Is Clickbank A Scam?
Note from Charlie: Please be sure to see the Clickbank links at the end of this article. They are very important to your financial well-being!
I’ve been hearing the “s” word (I mean scam, not the other one!) a lot lately. People are upset, disappointed, angry and confused.
Not a good thing.
I think we have all been there.
My first few years online were nothing short of a weird and confusing circus of trying to learn a new language (Internet marketing has it’s own dictionary!) and trying the things the “gurus” were saying would help me make money.
Yes, there were gurus back in the stone age! 🙂
I can fully understand that people rightly feel ripped off when they buy products that massively under-deliver and basically leave them disappointed. We have all been there.
Not what was promised. No customer service. And in this economy you simply can’t afford to waste a single dollar.
But being disappointed and calling something a scam are two very different things.
So here is my take on Clickbank and whether Clickbank is a scam or not.
Good news … bad news
First, the positive.
In over 10 years of service (as of this writing) Clickbank has never missed paying anyone (merchant or affiliate) on time to the best of my knowledge.
They do have some very odd (to me) rules about getting your money if you are a new affiliate, and new affiliates need to be warned about that before promoting Clickbank products and thinking the money is going to tumble in.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about please see the links at the end of this article. It’s important to know how to get your money out of Clickbank.
For vendors like me who sell online Clickbank can be a God send. They collect the money for sales, pay affiliates on time and send us the balance. They pay once a week and they handle all the pesky paperwork like filing tax forms and more. They collect and remit VAT where needed so we don’t have to.
Is all of this cheap? Hardly.
Vendors pay much more to process orders via Clickbank than almost any other payment processor. When compared to PayPal for example the figures are staggering. But convenience comes with a price and there is no payment processor online who offers more convenience to sellers than Clickbank.
Now, the negative.
I believe Clickbank needs to clean house and flat out remove all vendors who are promising easy riches using any of the now infamous “three click” software products.
In addition, I think they need to really crack down on the fake screenshots and outright lies that are going on about how much money people are supposed to be making.
In other words, if you are a vendor you really should not be allowed to show a screenshot of your entire account history and pretend you made that money as an affiliate. I won’t name names but understand it does happen … a lot.
Happily, Clickbank is moving in the right direction in my view. They have recently released a number of updates to their terms of service that will dramatically impact the false scarcity and outright deception that we all (including Clickbank) dislike.
These are simply my own opinions based on being a Clickbank vendor and affiliate for over 10 years. I receive awards from them every year for being a top affiliate and top vendor. I say this only to say that I have some experience with Clickbank, and that I like them and hope very much for the best.
In my view Clickbank has a rich history of helping people who are getting started online make money with affiliate marketing.
Their site is easy to use and they offer very good customer service in my experience. But they have leaned toward the fast buck artists by introducing selling methods like “one click upsells” and other tools.
To be clear about it, I don’t think up-sells are evil. But I do think it’s wrong to make it look like your product will do everything a person needs done for $37 and then subject buyers to endless “one time offers” that make them feel stupid or like they will miss success if they don’t buy now.
In my opinion Clickbank is not a scam or anything close to it.
- Are there people selling on Clickbank who over promise? Yes.
- Are there people selling on Clickbank who don’t provide customer service? Yes.
But this does not make Clickbank as a company a scam in my view.
I believe Clickbank will clean up it’s list of sellers and in fact see encouraging signs of that happening even as I write this.
Four things you should know.
I think there are four things to keep in mind. Again, this comes from the perspective of time, having watched the ebb and flow of the shady marketers and great marketers over the past decade.
- The market will find balance. People who over promise and under deliver won’t last long.
- Clickbank will find their balance. I truly believe they will come around and have already seen them make moves in the right direction.
- You need to be informed. Selling Clickbank products as an affiliate is not as easy as “finding a high gravity product and placing some ads” in my experience. Yes, that can happen occasionally but there is no formula that guarantees success every time. If there were then everyone would be succeeding, and we know that is not the case.
- We all need to become hype proof. Your parents were right – if it sounds too good to be true it usually is. Think about this; if someone really had the key to riches would they sell it for $37? I think not.
With that said, here are some links you really need to know about. They have to do with you getting paid for your efforts. So please take time to visit them when you can.
Here are a couple of links you should know about. These are important enough to take time to read.
Clickbank’s accounting policy – pay careful attention to the section midway down the page called “Customer Distribution Requirement”
Promotional guidelines – Clickbank is tightening their rules for selling to make vendors more accountable. This is a very good and much needed move on their part.
I like Clickbank and always have. I have used other payment processors over the years but Clickbank makes selling online easy and convenient. As an affiliate I still promote Clickbank products but candidly I don’t do that as much as I used to due to the hyped-up sites so popular on Clickbank lately. There are so many wonderful products online now that relying on Clickbank is, in my view, a mistake.
My advice is this – learn as much as you can about selling Clickbank products and promote the products you use and believe in. An honest recommendation based on your experience is always the best way to sell things online, especially if you are promoting products to your own mailing list.