If you are involved in affiliate marketing and work with traffic, it matters which kind of campaigns you run. Usually, there are distinguished three approaches to the work with the traffic – Whitehat, Blackhat, and Grayhat.

Before you decide which traffic methods to choose, let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of all three types of campaigns.

What Is Whitehat?

Even though the entire affiliate marketing sphere is supposed to use different types of traffic, it is still recommended to play here by rules. So that you won’t be sued or have any other problems with the law.

Every move of an affiliate marketer can be legal despite the conditions and aims – and it’s called Whitehat approach. Going Whitehat means playing 100% legally – getting traffic without resorting to black methods. “Where’s the margin of being legal,” you may ask. Well, Whitehat it’s when you follow the law of the country where you work (e.g., copyright law) and ToS (Terms of Service) and Policies of all parties.

Whitehat Verticals

If you want to be Whitehat, here are verticals which will never lead you astray:

  1. Promoting Games (you can earn revenues from each game install)
  2. App Installs (it’s possible to get money by making people believe via banners that they need some apps)
  3. E-commerce / Dropshipping (you can do it fairly, but it resembles somewhat traditional business than CPA marketing)
  4. Lead Generation (if you have a legit advertiser, you can also act Whitehat in this niche)
  5. Native Ads

Pros & Cons of Being Whitehat

Let’s look at the benefits of Whitehat campaigns on the example of getting search traffic and SEO.

Pros

  • You can increase your visibility with the help of the following Whitehat methods:
    1. Using proper keywords
    2. Establishing good site structure
    3. Publishing fresh and unique content
    4. Posting authorized photos on social media
    5. Having adequate linking
  • You can make $5,000 per week
  • You can sleep calmly as you won’t have any legal problems
  • You can gain an excellent reputation and become more trustworthy as a professional

Cons

  • You need to be exclusively creative
  • You can become boring
  • You may mistakenly think you are going Whitehat, whereas you’re playing dirty
  • You might not understand which verticals to choose

What is Blackhat?

As you are already aware, Blackhat is a complete opposite of Whitehat. Blackhat campaigns in getting traffic can be very alluring for affiliate newbies, but once you get in, it is hard to get out.

Directly speaking, it is a fraud. You get money out of people by scamming them and lying to them. For that, you may appeal to phishing (getting personal information of users by adapting emails, e.g., to the direct email-campaigns of their banks), cross-site scripting as well as SQL injections (coding techniques to bypass access controls and to attack data driven-application respectively).

If Whitehat is entirely legal, going Blackhat means to follow no rules.

Here’s another example of it: let’s say a publisher chooses an offer from an affiliate network, whereas the advertiser agrees upon the promotion, though via no social media. The publisher does the advertising on social networks anyway.

Types of Blackhat Methods to Get Search Traffic

  1. Unnatural incoming links
  2. Keyword stuffing
  3. Unrelated content
  4. Duplicating content
  5. Spamming

What you need about most of these Blackhat techniques is that they aren’t working anymore, thanks to Google.

Pros & Cons of Being Blackhat

Pros

  • Easy to get revenues
  • No need to focus on unique content
  • All processes can be automated

Cons

  • Extremely high risks of getting into legal troubles (being sued, fined, and even arrested)
  • Google may block SEO Blackhat activities
  • Most of Blackhat methods are outdated
  • Long-term perspectives are usually poor

What is Grayhat?

Apparently, this is something on edge between Whitehat and Blackhat marketing. It means that you can on purpose be a Grayhat. Otherwise, you can be Whitehat, but by violating some little rules, you can cross the borderline, and vice versa for the Blackhat campaigns.

What are the examples? For instance, when promoting a product on social media, you announce there’s a 100% guarantee of its quality when there isn’t any. Also, it refers to affiliates who use on their Instagram or on their sites unauthorized images like celebrities and company logos. When it comes to aggressive scripts, it’s also about Grayhat campaigns.

Types of Grayhat Methods to Get Search Traffic

  1. Buying old domains
  2. Spinning content
  3. Buying links
  4. Automating social media

Pros & Cons of Being Grayhat

Pros

  • Easy to get quick traffic
  • Works for impressionable and not thoughtful users
  • It’s relatively cheap

Cons

  • You will be kicked off affiliate networks or traffic sources (e.g., Google may penalize your website)
  • You may get sued
  • You will get only temporary gains
  • No long-term results

All in all, if you want to become a super-affiliate with long-term perspectives and high revenues, it is much better to play fairly. However, if you aren’t scared of being penalized, you may go for Grayhat or Blackhat campaigns, but what you need to bear in mind is that you will never be able to restore your reputation once you tarnish it.