Hello, community! Being an affiliate marketer is quite challenging. Sometimes you might catch a ban from Meta for the wrong creatives, or an advertiser might invent a dozen reasons not to pay for the traffic. There are plenty of risks. Today, we will also talk about a very serious problem that affiliates sometimes encounter – shave. What is it, and how does it affect profits? We explain in our fresh review.

We also remind you that we have previously published our Big Dictionary for Affiliates, where you can familiarize yourself with many terms from the world of Affiliate Marketing.

What is Shave?

The term shave comes from the English verb “to shave”, which translates as “to shave”, “to cut off”. It aptly emphasizes the essence of the phenomenon we are discussing. In Affiliate Marketing, shave refers to a situation where the advertiser or affiliate program:

  • Does not register leads, although it processes them;
  • Does not confirm leads, even though they are quality leads;
  • Simply does not credit conversions.

In effect, the affiliate program or advertiser simply “shaves” the affiliate, not paying commissions where they should.

How to Detect Shave?

It’s not always possible to avoid shave, but you can always see and verify that someone is cutting your profits. The best demonstration of shave can be considered:

  • A decrease in the volume of leads where you increase traffic volume. For example, if you drove traffic for the first week of a campaign, receiving about fifty leads, and decided to increase the traffic volume the following week, but the number of leads remains unchanged, then there is a likelihood that you are being shaved. Although this is indirect evidence, it should not be ignored;
  • If you see a sharp decline in approval rate, it may also be a sign of shave. When an advertiser initially approves almost all traffic, but the next month only half, it is another indirect sign of shave;
  • A similar situation when an advertiser starts to cite low-quality traffic, but you are fully confident in its nature (for example, if you are driving purely organic traffic from thematic resources relevant to the advertiser’s offer);
  • The fall of offer metrics in one affiliate network when others are more stable. There are examples where in one CPA network an offer shows a sharp decrease in conversion by 5-10%, and when checking the same offer in other networks – everything is fine, or the drop is less significant, at 1-2%. In such a case, we also see an example of shave in the first network;
  • Changes in offer conditions post-factum when you have already started driving traffic. This is a quite blatant shave, so in such cases, unscrupulous advertisers often try to smooth things over by making quite insignificant changes. For example, they might change the rate by 1-2%. It seems not much, but first, you expect a completely different amount when you start a fill. And secondly, these are unearned funds that could be used to scale the campaign, or go have a beer with friends. Though, we’re affiliates, what friends?
  • It is also always worth monitoring all statistical indicators: both in the affiliate network and in your advertising cabinet through which you drive traffic. If you see that a large part of the traffic “does not reach” the ad – this is a reason to doubt the quality of the affiliate network, as it most likely understates its statistics.

In addition, there are examples of using double redirection, which is installed on the landing page. With its help, the advertiser can receive part of the traffic bypassing your affiliate tracker, so he still gets a customer, but you do not get a profit. Checking whether a double redirect is set on the landing page can be done even manually in a few minutes, this is not A/B testing. So don’t be lazy to do it.

Quite often, you can see a very obvious attempt by an advertiser to shave you when he begins to accuse you of fraud for no reason. In such cases, it is extremely important not to succumb to emotions, but to resolve disputes through the support service of the affiliate program. A quality network is unlikely to stand on the side of an advertiser who wants to blatantly cheat both the affiliate and the affiliate program itself. So you can expect that the conflict will be resolved in your favor and you will receive the earned money.

How to Choose an Offer to Avoid Shave?

Shave is mostly only revealed during the work with an offer. However, there are some signs that you might be cheated on money, which can be seen in advance. Among these are:

  1. The presence of the aforementioned double redirect. You can check this even before you start the campaign;
  2. Suspiciously low approval rate. Especially when it comes to a mainstream product that inherently has a high demand. It’s best to choose only those offers where the approval rate does not drop below 90%;
  3. Read reviews: both about the individual advertiser and about the affiliate program itself. Certainly, negative reviews can be left by competitors or offended black-hat affiliates. However, you are adults, so you can somewhat differentiate where there is objective information and where it is just slander.

The most important thing that will help you avoid shave is the conscientious adherence to the terms of the offer. If you know for sure that you are working according to the agreements – you have nothing to worry about. Because in that case, you have the opportunity to protect your interests: if the advertiser is shaving, then appeal for help to the affiliate program, and if the affiliate network itself starts to shave – it makes sense to try to reach out to the advertiser and resolve the situation together.

When you read this material, we have probably already published our guide on fraud. Also recommended for reading, because sometimes you may not realize that you have driven low-quality traffic to an offer.


Shave is an unpleasant phenomenon in Affiliate Marketing, which is becoming less common every year. This positive trend is due to the fact that if you want to create a competitive product – it must be honest and transparent. Thus, shaving affiliates is resorted to only by newly created affiliate programs and small advertisers who want to quickly grab an audience but do not want to pay by the book.

Also, always communicate with other affiliates. Because from them, you can also learn who is better to avoid working with. To do this, join our Telegram community, where you will always find useful and up-to-date information.

With respect, Your Geek!

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