In modern society online shopping is as common place as shopping in a store. People are as comfortable purchasing items from Amazon, Etsy, or E-bay as they are from their local Wal-Mart. It is amazing to imagine how just a few years ago the idea of giving your credit card away was unheard of but today almost everyone does it. That being said there are a few things to be cognizant of when shopping online.
Affiliate LinksThere is a common practice on the internet for internet marketers that most people are not aware of. This marketing technique is called affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing occurs where you click on a link to a product and if you purchase that product the person who created the original link gets a commission. Many people don’t realize that there is a site wide affiliate program for Amazon.com. If someone has an affiliate link to a book on Amazon which you click on and in that same session you purchase a diamond ring, the affiliate marketer will receive a commission on all products purchased including the diamond ring.
While affiliate marketing can largely be seen as a positive thing, it is important to be aware of the risk of faulty positive reviews made for products by affiliates who simply wanted a commission.
Unsafe Sites. While the majority of online shopping sites like Amazon and E-bay are very safe, there are some out their that are not. If you are purchasing from a website that you have not heard of before, and they are asking for your credit card, it can be worthwhile to do some additional research before completing the purchase. Often there are safety indicators on the site such as newspaper articles they have been written in or security badges they have earned. Even having a Paypal link set up provides a measure of safety that is not provided with a simple credit card input field.
That being said if these safety indicators are not present the next step is likely to look up previous reviews online. Simply googling the name of the site with the word review beside it is often enough to show if the website is legitimate or not. If there are 20 or more people saying positive things about shopping on the site it is probably a site that you can trust. If however you are unable to find any reviews you need to realizing that you are proceeding at your own risk.