat room during a single day. This is a marketing gold mine for a parasitic marketer.

Parasitic Chat Room Activities

What they would do is they would use sophisticated programs that would park fake people into these chat rooms. These fake people would send messages to the general room asking people to chat them up one to one. When you try to contact them one to one, these automated chat robots would spew out line after line of fake conversation. Some are very clever. Some actually respond to your responses with very logical replies. They use keyword algorithms. Others use different methods. The bottom line is to get you engaged in a conversation. Once you feel that you are talking to a real person, they would then drop a link and say, “Hey, I have new pictures or I would like you to check out my blog or check out my profile.” Yahoo! chatters often have an automated profile or a link where you could see their picture or other details and then there is usually a link. The goal of the parasitic chatter is to get you to click on a link.

Dating Site Marketing Through Chatrooms

What is on the other side of that link? That is a good question. 9 times out of 10, it is a dating site and 9 times out of 10 when it is a dating site, it is an adult dating site. Expect a lot of nudity or a lot of adult materials on those pages. While many people are turned off by this, enough click on to become members that it has become quite lucrative on Yahoo! Chat. On any given day, you could see many chat bots littering the rooms, just waiting for real people to divert to these sites that they are pushing.

Bad News For Yahoo

This is really bad news for Yahoo! chat because it dilutes the quality of the chat room experience. People go to Yahoo! Chat so they could talk to real people. If they wanted to go to a dating site, they would search for a dating site and Yahoo! does not really get anything in return except for the little ads that show up on the page, but that is nothing compared to the huge amount of money that dating marketers make by doing parasitic marketing in chat rooms. Adult dating for example pays $100 per paid sign up. For other dating programs, when they run special promotions, they can offer as much as $200 or $250. This is extremely lucrative especially for affiliate marketers that are not based in the United States. If you are based in a country that has a high exchange rate with the U.S. dollar, a $250 sale easily translates into a whole month’s wages or more. That is why Yahoo! chat has a lot of parasitic affiliate marketers. It is really bad for Yahoo! and it is bad for their users. Many users often joke about the volume of bots on Yahoo! chat, but it is really an annoyance they have to deal with because Yahoo! chat is free.


Craigslist is a pioneer classified ads website in the United States and as such, it gets millions of visitors every day. It is really a powerhouse of free traffic. Whenever you get that much traffic congregating in one place, you would be sure that there would be people trying to siphon that traffic off to the websites that they are pushing and Craigslist is no stranger to parasitic affiliate marketer behavior.

Unethically Siphoning Off Traffic from Craigslist

This is how unscrupulous affiliate marketers get traffic off of Craigslist. They would go to the dating section and they would post fake personal ads or they would go to the jobs section and post fake job ads. When people respond to these ads, they go to an E-mail address and the E-mail address is set to an auto responder that drops a link and the person then clicks a link and makes a sale. It does not seem that people would fall for this, but people do it in such huge enough numbers that even after you filter through the lousy conversion rate, there is still enough money to be made that people persists in marketing this way. When it comes to dating ads for example, the payoffs are so high that a Craigslist spammer just needs to make one or two sales a day especially if they are in a developing country for them to live very, very comfortably. Other spammers use really sophisticated software to post on craigslist.

Craigslist anti-spam countermeasures

Thankfully, craigslist is aware of this practice and has set in place several hurdles that would-be spammers have to go through even to post an ad. Even if their ad goes live, there are mechanisms in place that quickly kill the ad. Still, if you go to craigslist, there are still so many fake ads there that it is unbelievable, but they are doing the best they can. It is not hard to figure out why this is bad for craigslist because a classified ad that is full of fake ads is a worthless site. It definitely does not benefit the people that are looking for a person to meet and then they end up being diverted to an adult dating site or a web cam site and it does not help the job seeker when they are looking for jobs and they are being sold an e-book or a specialized product that is supposed to make them millionaires. Be very careful of the scams at Craigslist. These are by no means condoned or supported by Craigslist.

Craigslist Related Topics: Information when being a buyer at craigslist, or tips when being a craigslist seller.

Search Engines

Search engine spam is a proven money maker in siphoning off legitimate traffic from more deserving websites. Using excellent SEO techniques, traffic parasites would fill search engines with crappy websites that do not really give the information or really provide the experience that searchers are looking for. If somebody is looking for dog training and they are looking for specific steps in how to train a dog, the particular settings and a community where they can get support and encouragement from other dog owners, going to a site that is pushing dog supplies on them would be a waste of time. It does not add value to their experience. It is not what they are looking for. Ideally search engines would only produce results that actually meet the needs of the searchers, but you and I know that that is the furthest thing from reality. Out of every 10 search results, you would be sure that at least one is just garbage. In getting these websites to appear in search results is the work of parasitic affiliate marketers that use shady SEO techniques called blackhat SEO.

Everybody loses with Web spam

Many affiliate marketers hold marketers that use search engines in high esteem. They should not if these people use unscrupulous tactics because they are not just burning users, but they are burning the value of the search engine as well and they are really just inviting search engines to get tougher and tougher on people that are trying to rank. This not only burns unscrupulous marketers and parasitic marketers, but it also burns people that produce high-quality website and produce really useful content. For example, the latest Google algorithm update called Penguin burned a lot of people and not all of them use scummy tactics to rank. Google just overreacted but will probably fine tune the algorithm later on, but still the damage is done. By parasites flocking to Google trying to gain the system, trying to have bad-quality websites show up on search results, they make it worse for everybody and they make the search experience worse for all involved. They do not add anything of value, but they take a lot of value and spoil it for everybody else.


Pinterest is a very popular website where people post pictures through pin ups. You pin up a small picture and if people like your picture, they can then like your post and people can like what they like and people could like them as well. Consider it as a hybrid between Twitter and a pin-up book.

Pinterest works like Twitter

How do you get traffic from Pinterest? Each pinned picture can lead to a website and this has not been lost on spammers. That is why there are many Pinterest posting software becoming available online. People would either use the software to post pins that lead to their websites, but also to generate fake likes and fake followers. These shady marketing techniques where you are just putting up pictures and not linking them to related sites or linking them to value just ruins the experience for other members of Pinterest. Instead of somebody clicking on pictures of clothing because they want to see more information about that clothing and enriching their store of knowledge or personal knowledge about that particular product, they will not click it anymore because they feel that they would be spammed. Everybody loses. If done properly and responsibly, Pinterest could be a great way to drive quality traffic, but it has to be treated with respect. Unfortunately, respect for others is the last thing spammers have.

Facebook and Twitter

We lump these two together because they work similarly. Basically there is a lot of traffic in Facebook through circles of friends and in Twitter through spheres of influence. What parasites would do is that they would get people to join a Facebook page, and then from there they would send them updates spamming certain types of products.

Ethical versus Unethical Facebook Fan Page Marketing

Liking a Facebook page and promoting through a Facebook page by itself is not unethical and it is not spamming. If you are putting up a Facebook page for people looking for immigration information or you give them a choice that they can unlike later, that is okay. However, if you use devices, tricks or schemes to get them to like it and then you send updates that are not related to what you are advertising, not only are you engaging in false advertising and fraud, but you are also polluting Facebook and destroying the trust of its members.

The Dirty World of Twitter Spamming

Twitter is spammed primarily through its search functionality. Early on, spammers figured out that many applications use Twitter as a search engine, so there has been many fake retweets or tweets of commercial products that nobody cares about and they litter Twitter. Twitter has been fighting back, however, by launching law suits against people who create software to spam Twitter. Good for Twitter. Facebook on its part has also launched law suits to clamp down on shady marketing done within its confines.

The Bottom Line

Parasitic affiliate marketing is really all about the short term. Its level of short-term thinking can be compared to dynamite fishing in a reef environment. Sure casting dynamite into the sea would get you a lot of fish faster and with less effort. However, for every stick of dynamite you drop in, you destroy the reef and you destroy the habitat of that fish. Eventually there will be no reef, there will be no fish and your local surroundings and nature is destroyed. The same is true with parasitic marketing. Sure the traffic is free and you make a lot of money off it, by engaging in such behavior shady marketers end up destroying the experience of other people and also provoking backlashes that might impact the livelihoods and the experience of people who play by the rules. Parasitic affiliate marketing overall is just a bad idea. Because it is a short-term solution, it may not work once a website gets wise to the parasitic marketing happening within the site. What happens then is the parasites just locked themselves out of a traffic source that they could possibly have benefitted from for years on end if they had behaved more ethically and responsibly. There are a lucky few that find other lucrative alternatives, but they would end up destroying those as well. At the end of the game, they end up broke or they have to change. Why wait until that happens? Focus on ethical marketing techniques now and not later.

Part 3: Ethical Affiliate Marketing Guidelines