Clickbank is one of the largest online digital products retailers. It is touted by many as the go-to place for internet marketers.
It provides a platform where you can find affiliate products to promote, as well as a place where you can sell your own products. If you use any kind of content on your websites, Clickbank can be one way of monetizing that content.
For example, if you are in the weight loss niche, you can head over to Clickbank to find digital weight loss products that would fit the content that you have on your site. That way, when someone purchases that weight loss product because of your recommendation, you earn a commission from Clickbank.
I have personally used Clickbank for a couple of years, mainly as an affiliate of the products there (but I also sold an information product there in another niche for a short period). I had received some cheques from Clickbank for these sales. However, I recently received a message that because of a refund that caused my Clickbank balance to go into the negative, Clickbank closed my account!
This is what you need to know. It is free to sign up for an account with Clickbank if you want to be an affiliate, but if you plan to use Clickbank to sell your own product, then you need to pay a $49.95 activation charge. So, because I had previously used CB to sell one of my products, I had paid that $49.95 activation charge.
This is what their website says:
“For vendors that want to sell their products through ClickBank, we charge a one-time $49.95 activation charge that must be paid upon approval of your first product. Please note that this amount is only charged once your product is approved, so if ClickBank does not accept it for any reason, you will not pay anything.”
I contacted CB to find out how this would affect me. I found out that because my account was closed, it means that if I want to open a new account with them to sell my information products, that I will have to pay another $49.95. However, if I just want to promote other people’s products as an affiliate, I just have to sign up for a free account.
So, based on my experience, I decided to provide you with the advantages and disadvantages of using Clickbank. These are all things to be aware of when deciding if using Clickbank is right for you. Many people often don’t read the small print or the terms of service that can be found at Clickbank’s site, and so may miss some of these details.
- Clickbank is good for affiliate marketers – You can find digital products on all sorts of topics there that you can promote, and earn a commission.
- You don’t have to create your own products – Related to the first point, you can make money promoting other people’s products, rather than worrying about creating your own product to sell.
- They do pay you your commissions – There have been problems with some companies who do not pay their affiliates for commissions earned. I have never heard of this being an issue with Clickbank.
- You have hundreds (probably thousands) of potential affiliates at your fingertips – If you create a digital product and plan to sell it, listing it on Clickbank will make your product known to SO many people – people who would never have known about you and your product if you had not listed it there.
- You don’t have to deal with collection of payments, having a payment processor, or refunds – Clickbank does it all for you, freeing up your time for more important things like being with your family and friends, etc.
- Big transaction charges – At the time of writing this, Clickbank takes 7.5% plus $1 for every transaction. But I guess to be fair to them, they need to make money too.
- Account is penalized for inactivity – This is the explanation that I found on Clickbank’s website:
“Accounts with a positive balance but no earnings for an extended period of time are considered dormant. Dormant accounts are subject to a fee. Dormant accounts are subject to a charge of $1 per pay period after 90 days of no earnings, $5 per pay period after 180 days of no earnings, and $50 per pay period after 365 days of no earnings.”
So, as far as I see it, if you are a super affiliate, you don’t have to worry about this. However, if you make the occasional sale, this is important to consider.
- Customer distribution requirement – In my current situation of having had my account closed down, this is my biggest pet peeve right now. I contacted Clickbank, and they said that once I create my new account, that I will need to meet the following criteria AGAIN (I did it once before, but I will have to do it again).
This is what the customer distribution requirement is, as taken from their website: (https://accounts.clickbank.com/accounting.html#top)
“ClickBank will withhold payment of any account balance until the following criteria is met:
- Sales made with 5 or more different credit card numbers; and,
- Sales made with two different payment methods (either Visa, MasterCard, PayPal or European Direct Debit(ELV)). Note: PayPal purchases do not count toward the minimum 5 different credit card numbers.
This requirement is in place to help prevent Affiliates from abusing the ClickBank Affiliate program by using their accounts for the sole purpose of fraudulently collecting rebates and/or discounts on their own purchases.
Once you have met the Customer Distribution Requirement, your account will begin issuing payments normally, in accordance with our Accounting Policy, beginning on the next payment issuing date.”
Once again, you just need to be aware of this, as it can definitely hold up payments (if you ever get paid out at all). Unfortunately, I have heard of people who never met the criteria, and therefore never got paid. However, I have also heard that if you nicely ask Clickbank, they will lift these restrictions allowing you to get paid.
- If your account goes into a negative balance, your account will be closed – This is what I already described above, as it’s what happened to me.
One last thing that is important to know, but is not necessarily a disadvantage or advantage. It’s just something to be aware of if you’re not using direct deposit.
As taken from Clickbank’s site: “ClickBank checks are VOID after 90 days from the date of issue. Please present your checks to your financial institution promptly. If you present a check after the 90 days your bank may refuse the check. We can issue a new check only if the stale check is in our possession.”
To sum things up, I have to admit that I was annoyed initially. However, I perhaps could have saved myself some frustrations had I taken the time to understand how Clickbank worked before I signed up there. I am going to sign up again, but this time I will be wiser and more aware!
I hope that by sharing my story, that you can be more aware than I was. So if you are going to be a super affiliate/seller at Clickbank (which many are), you probably have nothing to worry about. However, if you are only going to make the occasional sale and Clickbank products are not your main focus of promotion, then Clickbank may not be the right option for you.
What about you? What has your experience been with Clickbank?