CB Account Manager
Over the past few years, I've enjoyed a very nice income
stream via ClickBank, both selling as an affiliate and selling my
own products. But ClickBank, although it's a very reliable online
payments processor, produces very poor sales statistics.
I'm a great believer in driving my business partially
on business information. Because of Clickbank's restricted reporting,
I've had to set up some highly complex spreadsheets to manage my
sales information, and
it's very time consuming.
"CB Account Manager" ("CBAM") seems
to solve a lot of my problems. In a nutshell, CBAM does
- It downloads all of your sales information
from ClickBank and lets you analyse it in a variety of ways (including
extracting the email addresses of your customers). This is limited
(by ClickBank) to the past 12 months of data.
- It lets you interrogate the ClickBank products database
to help you find other affiliate products to promote.
CBAM runs on your web server, not
your computer (which means that Mac users can use it as well as Windows
users). It's not tricky to set up but you do need to be able to:
- Set up a MySql Database
- Upload files to and create a new folder on your web
- Change the "permissions" of files and folders on your
If you can't do this, "Market Soft", the suppliers
of CBAM offer
an inexpensive installation service.
Before you upload the files, you need to enter your
MySQL details into one of the files. Windows Notepad is fine for
Once you've uploaded everything, you use your browser
to go to an "install" file on the system, and everything is set up
The installation instructions are very clear to follow,
and the whole process took me about 15 minutes.
Using The Software
Rather than merely write about the product, I thought
it might be helpful to show you a few screen shots. I was intending
to produce a video showing it in use, but I'd be revealing too much
Setting Up Accounts
The first thing you must do is to set up an account on your system,
using your ClickBank username and password. If you have more than
one CB account, CBAM lets you set up multiple
accounts on the system, but they can't be amalgamated.
Updating The Databases
Before you can do anything, CBAM needs to grab all
the data from ClickBank, using your account details. This a simple
click of a button:
Retrieving sales data from ClickBank took
a few minutes, and the system fell over at one point (probably at
the ClickBank end). You then have to click the other button to download
the ClickBank products database. This was faster than I thought it
Generating Sales Reports
There's a wide range of reporting functions available:
With most of them, you select a range
of parameters. For the "Profit Report", for example, you simply select
a date range:
One minor gripe I have about this is that
the month & day boxes aren't labeled. Not everyone uses the same
date format! The Profit Report generated this page (some items have
been concealed for confidentiality reasons:
The Customer Sales Database Report lets
you select individual affiliate products. Here's a report I generated
from the sales of one small product I promote through just a few
pages of my Marketing Magic website. No, I don't mind telling you
that this generated over $400 last year! (Not bad for the 15 minutes
it took me to set up a couple of years ago!):
The Email List Report is very useful.
You can view it as a text file on screen or download it - also as
a text file or, as a CSV file, ready to import the data into
Generating ClickBank Product Reports
This almost looks like a last-minute add-on, although it's very useful.
If you want to search for products to promote, you can set certain
parameters, such as keywords, minimum commissions, and so on. Here's
one search I set up, looking for products with keywords "website"
and "design" and with affiliate earnings of more than $30:
The search, which was very quick,
produced 5 results:
One neat thing I liked about this report
is that it automatically generates your affiliate link to the product.
Just right-click on the vendor name and select "Copy Shortcut" and
it's ready to paste in wherever you like. Nice touch!
I hope that's given you a good idea about
what CBAM can do. There's lots more reports I haven't
shown here, including one that you can customise. So - what are the
pluses and minuses about CBAM?
What I Liked About CBAM
- It worked right from the start. It can
be very annoying (and time consuming) to find that software doesn't
work, and web based software is particularly prone to falling down.
But CBAM gave me no trouble at all - except for
one little error when it was building the sales database.
- It's an enormous improvement
on ClickBank's reporting. As I said earlier, CB's reporting
system is very primitive. You can only view one month at a time
can't drill down into the reports. But CBAM gives
you complete control over your CB stats.
- It's easy and intuitive to use. (Just
as well, because there's no manual - see below). Most of the
time I had no problem sorting out what to do and how to do it.
- It generates information quickly. This
is because both sets of data (sales and product data) are stored
on your own web server and don't have to be fetched from ClickBank
when you need it. A small downside is that you have to remember
to refresh each database before you use it. However, after the
build, I found that the refresh was very quick.
What I Didn't Like About CBAM
- The lack of a manual. OK, so it's
easy to use and I had no problems. There's a "help" link
in the software but it leads to a web page with just a couple of
advice points and a link to a help desk! CBAM is
very new (as I write this in April 2006) so maybe there are plans
to put up some more help pages in the near future. As I said, the
installation instructions, in a ReadMe text file, are very easy
- Some minor inconsistencies in the user
interface. E.g. sometimes a previously entered date
range is remembered, sometimes not. And, when you've selected
one or more
items from a
drop-down list (to filter reports), when you return to run another
filter, there's no way to de-select the previous selections.
I think these might have been corrected recently. I
need to check. But it's not a 'wrecker'!
- No facility to download reports. It
would be useful if each report could be downloaded as a "CSV" file
to import into a spreadsheet. The list of email addresses can be
downloaded, and it is in a comma-separated format. But
this is the only downloadable report.
- The size
of the header banner. Yes, it's a small point! But
why have it so large? It doesn't need to advertise
anything and it just takes up screen space.
My only complaints about CBAM are
relatively minor, and I enjoyed working with the software right from
the start. I can see it saving me a lot of time in the future and giving
me better quality information on which I can base my decisions and
plan future strategies.
If you only sell a few products each month,
or if your affiliate income is tiny, then CB Account Manager is not for
But if you've built - or are either building
an affiliate marketing business or developing the sales of your own
products using ClickBank as your main payment processor, then you
should definitely consider buying CBAM. At the time
of writing (April 2006) the software is being sold at a low "launch"
price. It's very affordable!
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