Do you buy the clickbank product you are promoting?

by Raz IM
47 replies
Hi everyone,

As I get into affiliate marketing, I'm wondering if I should buy the clickbank product that I will promote.

It is definitely more expensive to go this way but I want to make sure that the product is good quality and that the content is in line with my values/character. Ethically, I don't want to promote a product where the author has shady and controversial content.

What do you all think?
#buy #clickbank #product #promoting
  • Profile picture of the author tehnolife
    Banned
    You can see the quality of the product that you promote , looking on the vendors name and you look also if the offer in the sale letter is too good to be true.If it's so, don't promote it!

    And you can ask the vendor for a review copy to promote more good.

    All the best,
    Stefan Ion
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      I certainly never promote a Clickbank product without having a copy of it myself first - for the reasons you give, among others.

      Quite often a vendor will give me a "review copy", if I ask appropriately and give him/her reason to take me seriously as a potential affiliate.

      If not, I happily buy it through my own affiliate link.

      Ignore anyone telling you not to do this. It's utter nonsense. This is expressly allowed by Clickbank, and calling people "thieves" for doing it is offensive, illogical and totally mistaken.
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      • Profile picture of the author tehnolife
        Banned
        [DELETED]
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        • Profile picture of the author Scott Voss
          Alright, this one has me perplexed.

          If I am a buyer (i.e. someone who drop $27 to purchase the product)

          But not an affiliate (someone who promotes the product to other people, who buy it and may or may not become an affiliate)

          How am I stealing?

          Better than that, am I not an accessory to a crime every time I sell to someone who does not become an affiliate?

          Holy crap folks, I think I am heading off to jail.

          I'm too soft for jail, I'll never survive!!!!!

          -Scott Voss

          Originally Posted by tehnolife View Post

          If you are a buyer and not an affiliate you are A THIEVE!! Because if you don't promote the product but you buy it from your aff link .... the vendor will loss money!! But if you promote the product and you realy make sales, this will doesn't be a problem anymore...
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        • Profile picture of the author George Wright
          Originally Posted by tehnolife View Post

          If you are a buyer and not an affiliate you are A THIEVE!! Because if you don't promote the product but you buy it from your aff link .... the vendor will loss money!! But if you promote the product and you realy make sales, this will doesn't be a problem anymore...
          You are totally wrong on this point.

          George Wright
          Signature
          "The first chapter sells the book; the last chapter sells the next book." Mickey Spillane
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      • Profile picture of the author DropWizard.com
        Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

        Ignore anyone telling you not to do this. It's utter nonsense. This is expressly allowed by Clickbank, and calling people "thieves" for doing it is offensive, illogical and totally mistaken.
        I'll have to re-read the TOS at clickbank because I distinctly remember it being against doing that.

        I personally wouldn't care from my end a sale would be a sale no different than any other client.

        And yes calling someone a thief is pretty strong.
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        • Profile picture of the author DropWizard.com
          Well I've read them again and couldn't find anything against it. I'm positive there was before or perhaps I missed it.

          Or maybe it's just a senior moment
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        • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
          Banned
          Originally Posted by DropWizard.com View Post

          I'll have to re-read the TOS at clickbank because I distinctly remember it being against doing that.
          It may have changed at some point? Certainly for the whole of the last 2 years this has been expressly allowed.

          Originally Posted by DropWizard.com View Post

          And yes calling someone a thief is pretty strong.
          Indeed. They're doing something that they're expressly allowed to do. In those circumstances, to call them "thieves" is (a) totally inaccurate, and (b) insulting. Vendors who don't want to sell their products for the net vendor price should take them away from Clickbank, not whinge about people doing something completely legitimate.

          Buying a Clickbank product through your own affiliate-link is not "stealing" anything from anyone.

          If I'm interested in promoting a Clickbank product as an affiliate, and the vendor won't give me a review copy so that I can decide whether or not it's a suitable one to promote with my existing lists and in other ways, I don't hesitate to buy it through my own affiliate-link; and if the short-sighted vendor doesn't like it, "tough": I have the right to do so.

          Vendors choosing to make their products available through Clickbank's affiliate network have a right to expect their "net vendor earnings per sale" (other than on copies they themselves sell): no more and no less. The fact that some existing affiliates may buy a product purely as customers, using their own affiliate-link to do so, is simply the inevitable consequence of Clickbank's policy in expressly permitting people to do this - and by no stretch of the imagination is it "stealing".

          Vendors would be the first (ok, the second!) to be screaming about it, if they changed the rules to disallow this, when their sales dropped. Especially vendors in the IM and MMO markets in which a proportion of potential customers are already affiliates.
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          • Profile picture of the author DropWizard.com
            Thanks Alexa I hadn't caught that update. I boought something a couple of weeks ago I could have saved some $$$ on. :-(

            However many affiliate systems don't allow you to buy through your own links so you should check it first.
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          • Profile picture of the author Black Hat Cat
            Banned
            Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

            It may have changed at some point? Certainly for the whole of the last 2 years this has been expressly allowed.
            Has it really?

            Customer Distribution Requirement

            ClickBank will withhold payment of any account balance until the following criteria is met:

            * Sales made with 5 or more different credit card numbers; and,
            * Sales made with two different payment methods (either Visa, MasterCard, or PayPal). Note: PayPal purchases do not count toward the minimum 5 different credit card numbers.

            This requirement is in place to help prevent Affiliates from abusing the ClickBank Affiliate program by using their accounts for the sole purpose of fraudulently collecting rebates and/or discounts on their own purchases.


            https://www.clickbank.com/accounting.html#A15

            This isn't new, and has been around for more than 2 years. Having said that, I agree with the rest of your post. I buy through my affiliate link for the same reasons, and will continue to do so.
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    • Profile picture of the author A Bary
      Originally Posted by tehnolife View Post


      Another thing is..... if you realy want to buy the product that you are promoting then.....DON'T BUY IT FROM YOUR AFFILIATE ID!! This is a steal!!

      All the best,
      Stefan Ion
      And from where did you get such an ignorant rule?

      This is just lame...

      There's nothing unethical or wrong with buying from your own affiliate link...
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  • Profile picture of the author DropWizard.com
    Originally Posted by Raz! View Post

    Hi everyone,

    As I get into affiliate marketing, I'm wondering if I should buy the clickbank product that I will promote.

    It is definitely more expensive to go this way but I want to make sure that the product is good quality and that the content is in line with my values/character. Ethically, I don't want to promote a product where the author has shady and controversial content.

    What do you all think?
    The vendors will love that kind of thinking but you can't buy it through your affiliate code it's (usually) a no-no

    It's a shame more people didn't have these kind of ethics when selling on the web. Kudos to you!
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  • Profile picture of the author Scott Voss
    When promoting a CB product, I prefer to buy the product and digest it first.

    This allows me three things:

    First, I get to really find out if it is crap. Even if it is crap, maybe there is one piece of gold in that pile. At very least, I can explain that it is a steaming piece of doggy-doo, but if you go 12 minutes/6 pages/etc. into the product, you will be shown the best way ever to... (you get the point)

    Second, it allows me to better write my 'sales' page for the product.

    Third, it affords me a better understanding of what bonus I can create to offer my list for buying the product.

    This takes more work than just throwing up a page with a link, but the long term results are better.

    Love your list!!

    -Scott Voss
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  • Profile picture of the author deloriagod
    As much as I'd love to buy every product I've promoted, my budget just won't allow it right now. I would love to have a few of the products I've promoted, but until I make some money those products will just have to wait.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rough Outline
    I normally ask for a copy of the product so I know it's legit, I never promote anything that I haven't reviewed/tested first hand.

    Just email them stating your an affiliate marketer blah blah, if they're serious then they'll give you a copy.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by tehnolife View Post

      If you are a buyer and not an affiliate you are A THIEVE!! Because if you don't promote the product but you buy it from your aff link .... the vendor will loss money!! But if you promote the product and you realy make sales, this will doesn't be a problem anymore...
      Careful, there, youngster. Take a deep breath, count to ten, and keep reading...

      If I buy the product from another affiliate, the vendor gets the percentage he agrees to accept, minus his half of Clickbank's fee.

      If I buy the product using my own affiliate link, the vendor gets the percentage he agrees to accept, minus his half of Clickbank's fee.

      Either way, the vendor gets what he would make on any affiliate sale. How is he losing money?

      If the vendor is not losing money, how can anyone be stealing from him?

      I steered away from CB products for a long time for a variety of reasons, but I've started looking into them again. Many of them might be a good fit for one or more of my audiences. They would not be something I would buy for myself in many cases. So the vendor is not losing part of a sale he might have made anyway.

      Clickbank, as far as I know, has never forbidden buying through your own links. They simply refuse to pay the commission unless you also make other sales. I believe that right now it takes at least 5 sales using different credit cards.

      If all you ever do is give yourself a discount by buying through your links, you'll never see the discount because CB will nibble away at your account balance until it hits zero.

      tehnolife, are sure you still want to call Alexa a thief?
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      • Profile picture of the author oneplusone
        You should always buy the product, obviously to make sure it is decent first and foremost.

        However, even if it IS a decent product one thing I usually do is wait a couple of weeks as some sellers provide a decent first product but then bombard their buyers with non stop sales pitches of garbage by e-mail.

        Especially if I'm promoting as an affiliate to one of my e-mail lists, the last thing I want is my customers having their inboxes invaded with crap on a daily basis.

        So it isn't just to ensure the product is decent, but to see what they get up to with their customers after they have made the sale.
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        'If you hear a voice within you say "you cannot paint," then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.' Vincent Van Gogh.
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        • Profile picture of the author sportsfan54
          I have bought CB products through my affiliate links a few times. I never thought about messaging the vendor and asking for a review copy. Guess I will from now on and hope they will
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          • Profile picture of the author Raz IM
            Thanks for all the great responses, everyone.

            I didn't think about asking for a review copy but I think I will now. It will definitely save me money especially since I'm new at IM and don't have a big budget.

            If I can't, I'll just take the advice of buying through my affiliate link.
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  • Profile picture of the author Lauryn
    Yes, I do this.

    I posted a while back about an e-book that I purchased, only to find it was really bad. I wanted to put an honest review out about it, and wanted to know what others thought of me doing so. Needless to say that thread is gone, but I fully back this idea.

    I also have a product I purchased and reviewed, and it was an okay product but I was honest enough about it that I have sold a few and this site only has 3 articles. I consider it quite "unfinished."

    So yes, definitely go ahead and review things you're going to offer to others. It might inspire you to create your own product.
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    I Go Hard = "Slanguage" for putting forth a lot of effort.

    Don't be an arse and try to flip something you clearly have no knowledge of against me.

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    • Profile picture of the author JTVee
      I distinctly remember looking into it when I first started and Clickbank said you shouldn't open an account for the sole purpose of getting discounts.

      I can't remember if it was "shouldn't" or "not allowed" or whatever.

      Don't know if it still says that anywhere now.
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      • Profile picture of the author sirtom
        Honestly, I've never been rejected for a review copy of the product from a vendor I've approached to promote a product from.

        Then again, I mention my track record, the fact that I found it via Clickbank, and am generally optimistic and polite. And I also include a blueprint or mention methods I'm going to use to promote the product.

        I'm always taken seriously, as I should be, and I've never been disappointed. But this way, what kind of product owner looking for affiliates would say No?
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      • Profile picture of the author George Wright
        Originally Posted by JTVee View Post

        I distinctly remember looking into it when I first started and Clickbank said you shouldn't open an account for the sole purpose of getting discounts.

        I can't remember if it was "shouldn't" or "not allowed" or whatever.

        Don't know if it still says that anywhere now.
        You are correct. Key Words= "sole purpose"

        George Wright
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        "The first chapter sells the book; the last chapter sells the next book." Mickey Spillane
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        • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
          Originally Posted by Raz! View Post

          Hi everyone,

          As I get into affiliate marketing, I'm wondering if I should buy the clickbank product that I will promote.

          It is definitely more expensive to go this way but I want to make sure that the product is good quality and that the content is in line with my values/character. Ethically, I don't want to promote a product where the author has shady and controversial content.

          What do you all think?
          I almost always buy any products I promote. You can say it's more expensive, but I can argue that it's not ... not if you think long term. Do you think you can promote a product better if you actually own it and use it, or if you don't own it and use it?

          For most people, if they actually use the product they'll be able to write about with more conviction and authority, which translates to more sales. Unless, of course, it's a bad product. In that case, you're better off not promoting it.

          I said I almost always buy the product, the times I don't is if I'm supplied a review copy or a friend uses it and I take it for a test drive on his or her computer. In any case, I have familiarity with the product.

          Originally Posted by DropWizard.com View Post

          I'll have to re-read the TOS at clickbank because I distinctly remember it being against doing that.
          I thought it used to be in there too, but when this came up several months ago on this forum I looked, and I couldn't find anything prohibiting it anymore.

          Originally Posted by Raz! View Post

          Thanks for all the great responses, everyone.

          I didn't think about asking for a review copy but I think I will now. It will definitely save me money especially since I'm new at IM and don't have a big budget.

          If I can't, I'll just take the advice of buying through my affiliate link.
          It's much easier to get a review copy if you have a reputation as a reviewer. If not, if you can point to other reviews you've done, or be willing to supply them on request, you'll have a lot better luck. Vendors get hit up for review copies all the time. A good portion of those asking are only looking for a free product. Be the exception!
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        • Profile picture of the author petec
          THIEVES we are not.

          I have always bought products through my aff id. As has already been stated the vendor still gets the same amount.
          Although asking for a review copy is a good idea.
          Any vendor in my mind that refuses is an idiot. You could be a super affiliate that drives them hundreds or even thousands of sales.

          ONE SURE FIRE WAY TO GET BANNED FROM CLICKBANK.

          Buying products for review, then asking for a refund, will get you banned.
          Read clickbanks returns policy.

          Have a good day.

          Pete
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  • Profile picture of the author Ido Jansen
    Guys, STOP ASKING FOR REVIEW COPIES !!!

    Someone has invested time and money in creating a product, this someone is offering
    you as an affiliate to make money out of his efforts.
    If you don't want to buy the product before you promote it - fine (a mistake, but fine),
    If you are a serious IMer - buy the product:
    if it is crap - refund it...
    if it is good - well, go a head and promote it!

    And yes, I also think that buying a product with your own affiliate link is totally honest.
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    • Profile picture of the author sirtom
      Originally Posted by maoodi View Post

      Guys, STOP ASKING FOR REVIEW COPIES !!!

      If you are a serious IMer - buy the product:
      if it is crap - refund it...
      if it is good - well, go a head and promote it!
      I don't agree to your response at all. Not only have I NEVER received any complaint as to being unfair, unethical, or "less serious" from any product owner, but my frequent requests for review copies are usually met with optimism and friendly support after I'm received as genuinely wanting to promote the product.

      After checking the product out, if I don't like it, I won't promote it. I also have no problem telling the product owner that, or the reason why.

      It's good marketing practice to promote things you actually believe in/have tried/own, but what does it matter if you came across that information by buying it or getting it for free via a review copy? I think establishing contact with the product owner is good affiliate practice anyway, since the product owner is usually very accommodating to the affiliate (whether that affiliate is a customer or not).

      Second of all:

      Originally Posted by maoodi View Post

      Someone has invested time and money in creating a product, this someone is offering you as an affiliate to make money out of his efforts.
      ...And that someone has an affiliate program to begin with so affiliates can make money for him, which that someone very well knows. The affiliate program is a 2-way street; it's not in effect just so YOU as the affiliate can make money. Every cent you bring in is passive income to the product owner which he neither pays for nor works for.

      Now if you're trying to get a review copy of something because you want the product and don't want to pay for it, I disagree with that for the first point you mentioned: "Someone has invested time and money in creating a product", but this is totally separate from making money as an affiliate in my book.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
      Originally Posted by maoodi View Post

      Guys, STOP ASKING FOR REVIEW COPIES !!!
      Nonsense. It doesn't hurt to ask. The vendor is under no obligation to provide one. If someone is in a position to drive a lot of traffic to one of my products, I'm happy to give them a review copy. I do my due diligence though, and try to determine if they really are in a position to drive the traffic if I don't know them.
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      Just when you think you've got it all figured out, someone changes the rules.

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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Originally Posted by maoodi View Post

      If you are a serious IMer - buy the product:
      if it is crap - refund it...
      Well, that's the one thing I don't do.

      My purpose in buying it (through my affiliate-link) is to assess whether or not it's suitable for me to promote. If I read it and it isn't (as sometimes happens, of course), my purchase has perfectly fulfilled its objective: i.e. I have examined the product and made a decision on the basis of what I found. The fact that my decision happens, in any individual case, to be "no" rather than "yes" doesn't detract from that. The product was fit for the purpose for which I bought it, which was a decision-making purpose, and the decision was made. So I won't be asking for a refund.

      And if a vendor doesn't want to do business with me on that basis, then (a) that's his problem because he has no choice, and (b) he needs to have his head examined, and (c) if the person who examines it finds much inside it then he needs to have his head examined, too.

      Having said all that, I admit that the overwhelming majority of the time I ask for a "review copy", I do get one. But I do ask in a way that encourages the vendor to take me seriously.

      Apart from all the reasons referred to above, it's also always worth doing this just to test out "vendor contact" before deciding what to promote, too, because occasionally a vendor doesn't reply to an inquiry at all, and of course that's a really good reason to drop them and their product like a stone: if they won't even reply to a serious email from a potential business associate, one can imagine all too easily what their after-sale customer service is going to be like. :p
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  • Profile picture of the author Big Al
    Yeah it's a good idea to buy the product - only thing I would say is that if it's not a niche you're into - then it's a good idea to couple it with some research on a few forums (where available). You can get some real feedback which is good.

    On a randomly unrelated note ... when I was doing lots in the Forex market I found what probably had the biggest, cultish following of a Clickbank product. The buyers loved it and the customer support was amazing.

    Problem is ... the page doesn't convert and I made more sales from a product that had a so-so review then this one with an amazing review.

    P.S. If I was an affiliate and someone bought through their affiliate link ... and went on to make a sale a day ... I'd be pretty happy and even if it was against CB TOS ... I think I'd forgive them
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  • Profile picture of the author Thomas Buckley
    I ususally ask the seller what is it about and have a look at the review section in here is it worth my time to promote
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  • Profile picture of the author Lauryn
    So someone asking for a review copy to legitimately review a product isn't serious?
    If someone's product is crap, or they're paranoid about being "taken" for their product, that's the only way I can see someone not having a reason to give a review product to an established affiliate with a proven dedication to reviewing CB products.

    Seriously I think CB should require some products to give review copies to affiliates, because some products are explicitly crappy.
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    I Go Hard = "Slanguage" for putting forth a lot of effort.

    Don't be an arse and try to flip something you clearly have no knowledge of against me.

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  • Profile picture of the author Britt Malka
    I almost always either purchase a copy (and often through my own affiliate link at ClickBank - this has been allowed for many years, more than two), or I ask for a review copy.

    I look at it this way: if the product is not worth what it promises, I'll ask for a refund. If it is worth what it promises, I can promote it.

    On rare occations I don't have a copy of the product, but then I make sure it's selling well, have few refunds, and I promote it under a pen name. But it's like 1/100 or less times that I do that.
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    • Profile picture of the author cyberws
      "if you don't promote the product but you buy it from your aff link .... the vendor will loss money!! "

      It's amazing the garbage that gets posted on forums. The above comment is utter rubbish! The seller will make exactly the same amount of money regardless of WHO buys it or WHY they're buying it.

      Alexa is right: CB encourages & allows us to buy through out own links.
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  • If you contact the product vendor with a solid request for a review copy, you will get it 99% of the times. And I mean a SOLID request: state what products you've promoted in the past, list a few of your sites, how do you plan to promote it, etc. If you appear as a serious affiliate, you will get a free review copy.
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  • Profile picture of the author x3xsolxdierx3x
    It's as simple as selling yourself, and WHY it would greatly benefit them if they gave you a review copy. In Alexa's case, she could probably just say something like "I sold 10,000+ eBooks last month. I can do the same for you with my established channels...but, I would greatly appreciate a review copy first."

    Of course, I like your version, as well, Chris

    Originally Posted by Chris Kent View Post

    Buy it? I just ask the vendor.

    Here's are two examples:

    The Wrong Way

    Hi, I want to promote your product, please give me a copy. Thanks

    The Right Way

    Hi, my name is Chris Kent. I've been promoting CB products for several years (you can check out a couple of my sites here: XXX, YYY).

    I found your site today and I'd really like to promote it. I have plans for a new site and intend to ZZZ and AAA. I think I can make a lot of money for us both.

    I want to convert at the highest rate possible but to do that I kindly request a review copy of BBB. This way, I can better understand the mindset of the prospect and show him/her how your product is an exact fit for their needs.

    I hope you agree with me and I look forward to hearing from you.

    Best,
    Chris
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  • Profile picture of the author Rinz
    Asking for a review copy will be easier if you can show him/her some screenshots of your previous sales.
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  • Profile picture of the author forfun_cash
    I have bought many clickbank products long ago and none of them live up to their sales page's expectation. Now a days i have to sell clickbank's product without buying them else i will feel guilty to sell it..
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    • Profile picture of the author x3xsolxdierx3x
      Originally Posted by forfun_cash View Post

      I have bought many clickbank products long ago and none of them live up to their sales page's expectation. Now a days i have to sell clickbank's product without buying them else i will feel guilty to sell it..
      This makes no sense at all. I know this may be a longshot for some to understand, but there is a real breathing human being on the other end of your computer screen who ultimately purchases the product you recommend for one reason or another. You *should* be promoting products that will ultimately help people....but, I guess the scent of money causes everyone to do things like this, hu? So, now, you just accept that all products are bad, and don't live up to their sales page's expectations, yet you still continue to promote them to people? Sigh...however, I'm sure this is more common than I may think....This is such a self-centered approach it's not even funny.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
        Banned
        Originally Posted by x3xsolxdierx3x View Post

        This is such a self-centered approach it's not even funny.
        Thanks for your reply to it anyway, which was submitted while I was thinking about mine but had nearly abandoned the idea out of a combination of frustration, annoyance and disappointment. You said what I'd have said (but - as ever - a little more politely).
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    • Profile picture of the author DireStraits
      Originally Posted by forfun_cash View Post

      I have bought many clickbank products long ago and none of them live up to their sales page's expectation. Now a days i have to sell clickbank's product without buying them else i will feel guilty to sell it..
      Haha. I haven't laughed so hard all day.

      EDIT: I too was going to write something intended to be a mild attack on this individuals backward practices, but there's really no point. Those who know me in person know me to be a bit of a George Carlin / Bill Hicks-type cynic who possesses an ongoing disdain for the self-centered actions some people take - not to mention the failed logic they use to back them up. These days, all I can do is laugh. Keeps me sane, y'know.
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  • Profile picture of the author learntotradeforex
    Hi, this is news to me that you may buy products to your affiliate link. I did it 2 years ago, and my account was suspended to withdraw money. I had to make 5 different sales with 5 different visa numbers so my account could be 'unlocked' and start sending me cheques again. Paypal sales where not counted, only different visa numbers.

    Last year I also send them an email about this, and their answer was not a clear yes and no. It was very vague as usual.

    So I normally ask the vendor for a copy, I evaluate the product and then decide to promote it. This way I get much less refunds and promote and use the time with only quality products.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alfred Shelver
    If the Product is something I could personally use then I would buy it. This is very unlikely because I would not promote an IM affiliate product, and have yet to find something I think would sell well that I can use personally thats not IM . Seeing that I would never have bought the product anyway I feel a review copy helps me keep my integrity by giving an honest review... And the vendor has not missed out on a potential customer because I would not have bought it any way.
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  • Profile picture of the author Reno Van Boven
    Hey Raz7

    I usually buy the product before I promote it. I have tried review copies but it either takes aaages for some vendors to respond or they never respond. I think it's much faster buying the product, if it's good I'll keep it and promote it, if it's crap, I'll apply for a refund through CB.

    Hope it helps.

    Cheers,

    Reno
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  • Profile picture of the author paulie888
    I would first start by asking for a review copy, and if that request is declined, then I'd buy it through my own affiliate link as Alexa has mentioned above, since this does not contravene any Clickbank rules. Who wouldn't want to save 50% or more on a Clickbank product purchase, especially since this is permitted?
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