Making sure your subscribers don't cheat is one of our most important responsabilities. We are working on some features to detect and flag suspicious referrals but we already have a couple of important measures in place: email alias and disposable email detection.
An email alias is a way to create an additional address for your email account. This allows you to create alternative email addresses without having to create another email box.
For example, if your email address is "[email protected]" you can signup to a service or newsletter using an alias like "[email protected]" or "[email protected]" and receive emails as if you signed up using your original email address.
Whilst there are many situations where using email aliases is a good thing, it creates an obvious problem for an ambassador program because it makes it super easy for people to sign up an unlimited number of alias emails and game the system. For example, imagine a user whose email addresses is "[email protected]". He signs up first with his email address and then uses his referral link to sign up again using email aliases, eg:
and so on and so forth.
The way SparkLoop deals with this problem is to not count email aliases as referrals. People who sign up to your newsletter using an alias email will be added to your ambassador program like everybody else but they won't count as referrals if they signed up from a referral link.
We understand that this is not an ideal approach (some people might be using an email alias even though they are not trying to cheat) but since it's impossible to detect cheating behaviour otherwise, this is the closest thing to an anti-cheating mechanism for email aliases we have at the moment.
Disposable email addresses are temporary, one-time email addresses that don't require the creation of an account and are quick and free to set up. For this reason they are a common way for cheaters to get fake referrals.
SparkLoop uses a 3rd-party API to check email addresses against a frequently-updated list of disposable domains.
If SparkLoop detects that a referral has used a disposable address it will still show them in your account and they will be synced with your ESP, however SparkLoop won't count them as referrals.