Ok, rant time…anyone with sensitive ears should stop reading right now!
Clickbank has just implemented a buttload of strange new fees and it’s easily on the top 5 most idiotic, incomprehensible, hurtful and just downright evil things I’ve ever seen a company do online so far, in my several years of working online for a living. They are outright penalizing both affiliates AND vendors for the stupidity of a small percentage of bad buyers and sellers.
Everything is supposed to be implemented by January and some of the biggest changes will be to charge affiliates and vendors when a customer requests a refund or there is a chargeback. The vendor will be charged a percentage of the retail price as a penalty, which they not only lose the sale, but they are now OUT MORE money because they have to pay the fee on top of losing the sale. Ridiculous!
In theory, this is meant as a way to weed out “bad” vendors with poor products, and we all know that Clickbank is loaded full of shady crap (especially MMO products), but they are going about it ass backwards. First of all, it penalizes the WRONG people. An affiliate shouldn’t get dinged because of a vendor problem. Affiliates promote products in good faith, just like Walmart promotes products they don’t manufacture themselves. Some are good, some may be bad, but it’s not Walmart’s fault if there is a product recall because of faulty manufacturing. By the same token, an affiliate shouldn’t be faulted if a product they link to turns out to be “bad”.
For vendors, it puts the cost of doing business too high and they are unfairly put at the mercy of those buyers who request refunds just because they know they can get a digital product free that way…and there are many unscrupulous buyers who do just that. There are forums full of people who swap stuff they get for free on Clickbank.
Part of these new “quality control guidelines” at Clickbank involve adding star ratings in the marketplace and, right now, color coding to show “risk management”. Certain colors mean you’re ok, but if you are orange or red it means your account is at risk of termination as being “unacceptable”.
In my case, my account shows red, which baffles me completely. I’ve only had 4-5 refunds in the history of my vendor account and the last 2 were from buyers who simply didn’t read what they were buying. My sales page CLEARLY states my product is an ebook delivered in pdf format that is downloaded upon purchase, yet both buyers requested refunds by saying they wanted a physical book. Doesn’t anyone read what they are buying anymore? I notice a lot of Fiverr too that buyers order without even reading the description! That’s like walking into a store blindfolded and buying anything they pick up!
I understand that refunds are part of any business, but should I be penalized ON TOP OF losing the sale because of an ignorant buyer who doesn’t even know what they are buying? It’s not my fault! I clearly state what the product is they are getting. It ends up making it not worth doing anymore. Clickbank now charges me a $4 “risk” fee on every sale, and since I generously give my affiliates 75% of the sale, that only leaves me with $1.24 earned. Uh, no thanks.
The final straw comes with the chargeback fee, which is $36-45. Chargebacks suck, but they almost always involve a stolen credit card or hacked Paypal account. Should vendors be on the hook for that? How is that the vendors fault??? So, if I’m only getting $1.24 per sale and I get stuck with even just ONE chargeback, then it has effectively wiped out all my profit for the previous 40 sales. Wow!! Unreal!!!
I can see a lot of vendors leaving Clickbank now because there’s no longer any money to be made there, but make sure you research for good alternatives first. Plimus doesn’t have nearly the fees, but they still suck because it’s not a good place for new vendors. They have a stupid inactivity fee, which means they reward successful vendors, but anyone starting or struggling is left in the dust. Paydotcom is better because they only charge a flat $2 fee and don’t gouge you like Clickbank does. Their interface is simpler and you have to pay your affiliates directly, but at least it’s beginner friendly, if you need an easy place to start out. Have a look here. I’ll be moving one of my other ebooks there soon.
Ok, rant over. Feel free to comment, if you have something to add, as I’m interested in hearing from the experiences of other vendors and affiliates as well. Enjoy your day!