Thanks for checking out our ultimate review of ClickBank Univeristy 2.0!
ClickBank has been no stranger to controversy - and their official training program is no exception. Their shady sales tactics and MLM structure have left a sour taste in the mouths of their students.
That being said, there's no denying their popularity in the world of digital marketing... Thus, we have spent nearly a month combing through their premium course offerings to provide you with a detailed review.
You've come to the right place if you have questions on the following:
article summary - Key points
ClickBank aims to bring affiliate markers and vendors together to form partnerships.
At the time of writing, CBU was $47 a month, but now it is free to sign up. However, there is a lot of upsells and they now have a pretty heavy commission program.
Tons of vendors to work with.
Super basic course materials centered around a dated and clunky interface. Provides the absolute basics. They clearly spend their budget on trying to reel in new customers and not providing quality content.
Easily one of the worst affiliate marketing programs out there. Is essentially a giant pyramid scheme. Fortunately, it is now free to sign up, but be assured that if you make money, they will take anywhere from 10-50%.
LEGIT OR SCAM?
READ BELOW FOR FULL REVIEW.
I have made hundreds of thousands of dollars in affiliate marketing.
The model provided a fresh wave a little less than a decade ago, but times have changed - and more and more people are flocking to this ever saturated and shady form of digital marketing.
In 2016, I shifted the majority of my focus to Lead Generation, which unlike affiliate marketing, offers actual opportunities for passive income and nearly unlimited scalability.
If you're interesting in learning more about Lead Gen, check the link below.
There is a ton to cover on ClickBank University (I've been looking forward to writing this review).
If you're interested in CBU, or even just want an honest opinion of the affiliate marketing landscape from someone who's been in the trenches, then stick with me.
No stone shall be left unturned!
Inside look at how over 6300 students are learning to generate passive income online by building, ranking, and licensing websites for local businesses.
1. What Clickbank University
First of all, as of October 2020, Clickbank University actually no longer exists…
Dun, dun, DUN....
But let’s start off with some back story before I tell you the major overhaul that has happened to Clickbank’s online education.
Clickbank University was the official education platform for Clickbank:
A global online retailer and affiliate marketplace.
It was marketed as a training center, online community, and one stop shop for anyone interested in affiliate marketing and digital product creation.
The original Clickbank University course was released in 2014.
It was met with harsh criticism by reviewers and students alike.
Clickbank University was started by Justin Atlan and Adam Horwitz.
Justin Atlan is virtually an enigma.
Although he was very active via social media until around 2016...
This was basically the only traces of him you could find on the internet.
Other than being linked to Clickbank and Clickbank University, his only other credentials are what’s stated on his Linkedin profile.
Basically all I could find is that he graduated from University of California, San Diego with a bachelor’s degree in economics.
Adam Horwitz is a little easier to pin down.
He earned his claim to fame early on in life when he made over a million dollars before the age of 18 with his creation of Mobile Monopoly.
Since then he’s been involved in all things entrepreneurship and online business.
Although his Instagram and social media appears to mainly consist of tropical vacation shots, and photos of scantily clad women.
Not exactly the badge of a credible online marketing educator…
After the significant backlash from the incompetent training from Clickbank University, the duo relaunched the program as Clickbank University 2.0 in 2016.
They claimed that version 2.0 was everything that the first version of CBU had claimed to be and then some.
Unfortunately, most people disagreed.
While the biggest complaint was that the course was structured in a lecture style format with little to no practical over the shoulder “showing” and far too much “telling”...
It also had laughable support for its members, and locked its modules to supposedly “pace” students and force them to stretch out the training over 8 weeks.
But in reality it came off as a shady tactic to keep students enrolled in the monthly subscription past the 30 day-money-back-guarantee window…
This was especially obvious considering the fact that their “8 week course” totaled around three hours of cumulative video training!
Who needs two months to watch 3 hours of training???
This is less than 25 minutes of training a week.
They also abused upsells and recommended a lot of paid tools and services within the course.
So the monthly investment would quickly grow far beyond what it appeared at first glance if you bought into everything they pushily recommended…
As of 2020, Clickbank University 2.0 hadn’t been properly updated in years...
The content was outdated, and the community support platform was basically non-existent.
Enter Spark by Clickbank.
2. What is Spark by Clickbank?
Spark by Clickbank is the brand new, rebranded education platform officially backed by Clickbank.
But as far as I can tell...
It appears to be yet another desperate attempt to salvage Clickbank University’s reputation, and gain some much needed traction and relevance for Clickbank's online marketplace.
After a massive dormant period of nine months...
Clickbank announced on CBU’s old Facebook page (that was suddenly completely rebranded without warning) that they would be launching Spark.
The course creators and “big names” of Clickbank University are nowhere to be found, and the new kid on the block and face of Spark is Kasey Duncan.
Kasey Duncan was actually one of Clickbank’s customer service reps, and has been with Clickbank for many years.
Where did she come from, and why is she suddenly the face and lead educator of Spark?
Where did she come from, and why is she suddenly the face and lead educator of Spark?
What I do know is that Spark appears to be very similar to Clickbank University.
It covers the basics of affiliate marketing, digital product creation, and also has a private community support group for members.
Which features weekly Q+A sessions with course instructors.
The payment structure is almost identical, and the courses appear to be broken up into short, easily digestible segments, just like Clickbank University.
3. How Does Spark by Clickbank Work?
Spark by Clickbank is designed to teach its students how to create their own thriving online business, specifically through the Clickbank marketplace.
This time it has been designed by Clickbank’s own employees, and is backed by their knowledge of the platform.
Clickbank claims that it will equip students in everything from choosing their first product to promote, to launching a fully fledged business centered around building their own digital products.
The entire track is broken down into 17 courses, and these courses are broken up into sections.
In total, there are just over 60 videos, which means each course will contain 3-4 videos inside it.
Courses 1-3: The Orientation and Intro
- How to navigate the platform
- Ways to make the most out of the training
- A crash course on internet marketing to get newbies up to speed
If you have a decent understanding of the digital marketing industry as a whole, she suggests skipping courses 1-3 and jumping straight into course 4.
Which means that if you came into this training with basically any prior knowledge of to most basic aspects of affiliate marketing…
Three out of seventeen courses just became irrelevant, and now you’re down to 14 courses.
Courses 1-4: The Product Ownership, AF Marketing, and Direct Response Psychology Section
- Discusses the key differences between physical vs. digital products
- (Not really sure who needs this explained?)
- The pros and cons of each model
- How to create a hybrid product and maximize your profit
Plus, by the end of course six you will supposedly be able to create powerful, story telling direct response tactics that have been “proven to convert buyers”.
Kasey also explains that in course seven they go over “compliance” to make sure that your hard work “doesn’t get taken down.”
Basically, they teach the P.A.S. sales method, which stands for “problem”, “agitate”, “solution”.
Which essentially means that you identify your potential customer’s pain point...
And then you agitate that pain point until it’s uncomfortable, and then deliver the solution to their problem.
Unfortunately, this can be an extremely pushy and manipulative sales tactic, and as Kasey states in one of Spark’s promo videos:
“Using this method can be very tricky, and requires a careful eye to ensure your ad and sales copy don’t get banned.”
My question is why are they teaching sketchy tactics that might get people banned in the first place?
But I’ll leave you to answer that for yourself.
Courses 8-9: Sales Funnel Section
- Ads and ad copy
- Best practices
- Examples of good and bad ads
Basically everything they think you need to know about crafting a successful sales funnel.
They also go over landing pages, offer pages, and order forms.
Course 10-12: All about specialized tools
- Hint: here is where they recommend more things you need to pay for!
Course 13-14: Affiliate Marketing
- These two courses are all about becoming an affiliate marketer
- Specific to becoming a successful affiliate on Clickbank
Course 15 is entirely dedicated to walking you through the creation of your first ad based on whichever product you chose from course 8.
Course 16-17: Digital Products
- Creating your own digital product for Clickbank
- “Little to no experience or expertise”
4. Is Clickbank Legit or a Scam? What About Spark?
Clickbank in and of itself is not a scam.
The platform was founded in 1998 in San Diego, California, and has been around for over twenty years now.
Many people have found great success selling their digital products on Clickbank’s marketplace.
Plus, multiple affiliate marketers started their affiliate journey through Clickbank.
Unfortunately, despite the success stories, Clickbank has still come under some heavy fire and scrutiny over the years.
Several of their products have been scammy, poor quality, or worse.
Currently Clickbank’s number one promoted product is still “Ted’s Woodworking Plans”, which has been outed as a scam for years.
The platform has been declining and degenerative for a while now.
And Spark appears to be their last attempt at rebranding their education platform and rebuilding their trust factor and reputation.
As for Spark…
Only time will truly tell.
But history has a bad habit of repeating itself, and history is definitely not on Spark’s side.
Clickbank University, and Clickbank University 2.0, plus some of the sketchy products scattered across Clickbank itself...
All point to a strong probability that Spark by Clickbank will be a lackluster course, and potentially a complete rip off.
The one thing that I will say, is that at first glance, Spark appears to improve upon Clickbank University 2.0 in one way.
It looks like they’ve included more actual hands on, “over the shoulder” type lessons where they actually show you how to do something, rather than just telling you about it.
Each section of the Clickbank University training ranged between 3-25 minutes of video content, and you can expect something similar with Spark.
The entire training could be completed in a single weekend.
Considering the fact that Clickbank University was ripe with upsells and high price tag recommended “tools” within the course...
I wouldn’t be surprised if this a theme within the Spark education as well.
Especially since they’ve already said that there are two whole courses dedicated to specialized “tools and resources” that Sparks offers their students a handful of discounts for.
Can’t teach an old dog new tricks, ya know?
Spark by Clickbank is also offering its students access to a private Facebook group for community support.
This is a space designed for sharing ideas, answering questions, and a general camaraderie among Spark students.
It also features a live Q+A with Spark instructors each week.
The private Facebook group was created on October 28th, 2020, and currently has 145 members, and about 20 total posts.
Considering that Spark’s social media engagement appears stagnant, and they are still failing to respond to comments on their public Facebook page in a timely manner…
I’m not sure that they are presenting themselves as any more competent on the student support and engagement side of things than they were with CBU 2.0...
5. How Much Does Clickbank's Course Cost?
Although the pricing for Spark was originally announced as a Black Friday deal of $37 a month, it is currently halfway through December, and the pricing hasn’t changed.
It also isn’t listed as a sale price anywhere on their site.
Which leads me to believe that this isn’t a passing deal, and this will probably be the actual price going forward.
At $37 per month, Spark by Clickbank comes in at $10 cheaper per month than Clickbank University 2.0 was.
I suspect that if they were struggling to sell Clickbank University 2.0 for $47 a month, that $37 is yet another cringe worthy grasp at gaining some much needed traction for Clickbank.
PROS OF SPARK
6. Less Money Than Clickbank University 2.0
Hey, if there’s one thing I can’t complain about, it’s when something gets cheaper!
For whatever reason, at $37 a month, Spark is priced a whole $10 per month cheaper than its predecessor, Clickbank University 2.0.
So let’s take a moment to celebrate the small victories.
If you do decide to invest your hard earned cash into Spark… at least you just saved yourself $120 a year.
Go buy yourself a fancy steak dinner.
Or cough up an extra $77 and make a one time purchase of Franklin Hatchett’s Savage Affiliates course instead ($197), and save yourself a massive headache.
7. More Show Less Tell
More than any other complaint regarding Clickbank University 2.0, was the frustration that the lessons were basically all lecture style.
Every single video was simply watching someone else talk about, and make awkward hand gestures about, whatever topic they were teaching on.
When it comes to things like building ads, sales funnels, landing pages, and everything else that comes with affiliate marketing...
Listening to someone ramble on a screen isn’t what you need.
Especially not if you’re a beginner.
What you need is to actually be shown how to do all of this in a clear, step by step demonstration.
Spark is definitely putting in more effort in this department.
There is a little more show and a little less tell.
Which means they at least listened to one thing that their previous CBU 2.0 students had to say.
So that’s something.
8. Facebook community & Weekly Q+As
In so many ways, a thriving support community can be one of the most valuable aspects to a digital education course like this.
CBU 2.0 had laughable support for its members, and as of 2020, their private online community support platform was virtually abandoned and non functioning.
Assuming that Spark’s private Facebook group for students doesn’t become the same sort of downward spiral…
I have tentatively high hopes that this group could be one of the most value packed portions of the monthly Spark membership.
Having access to a community of like minded industry peers is invaluable.
The weekly Q+A session with course instructors also sounds very promising!
Clickbank University 2.0 put out webinars, but they usually just turned into unhelpful upsells for more tools, or “fluffy” content that wasn’t contributing actual value.
With a live Q+A, Spark students should have much greater access to their instructors knowledge base, and hopefully this will equal much better customer support.
9. 30 Money Back Guarantee
At the end of the day, maybe I’m wrong.
Maybe all my uneasy hunches about any education that Clickbank is backing are totally off base.
Maybe Spark will be exactly what you need to scale your online business and become the affiliate marketing mogul you’ve always dreamed of being.
If I’m right, then there’s a handy dandy 30 day-money-back-guarantee!
This is one thing that has always been true for Clickbank’s educational products.
So, if you don’t like it, or you’ve been swept up by their unrealistic and grandiose promises, you can get your money back.
CONS OF SPARK
10. Clickbank University 2.0
Let’s face it.
If I haven’t been blatantly clear enough about this yet…
There are way too many implications that point to Spark’s creation being a desperate rebranding attempt to escape the bad press and tanked reputation of Clickbank University and Clickbank University 2.0.
You can run, but you can’t hide.
Not in this day and age, anyways.
Plus, they have failed to address what sets Spark apart from Clickbank University 2.0.
When this was brought up in the comments section of Spark’s Facebook page (aka Clickbank’s old Facebook page with a new name)...
They were met with virtually a non-answer response two weeks after the question was asked.
All that Clickbank University one and two were ever created to do was pump out more vendors and affiliate marketers for Clickbank’s platform.
And this is all that Spark is created to do.
How to be successful on their terms, on their platform.
11. Short Generic Courses
The very fact that the bulk of the training on affiliate marketing and digital product creation doesn’t come until course 13 is a red flag to me.
This means that the first 12 courses are all just building up to it, leaving you with only 5 courses on the meat of the training.
Because of this, I’m inclined to think that Spark will fall predictably short of the mark once again.
All of the training appears pretty generic, and the entirety of the course is still very short.
While it might help a beginner get started with their Clickbank affiliate journey, it certainly isn’t going to launch into a full blown affiliate marketing career.
There just isn’t enough information being taught for that to be true.
12. Only Two Courses On Digital Product Creation
The one thing that most people could agree upon about Clickbank University 2.0, was that the section for vendors on digital product creation was actually pretty solid.
While there are many different courses out there on affiliate marketing right now...
There are very few that teach you how to create, market, and sell your own product.
This was something that really made Clickbank University stand out.
Despite the fact that their affiliate training was sorely lacking and you really shouldn’t attempt your own digital product until you are well versed in affiliate marketing…
So I was pretty disappointed to find that the one part of Clickbank University that was done well has been boiled down to only two courses in Spark.
According to Spark’s marketing, only courses 16 and 17 cover digital product creation.
13. Specific to Clickbank's Platform
Most of Spark’s marketing on social media and their website points towards “earning your first Clickbank paycheck.”
They have clearly designed this course to promote their own online marketplace...
And not to equip their students beyond their own platform.
To me, this is a huge turn off.
Digital marketing, online business, and becoming an affiliate can and should be so much more than just selling or marketing via Clickbank.
There are so many different affiliate platforms out there.
It’s disappointing that they’ve chosen to box their students into just one window of opportunity and method.
Especially when the world of online entrepreneurship is so vast and constantly growing.
14. Do Clickbank's Spark Students Actually Make Money?
Currently, as of December 2020, Spark has only been open for around a month.
So whether or not Spark students will be successful has yet to be determined.
Making money on the Clickbank marketplace is highly subjective.
It is definitely possible to make decent money as an affiliate or vendor for Clickbank, but it probably isn’t going to turn you into a millionaire.
To Become Successful on Clickbank Takes:
- Alot of time
- Very careful decision making on which niches to choose
- Which products to market
- Consistently evaluating product quality and gravity
The student testimonials from Clickbank University are extremely outdated, and as of now there are no such testimonials to be found for Spark at all.
15. Who's A Good Fit For Spark?
Anyone who has their heart set on becoming an affiliate or vendor on the Clickbank marketplace.
If you are really passionate about this avenue of online business, then Spark might be a good fit for you.
Especially if you haven’t dabbled in anything like this before and need a solid introductory level education on affiliate marketing, sales funnels, ad copy, or digital product creation.
But if you’re looking to become a good affiliate marketer and a well rounded online entrepreneur...
I would tell you to steer clear of Spark.
At least until they start providing current testimonials, get some solid student reviews under their belt, and really prove how they’ve set themselves apart from Clickbank University.
16. What Alternatives Are There to Clickbank's Spark Course?
There are so many other affordable alternatives to buying into Spark’s monthly subscription.
A lot of them are even free.
Youtube has become a wealth of information in this arena, and websites like Udemy offer many different courses that are either free or extremely cheap.
But if you’re really serious about diving into affiliate marketing, then you need to check out Savage Affiliates by Franklin Hatchett.
As I mentioned earlier, his standard level course is only $197.
That’s less than six months of Spark!
And his premium course comes in $100 more at $297.
Pros & Cons of Spark
17. Parting Thoughts on Spark
Overall, Spark by Clickbank really needs to stand the test of time, and some legitimate student testimonials before I can recommend it to anyone.
Clickbank itself has been hanging in there for many years now, and it is a legitimate online marketplace with actual potential for affiliate marketing.
While the age of Clickbank as a website and online marketplace gives Spark some mild credibility...
By no means is it the best avenue for affiliate marketers, or passive income at all.
Don't be fooled by Spark's marketing:
Becoming a successful digital marketer earning substantial passive income will require so much more of you than the two weeks that they claim it will take you to complete their Spark by Clickbank courses.
How Does Affiliate Marketing & Digital Product Creation Stand Up To Others (Like Lead Generation)?
Clickbank’s online marketplace has surprisingly few products listed.
Most of them are random health and fitness classes on things like “Karb shifting Keto” or “The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies”, or obscure self help and manifestation e-books.
Products like this are fundamentally lacking in need.
The demand can obviously be created through creative and targeted marketing…
But the ability to scale a business model that relies on a product that is already sorely lacking in need on a platform that is struggling to remain relevant seems foolish at best.
On the flip side of this, basically every business that has ever been created will tell you that they need more leads.
With a business model like lead generation, you will never have to convince someone that they need what you’re offering like you will with affiliate marketing.
All you have to do is bring them up to speed on how you are capable of meeting their already existing need for more business.
You can do this on a local or even national level, and scale your business to whatever size you want!
The cap is only dependent on you, and not on the current demand for “Ted’s Woodworking Plans”.
Now this is a business avenue that is ripe with need!
In addition to the lack of need associated with affiliate marketing or digital product creation for Clickbank, you also need to factor in time.
Despite the casual and non-chalant way that Spark presents its training, becoming a successful affiliate or vendor on Clickbank takes a lot of hard work and a lot of time.
Although you might get your first sale within a couple of months, this doesn’t mean you’re going to have cash pouring in steadily from that moment on.
Scaling your affiliate campaigns will require significant time or significant money.
If spending months, or even years struggling to get your affiliate marketing business off the ground in hopes of some passive income sounds like a pain, then there are other options.
Lead generation is far more straightforward than becoming an affiliate or vendor for Clickbank ever will be.
While there is no such thing as a get rich quick scheme, lead generation relies on the tried and true methods of organic traffic and SEO to acquire leads for other businesses.
With the lead generation business structure, you could easily be bringing in a recurring $500-$1,000 with only one or two clients.
As you acquire new clients and begin to scale, you can probably imagine how quickly this will compound and grow within only a year.
Plus you’ll be genuinely helping other businesses grow by giving them the one thing they need the most: fresh leads.
Doesn’t that sound so much better than jumping through all of Clickbank’s hoops to become a successful affiliate?
Hey I hope you enjoyed this revealing look into one of affiliate marketing's former courses that was devoured by unpopular opinion, Clickbank University.
Spark is the newest evolution of reputation salvaging, but I'm not sure if that's going to fix anything... Especially if the underlying problems are with the model of affiliate marketing today.
I've made my fair share of $$$ with affiliate marketing but after grinding at it for almost 2 years I've realized that this biz model is not that great long-term because anyone with a computer can get started today. Plus, I spent more money in that time than I made.
This is why today, I have quit affiliate marketing altogether and do local lead generation instead. Click on the button below where I go in-depth on the main reasons why I believe local lead gen is a better business model than affiliate marketing...
MARKET SATURATION & COMPETITION
There are tens of millions of ad accounts - and more independent FB ad agencies are popping up every day, all of whom are fighting for the same attention. In 2021, getting your advertisements seen is a matter of outspending your competition.
Ad prices have doubled in price over the last year. When you factor in ad development, split testing, and monitoring, a single ad campaign can easily cost thousands of dollars.
Effective ads are easily copied - and Facebook has little to no protection against plagiarism.
The key to long term wealth is in building and owning valuable assets, but with Facebook advertising, you own nothing. You're bound to the confines of an aging social media platform with an advertising system that is increasingly ineffective.
Facebook is quick to shut down advertising accounts - and their terms of service are ever changing. If 2 people report a single ad (for every 5000 impressions), it is likely your account will be suspended.
Facebook advertising does not provide passive income. You will work for every penny.
Facebook ads have grown increasingly ineffective, especially with Gen X, Gen Y, and Millennials. Ad blockers are becoming a standard feature of web browsers, too. Ask yourself: When was the last time you clicked on a Facebook ad?
Apple users will no longer see Facebook ads. They also can no longer be re-targeted by Facebook Pixel. To advertisers, this means that their potential reach has been cut by nearly 60% (Apple's mobile market share).
Local Lead Generation
Click the button below to find out how you can get started with Lead Generation today!