Here’s a question I get asked “through the grapevine” from time-to-time – ‘is Clickbank a scam?’. I’ve written quite extensively about Clickbank (including creating a very detailed review here) but this is still a common question that crops up from time to time.
Long story short – no Clickbank is not a scam. It’s a legitimate business that has been around for many years, and provides a valuable service allowing the sale and purchase of digital information products (and now some physical products as well). It also offers a proven, tested and reliable affiliate platform that has helped thousands of people worldwide – myself included – to earn great commissions and make money online.
All sounds great, right?
However, that doesn’t mean that Clickbank is perfect. With this in mind, where has that common question of whether or not Clickbank is a scam actually come from?
Here are some reasons why this “misconception” exists:
- Product quality checking. This was more of a problem in the past, where Clickbank would basically approve just about any product on its platform. This led to a torrent of junk, especially in certain niches (make money online, weight loss etc). Now they are more stringent about product approvals. The problem was made worse by the fact that affiliates would take these already-shite products, and then overhype them to a completely absurd degree. For a very long time, it was a case of finding needles in a haystack when it came to getting good Clickbank products.
- Refunds & chargebacks. On the affiliate and vendor side, this has always been a big problem with Clickbank that has led to accusations of the site being a scam. The problem is that Clickbank requires all vendors to offer a 60 day refund window to customers. My understanding is that this rule is in place basically to minimize the risk of chargebacks (as people can just refund instead of charging back). I think it’s also because Clickbank fundamentally know that a lot of their products are poor quality – and that their reputation as a platform could be ruined by not forcing a generous refund window. The problem with the 60 day window, and the fact that a vendor basically cannot dispute a refund request, is that you will rack up the refunds.
- Concerns of shaving affiliates. From time to time, affiliates pipe up and claim that Clickbank is “shaving” commissions. Basically, this means that a percentage of valid sales aren’t credited. This theory is exacerbated by the stats panel in your Clickbank affiliate dashboard, which shows ‘order form server calls’ that don’t always line up to the number of sales.
- Product types/niches. Clickbank is pretty much the home of digital info products in the make money online, weight loss, and pick up artistry niche. These niches are big because there are lots of people looking for a quick-fix, easy solution and they are generally “hungry” for that solution as well.
In conclusion, I want to reiterate that Clickbank is not a scam. It’s a legitimate, highly-functional platform that provides excellent opportunities for vendors and affiliates, and provides a lot of security to buyers due to safe payment processing and long refund windows. However, in the past Clickbank didn’t really do enough to sense-check the products on its network, meaning a lot of crap products were up for sale that promised the world and delivered little. Add into this the issue of chargebacks and long refund windows (which frustrated the heck out of affiliates and vendors alike) and it’s not hard to see why Clickbank hasn’t always had the best reputation.
However, they have done a lot of work in recent years to really tidy up the platform and make it a better place for everyone.