When you’re new to affiliate marketing the process can feel really exciting & you’ll no doubt be very eager to see your first affiliate commission come through.
However, it could potentially take days, weeks or months before seeing your first “real” commission depending on your marketing strategy.
But can you buy things through your own affiliate links? And what would happen if you did buy something through your own affiliate link?
Well, if those are the questions you’ve been wondering then you can rest assured that you’ve landed in the right place to find out the answers as we’re going to explain exactly what would happen if you were to buy something through your own affiliate link & why you shouldn’t do it.
So let’s dive right in, starting with the main question.
Can You Buy Things Through Your Own Affiliate Links?
From a technical perspective yes, it’s generally possible to buy things through your own affiliate links but from a “rules” perspective, no, you generally can’t buy things through your own affiliate links.
Doing so will typically see you getting your commissions revoked & your affiliate account banned.
So whilst it can be tempting to try & buy something through your own affiliate links (especially if you’re new & want to see if affiliate marketing actually works), you definitely shouldn’t do it.
And in most cases, if you buy something through your own affiliate links the commissions won’t even be tracked in your account because the affiliate program will detect it & automatically filter it out.
So if you’re thinking about buying something through your own affiliate links purely to test if affiliate marketing actually works (or if it’s just a scam) then that’s not the best idea either because your purchase will likely not show up in your report.
And even if you send your link to friends & family to try & get them to buy through your links as well, most networks can even detect this & filter that out as well.
We’ll explain how affiliate programs can detect who’s buying through their links in a moment but in short, you don’t want to buy through your own affiliate links & you don’t want to try & get your family or friends to buy through your links either.
Not only is that just generally not good practice, but it’s also generally against most affiliate program terms.
How Do Affiliate Programs Know If You Bought Something Through Your Own Link?
As we just mentioned in the previous section, most affiliate programs can easily detect when you buy something through your own link & many of them (like Amazon) can even detect when your family or friends buy through your links.
But how? How do affiliate programs know if you bought something through your own link? And how do they know if it was your family or friends who bought something through your link?
Well, the reality is that there are actually many different ways these companies can track who is buying things through their affiliate links.
For example, they could simply track your IP address or they could track the cookies on your device. That’s typically the most simple form of tracking.
But the tech-savvy will know that IPs can be spoofed & cookies can be cleared… So what else can they do?
Well, we’ve got some news for you. Whilst you might feel like you are being “private” by changing your IP, clearing your cookies or using private browsing, you’re really not.
As an example, here is a very quick list of just a small handful of the other things that these companies can use to track you:
- List of Browser Fonts
- Screen Size & Resolution
- Name, Address & Other Personal Details
- Billing Details
- WebGL Parameters
And that’s literally just a tiny handful without even mentioning the fact that most companies also share data & that some of them (such as Amazon) could even be tracking you by listening through your devices.
(and if you don’t think companies do listen to you for tracking purposes, think again – they most certainly do!)
So basically, unless you’re an extremely advanced user it’s going to be very difficult to fool these companies & not only is it going to be very difficult but it’s going to be a heck of a lot of work for a, generally, quite small reward.
With that in mind, the time & effort you would have to put into trying to hide your identity to buy through your own affiliate links would simply be better spent by putting it into your marketing efforts instead.
That way, you could get others to buy through your affiliate links & you could reap the rewards without having to worry about getting banned.
But, let’s say you just love living on the edge…
What Would Happen If You Bought Something Through Your Own Affiliate Link?
Whilst buying something through your own affiliate link may not seem like a big deal when you’re sitting at home on your laptop, it’s actually a form of fraud.
That’s because essentially, you’re trying to take money from a company that’s not rightfully yours.
And whilst most companies will just initially ban you from their program, they could do a lot worse & take immediate legal action if they wanted to.
In fact, there have actually been several people thrown in jail for affiliate fraud.
So it should be quite clear that trying to buy things through your own affiliate links just simply isn’t worth the risk… And if you’re trying to cheat companies like this, it’s probably time you had a sit down with yourself & thought about what you’re actually doing.
Ultimately it’s stealing, and stealing is never cool, even if it’s from companies. After all, as an affiliate, you’re building your own business, so how would you feel if people started trying to steal from you?
Affiliate marketing should always be done with integrity. You want to act in the best interests of both the people you’re promoting things to & the companies that you’re promoting.
The Bottom Line
It’s technically possible to buy things through your own affiliate links but doing so will very likely land you in a whole heap of trouble.
Whether you get banned from an affiliate program, sued or thrown in jail, nothing good can come from trying to buy through your own affiliate links.
As mentioned in the previous section, it’s a form of online fraud – so don’t be a fraudster.
Instead, you should simply focus your time on your marketing efforts to get other people to buy things through your affiliate links.
So it’s a no-brainer… Build an affiliate marketing business the right way.
Our free affiliate marketing training will show you exactly how to do it.
And of course, if you have any questions or comments about anything we’ve discussed on this page then don’t hesitate to leave them below.