This weeks question in the Tuesday Morning ShoeMoney Q&A asks

What is the difference between Affiliate networks scrubbing and shaving?

Great question!

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By Jeremy Schoemaker

Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of ShoeMoney Media Group, and to date has sold 6 companies and done over 10 million in affiliate revenue. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 International Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. You can read more about Jeremy on his wikipedia page here.

28 thoughts on “Affiliate Scrubbing VS Shaving leads”
  1. Good stuff – never knew about shaving while I’ve heard about scrubbing never really thought about how in-detail some leads can be. Thanks!

  2. Really good explanation.. I thought at first (long time ago)shaving = scrubbing. i often used the word scrubbing to reference shaving and really thought it was the same..

    Alternatively there’s a helpful thread in wickedfire I think about companies that ocassionally do shaving (forgot teh link)…

  3. Great q and a. I work with promoting telecom services and see a lot of skimming going on. But like you say, you need to be doing some serious figures before your able to clearly see if your networks are skiming or not.

  4. Another way to test with say email leads is download the landing page and host it yourself and see.. but i warn you the results can scare.

    1. very funny 🙂 Reminded me of being pizza delivery boy in Sydney…….

      I wasn’t actually shaving pizzas but once fallen on a motorbike, pizzas fell out of the box on the street – being paid by delivery – I have assembled pizza back with my dirty and bruised hands and happily delivered to a customer 🙂

  5. It’s sad to hear that, as you put it, “shaving is normal in the industry.” Then you went on to say it was stealing. That’s the part that is the real shame that it appears this practice is accepted as the industry norm. Hopefully people are working to change this to something a little more ethical. BTW the pizza reference is great!

  6. Hi guys

    Thanks for sharing the information. I never thought that there is such thing as scrubbing and shaving leads on affiliate marketing. Such a pain to know that they are stealing % of what you earn. I just hate it.

  7. Now it’s even harder to make a living, and the people who we ‘trust’ are the one’s taking from us. Thanks for the info.

  8. I’ve run some big affiliate programs in addition to my affiliate work (the ones I worked for didn’t shave to my knowledge). The adult affiliate business was known for shaving (not meant as a joke) for a long time. The worst part is, they were more times than not shaving from B2B referrals. A things to think about:

    1. Shaving can take forms other than just not paying you for leads/sales/conversions: It can be not paying out for sales in other currencies, high risk sales, etc
    2. Shaving can happen when your partner cross-sells heavily against a segment of traffic they don’t convert and doesn’t pay you on the cross sells.

    There are more types of shaving, and it can be a real grey area and subtle. Chris, I am always suspicious of offers that convert in a call center (satellite tv, etc) because there is just less paper trail.

  9. Any network that shaves are very short term thinkers, the better the offer converts/higher EPC the more likely affiliates will continue to market. Any affiliate network that has been around the block knows this.

    On top of this the reputational risk from shaving could destroy a network if proven to be true, its really not work it!

  10. Nicely done, shoemoney sahib, nicely done.
    Like so many here, never knew such a thing existed. But then again, I have yet to send 10 leads to ‘anywhere’ to begin with. :/

  11. Whats happening at the start? Its like your drunk/stoned/smashed on acid, and your snapping back to reality.

    The thing is, shaving can only get worse the more blackhat/fraud that comes into play. Especially with any sort of submit, there is always people driving fraudulent leads. And obviously companies are trying to make a profit just like everyone else.

      1. You mean that you’re NOT some sort of money making robot? Next you’ll be telling us that you have toilet breaks.

  12. After taking a slice out, there would be no way it would complete a 360 degree circle.


  13. I can’t stand it when legitimate leads are shaved and/or scrubbed. If i notice a dip for more that a day or two, I drop the offer. I may pick it back up later.

  14. Wow That was a great question. I kind of had the just of what they were but glad to finally get an affirmed answer on the terms.

  15. I understand why they have to do this sometimes because of blackhat leads but it really sucks for whitehat affiliates. A few bad apples ruins it for everyone.

  16. The background sucks. But thanks for the info I never considered scrubbing on an offer cause I run offers that are open to everyone.

  17. Interesting… What I wonder is how can you see shaving if affiliate networks does it randomly, say one day in a month… just random day… 🙂 Almost impossible to detect, especially if the day falls on the holiday… :-/

  18. Great post – unfortunately I operate in an industry where shaving is rife. In the past year it seems to have reached epidemic proportions as the US gambling ban put massive pressure on affiliate programs when they lost a big percentage of their business. Instead of going out of business they just shaved a bit more..

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