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Publishing Guidelines: Permission is granted to publish this article electronically or in print as long as the bylines at the end are included. If you use this, notification would be appreciated. Thanks!
ClickBank Questions by Stephan Miller
It would seem that Clickbank would provide more for their customers. Obviously, when it comes to internet marketing and affiliate programs, you could put it in your top 10 links. No other database of affiliate programs offers such a possibility for profit on either the affiliate side or the product creation site. And you can't beat the fact that the commissions from over 10,000 products get consolidated into one check. But there are still a few lingering questions that may get you thinking.
What is up with the site? I mean, a site shouldn't be overly complex. In fact, complexity can be a turn off. Then again, I have found more complex site templates from free sites. And its not just that. How many of you Clickbank affiliates have found news about Clickbank or FAQ's about Clickbank on a forum, clicked the link and the FAQ is on the Clickbank domain. But, if you go to the Clickbank homepage, there is no link to the page you just visited.
I don't know about you, but if I were running a business, I would make sure that customers and vendors could get all of the information possible and not have to find out news through third party sources. But, on the other hand, I can't complain. The checks do come in. I have never had to search for a customer service link on the site, because there has been no reason to. You make sales and you get a check. It's that simple and I have never found anyone who says otherwise.
Then you've got to wonder about the search feature. There is none. But why? For one reason, if Clickbank itself had a search feature, any internet user who is familiar with Clickbank clicking on an affiliate's hoplink could recognize this. They could then go to Clickbank and buy the product under their own affiliate ID at up to 75% off, which wouldn't matter much to Clickbank or the product seller, at least in the beginning. They still collect their cash.
But eventually, the product seller would notice a drop in sales. Affiliates would become less than satisfied with the results of all their hard work and stop working as hard to make sales that weren't coming in anyway. Therefore, there would be less advertising of the product in total. You can't underestimate the value of an affiliate army who are rewarded accordingly.
There are plenty of third party products available that will essentially build a search engine on a Clickbank affiliate's site for them.
Even without this, there are some out there who know what a Clickbank Hoplink looks like and just where to put their own Clickbank ID in order to make a commission for themselves.
Should the affiliates themselves be responsible for protecting their sales. I don't think so. Of course there are products that can help you protect your links, but shouldn't the responsibility rest on the product developer. Our heroes, the third-party software developers, come to the rescue again by providing software to do this for you, but only a few of the product developers selling through Clickbank rely on these products. This leaves a lot of affiliate out in the cold, relying on link cloaking to protect their sales.
I love when I sign up for an affiliate program and click the link assigned to me to test it out and I am delivered to the main page of the site. There is no "?hop=" behind the URL, just "www.mysite.com." This lets me know that my only job is to get the word out on the product and not become an expert on encryption just to make a sale. Just to let you developers know out there, it is also great not to create a link for affiliates from any page designed for sales. You've just defeated any work we as affiliates or you as a responsible marketer have done to save our commissions. Send the link after the sales if you want to but don't treat your affiliates like dirt by telling their lead that they can get a 50% discount by signing up for your affiliate program.
Another reason for product developers to check out link cloaking software: link popularity. If you use the conventional hoplink, Clickbank gets a link back to their site. If the affiliate has to encrypt the link himself, no one gets the link credit. If you buy one of these scripts, your affiliates will advertise a link that points to your site. Just something to think about.
Then there is sales notices. There are none. There used to be a time when Clickbank would send you an e-mail each and every time you made a sale. Spam? Only if you consider a check from the IRS junk mail. Personally, Clickbank could fill my inbox to the limits with notices like this. But this service is no longer there.
I don't want to even start with Clickbank's sales reports functions. Lets just say that they could be improved, a lot.
This is even another area where third party vendors lend a helping hand. You can create affiliate sales reports, profit reports, send e-mails to your customers, and even graph sales trends with such software. Some are scripts that you run on your site. These will send out a thank you e-mail, add the customer to your database and even activate an autoreponder to send out e-mails to your customers in the future. Others allow to have multiple products, multiple sites, and only one Clickbank account.
So what am I trying to say? Just that with the money you would think Clickbank is making, it seems that they could create a more elaborate, user-friendly site. Despite this, you can't beat Clickbank for high commissions and consolidated payments. In fact, some of the holes in the Clickbank system has allowed some innovative software developers to step in and provide very useful tools. Those who use Clickbank to sell their products should take notice and guarantee an effective affiliate sales force by at least checking these solutions out. In turn, they will be rewarded with more sales and affiliates who trust them.
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