I’m just back from a 10-day vacation (my first in 18 months) in Tenerife. And, since I completely divorce myself from the internet when I go on holidays (no laptop, no surfing the ‘net on my smartphone and no skulking off to the nearest internet cafe for an online fix), one of the things I have to contend with when I get back is the sheer amount of email that drops into my Inbox while I’m away.
When I finally steeled myself to open my Inbox this time, there were over 1,200 emails to trawl through. The vast majority of these are about the newest, latest, greatest thing to hit the Internet Marketing scene, some are personal emails, some contain news on stuff I’m interested in and some are customer queries.
There was one email in all the dross that amounts to product promotions that took my attention – for something called Easy Click Commissions.
Maybe I was itching to get back into the IM world after having being refreshed on the holiday, maybe my B.S. filters weren’t fully engaged, but I decided to bite on this after watching the video on the sales page. It’s not a Clickbank product but it does offer the same 60-day, no-quibble, money-back guarantee that’s common with IM products. So I figured if it turned out to be a pile of crap I’d have nothing to lose and just get a refund.
Mark Hardy’s Video
Ok, so at the top of the sales page is a quite long video of marketer Mark Hardy talking to camera. He initially comes across as a smug git in the first couple of minutes but then settles down to talk some home truths and the presentation becomes much more palatable.
But as I watched, I realised this was really a masterclass in affiliate marketing and despite some of my B.S. alarms going off, I got pulled into buying Easy Click Commissions. The video lulls you into wanting his product by explaining why a load of other stuff you may have tried to make money with online just never worked for you.
The Easy Click Commissions box shot. There’s no CD involved despite suggestions of such by Mark Hardy in his sales video
And the kicker…you can start earning money online with just 6 clicks using his software system (he repeats this several times). It’s only $49 so it’s not much to gamble on something that might just work, is it? Hardy also says in his video that you won’t have to spend any money to buy a fully enabled version of the software. You get everything you need up front. He also says that for various reasons, only 258 copies of the software will be sold before it’s pulled and makes reference to what’s called the “Black River” of traffic, some underground, virtually untapped source of free traffic that will drive loads of visitors to your offers.
That’s when things started to go downhill…
The Sales Funnel
When I got to the order page, it said there were 128 copies left. I’ve returned to the order page a few time and guess what? It always says that 128 copies are available. So that magic 258 copies Hardy says will only be sold? There’s no such limit.
Maybe you’ve heard of sales funnels – if a customer says yes to an offer, give him another offer. If he says no, present a different (usually cheaper or discount offer). Easy Click Commissions has a hell of a sales funnel. If you think you’re only going to be hit for $49…think again.
The first One Time Offer was personal one-on-one coaching with Hardy which costs $297. Supposedly, there are only 20 such spots available. Magically, I was able to get one of them despite Easy Click Commissions launching over 2 weeks ago.
After that sale went through, I was hit with an offer for an “Insiders” membership site at $67 per month. Turns out this is the Affiliate X membership site (which is a Clickbank product), and isn’t actually part of the Easy Click Commissions package. I can do all the product research I need with my own Clickbank Elite software thank you. I’ll take a look at Affiliate X before I get a refund from Clickbank for it.
I’d had enough of OTO’s (One Time Offers) at this stage and just wanted to get into the Easy Click Commissions members area. But no, now there was an OTO for the Easy Click Commissions Advanced Software ($197). So Hardy wasn’t exactly accurate about saying there would be no extra costs to enable “extra features” in his software.
Thinking that would be the final OTO, I pressed on and, lo and behold, up popped another OTO, this time for an over-the-shoulder look at how he constructs his campaigns. Another $49.
Expecting yet another OTO at this point, I was pleasantly surprised to finally reach the Easy Click Commission login screen.
Except I couldn’t log in.
The login info I was sent wasn’t being accepted. Great. After forking out $659 (plus $138.39 in taxes as I’m in the EU) I’m left twiddling my fingers. I contacted the support email and explained the problem. A message said it could take up to 48 hours to get a reply. True to their word, it did take about 48 hours before I got a reply saying sorry for the problem and that they’d had to manually activate my account because the automated system failed for some reason.
48 hours is an unacceptable turnaround time for customer support as far as I’m concerned. Any customer queries should be replied to within 12-24 hours at most. There are times when it will take longer (e.g. email issues, broadband down, timezone differences, illness and acts of god, and being away on vacation if you’re a one-man business). But any worthwhile online business should stipulate a max 24-hour response time under normal circumstances. So a demerit for Easy Click Commissions here (in addition to the ones for each of their interminable OTOs).
The Easy Click Commissions Members Area
Well, first thing I’m hit with in the members area is an “Unannounced Bonus”. For a small fee (ongoing website hosting fee), a deal has been negotiated to get me a professionally built website that normally costs $1995. Sounds great! Except I’ve seen this offer tacked on to many IM courses and products. It’s just another way to part you from more of your money. So my first impression in the members area is “you just want to take more of my money”.
Next up was the video training. This consists of 8 videos averaging 3-4 minutes each, so a total of just over half and hour or training. They’re given by Randy Johnson. Who?
Where’s Mark Hardy? There’s no sign of him. Looks like his input ended at the sales page.
The videos basically walk you through the Easy Click Commissions software. Basically what this software does is:
1. The videos explain ways to find Clickbank products to promote.
2. Run the Easy Click Commissions software to get a list of keywords for a seed keyword (they’re probably pulled from the Google Keyword Tool) and do some basic analysis on each keyword to determine the amount of competition there is for it (though how competition levels are calculated isn’t explained)
2. You then highlight the low competition keywords that have medium to high search counts and proceed to the next step where the software goes out and finds articles (from free article directories) about those keywords. The software then spins the articles (so you’re plagiarizing someone else’s work).
3. You add in your selected keywords, your affiliate link and an author bio (you can add a few of these if you like)
4. The software then spits the spun articles out to 10 other article directories. You have no control over the quality of the spun articles which claim to be 90+% unique. Whether they’re actually readable by a human i can’t say as I haven’t actually run the software myself yet but the results in the videos didn’t look great to me.
5. That’s it then? Nope. You need to drive traffic to those articles. How do you do that? Well, you can buy the Backlink Profit Monster software at a 50% discount. This is another Clickbank product not part of the Easy Click Commissions package (so they’re getting money as affiliates). The “special offer” Backlink Profit Monster page doesn’t show a price. You only see that when you click the order button (it’s $47).
I took a look at the Backlink Profit Monster main sales page to see what the full sales price was and it’s not displayed there either. What do they have to hide? Again, you have to go to the order page to find out (it’s $97). So at least Easy Click Commissions were accurate in saying their offer was a 50% discount.
I almost forgot to mention the “Bonuses” section in the members area. Yay, maybe there’ll be something good in there! Nope. All it contains are 8 offers asking you to sign up for their mailing lists to get access to the usual crappy stuff. I didn’t waste my time.
What About All The Extra Stuff I Ordered?
There isn’t a sign of it except for the sales receipts. No way of contacting Mark Hardy, no one-on-one training. There’s only a link to the basic version of the Easy Click Commissions software and not the Advanced Edition I ordered. And there’s no sign of the over-the-shoulder look at how Mark Hardy constructs his campaigns. So I’ve had to email their support again and now have another 48 hour wait before I can proceed further.
All in all, piss-poor service.
Mark Hardy talks a good game and his video on the Easy Click Commissions sales page is worth a look. But be warned that you’ll be expected to part with more than the $49 selling price of the basic software on offer.
There are far too many One Time Offers. The whole Easy Click Commissions sales funnel is designed to part you from as much of your cash as it can.
I don’t believe it’s an honest package. What’s advertised is one-stop solution. What’s provided is a basic version of their software which requires extra software (like Backlink Profit Monster) to be effective. Also, while it’s normal to expect one upsell or maybe two after you buy a product, five is simply overkill and a great way to piss off your customers.
So what’s on sale is not the be-all, end-all product that’s alluded to in the video, but rather a basic version of that software. And you still have to build backlinks manually or with an additional bit of software.
And what about that “Black River” of untapped traffic Hardy made a point of mentioning several times in his sales video? There’s not a sign of it anywhere and no mention of it in the training videos. I guess the “Black River” disappeared down the Swanee.
I haven’t been able to get access to the Enhanced Edition of the software so I can try it out. And I haven’t used the Basic Edition so I can’t comment on how effective it is. But I think the claims of earning $100/day after using the software for just 30 minutes each day over 30 days are wildly unrealistic.
In all likelihood I’ll be requesting a full refund for the Easy Click Commissions package. However, before I do that, I need to get a response from their support team regarding the missing items I ordered and I want to see how the Advanced Edition of the software compares to the Basic Edition. I also want to take a closer look at how well (or badly) it spins articles. So come back in a few days to see if there’s been any progress on those fronts…
Much Better Alternatives
These two courses have been around for quite a while now, so they are tried and tested. You should always pay attention to long-lived courses as they only remain available because they remain relevant to the ever-changing world of affiliate marketing.
They change with the times, providing new training and strategies to their members as they’re needed.
If you’re going to spend hard-earned cash on a training system, it should be one that has proven results, like both of these have.
Tagged with: affiliate marketing • Cli • Commissions • Couple Of Minutes • Customer Queries • Dross • Earning Money Online • Email • Holidays • Home Truths • Inbox • Internet Cafe • Kicker • Laptop • Lulls • Marketer • Masterclass • Money Back Guarantee • Pile Of Crap • Product Promotions • Skulking • Smartphone • Tenerife
Filed under: Product Reviews