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March 6, 2013

Changes at ClickBank - ClickBank Powered & Audience Builder

Category: Affiliate Programs, eBook Marketing & Publishing, ClickBank — Answers 2000 @ 12:46 pm

Disclosure: Our company is a ClickBank Vendor and Affiliate, and has been for more than 14 years. We earn money by selling our own products through ClickBank, as well as earning affiliate commission on other products sold by ClickBank, including ClickBank’s own products/services. We are also an AWeber affiliate, and earn commissions from sale of their services.

If you’re not already a member, you will recall that ClickBank is an online retailer that you integrate with your website. In the past there were two ways of joining ClickBank:

  1. ClickBank Vendor: You can easily sell your own downloadable products from your website (such as software or eBooks). You also get access to all the affiliate features (see below). There was a one-time US $49.95 setup fee associated with activating a vendor account, as well as some deductions that apply to your earnings, including transaction fees on your own sales, and check issuing fees, etc.
  2. ClickBank Affiliate: You can use special links to earn to other vendors, and earn commissions on sales that you refer. Setting up your account was free, but there were some deductions that apply to your earnings, for your own sales, such as check issuing fees, etc.

ClickBank have now revised their site, and there are now four different ways to join:

  1. Vendors - ClickBank DIY - this appears to be basically the old ClickBank vendor option. Cost: one-time $49.95 setup fee, plus transaction fees, check issuing fees, etc. You need to provide your own web hosting, but this the most flexible option, and this will be the option our company will continue to use.
  2. Vendors - ClickBank Powered - Cost: From $47/month (as well as transaction fees, etc.). With this option, ClickBank provides web hosting and tools to get your site up and running quickly. They also can provide training and support. In other words, it’s ideal for somebody who doesn’t have the skills or ability to setup their own ClickBank site.
  3. Affiliates - ClickBank for Affiliates - Cost: Free (but check issue fees, etc.). This appears to be the old ClickBank affiliate option.
  4. Affiliates - ClickBank Audience Builder - Cost: $27/month. You join ClickBank as an affiliate and earn commissions on sales of third party products, but ClickBank provide you with hosting, an autoresponder, etc. This option seems to be mainly aimed at novices who are new to affiliate marketing, and who are looking for an easy entry point.

All these options are very interesting, and I’m sure they will allow ClickBank to reach a whole new set of vendors and affiliates. That said, I do hope that ClickBank doesn’t lose focus - they need to remember that their main business is enabling the sale of digital products to end-users (the people reading the eBooks, etc.) rather than taking money directly from vendors/affiliates.

One other point worth considering, which isn’t entirely clear is whether the web hosting, autoresponder, etc., provided in “ClickBank Audience Builder” and “ClickBank Powered” will be as good as the best of breed provided by specialist vendors in these categories - for example, will ClickBank’s autoresponder be as good as that provided by AWeber?

Lastly, one concern that I would have if I was using “ClickBank Audience Builder” and “ClickBank Powered” is that all my eggs are in one basket. If I were ever to fall-out with ClickBank (hopefully not likely, as I’ve been with them for 14 years, and have a good relationship - but I like to be prepared for the worst case scenario), then since my websites are not hosted with ClickBank, I could always switch to another retailer or payment provider. However if I were using ClickBank’s hosting, I might not have that option.

Anyway it will be interesting to see how it pans out - I expect there will be some fascinating stories (including hopefully some big success stories) as people start to explore the new ClickBank capabilities!

Note: All prices in this article are current at the time of writing, but ClickBank may vary them at any time. They do not include VAT or Sales Tax which may or may not apply depending on your geographic location.


Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank vendor: Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank affiliate:
   

• • •

February 28, 2013

Amazon Associate (Affiliate) Program and APIs

Category: Affiliate Programs — Answers 2000 @ 2:58 pm

Disclosure: Our company is an Amazon.com Associate and uses the Amazon API. The links to Associate Engine are affiliate links, and we may earn commission if you buy after following one of these links.

Somebody asked today about Amazon’s APIs and how this fits into their affiliate program, so I thought I would write a little note about the topic, and explain what it is all about.

First of all, I need to summarize I need to explain what Amazon’s affiliate program is: Basically it’s a way for other websites to earn money by promoting sales of Amazon products. The websites place special hyperlinks to Amazon on their pages, and Amazon pays a commission based whenever visitors click on these links and subsequently buy a product from Amazon. Amazon provide a ton of different linking options, such as text links, graphic links, aStores (which are like a frameable Amazon mini-store website), etc.

Amazon refer to their affiliate program as the “Amazon Associate Program”, and just so you know, there are different versions of the Amazon Associate Program for each of the Amazon sites: Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca, Amazon.de, etc. Our company, Answers 2000 Limited, currently participates only in the Amazon.com Associate program.

The other thing I need to explain is what an API: API stands for “Application Programming Interface”, and in this context what it means, is a way in which Amazon provide services which can be utilized by other websites and software programs. Amazon provide a ton of different APIs for all sorts of “cloud services” - which websites can use for pretty much any purpose. Some of the APIs are free to use, but many have fees associated with them. To be honest, with one exception (which I’ll come to a minute), I haven’t really explored them.

One of the APIs that Amazon provides (and is free to use) is API for getting data for Amazon Associate advertising. The idea is that a script can be installed on a website that downloads latest product descriptions and details from Amazon and display’s them on the associate’s website. That way product details and pricing are always up to date, and new products, etc. can be made to appear automatically on the associate’s website when Amazon adds them to their inventory. You should note that this is much more powerful that the aStore option - since a script can select products based on any criteria you choose, display information in your template on your own domain (not a framed page of Amazon’s site), and integrate with other features you might have on your website, etc.

Amazon provides full documentation on their APIs, so if you have the skill and inclination, you can write your own scripts for your site(s). This is what we did, especially since we had some unusual requirements, but it was a non-trivial exercise. Our script is about 3,000 lines of fairly dense programming code.

If you don’t want to write your own Amazon Associate script, then there are some off-the-shelf scripts you can buy, for example, Associate Engine. Buying an off-the-shelf script, means that you can be up and running quickly, even if you don’t have programming skills. And while it true that buying an off-the-shelf script may not give you every last ounce of flexibility that is offered as compared to programming your own, the best scripts (such as Associate Engine) do include configuration options covering all the common requirements (and many less common requirements too).

Finally one final little niggle that I will mention when buying or using an off-the-shelf script: In order to use Amazon’s APIs, you need to get a Developer Key (it’s like an alphanumeric password) from Amazon. Don’t worry it’s free! However you do need to keep it secret once you have it. The purpose of the key is exactly like a password - it only allows authorized users and websites to access Amazon’s API services. The reason you need to key it secret is that if somebody else uses your Developer Key they could in theory run-up chargeable services in your name!


   

• • •

December 12, 2012

ClickBank Advice for Affiliates & Vendors - from the ClickBank King!

Disclosure: Our company is a ClickBank Vendor and Affiliate, and has been for more than 14 years. We earn money by selling our own products through ClickBank, as well as earning affiliate commission on other products sold by ClickBank, including ClickBank’s own products/services, and Harvey’s products. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product/service after following a link from this website.

If you are a ClickBank vendor or affiliate, I’m going to strongly urge you to look at some guides written by Harvey Segal, who I believe is the world’s top independent expert on ClickBank - and who was been nicknamed by some as the “ClickBank King”.

First some disclosures:

  1. Harvey’s given me free review copies of his books.
  2. I am in Harvey’s affiliate program, and may earn a commission if you purchase after following links from this website.
  3. I have met Harvey in person a handful times, including at at least 1 ClickBank event

So what can I say:

First of all, Harvey really is an expert on all things ClickBank. He is meticulous and he keeps up to date.

Secondly, he has a knack of writing in a very clear and understandable fashion, presenting things in a straightforward way, and is very good an organizing information into a digestible format.

Thirdly, while it’s true that there is a lot of free information out there (on the Internet) about ClickBank, the fact is you can’t always trust it. Either somebody is trying to pitch you so hard, they don’t quite tell you the whole story. Or, sometimes people aren’t up to date with how ClickBank has changed over the years. Or sometimes information is simply wrong.

In my own personal experience, when I found some outdated information accidentally left on ClickBank’s own website (and high in the Google search results), and talked to Harvey about it, he directed me to the correct current information. Likewise, in a recent discussion thread about ClickBank payment issues, again Harvey was more up to date than some of ClickBank’s own help pages (I confirmed Harvey was correct when I read a posting from a ClickBank employee in the UK ClickBank Facebook group). Now, obviously I can not personally attest to every single statement in Harvey’s encyclopedic guides, but I think this shows his level of dedication, and his commitment to being accurate and current.

In summary, if you are putting serious amounts of efforts or money into promoting ClickBank products, or selling your own products through ClickBank, I think these guides should be a no-brainer.

Finally, I would point with ClickBank’s new risk tiers, aside from anything else, you probably really want to look at reducing your refund rate, the subject of Harvey’s 3rd book.

A few details on each of the guides:

ClickBank Affiliate SuperTips

  • 53 Pages
  • PDF
  • Including Preface/Table of Contents/9 Chapters/4 Appendices
  • From start (a new affiliate signing-up) to product selection to promotion methods to most importantly, getting paid
  • Many links, tips, and technical information

ClickBank Vendor SuperTips

  • 62 Pages
  • PDF
  • Including Preface/Table of Contents/14 Chapters/3 Appendices
  • Many links, tips, and technical information (actually I just discovered something I didn’t know, when browsing again on p51)

Stop Those ClickBank Refunds

  • 34 Pages
  • PDF
  • Including Preface/Table of Contents/13 Chapters/3 Appendices
  • Mostly aimed at vendors (only 1 appendix is really aimed at affiliates as far as I can see)
  • Perhaps not as technical as the other guides, but includes good information about how to present your product to reduce refunds, answer emails etc., including template emails.
  • And, given ClickBank’s new policies on refunds, very important!

Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank vendor: Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank affiliate:
   

• • •

January 13, 2012

CBRocket 3.01 - New Version of ClickBank Search Script

Category: Company Announcements, Affiliate Programs, ClickBank — Answers 2000 @ 6:08 pm

CBRocket is our PHP script that reads the ClickBank marketplace product data (as well as our own MarketingRocket.com product data feed) into a MySQL database. It allows people using the script to easily display search results of the ClickBank products on their websites (see demo). We are pleased to announce the availability of version 3.01 of this script - fully compatible with ClickBank’s new January 2012 marketplace.

Why use this script? Apart from providing lots of juicy content on your website, ClickBank affiliates (it’s free to join ClickBank as an affiliate) can of course earn commissions from sales of products sold by ClickBank that result from users following their links.


Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank vendor: Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank affiliate:
   

• • •

January 20, 2010

CBRocket 3.00 Released - Compatible with new ClickBank Marketplace

Category: Company Announcements, Affiliate Programs, ClickBank — Answers 2000 @ 5:23 pm

CBRocket is our PHP script that reads the ClickBank marketplace product data (as well as our own MarketingRocket.com product data feed) into a MySQL database. It allows people using the script to easily display search results of the ClickBank products on their websites (see demo). We are pleased to announce the availability of version 3.00 of this script - fully compatible with ClickBank’s new January 2010 marketplace.

Why use this script? Apart from providing lots of juicy content on your website, ClickBank affiliates (it’s free to join ClickBank as an affiliate) can of course earn commissions from sales of products sold by ClickBank that result from users following their links.

As well as updating the script to work with the new ClickBank marketplace, we have also taken the opportunity to incorporate other enhancements, including improvements in security, more options for filtering the sorts of products displayed on your website.


Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank vendor: Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank affiliate:
   

• • •

December 16, 2008

New version of CBRocket

Category: Affiliate Programs, ClickBank — Answers 2000 @ 9:13 am

We have released a new version of CBRocket, our PHP script for facilitating the display of ClickBank affiliate links on your web site.

The new version is required because of some change’s in ClickBank’s site - the old version will not download the full marketplace. If you have the old version, a link to download the new version will appear in the admin log-in screen - or contact us if you have questions or need help.


Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank vendor: Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank affiliate:
   

• • •

July 1, 2008

CBRocket 2.20 Released

Category: Affiliate Programs, ClickBank — Answers 2000 @ 1:11 pm

CBRocket is our program that allows you to put a ClickBank search engine, as well as targeted ClickBank text ads on your web site.

We have just released CBRocket version 2.20. This upgrade fixes a minor bug (the display of the number of items retrieved from ClickBank was incorrect in the admin screen), and is also necessary because of some changes in ClickBank’s web site that were causing problems with retrieving items at all.

The upgrade is free for existing customers. Contact us if you need help.

Please Note: Although we have released an entire new version, if you want to upgrade from 2.10 quickly, you can simply replace the cfadmin.php and cfutil.inc.php files with the new versions of these files.


Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank vendor: Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank affiliate:
   

• • •

January 16, 2008

CBRocket - ClickBank Search Engine - One more week before price rises

Category: Company Announcements, Affiliate Programs, ClickBank — Answers 2000 @ 4:07 am

We have completed our price review of the products at ScriptRocket.com - our web site which offers a range of flexible PHP scripts for webmasters. Some changes have already been implemented, but others will be going through shortly:-

  • Polls - Create your own web polls - is now priced at US $24.95*
  • Click/Counter Tracker - Invisibly count visitors to web pages or clicks on your advertising links - is now priced at US $24.95*
  • Feedback Form - Email form to get feedback from your visitors - is now priced at US $14.95*
  • CBRocket - our flexible search engine and text link advertising solution for ClickBank affiliates, is still available at the old price for now - US $34.95* - but the price will be rising on approximately the 23rd January 2008. Please purchase on January 23rd if you wish to get it at the current price!
  • All other prices, are unchanged for now, though of course we do reserve the right to make further changes. It’s worth pointing out that the Essential Scripts - collection of scripts which includes containing Top Site, Polls, Click/Counter Tracker and Feedback Form is now even better value than ever.

* These prices don’t include VAT (Value Added Tax) which applies for European Union residents at their national rate. Sales Tax may apply for some US locations. All prices are correct as of the date of this post, but we reserve the right to change them in future. Please check the scriptrocket.com site for current details and prices.


Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank vendor: Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank affiliate:
   

• • •

December 7, 2007

Review of Internet Marketing Center Affiliate Program

Category: Affiliate Programs — Answers 2000 @ 4:27 am

According to the stats page in their resource area, we’ve been a member of the Internet Marketing Center’s affiliate program since February of 2000. Really.

I can’t say we’ve earned a fortune with them - but we have had a few commission checks. To be fair, the limited earnings that we have had are all our own fault* - we’ve focused on other things, and not really been active in promoting them - just the odd banner ad on some of our company’s lower traffic web sites.

In any case, we’ve now posted a review of the Internet Marketing Center affiliate program for anybody’s who’s interested.


* I should mention that there is a certain person that I know, who unlike us has generated a nice regular income using the Internet Marketing Center’s affiliate program. This person buys the products, writes reviews of the products, and then promotes those reviews at every conceivable opportunity. It wouldn’t be right for me to reveal the person’s name or website, but I can say that most of this person’s commissions are apparently earned from sales of the Internet Marketing Center’s flagship product, "The Insider Secrets to Marketing Your Business on the Internet".


   

• • •

February 19, 2007

CBRocket 2.10 Released

Category: Company Announcements, Affiliate Programs, ClickBank — Answers 2000 @ 6:03 am

CBRocket is our PHP script that allows webmasters to allow their visitors to search ClickBank without leaving their site. And set up targeted text ads. A new release, version 2.10, fixes the limitation that had recently appeared, and which I wrote about in a recent blog post. As well as fixing this limitation, we’ve taken the opportunity to add a neat new filter feature, which is explained below. If you want to upgrade to the new version, we’ll provide it free to existing customers - so please contact us including the receipt number of your original purchase.

CBRocket: Filtering the ClickBank marketplace

CBRocket also now includes a feature that allows you to filter out product listings from ClickBank’s results, based on keywords that you specify.

Why would you want to do that?

Although ClickBank contains many excellent products, there may be some products that you feel are inappropriate for your site.

For example:

  • There might be some products that you consider unsuitable for your audience. For example, in site that is principally aimed at families,
    you might not wish to list products relating to nude photography, or improving your casino and gambling skills.

  • Many affiliate programs and advertising programs have restrictions on what type of content may appear on the same site as their ads. For
    example, you may not be allowed to put gambling ads on your web site. For this reason, you wouldn’t want CBRocket to display ClickBank products
    related to gambling, betting, casinos, poker, roulette, etc.

So how does this feature work?

First you set up a list of keywords describing products that you wish to filter out. And, from then on, whenever you retrieve the last ClickBank
data (by clicking a link in the admin screen of CBRocket), any products which contain any of these keywords will be automatically removed from your copy of the ClickBank marketplace.

Example: if you set this parameter to "casino,roulette,poker,horse racing,bet,bets,betting,gambling" it would filter out any ClickBank products which contained any of these gambling terms in their title or description.

If you ever want to narrow or widen the criteria, you can simply change the list of keywords, and click the retrieval link (in the CBRocket admin
screen) to update your copy of the ClickBank marketplace. It really is that easy.


Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank vendor: Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank affiliate:
   

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