Hey, how’s it going? It’s Sam Frost here from reviewsboss.com. In this video, I want to cover a common question I get asked quite a bit and I see people asking all over the show, in fact, and that is ClickBank legit? And I think I’m pretty qualified to talk on the subject. Not because I’m the world’s greatest super affiliate or anything like that, but because I’ve been a ClickBank affiliate for over 10 years. I’ve been a vendor, I’ve been a customer so I’m pretty acquainted with the platform and basically what I want to do is discuss whether or not ClickBank is legit and a few different arguments people have made as to why it isn’t. And then I’ll share my opinion as well.
So as far as ClickBank being legit or not goes, one of the most common complaints you see is that ClickBank sort of sells a lot of products that aren’t too great. And I totally get where people are coming from, especially if you go back sort of a few years in the past, ClickBank’s quality control was famously fairly poor.
Basically, it was a case of if you were willing to sell a product and pay the entry fee, you could get on their platform and sell it. I think really the way around it was the refund policy, which I’ll talk about more in a minute. The problem with the sort of anything-goes approach of ClickBank was that there were some pretty average products put on the platform and yet buyers have been burned. And affiliates were burned as well because affiliates would promote these average products. Often on the basis of the fact that they had very fancy promotional materials and they looked good and actually it turned out they were junk and the buyer would be unhappy and they’d request a refund and the vendors would sometimes try and be noncompliant with the refund terms and all sorts of stuff like that.
So there is definitely an issue there. I think it’s become less of an issue over time. And I think ClickBank have really put a lot of efforts into improving the quality of the products that are on there. Certainly compared to the early days. I mean, there’s still some stuff that gets through the cracks but generally, I think the quality is better. Probably where they do themselves the biggest disservices is allowing some of these, I guess we’d say sort of quack medical products to be sold. There’s a lot of medical info products on there that probably shouldn’t be sold simply because of what they’re trying to claim. But that’s probably going to be quite a contentious statement, and I expect I’ll get some flak for that. But the thing you’ve got to bear in mind with ClickBank, of course, and whether or not they’re legit, is that they are simply providing a marketplace service.
It’s kind of like eBay or Trade Me for me here in New Zealand. All eBay and Trade Me are doing is providing a platform. And some of the people who sell on those platforms and some of the people who buy on those platforms will be bad people. Most people will be good and most good people are selling good products, and most good customers are buying not just to consume something and then demand a refund. So it’s quite an interesting one really.
I think ClickBank perhaps cops a little bit too much flak here. I think there have actually tried to improve the quality of their platform over time. And I do honestly believe that with something like ClickBank, there’s an element of sort of let the buyer beware. This is especially the case in make money online niche people will come along and they’ll say, “Oh, I bought this thing that promised I’d make a million dollars overnight and now I didn’t.”
Now, maybe you can argue that ClickBank shouldn’t allow the sale of those kinds of products at all, but people should be wary of what they’re buying. So I think there’s an element of ClickBank’s responsibility there. There’s an element of buyer and seller responsibility there as well. But as far as providing a functional working platform goes, they do an excellent job at that. So I don’t really think they can cop too much flak there, to be honest.
The next point that ClickBank tends to get some heat from is with regards to affiliates and vendors and the refund policy. So ClickBank basically makes a vendor offer, I should say, a 60-day money back guarantee on any products sold. So I can buy something today, I can consume all the information out of that product today. I can wait pretty much 59 days and then request a refund. And yeah, sure, the vendor is allowed to challenge that in the sense that they’re allowed to try and convince me to stay and not refund the product if they so wish. But ultimately, ClickBank will overrule there and you’ll get, the customer will get their refund.
And if for some bizarre reason they don’t well then they’ll just issue a chargeback anyway and ClickBank’s probably going to side with the customer every time. And this has caused some issues for vendors and affiliates alike. The vendors and affiliates, the problem is you can make a sale, sort of think the money’s in the bank, and then weeks later, nearly a couple of months later, get a refund. And if you’re not doing a huge volume of sales as an affiliate or a vendor or this can be quite harmful, especially if you sell high-value products.
I’ve made some good affiliate commission selling a couple of really high ticket items on ClickBank. But I’ve had sales where I thought, “Wow, I’ve done really well out of this.” And then, yeah, 58 days later a refund request comes through and it just wipes out your results for that weekend. It is quite frustrating. And I think arguments for ClickBank not being legit, some of it’s come from there.
It’s an interesting one because without the refund policy, I suspect ClickBank may have struggled a bit simply because otherwise there’d be a lot of chargebacks going on due to the nature of some of the product categories they are sort of famous for, especially make money online and dating and health and those kinds of things. So it’s kind of like a damned if you do damned if you don’t from ClickBank’s perspective.
But from the vendor and affiliates perspective, I know that that long refund window can cause some real challenges. And the part of the problem as well, especially in the make money online niche, is that there are people who are serial refunders. They’ll buy everything. Anything that comes out, they’ll buy it, especially if it’s an info product because they know they can save it all to their hard drive. Or if it’s an online course, they can rip all the videos and copy and paste all the content and then they just ask for a refund and they can just come back and buy more and more products. And there are some pretty unscrupulous people who out there who will do that. I mean, if you have a genuine problem with a product if you’re not satisfied that ensure you should try and get a refund.
And from a vendor’s perspective, you’ve got to remember that your net marginal cost of serving each customer is not great. You build the product and then you can sell it multiple times. But the problem is from a customer’s perspective if you do have a legitimate complaint with a product that is one thing, but sort of coming along and just being a serial refunders not good either.
And really then the only other thing to cover as to whether or not ClickBank is legit, is probably from the affiliate’s perspective and issues around is ClickBank’s tracking accurate? Are they shaving commissions or anything like that? And commission shaving is something I’m not too clued up on, to be brutally honest. I know it does go on. And for example, a lot of CPA affiliate networks, especially some of the more fringe ones, they’ll peel off traffic that should be yours and make money from it.
My experience is ClickBank has been great payers. I don’t think they have a dodgy tracking system. I have no reason to believe they do. I know that some vendors will do things that are a bit unethical, they’ll put a newsletter pop up on the homepage so you drive traffic through your affiliate link and then use later optin pops up or a special discount and a lead puts their email address in and then the next communication they get the cookies overridden. And next thing you know, you don’t get a commission, you’ve just been basically putting in effort for free to build their list.
There’s nothing wrong with that approach if you know that’s what’s happening and if you’re getting rewarded for it. So there are products out there where really what the affiliates are doing is basically earning a commission to get people signed up to a list where then the vendor’s going to go and up-sell multiple times.
Nothing wrong with that as long as it’s an honestly disclosed process or at least very, very clear what’s going on. It’s when it’s not being disclosed that it’s a problem. But look, in conclusion, is ClickBank legit? I think it is. They provide a platform that works. They provide a platform that has been consistent in terms of service for quite some time now. And I don’t think it’s going away anytime soon.
It’s not the most sophisticated platform, to be honest. If you don’t need affiliates as a vendor, you’re probably better off looking elsewhere. But certainly, they do work hard at sort of developing their platform. And I don’t think from a platform perspective, anyone can convince me that ClickBank isn’t legit. Where the issues tend to come is the fact that they have, especially in the past, allowed products onto the platform that just aren’t what they claim to be.
Make money online is a classic example, is a lot of hyped up just crap products basically that get pushed by people because the commissions are huge and the guy selling the stuff aren’t dumb, they know that they might get a 20, 30% refund rate, maybe even higher, but as long as some people aren’t refunding, they’re making bank because the selling the course for two, three, 400 bucks.
I don’t think though that’s ClickBank’s fault. Maybe they could do a better job of screening products. I think they have actually tried to put effort into that anyway, but certainly, that’s more of an issue of unscrupulous vendors and the buyer does need to be aware. And it’s part of the reason I started my Reviews Boss Website was to review these kinds of products and say, “Hey, look, this is good or this is just junk. And people are just pushing it because they think they’re going to get a good affiliate commission.” But as far as platform goes, ClickBank is legit. Really, issues come from product’s being sold that aren’t really what they claim or aren’t as good as they’re made out to be, usually that’s affiliates hyping things up because they want to try and jack some commissions and the other issue really is that refund period.