Let me break down the difference between Lead Scrubbing vs Lead Shaving because yes there is a huge difference…

This is an important concept I think everyone should understand and get to know and one that will give you better insight to what actually goes on from a Network and Advertiser perspective.

Let’s talk Lead Scrubbing.

So as an Affiliate you see an awesome Lead Gen offer that is a Single Opt-in on the Network and you decide to give it a test.

The only requirements are their First Name, Email, and Password and boom you should be paid a commission once they submit that.

I’m sure at this point you’ve “tested” (cough cough) by filling out the form and seeing if a conversion happens once that data is submitted but wait a second…

A conversion did not fire.

At this point all hell breaks lose and you start declaring that the Network you are working with is Scrubbing or Shaving Leads…

First off, there is a difference between Scrubbing and Shaving.

One is ethical and one is NOT.

A better way to look at Scrubbing especially when it comes to Lead Gen is are the leads legitimate or non-legitimate.

If you were an Advertiser that owned an offer would you pay out for every non-legitimate lead?

We are talking about things like fake email submissions, inaccurate info, duplicate submissions, fraudulent activity, or leads generated through spammy or unethical methods?

Of course not.

But this happens all the time in the Lead Generation space.

And trust me, Advertisers are smart and have setup very sophisticated anti fraud measures in place to make sure they are only paying out on legitimate leads.

Now sometimes that may mean your legitimate lead gets registered as a non-legitimate one and oh so sad you don’t get credited for that lead…

I know, it’s sucks BUT if scrubbing didn’t exist neither would a lot of these offers that you are promoting right now which means there would be no business going on aka no money to be made.

Let’s say a Advertiser looks over all the leads that are being generated and realize that 10% of them are always guaranteed fraud, fake, non-legitimate etc.

Most of the time all they need to do to offset those leads is to throttle 10% of all of the leads in total and scrub 10% to stay in business.

And this is usually what happens.

It’s ethical and makes sense.

It’s a huge misconception that something “dirty” is going on.

Now Lead Shaving is a completely different story.

Lead Shaving is when there are 100% legitimate leads/sales and the Network or the Advertiser removes those legitimate leads and doesn’t pay out on it.

Now this is Unethical.

Why would anyone shave leads?

Pretty simple… For more profits.

Let’s say as an Affiliate you are sending traffic and sales to a Network or Advertiser and you’re doing $10,000 in revenue.

If that Network or Advertiser shaves 10% of your revenue, they are now pocketing $1,000 pure profit per day.

An evil little strategy most Networks try to pull is they will offer above the market rate payouts on offers only to trick Affiliates into thinking they are getting the highest payouts.

Unknowing Affiliates pick that Network over the other one that has a lower payout because it’s such a high payout…

What they don’t know is the Network they are working with is “shaving” a percentage of their revenues to make up for the high payout rate.

Remember, we are talking about shaving here not scrubbing.

Basically they are stealing your commissions.

That is why I always tell Affiliates to not get so caught up on focusing on the offer payout.

A $1 offer can outperform a $100 one.

How you ask?

If the $1 offer converts at 50% and the $100 offer never ever converts you tell me…

Doesn’t matter if the offer has a $1,000,000 payout, if it never converts you’ll never make money…

Point blank simple.

Hope that makes sense.

The best way to find out if a Network is shaving your leads is to split test between two different networks with the same offer.

Take a look at your EPC’s and Conversion Rates and see which network is outperforming the other one.

You do have to make sure that it’s a solid test and run a significant amount of conversions before making a decision…

The exact same offer, the exact same offer page variation.

So many Affiliates make the mistake of split testing against different networks but end up split testing the wrong variations of the same offer resulting in wrong data.

The offer page is sometimes referred to as the “tour page”.

Different tour pages of the same offer could be something like a static versions, animated, video pages, and etc.

It’s the same offer just different variations on the offer page.

And usually one performs better than the other.

Once you do the test you’ll be surprised to find that usually the Network with the lower payout on that offer outperforms the higher payout one.

There are many factors to this, but usually evolves around Network Shaving.

Just to provide more light on this sometimes it’s not the Network Shaving…

Sometimes it’s the Advertiser shaving that particular Network based on the quality of leads that they’ve sent in total throughout their lifetime.

The Advertiser might realize that the quality isn’t the best from that Network and scrubs or shaves accordingly compared to another Network that has good quality so that they can make their numbers back out.

So it’s not always the Networks fault.

There are greedy Advertisers as well.

Advertiser who are new and don’t understand their CPA’s and end up shaving and being aggressive so they can turn a profit.

That is why it’s important to be careful who you work with in this Business and not jump ships just because you think you’ll make a higher payout elsewhere.

Relationships are everything.

So as an Affiliate there isn’t much you can do since you don’t own the offer and control that part of the Business except for choosing who you work with to reduce the chances of Scrubbing and Shaving.

The best way to do that is to work with reputable people and also to make sure you are doing everything you can do to send the highest quality leads possible.

Use a landing page, presell visitors, use good angles, and practice legitimate methods to get the leads and sales.

Once an Advertiser or Network sees the quality backing out from your Traffic you’ll eventually get higher payouts and everything else that comes with it like exclusive offers, perhaps white labeled offers, and more.

It pays to not think short term and focus on long term quality as it makes it a win win for everyone involved.

Be weary of really big Networks that have huge overhead and staff as most of those companies rely on shaving as a business model for them to stay in business…

It’s sad but very true.

But as you may have seen in the Industry a lot of those giant companies have gone out of business over the years.

So I hope that gives you a better understanding of the difference between Scrubbing and Shaving.

Let me know if you have any questions and comment below.

Cheers!

Tuan