Monthly Archives: August 2011

Are Some Clickbank Affiliates Really Having $50,000 Days?

ClickbankAnyone who spends almost any amount of time working in the field of Internet marketing has heard of Clickbank. Along with Commission Junction and Linkshare, they are considered to be one of the top ways for people to earn money online. It also seems that everyone who has a product to sell in the make money online niche has a screen shot of their Clickbank page showing the millions of dollars they’re raking in after just 24 hours of almost no effort. But is it all fake?

Okay, Not Really Millions

Now, to be fair, I exaggerate somewhat – most of these people don’t claim to be raking in millions of dollars in 24 hours. However, I’ve seen more than enough videos from people who claim to be taking in thousands of dollars soon after launching a product that it’s important to debunk these guys. The reality is that while there probably are a handful of Clickbank affiliates who really do make $50,000 and more every single day, the vast, vast majority don’t make that much.

Photoshop

The first thing to keep in mind is that Photoshop is a truly remarkable tool. A skilled Photoshop user can take their $0.00 days on Clickbank and turn them into very convincing looking pages which include lots of eye popping numbers (ever notice how they all seem to claim that you can make an exact amount – like “find out how you can make $42,576.48 in just 21 days”).

Sadly, there are many charlatans in the world of making money online and they are not above lying about what they make in order to make a sale (which will in turn drive sales which really are $50,000 a day).

Cancellations

Another thing which these guys never tell you about is their cancellation rate. Clickbank requires a 60 day cancellation policy for all products they offer for sale. It’s part of the contact when you sign up to sell something on the site.

I myself have seen hundreds of dollars of sales disappear because people made a purchase and then cancelled a few days or weeks later. If it weren’t for those cancellations, my Clickbank page would list over $1,000 in sales. Instead, it’s less than $300 for 3 months of effort, putting links on various websites.

Now to be fair, I don’t earn my living from Clickbank. I earn my living writing content and so I simply include my affiliate link whenever I happen to be reviewing a product for a website I write for (I write for nearly a dozen sites). However, if I’m seeing plenty of cancellations and refunds, you can bet that these people claiming $50,000 days are seeing plenty of cancellations too.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is this: the make money online niche is filled with hype and exuberance. Yes, it really is possible to make millions of dollars online and to become incredibly wealthy. However, you should never just believe someone who says they make $50,000 a day on Clickbank just because they say they do. Instead, simply evaluate the products they offer for sale and decide for yourself if it’s really going to make you money or not.

Do You Really Only Need "Relevant" Links To Rank High?

relevent linksAs an SEO professional, I always counsel certain things. Among them is getting not just links, but relevant links. I always say that you need to have backlinks which are relevant to your website, meaning that if you run a website about personal finance, ideally you should look for backlinks from websites which also work in the world of personal finance as opposed to say a website about botany. The truth however is that, while relevant links certainly do help, they aren’t an absolute necessity.

Why Relevant Links Are Helpful

Let’s start with why relevant links are so useful. As I’ve said elsewhere, Google considers SEO to be a kind of a popularity contest. This means that they check for links back to your website to see how many other sites have linked to you on the theory that if you are really popular with other websites, then you are probably someone worth reading content from.

However, in order to further narrow the search for the very best content, they look for something like a peer review. This means that if they see that not only are you popular in general, but your content is actually getting links from others in your area of expertise, then you must be an expert since even your peers are linking to you.

It’s Not Absolutely Necessary

Now that said, getting relevant links to your website is often much harder than getting links in general. After all, if I’m running a website which talks about personal finance, I’m less likely to want to provide a link to MSN Money simply because I’m not interested in promoting the competition. I want to keep people on my own website and make money from my visitors myself.

Fortunately, it’s not absolutely necessary to get relevant links back to your website. Often, it’s enough that popular sites in general provide links to you because this means that people in general find your content useful and interesting, even if the experts are still not convinced.

The Gateway 2000 Effect

The theory goes that if the general public likes you, then eventually the big guys will stop ignoring you and will begin to take notice of you as well. This is something I like to call the Gateway 2000 effect.

Back in the early 1990s, I used to be a huge computer geek (I still am, but less so now than I was then – these days it’s more of a hobby, whereas when I was in high school, I started my own software publishing company). I used to subscribe to Computer Shopper, PC World, PC Magazine, PC Week and Dr. Dobbs in order to keep up with the latest news.

Back in the early 1990s, ads began appearing for Gateway 2000 computers in most of the major computer magazines.  These were massive ads which spread over multiple pages and were in full color, offering computers for prices that seemed cheap (Gateway 2000 later became Gateway Computers and was acquired by Acer in 2007).

However, for all that it seemed every major computer magazine was taking advertising money from Gateway; they all seemed to be ignoring them when it came to reviews. Roundups of computers consistently reviewed stuff from IBM, HP, Compaq, Toshiba and a handful of other names. I even remember a letter to the editor of PC World asking why they never reviewed Gateway 2000 products.

Well, guess what? After a few years of constant advertising, Gateway eventually broke through and started getting noticed and included in reviews in all the major computer magazines.

The concept behind simply getting any links you can lay your hands on is similar to the Gateway story. They couldn’t get the relevant links (i.e. the reviews in the major trade magazines), so they focused on taking their story directly to consumers and eventually broke through, becoming one of the most popular personal computer manufacturers in the United States (they eventually came close to bankruptcy before being sold, but that’s another story).

Bottom Line

Yes, relevant links are important. However, if you can get good quality links elsewhere, you definitely should do so. Don’t think that just because they’re not in your industry that it means that you should ignore them. Instead, grab what you can and the relevant links will eventually follow.

Will Black-Hat SEO Ever Go Away?

black hat seoThe answer to the question above is incredibly simple: black hat SEO definitely will go away. As soon as the Internet and or search engines disappear completely. Until then however, black hat SEO will continue to be part of SEO. Here’s what you need to know:

Human Nature

In another recent post, I just got through writing about human nature and how we inherently feel jealousy of the rich and famous on a certain level. It’s just the way we’re made and there’s nothing wrong with it as long as we are able to keep that jealousy in check (i.e. reading about the rich and famous in a magazine and wishing we were them is fine – stalking Julia Roberts and or trying to hurt her because she’s rich and famous would be wrong).

Another facet of human nature is that most of us are inherently lazy, at least on some level. After all, how many of us would decide that we must grind our own wheat into flour when baking a cake rather than simply buying a bag of flour from the grocery store?

A handful of people may do this for health reasons, but no one does it because they simply relish the idea of standing them with a grinding stone working the thing just because they want to work the grinding stone (and no, those doing it for exercise or because they’re curious to see what it’s like don’t count either since they’re not doing it just for the sake of doing extra work).

Black Hat SEO Is a Way to Bypass Hard Work

Now, to take our analogy a bit further, black hat SEO isn’t like buying flour at the grocery store. It’s more like baking a cake using a cake mix rather than doing it from scratch and then claiming that the cake was made from scratch. Of course, the cake mix saves a lot of time and effort and also makes it easier to make a decent tasting cake. However, it still won’t achieve quite the same results as the cake that you make from scratch (with your store bought flour).

Black hat SEO in essence makes it easier for you to get to the top of the rankings. However, just like our mix based cake as opposed to the from scratch cake, it’s not real and is going to be somewhat artificial. When Google catches you doing it, it’s like the guy at the dinner party who declares that your home made from scratch cake is actually nothing but a Dunkin Hines mix.

It Will Never Go Away

However, no matter how much we know that it’s entirely possible we’ll be caught in the lie of claiming that our Dunkin Hines cake is actually made from scratch, many of us will continue to do it. In fact, when caught, many of us will defend our efforts as being legitimate since the cake was still “from scratch” in the sense that you didn’t simply drop by the local bakery and buy one which was ready made.

Similarly, black hat SEO will never go away because there will always be people who don’t want to do the hard, from scratch work that it takes to get your website to the top of the rankings. And there will even be people who indignantly complain when Google catches them doing it, claiming that this is legitimate.

When You Get Caught

Well, just like our dinner party guest who calls you on having used the Dunkin Hines mix isn’t accusing you of committing a crime by claiming it’s from scratch, Google isn’t accusing you of a crime when you use black hat SEO.

However, just like a discerning dinner guest who prefers not to eat the processed junk food of a Dunkin Hines cake mix (mind you – I like Dunkin Hines myself, though I don’t eat it because I’m diabetic, but I’m trying to make an analogy here), Google is simply saying that if you want to come to their dinner party, they don’t want black hat SEO to be part of your recipe (and when they catch you doing it, they’ll politely refuse to partake of your site, just as the dinner guest politely refuses to take part of the Dunkin Hines cake).

by EricHammer, on       Comments are off for this post