Who or what is ClickBank? I have heard bad things about them, are they true? Will they scam me or are they for real? Read the review and judge for yourself. Always do your due diligence, never take any one person's word as gospel, not even mine! Read a lot of reviews and do your own research before making any commitment.
Review of: ClickBank
Use: Affiliate Marketing Marketplace
Price: Affiliates Free / Vendors $49.95 (one-time payment)
Owners: Keynetics, Inc.
Overall Rank: 24.5 out of 30 Paws
- Large and long established player in the affiliate marketplace.
- 'A+' reputation and a Top 100 online retailer.
ClickBank General Overview:
Amazon Kindle is the largest marketplace for digital products in the world. If your interest is internet marketing then you know of ClickBank. It has been in operation since 1998. Clickbank is in the Top 100 online retailer as per their website. It has over 200 million products available. It sells into 190 countries around the globe. ClickBank is often accused of being a scam. We will address this later. But, ClickBank has an "A+ Rating" with the Better Business Bureau.
ClickBank is a digital flea-market of informational products and software. It is a large repository of affiliate products. Vendors or authors market their products inside Clickbank. Affiliates kick tires and decide what they would like to market.
ClickBank is the broker between the vendor and affiliate. It permits vendors to display their wares. Affiliates can see all the products in a particular niche. What commissions the vendor will pay. How many affiliates are marketing the product. If it is a one-off payment or is it a residual.
ClickBank provides all the services to a vendor they would have to pay for themselves. A vendor would have to supply these services if they have website. With ClickBank there is no need. It provides the following:
- Secure Payment Processing.
- Fast and Reliable Delivery System.
- Secure Infrastructure for User Information.
- Widely-Known Vendor Marketplace.
- Vendor and Affiliate Education.
- Hoplink Tracking System.
- Vast Range and Number of Products.
It is a seamless integration from the affiliate front-end to ClickBank's back-end. A customer may not know they are buying from the platform until they receive their email receipt. A customer confirms a sale on an affiliate's website. Everything from that point is ClickBank.
Many large affiliate marketers started out on ClickBank. They made a good living from marketing vendor products. It is a legend in the affiliate marketing world.
- ClickBank provides everything a vendor needs, this saves them a lot of money.
- Was a nursery for some of the largest affiliate marketers in the world.
Opening an account on ClickBank is simple. Access the site and find the "Create an Account" button. Complete the registration process to open an account whether you want to be a vendor or an affiliate. It is possible to be both if you wish.
So, far we have talked about ClickBank as either a vendor or affiliate. There is a third category of user, a customer. A customer may access the site and buy any of the digital products on offer. Though it rarely occurs. Most customers experience is through an affiliate's website. Customers are not required to create and account.
Fred has spent the summer writing his masterpiece, "The French Knot Scandal of 2015. One Man's Quest for Justice!" Laboring for the best part of three months, Fred has finished a 100-page epic. He designed the cover, did all the editing and proof-reading himself.
Fred knows vendors can make a lot of money from selling information. There is always someone who is seeking knowledge about this or that. And, there is always someone who is an expert. He knows that affiliate marketers are the people who put the seeker and the expert together. They do this through their marketing skills.
Fred needs a successful, talented affiliate marketer to push his eBook to succeed. He also knows where on the internet he will find those marketers - ClickBank. Fred joins the platform as a vendor, ready to make his fortune. He likes the fact that he can set the commission rate for his product.
- Account creation is simple and easy.
Donal is a ClickBank Affiliate and best friend of Fred. To help his friend out he selects Fred's product for marketing. The commission rate on the product isn't bad, 60% on a $30 eBook. Donal looks at the gravity score.
What is the gravity score?
A quote from ClickBank's website defines it as: "Gravity: Number of distinct affiliates who earned a commission by promoting the vendor's products during the past 12 weeks. This is not an actual number of affiliates. For each affiliate an amount between 0.1 and 1.0 added to the result, depending on when his/her last transaction occurred. More recent transactions are given a higher value."
There, simple right! It is a proprietary algorithm used to determine a product's popularity among affiliates. If an affiliate earns a commission on the product the gravity score moves. To make sense it must be re-calculated each day. What does that mean to an affiliate? If the gravity score is:
- >0.0 < 5.0 - Run Away
- >5.0 < 20.0 - May be interesting depending on how new the product is. Its activation date tells you this. If it is new then it may be a product for the future.
- >20.0 < 100.0 - Sweet Spot. Promote products that solve a problem or provide value to customers. More about this later.
- >100.0 - This depends on how deep your pockets are or how big your list is. If your list trusts you then go for it. If you have a lot of money to throw at PPC then go for it.
Donal knows the gravity score is going to be bad as Fred just launched his product. He wants to help his friend out so he agrees to market it. He had joined Clickbank because:
- It was free for affiliates to do so.
- There was millions of good quality products to sell.
- Commissions on some products were 75%.
- Certain products could provide monthly residual income.
- He would always be paid on time, once he had sold his 5 unique sales.
After a short period, Donal saw the other features that ClickBank offers. He benefited from:
- Comprehensive search tool. It allows filtering for affiliates to find products. And for vendors to find affiliates.
- Product listings are comprehensive. As many data as Clickbank can provide, is there.
- Hoplink tracking system is a proprietary system. It ensures affiliates referrals and sales are tracked and credited. 60 day cookies ensure that if the customer comes back at a later date, Donal gets the credit.
- Reporting and statistics of all sorts are available to the affiliate. Affiliates can look at vendor statistics before making a decision.
- Education is available through an upsell product called "ClickBank University". It is a video series with supporting PDFs. It helps new members navigate through the ClickBank process. There is an affiliate track and a vendor track.
- Clickbank Sitebuilder is a software package available through upsell. It is a video series step-by-step guide to help an affiliate build a site. Sitebuilder is the ClickBank website builder software.
Donal set about building a new site for Fred's book. He linked through to Fred's product page on ClickBank. It was a well written impressive sales pitch. It was an aesthetically pleasing page with a good video sales letter. He buys the book if he landed on this page.
Importance of Upsells:
One thing Donal would like to have seen was an upsell. Fred didn't have an upsell. A lot of ClickBank products have upsells. A less expensive but good quality product leads to a more expensive higher quality one. More revenue for everyone except the customer.
No problem, he searched for related products to Fred's. He found two other books on the "French Knot" incident. He would add those books to the new site to generate more revenue.
Luckily, those two books had some great online reviews. They looked genuine so they would help with selling Fred's book. One thing did annoy Donal though, there was no PayPal payment feature. You could get paid by check, wire, direct debit and Payoneer. No PayPal!
In no time he launched his site and started driving traffic to it. Soon orders started to flow in. But then a couple of instances caused some concern. There were a few requests for refunds and a couple of allegations of scamming. Donal knew he would need to address these issues immediately. He knew the ClickBank Scam history.
- Gravity Score is an important number in ClickBank.
- Millions of products to choose from to promote.
- Unique affiliate tracking system called Hoplink.
- Upsells are good for affiliates.
- ClickBank provides a website building application.
- No PayPal payment feature.
ClickBank, in and of itself, is not a scam! The issues that have arisen with ClickBank are not of their making. They stem from an ignorance of the user and deceit from a minority of vendors.
Scam #1 - Poor Quality Products:
Poor quality products are not a ClickBank issue. They are either a naive vendor or a deceitful vendor. A naive vendor may feel they have a great product. Yet, it may have factors that are substandard in quality:
- Information may be substandard.
- Writing is of poor quality.
- Poor Editing.
- Bad graphics.
There may be any numbers of issues. The same issues are in deceitful products, with the addition of misrepresentation. Presenting the product as an eBook on knitting. But, delivering an online survey scheme. You may argue that ClickBank should inspect all the new vendor content. There are over 200 million products, this would not be practical. It would increase their costs which need to go to someone.
Affiliates need to be very diligent in selecting the products they wish to market. Market products with good gravity scores. Do not market something with 75% commission and a score below 5. You are trying to deliver quality and value to your list, people you want to trust you.
To ClickBank's credit, they offer refunds to customers up to 90 days from the sale date. The exact amount depends on the vendor policy and some other factors. With valid reasons, a customer may get all or a percentage of their refund.
For the vendor and the affiliate this is not a good scenario. They may have revenue removed from their account up to 90 days after the sale. This can be very annoying and lead to scam claims.
It is a difficult situation for ClickBank. Due to the nature of the products, customers may attempt to scam ClickBank. They are after all digital products. How do you get them back. There are people who try to get products for free through serial refunding.
The refund policy is good for both the affiliate and vendor. They don't see it. Merchant account and credit card processors do not like charge-backs. By having such a long refund period, ClickBank can avoid these charge-backs. Vendors who have too many returns and/or charge-backs face consequences. They may find their account suspended.
- Poor quality products are NOT a ClickBank issue.
- Full Refund offered up to 90 days after purchase.
Scam #2 - ClickBank withholds New Affiliate Commissions:
Having signed up to ClickBank, you find a product and start to market it. Immediately, it starts to sell through your list and site. The commissions are piling up in your account. But, there is something wrong, they aren't moving to your bank account.
"ClickBank are scamming me! that's my money" you exclaim. You read the affiliate agreement (for the first time). There you see the issue, well there is no issue.
ClickBank policy is, a new affiliate needs 5 unique sales before commission payment. 5 sales to 5 different people. The reason for this, ClickBank was being scammed by new affiliates.
- A new affiliate signs up.
- They choose 5 products to market on his site. Each with a 75% commission.
- The new affiliate uses his own links to buys the 5 products.
- He gets his commission from ClickBank.
- The person has gotten a 75% discount on the products.
They have scammed ClickBank and the vendor. No bueno!
- ClickBank protects itself from deceitful affiliates by requiring certain conditions to be met before they issue affiliates payments.
- ClickBank is NOT a SCAM!
Avoid getting Scammed:
Here are some tips to avoid these:
- Buyer beware; do due diligence!!!
- Talk to Professor Google about the product + “review”. Reviews on forums and discussion boards carry more weight with me. They tend to be genuine.
- People with a negative product experience are most inclined to write a review. People with a positive experience are less inclined to.
- Read the one star comments. Many times it will not be a review on the product but because it took one day longer to get there. Read some Amazon one star reviews and you'll understand.
- Popular niches have more scam products than smaller ones. It is easier to produce a poor product in a large niche and not get caught straight away. Smaller niches are more enthusiast focused.
- If you buy a dud product then ask for a refund. Escalate your request if the affiliate/vendor will not honor the policy. Get ClickBank involved, make them aware of the product.
ClickBank is definitely not a scam. It is a long term player in the affiliate marketing world. It is an excellent resource for aspiring or seasoned affiliates and product vendors. If you are serious about this business then ClickBank is a must have asset for product discovery.
It is most definitely a legitimate force in the digital product marketplace. Wealthy Affiliate and ClickBank compliment each other. ClickBank can provide content to marketers to host on their Wealthy Affiliate websites.
If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.
All the best,
- Re-read the Tips section a number of times and sear it into your brain.