How does Clickbank work?

Many bloggers use Clickbank both to sell other people’s products and to promote their own. I don’t have statistics to back this up, but I suspect Clickbank is the market leader in terms of affiliate programs, based on the number of bloggers and marketers who use the service.

Clickbank_Logo

The site and features are pretty impressive, but there are some drawbacks, which we’ll come to later, but first let’s have a look at how it works:

As an affiliate

Affiliate

You can join Clickbank as an affiliate free of charge. A lot of people will come to Clickbank via a specific product that they have decided to promote – you might have been asked by another blogger to sell their products and they will send you to Clickbank to sign up. Once you’re a member, you can then offer any of the products available via Clickbank to your readers. They have a terrific “Marketplace” where you can search for or browse products to sell. Typically the commission are 50% or more, so there’s some good money to be earned.

The process is very simple – for each product you want to sell, you create a “Hop-link” to the product’s sales page, which then attaches a cookie to the reader’s browser, so that when they visit the page, Clickbank records that the visitor has come from you. If they subsequently buy, you are awarded your commission! You can put a post up offering a Clickbank product within minutes, so it’s very, very fast and you don’t need to think about graphics or sales pages or anything else.

The range of stuff in the market place is huge, and you can find something to suit most niches. With each product you can view the sales, or pitch page, see the price, see how much commission you can make and check the “Gravity” score. This is an index of how well the product is doing, the higher the number, the more successful it has been.

Everything is automatic, so the buyer clicks the “Buy now” button, they complete their payment, receive the product and your commission gets credited to your account, with the balance going to the person who created it!

Pros

  • Free to join as an affiliate
  • Huge range of products to sell
  • Very easy to create a hoplink and start selling

Cons

  • Clickbank insist on a cheque payment for first few payments, so you wait for your commission
  • If there is no account activity for a period, they deduct a dollar a month from your account, which can be an issue for new bloggers
  • There is a ridiculously complicated requirement that payment is made to your account with 5 different credit cards before the first payment is released.

As a seller

Market_Place

Selling your own products through Clickbank is a little more complicated. They have a pretty detailed approval process, which takes up to five days, but it does ensure that you’ve done everything correctly. There is also a one time activation fee of $49.95 for your first product, and Clickbank take a commission of 7.5% plus a dollar from every sale you make.

But there are two huge advantages to using Clickbank. First of all, commissions for affiliates selling your product are automatically calculated and credited to them, and secondly your product will appear in their market place. Internet marketers from all over the world will see it and may well offer it. To use a personal example my Twitter book was picked up in the market place by quite a few people and sold in good numbers. These were people I don’t know and have never met, but they were out there earning me money!

Pros

  • Market place is an amazing way to get exposure for your products to people you would never “meet”
  • The automation is brilliant – everything is done for you and decent stats are provided as well
  • You have the reassurance that Clickbank checks your sales page and process to make sure that everything is right

Cons

  • Getting your first product out there is expensive
  • The product approval process takes too long (5 working days)
  • For new bloggers, it takes too long to get your money

Summary

So much of what Clickbank does is brilliant, but there are some big downsides for a new blogger. To pay out $50 to get your first E Book out there is hard, and means it will take some time to start to make a profit. But the biggest pitfall is the time it takes to get your first payment, and the fact that it has to come to you as a cheque. I waited months, with over $100 owing to me before I’d met what they term the “Customer distribution requirement.” None of these are issues once you’re running with them, and they will eventually start to pay by direct bank transfer, but for a start up, when you need every penny, there are better options. We’ll explore some in the coming days.

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You may also enjoy:

1/ How to self publish your book

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Clickbank

Graham's picture

I got my first clickbank cheque today from the States. Not only did it take ages to get here but now i need to open a dollar account, deposit the cheque and wait while the Spanish banking system sends it back to the States to get Wells Fargo verified and stuff so another 3 months before it comes into my account.

Paypal will be the method of payment in the future i think

Graham's last blog post... Welcome to Teach Your Child To Read

I went through the same

I went through the same process Graham - very frustrating!

The upside is that after a few cheques Clickbank will pay direct into your Spanish account. And if you're going to promote the work of other bloggers you almost have to use them from time to time.

But I really wish they would get with Paypal!

Mike

Clickbank Newbie

Josh Hanagarne's picture

Hey Mike. I just stumbled into Clickbank the other day and was a little intimidated. You've done a great breakdown here that my brief attention span was able to handle. Bravo to you, sir!

Is there anything you wish you'd known right at the beginning of your Clickbank experience that you didn't find out until later?

Josh Hanagarne's last blog post... Poll: What Was Your Worst Job?

Good to see you here Josh. I

Good to see you here Josh. I think the only thing I wish I'd thought through in the beginning was the length of time I had to wait to get some cash! But that probably comes out in the post!

Mike

I Love Clickbank

Doug Dillard's picture

Hi Mike... really good post explaining the pros and cons of Clickbank. I have been on both sides (selling my own products & promoting other's products) for many years and love Clickbank. They are the perfect solution for selling digitally downloadable products for sure. PayDotCom is another good choice as well.

Doug Dillard's last blog post... Beta Testing New Traffic Monetization Program

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