*Disclaimer: Links included in this post to products mentioned are affiliate links. You will be supporting myself and the site if you purchase your product through them, which is always greatly appreciated!*
After a little over six months as a Clickbank affiliate, I am finally getting my first paycheck of affiliate commissions. But for a while there, I wasn’t sure it was going to happen.
Affiliate Programs I’ve Used
As a bit of background info on my history with affiliate providers, I’d like to say that Clickbank isn’t the only one I have worked with for affiliate products. I’ve promoted products with eJunkie, ShareaSale, and a few smaller affiliate sites.
All of them have been pretty easy – you make a commission on any products (from a novelty promotional item to full making money online course), and typically get paid out within a month, with exception to a few conference affiliate commissions that withheld payment until the event started to prevent any commissions being paid and then attendees canceling later. It’s been straightforward, and whatever commissions I earned, I eventually got paid via Paypal or direct deposit.
What products are available in the Clickbank Marketplace? There are a LOT of products you can market in almost every category, from Arts & Entertainment to Travel. Essentially, any niche that you belong to, you should find a product on Clickbank that fits in it. Some that I market include:
- Income Blogging Guide Course
- Popup Domination
- Subscribers Magnet
- Ninja Affiliate
- Blogcast FM Premium
Clickbank Affiliate Payment Rules
When I signed up for my first product out of the Clickbank Marketplace (the Income Blogging Course, which I have also taken myself and enjoyed thoroughly), I didn’t feel the need to read through all of the guidelines, as I assumed one affiliate service works like the next. This is a bad assumption.
Each month, I watched my commissions pile up, but kept seeing a CDR status next to each bi-weekly report of my earnings. I lowered my payment threshold to $50, so I knew it was no longer that. So I started reading the affiliate rules to find the first issue with getting money from Clickbank.
CDR – Customer Distribution Requirement
The Customer Distribution Requirement is Clickbank’s way to make sure you are not gaming the affiliate system and buying affiliate products through your own link to give yourself a little extra discount. In order for your commissions to be paid out to you, you must have affiliate purchases with:
- Paypal (a minimum of 1)
- Five unique credit card payments with Visa or Mastercard
This means that you must have people buy affiliate products through your links using six different forms of payment. Now I don’t know about you, but when I buy products online, unless it’s through Amazon or a well known online brand, I typically use Paypal for everything. And, surprise surprise, so do most others. Getting several Paypal purchasers is simple. But you will probably be waiting for a while to get the five unique credit card purchases.
The CDR is particularly tough when you see your earnings accumulating with recurring payments, such as with the blogging course I mentioned earlier. I received commissions every month from people who signed up for the six month program. But, of course, the credit card they used only counted once toward the CDR.
Fortunately, I did make the CDR in December, six months after I started marketing Clickbank products. But what happens if you don’t meet this requirement?
Dormant Account Charges
If you start earning commissions, but don’t make the CDR, get discouraged, and stop working hard on affiliate promotions, will you lose your earnings? Possibly. Clickbank charges fees for dormant accounts. Their policy is:
Accounts with a positive balance but no earnings for an extended period of time are considered dormant. Dormant accounts are subject to a charge of $1 per pay period after 90 days of no earnings, $5 per pay period after 180 days of no earnings, and $50 per pay period after 365 days of no earnings.
So needless to say, you don’t want to forget about those earnings! Keep promoting and make sure you get your CDR met so you can get the payments you have earned.
Oh, one more thing. Because there is the chance that your affiliate commissions payout may happen before a purchaser’s return timeframe has expired, Clickbank takes a “return allowance” of around 10% of your affiliate earnings, which they will credit back to your account. In 12 weeks.
So let’s say after your first payment you slack off of affiliate marketing and kind of forget about it. 84 days later, you get the $50 credited to your account. Six days later, you start getting hit with the $1 per pay period charge because your account is dormant (pay periods can be once every two weeks, ie. $2 per month. Three months later, the $44 you have left will start to be charged $5 per pay period, ie. $10 per month. In a few months, that $50 will be all gone, even though you had earned it rightfully in the beginning.
Needless to say, if you want to actually get all of your affiliate commission payouts, you must keep your account active by constantly promoting affiliate products. For some affiliates with huge mailing lists and highly trafficked sites, that’s usually not an issue, but for smaller affiliates who “get lucky” here and there, it could become a problem.
Is Clickbank a Scam?
Since I did receive my payment, I can say that Clickbank is not a scam.
Is it one of the most difficult affiliate service providers for affiliates to get their full commissions paid out from? I would say so – again, maybe not for large affiliates, but for smaller ones that do not heavily focus on affiliate marketing, definitely!