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It is common for SEO specialists to classify the techniques of promoting offers and website topics into "white", "gray" and "black" for organizational purposes, which has become quite applicable to affiliate marketing as well.
The terms "white", "gray" and "black" are used in SEO to refer to different types of promotion. "White" includes anything that is legitimate and accepted (optimization, content, satellites, link environment). Gray includes sites with controversial content or limited publishing requirements (link buying, white boards, keyword stuffing). Black includes actions that can lead to sanctions, blocking, or criminal consequences (directories, cloaking, linkbombing, swapping, etc.).
Unlike SEO, affiliate marketing is not clearly defined, so the division of topics and strategies among affiliates can be different: if we talk about CPA-marketing, there are approaches to product promotion, which are conditionally "classified" as white / gray / black - classification depends on promotion techniques and product attributes.
Black affiliate marketing is the promotion of legally prohibited goods or services that can lead to legal consequences.
Some GEOs prohibit casinos, gambling, and the sale of illegal materials such as drugs and weapons. When operating in this vertical, you will have to take a "gray" approach when advertising "black" goods.
It is common to mistakenly identify black affiliate marketing with fraudulent activities such as malicious traffic, scams, affiliate fraud, phishing and other types of deceptive scams.
This does not apply to affiliate marketing.
"Scheme traffic" is definitely a scam, but it is important not to confuse "schemes" with Influencer traffic (a trendy way for well-known groups to promote financial and cryptocurrency offers). Using schemes to offer casino/bookmaker offers via Influencer traffic is a questionable topic.
Webmasters who promote products for those seeking cures for cancer, heart failure, AIDS and other diseases are contracting their own moral principles, but unfortunately cannot be penalized by law.
Affiliates who know that the advertiser is committing fraud against the customer are involved in illegal activities and can be considered accomplices to crimes (there have been such cases in post-Soviet countries).
It is known that unethical behavior is engaged not only by webmasters, but also by affiliate networks and advertisers. Whatever it is called, fraud remains fraud. However, it has nothing to do with "black affiliate marketing".
Some people refer to adult-vertical products as "gray" offers, ignoring the fact that any offer cannot simply be grouped as good or bad. Some illegal or illegitimate offers are labeled "black," implying that advertising adult apps on porn sites equates to contraband.
Grouping products is necessary for efficiency, but at the same time it is important to realize that the strategies and techniques used by the webmaster are not always the same as what was intended by the advertiser. The offer can be classified as neither "white" nor "gray", but the approaches to its promotion - you can. Anything that violates regulatory requirements can be considered a "black" approach.
The owner of the product, as a rule, does not care how the webmaster attracts customers, only if they bring profit. Keep people and horses separate and life will be easier.