What is one of the most critical components of the freelancing/proposal process?
I don’t mean the “get down on one knee” kind of proposal. I mean the document you send out to a prospective client that is basically supposed to get them to buy from you.
A good proposal can win a deal. A bad proposal can lead to a “sure thing” turning into no deal.
The problem with proposals is that they are time consuming to create. What if there was an easier solution?
What about something like Proposify?
What Is Proposify?
It’s a SaaS solution for creating and submitting proposals. Instead of having to create proposals in Word, Google Docs or anything like that, you create your proposal online on Proposify and then submit directly to your prospective client.
Why Would I Want To Use Proposify?
Let’s face it, proposal writing is a pain in the ass. In fact, it’s something I’m actively looking to get away from with my consulting business, for the simple reason that you can spend time creating proposals, putting in tons of effort, only to have the prospect slip away to a cheaper alternative, stick with their existing provider, or pull out at the last minute.
When I first started consulting and freelancing I was just creating proposals
Things I Like About Proposify
Massive time saver
Overall very easy to use
Content library insertion
Flexibility in how you send out proposals
Insights into views etc
Clients love the proposals
Things I Don’t Like About Proposify
Oddly-spaced pricing tiers
Occasional bugs when creating/editing proposals
Lack of flexibility in pricing tables, depending on requirements
Some templating/layout niggles
If you run a business where you need to create proposals (such as a freelancing business, consulting agency or similar) then I would highly suggest checking out Proposify.
It’s not perfect. In fact, there are a number of things I actively dislike about it – primarily the bugs, awkward pricing tiers (there needs to be something between the basic and regular version for smaller-scale freelancers) and some irritating inflexibility in the way that pricing tables work.
That being said, the time saving and increased efficiency is worth it. What would have taken me 45 minutes to create can be made in 10-15 minutes, including proofing and sending.
Proposify could be especially useful if you sell “productized” services, with even less customization required in terms of service offering. I have a couple of productized services, and the proposal creation and send time can be as low as 5 minutes.
Hey. What’s up, everybody? Today I want to talk about a sort of spreadsheet meets project management data collaboration tool, sort of said to do a bit of everything. It’s called Smartsheet. So in this Smartsheet review, I’m going to cover what the product is, what it can do for you, and what I like about it, and what I dislike about it. And basically try and reach a conclusion whether or not it’s actually worth using.
So look, what is Smartsheet? As I mentioned before, it’s a platform software as a service that basically allows you to create these things called sheets, and they’re supposed to be smart … hence the name Smartsheet. And a sheet, the ones I’ve been using working with a client of mine … they use Smartsheet a lot to sort of manage just about all the data they deal with on a regular basis. They’re using sort of spreadsheet formats. I think there might be some other ones, too … I’ll double check … but what I’ve been using is, yeah, the spreadsheet thing. So imagine like an Excel spreadsheet or a Google Sheets spreadsheet, but it’s set up through a sort of secure login area.
The whole point behind Smartsheet is, as far as I can tell, is that you’re supposed to be able to quite easily set up a sheet, and then have different people have different permissions, and you can edit things, and look at things. It’s sort of like a collaboration tool. So you know, let’s say you had a spreadsheet that would normally reside on one employee’s desktop in Excel. Well, you could move it onto Smartsheet, and everyone could collaborate through Smartsheet instead, so that’s really the main purpose behind it. I’ve been working with Smartsheet now for quite some time actually. Yeah, so it’s pretty cool really, actually. I’m just looking at the home page of Smartsheet here, basically just trying to see if I can pick out a few things that I haven’t mentioned about the product before I get into the sort of nitty-gritty.
So basically Smartsheet pitches itself as “less talk, more action. Organizations need a way to get work done, not just talk about it. Smartsheet is the best way to plan, track, automate, and report on work, enabling you to move from idea to impact — fast.” Yeah, really I mean, as I said, it’s just a platform for allowing multiple people to work on and collaborate on documents, sort of through a secure, I guess, staging area. There’s lots of different software like this available, but because I use Smartsheet on a regular basis, I did want to talk about it.
So look, what I’m going to do is not dwell too much on, I guess, the features of the product. It’s pretty easy to see what you can do. I would suggest just checking out the website, smartsheet.com, if you are interested in what the product can do. There’s automation work available. Forms are available, and I’ll talk a little bit more about those. Loads of different integrations, as well. So it’s pretty powerful. And as far as pricing goes, it’s actually pretty reasonably priced, as well. If I look at the pricing here, so there’s an individual tier, which is $14 per user per month; team, $15 per user per month; business, $25 per user per month. There’s different sort of benefits to each thing. I mean, obviously, the more you spend … the business plan does basically everything, whereas the individual plan you’ve got some limitations. You can’t do automated actions. You can’t see an activity log. So yeah, I would suggest checking out smartsheet.com/pricing to see the different options available.
But anyway, look, I don’t want to make this review too long, so what I’m going to do is just talk about the things I like and the things I don’t like about Smartsheet. The first thing I like is that it’s easy to work with. I mean, it is really quite straightforward just to set up sheets and do what you want with them. We’ve been using it in-house, like I said, with a client I’m working very closely with, and the whole team’s using it, including people who aren’t the most tech savvy, and they do a really good job in it. It’s great for setting up, I guess, the sorts of sheets that in the past … documents that in the past you would have had to, every time there was an update or change, you’d have to mail it around to the team, or you’d have to update it on a server somewhere and make sure you’d updated a new version and everything. This just does it easily for you.
It’s just smooth to work with really, Smartsheet. It’s nice and effective. There’s good pricing available, as well. Like I said, the pricing’s very reasonable. I mean, for $14 per user per month, you can have team sheets, which is pretty good. You get email support. Any plan you can have unlimited sharing. So what that means is, someone who you share a Smartsheet to, they’re not a paid user, but they can view and edit a selected sheet that you’ve shared with them, but they can’t make new ones and, obviously, they’re restricted in what they can do. But if you’re only using it occasionally, you might be able to get away with having your own plan, the individual one if it’s just you because you have to have three users or more for team, business, or enterprise. For a very reasonable price you could have a great little secure system for basically using Smartsheet and disseminating information to your team and allowing them to edit and view things.
Now another feature I really like about Smartsheet is the forms function. Smartsheet forms basically allow you to create forms that then pull data into sort of headed rows. So we’ve been using it to create registration forms for events, and then we wound up with a nice sheet that everyone can see that’s got all the registrations that have been, and then we can order that by the date they registered. You can do loads of customization with the forms. You can have ticks, fields, or check boxes, or mandatory fields, or whatever. Smartsheet for forms side of things, very, very effective, really good.
Another thing is that it’s secure, as well. I mean, obviously, security only goes as far as your password and everything. If you’re using crappy passwords, it’s not going to be as secure. But as a solution for collaborating on, I guess, important information, particularly sensitive information, I would certainly rather use Smartsheet than say Google Docs shared with other people. If you’re the sort of team leader, you’ve got the ability to lock people out, secure the access and all those kinds of things, as well.
Yeah, overall there are a lot of positives to Smartsheet. Really, the way I look at it is, in your business, if there’s any function you do where you’d like to be able to share data securely with other people, especially if it’s data on some spreadsheet-type format, then Smartsheet could be an excellent option for you. It’s reasonably priced, so definitely worth checking out.
Of course, there are negatives, as well. I do find it to be quite buggy sometimes, like you think you’ve saved something, and then you haven’t. As far as I’m aware, it doesn’t even do auto-saving, or at least I haven’t got it set up correctly. Run into issues sometimes where I think I’ve saved, and then I go to quit, and it say, “Oh, would you like to save this?” That’s a bit annoying.
It’s not the most fully-featured, at least on the tier I’m using. It really does work based on a spreadsheet-type stuff, or form creation. I’m not sure how well it would handle like Big Tic documents or anything like that. It seems pretty focused around sheets. I suppose that’s in the name, Smartsheet. I mean, we’ve had some … just to go back that [inaudible 00:09:00] point on the bugs … we’ve had some issues, like in-house, where no one’s been editing … as far as we’re aware … but the data’s been moved around, or things have changed slightly, and it’s created some frustrations for people. It’s not a bug-free platform. It also feels a little bit dated. It’s easy to use, but it’s kind of old-school feeling. There are slicker interfaces out there than this one.
But look, to conclude this Smartsheet review, overall I do like using it. It’s a great simple platform for creating sheets or documents, spreadsheets, and then sharing them with other people and allowing collaboration in a secure fashion. There’s scope for automations, and forms, and things like that, as well. Basically, whatever you were doing in the past with … I don’t want to say whatever, because there’s probably some stuff that you could do in Excel that you’d never ever want to do in anything other than Excel with really complex formulas and all that kind of stuff. But if you’re running sheets … let’s say you had a sheet that tracks registrations for an event like I’ve been using it for … and in the past that sheet would have set on someone’s computer, and they save drive, and they email it around about once a week or something like that. Well, much better to do it with Smartsheet.
If you’re an individual freelancer or business owner, and you don’t really work with many other people, you sort of do it all yourself, you’re probably not going to need this. You’d probably be able to get enough use or enough mileage out of Google, Google Sheets, and Google Docs, and the sharing functionalities in there. But certainly, if you’ve got a team you work with … like if you had a team of outsourcers you work with, if you had clients that you want to regularly share information in a sheet format to, all those kinds of things … well then, yes, Smartsheet has some potential for you.
Yes, Smartsheet, if you’ve got a need for secure access, and providing that access to that data to other people, and you wanted a convenient platform that’s affordable and has decent support, then yeah, give it a look. I mean, I’ve been using it now for about 12 months, and I like it. I’m not an expert on the platform. There are people who can do a lot more with Smartsheet than I can, but I do like it. It’s not perfect. There are some bugs. It feels a bit dated. It’s not as good a spreadsheet tool as Excel or anything like that, but it has some powerful features. It is very good for getting your data securely shared to other people, having the ability to lock down access, all that kind of things. So yeah, go check out Smartsheet. See what you think. You can try it for free. If you’ve used it yourself and have any thoughts, please leave them in the “Comments” below.
At the heart of this audience-building, traffic-generating, money-making system is the content you post to your Facebook pages.
Video is king, but coming up with original video that doesn’t violate strict copyright rules (and doing it on a mass scale) is almost impossible.
Text-only posts on Facebook generally get poor engagement, so that leaves images.
Let’s say you’re building a Facebook page about The Simpsons (I’m actually doing this at the moment). Where can you find picture content, such as memes, quotes, or merchandise to repost?
Some sources include:
Google Images (search “Simpsons memes, Homer Simpson quotes” etc)
Other Facebook pages
But the holy grail of images these days is Instagram.
Searches like #thesimpsons yield thousands upon thousands of great images that could be kryptonite for your social audiences!
The problem with Instagram is that it has never been easy to nab a whole bunch of images in one go. For example, you can’t use the FPTraffic Chrome extension to grab a year’s worth of images for your Simpsons page from an Instagram profile or hashtag search. You can’t even right click to save as on desktop … the only real way to nab images from Insta is to sit there and screencap on your phone and then crop. Fine for one or two images, but not suitable for mass memeing!
As luck would have it, there’s a solution. This is a quick tutorial that will teach you what you need to do in order to get loads of images from an Instagram search or profile with a few mouse clicks (and potentially a whole lot of hard drive space).
All you need is Chrome browser – I’ve only tested this on Windows but should work as well on Mac – and an Instagram profile or hashtag results page from which you wish to download the images.
How To Do It
For this example I’m going to use my own personal Instagram profile.
The first step is to open up the search page or profile you want to download from.
The second step is to scroll as far down the page as you want (if you don’t scroll, you’ll only get the images that are visible within your screen area AFAIK) to get more images. This is especially relevant on hashtag results pages.
The third step is to right click on blank space on the webpage and select “Save As”. In the popup window choose to save as complete webpage, as per below:
Now open your downloads folder and there should be an HTML page as well as a folder:
Open up the folder, and voila you’ve got all the images you had visible on that Instagram profile (or hashtag search page – the process is the same):
You can now upload these into your FPTraffic queue using the bulk upload option, and then sort through and eliminate the images you don’t want to post.
How easy is that?
Just a word of warning – downloading heaps of images at once (e.g. from a hashtag search) can use lots of bandwith and also lots of hard drive space. Be wary if you’re using a capped data connection or a computer with a small hard drive.
NB: Use this method at your own discretion and be aware of copyright rules etc. I can’t take any responsibility for the manner in which you use this image collection technique.
Are you on the hunt for someone to do some SEO, content creation, or other web marketing services for you?
Maybe you want to make a bit of extra side money to fund your next holiday, pay your rent, or save up for something cool.
Enter Source Market. In this review of Source Market I’ll show you what is up with this popular marketplace, and look at it from the angle of both someone looking to sell services, as well as from the perspective of potential buyers.
This should be a really interesting review; kick back and keep reading.
What Is Source Market?
Source Market is basically a gig marketplace, very much like Fiverr or Peopleperhour. It is the brainchild of a guy called Alex Becker, and the site has been exploding in popularity recently.
People from all across the globe – people just like yourself – can join up and then sell their SEO and web marketing services to punters looking for anything from article writing to PBN creation.
Unlike the stupidly popular Fiverr platform, there is no real constraint around how you have to price your gigs. This gives you a lot more flexibility as a service seller, and better options as a buyer. However, there are some caveats around what types of gigs you can actually sell, which I will discuss later.
How Can I Make Money From Source Market?
If you’re not interested in buying services from Source Market, then you’re probably looking to actually turn a profit from the marketplace. After all, the main tagline for the site is “Sign Up and Receive 100% Of Your Sales and 20% Of Anything You Promote. No Fees.” – if that’s not appealing, then I don’t know what is!
According to Alex Becker himself, there are some sellers pulling down over $5k per week selling gigs. Now I’m sure there would be a lot of repetitive work involved in doing so … but where I live $5k per week, especially USD, would be a massive income. I’d love to be pulling in that much money per week!
I actually love doing freelance online marketing for people. Whether it’s working on an hourly basis, or just doing a couple of little keyword research gigs for some extra beer money, there is something deeply satisfying about providing clients with a good value service for their hard-earned money. In fact, one of my dreams is to build up a really successful freelancing business.
So naturally I was interested from the get-go in using Source Market to generate some extra income. I will blog more about my experiences in terms of generating sales in the future. But for this review I will talk more to how the process works for getting a gig set up and ready to sell, as well as pitfalls you need to watch out for.
Selling Your Services
The most fundamental way to make money on Source Market is to sell services. This is the bread and butter of the site. If you’ve got any skills you can offer in the following areas:
Then you could potentially be earning yourself a handy extra side income through selling your services on the Source Market. If you already sell on another platform like Fiverr or Peopleperhour, then you definitely should be on here doing work! It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to port your existing services over. And because you’ve got the flexibility to set pricing (unlike with Fiverr where the pricing structure is more fixed with $5 + add ons) you can sell a wide variety of services.
The most popular gigs seem to be those that involve selling permanent links on PBN sites. If you’ve got a bunch of expired domains with good metrics, then you could potentially do quite nicely out of this.
What Do You Need To Sell?
In order to sell your services on the marketplace, you need the following:
A registered and verified account. This will take you about 10 minutes to set up.
A Paypal account. This is so that you can actually get paid.
Something to sell. The main focus of Source Market is on SEO; whether that is on-page, keywords, content, PBN link building, or anything else related to boosting rankings. Remember that you don’t have to do a little micro gig like you would normally do on Fiverr (or rely on gig extras to boost up your earnings). You can even sell hourly gigs on Source Market, although it is a little awkward to do so. I’ve managed to find a way to make it work for myself, which I will discuss more in the conclusion section of this review.
A description for your gig. There is a lot more flexibility here than you see on Fiverr. Both WYSIWYG and HTML editing is available.
At least one image for your gig. GIFs are allowed, which is neat. Try to make something eye-catching that will attract punters to your gig. You can also add a YouTube embed video, which will help boost conversions if done right.
How Long Does It Take To Get Your Gig Approved?
One question I see ALL THE FREAKIN’ TIME on the Source Market Facebook Group is “how long does it take to get my first gig approved”.
Your first gig needs to be manually approved. This can sometimes take up to several days to complete. Once your first gig has been approved, your subsequent ones will be auto-approved (at least that what happens on my account).
Source Market Affiliate Program
The other way to make money from this site is to partake in the Source Market affiliate program. This is one of the reasons why I believe that SM has grown rapidly to become a premier destination for getting SEO and online marketing work done. Influential SEO bloggers, online marketing experts and so on are jumping on the bandwagon to promote Source Market gigs for minimum commissions of 20% … and sometimes much more as affiliates can offer custom commissions.
A guy who does an awesome job at promoting his SM affiliate links (and probably earns great commissions doing so) is Frankin Hatchett from Online Dimes. For example, take a look at his most recent post about how he uses Fiverr backlinks. You’ll see him outlining his backlink strategy, including his use of Hatred’s PBN service. People are going to read about Franklin’s success and want to replicate his strategy, and will happily purchase that gig through his affiliate link. Franklin can then earn himself a nice 20% – maybe even more – on every gig purchased!
If you’ve got a list or blog in the web marketing sphere, then you could definitely be earning yourself some extra coin by promoting Source Market gigs as an affiliate.
Source Market vs Fiverr
At this stage, you’re probably thinking that Source Market sounds quite a bit like Fiverr. And, truth be told, you’re probably not too far off the mark.
However, when comparing Source Market vs Fiverr there are some key differences:
Fiverr has a much broader array of gigs, with anything from voice overs to SEO to content creation to novelty gigs. From the perspective of online marketing, there is definitely more available on Fiverr.
Loads more sellers on Fiverr
Much better quality SEO gigs on Source Market
As a seller, you can set just about any price you want on Source Market and upgrade your membership to sell recurring subscription products
Can I Hire You On Source Market?
You sure can! I offer a range of high quality SEO and online marketing gigs through SM. In fact, it is where I do the majority of my freelancing as I like the platform so much.
Overall, I’m a big fan of the Source Market. It is leagues ahead of Fiverr in terms of getting paid for doing an honest bit of work. You get direct to Paypal payment, and a much better interface for communicating with clients (as you can get away with communicating outside of the marketplace, which is a BIG no-no on Fiverr).
The only two downsides I can find to the Source Market are firstly that it looks and feels a bit old fashioned, and is perhaps not as user-friendly as it could do. Furthermore, there is a more limited range of gigs available. For example, there isn’t a lot going in terms of one-off graphic design or PPC management jobs (two things that are critical for online marketing).
I use the marketplace gig system to take orders and handle payments from my SEO and PPC management clients. We agree on a number of hours it will take to complete an itemized list of jobs, and then I get them to pay me the corresponding number of hours via a basic gig I have set up. 1 gig = 1 hour, and then there are extras for up to 4 hours’ total work. This makes it easy for me to work with international clients.
I really do like Source Market, and highly recommend that you go and check it out and make it a regular site that you visit when looking for quality outsourced SEO and online marketing work – or if you want to start earning some money.
It’s me again with another quick review (my main reviews are usually much more detailed, but some products simply do not need so much coverage). Today we’re taking a look at a product called Mail Monitor – mailmonitor.com
Because this is a really simple product to get your head around, I will try to make this review as straightforward as possible.
What Is Mail Monitor?
Imagine you run or work for a business where you send promotional emails to thousands of people on a regular basis. These emails could be the lifeblood of your business; without people seeing your deals in their inboxes, they aren’t going to come to your site and shop or sign up for your services.
Email service providers like Mailchimp or Aweber can provide you with useful reporting about open rates, click rates, abuse reports etc. However, you don’t get enough insight into how many of your emails are going to spam, how many are going to the inbox as they should be, and how many emails are just plain missing in cyberspace.
Enter Mail Monitor.
It is a service that can help you to monitor and improve your mailbox placement and sender reputation. From the perspective of “what’s in it for me?” this means you are going to be able to get more of your promotional emails into inboxes and out of spam folders, resulting in more sales.
Who wouldn’t want that?
How Much Does It Cost?
There are a few different tiers available for Mailmonitor.com:
You can also opt for annual payment, which gives you 2 months’ free access for whatever tier you pick.
If you go for the monthly option, then you can get a 30 day free trial of Mail Monitor. I’m currently on my 30 day trial. These trials are fully featured, meaning that no functionality is restricted.
How Do I Set It Up?
Once you’ve registered your Mail Monitor account, it’s time to look at setting up your first campaign send in order to gain insights into it.
The process for doing this is a breeze once you work out what you need to do.
Firstly, you have to go to the setup tab. From here there are a few steps to follow. You start by checking which regions you want to test against (for example if you’re a Canadian business and you only care about inbox placement to Canadian email addresses, then you could uncheck everything else).
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE PRIMARY WEBMAIL SELECTED, HOWEVER. This is going to give you reporting on email providers like Gmail and Yahoo, the likes of which probably constitute the majority of your email list.
Next, you will see a list of random looking email addresses. You need to copy these and upload them into your email service provider (Mailchimp, Aweber, whatever). You are supposed to add them in batches and randomize the order a bit in order to spread things out and increase reporting accuracy. I was lazy and didn’t bother with this.
These email addresses are what Mail Monitor uses to actually see how your emails are getting placed in various inboxes. I don’t know what they are doing inside the inboxes – maybe there is some guy sitting in SE Asia getting paid pennies per hour to log in and check email inboxes and report back, but I’m going to guess everything is automated!
Finally, you have three options for actually ensuring that Mail Monitor can report back properly.
Specify the From address(es) you use for your EDMs
Populate the X-Header of your emails with a campaign ID
Insert a code snippet into your email you’re going to send out
I chose the third option because it is so easy to add custom code in with Mailchimp. Unless you don’t have the option to add code into your EDMs (in which case WTF kind of ESP are you using?) I really think that this code option is the best.
Once you’ve done that, you can take advantage of Mail Monitor’s previewing service and pre-end spam filter check.
But the real magic works when you hit send on your email, and then come back a few hours later to check:
What Will I See In Reporting?
So you’ve sent out your first EDM/email that is going to be reported on through Mail Monitor … neat!
What will you actually see in the reporting? Here’s an example of two of the emails I have sent through Mail Monitor so far (NB I’m not showing subject line info as these emails are sent for my regular work, and I want to keep that separate from this site). The top line is actually an average of the 2 emails I’ve sent so far.
Green means email was delivered fine to the inbox
Yellow means the email was marked as spam
Red means it is missing (either not enough time has lapsed between the send and checking the report, or the email just straight up got lost in cyberspace)
You can also click in on All ISP Report and see a more detailed breakdown of deliverability and inbox placement percentages for specific email providers:
So for example, on this particular campaign I had 100% spam into Hotmail – NOT GOOD! I’m gonna get a spooning for that one.
And that really is the main functionality of Mail Monitor examined. I will probably come back at some stage and take another look at the previewing options, but I think the meat of this product is really in its reporting on send results. Once you start to send regular campaigns and are able to look back on inbox placement, you can look for common themes that might be hindering your deliverability e.g. excessive use of promotional language like “cheap” “save” etc.
You can also check how your emails performed against common spam filters and DKIM/SPF. Green = good here.
Fast setup of tracking. Within 10 minutes of creating my Mail Monitor account, I was ready to send out my first campaign from Mailchimp with the tracking code installed.
My advice is to skip the from address or email header setup and just install the code snippet that powers the Mail Monitor insights. This honestly seems like the easiest option.
Great deliverability insights. Once the report had enough time to run following the send, I was greeted with some great information about which email providers were giving me good deliverability and which ones were not.
Global relevance. I live in New Zealand, and the lists/campaigns I am testing with Mail Monitor are really NZ-focused. Although most people use free email providers like Gmail or Hotmail, it was great to see some NZ specific seed email addresses for testing. There are testing option for the Americas, Europe, UK, Australia, Asia and more – awesome!
Pre send spam testing. Mail Monitor isn’t just useful for analyzing your deliverability and inbox placement “after the fact”. You can test your emails before sending through common spam filters in order to maximise the chance of proper delivery.
Email previewing. You are probably aware of the annoying fact that different browsers, mobile devices, and OS display images and formatting differently. With Mail Monitor you can preview how your emails are going to display in popular browser and device configurations.
Blacklist monitoring. Check to make sure your sender email address and ISP aren’t blacklisted. Mail Monitor checks against the major blacklist services.
Too expensive for small-timers. I’m actually using Mail Monitor as part of my day job, which requires me to send mass emails from an ESP to BIG lists. If you’re an affiliate with a list of a few thousand leads, then Mail Monitor is probably too expensive for you. This is really a B2B product aimed at eCommerce businesses or other businesses that have a need to send emails to large databases.
Setup instructions not detailed enough. Although setting up your sends is easy with Mail Monitor, I do feel that the instructions for loading in your leads, setting the from addresses/HTML tag etc could all be improved. Just a brief video on each point would help less tech savvy individuals get started. The FAQ/help is not detailed enough for my liking.
Hard to be sure of accuracy. I’d imagine that Mail Monitor’s results are a bit like exit polling – useful, but always remember to take with a grain of salt. You can read an overall trend and get some good insights, but because you aren’t privy to what happens to every single email sent out (instead you are seeing results based on extrapolation) you cannot be 100% sure that the reporting you see is an accurate reflection of what is actually happening to your EDMs.
Gmail tab placement only for enterprise tier. This is a feature that I believe allows you to see how many of your EDMs are going to the regular inbox tab on Gmail, and how many are going to promotions. Unfortunately, you only get access to this if you have the top priced tier, which is a shame 🙁
Although I’ve only used Mail Monitor a few times, I can definitely see some value in this product. If you are running a business that depends on promoting emails getting into clients’ inboxes in order to make sales, then this product can really help you to get some good clarity as to where your emails are winding up and why your deliverability isn’t as good as it could be.
There are definitely more powerful solutions out there, but for the price (and the fact that you can get a fully-featured 30 day trial) I really don’t see why you wouldn’t want to give Mail Monitor a shot.
It does cost a bit of money. But think about the fact that if you could get even 1% more of your list seeing and clicking on your emails, you could very quickly earn that cost back. If you rely on emailing a list to make money, then you need a tool like this. It really is that simple.
It’s not 100% accurate, but there are some great insights to be gleaned from using it. Go sign up today, set up your next campaign with Mail Monitor, and work hard to determine how you can improve your deliverability.
Hi everybody, it’s Sam here again, back at Reviews Boss with another review. And, today I’m looking at a book. It’s actually a physical printed book. I think you might be able to get digital copy, but I got a printed copy from Amazon.com. It’s called “Advanced Google Adwords” by Brad Geddes.
Basically, I got this book because I’m into doing Google Adwords, both in house kind of work and for clients. I’ve worked on a platform for quite some time, but I wanted to learn really all the tips and tricks and have a good reference book that I could use whenever I needed to consult a nice printed book for advice or tips and tricks and what to do. So, I purchased “Advanced Google Adwords.” It arrived from Amazon.com really quickly. Within about a week, it’s come all the way to New Zealand, which is impressive.
And, basically what I’m going to do is give a short review of this book. Compared to my software or full training product reviews, this is a much shorter review, but hopefully it still gives you a good feel for the product.
So, what is “Advanced Google Adwords?” As I said, it’s a book designed to give you a really comprehensive grounding in Google Adwords. So, basically, it teaches you everything you need to know about the platform from basic campaign sittings right through to very advanced features. There’s hundreds of pages in this book. I can’t remember the exact page count off the top of my head because it’s not set in front of my, but yes. Hugely, hugely detailed. There’s illustrations, there’s screenshots, it’s very, very comprehensive. I think it’s probably the most comprehensive Adwords resource I can think of. So, that’s why I decided to get myself a copy.
I do still prefer reading a nice detailed book as opposed to say, you know, you could find similar information if you went through loads of different blog posts, but it’s nice to have it all in one place. And, in the spirit of keeping this review of “Advanced Google Adwords” nice and brief, what I’m going to do is quickly just cover off what I like about the book and what I don’t like, and then give a conclusion to this review.
So, the things I like about “Advanced Google Adwords,” it’s extremely detailed, exceptionally detailed. There’s so much information in here. It’s just incredible what you can learn. Even as someone who had worked on adwords for quite some time, I really did pick up a lot of useful additionally information and tactics and tricks and strategies, even basic campaign settings that I wasn’t so aware on. So, if you want to learn Google ad words, it’s the ultimate resource in that respect. There’s just an overwhelming wealth of information. It’s fantastic.
Second thing is it’s priced well. I can’t remember exactly what I paid for it because it was quite some time ago that I bought it, but I think it cost me only about 30 or 40 US dollars landed into New Zealand. Maybe a bit more. I’ll have to look that up, but when you consider that some adwords training courses, for example, I’ve seen a thousand dollars, 1500 dollars, and even the cheaper ones are 200 or 300 dollars. “Advance Google Adwords” represents exceptional value. It’s not a comprehensive strategy guide, it’s not telling you this is exactly how you have to run a campaign for this type of client if you’re doing a local service or e-commerce or whatever. It’s really making you aware of all the settings and features and pitfalls and tips and tricks, but it’s incredible value for money. It really is. It’s really well-written, easy to read. It’s not actually boring at all. You could probably sit there and read it for hours and not be bored.
I also love just having a really detailed, thick, rich feeling book in front of me. Sure, books have largely been superseded by Kindle versions or e-books or apps or whatever, but there’s just something, for this kind of book, there’s something really nice about having it in front of you as a proper reference manual. There’s another Google analytics book that I want to get my hands on that I’ll hopefully be reviewing soon and that looks similar. I can’t remember it’s name. I think “Google Analytics Demystified” or something like that. I look forward to getting another one of these detailed reference books. It looks the part, sitting in your home office or in your regular office or at your desk or whatever. It’s very, very good reading.
As far as things I don’t like, there is a risk of information overload if you’ve never tackled adwords before. You could probably start with something a lot more simple. I reviewed a really simple Kindle e-book the other day, “Essential Adwords: The Quick and Dirty Guide.” That was like a four or five dollar Kindle e-bbok and that would give you good grounding. Or just basic YouTube training as well. I’m actually going to be doing a series of basic videos on some key concepts from adwords and SCO and things like that in the near future, so keep an eye out for those. But that’s probably the biggest pitfall I can see of “Advanced Google Adwords” is that it does run the risk of overwhelming you with so much information, but at the same time, it’s absolutely spot-on in terms of the quality of that information. So, I don’t think this is a massive problem.
Other things, it would have been nice if there’s a color print version available. The screenshots and illustrations are in black and white in this book. They’re legible, you can make out what’s going on, but obviously it’d be better if there was a … even if you had to pay quite a bit more for a deluxe color-printed version with more detailed screenshots, that would be really good.
And then the other thing is there’s always a risk of buying a print version and it goes out of date. On my print version, I bought about a year ago, and there’s already been a number of adwords features that have changed since then. I think you get free updates for life through a digital version, something like that, I’ll have to double-check and I’ll update the review here, but that’s something to bear in mind as well is that, often if you buy an e-book, you get a lifetime access to updates. You buy it for 100 dollars and then every time something changes on a platform you’re learning about, you’ll get an update. So, that’s another thing as well. I think I have the third addition. There’s definitely some stuff that’s outdated, but by in large, most of the contents are still very good. I’m tempted to buy the next addition if there is one available.
But, in conclusion, “Advanced Google Adwords” by Brad Geddes. It is a fantastic book. If you’ve got any interest at all in learning adwords, go out and get the latest version you can. Just jump on Amazon, it’s available on there, won’t cost you too much money. Definitely, definitely worth buying. The things that are wrong with it are massively outweighed by the pros. It’s just such a detailed immersive guide to what is a very complicated platform, and it’s great just to sometimes be able to, if you’re setting up a campaign and you think, “What does this option do? What do I need to do in this situation?” Just flick to the reference index at the back of the book, find that option, jump to the correct chapter or page, read through, and all of a sudden, you know what you’re doing. It’s full of tip sections and check lists and detailed written explanations and all those kinds of things.
So, “Advanced Google Adwords” by Brad Geddes. If you’ve got any interest at all at getting good with Adwords, this must be in your bookshelf. 100 percent worth buying. Just go out and get it now. Click here to buy it on Amazon, you will not regret it.
Here’s another video I just recorded on the subject:
Basically, all that remains now is to see whether the news page updates are telling the truth (and Coinsmarkets will come back after moving domain and hosting) or if this is all just a stalling tactic.
Please note that this review is based on the honest feedback of someone who has an active interest and holding of Bitcoin, but who is not by any stretch of the imagination an expert. If you are an expert and see some sort of grievous error in what I’ve written, please do leave a comment with your correction!
This isn’t a review of an Internet marketing product or tool, but it is a review of something that might be of interest to a lot of my readers.
You’ve probably heard of Bitcoin, right? You might even have your own little stash hidden away in a wallet somewhere (hopefully you weren’t trading on Bitfenix recently … unless you like haircuts).
Anyway, I have an interest in Bitcoin as I’ve been putting some money away into it regularly through a platform called Mybitcoinsaver – which I will be reviewing in the near future as well.
I think the idea of Bitcoin/cryptocurrency has some real merit, and should be of interest to anyone who is keen on “futurology”. Whether Bitcoin becomes the cryptocurrency that finds truly mainstream adoption remains to be seen. But for now, it’s probably the best we’ve got.
My Beef With Bitcoin
Despite the fact that I think Bitcoin is a fairly sound concept, I do have a particular issue with it – the fact that it just isn’t as easy as it should be to spend Bitcoin. Sure, there are sites that accept direct payment in Bitcoin (and I’ve enjoyed using this in the past) and there are even physical locations that take it, especially in the United States and Europe.
But until it’s as easy to spend your BTC as it is to spend money on a credit card or EFTPOS/bank card, I think that a huge swathe of the population will be put off using it. After all, what use is money if you have to have a degree in computer science to understand how to make payments? That’s a big exaggeration of course, but my point remains.
What if there was an easier solution? Something like a debit card that is loaded with Bitcoin, and which allows you to transact at the point of sale in-store or online like you would with any normal card?
Introducing the Xapo Bitcoin Card
The idea of this card is simple. You get a card that looks and functions like a standard bank/VISA debit card. You can shop online with it, or in-store, or withdraw from an ATM. The only difference is that the Xapo card is directly linked to a Bitcoin wallet, instead of a regular bank account.
Ordering Your Xapo Card
Getting a Xapo card sorted is pretty darn simple once you’ve got a Bitcoin wallet setup with Xapo (you will need one of these to have access to the card. I found setting up a Xapo account & wallet to be a very painless exercise, and the phone app is really easy to use. I won’t cover this in any more detail because of how simple it is).
From within your wallet there is an option to order a card. Provided you live in one of the accepted countries, which seems to be just about every Western country, then you’ll be eligible for a card.
Here’s some other things you need to know when ordering:
You pick whether you want your card to be denominated in US Dollars, British Pounds, or Euro. You can’t change once this is done. It’s important to pick the right currency for your needs as you will be transacting in whatever currency you picked. So if you picked a US dollar card put you live in France, then you’ll pay extortionate exchange fees every time you shop (more about this later in the review).
You’ll need to pay for your card with the balance of your Xapo wallet. So make sure you transfer some BTC into your wallet before trying to order.
It costs $20 USD to get your card issued. Your first year’s card fee is included.
There are two shipping options; a free option with no tracking that can take 2-8 weeks to arrive, and expedited DHL delivery with tracking for $55 USD. I opted for DHL shipping and received my card 6 days after ordering, and got to enjoy accurate tracking. I strongly recommend coughing up the $55 for the peace of mind DHL shipping provides.
The card you’ll receive is provided by My Choice Corporate
What Is The Card Like?
Here’s a picture of the Xapo Card (not my one, for security purposes):
So it does look a bit different to the illustration provided on the Xapo site:
Most notably – at least on my card – it doesn’t say Xapo in the top left corner, but actually just says “debit card”.
Certainly, this card wouldn’t look out of place in any wallet. It’s not covered in gaudy Bitcoin signs that draw attention to your proclivity for “exotic” currencies (depending on where you live in the world, this could be a very good thing indeed).
It feels like a nice quality card, and hopefully want fall to pieces or look worn out after a few uses.
What I Like About The Xapo Card
Smooth payment process. Once I had my card set up with a PIN and BTC in my Xapo wallet, it was a really smooth process to do my first transaction (an ATM withdrawal which I talk about in a later section of this review). There was no real difference versus using my normal bank or credit card.
Use it anywhere that accepts VISA.
No pre-crediting. My technical knowledge of how bank and Bitcoin cards work is a bit limited here. But basically there seem to be two types of Bitcoin cards. The first type requires you to purchase X amount of $USD with X amount of BTC, and then that $USD is loaded on to your card. Effectively, it is a “prepaid” card system. Xapo is a second type; the BTC in your linked wallet is spent (and somehow exchanged into fiat currency) at the point of sale. So the card is linked to the wallet, and not its own distinct store of value.
What I Dislike
High fees, especially if you don’t like in USA, UK, or Europe or want to make ATM withdrawals. The most common criticism I can find online of the Xapo Bitcoin card is that its fees are quite high. This is especially so if you live in a country where your currency isn’t USD, GBP, or EURO. For example, you pay a 3% foreign exchange fee on the cost of your purchase (so a purchase of $100 USD made in NZ has a fee of $3 USD). There is then a flat ATM withdrawal fee of $3.50 USD as well, if you’re withdrawing from an ATM. I think that there is also a foreign exchange fee of 1.9% added by VISA as well. Maybe a clued-up reader can comment on this. If you’re transacting in USD, GBP or EUR, then the fees aren’t anywhere near as bad.
These fees could definitely stack up, so it probably pays to use the card for bigger purchases or withdrawals. This is especially true if you’re using it overseas or making ATM withdrawals,
My first transaction was a test withdrawal from an ATM in New Zealand. I requested $60 NZD in cash from the ATM. At the prevailing exchange rate of the time, that equals $43.18. Looking at my Xapo wallet, I was charged a total of $48.40 USD to receive that NZD from the ATM. Therefore, it cost me $67.25 NZD to get $60 NZD. Not ideal … but not prohibitive if I’m only using the card on occasion. If my maths is correct, I effectively paid a 12% fee to use the card to withdraw New Zealand dollars from an ATM in a card denominated in US Dollars. That does hurt quite a bit, but it’s something I don’t have much choice in avoiding.
Xapo are probably adding other hidden exchange fees and making money of arbitrage along the way. Unfortunately, this is just something you’ll have to accept if you want to use the card.
On this basis, I would suggest having a 15% “buffer” whenever making a purchase to allow for fees. E.g. if you want to buy a $100 item, then make sure at least $115 is in your wallet. Unfortunately, this is the apparent price of being cutting-edge!
Could do with better initial use instructions. When the card arrived I didn’t know if it was cheque, savings, or credit when transacting at POS. For future reference, your card will be CHEQUE.
Big limitations on non-verified cards. Another annoying part of having a Xapo card is the limitations placed on it until you verify your card by uploading a scanned copy of a valid government ID and proof of address. The limitations are especially severe on ATM withdrawals for non-verified cards. I’m guessing that this is to help counter the potential of using the card for money laundering (you can order a card to any address and any name, but you don’t be able to verify it unless you’ve put in legit information). However, it is also frustrating from the perspective of Bitcoin and its inherent anonymity. I can see this limitation putting off a lot of people who are more dedicated to preserving the anonymity of Bitcoin. It’s also concering to know that a company with unknown data security measures would have access to your ID. Below you can see a table showing the purchasing and withdrawal limits on non-verified and verified cards:
As I stated at the start of this review, I’m not writing from the point-of-view of a cryptocurrency expert. I’m the first to admit that my understanding of the technical aspects of Bitcoin leaves a lot to be desired. However, due to having a small holding and wanting to spend some of it (and not wanting to be limited in how I do spend it) I was immediately interested in the concept of the Xapo card.
Although I haven’t been using it for long, I think that for someone who does want a relatively simple means for spending their coin, it could be a good option. I know that the Xapo card gets a lot of hate for its high fees (and yes, the fees are really bad, especially if you live in a country with a non-listed currency which means paying a foreign exchange fee as well) but as a “proof-of-concept” for what is to come, I think it has a lot of potential.
I don’t think that I could go around using this card every day in place of my trusty EFTPOS card or Amex. Firstly, having to worry about the constant fluctuation in the value of Bitcoin is a pain in the ass … imagine going shopping knowing you’ve got $500 worth of BTC in your Xapo wallet, only to get to the checkout and find out that it’s worth $400 because another exchange hack has occurred and driven the price of Bitcoin down. Secondly, the high fees are a real killer.
Nonetheless, I honestly do think that the Xapo Bitcoin card is a good idea, and it’s worth having one as another means of spending your coins. If you’re someone like me who doesn’t believe that Bitcoin is going to go to the moon anytime soon and you want to actually indulge in a spot of “profit-taking”, then you’ll probably enjoy having a Xapo card.
Welcome back to another Reviews Boss review. This time I’m taking a slightly different tack and reviewing a popular online marketplace and affiliate program, Clickbank (abbreviated to “CB” at times).
When it comes to the sale of digital information products, probably only Amazon’s Kindle marketplace eclipses Clickbank. It is a powerhouse in the world of affiliate marketing, and a lot of popular digital products are sold through its payment and delivery gateway.
Clickbank also holds a very special place in my heart as the first platform upon which I made money online. Others have come and gone, but I will always have a special fondness for Clickbank. Just the name invokes some serious nostalgia for me!
I am going to cover CB from three different angles in this review, so it won’t be in exactly the same format that most of my other reviews are in. Instead, I will answer some common questions about the platform, and then look at its value from the perspective of:
Affiliate marketers looking to earn a commission by promoting other peoples’ products
Vendors looking to sell their own products online and earn money
Customers looking to purchase any of the products for sale on the CB Marketplace, or which are being promoted for sale via CB’s payment processing and delivery system
Clickbank Video Review
I’ve just launched a new video review on my YouTube channel. I suggest you watch this first before continuing. At the bottom of this page you’ll also find the full transcript of this video (if you’re interested in reading along!).
What Is Clickbank?
At its most basic level, Clickbank is an online sales platform that allows people who want to sell their products (known as vendors) to provide a suitable mechanism for retailing to the public.
Let’s say you have a great idea for a product, such as an eBook about ice water fishing (because you just LOVE ice water fishing).
You decide you want to sell it online, because you reckon other people are interested in ice water fishing and would buy from you an eBook on the subject. You create your product, and make it the very best it can be.
But now what? How do you actually go about selling it to the hopefully adoring public?
It’s not just as easy as slapping up a simple website and hoping for the best – you need to be able to guarantee the safety of buyers’ information, manage access to their product, and be able to process refunds etc if things do go wrong.
Whereas once upon a time you would have to sort out your own payment processor and secure download facility when trying to sell your product online, you can instead use Clickbank’s platform to allow you to provide a secure gateway for customers, collect payment, and ensure speedy and accurate delivery of your product.
Of course that is only half of the equation.
When I first started out on Clickbank (back in about 2007) it was much harder than it is now to sell digital products. Even physical eCommerce was out of reach for many. This meant there were fewer platforms that made it accessible for the “layperson” to sell their info online. Unless you were tech-savvy and capable of hacking together a decent cart and delivery solution, you needed to turn to a third party to sell your wares.
So part of Clickbank’s rise came from the fact that it was quite an early pioneer in terms of providing a simple, effective platform for people to sell their products online. Vendors could spend more time focusing on product creation and promotion than the nuts and bolts of how they would actually do the selling!
Another big part of Clickbank is its affiliate program, which is perhaps one of the most famous on the Internet. Many aspiring affiliate marketers – myself included – first cut their teeth with this legendary network. There are offers aplenty, and the accuracy of the Hoplink tracking system is very good which means you can rest assured that you will be credited with the sales you make. There are plenty of big time affiliates who make an impressive living on this network as well, so it’s not just for small time players. I will speak in more detail to Clickbank as an affiliate network later on in this review.
The affiliate element of CB is a feature that attracts a lot of vendors. If you can get successful and talented affiliates to promote your product, then you can make serious bank. Of course it’s not just a case of putting your product live and getting affiliates; there is legwork involved. But
And what about the humble customer who is buying a product that is being sold through Clickbank? Truth be told, you won’t notice much at all except for when you check your credit card statement and receipt email. The whole point of the system is to make everything as seamless and as integrated as possible – the power of the CB network is that it works hard in the background to protect your payment and give you your download, so that you don’t need to notice what’s going on. That being said, I do have some comments later on in this review that specifically address some issues that product customers can run into from time to time.
The most commonly sold products on CB are information products (think eBooks, video training courses, audio guides) and software. I’m also starting to slowly see some physical products creep into the marketplace as well, which is an interesting development indeed. However, for the time being it remains clear that information products reign supreme on Clickbank.
Is Clickbank Legit?
One of the most common questions I see asked about Clickbank is whether or not it is a “legit” platform. On that basis, I’ve decided to address it early on in my review. What is most interesting is that this question gets asked both by customers looking to purchase products through CB’s payment gateway, as well as affiliates wondering whether or not they are going to get duped with stolen commissions or missed payments.
I have extensive experience with Clickbank from both sides of the spectrum; I’ve purchased a lot of products, and I have promoted as an affiliate. I have even worked for a business that sells a lot of its own products through CB, and helped a family member to sell their own product as well. Although I’m not a legendary, God-tier super affiliate, I nonetheless think I’m fairly qualified to answer the question of whether or not Clickbank is legit.
From the perspective of the customer who is buying the products sold through its marketplace, Clickbank is unequivocally legit. They offer a highly robust payment processing system, good service, and fast access to the products you buy. However, the bad press that CB has received in the past comes more from the caliber of some of the products sold (as well as what is perceived as an unwillingness on the part of the company’s management to prevent “bad” products from being sold) – I will talk more to this point when discussing Clickbank scams.
At the heart of Clickbank is its venerable affiliate marketplace:
If you’re a customer looking to purchase a product, then chances are you will never actually see the marketplace. I don’t think I have ever heard of somebody browsing it to find products to buy. Instead, you will probably experience Clickbank when you go to buy an eBook or digital training course, or piece of software. Lots of different websites choose to sell their digital products through CB’s platform.
Of course you may want to go to the homepage and browse the customer marketplace just to get a feel for the products
Clickbank Sign Up Process
Signing up for Clickbank is a doddle. First, scoot on over to Clickbank.com and click “Create An Account”:
Now all you need to do is follow the instructions and fill in the fields on the registration page. This will set you up with an account that can be used to both promote products as an affiliate and sell
NB: If all you are doing is looking to buy a product that is processed via CB, then you don’t need to sign up at all.
Clickbank’s Refund Policy
One of the best features of Clickbank – at least from the perspective of the end customer – is its sound refund policy. All vendors (and I do not believe there are any exceptions to this rule) must offer a 60 day money-back guarantee on any products they sell. Furthermore, this refund must be offered “no questions asked”.
For affiliates and vendors, this isn’t quite so ideal. Nothing sucks more as an affiliate than making a bunch of sales, only to find that 10, 20, 30% of them are refunded a week or so later. Sometimes the percentage can be even higher, especially in the weight loss and Internet marketing niches. If you rely on paid traffic to drive sales, then this can make profitability calculations frustrating indeed. Refunds are also bad news for vendors; too many too often and you risk having affiliates abandon your offer in droves.
Serial Refunding On Clickbank
Ostensibly, the purpose of the 60 day refund window is to give the end customer a good deal. It also endears Clickbank better to merchant account providers and credit card processors; due to the occasionally questionable nature of some of the products being sold, there is a high risk of chargebacks.
As you might expect, chargebacks are not good news for CB’s standing with merchant account providers. Vendors who experience too many chargebacks and also find their accounts suspended or under greater scrutiny. By offering 60 days in which a customer can refund a product there is less chance of these dreaded chargebacks occurring.
Beyond the annoyance vendors and affiliates face at seeing refunds in their accounts, there is another, darker side to these refunds. Serial refunding is most prevalent in the Internet marketing niche. There are people out there
Clickbank Scams – How To Avoid Them
While the platform itself is very legitimate, you do need to be careful of the products you buy from Clickbank. It has a bit of a reputation as being a safe haven for illegitimate vendors looking to peddle, well, crap.
The difficulty with calling these products scams is that they aren’t really that at all. It’s not like you’re going to pay and then see your credit card being used in a dive bar in Cambodia or something – CB’s payment processing system truly does safeguard you to a large extent. No matter what you purchase, you’re going to get something.
So when people refer to Clickbank scams they are really talking about products that seem good from all their promotional material, testimonials, sales pages etc … but which are total crap. This is usually reinforced by loads of reviews that extol the virtues of the product, and put it up there with the Second Coming in terms of greatness. All the “external” factors lead you to believe you are going to be buying something great, but instead you wind up with a polished turd!
Here are some tips to avoid these
Check thoroughly for product reviews before you buy. Just head over to Google and type in the name of the product + “review”. When researching Clickbank products that I’m interested in purchasing myself, I tend to look at reviews on forums and discussion boards as they tend to be most honest. Unfortunately, most CB products suffer the fate of having overzealous affiliates slap up copy-and-paste “reviews” that are just swiped from the affiliate resources section of the vendor site. Search for any popular product, and you’ll pretty quickly learn what I mean. I’ve got years of experience sorting genuine reviews from bad ones; if you are really keen on a product and not sure if the reviews you are reading are legit, then feel free to contact me and I can take a look for you. I always have time to help my readers, no exceptions.
Exercise your right to a refund within 60 days. If you pay for a product and think its crap, then don’t sit there and sulk. Provided you take action within 60 days of the purchase date, you will get your money refunded to your credit card or Paypal. In the first instance you should always contact the merchant directly and ask for assistance. If that doesn’t get you any progress quickly, then the threat of a chargeback should get their wheels spinning. If they are still evasive about giving you a refund at this point, then feel free to elevate your complaint to Clickbank support directly and they will get your coin bacl.
Be extra careful in certain niches. If the product you are looking at buying through CB is in a slightly obscure niche – think DIY wine making, or African dung beetle sculpting – then you are probably going to be purchasing a product that has decent value in terms of content. It is my experience that smaller niches attract honest and ethical vendors who have good experience and passion in a particular niche, and who want to share it with the world. However, big fish niches (Internet marketing, personal development, relationships/dating, and the recently popular survival niche) are choc full of the kind of “scammy” product I described above; crap information, attractively packaged, and then ruthlessly marketed.
NB. I want to make it clear at this point that I’m not wailing on all Clickbank products. There are some fantastic products out there that provide real value to customers. There is also nothing inherently wrong at all with selling information, even if that information is already publicly available in another format (if you can condense it, expand on it, or somehow make it better, then you’re adding knowledge and deserve to be able to profit). However, I also happen to have an intimate knowledge of the quality of many popular products on the network, and the fact that they are triumphs of marketing over substance.
I guess the ultimate lesson here is, as the Romans said, “caveat emptor” – let the buyer beware. And remember that if you are ever unsure about a product you’re thinking of buying that is sold through Clickbank, I will be happy to help you determine whether it is actually good or not … and suggest a suitable alternative if it’s not worth a buy.
This is where I’ve had the least amount of experience with Clickbank. On this basis I will be revisiting this section later after I have had the time to compile feedback from Internet users with more experience than me. I’m currently in the process of developing a product for sale on Clickbank that will form the nucleus of my vendor review.
However, I have also sold products in the past as a vendor – just a number of years ago so my experience isn’t quite as relevant as it could be.
I was formerly employed by one of the largest sellers of info-products on Clickbank, so got a lot of exposure at the time to the ins and outs of vendorship on the platform.
Furthermore, my dad and I actually partnered up about 5 years ago to sell a basic info product on there, and had modest success.
Here is my high-level feedback on being a vendor:
Be wary of refunds (same goes for affiliates). In some niches like ‘make money online’ these can be truly CRUSHING. It doesn’t matter how good your product is, you will get bullshit refund requests that abuse the 60 day refund window.
If you don’t need to recruit affiliates (i.e. you just want to sell your product independently) then I recommend you don’t use Clickbank as a vendor simply as you can get paid faster with other platforms like JVZoo, or even Shopify + Stripe.
You’ll need to be wary of chargebacks as the chances are that you’ll lose disputes due to Clickbank’s somewhat ‘murky’ reputation.
From the perspective of being a paying customer looking to buy a product through Clickbank’s processing platform, there isn’t a whole lot more to add above what was described above.
I really do think that CB offers a top-notch, secure method for purchasing and downloading digital products. You can use all major credit cards and Paypal, you’re kept safe with a great money back guarantee, and there are loads of different products available to buy.
As a platform itself (minus the bad egg offers) I can’t really find any glaring faults from the perspective of being a paying customer. Provided you do your due diligence on the product(s) you’re buying, and you are happy with the thought of paying for information in the case of an info product, then you shouldn’t have any issues.
Where issues do arise for Clickbank product buyers is usually in the following areas:
Many vendors surreptitiously add re-billing/subscription payments to their products. The way this usually works is that you purchase a product – say a $30 eBook. Without realising it, at some stage in the purchase process you have then consented to buying something like a 30-day free trial of a premium membership product, that will auto rebill at the end of the 30-day period (look out for any pre-checked checkboxes when purchasing ANY product on Clickbank). Many of the complaints I see customers make about Clickbank come from people who have inadvertently signed up to a rebill or subscription product.
If I recall correctly, I opened my first Clickbank affiliate account back in 2007, when I was still in high school. I didn’t make much money at first (for over a year in fact) but then I stumbled upon Travis Sago’s infamous bum marketing method, and went H.A.M with that. Within 3 months I was pulling $100 + USD per day which was a big amount of money for a 17 year old still at school, especially when exchange rate was factored in.
Although I don’t do so much on the network anymore – my day job and other side hustle activities keep me too busy – I still feel I’ve got enough knowledge to weigh in on this one.
Here’s what I love about being a Clickbank affiliate:
No approval needed to make an account. Most CPA networks require you to go through some kind of verification process where you get grilled on how you are going to drive traffic, and how much experience you have. If you’re not confident on the phone (or you just don’t have the requisite experience) then you might get denied, which means no offers to promote! With Clickbank you can just create an account and get cracking. You aren’t going to get your account suspended or blocked without having either a) terrible, woeful refund rates, which suggests that you are doing something dodgy to get those sales or b) breaking lots of TOS rules. Compared to how twitchy some CPA networks can be, this is a Godsend for a beginner affiliate. You will make mistakes all the way along your journey … Clickbank doesn’t care too much.
Heaps of different products to promote. Whether you’re into wilderness survival, wedding speech writing, sports betting, or anything in-between, there are loads of different products you can promote. Bear in mind that the biggest categories will probably always be Internet marketing, weight loss/muscle building, and relationship advice. However, you should not overlook the huge possibilities in some of those smaller categories and niches. There can be some real gold in products and niches that most affiliates don’t even bother to think about.
Big commissions. One product I promote through CB earns me over $250 USD per conversion. I would need . The vast majority of offers available will earn you $20 USD plus. This means you don’t have to sell a lot to make a nice side income (if you live in a country with a weak currency relative to the US dollar, then a couple of sales a day could equal a big annual income). There are also many recurring offers available, which means you can earn each month from the same sale until the customer cancels their rebill. Most vendors offer either a 50% or 75% conversion rate – EPIC!
Always paid on time. I’ve never failed to be paid correctly and on time by Clickbank, and don’t hear much about other affiliates having their payments missed either. Contrast this to some smaller aff networks where you will probably always have a nagging thought in your mind as to whether you will get paid out, you’ll never need to worry with CB. Just like Ja Rule, they are always on time.
Here’s what I dislike about being an affiliate:
The generous refund policy can eat into your earnings. On the balance of probabilities the refund policy is a good thing because it gives customers a greater sense of security, which increases the odds of them buying. However, as an affiliate you can’t help but feel sad when you see a good run of sales only to find 10 or 20%, and sometimes more, have been refunded. Refunds are especially painful when they come close to the 60 day cutoff date. Because of these higher levels of refunds you are likely to experience, you will also have to deal with the annoyance of the Return Allowance.
You’ll be competing with a lot of other affiliates. Any offer worth promoting has probably got a bunch of other affiliates, many of them with a lot more experience and resources, blasting the heck out of it. If you are a newbie this can be intimidating and put you off from taking action. It’s only natural to think that competition = low chance of success. Don’t shy away from competition. If other people are selling the offer (as indicated from the Gravity Score metric and more detailed research) then nothing is stopping you either. Market smarter, market harder, and you will do better.
Minimum sales requirement and initial check payment. Not only do you have to make a minimum number of sales before you can cash out, you also have to have a blend of different payment methods e.g. Paypal and credit card. Check out the exact details here for more info. When you first start your account you can also only take payment in check, which sucks if you live outside of the United States.Make the change as soon as you are allowed to for wire transfer. This means faster payment and no risk of stale checks.
Reviewing Clickbank has been a monstrous task for me. When I started writing this I thought I’d be done in a thousand words. Instead I feel like I’ve redone Tolstoy’s War and Peace! Nonetheless, I have enjoyed writing this review and hope you have learned something useful from it. I certainly enjoyed writing it, and could probably talk until Kingdom Come about this topic.
Because Clickbank isn’t a product or service for sale (as opposed to most of the other products I review on this site) I can’t give you a simple recommendation like “buy it” or “run for the hills”. But here’s what I can say:
Whether you are a vendor looking to sell a product, an affiliate looking to make money promoting products, or a customer just wanting to ensure you get the item you want, there is going to be something for you on CB’s network. I genuinely think it is a good platform that has been marred with a certain less-than-perfect reputation due to some of the products that get sold on it.
Clickbank’s platform isn’t perfect. There are things about it that could be improved. However, it is important to remember that it is just a platform. There is only so much that can be done to stop unscrupulous sellers offering substandard products – especially in niches that have a reputation for this, such as make money online, weight loss and dating advice.
Therefore, there is an element of caveat emptor when using Clickbank. They are providing a platform, just like eBay, or Amazon’s marketplace, or any other marketplace out there.
What this means is that some people will sell good products, and some people will sell bad ones. The onus is on you to ‘DYOR’ (Do Your Own Research) and only purchase products that add value for you.
In this section, I cover some answers to FAQs about Clickbank:
“How do you make money with Clickbank?” There are two ways. Firstly, you can create products and sell them as a vendor You could also get others to promote them so you give them a commission on each sale on a ‘pay on performance’ basis. Secondly, you can promote products as an affiliate and earn commissions.
“Is Clickbank still profitable?” Definitely, but your success is determined entirely by your ability to be an effective affiliate marketer.
“How much does it cost to join Clickbank?” Clickbank is free to join. If you wish to sell products as a vendor, then you will need to pay a fee to do so.
“Can I promote Clickbank on Facebook?” – Yes. You may, however, struggle with direct linking Clickbank offers on Facebook ads. Instead, use an intermediary landing page. Clickbank’s top affiliate at the moment generates most of his commissions from this exact strategy (Facebook ads to landing page to affiliate link).
“Can I buy Clickbank products from myself?” – although you can probably get away with it, buying Clickbank products using your own affiliate ID is against their Terms of Service and could see your account shut down. I’d advise against doing it. Also, vendors may block you for this kind of behaviour.
“What is Clickbank marketplace?” – Clickbank Marketplace is where all the products that are for sale on Clickbank are listed. You can browse as both a potential customer (looking to buy) or as an affiliate (looking to promote).