Marketing Madness

Affiliates Revolt Against Clickbank?

The FTC made it clear this year that they were not going to take crap, according to confidential insiders in the industry, it was made clear to clickbank that they needed to take notice of the FTC and make changes.  We reported last month that Clickbank was under pressure from the FTC for the “make money” crowd of offers, and because of that changes their Clickbank Guidelines. Since then many affiliates and executives in the industry have taken notice and been talking about the issues with Clickbank in general, and what issues they have been facing.

[pullquote]What are the Issues with Clickbank?
Scammy Offers
Terrible Refund Rate
Horrible Customer Service[/pullquote]

One DigitalPoint poster recently wrote about clickbank, “I am starting to dislike Clickbank because most of the products are just useless….affiliates are out there learning how to lie and cheat people…”  Users replied with comments like ” Yup, most digital products promising money are hyped up scams,” and “Always promote products you believe in. If affiliates take a strong stand against those low quality products, they will disappear automatically. Unfortunately that is not happening.” Other message boards on the net and blog articles have started to pop up, posing the same questions and problems. This got me thinking, so I asked affiliates what issues they had with ClickBank and why they  stopped working with Clickbank.

1)      Scammy Offers.  More and more affiliates are realizing that they could be held liable for the Scammy offers, and worse when it comes to the “affiliate business” or “make money” offers they do not like scamming their fellow affiliates. More and more affiliates see that long term commitment to affiliates will generate better business.

2)      Terrible Chargeback and Refund Rates. While it’s great that Clickbank offers a refund policy on all offers, many affiliates said this was becoming a huge issue. As more and more of these offers were being promoted, more and more of the people who purchase these products know that they can test the product out for 30 days and if they don’t like it, or can’t figure how to use it, they can get a full refund. This created issues where they would promote a product for 30 days, seem to generate significant money, and then suddenly get refunds coming in on the last few days of the period.

3)      Horrible Customer Service. Perhaps one the biggest complaints from Affiliates were that Clickbank customer service is horrendous. They do not really answer questions well, and often it takes days to get an answer. On the chargeback side, they will not reveal any information about the refunds or chargebacks, and why there were refunds.  In some cases, vendors stopped supporting a product, then chargebacks were through the roof – affiliates felt that they should have some recourse against the vendor for costing them money. Clickbank’s policy is not to reveal the name of the vendor, or contact information.

Is Clickbank losing its Mojo, or is this just another cycle in any business with up and downs?  What are your experiences with Clickbank lately?

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Pace Lattin

Pace Lattin is one of the top experts in interactive advertising, affiliate marketing. Pace Lattin is known for his dedication to ethics in marketing, and focus on compliance and fraud in the industry, and has written numerous articles for publications from MediaPost, ClickZ, ADOTAS and his own blogs.

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  1. Why doesn’t anyone talk about the blacklisting of chronic refunder’s by ClickBank? Why doesn’t anyone talk about how the scammy offers have been eliminated by their new compliance guidelines? The truth is that the average refund rate for a vendor on ClickBank is less than 10% for all categories besides IM.

    Clearly a biased article. Quit being a ClickBank hater… I’ve been an affiliate with ClickBank for 4 years and make a very good living from it. With over 25, active affiliates, ClickBank is going to have some complaints. If you don’t like it go somewhere, else and promote. What do you want from ClickBank’s customer service anyways? They do the right thing for the customer and affiliate’s who don’t like that can go somewhere else. I don’t think ClickBank wants your shady marketing practices anyways….

    Word to the wise, don’t be so biased that you ignore all facts and reality. FYI – ClickBank is an industry leader. They aren’t going anywhere. Look at Plimus who just got bought out. Options are starting to dwindle. ClickBank is a great place to be!

    1. I agree completely and 100% with you. The headline of this article is sensational and obviously written just to get some traffic.

      ClickBank isn’t going anywhere, good grief.

      1. There’s SOME substance to SOME of this. If you don’t look properly are the gravity of a product, you may as well be promoting a low quality product. And it would really suck if you sold, say, a couple hundred sales, and you had to give a lot of it back…

  2. Comment got cut off. I typed “over 25,000 active affiliates” but it only showed 25,

  3. “The truth is that the average refund rate for a vendor on ClickBank is less than 10% for all categories besides IM.”

    I have to admit that is an amazing quote, you are basically saying: “Average refunds are less than 10% except the category that generates the most money for CB and has the most complaints and issues.”

    ‘Why doesn’t anyone talk about how the scammy offers have been eliminated by their new compliance guidelines?”
    That is what the article is about, and the previous article that was mentioned is talking about.

  4. I’m not a big earner from ClickBank so I might not have enough data but as mentioned in the comments, products other than IM products have a very low refund rate. I think the IM products refund rate is high because they offers shady products and expect to make money from them.

  5. What else I found really shady is that they started showing the “advertisement” after you login to your account because most of the times the word “advertisement” isnt even shown clearly. In fact in starting, they were not showing the word ad/advertisement at all. It looks like Clickbank simply shows the ads of the top offers, either they have some relationship with the vendors or they simply setup fake affiliate accounts and then show ads. So if they make 1k sales, it will show as some affiliate made these sales and vendor will end up paying $xxxxx which will directly go in the clickbank pocket. Perfectly legal unless someone can actually prove it, or if FTC really gets into the details of this.

    If you take a look at the IM offer, tell me honestly, do you really think any of the offer is legit? A kid is riding his ferrari with hot girls is giving away his goldmine treasure which generated $xxx,xxxx for him in the last X days working only X hours for only $xx? Most of the offers in this category, are scam, which generates most of the revenue for the clickbank.

    But I am sure, they arent going anywhere, they will simply get more compliant, thats all.

      1. Unfortunately, this is usually the case and although some may get a refund from this “kid” the majority of buyers won’t bother going through the hassle so it just becomes a numbers game..

  6. Yes your always going to have a refund rate, simply due to a loss of communication and simple fact that the intended traffic needed for the product your promoting is not being received

    Marketers need to think more like marketers, yes clickbank offers and clearly points out to there buyers they can get a refund

    So counteract that by giving away something to the buyer and then making sure at the time that they would possibly opt to get there refund – you hit them with something that you didn’t say on the sales page – that makes them have to go over the point when they could opt for there refund.

  7. The reason refund rates are so high for IM products is that if you are in the affiliate marketing business, it doesn’t take much to spot a dud after you buy. (And that’s when you’ve been good enough to buy through the sellers link and not your own!)

  8. Some of the comments make me laugh!

    Everybody in this industry who is involved with CB knows exactly what is going on.
    There are great products on CB but most of them in the biz-op vertical promise things they cannot deliver.
    Since we are in a “copy cat industry” one launch copies from another that was supposed
    to be a huge success.

    It’s like in any other market: Products without value – and their creator – will disappear over time.

    FTC is just a booster for the process.

    1. In your opinion, does clickbank’s refund policy provide them with protection against possible FTC action? Are they just a processor, or are they more?

      1. If complaints continue to pile up CB will have to take action
        and do more than just adding their refund policy

  9. I have been online for sometime now, and have seen the amount of junk out there.

    You know the ones, the press the magic button, and make $30k overnight…….none of them work, as there is no such thing as a magic button guys, if there was, then we’d all be doing it.

    I think so much is made of the affiliate marketing problems today, as people who buy, simply have more intelligence now than I began four years back. As for Clickbank, their customer service does suck, and they need to sort tat out and fast.

    Sadly a lot of affiliates jump on these poor programs, as they are seduced by the make money niche. Sometimes they igonre that there are other markets out there, and just focus on that one, most never making any money, due to poor refund rates of bad programs.

    Let’s hope this trend does not last too much longer, and we can all make money from decent products in future.

    All The Best,


  10. It’s about time the FTC steps in. To be honest i have tried many Clickbank products over the years, and most of them ended up with me asking for a refund. I can’t even remember how many refunds i’ve done.
    I’m sick of these offers, and what mostly irritates me is the 1,2,3, and sometimes 4 upsells, after purchasing the initial offer.
    They hype up the offers on the sales page, but not once mention the many upsells afterwards.
    And these vendors showing huge clickbank balances, but what about the refunds, that’s never mentioned. If you have a brain, you will know that’s not the final figure, when the 30 day refund day comes around.
    I think i’ll stay with Linkshare, Linkconnector, Affiliatebot, CJ & Tradedoubler. and least they have real products, and not quick rich cr*&$#@y digital products.

  11. In January of this year I bout Auto Traffick HiJack by Jani G. It worked fin for about one and a half months. One day I start it up and get a pop up on my desktop that my license to run the program (fully paid for through ClickBank) had been disabled by the programmer because he and the promoter, Jani G, had a disagreement about proceeds from the sales. So because they don’t agree, they disable my paidfor product although the programmer said I could buy another version from a different site…yeh right!. I began a customer service request for a reactivation and finally a refund. About every four days I get an automated response that Tech Support has requested to close my ticket due to inactivity and I click back in and reopen it. They keep closing it and I keep reopening it. I guess I have no recourse but I will not give up. They just flat out refuse to answer me or help me in any way. I have since refused to buy any product that is handled through click bank. Buyer beware!

  12. This has been an issue for many years and something that has just become more and more of a problem. If clickbank simply hired some actual internet marketers to evaluate products BEFORE they were available, required references from the vendors etc the majority of these issues would all disappear. It comes down to a lack of due diligence on the part of clickbank and policies that are favored to the vendor and not to the affiliates who are the driving force of any affiliate network obviously. This is not only a problem with clickbank but also many cpa networks taking advantage of advertisers or simply not having the fraud checking and stringent affiliate approval process needed to ensure quality and longevity. I am the owner of ploose and we are known for having the most stringent policies and approval procedure. Any network or program too eager to grow sacrifice quality and their entire network or program in the long run due to a lack of quality control on not only the approvals process but also the traffic incoming daily.

  13. I know there are lots scam on internet. Recently I found lots of scam products from clickbank. There is credit crunch so people want to make quick money so they do quick cheap shit.

  14. So very true!

    Everything you say you nailed it! I am getting so sick and tired of all the BS, false actors, big productions, overhyped products that don’t produce anything.

    I actually wrote a post titled “This Aint Hollywood Boys” just dealing with the CB garbage! we have something in common!

  15. Some very good comments here, and I would like to see CB do more to protect the consumer from these scam artists, I have been involved in IM for almost a year now trying to figure out what and where to promote so I decided to put something together for IM’ers and the newbie’s to learn, guess what, I have not had a single sales returned, why? because I have not promised the world to them.

  16. I am a personal buyer of a lot of Clickbank products. Those that are marketed well and have support get into my inbox, and I’ve bought some of them. As an affiliate, I find a LOT of products that Do suck a lot. You HAVE to look at the gravity of the product.

    1. This is what everybody does, hence most of the time products with the highest gravity in the make money niche are those that are over-hyped & not living up the their promises.

      If you really want to be a serious marketer I truly recommend asking for a review copy – or buy the product for yourself to know what’s all about.

      Sounds time intensive but this way your customers will buy from you again and again because they know you recommend things you have tested yourself.

  17. I’ve had good results with many Clickbank products and then some others, for example, software programs, I ran into issues with one or two simply not working on my PC for whatever reason.

    Without a 30 day return policy, people would be completely out of luck in cases like that. With the cost of many applications averaging $100, a refund policy is a must just like most reputable businesses offer.

    In the end, it leads to higher trust and more sales.

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