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What Do The Affiliate “Terms and Conditions” At Clickbank Mean To An Affiliate Marketer?
I learned a few things in my local community college “Business Law”. Thank you Dr. Zerr. I pulled a B or B+ in that class. If you’re wondering, it was three years ago that I was in Dr. Zerr’s “Business Law” class, and I don’t want to pull up my transcript at the moment. However, I know it was a B at the least a B-. Any how, I learned how to read over contracts and how to determine what the other party is saying and whether it is legally binding.
Now on to our subject at hand, What do the Affiliate “Terms and Conditions” at Clickbank mean to an Affiliate Marketer? I pulled out my notebook to take some notes on the “Terms and Conditions” at Clickbank and ran into a few things that I did not agree with, and they DO NOT even fall under the “LEGAL” Business Law. So, don’t worry, I will explain things in laymen’s terms. I speak both. How about we dive right in and get our feet wet?
Articles of the Affiliate “Terms and Conditions”
I was looking to see if I really wanted to get into Clickbank Marketing. So, I started out reading the “Terms and Conditions”. I know the boring stuff that most people just tick the box and move on without knowing what exactly they will be legally bound to by the company. I am a stickler when it comes to knowing what I’m being legally bound to by anyone that wants me to sign their “Terms and Conditions” policy.
Why? There may be something that I may not agree with and can negotiate a new policy with the individual or company. When you’re a business owner, it is important to know what these policies are and negotiate better terms or better conditions.
As I read them, I came across Article “j.” in their terms for being an Affiliate. I will quote them exactly. This way, if they decide to bring a lawsuit against me for “publicizing” their already PUBLIC policies, I will have quoted them exactly.
It states, “You will not in any way copy the ‘look and feel’ of any third party websites, or otherwise imply that the promotion is in fact a third party website.”
I reviewed a few of their Vendors’ promotions. Sure I liked the visual appeal of the promotions that I happened to click on last night as I began my delve into the Affiliate Market of the site. In the Vendor’s promotion area, they have their own little “home”. If you did not know, the company is in the business of networking Affiliates with Vendors. Here’s the problem:
- They are giving links to a third parties products and in some cases subscription services after the purchase of the third parties products. These links are for the Affiliate to promote, and they were produced by a third party. And the “look and feel” is that of the third party, a.k.a. the vendors.
What does this mean to the Affiliate you might ask. Well, for starters, it is a breach of the Clickbanks own policy. Does this mean that you can modify the advertisement sent to them by the vendors, NOPE!! It means that they need to revise their policy of terms to be AFFILIATE FRIENDLY. The vendor sent them a specific advertisement that they want the Affiliates to use that sign up to add their advertisements on their (a.k.a. – third party) website.
So, in all rights, it should read that no one should copy any fourth party websites. Now, since they are the middle man between the Affiliate and the Vendor, that makes three parties, and they also show the exact advertisement that is sent to them by the vendors. Unless, (wait for it, I will cover it later in this blog) they are modifying the original authors digital products. Which, by the way, is plagiarism.
Article “n.” Of The “Terms and Conditions”
I continued to read these policies for Affiliates and made some notes in my notebook regarding Article “n.” that directly affects all Affiliate of this company. It reads as follows:
“…(leaving their name out so I don’t get spam tagged) does not independently review, verify, guarantee, or assume any responsibility or liability for, the accuracy, completeness, efficacy, or timeliness of any information provided by Vendors, nor is it responsible for any bonuses, prizes, or incentives offered by Vendors in the “Vendor Spotlight”, as described in this Agreement, or otherwise offered by the Vendors via…[their services at this company]. Your use of any information presented by a Vendor is voluntary, and your reliance is at Your sole risk. You acknowledge and understand that…[CB company] does not verify statements, claims, incentives, or promotions made by Vendors in the Vendor Spotlight or otherwise made by Vendors via the…[CB company] services.”
Sorry about the lengthiness of their policies just to say the exact same thing over and over again. However, that isn’t what you might think it is. Let me present you with the “Business Law” point of view on this particular article and you might begin to see why it is as length as it is.
- What are they hiding from you? Good question. You might have thought “what the what” as you read that. I can relate.
When the vendor offers bonuses, prizes, or promotion incentives, they don’t want to be held responsible for paying you for it. They may have a particular reason that they do this. (Trust me, I read further into their policy.)
In most cases when a company repeats themselves umpteen times in the same clause or article, they have their reasons and it is usually to exhaust the reader of reading any further. Which may cause you to get into a case of Fraud in the Inducement.
What is Fraud in the Inducement?
Well, in laymen’s terms it is when you are suckered into signing something by someone who is being sneaky and not forthcoming with facts. In other words, you’re being played the fool.
Fraud in the Inducement is a legal term that means being suckered, lied to, cheated, misrepresentation of facts, and can cause a lot of heart ache when you try to take them to court over it.
Because they will tell the judge, “We gave them the terms and conditions policy upfront and they continued on to promote the product and made the agreement to promote the product. Which in essence it IS a formal legal and binding agreement.”
The problem is in this, if you didn’t read them thoroughly, who is the judge going to believe when it comes down to him making his decision. CB company, that’s who.
I don’t want to keep you much longer, but there is more to be revealed if you want to stay, but the next section is MORE THAN REVEALING. Let’s just say, they been caught with their pants down.
Article 4 Section (The Vendors’ policies)
Have you ever wondered where the Vendors came from or if they really are Vendors. Sure if you checked out the products they might seem legitimate. But, here’s where the rubber met the road (SERIOUSLY) for me. I wanted to know where the Vendors come from and a little more than the above Affiliate policies. Let’s face it, THEY ARE HIDING SOMETHING!!
As I read Article 4’s beginning paragraph for the Vendors’ policies, I became quite enlightened. Believe me, the rubber couldn’t hit the road fast enough in a dead run away from their policies page. Read on to find out more.
Article 4 – “All products you register for sale via the [CB] services must be approved by [CB] prior to you being able to sell the Products through the [CB] Services. In certain circumstances, [CB] may require you to modify your products prior to being approved or prohibit your products from being sold via [CB] services, in [CB]’s sole discretion. [CB]’s approval or modification of your product is not an endorsement of Your Product or of any modification, and [CB] is not liable for any modification.”
Wow!! I was shocked by this. It might seem pretty straight forward for most of you that don’t understand “Business Law”. Let me break it down for you.
- NEVER EVER LET ANYONE MODIFY YOUR SOLE AUTHORSHIP OF YOUR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY BE COMPROMISED. The reason is this, you own it. It is your “INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY” and NO ONE has the RIGHT to MODIFY your intellectual property. If you allow someone else to modify your work, the other party can assume that you’ve given up ownership to them and argue it in court as such.
- If you noticed in the very first part of the underlining, it doesn’t make much sense when you get to the end of the run on sentence. It should read something like, in certain situations (depending on the genre) You may be asked to modify Your work to make it (a certain rating such as G, PG, R, etc.) more appropriate for your audience. It is the sole discretion of our company to prohibit the sale of your product, and it will be at our sole discretion to do this.
- Well, duh! Here is where the sucker punch comes into play guys!! The SECOND SENTENCE SAYS IT ALL!! THERE’S NO MISTAKING!! In the second sentence, [CB] blatantly states that it is their property. “Well…how ya know that? I’m not seeing it.” Well, they tell you that they are not endorsing your product. Hey, that’s fine. I can take my intellectual property elsewhere. Hmmm, did you reread it yet? It arrives AFTER the COMMA at the end of the sentence. Wow!! Wow!! Wow!! In their terms they are blatantly saying, it is now our property and you can’t sue us for any modification that we may do to your work in order to make a profit for ourselves. “How?” The placement of the comma and then the statement of, “…and [CB] is not liable for any modification.” It’s almost like a challenge, “Come on, take us to court. You agreed to the terms and conditions. You promoted through our company. It’s our property now & we cannot be held liable for any modifications we do to your work, because you agreed to the terms and conditions.
There’s more, in Article 4 Section e – which interprets to a foreknowledge that there may be lawsuits either against their Vendors or their Affiliates, but oddly enough it only shows up in the Vendors’ section of the terms and conditions.
Also more in Article 4 Section l (that’s an L, not an i), which interprets to them blatantly breaking the law. How? Well, when a company collects money and remits payment to the Affiliate or the Vendor, the company that collects the money is liable for taxes and needs to seek reimbursement from the Vendor for paying such taxes on the Vendor’s product. See what happens when you’re the middleman and evade taxes… Uncle Sam may not be too happy with you. See their misinterpretation of the law is in that they hold the Vendor and Affiliate ULTIMATELY responsible for paying the taxes. When all LEGALITY it is the party that RECEIVES PAYMENT is responsible for paying the taxes and then seeking reimbursement from the seller. See, this policy is ALSO located in the VENDORS’ section of the Articles.
This particular tax issue is a conundrum. Allow me to explain. The Vendor, in this case, is the author which has basically hired [CB] as their COO (Chief of Operations and the COO is hiring the Affiliate (salesperson) to sell the digital product. Under ultimate conditions, it would be more prudent to deal directly with the author which is the CEO. However, since the author is, by my understanding of the Vendors policy, relinquishing their rights to their intellectual property via the modifications clause in Article 4, this renders [CB] solely liable for the sales taxes of the authors plagiarized intellectual property.
Guys, in conclusion of this LONG blog post, and my sincere apologies for the length, READ THE FINE PRINT and if it seems jinky it probably is either the wording or a legitimate scam. Wording can be negotiated, but scams usually cannot be negotiated. It is best to make the rubber hit the road on anything that is presented and cannot be negotiated. A scam artist may budge a little, but it’s usually so they won’t be found out.