Professional marketers always try to have multiple sources of income. This diversification is achieved by many means, from signing software reseller agreements to working freelance online. Affiliate marketing is a money-earning method that many of them turn to quickly because it doesn't require a lot of actual work — at least not in the eight-hour-workday sense.
Even people who aren’t professional marketers by day consider going into affiliate work. This sector is booming — according to the Hosting Tribunal, the industry is set to grow by 10% in just a few short years!
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Finding the right affiliate network to join is not an easy job, though. Most people who have dabbled in affiliate marketing would attest to the fact that there are many fraudulent companies out there, both as networks and vendors.
ClickBank is an interesting example because it is one of the oldest affiliate networks on the Internet. The question is —- can it fulfill its promises? And is it legitimate? We'll give you an answer in detail throughout our ClickBank review.
Passive income is a concept that divides most people in the finance circles, from amateurs to experts. It’s based on two simple premises:
Earning a decent amount of money
Not actively working in a full-time job
At first glance, these are mutually exclusive thoughts. That’s why many consider passive income a pipe dream not worth chasing. Those enthusiastic about the notion often misunderstand what it means as well.
We all have that one friend that's always coming up with new schemes to get rich quickly without doing any work. Passive income is not free money, so they always fail. Real passive income plans don’t involve cheating, scamming, or simply laying back and not doing anything.
It’s important to note that passive income is an attainable goal — Forbes and other respectable publications say as much. What it isn’t is free money for zero work. In reality, it’s just earnings that you receive for work you’ve completed beforehand. The royalties that artists receive for songs, films, and novels fall into this category.
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There are other options, such as earning a passive income through affiliate marketing. Just like with every other type of passive income, you put in the work first and relax later. It’s not effortless by any stretch of the imagination. That’s true regardless of whether you opt for the ClickBank marketplace or try another affiliate network — the most tireless marketers always win.
Affiliate marketing rests on a fundamentally simple set of interactions. Certain people manufacture goods or services and cooperate with others that promote these online. The promoters receive a share of purchases that come through them, while the producer of the products earns the majority. There are exceptions to this, with commissions going as high as 75% — but this is an exception, not the rule.
Revenue sharing rests at the core of the affiliate marketing experience. It's essential for everyone involved to extract a satisfactory amount of value from the exchange. Affiliate marketing is an instrumental concept with the right execution — bringing earnings to all parties involved.
Plenty of product manufacturers come up with innovative or high-quality goods, but fail to capitalize on their expertise due to a lack of marketing experience. Affiliate marketers step in and fill the void by doing all of the advertising and marketing. The end-user benefits from affiliate marketing as well, by receiving access to a broader pool of products than they otherwise could as consumers. We can separate these distinct parties in any affiliate marketing chain:
The entrepreneurs or companies that produce goods and services are the backbones of the affiliate marketing chain. No marketing industry could exist without an object of sale.
It's important to note that "objects" and "products" are just the closest generalization — these aren't necessarily material things, especially not on the Internet. Many affiliate marketers make a living by reselling digital products. Some affiliate networks support only a particular niche, while others such as ClickBank support both.
Affiliates are the promoters of the products mentioned above — the lynchpin connecting vendors and consumers. There are two kinds of affiliates:
Individuals — entrepreneurial members who want to earn an individual commission
Affiliate firms — companies that do large-scale affiliate marketing work
This isn't a strict divide — for example, a lot of companies whose primary job isn't affiliate marketing have an affiliate department. Marketing agencies that focus on more creative work also tend to do some affiliate work, mostly to boost their portfolio.
They sell niche products like various software solutions for digital marketing. They rarely design and code their software platforms, though. It's usually rebranded white label products that they’re selling, but it’s still affiliate work with a set of tasks:
Awareness — showcasing a product to the right target audience
Solutions — highlighting an issue common for the target audience and presenting the product as the solution
Sales pitch — presenting an offer to leads and earning a commission through a conversion
Once you start learning about the world of affiliate marketing, there’s one name that will keep popping up — ClickBank.
The affiliate marketing industry predates the Internet, but ClickBank was one of the first companies that did it online back in 1998. The company's sustained success can be attributed to its relatively simple pitch: it gives you the logistical support needed to obtain a passive income as an affiliate or a marketing network to rely on as a vendor.
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In 2020, the online affiliate marketing industry is far more crowded, with plenty of companies vying for attention. ClickBank still manages to stand out because:
It has access to consumers in more than 190 countries
It is one of the largest online resellers in North America
It has hundreds of thousands of members
All of this illustrates a crucial fact — there are no legitimacy concerns with ClickBank. It is a legit affiliate marketing company, and it pays out handsomely to the most avid marketers. A wide variety of vendors turn to ClickBank for the sale of digital products, services, and physical items.
The point of these statistics is to illustrate an important fact — ClickBanks is a legitimate company, and you can make money there. Vendors of all kinds use this network for advertising their physical and digital products of all kinds.
ClickBank is popular because it makes passive income a real possibility. You can continue to earn money long after you’ve put in the work, and being an affiliate isn’t that difficult for those with reseller marketing experience.
Affiliate work that brings a long-term passive income
Pitching products to a global audience without relying on their marketing
One of the first questions that are posed about any affiliate marketing network would be — is it a scam?
ClickBank is a legitimate business.
The fact that it has existed in the affiliate industry for more than two decades shows that. It has its upsides and its downsides, and ClickBank is far from perfect, but it is not a fraudulent enterprise.
The most tangible benefits to working with ClickBank are:
Wide product selection
The most significant benefit of ClickBank is its inherent ease of use. Marketers and vendors without much tech-savviness can use the platform without a huge hassle. The registration process is simple, requiring only some necessary information and an Internet browser.
The barrier of entry on the platform is non-existent, at least for affiliate marketers. Anyone can become a ClickBank affiliate member for free, as there are no sign-up fees.
It is also more versatile than most other affiliate networks. The competing systems tend to separate affiliates and vendors, making you choose which kind of account you want to register in the beginning. ClickBank allows you to be both — you can put up your products for sale and help market what others have created.
Affiliates also appreciate the wide variety of product categories present on ClickBank. Thousands of vendors and brands offer many different products, ensuring there is something for every niche marketer.
None of the above would matter if ClickBank didn't also provide one final benefit — attractive commissions. There are no fixed commissions on the platform level, and they depend on the specific vendor. The earnings can be quite high, sometimes reaching 75% for every sale. It's important to note that the payout times are far shorter than on competing affiliate networks.
Most ClickBank marketers are satisfied with what the platform has to offer. There are still some issues that consistently crop up, and we’d be remiss not mentioning them:
Laggy customer service
Inactive account penalties
Shoddy products and vendors
The biggest issue about ClickBank isn’t directly tied to marketers, but the end consumer. The Better Business Bureau has recorded several instances where the ClickBank customer service department did not respond to consumer queries adequately, or at all. Most of the issues had been related to the shipping of physical products.
This kind of problem may not seem to impact the marketers who work on ClickBank, but it does. Affiliate marketing often relies on the personalized brands of the affiliates, who promote products under their name.
The leads that convert are going to remember you as someone who has sold them an item they did not receive; they don’t care that you didn’t have anything to do with shipping. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a software reseller or someone selling cooking books — the product sticks to your brand.
Connecting your brand to low-quality affiliate networks can bring down your value over the long term. That’s not the case with ClickBank, as it is a bona fide affiliate network — but their chronic mishandling of customer satisfaction is something to consider too.
Another problem with ClickBank is that it penalizes inactive accounts. If you don't make a sale for a while, ClickBank will start progressively charging your account. This was designed to force inactive marketers off the network and motivate others.
ClickBank Dormancy Penalties
Time Without Sales
$1 every day
$5 every day
$50 every day
ClickBank does offer a broader array of niches, categories, and products than other affiliate networks. This also has its downsides — for instance, a large portion of the products are from shoddy junk vendors. They're insanely challenging to sell while remaining at least partially honest to the consumers and not damaging your brand.
The large number of active marketers also means that high-quality products will be competed for by plenty of your peers. That's something many affiliates who have left the ClickBank network cite as a significant issue. Others quote it as a point of pride and a sign of a vibrant affiliate market — your point of view on this will depend on whether you're successful or not.
Starting as an affiliate marketer on ClickBank is more comfortable than on most similar networks for one simple reason — it's free.
As an affiliate, you do not have to pay any kind of registration fee. You only need to:
Enable cookies in your browser
Be located in a country that supports ClickBank
Have a social security number or a business tax ID if you’re in the United States
There are only a couple of steps required to enable browser cookies. The specifics differ slightly from browser to browser. For Google Chrome, the process is:
Enter the Settings screen
Find “Site Settings”
Navigate to the “Cookies” section and toggle them on
If you want to register as a vendor or become one as a former affiliate, the situation is somewhat different. The ClickBank platform is not free for vendors, but it doesn't have a monthly subscription either. There is only a one-time activation fee for each account. If you are an existing vendor and want to register another account, you get a discount.
ClickBank Vendor Prices
Registration of a first account
Registering consecutive accounts
ClickBank members have access to a variety of payment methods for their commissions:
You choose a payment method while registering your account, but this is subject to modification later on. While you may change your payment methods at a later date, the change does not come into effect momentarily. You will begin receiving funds via the new payment method a business week after requesting the change.
The point of this is to protect ClickBank affiliates from email fraud and account theft. For the same reason, changing any account details means not being able to switch payment methods for a week.
Payoneer is a relatively new addition as a payment method. It’s a money transfer service that works in most ClickBank-supported countries. Creating a Payoneer account requires you to have a bank account in your country of residence, but you can also use a Payoneer Mastercard for payments.
ClickBank also utilizes wire transfers for commission payments. Wire transfers are the default method in all areas in which ClickBank does not support bank deposits. This payment method takes seven days to process at most.
There are plenty of other affiliate networks besides ClickBank in 2020. Some advertising platforms have more affiliates and a more significant reach. Many of them are good enough to attract more than a few vendors and marketers.
One thing all of these networks have in common is that none of them can guarantee success to affiliates with any degree of certainty. ClickBank is a marketplace, first and foremost. Many members compete here, and those that have the most expertise and the willingness to work will earn the highest passive income later on.
ClickBank is one of the most renowned networks for affiliate marketers. It is not a scam, and it has been in operation for two decades. There are disgruntled former affiliates who may claim otherwise, but the business is objectively legal and legitimate. Many marketers fail to find the success they seek here, but it is through no fault of the platform.
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