Althought not often discussed this is a very important topic in the Affiliate Marketing industry that should be addressed.
It may not be pertinent to the beginner affiliate marketers, but as you increase your traffic volumes it is very important to do everything you can do protect your identity from prying eyes.
Now, this is not a bulletproof guide, but if followed, it will most definitely decrease your exposure.
Why remain anonymous?
There can be a plethora of reasons why, but regarding of what kind of affiliate marketer you are (BlackHat, WhiteHat or GreyHat) it is important to do everything in your power to maintain at least some level of anonymity. Whether you are running shady offers, using shady methods (such as cloaking) or just want an extra level of protection for your business, I’m sure everyone will have something to take away from this guide.
Creating a Fake Persona
This part might require some brainstorming, but don’t spend too much time on it. There are plenty of Fake Name Generators out there, that will come up with everything, from a name and address, to your mother’s maiden name for you. The key here is to be consistent and actually save and backup the information you are going to be using.
Using VPN (Virtual Private Network) when using your device, especially when accessing some of the critical services is paramount. More so it’s a good practice in general, to have VPN enabled when browsing online from anywhere but your home network, but that’s not what this guide is about.
You have a lot of options when it comes to VPN software, and I won’t go into suggesting one or another. Most of them do pretty much the same thing. Please do your own research.
Anonymous Email Service
Another critical component to remaining anonymous, is having access to anonymous email service. ProtonMail is a provider of choice for majority of affiliates I work with. It’s free and very easy to setup.
Now that you have your fake name, anonymous email it’s time to login into PayPal using VPN and create an account. But wait, how are you going to fund your account? Now, the availability of the following will largely depends on a part of the world you live in, but for North America and most of the Europe it’s easy to get access to. Prepaid Credit Cards. There is a plethora of options to check from, so once again, do you own research and perhaps get a few from different brands to test out first.
If you want to take this a step further, you should always pay cash.
Normally, once you go through the activation process of the gift card using your fake persona’s information you will be able to add it as a funding source into your PayPal account.
Once that’s done, you are pretty much set, since most affiliate tools and services that we use, widely accept PayPal as a payment method.
Domain Name and Hosting
Now that you have your PayPal account setup and funded under a fake name, you can simply go as normal when it comes to acquiring domain names, hosting and other services.
Just follow our technical setup guide for affiliate marketing using your made up account to sign up for all the required services.
If you want an extra layer of protection, nja.la would be your best bet for domain name purchases. The domain names are held in trust of person registering them and no personal information is required to sign up. You will still have the full control over the domain name.
Buying traffic and getting paid
This one is tricky, since unless you have an offshore trust setup that is not linked to your personal name it will be difficult to deposit funds into traffic source networks anonymously or be getting paid by affiliate network in a discreet manner.
If you are not buying a lot of traffic and just starting out, you can use the same kind of PayPal gift card system when making deposits.
If you are worried about having your real name linked to affiliate network payments and transfers, one way to mitigate that would be incorporating your business (which you should do anyway) in your local jurisdiction or offshore.
Different laws and regulations will apply to this kind of setup based on where you reside. This is beyond the scope of this guide, but if you are interested in learning the process in North America and want to hear about the possible options you might have, please comment below.
At the end of the day, nothing is 100% safe. If someone really wants to figure out what you identity truly is, they will.
The best practice would be, not to run anything shady, this way you don’t have to worry about getting your true persona revealed.