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Clickbank Clarifies FTC-Compliant Policies

May 18th 2011 at 7:06 AM

Clickbank Clarifies FTC-Compliant Policies

Recently we've received a few client questions about issues affecting our industry, such as the FTC's recent case against Ivy Capital and other "work from home" business opportunities. Specifically, some of you wanted to know how these issues might affect ClickBank vendors, and what we're doing to address them.

First, please know that ClickBank appreciates the hard work and skill that our vendors put into developing quality products and effective sales messaging that appeals to customers. We want to do everything we can to support your efforts and ensure your products convert as well as possible, while also protecting you from the possibility of getting on the wrong side of the FTC.

We wanted to share some of the most important guidelines to keep in mind when creating your Pitch Page, upsells and other sales material. To ensure that ClickBank vendors stay in good standing with the FTC, we will apply these guidelines when approving new products and working with existing vendors.

Most importantly, please do not significantly alter your Pitch Page after approval. We recognize that some changes are necessary for testing, but if you need to make significant changes to your page (such as earnings claims or images, sales messaging or video content), please notify your Account Manager so we can ensure the new page is also in compliance.

For Internet Marketing products: Per the new FTC information, sales material shouldn't create the impression that customers can easily earn money without putting in much work, and should give specific ideas of how they'll earn the money (e.g., content marketing, video marketing, social media, etc). Sales pages should also not overstate how much can realistically be made, or imply that earnings are guaranteed.

The FTC also strongly discourages false urgency/scarcity messaging (for example, "Only 3 copies left!") when there is no actual scarcity. Closing the doors to new customers after a specified amount of time and reopening later is fine.
Any Pitch Page references to ClickBank sales stats need to be verifiable by ClickBank, and need to have been earned by the methods being promoted. For example, selling an affiliate training product using sales snapshots from a vendor-only account is not allowed.

For vendors using video Pitch Pages, if a Buy Now button appears during the course of the video, the price must appear as well. We also request that vendors provide transcripts of video sales letters when submitting a product for approval.

For upsells, the initial product purchased must be valuable and usable on its own, without requiring the purchase of the upsell offers. Customers must also be able to immediately access their original purchase upon completion of their order, before being presented with upsell offers. An access link may be placed on the first upsell offer page, but the link must be very clear and conspicuous (i.e., not hidden or in a small font). We highly recommend that vendors use ClickBank's official upsell flows to present upsell offers to customers.

Please submit product approval requests at least several days before your launch, so that ClickBank has time to thoroughly review the offer and request changes if necessary. This is especially the case for products with video sales letters, since making changes to these can take time. We may not be able to accommodate last-minute requests.

To prevent customer complaints, vendors should not close refund request tickets or switch tickets from Refund to Tech Support more than once, and the latter should only be used when actually trying to help the customer and save the sale.
We hope this list helps make our guidelines clear. If you have questions about any of these items, please feel free to ask your Account Manager and we'll be happy to discuss them with you.

We also want to reinforce that our mission is to make you successful, while at the same time ensuring our industry is on a strong foundation that will last long into the future. Thank you for your valuable work, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with you!

 

This is BAD news for those who have been violating the boundaries of ethics and fleecing people. However, it is GREAT news for those of us who have maintained integrity in our products and marketing.

Based on these guidelines, there are no changes that my team needs to make to any of our marketing. And I believe Clickbank must now go through their catalogue and eliminate a good number of products that are not falling within the boundaries of these guidelines.

In other words, this is a great move for an industry greatly in need of reform. I applaud Clickbank for proactively taking steps to self-regulate so that the government doesn't step in to legislate and take over. That would be bad for everyone.

Do these guidelines go far enough? Not really. There are more issues with the current state of information marketing. But hopefully weeding out some of the scammier products and strategies for marketing them is a step that will encourage others to do likewise.

What are your thoughts?

 

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