Clickbank Products and Scams
I’ve written a bit about Clickbank products, and over time, I’m likely to write a lot more. Clickbank products are useful for affiliate marketing because many of them sell well and provide people who want to work online from home with commissions. In addition, many of the people who create Clickbank products often provide useful tools for their affiliates. If you search online for anything having to do with Clickbank products, you’ll often find the word “scam” in there somewhere. Are Clickbank products scams? If not, what’s the story?
The truth is that some Clickbank products are scams, and some are not. That seems obvious, but Clickbank is huge. In 2011, the site had nearly 50,000 products for sale. Any time you have that many products for sale anywhere, you’re going to find that some of them are good and some of them are not. That’s true at Clickbank and it’s equally true of Amazon or Wal-Mart. So yes, some Clickbank products are going to be scams. The company tries to weed them out and they do the best they can. Over the years, they’ve improved their checks on refund rates and products that have a lot of refunds tend to get deserved scrutiny. If the company then discovers that a product is dishonest or misleading, they’ll remove it from the marketplace. Still, no system is perfect, and some Clickbank products are going to be scams.
So how do scam Clickbank products make it there in the first place? A lot of that has to do with how Clickbank handles new products. The first time you create a product that you want to sell on the site, you have to submit it to them and their staff evaluates it. If they think it’s OK, you get the green light to sell that product, as well as any others you care to list on the site. Subsequent products submitted for sale at Clickbank are not looked over at all. You can list as many Clickbank products as you like and they don’t need approval from anyone.
This, understandably, is going to lead to some abuse, and the fact that it’s so easy to list Clickbank products for sale does tend to draw in some people who might have products that are less than honest. Still, painting all Clickbank products as scams is painting with a broad brush. I know of one site that regularly reviews moneymaking products and they typically list pros and cons for every product they review. If the item being reviewed is a Clickbank products, this particular reviewer will always list that fact as a negative.
Clickbank isn’t the only publisher for software and ebooks on the Internet; there are others, such as PayDotCom. These other publishers will also have their share of good products and bad ones. It’s not the publisher that’s to blame if someone creates a shady product and wants to offer it for sale; it’s the fault of the product’s creator and to a lesser extent, the affiliates who elect to promote it.
When you’re promoting a product as an affiliate, it’s incumbent upon you to exercise due diligence and determine if the product is worthwhile, if it’s worth the price the creator is asking for it, and if it’s worth promoting. Remember – if you have a Website or a mailing list and you’re using those tools to promote Clickbank products, people are going to remember where they found out about it, and if the product is a scam and they bought it through you, they are going to remember that, even if they complained to Clickbank and got their money back.
I’ve unsubscribed from a number of mailing lists over the years because the owners of those lists were constantly promoting every new product that came out, including the ones that were obvious scams. They didn’t care; they just wanted the commissions from the sales. Eventually, I’d unsubscribe, because I wasn’t getting anything from being on those mailing lists other than daily sales pitches for what I knew were terrible products.
So, how can you determine if particular Clickbank products are worth promoting? There are several ways to do that:
Buy them – If you buy it yourself, you’ll know what’s involved and you’ll also see the seller’s sales funnel. Is the product a standalone product, or is there an upsell? Is there more than one upsell? Will the product work by itself, or is the upsell essential to getting any value out of it?
Ask for a review copy – Often, sellers of Clickbank products will give their affiliates review copies of their products upon request. Not all sellers will do this, but it’s worth asking. It’s also worth asking about the sales funnel and upsells if the seller isn’t specific about them on the affiliates page. I often see pages for affiliates that describe the sales funnel in general terms and add “plus we have upsells.” Uh, OK. How many? How much? Are they essential or optional? I want to know these things, because my customers are going to want to know these things.
Find reviews online – If the product isn’t brand new, you might find honest reviews of the product on sites such as the Warrior Forum. Alternatively, you can search for “Product Name Review” in your favorite search engine, but be aware that many affiliates write glowing reviews about Clickbank products because they want to earn commissions, and not because they necessarily believe that the products are any good.
One other thing – because so many people are suspicious about Clickbank products in the make money online niche, lots of those who might be interested in purchasing Clickbank products will do searches for “product name scam”. They want to know if these products are any good and in order to attract the people who make those kinds of searches, many reviewers use the word “scam” in their reviews, even if they think the product is a good one. They’ll just say, “Is Product X a scam? No.”
To learn more about choosing good products to promote, whether with Clickbank or not, you should consider joining Wealthy Affiliate. This comprehensive training course is easy to follow, and even offers free Web hosting. You can even join Wealthy Affiliate for free.
In conclusion, before buying Clickbank products as a consumer or before promoting them as an affiliate, take the time to really find out if the product is any good. Then be honest about it. Your customers will be grateful.