Clickbank Cracking Down on Deceptive Practices

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I like Clickbank.

Really I do.

It may host a number of programs that I’d deem scam worthy, but there’s one aspect of Clickbank that really sets it apart from other payment processors. And that is their 60-Day no questions asked guaranteed refund policy. If you order something from Clickbank and it falls short of what was promised, request a refund. They’ll give you one and for that alone, they’ve always had a special place in my heart.

Well, Clickbank has decided to take it one step further and is going to be actively monitoring sales pages for unethical practices. Yes, really. They sent out an email last week warning advertisers to adhere to FTC guidelines and had a few rules of their own thrown into the mix. This is really exciting.

The Clickbank Crackdown

Paul from WorkAtHomeTruth has posted a copy of the Clickbank letter on his website…

“Recently we’ve received a few client questions about issues affecting our industry, such as the FTC’s recent case against Ivy Capital and other “work from home” business opportunities. Specifically, some of you wanted to know how these issues might affect ClickBank vendors, and what we’re doing to address them.

First, please know that ClickBank appreciates the hard work and skill that our vendors put into developing quality products and effective sales messaging that appeals to customers. We want to do everything we can to support your efforts and ensure your products convert as well as possible, while also protecting you from the possibility of getting on the wrong side of the FTC.

We wanted to share some of the most important guidelines to keep in mind when creating your Pitch Page, upsells and other sales material. To ensure that ClickBank vendors stay in good standing with the FTC, we will apply these guidelines when approving new products and working with existing vendors.

Most importantly, please do not significantly alter your Pitch Page after approval. We recognize that some changes are necessary for testing, but if you need to make significant changes to your page (such as earnings claims or images, sales messaging or video content), please notify your Account Manager so we can ensure the new page is also in compliance.

For Internet Marketing products: Per the new FTC information, sales material shouldn’t create the impression that customers can easily earn money without putting in much work, and should give specific ideas of how they’ll earn the money (e.g., content marketing, video marketing, social media, etc). Sales pages should also not overstate how much can realistically be made, or imply that earnings are guaranteed.

The FTC also strongly discourages false urgency/scarcity messaging (for example, “Only 3 copies left!”) when there is no actual scarcity. Closing the doors to new customers after a specified amount of time and reopening later is fine.

Any Pitch Page references to ClickBank sales stats need to be verifiable by ClickBank, and need to have been earned by the methods being promoted. For example, selling an affiliate training product using sales snapshots from a vendor-only account is not allowed.

For vendors using video Pitch Pages, if a Buy Now button appears during the course of the video, the price must appear as well. We also request that vendors provide transcripts of video sales letters when submitting a product for approval.

For upsells, the initial product purchased must be valuable and usable on its own, without requiring the purchase of the upsell offers. Customers must also be able to immediately access their original purchase upon completion of their order, before being presented with upsell offers. An access link may be placed on the first upsell offer page, but the link must be very clear and conspicuous (i.e., not hidden or in a small font). We highly recommend that vendors use ClickBank’s official upsell flows to present upsell offers to customers.

Please submit product approval requests at least several days before your launch, so that ClickBank has time to thoroughly review the offer and request changes if necessary. This is especially the case for products with video sales letters, since making changes to these can take time. We may not be able to accommodate last-minute requests.

To prevent customer complaints, vendors should not close refund request tickets or switch tickets from Refund to Tech Support more than once, and the latter should only be used when actually trying to help the customer and save the sale.

We hope this list helps make our guidelines clear. If you have questions about any of these items, please feel free to ask your Account Manager and we’ll be happy to discuss them with you. We also want to reinforce that our mission is to make you successful, while at the same time ensuring our industry is on a strong foundation that will last long into the future. Thank you for your valuable work, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with you!”

I bolded two of the clauses I thought were the most important.

First, they’re starting to put an end to that “HURRY THERE ARE ONLY 3 2 1 COPIES OF THIS DIGITAL PIECE OF INFORMATION” crap that you see on almost every sales page. Digital scarcity is BS. How can you run out of something that could be infinitely duplicated? Well, you can’t and Clickbank is finally going to put an end to this.

Second, and more importantly, they’re coming down hard on products that work only after you purchase hundreds of dollars in upsells.

I’ve been warning against these types of sales pages a lot recently. They hook you in with offers to make hundreds of thousands of dollars at the push of a button and the product is dirt cheap. Problem is, the product is crap and in order to make it work you have to spend tons of money in upsells on extra tools or support. I’m thrilled to hear Clickbank is trying to put an end to this practice.

I imagine there are going to be quite a few people who leave Clickbank now that they’re starting to put an end to these dishonest practices. Clickbank will definitely take a hit in business but they’re putting the interests of the consumer first and for that, they’ll continue to be my favorite payment processing website.

I <3 Clickbank.

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4 Comments

  1. I used to wonder how it was that Clickbank could approve they kinda stuff that was coming out because they were clearly deceptive but hadn’t realized that the vendors were changing the pages after approval. Doesn’t surprise me they’d do those slimy things.

    I’m very thrilled to see Clickbank trying to do something about this. I hope they stick by their word because the state of IM launches currently make me sick.

    I’ve noticed they’ve addressed a lot of the issues that I have major problems with so only time will tell how this is going to impact IM launches.

    Reply
  2. eric butler says:

    I’m really glad they are doing this. I had no idea how bad their products were until i order cbmall. I went thur their list of products and they have really crappy stuff that i would never order. I’m putting together an autoblog and i was just going to promote amazon and ebay products because I’m far more conformable with them than clickbank.

    Reply
  3. I guess I’m just too honest or something but I hadn’t even thought about the crooks getting one page approved by Clickbank and then changing the ads. Call me naive.

    I knew about, and have written against, the false scarcity tactics and the unrelenting upsells but pulling the bait and switch on the ads is something new to me. Let’s hope we’re going to see an end to the parade of $37, get rich quick, blind ads.

    Reply
  4. I went through ClickBank the other day searching for products to promote and felt that other than Internet Business money making products there was very little to choose from. I almost had quit using ClickBank for that very reason. I am grateful they are going to change or prevent the obvious scams. It is really going to be interesting how many products actually get removed.
    I hope this will allow me to use them knowing that a person trying to make a living on-line can find honest products to promote. Making money on-line takes work and you have to be crazy to believe otherwise. The 1-2-3 buttons or the 34 left to sell is automatically deleted or exited by me. The public is smart and should be treated as such. Thanks for informing me of this!

    Reply

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