Time to Give Up on Clickbank?

Resolved: I've decided to stay with Clickbank.

For years and years I have been saying Clickbank is an awesome payment processor.  People always complain that they don't add features quickly enough (like two-tier payments, recurring payments), but I consider that a good thing... it's always the same.

To be honest I already have my buttons coded to default to PayPal, but show a Clickbank button if my visitor comes from affiliate traffic.

The "straw that broke the camel's back" today was... they told me they wouldn't approve my product, because it mentions list building!

I have heard of lots of stories before from other Internet marketers because their sales letter mentioned list building or social marketing.  CB doesn't want you promoting stuff like this because they had problems with people promoting spam-related products.

They lumped it all together into one category, and double opt-in e-mail marketing done correctly definitely isn't spam.  It's very difficult to write any infoproduct on internet marketing without talking about list buildling.

I can also understand if they were to ban infoproducts that mention list building and NOTHING else.  I go into list building several times but that's definitely NOT the focus of most of my products.

Many people I know changed the phrase "list building" to "autoresponder building" or just removed the list building content from the sales letter.

I removed what they asked from the sales letter, but they tell me I have to remove it from the product as well.

What the F!!!  Maybe it's time to move somewhere else.

  • I don't have 100% of my products on Clickbank but for those that do, affiliates who refer people to my blog automatically get credited if I mention any of my products on the blog.
  • I store affiliate cookies for 365 days instead of Clickbank's 60 days.
  • I have upsells on almost all my offers, so an affiliate might promote a $40 product for 50% commission and end up getting 50% commission on a $247 sale instead.
  • I make sure to HIDE the non-Clickbank upsells when an affiliate sends me traffic.

Basically here are the pros and cons of Clickbank for me...


  1. Lots of affiliates -- no signup.
  2. I already have lots of Clickbank backlinks from affiliates... changing processors would screw some of those people.
  3. Automatic payment to affiliates (none of this mass pay crap).
  4. Easy affiliate links -- no super-long links like most affiliate networks.
  5. Clickbank Marketplace - high traffic.
  6. All my payment links are already setup for Clickbank.


  1. They don't approve list building products.
  2. Affiliates lose a lot of sales.
  3. Higher than normal refund rates.
  4. Doesn't allow squeeze pages (even if they are tagged with the affiliate ID).
  5. Waiting to get paid, plus they lose my checks and refuse to send new ones sometimes.
  6. $250 price limit for me and it can only go up to $500 (I have an $800 product in the works)
  7. Have to wait for product approval.

More pros than cons, maybe I should start bailing out.

The ONLY payment processor I would move to, if I left Clickbank, is PayDotCom since it's at the point where many internet marketers have an account already.  (None of this 2Checkout, AlertPay, iKobo garbage.)

Do you use Clickbank?  Do you use PayDotCom?  Would you make the switch from Clickbank even if it meant pissing off a few affiliates?

Please comment below...

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  1. Mike Filsaime Just Told Me Off | July 27, 2008
  1. Amin says:


    PayDotCom have some legendary problems of their own.

    What makes you think you wouldn’t be jumping out of the frying pan into the fire?

    And if you’re going to go to a semi-automated affiliate program like PDC, why not go the whole hog and create a killer product that will do the job for you?

    I’m sure a few people would buy it from you. 🙂

    Or is that one of the things you’re checking out with this post? Because if it is, just tell me when it’s ready!

  2. JeremiaSK8 says:

    I’m facing a similar problem, I don’t know which affiliate network should I choose. By the way how much time does it take for Clickbank to approve a new product?

  3. Amin says:


    If it wasn’t clear before, please put me on the pre-notification list for Robert Planks PHP affiliates on crack product!

  4. John Taylor says:

    Hey Robert,

    I used to be a big fan of CB but I got fed up with the high refund rate.

    I only have one product left in the CB Marketplace, I’ve transferred everything over to my own in-house affiliate programme managed by JVM2.

    It means putting a lot more effort into recruiting affiliates, but being in control of who can promote your products is becoming increasingly important.

    My vote: Fire CB and take control of YOUR business.

    Take care


  5. Joe Lavery says:

    Bite the bullet.

    Get a real merchant account.

    You can custom code ANYTHING you want with almost zero limitations. I would think that would be right up your ally being a programmer and all.

    You get paid 72 hours after you collect the cash via DIRECT DEPOSIT into your bank account.

    It’s sweet.

    I use PowerPay.biz – tell them Joe Lavery sent you 🙂

    You’ll be happy you went with a merchant account once you experience all the benefits (there are many).

    One drawback is you have to deal with chargebacks and process your own refunds. Small price to pay in my opinion.


  6. KB Pate says:

    Simple what I would do: Where can I get the most for the least amount of effort, and still maintain the most affiliates.

  7. Eugene Humbert says:

    We have a clickbank account, and we get about $10 a month from it. Changing to another format would be no big deal for us.

    Question you have to ask yourself is whether changing will affect your bottom line. Will enough people follow you to another payment system to make it worth your while?


  8. Marian says:

    PayDotCom is a little bit slow for me and I love quick payment process. I’ve tested 2checkout, it seems to me a bit complicated…

    Clickbank’s so far the best.


  9. Gerard says:


    I am not new to CB or IM but I am struggling to get something started. I wish I knew more to give you a more educated response to your dilemma.

    Just remember, the grass in not necessarily greener on the other side!

    I would follow your site(s) wherever they end up. Love your stuff Bro!

  10. Well….

    Personally, I think the smart thing to is keep ClickBank around as a feeder program. Don’t just jump ship all together. You still want some products in there for the “pro’s” you were talking about.

    You certainly will get some more traffic and sales from (and customer subscribers) by leaving a few products there than if you just abandoned CB.

    Once you have people in your funnel, you can direct them to your own, more lucrative affiliate program. You’re a programmer…………make your own in house affiliate program.

    Jason Anderson

  11. Kevin says:

    If you ask me it is a very simple solution that I have done. Use both. If one product is not approved or can not be done in one then just use the other for that. This way you end up with the best of both worlds in my opinion.

  12. Gerard says:

    How did I miss the comment by Joe Lavery. Been following him for a long time now. I really like his style of marketing as well as yours Robert. Keep up the good work you guys. I have learned alot from ya. I just need to “Kick Butt, Be Bold” Right Joe? haha

  13. Tim says:

    I really feel that CB has its advantages and disadvantages, but all in all it seems to be the most popular affiliate method.

    I would personally keep the CB Going while you start doing your own thing. Then when you have your own affiliate system going use that more than CB.

    But I would always still keep products going through CB. You are cutting out way too much in my opinion by dropping CB.

  14. J.R. Jackson says:

    I would stay away from AlertPay. They are a nightmare to deal with. They still have funds from my customers which they did not release to me after a year.

    J.R. Jackson

  15. Art Lane says:


    As you already know, the internet is a numbers game more than anything else, so my humble advice would be to stay with Clickbank, but not exclusively.

    As a matter of fact, with what you obviously know about marketing AND programming, why don’t YOU launch a new service that includes all the “PROS” you’ve listed and eliminate the “CONS”? You’ll get very rich quickly!

    I also want to add a “CON” to your list: They don’t pay without asking. At least that has been my repeated experience. In all fairness, however, they do eventually pay.

  16. Jon says:


    It strikes me that whether you stay with or leave Clickbank is ultimately going to be a matter of personal opinion and you must weigh the odds as it applies in your case for you. If CB suits say 75% of its users perfectly that still doesn’t mean that it suits you. Conversely, if 90% of users find CB to be unhelpful again it comes down to whether you find them unhelpful for you.

    That said I can’t help but think that CB are not so niaive that they don’t realise that many of their offerings are sold through email marketing by their afficionados, each of whom must of necessity spend considerable time and effort list building. It is somewhat hypocritical for them to insist that all references to list building is removed whilst they as an organisation benefit hugely from list building activities.

    The very fact that they are acting in such an hypocritical manner brings their ethical policy into question – they are purporting to be one thing whilst obviously benefitting by being something different.

    Personally, I find it difficult to deal with such hypocrisy whether in a person or an organisation, and I certainly would think very hard about how others would see my business before linking with that type of approach.

  17. Lionel says:

    Hey Robert,

    Every system seems to have it own problems and benefits, cb seems to be a good place to start but sometimes one needs to take control of YOUR business.

    There are or seems to be many who are using cb to make a lot of money by having lots of affiliates available, but it is hard to use something if you are unable to use some basics such as the term list building. So I like some cb and some at other places like paypal, paydotcom, etc. In-house I think is the best.

    Have fun,


  18. Robert

    Honestly speaking your affiliate and customer base is already solid enough that you don’t need ClickBank anymore.

    If and when they do a disservice such as calling “list building” a “spam related” thing, you KNOW they are wrong. If everyone kept supporting ClickBank they could keep on stepping on all of our toes.

    I, for one, prefer PayPal, and regardless of which affiliate commission, I do prefer instant payments DIRECTLY to my PayPal account rather than waiting for account limits etc. The fun of getting money straight into my account is a “Highlight of the Day” as I am sure it is for all Internet Marketers.

    So, the decision is yours, but my say is that it will ONLY hurt for ClickBank when enough people turn their backs on that type of assault against good decent businesses such as yours.

    Carpe diem. 🙂

  19. John Collins says:

    Hi Robert –

    I have accounts at both Clickbank and PayDotCom. You are the one that has to deal with it and it sounds like you feel you need a change. If you were to change I wouldn’t do it cold. Start the transition if you must and see how if feels for you using PayDotCom and test the waters so to speak.

    This isn’t a hobby for you and you have a lot of products so if your going to do it you want to keep the crapola down to a minimum. As far as affiliates doing the switch? There might be a few moans and groans but there isn’t anybody that compares to you and your products. We’ll get over it. As long as you don’t make it a habit I think most people will understand. I’ll be here either way.

    In the end it’s you that makes the decision and I think you may already know what it is. Maybe just need to see it in print for clarity. I know when something is bothering me it effects my focus and productivity.

    I’ve noticed some things as an affiliate there that I didn’t like. Beside the normal stuff from them I noticed for example a publisher has a sales page with their other sites mentioned on the pitch page in a round about sort of way(actual link). The problem being these other sites give the buyer a different way to get to their other products listed on ClickBank without going through ClickBank or generating commission for me. I have seen this more than once. Maybe they should spend more time looking for leaks instead of messing with the good people.

    Sleep on it – John

  20. Aisling says:

    I’m new to a lot of this, but my early experiences suggest that you should leave your existing products at CB — to be fair to those who’ve already linked to you — and develop an alternative sales strategy.

    I can’t imagine your products being lumped with spammers’. There are just a handful of people creating genuinely useful products, and you’re one of them.

    For most businesses, list building is a core component of online success. Prohibiting products that can help with that… it makes no sense. Almost every product I’ve bought through CB was mentioned on someone’s (list) email to me.

    As a (very new) publisher, I’ve had 300% more sales at E-Junkie than at CB, with the same product listed at both. I have a great product with zero refunds, but the numbers at CB make it look like a snooze.

    E-Junkie has some shortcomings, but I’ll live with that for the ease of use, and how much more of each sale dollar that I get to keep.

    That said, someone needs to invent a better mousetrap.

  21. Same problems with PayPal. In answer to a questionnaire sent by PayPal after the event:

    “Why? Because you have become irresponsible in the way you handle your ‘So called’ TOS infringements. The attitude comes across as high handed, arrogant and ‘Know it all’ with the further indignity of having to agree to a form of words that are particularly objectionable and do not reflect my, YOUR CUSTOMER, view on the subject. It is as if whoever has devised this procedure is a protégé of Stalin. “The Forced Confession” And to top it all, there is no come-back and even when a representative of the company can be contacted, he or she cannot actually deal with the issue and in my particular case, it took at least 3 phone calls to correct an error that YOU had made! The people at PayPal have obviously forgotten, if they ever knew in the first place, who pays them. Further, to suspend my account and not allow me to withdraw my own money unless I sign something I do not agree with is akin to extortion and when I have time, I shall seek redress from the Banking Ombudsman to see if PayPal’s Stalinist tendencies infringe European law”

    The challenge is that PayPal and ClickBank are so popular…

    Several eBay SuperAffiliates or whatever they are called have left eBay because of the same attitude. eBay owns PayPal.

    Basically, some of you Yanks have lost the plot no less than people in our, British, Magistrates Courts who are now convicting people without evidence. Letter to Her Maj yesterday testifies.

    Until and unless we get CEO’s running our major corporations who have not come out of the Enron/Gazprom (Criminal) camp, we are going to have to put up with mediocre leadership and people who wear white socks and wear their trousers at half mast telling people who get off their backside and do something, all of you reading this, that they must comply with their half baked dictacts.

    Admin boys. You could murder them eh?



  22. Paydex says:


    You filled up 20 comments pretty quickly 🙂

    one of your cons isn’t so true… once you have one approved product in your clickbank account, you can add other products with no approval needed.

    (just thought of something….you can even open a new account with the $25 off for the second account, and get a product approved, and then change the product when your next one is ready to launch… and you get around the waiting period and delays!…)

  23. Robert Plank says:

    one of your cons isn’t so true… once you have one approved product in your clickbank account, you can add other products with no approval needed.

    Not anymore for me. That used to be the case but ever since they bumped me up to a $250 price limit, they have to approve EVERY new product I add to the account.

  24. You listed your pros and cons already Robert, so no need for me to go through them again. You could have more than one sales page and a redirect script based on where the visitors come from. Direct visitors got to a Paypal button page, Hoplink visitors go to a clickbank page, and PDC to a different page. Actually you wouldn’t need a separate page would you, you could just have the button code itself changed in PHP (I am no programmer but I’m sure it can be done).

    As far as PDC and CB go, I had to decide that a little while ago too, and I went with CB as I think it’s better for the kind of product I was selling. For a IM related product I think PDC may be a good option.
    Just my 2 cents worth.

    Douglas Titchmarsh

  25. Donna Maher says:

    Hi Robert,

    IMHO – I think you should keep CB, just because it’s involved in some of your products that many of us have purchased (JV Plus comes to mind) and because there are so many CB affiliates.

    You might lose a lot more than you gain – everyone p*sses us off at some point in our lives, and we usually get it resolved or find ways around it (such as the clever suggestion by Paydex) above.

    I say keep emotion out of it and do the logical, best overall choice for your business and your customers and fans.

    Some day hopefully, there will be a group of caring, honest marketers that get together and create something that knocks CB AND PP right out of business… but I’m not holding my breath. 😉


  26. Kelvin Brown says:

    Hi Robert,

    I have a list building service in CB and has been for years. But i am picking up activity and wonder will they try to close it, or am I save under some type of grandfather clause.

    I just want them to handle paying affiliates. I can go with other services. But paying affiliates for me is what I am looking for.


  27. Kirk Ward says:


    I just purchased one of your products and after paying through PayPal, the ClickBank page displayed a totally different price, which had me worried about being scammed by ClickBank … or you.

    The PayPal notification and charge came through at the correct amount, but it made me wonder … Is ClickBank screwing with your costs by causing a higher affiliate commission to be paid out than would be correct?

    I dunno. And I have no way to help you on that because I stay away from them. I’ve heard too many horror stories.

    About their “No List Building Products” rule. It seems that is not totally correct. They just had this discussion somewhere over on Lynn Terry’s site and it seems you can call and discuss it with them and show that you are not distributing products that generate spam and they will approve the product, on a case by case basis of course.

    Kirk Ward

  28. A few days ago, I was on the phone with Clickbank about this very subject. This was someone high up at Clickbank by the way – referred to me by one of their biggest merchants.

    Here’s the deal.

    Clickbank used to have a problem with some merchants that used the word “listbuilding” or “email marketing” to basically teach people how to

    Step 1) Buy a list
    Step 2) Send messages to that list

    Definition? SPAM

    So, when an overworked CB employee in charge of approving hundreds of sites a month sees hot button words like “ListBuilding” or “Email Marketing”, they automatically think “whoops – can’t approve that”.

    Now, if you were to first talk about “RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS PRACTICES”, “BUILDING LONG TERM ASSETS”, etc. etc … then you would get a different feeling from that employee.

    Every payment method is going to have it’s pros and cons. I’m not defending Clickbank — hell, for those that know me – they wouldn’t accept SiteStealer and I still to this day don’t know exactly why. (Hmm, maybe I had some hot buttons in there ).

    At any rate – think about Clickbank’s point of view.

    They’ve had the folks at Craigslist contact them because CB was selling products on how to game Craigslist … making CL a not-as-good service. Myspace also does not like products about “how to market on myspace”. Google LOVES the attention – so that one is fine.

    Teaching people to spam would be irresponsible on Clickbank’s part. So, “listbuilding” is a trigger for that.

    Take care,


  29. John Mauldin says:

    I use 1automationwiz at:

    I recommend it for a number of reasons. First, I get paid a nice check on a regular basis for commissions from clients I sent there years ago. Always regular, always works. Too, the shopping cart features are easy to get going and work right all the time. And there is an affiliate module that makes aff commissions easy and fail-safe. In conjunction with Paypal as the payment processor, everyone is happy and have had a long time experience with both without having any problems.

  30. Joe says:

    I have often has this same conversation with myself… do I move over to clickbank or not…

    So my dilemma is the reverse…

    As for you and your dilemma, I agree with two point that others made..

    1>get your own merchant account and take control of your business.

    2>the other point… don’t drop the good will you have already created with your customers by using clickbank…

    continue to use it for feeding your funnel, but once they are in your funnel send them through your new merchant account.


  31. Marta says:

    No more waiting on checks … Clickbank has direct deposit. Not a lot of people know about this. You have request it specifically for each of your accounts and then they must “approve you” i dont know why it is not available freely. Seems to me direct deposit would be much easier and save them money over printing checks.

  32. Robert,

    I feel your pain. CB is clueless at times. They reject good products like yours, but still allow things that look dubious to me, like “Water4Gas”.

    They approved the Butterfly Marketing Manuscript. If that doesn’t talk about listbuilding, I don’t know what does.

    They rejected a product I created on membership sites, because it mentioned how to manage the email lists of members. I refuse to leave good info out of my products so I just gave up on that one with them.

    We should pick a week where everyone with a list refuses to promote anything from CB. When their sales drop 80%, maybe they would get the message.

    It’s so hypocritical of them to reject products mentioning listbuilding when it’s obvious how many of their sales come from that.

    If I were you I would keep the products at CB that are already there (why remove them if they’re already selling) and add everything to PDC as well so you pick up affiliates from both places.

  33. Robert Plank says:

    I feel your pain. CB is clueless at times. They reject good products like yours, but still allow things that look dubious to me, like “Water4Gas”.

    They approved the Butterfly Marketing Manuscript. If that doesn’t talk about listbuilding, I don’t know what does.

    Not only did they approve the Butterfly Manuscript, they approved ListMail Pro (an autoresponder script).

    Also, check this out: out of the top 20 Clickbank marketplace products in the “Marketing and Ads” section, 9 out of 20 mentioned list building — that’s just from the sales letters. The rest were pretty vague about their “systems” and ALMOST mentioned list building, but I didn’t count it unless they specifically said it…

    Four Tier Annihilation (module 4)
    (added 6-7-2008)
    “List building: now you can do it easily using this total under exploited medium…”

    Secret Affiliate Code
    (added 6-22-2008)
    “How to create a name-snatching opt in (sign up) form. Killer tactic to list-build while you sleep… Not only that, but the webpage contains a video that makes further an irresistible offer so that people must surrender their contact information, and which also becomes a VAST double-optin list!

    Forced Money
    (added 6-1-2008)
    “This list is maintained by yet another separate online firm on your behalf, and one which has the HIGHEST track record for getting over 98% deliverability for all follow-up emailings (the same that convert another 658% more sales for you!)”

    The Rich Jerk
    “How to build your own list of email subscribers – and how to send them other offers that earn you money automatically.”

    Mini-Site Profits Exposed
    (added 2-18-2008)
    “How to create a killer “squeeze page” that will build your email list faster and more efficiently than you ever thought possible (this is what all the pro’s use, but nobody has been willing to reveal the secret behind making it work… until now).”

    Blogging to the Bank 2.0
    “Traffic generation, SEO, Monetization, List building… you’ve got everything covered in BTTB2!”

    Automated Cash Formula
    “And remember if you can surf the web, send and receive email, and know how to use basic word processing software such as Microsoft Word, then you already have more than enough expertise do this!”

    1% M.O.L.B. Wealth Formula
    (added 4-17-2008)
    “You’ll have everything in place to sell tons of product as an affiliate marketer… never having to hassle with product or customers… just sending one or two emails to your laser-targeted list and watching the commissions pile up in your account. All for selling high-quality info-products.”

    Cash Making Power Sites
    (added 6-27-2008)
    “This list is maintained by yet another separate online firm on your behalf, and one which has the HIGHEST track record for getting over 98% deliverability for all follow-up emailings (the same that convert another 1,278% more sales for you!)”

    And in case you think they were “grandfathered in” … 6 of those appeared in the marketplace just this year, 4 of them in the past 60 days.

  34. Stephen Anthony M says:

    Hi Robert . . .
    Seems like you got your answer. Now, please take up the suggestion of Admin, Software Developer, and others, that you make your own affiliate management and sales solution. All of us will buy it!
    Regards, Steve

  35. Robert Plank says:

    Seems like you got your answer. Now, please take up the suggestion of Admin, Software Developer, and others, that you make your own affiliate management and sales solution. All of us will buy it!

    Yeah right. I already made an affiliate program in 2005, it worked with PayPal and used the MassPayAPI to instantly pay affiliates — still works too.

    I am really against in-house affiliate programs because you have to get people to sign up.

    Also lots of things can go wrong, refunds are a headache to deal with, I just want someone else to host it so I don’t have to worry.

  36. Alan Souter says:

    Hi there,

    What I really do not like about CB is that the nickname of the affiliate is boldly proclaimed on the order page down below. Even if you send your customer there by some devious method most people will see the nickname, go back to the original sales page, clear their cookies and purchase without an affiliate nickname (none). I know that is what I would do. This is because most customers do not see the reason to give an affiliate benefit without reason. The only way round this is by offering bonuses which I think is fair enough. What do other people think?

    Alan S.

  37. Kirk Ward says:

    For startups considering opening a ClickBank account, you may want to read this thread located at the Warrior Forum.


    This is not applicable to established marketers, who don’t have to worry about losing their money under the ClickBank “dormant account” ripoff rule.


  38. I’ve read your follow-up comment that says you’re against in-house affiliate programs, but I want to challenge your thinking on this.

    1. If you implement a really good 3rd-party system (I recommend the JROX Affiliate Manager), you can configure it to handle refunds automatically. Plus, the ongoing development efforts that they put into the product cause you to get nifty new features just like a hosted solution.

    2. Between what you’re doing at the Warrior Forum and your own list, you’ve got the makings of a really good set of affiliates right out of the starting gate. Heck, you’re training all of these people — why not train them to be top notch affiliates?

    Plus… you can transition existing CB affiliates into the new system — still honor their CB links for X months, etc. This gives people who are promoting your products the best opportunity to not get screwed.

    The earlier commenter who recommended getting a real merchant account was onto something. Power Pay is excellent – they understand the information marketing business and will work with you on new product launches, etc, to make sure you don’t end up in trouble.

    Looking forward to seeing what you decide.

  39. Geoff Shaw says:

    Take the list building out of the salesletter and product and send the information to people after they buy

  40. Robert Plank says:

    Take the list building out of the salesletter and product and send the information to people after they buy

    That’s something I tried, but the Clickbank reviewer downloaded my product and told me to remove the list building information from the PRODUCT itself as well.

  41. Maureen says:

    You may also want to consider
    http://solidtrustpay.com/. They pay you 1% plus 1% on those referrals. We are using them at http://interactive-media-network.com and so are several other entities in a variety of other businesses. Once we see that you have signed up with the above link we can then send you a private program that is extremely solid with an exceptional return. They use them also as their payment processor. You can also do direct payment to your bank account and recurring sales.

  42. Robert Plank says:

    You may also want to consider

    Thanks Maureen but I said in the original post I was only interested in staying with Clickbank or moving to PayDotCom, no third option.

  43. Phil Rogers says:

    There is an up-and-coming alternative to ClickBank that I thoroughly recommend.
    They give you a lot less grief than ClickBank, will handle both digital and tangible products, and best of all, instead of sending you a check when you make affiliate sales, you can have the money paid into your PayPal account.
    Signujp is free and they’re cheaper than ClickBank, when you sell products.
    Go to Click2Sell.

  44. Robert Plank says:

    There is an up-and-coming alternative to ClickBank that I thoroughly recommend.

    Of course…

    Every 6 months since the year 2000, someone makes a bunch of noise about a “Clickbank killer”…

    I’m not interested in one of those loser providers.

  45. Dean says:


    After reading the many thoughful posts it does seem that straddling CB and PDC makes the most sense. Now from one of the posts I need to checkout 2Checkout, I heard they include the unmentionable (list building) into their system.

    I started with Aweber but just read something about the Firefox “no script” problem with IM. How about writing a work around other than a redirect to an explanation page?

    Sorry about the off topic issue. Back to the point – Use ’em both but steer the big money to PDC. Use CB to attract new affiliates. Now this really puts me in a pickle, I’m working on my first product and just “planned” on using CB. Now a spectre of doubt hangs over me now

    Thanks,Robert…. 😉

  46. John Nicol says:

    [quote=Robert Plank]More pros than cons, maybe I should start bailing out.[/quote]
    You do of course mean “More Cons than Pros”!
    Your fingers are leaving your brain behind!

    [quote=Robert Plank]Of course…

    Every 6 months since the year 2000, someone makes a bunch of noise about a “Clickbank killer”…

    I’m not interested in one of those loser providers.[/quote]

    Your brain is definitely on the wane now!
    Without positive competition ClickBank will always be a serial abuser of affiliates. It is the CB Monopoly that empowers this abuse.
    Sounds to me like you need to lay off the crack – it’s affecting your brain real bad!!!

  47. Hi Robert,

    No way would I abandon ClickBank altogether. The loss of exposure and traffic from their marketplace is worth any restrictions they put upon you.

    PayDotCom is way too slow and 2CheckOut too complicated. Maybe QuickPayPro is your solution.

    Knowing how smart of a marketer you are, this whole thread is probably helping you decide if to create a php script solution of your own to tackle the problem.

    Things will workout. Just don’t give up CB.


  48. Ken Thompson says:

    Hi Robert,

    It seems that someone with a good track record should not have to endure this treatment from CB. I’m not familiar enough with PDC to comment. And it certainly does not seem right that CB should be allowed to dictate the content of your products. To hell with that.

    So I strongly recommend you take total control of your business and do it yourself. Or, I’m sure there are reputable companies who can manage it for you. You’re a smart guy and good marketer. You’ll be able to properly assess the cost/benefit analysis.

    But I think you should take control over the matter and give ’em the muddy boot.

    It’ll be a hassle to get it done. But I think you’ll be much happier in the end.

    As for your affiliates…

    Just take care of them. If any of them suffer from the change, do something special for them to compensate for their heartaches and inconvenience. In the end, I think they’ll be happier and more profitable.

    Good luck. And thanks for posting your story. I was considering using CB for a product I’m developing. Not quite sure what I’ll do now. But I’ll cross that bridge when it’s time.


  49. Will says:


    Some nice shameless self-promotion for one of your own products I gather. At least try and make it a bit less obvious next time – that read like a sales pitch. No thanks!

    I agree with Robert. How many times have we heard about these new systems claiming to be the next ClickBank. Yeah right! Pull the other one.

    Clickbank has way too much of a following for anyone to blow it out of the water anytime soon.

    Just think about all those clickbank affiliate links floating around the Internet. There would literally be millions and millions of them. That’s a lot of people you need to convince to make the change and I can already hear the response from the majority of those people.

    “If it ain’t busted….”

  50. Robert Plank says:

    It seems that someone with a good track record should not have to endure this treatment from CB. I’m not familiar enough with PDC to comment. And it certainly does not seem right that CB should be allowed to dictate the content of your products. To hell with that.

    Seriously! I have one vendor account with Clickbank that I opened in 2000 and another I opened in 2003.

    My refund rates are super low… yet they have disabled recurring products. Also as I said, ever since they increased my price to $250 I have had to go through the stupid approval process… EVERY time I add a new product to the account.

  51. Hi Robert

    Was nice to meet you in Philly. I am on your list as you know.

    Clickbank is a good company and has, as you said, pros and cons.

    So does everything.

    I think PDC would be a lateral move.

    Since you already go internal with some programs, might as well stick it out and deal with the CB issues or try out PDC and report back to us.

    Side Note:

    AMIN – YOU SAID ” PayDotCom have some legendary problems of their own.”

    I hate when people make statements like that and do not back it up.

    What current issues do you know of as “Legendary” problems. Please do share.

    Legendary is a strong word and you would think the search engines would be flooded with problems. You would be hard pressed to find them.

    Yes, we were beta in 2005 and were a bit slow in 2006. In 2007 we revamped and for over 18 months there have been no issues other than a few burps here and there.

    Amazon s3 was down for a day. PayPal shuts down for 3 hours every week for maintenance.

    If you look at traffic rankings for PayDotCom, we are rising and we are where Clickbank was just 1 year ago.


    And Alexa

    Now, take those stats with a grain of salt. But they do show how PayDotCom has made a move in the marketplace and is trending up and ClickBank is trending down.

    Again, these chrats are not gospel, but I can tell you that PayDotCom is really delivers for those that put their trust in us.

    PayDotCom gets 30,000 new members every month (Yes 1000 NEW members a day)

    You think a company with “Legendary Problems” could be so successful?

    Not sure what you are referring to, maybe the last blog about PDC you read was 2 years ago??

    Mike Filsaime 😀

  52. Will

    I agree

    There will NEVER be a ClickBank Killer


    they are just too trusted and too good.

    I think it would take someone like Google or Amazon to make a move on them if it were to happen over 6 months.

    There is only room for ClickBank “alternatives”

    They will all come with pro and cons.

    But a Killer? – I doubt anyone will kill them. Many have tried. Many have come and gone.

    I think CB is getting better all the time. Yes they do take 3 steps fwd and 1 step back a lot. But at the end of the day, they are doing good.


  53. Adam says:

    If you set-up an alternative to clickbank, I’ll join.

  54. Edward Han says:

    If switching from clickbank, what would you choose? I am interested to know so I will have an option if I desire to change. Thanks!

  55. Allen says:


    You don’t have to piss off anyone, at least not any affiliates you can contact.

    Create your own version of the $7 secrets or RAP script..with a way to cloak the affiliates paypal email address with a unique ID, like RAP does.

    Then, contact the affiliates you can and tell them to go to some certain page to enter their paypal email and their clickbank ID.

    Their clickbank id they enter is actually what is now cloaking their paypal email address.

    Have some kind of small script on your pages to detect what clickbank id just referred someone and simply replace with the new affiliate url/order url.

    Your script should pay you once, then them, and so on, directly into the respective paypal accounts.

    After saying all this I’m not sure it’s possible but it sounds like it would be.


  56. Robert Plank says:

    Create your own version of the $7 secrets or RAP script..with a way to cloak the affiliates paypal email address with a unique ID, like RAP does.

    I paid an instant PayPal commission back when I sold Affiliate BattlePlan in 2005, when everyone else was just dreaming about it.

    Heck, my payout system was two-tier until PayPal started cracking down on that.

    The only tough part was the refunds. What if someone brings in a $137 sale and I instantly send $66 to the affiliate, then they refund.

  57. Allen says:

    You’re right. And I forgot about the PaySensor script you have also.

    I guess nothing is without its drawbacks. Just bite the bullet and do whatever you have to do. I’ve had to change affiliate programs in the past. It sucks but you get past it.

  58. John Collins says:

    Hi Robert –

    How high up the ClickBank ladder have you climbed. Their SOP seems to need exceptions and a little more flexibility. Sometimes when people and companies become successful they start to sabotage themselves. They lose sight of what built there success and they do stupid stuff and make bad choices. Does any body know who’s running the show at Clickbank.

    With PayDotCom I think there’s that guy on your list that posted above. Mike some body. I think he does something at PayDotCom – like get people coffee or energy drinks. Something like that anyway. He could probably talk to the people at PayDotCom and keep you out of trouble. Seems like a nice guy and he might even know the boss.


  59. Chris says:

    I’m obviously the weird one here because my own affiliate programs have always done way better than anything I’ve put onto Clickbank, like over 10x better. Better quality affiliates, better quality sales, no acceptance hassles, no price limit hassles (that’s a biggie with CB until you’ve gotten a beard waiting for them to say yes to anything over $97), and way reduced refunds.

    The affiliate sales I have got from the Clickbank marketplace have been generally poor quality with higher refunds and much increased customer support.

    In fact, Robert saying it’s the easy option compared with running your own gave me a smile as I’ve found it to be too often completely the opposite.

    Anyway, like I say, I’m obviously the weird one out here so I’ll keep quiet after this and just carry on doing my own thing away from all this Clickbank noise.

  60. Will Riley says:

    Well I am currently using Clickbank and don’t have too many issues. I think the Clickbank Marketplace and the popularity of Clickbank throughout the Internet Marketing community, makes it a really solid choice for most product owners.

    As we know with anything, especially if your a follower of Mikes old butterfly marketing concepts, the easier you can make things for your customers and affiliates, the faster your message will spread.

    I guess that is one of the BIG advantages to Clickbank. Most serious affiliates out there are already setup with a clickbank id and already know of and trust the name. All they need do to promote a new product is throw their affiliate id into a new link and they are off and away…

  61. Will Riley says:


    I’m going to feel like a dad saying this but what the heck. 🙂 What is the first lesson they teach you as an Internet Marketer?

    If you wanted to know which of two headlines was the best to use, what would you do??

    If you wanted to know which background color to use for highest conversions, what would you do??

    That’s right… TEST… TEST… TEST!!

    We all know how important affiliate programs are to the success of a business. They literally have the power to make or break a product.

    For this reason I think it is definitely something you should put a lot of thought into and if still unsure, then certainly something you could/should test.

    If you are already promoting a product through Clickbank, why not leave that up and running and then sign up for a service like PDC?

    Run the two programs simultaneously – your current affiliates on ClickBank and any new affiliates you get can use the new PDC system.

    Give it a month or two and see which one outperforms the other and which one best suits the needs of your particular business.

    I’m sure most readers of this blog would be very interested to follow your progress if you conducted such a test. Heck, you could even make a small product out of the results… $$$ ka-ching

    ** I have never tried PayDotCom but the reason I mention that one is because Mike Filsaime just paid me $50 to do so 😉 haha

    Nah, seriously though, if I was looking for an alternative to ClickBank, I imagine that would be my first choice. A lot of the problems I have heard people had with Clickbank over the last few years seem to me to stem from one issue – the guys at Clickbank aren’t practicing Internet Marketers and they don’t always understand the most logical or fairest ways for things to work.

    The reason I would have no hesitation in choosing PDC as my first alternative is because it has been built by an Internet Marketer, for Internet Marketers.

    I think having someone on the inside calling the shots, who is actually a successful Internet Marketer and has been for many years, can only be a good thing.

    Oh Mike, just make the cheque out to ‘WILL’ 😉

  62. Hi Robert,

    From your responses I can tell that your main concern is not having to deal with affiliate payments and refunds, so my advice is:

    Keep using CB, take the “list building” stuff off your sales letter and your product, then when somebody buys that product, send him/her an e-mail with a link to download the “list building” chapter (or whatever) as a free bonus.


  63. Nonny says:

    My wariness about using PDC is that mike filasmie, who is technically the competition of many of us, would become our provider of services…

    enabling him to:

    know what product sell best
    how many we sell
    the NAMES and EMAILS of all customers…

    Robert, is that a reason that would keep you away? clickbank, or other paykment processors, are not a competitor to you in the way PDCs owners are…

    (I’m not accusing mike filsaime of using others information, just noting that the fact he COULD makes me uncomfortable.)


  64. Amin says:

    Hey Mike,

    “AMIN – YOU SAID ” PayDotCom have some legendary problems of their own.”

    I hate when people make statements like that and do not back it up. What current issues do you know of as “Legendary” problems. Please do share.

    Legendary is a strong word and you would think the search engines would be flooded with problems. You would be hard pressed to find them.”

    I agree with you: legendary is probably too strong a word to use, although I can only speak from my personal experience handling a lot of support requests where the PDC system has caused problems. Yeah, yeah, everyone has them, but that doesn’t make yours any less of a problem.

    I see enough helpdesk tickets about the issue not to have time to go looking on the ‘net for more and that wasn’t my point.

    However, I’ve always defended PDC when I see tickets like that since my point (which appears to have been misunderstood) is that *every* payment processor hits problems of one kind or another at some point. I don’t care what the processor is, or who’s behind it. You’re certainly no exception.

    PDC is successful? Yes, I don’t think anyone would argue that. So what? So are Clickbank and Paypal. Doesn’t make them perfect, either.

    Does that mean Robert would be best to go to PDC or sitck with Clickbank? Or perhaps use both?

    I don’t know, that’s for him. But I do know that I see problems with PDC more often than *your* comments might suggest.

    By the way, do you really believe a sarcastic little comment about the last time I read a blog makes your point any more valid?

    Are you so insecure that you feel the need to try to belittle me personally? Surely the great Mike Filsaime has no need to attack one of his customers that way?

    Anyway, since you ask, let me offer you this in answer to your question: the last time I saw (several) problems with PDC was a couple of days ago. Does that qualify as ‘recent enough’?

    Don’t confuse size of an operation with the quality of the service: that’s the very point Robert is making about Clickbank. Isn’t it?

    One last thing: I’ve re-read my original post and I can see that it doesn’t properly convey what I’d tried to expresss with what was an almost throwaway line. I’m grateful to you for raising the issue since it’s allowed me to clarify. And I rather enjoy the commissions I get each month through PDC so don’t take it personally – it really wasn’t meant that way!

    Unlike your sarcasm directed at me! 🙂

  65. John Wilkes says:

    Hi Robert,

    It really is a no brainer at the end of the day. You need Clickbank and that was a little whinge. The good thing is it has made you think about alternatives and that sort of reassessing is good for your business. Why not try out a few of the things already mentioned. It is always great to have a fall back plan.

    Mike Filsaime, I guess you are something to do with PDC then! Wow, tiny bit of a defensive over reaction there, friend. What an amazing ability to compress so many words into such a small idea. It must be nice to be connected with something that carries out its business to your entire satisfaction.

    It would have been simpler just to ask what Amin was referring to and then present your defense/reply instead of resorting to sarcasm. Are’nt people of your standing supposed to be bigger than that? or were you just incensed by the constant criticism? Hey we all have bad days.

  66. Matt Garrett says:

    1st up I think it’s a great thing that you’re doing by openly discussing this, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t, but it’s good to see what the feedback is, especially from your existing affiliates.

    I’m not an affiliate of yours, yet, but I can see why your affiliates are happy to be working with you.

    [please shoot me an email with details of your products, I’ve bought at least one of your products myself, so I’d like to see what you’ve got to offer that might be of interest to my subscribers.

    2nd I also have pros and cons with clickbank, but as a UK based business there is another major “pro” in that they deal with the VAT on sales, which is somehwat of a pain using PayPal as the processor.

    I have been looking at alternatives for my next few products though as I’d like to offer longer cookie periods for affiates, among other things, and I found a system that is very close to doing all that I want…

    take a look at iDevAffiliate (it’s php based I believe) and when you decide to make your own equivalent that includes being able to have different commission levels for different products please let me know as I will be 1st in line to be a customer, although it’s sounds like I might have a fight on my hands to be the 1st in the queue… 🙂

    oh, an affiliate program that also uses SEO friendly backlinks (like the SEO plugin for idev) is also a major advantage.

    and another “con” that you missed for using clickbank, I’ve discovered myself that some large list owning marketers aren’t keen on promoting a product that is on clickbank because of the “hoplink hijacking” problem, so it’s not just about your jv partners losing sales, it can also stop some marketers from becoming jv partners in the first place.

    and of course a “pro” would be that they are a lot less draconian in their TOS when it comes to putting your account on hold and withholding your money from you, compared to PayPal…

    and I also agree with previous posters that it’s a good idea to leave existing products on clickbank so your existing affiliates don’t lose out on the time and effort they’ve spent to promote those products, but I guess you already know that.

    I’ve only just started trying out PDC myself so can’t comment on how good, bad or indefferent it is (although as it’s Mike’s baby they obviously understand internet marketing), but I see their main “con” as it’s based on PayPal payment processing, so you’re still at the mercy of PayPal’s TOS, but then alternatives like iDev have the same potential drawback, without the better reputation.

    unfortunatly there is no ideal solution at present, which I guess is why you asked the question and so many replies here are interested in what you may be able to do to resolve the situation…

    p.s. I also have clickbanks direct bank deposit set up, so no waiting for cheques, which is nice.

  67. jerry holmes says:

    I too have had problems with clickbank sending me my checks in the past saying it was just a mistake but took money for dormant account. Now they are saying i need to accrue so many sales but i have already done this years ago as it has been a requirement for awhile. Their first clue should be they have sent me checks in the past. Holy moly batman that means i must have already met this criteria and should get paid. I have been burned by many and try to prevent this as much as i can but even an affiliate program that has been around awhile dont mean it is not always got the best intentions. Sorry to see that but it will cause me to stop buying or promoting clickbank products.

  68. Clara says:

    I remember hearing Clickbank had problems with tracking affiliate sales at one point. What do you think about ejunkies?

  69. Lee says:

    Hey Robert,

    Have a look at Click2Sell, especially their tracking features. The word is that they are “rapidly overtaking CB”

    Hope this helps,

  70. based on the latest warrior forum posts about sales slowing big time and not showing up, has anything changed?

    also, have you noticed any clickbank sales difference the past few days?


  71. Robert Plank says:

    My Clickbank sales have been super profitable the last month because I got someone big to promote for me.

    Sales slowing big time? Last month (October 2008) was my 2nd most profitable month this year, and my 3rd most profitable month EVER online. I know many people who are making more money in 2008 than any other year.

    A lot of this “sales slowing big time” is due to people watching the “recession” news too often. It hasn’t affected me.

  72. Marcel says:

    I sold products in the past with Regnow. Thinking about using them again instead of Clickbank.

  73. Hi Robert,

    A great post and you mentioned that with Clickbank you cannot use a squeeze page. However I was wondering if you could list a sales page with order button, and then use Action Popup on exit with coded with the affiliate link?

    Maybe Clickbank would class this as a squeeze page also?

  74. Vicki says:

    This likely isn’t a solution for most folks, as it’s pricey. But I got tired of having a cluster eff of myriad vendors for my info products. I had some on ClickBank, used WishList Member for membership sites, used Aweber for email list management, had some other products on 1Shopping Cart. I finally wanted an “all under one roof” solution, and went with OfficeAuto Pilot. It’s not cheap (about $300/month for the starter package), but I have total control and everthing is under one roof. The best part? You can import from all the other vendor sites you may be using, or you can hire someone from OfficeAutoPilot to do the import for you if you’re not particularly tech savvy.

    I just about had a heart attack when I saw the price, but then I thought about all the money I was spending on all those other products–not to mention the headache of trying to keep everything straight.

    It may not be a good solution for you at all, but if you are really fed up with CB and if your business has enough revenue, then OAP may be worth checking out.

  75. Vicki says:

    Oh..sorry..forgot to mention that OAP allows for membership sites, squeeze pages, affiliates, email management, etc. To me, that’s the biggest benefit: everything in one place. Infusionsoft is another product similar to OAP.

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