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Pay per lead (PPL) is a type of affiliate marketing program where a marketer or advertiser pays an affiliate according to the number of converted leads that they produce for the advertiser. A converted lead is akin to a potential customer, for example someone who has signed up for a service or downloaded software, but has not made actual purchases.
Pay per lead is a payment scheme for online marketing where the affiliate or agent is paid for each generated lead which meets the criteria, known as the affiliate agreement, which is set by the advertiser. The lead is rated according to its quality or closeness to becoming a paying customer. The criteria is often something along the lines of the lead or potential customer completing a required action such as completing the signup process for an account in a website or newsletter, trial offer signup or downloading of software.
PPL is often seen in a negative light because its design inherently promotes dishonesty among the affiliates who engage in questionable methods of finding and reporting leads so that they are paid more, resulting in weak or fabricated leads. Unlike other affiliate marketing strategies which pay for bulk traffic, PPL can often be abused, which can cause negative results for both advertiser and affiliate.