Product Name: Clickbank University
Price: $47 per month
Owners: Matt Hullet, Adam Horwitz, Justin Atlan
Overall Rank: 65 out of 100
Verdict: Good Product. Not so good for CB merchants.
Before I offer you some insights into why I think the entire idea of Clickbank University’s product is unethical, I want to quickly mention that I started out as an affiliate of Clickbank back in 2003 and over the years I have been on both sides of the fence. They have offered a quality and reputable service for a number of years although in recent years the Clickbank network has become infamous for advocating and harbouring questionable, low grade products, and essentially become a dumping grounds for anyone and their dog to publish utter low quality products (although this is starting to change for the better).
In late 2013 Clickbank rolled out Clickbank University (ClickbankU) as a vehicle to (a) make more money off of their existing affiliates/merchants (b) get more people promoting their products/services. The problem lies in the fact that the very same merchants that are recommending their affiliates to Clickbank are in essence fuelling their competitors in Clickbank University.
Although there is nothing wrong with a company wanting to earn more money, I do believe the line of ethics has been crossed with Clickbank University as they are utilizing the list of affiliates/merchants they have accrued over the years to push a COMPETING product to well over 1,000 different merchants.
If you are an affiliate of Clickbank, you have likely received no less than 10+ promotions of Clickbank University (almost seems a little desperate) trying to get you to join their paid service.
Any Internet marketer that sends people Clickbank’s way is going to potentially experience traffic and revenue leak.
To put this into perspective, this would be like any affiliate network using your data and your affiliates (that you work very hard to get) to create a competing service. It doesn’t make sense as a marketer to have your products on Clickbank or send your affiliates there to sign-up and promote your product knowing that they are just going to turn around and try to get them to join their COMPETING service.
Clickbank and the Ebusiness Category (competition)
At the time of me writing this, there were 1229 products on the Clickbank marketplace within the eBusiness category. This means that Clickbank has in essence given themselves a competition advantage and is competing directly with the very same people that are recommending their affiliates to promote their product on clickbank.
Clickbank is by nature, taking potential sales from these affiliates from their own customers (their merchants)…making money off of them, and getting their affiliates to then promote Clickbank University and other products within their network.
Are they a reputable affiliate network, or are they attempting to be “one of the gurus”?
To understand Clickbank University, you should need to understand who the stakeholders are within this platform.
(1) Matt Hulett – CEO of Clickbank – Has Minimal Involvement other than the fact he is behind the decision making at Clickbank
(2) Adam Horwitz – Founder of Mobile Monopoly (a Clickbank product)
You can check out some of the many reviews on Mobile Monopoly, it is not exactly a home run and there were many practices associated with this product that the reviews out there stated were questionable.
Here is a list of some of these owners websites, many of which are now defunct (other than the mobile monopoly product).
(3) Justin Atlan – There is very little information about Justin Atlan online. His original website/product Rapid Income Flow (http://www.rapidincomeflow.com/) is no longer available.
The “churn and burn” nature of products is indicative of and is quite complimentary to the type of make money products that Clickbank used to allow to be promoted within their network.
An Affiliate Network of Creative Accounting
If you don’t make sales, your money vanishes. If you don’t make sales within at least 4 countries, you don’t get paid. If you get a certain % of refunds, you get booted off the network and they keep your money. I do agree with the “cleansing” approach they have taken because there has been a large number of info products that have been questionable in terms of their quality over the years.
If you don’t continue making money and you have not met your threshold, you will assume a monthly “fee” just…dwindling away your earnings.
Not only that, there is a monthly charge to your account if you do not make a sale. This is their way of taking your hard earned affiliate commissions back from you before they have to pay you out. This has been widely discussed online and is a major frustration of all affiliates within their network.
Supporting this Product is Supporting Unethical Breach of Trust With Merchants
At the end of the day, I think I have made the point as to how unethical it is to create a business that competes with their own customers. It hits all time lows in an industry and an affiliate network that has already been well known for allowing questionable or sub part products within their affiliate network (not all is bad though, there are still many great products on Clickbank).
The product is definitely OK, some elements of the training is quite good. You can get reviews of it out there. It lacks a real community, it forces you to stay longer (and pay more) so you can unlock different levels, and their tools/website builder are not quite in the upper tier of the industry, but are getting better.
My final thoughts on whether you should use Clickbank or not.
Clickbank has gone from a good affiliate network, to one that seems as though it is in search of money. There are new stakeholders involved now and there is a real push to see growth, but unfortunately this growth is going to happen by chopping their merchants off at the knees…the very people that got them to this level of success in the first place.
This reminds me of companies when they “go public”. The all of a sudden move their focus away from members and how to best create a service that benefits them to how to make more money off of it’s members. This is exactly what it feels like is happening and the rollout of their own “paid training” is highly indicative of this. I hope they change back to their old ways when they were once the most popular and forward thinking digital product networks out there.
They network has definitely cleaned up in the past years and I hope they continue to move more in this direction.
Product Name: Clickbank University
Price: $47 per month
Owners: Matt Hullet, Adam Horwitz, Justin Atlan
Overall Rank: 65 out of 100 points.
VERDICT: GOOD PRODUCT, DON’T AGREE WITH PRACTICES. Clickbank is using other merchants and affiliates hard work to create a competing product.
Do you have experience with Clickbank University or Clickbank in general (positive or negative)? If so, please leave your comments or questions below and I will be more than happy to get back to you. I would love to hear your feedback.
Clickbank was ok several years ago, I didn`t make a whole lot of sales but the money came through in the time stated. It seems that the company are trading on earlier goodwill and the cash machine that is clickbank has corrupted them.
That can happen as a company grows, they tend to look for more opportunity to make more money by charging people more for their services versus making their services better. I do think it is selling out the merchant a little in a sense when you are selling your own services that overlap with theirs, in particular when they are the ones that are driving the affiliates and the traffic to your website.
I think that overall, Clickbank has made some really good evolutions in the digital marketing space and they are definitely one of the pioneers within the space. I hope they do continue to focus on their services being the best, because I know they have a lot of great products (along side some not so great merchants) within their network and there are a lot of people in the affiliate marketing space that can benefit from this platform.
Whoa!! You saved my butt there! At first, I was about to enter ClickBank University, fortunately they did not have a payment option for American Express users. I wasn’t able to pay for the ClickBank U because I only had an AmEx card.
Also, my perception was confirmed that ClickBank products literally suck. I also wondered why they wouldn’t direct payments to PayPal and would just send checks. From that time on, I felt a scammy feeling about them.
I decided not to pursue ClickBank and its products to start making money, even when I felt that I was at the right place. I searched on Google and that’s when I found Wealthy Affiliate, and it’s fun!!
There are definitely some quality products on Clickbank still (within their network), but I was actually do some research within a new niche the other day (which is a very broad one relating to health), and I couldn’t find a decent product to promote. It is very discouraging to know that a network like Clickbank with 10,000’s of products cannot have better quality control within a broad based niche.
There are still some very good aspects of Clickbank and it should not be totally discredited, but you are right, there are many frustrating things about the platform as well.
This is what I wanted to finally hear, Kyle you pointed out some of the visible but yet hidden things I used to see there. I have been in that network for more than a year, and to be frank I didn’t like the behavior as I saw their products of (any) quality. And I had bad experience with them when I purchased a product that turned out to be not as described, but my heroes @ Pay Pal backed me and refunded my money when I disputed the deal. Never again, stay away!
If anybody wants to work ethically, find something more serious!
About 5 years ago I had joined Click bank and when I signed up for the university (millionaires club) the cost was $97./monthly. Within the program, you had to always buy programs to unlock the library. What a rip off, I cancelled immediately.
I got suckered into taking Clickbank U. classes at a very high price. At first, it seemed legit. Now, however I have serious doubts. First, I’m a newbie and still don’t even understand the discussion here. But I do understand that Adam and Justin spent the past three months waltzing around the most expensive tourist destinations in Europe while sending us “lesson of the day” videos that were completely useless. The one Clickbank U. lesson that I found really important they rushed through so fast it seemed like they didn’t really want us to grasp it. Very strange. The FB group was a disaster. Blind leading the blind. I spent 12 years in PR for top global PR agencies. At least I knew something about marketing but there were people on the FB group making product covers that were so awful a child with a crayon could have done better. I feel scammed.
I joined Clickbank University for a while, found out it was like a lot of other grab and take, make money quick, schemes; we both know there is no such thing unless you win a lottery.
I got out, took my money back and joined Wealthy Affiliate. After all the time I spent searching for the right organization that offers great service and community involvement, I finally found it with Wealthy Affiliate; I’ll stay for a while, work hard and see how I progress.
I was with ClickBank for a couple months and I didn’t have a good experience with them at all.
I did make a couple of sales and I had my payment threshold at $100 but they wouldn’t release my money because they said I had to make 5 more sales before it could be released.
Very ignorant if you ask me. If you make sales you should get paid, it’s as simple as that. I felt they were scammers, thanks for shining so extra light on those guys.
Although Clickbank takes the approach that they have these “minimum sale” rules in place to prevent things like fraud, there is an underlying and very sneaky reason they are doing this. They know very well that the average user using their platform will only make a few sales and because of that and by having these rules in place, they never have to pay money that is actually someone else’s commission.
Then if you do make enough sales and for some reason you have a little lull in your business, Clickbank will charge you a fee each and every month for your commission profile being “inactive”. Another unethical aspect to their platform and so many folks have waken up to this type of behavior and moved their affiliate business over to other affiliate networks and other more reputable platforms.
So what your saying is Click bank does not like to pay out any commissions? Why would they charge a fee for your commissions being inactive? I have read and reread your statement over and over again, so what your saying is a person has to stay active at all times with them. Well I can see if a person wants to promote a company they would do it all the time, like I do, I am an advertiser, or if they just got into just doing it, for the money, so what is your point??
Click bank requires a certain number of sales from different locations in the world, before you can get paid. Then if you have active commissions that you have earned, but you have not reached the threshold, these will be slowly depleted on a monthly basis. This is an incentive to actively promote programs as an affiliate. Clickbank are after active affiliates, not affiliates that made one sale and then disappear. I think all affiliate networks can speak to this as well.
By forcing people to make cells within different locations and countries, they are also dodging a lot of fraud, and people that are just simply purchasing through their own affiliate links.
Kyle thank you for shining the light on yet another Internet company/business that is doing its best to make a huge financial profit for themselves at the expense of innocent, albeit it naive people.
A lot of Clickbank’s affiliate products indeed are nothing but junk in today’s online marketing world.
I am a member of WA having rejoined several months ago. Previously I have been an unfortunate part of other online “opportunities” offered by other sites that I now realize were nothing but scams.
This Clickbank University sounds exactly like something that no person would want to be a part of – taking into consideration that he/she would have the goal in making $$ for him/herself and not lose it! The ideals and philosophies that you mention concerning Clickbank University members getting charged inordinate fees for not meeting unrealistic monthly goals is not only unethical – it’s borderline criminal!!!
I truly believe that by comparison WA offers EVERYTHING that an individual would need to become successful legitimately owning an online affiliate marketing business. If he/she is willing to roll up his/her sleeves, dig in and put in the effort, over time with the educational tools and support available from members of the WA community the person WILL become successful.
Thank you for making it abundantly clear that any rational thinking person should RUN, and not walk away from Clickbank University!
It is the sad state of the Internet marketing industry as a whole. Many people had some loose trust in Clickbank prior to this, but for those folks and through the “moves” the company has made in the past few years, this has likely sealed the deal on the distrust for most folks. Clickbank University is by no means a horrible product, what it is is an unethical venture taken on by Clickbank.
They are now in direct competition with those that are paying them for their service, in fact the most profitable products/programs within the Clickbank network have been within the make money space. Now they are directly involved in it, using the paid customers referrals to directly compete with them. Not an ounce of class here.
Fortunately my wife and I were not at Clickbank long enough to make any sales. We came across WA and so glad we did. Are Clickbank products ok or do we have to watch that too?
A lot of Clickbank products are scams and they have actually gotten in trouble for harbouring scams over the years. There are definitely some legitimate programs within the Clickbank network as well. We will teach you how to properly go about choosing affiliate programs and finding ethical ones as you move through the training at WA (we still do promote the use of the clickbank network, along with many others), you are in good hands Bill.
Oh Yeah, I forgot to add that I am into my first week as a Premium member of WAU,
Kyle and Carson have given me back the fire those nasty ole scam artist darn near extingished.
Most of all I can see a light at the end of the Cyber Tunnel, and I’m finally back to enjoying the journey once again.
I realize there is still a lot to learn, but I’m an ole school retired technician. And if I was able to learn how to build electronic circuitry using a Heathkit product. I sure as heck can learn what WAU has to offer.
Thanks again for shining the light on the scammers.
So glad that you have decide to join Wealthy Affiliate George and I am really glad you are enjoying your experience thus far (and it has renewed your faith in the industry). Anyone and everyone is capable of far more than they may think within the online marketing space and our goal has always been to reveal this potential.
I updated my ClickBank affiliate info and decided to give CBU a test drive.
Turnout to be total waste of $47 dollars, having to wait for a set number days or weeks to pass. Before some features of the training could be unlock/or grant me access.
Also, they made it sound like that was a one time payment, and then charged me another $47 dollars 31-days later.
I immediately submitted a cancellation instruction via PayPal. I was so ticked off that I didn’t even bother asking for a refund.
But you can bet you last money that I will never do business with Adam Horwitz again in life.
The Click Bank University Training Courses are nothing but fluff. Everything they claim to be teaching can be found on YouTube. Bottom-Line…IT’S A SCAM, and the promoters are SCAM ARTIST.
Thanks for your honest feedback here George, I have never agreed with companies holding back their training in a time sensitive way as Clickbank U does. It is highly unethical, but does that really surprise anyone as their entire platform was built out the same way.
I wonder if the same Clickbank refund policies do apply for Clickbank University, if they are the same, you should be able to get a refund quite easily through their support.
Hello there Kyle
I have joined the Clickbank network only 1.5 month ago but so far I was not left satisfied with some low-quality webinars
I did not like either their sales & payment processes and calculations (how can you charge the Affiliates.?) , the ones that push you to the top and the reason for selling your products.?
A large number of products are totally crap , in fact I have found only one decent product to promote.
Let’s hope they will reconsider the situation , it would be very disappointing for such a reputable company with that great history to collapse..!
It has been well documented out there how mad affiliates are about Clickbanks policies of charging affiliates a fee when they have a pay period where they are not making active sales. It doesn’t cost them anything to leave that money in your account, so this is the low of all lows when it comes to being unethical for financial gain. Clickbank should truly be ashamed of themselves for doing this to affiliates and now should be ashamed of themselves for creating a competing product with some of their top merchants.
And yeah, many of the products within the Clickbank marketplace are low quality. It has gotten a little better over the past few years as they were having some serious chargeback issues with some of their more prolific scams they were harbouring, but they definitely allow many programs that shouldn’t be allowed.
The content inside the community is pretty good, and it’s pretty easy to get your questions answered. However, some of the stuff they do is clearly a money-grab.
Also, I attended one of the “free webinars”, which was about setting goals for the new year…but the webinar was in March. lol. Talk about late!
Maybe it was about setting goals for the following year, in that case they would be 9 months early. Training aside, which I know they offer some decent quality training, the biggest qualm here is with the fact that an affiliate network is creating direct competition against their top producing producing products using THEIR affiliates. Outside of that, they have recruited people from within their platform to compete with these people. I don’t think it can get any lower than this.
Thanks Kyle! A couple months back they were sending out training videos advocating with fancy music and useless information how they became successful are, just because they know how to bs people.
And result disappointing and after reading this no surprises here.
Nothing surprises me. I have seen just about it all over the years and how long they let products with a 30-50% refund rate continue selling within their platform. Now they have some of these same folks running their paid University.
I am as surprised as I am infuriated at this move. I do agree that this is taking from the members without regard to their existence. Perhaps it is time to usher in a new affiliate program to replace ClickBank altogether.
There are actually many alternatives to Clickbank but unfortunately digital product networks need a very detailed “screening” process to prevent scams from infiltrating them and most of them actually do a worse job than Clickbank.
There are many far more legitimate platforms and by no means do I feel that there are no good products on clickbank to promote, because there definitely are some really solid digital products you can promote on there as an affiliate. I am taking more issue with the fact that merchants drive a significant amount of affiliates to CLickbank only to have them turn around and make money off of these affiliates through a competing product.