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The Clickbank Crash of 2003: Lessons Learned

I had a rude awakening recently. I checked the days worth of sales from one of my sites and there were none. This had never happened before and of course I was anxious to find out what was wrong.

I quickly found out that the credit card processor Clickbank was under a hacker attack. Their service was effectively paralyzed by computers around the world flooding Clickbanks computers with bogus requests for information.

They weren't the only web site being attacked. Similar attacks have happened against Yahoo and CNN in the past.

This is the first one that effected me directly... right in the wallet.

Time For Emergency Action

Nobody knew how long Clickbank would be down.

I wasn't going to wait around to find out! I had to take emergency measures to cope with it.

I was not only losing sales that couldn't be placed, I was also losing money on online advertising. Pay per click accounts were sending people to my site which they couldn't order from.

The first thing I did was pause my pay per click accounts until I got things under control. This saved me from wasting money on useless advertising.

Alternate Payment Choice

I needed another credit card processor to handle my sales and quick! I was lucky that I already had a Paypal account in place.

I quickly created Paypal payment links so that customers could pay for my products. It was a matter of creating the links correctly and changing the webpages to handle the paypal transactions.

I don't normally use Paypal because Clickbank's affiliate program is exceptional. In this case, I did not have much choice and it was easy for me to start accepting money again.

Once Paypal was up and running, I reactivated my pay per click campaigns. I was happily rewarded within the hour with a sale... My first in a day.

Thankfully Clickbank was back on its feet after about 3 days or so. I then switched things back to normal.

Handling My Affiliates

By using Paypal instead of Clickbank, I was denying my affiliates commissions on traffic they had sent me during this incident. I wanted to make it up to them as I didn't think it was fair to them.

I did this by averaging out how much commission they had earned in the 30 days prior to the incident. I divided that total amount by 30 to come up with an average amount per day they had earned. I then gave them 3 days worth of this commission with an explaination of what happened. Ironically, I sent them their commissions through Paypal so they got them instantly.

I received excellent feedback from appreciative affiliates. Some of them stated that my commissions were the only money they made during the time that Clickbank was down.

How You Can Prepare Ahead Of Time

There is no guarantee that Clickbank or any other payment processor won't be attacked by hackers again. It is extremely difficult to defend against.

It would be smart getting a backup plan in place just in case.

Here's a good back up plan:

  • Get a paypal account in place now in case you need it

  • Create your alternate order pages with the Paypal links and keep them ready "just in case"

  • In the event something does happen, keep good communication going with your affiliates. They will appreciate it and will likely reward you with more loyal sales in the future for you

I am sure a lot of lessons were learned during this time. I still love Clickbank, but now I have the experience of having a backup plan I can quickly put into place should anything like this happen again. You may want to prepare ahead of time also.

About The Author

Article by Tim Kerber from the Small Business Web Site. Learn proven secrets to make your web site a profitable success. Tips, tutorials, videos, interviews and more. Click here now -- http://www.SmallBusinessWebSite.com

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