Does Clickbank Scam Affiliates?

With this tight economy, I've been asked a few times if certain merchant providers I've recommended are scamming affiliates. Affiliate marketing is a great way to monetize idle lists, but, are you getting scammed out of hard earned commissions?

A good number of business webmasters worry about affiliate commission theft. Yes, spiders and malware software do steal your commissions (as discussed in other articles.) Methods are available to fight them.
However, merchant systems like Clickbank, Paypal, and eSellerate take certain measures to protect your interest. I often recommend these channels for self liquidating lead generation and information product sales.
If you are not familiar these methods, here is an example:
Clickbank is great for getting that initial sale, then you can follow up with an up-sell to make the second sale. They have a strong affiliate network, but don't like physical products (or very high priced products.) Use a Clickbank product and their network to get the initial customer, then follow up outside the network for a second sale.
If Clickbank was scamming their affiliates or merchants, they would post fewer transactions and recieve fewer fees. Once trust was lost, they would lose merchants.
It would not be in their own best interest to scam anyone, especially since there is so much more money to make by providing a credible merchant system.
One concern merchants and affiliates have is the time it takes to record a transaction, or the fact that sales seem to arrive in chunks. The reason sales come through in groups is because they are batching the transactions.
Batch transactions give them a lower merchant rate, they make money on the split between what they charge the merchant and what processing charges them. Sales group up because it takes time to get the data over to reporting.
If you are worried about scamming then use multiple merchant accounts, see if sales trends are similar or different across providers. You'll likely find that Clickbank transactions take a 6 to 12 hours to record.
For some of my client sites, I split their purchases across multiple providers. This provides currency or geographic batches for their orders, plus if one credit card processor fails, then they can continue to take orders on another.
If you are really concerned about scamming, then track conversion independent of your merchant providers (or clickbank.) Properly implement analytics can identify failures in third-party system, while protecting you from any fraud that may (or may not) happen.
Bottom line: Large third-party processors only hurt themselves providing anything accept an accurate processing system. Yes, you may see glitches, but they aren't likely to scam when there are so many other ways to generate revenue on your success.
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