UPDATE 2023 – This blog post was written back in 2011 at what I felt was the height of ClickBank corruption. Since then they have really managed to steer the ship in the right direction and I no longer feel the way I did back then. I’ve kept the post up for posterity but keep this in mind as you read it.
With every passing launch, it seems that the once widely respected marketplace for digital information products is sinking deeper and deeper into a dark immoral abyss.
I remember 4 years ago when I tried to submit one of my first products to Clickbank I got rejected. That product was and still is one of my best sellers and it has gone on to make me well into 6 figures and grown me a huge list. Its a very informative ebook about how to create long form sales letters. Naturally, it’s quite a bit out of date at this point since most of what we do is video but the free mini-course and tutorials still get me raving reviews to this day.
Would you believe that Clickbank refused to allow it in their marketplace because of the word “ASS”… they rejected me (the nerve) and when I called them they said that they could never list a product called KickAssSalesPages.com! I was furious, I went 2 years without using the Clickbank marketplace because I was so taken back that they would do that to me.
Today, I see Clickbank approving pages that use foul language in the sales videos, they allow images of Cocaine lines and drug paraphernalia, they approve of blatant lies and ridiculous refund rates. They even tolerate vendor scams like downgrading refund requests and gravity manipulation among many others.
The sad part is that they are a leader in our industry yet rather than setting a high standard they just continue to lower the bar with each passing launch. These Autotraffic Scams have gotten totally out of control. Many of these product creators boast in public about their deceptive sales pages and literally laugh all the way to the bank as Clickbank provides the platform for them to scam millions upon millions of dollars from unwitting entrepreneurs.
How long can it last? How much is enough? Well, rest assured that the Government will eventually step in… knowing the US government they’ll probably try to take control of Clickbank like they are with healthcare so they can further perpetuate the problem and make use of the money. (Don’t get me started)
In reality, it wasn’t long ago that the FTC stepped in and put some pretty stern policies in place for merchant accounts. The credit card companies bitched enough and they had their way with forced continuity, negative options and one click upsells. How long before the FTC steps in and forces Clickbank to take a good hard look at what they are empowering these crooks to do?
The sad part is that I like Clickbank, it’s a GREAT friggen service, and fills a big need for internet marketers. Unfortunately when the hammer comes down even the good guys will suffer because of the actions of a select group of scum bags. And let me make this clear… it’s THEIR fault, the scum bag marketers that produce unethical and immoral products that lie on their sales pages and fail to deliver. Sure Clickbank plays its role in empowering them and can step in if they want to, but the blame falls first on these unethical marketers NOT Clickbank.
These guys are even lying to each other now… the JV recruitment pages promise bonus prizes that they never deliver, and they often just arbitrarily list the names of other marketers that are “Onboard” when in reality they don’t even know them… I have been invited to a JV page many a time only to find upon arrival that I am already listed as “Onboard”!! Wow.
So where do we go from here? How do we protect ourselves from the scum bags? Well for one we stick together. We isolate the scum bags by NOT promoting them. This means that as marketers we will take responsibility for the actions we take and the products we endorse. YES, it means that you’ll actually REVIEW the product and demand to see the sales video BEFORE you agree to promote something or let them list you as “Onboard”.
It also means that we will be much more vigilant when buying products from other marketers, we should actually seek out reviews FIRST. We should investigate the marketers first and we should protect one another as a prudent colleague should.
Ultimately, we will start to fix our industry by individually adopting prudent practices in our own businesses. Set the bar high. Put your customers first. Create a list of business practices that are important to you, post it on your site and hold yourself to the task. I have begun to make these changes in my own business and I have created a service that will help clean up our industry with IMtrustworthy.com
In conclusion, I think we should ask “What can I do to make things better.” If every one of us did that, then the scum bags wouldn’t have a chance. What’s your opinion? I’d like to know.