The Ethical & Unethical Faces of High Ticket Affiliate Marketing.

Last Update: Aug 14, 2019

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There is a misconception these days, that you need to be promoting high ticket affiliate programs in order to be successful online. In this post I am going to investigate this very idea and help you understand the difference between high ticket affiliate marketing, low ticket affiliate marketing, and I am going to be bringing ethical affiliate marketing to the forefront of the conversation.

What is High Ticket Affiliate Marketing?

Like it sounds, high ticket affiliate marketing is the sale of higher end or more expensive affiliate products/services. These tend to pay higher commissions in terms of dollar value simply because the products cost more. Conventionally, these sorts of products were products that you would associate with being more expensive.

An example of this, would be selling a fridge or a TV off of Amazon. Another example could be selling a high end stereo system. These are high ticket items that can range in the $1,000's, thus their affiliate commissions will typically be much more.

Amazon typically pays around 6% commissions on all sales. Obviously they are just one affiliate program of 10,000's out there. When someone makes a purchase of a high end product like this (which could be in the tens of thousands of dollars), affiliate commissions can be several $100's, or even in cross the $1,000 mark.

Let's look at a few different products on Amazon:

True STR2RPT-2G-2G Two Section Front/Rear Glass Doors Pass-Thru Refrigerator
$11,453 - Commission Potential, $670

This is a product that may seem outlandish, but many homes and restaurants are finishing with high end appliances. This is one such example of a product, and in fact $12K although seeming on the higher end in terms of fridges, they get much more expensive than this.

You will be earning $670 commissions on this one product and Amazon Prime will offer shipping on these products at an affordable price, in fact FREE shipping in most cases (which many offline stores will not offer). If you have a site in the "fridge" niche it wouldn't take too many of these types of sales to get up to $10,000+ per month in monthly affiliate commissions.

Let's look at another product. In this case it is a Rolex watch, being sold once again on Amazon.

Rolex Lady Datejust Champagne Dial 18K Pink Gold Automatic Watch
Price: $43,295 - Commission Potential, $2,945

This is definitely a product on the higher end, but believe it or not people spend this sort of money on a watch and they are doing it online at a higher and higher rate.

You don't have to sell too many watches at $3K commission per in order to have a very successful month as an affiliate. It doesn't take too many sales of a watch like this to have a successful year as an affiliate. Sell 10 of them in a year (which could quite easily be one with a "watch niche" website) and you would be looking at $29,450 in commissions per year. Sell 100, and you would be looking at $294,500. These high ticket affiliate marketing commissions quickly add up!

Do know that there are 1,000's of affiliate programs that you can leverage to promote higher ticket products and there will be higher ticket products in every industry. Just don't fall for the idea that it is easier to sell on item for $10,000 than it is to sell 100 items at $100.

That is not always the truth, and from experience I have found it very easy to sell Lower ticket products in volume (and at good value) than to sell LESS high ticket items that are not as good as value.

It comes down to what is best for the customers, because that is what will always lead you to creating and establishing yourself as a more authoritative figure online. If you jepordize your brand for the sake of potentially earning higher commissions, you are not going to be creating a lasting or sustainable business.

And that introduces the "high ticket affiliate marketing" (HTAM) phrase that is becoming more commonplace within the digital information/coaching world. There are a lot of scams within this space, that are skewing people's perception of what your role as an affilaite marketer is, and what a "customer centric" business is.

Why So Called "Gurus" Think HTAM is OK.

There is a large subset of marketers out there these days promoting high cost products. You have likely seen them, or perhaps have been taken advantage by one or more of these schemes. Digital courses, digital memberships, conferences, masterminds, and coaching programs charging in the $1,000's or even $10,000's for their services.

Is it because their product/information is worth this much? No. Then why are they charging these outlandish prices?

The are a few simple reasons. They are making money doing it (albeit temporarily typically). They are also utilizing that as their core pitch for others to sell their product for them, versus showcasing the actual VALUE of their product.

This is not actually affiliate marketing, in the sense that I have understood it for the last 17 years being full time in this space. This is the business of taking advantage of others.

By conflating the language of "high ticket" and "affiliate marketing", there are companies out there that are really starting to give affiliate marketing a bad name.

Affiliate marketing is the process of marketing products and services, and in return earning an affiliate commission. But as an affiliate, you have the duty to promote products/services that have your visitors (and potential customers) best interest at hand, not your pocket book. If your thinking is the latter, then you are going to fall in a serious trap, one that will lead to stifled success or worse yet, a run in with the FTC.

Does it mean that companies offering a product or a course for $5,000 or even $10,000 is better than one that is offered for MUCH less? Absolutely not.

What it means is that in an effort to attract affiliates, unethical companies are "overcharging" for their products or services to make the speculated commissions higher. Thus, they hope to attract more affiliates.

Not only this, the companies implementing these sorts of unscrupulous tactics will "require" (or make strong recommendations) their affiliates to implement paid marketing techniques. These include the likes of Facebook Ads, Google Adwords or SOLO ads which carry a great deal of risk.

I have worked with 1,000's of people over the years that have been taken advantage of in this exact way. There is a RIGHT way to implement a high ticket affiliate marketing campaign, and there is a wrong way. If you are promoting "info products" that cost several $1,000's you are likely involved in a program that is taking advantage of customers and this will lead to their subsequent demise.

Lately though, these products and services are simply ploys for affiliates to earn larger commissions and ultimately people end up getting taken advantage of. Often times it is not even affiliate marketing, it is an MLM scheme that people are getting involved with, usually without even knowing it. This leads me to the next point.

High Ticket Affiliate Marketing is Often Times NOT Affiliate Marketing

There're many companies out there pretending that there're affiliate marketing, when they are actually not affiliate marketing. Anything networks on the pretense of there've been multiple levels within it, is not affiliate marketing rather it is MLM (also known as multi-level marketing).

There are a few telltale signs that will help you indicate whether you're getting involved in an actual affiliate marketing company, or a potential scheme (and potentially a pyramid scheme)

  • It is difficult to understand what the product actually is
  • They are not upfront about all the price points
  • There are more than 3 levels.
  • You have to upgrade to a certain level, to promote that level
  • If you have to pay to join their affiliate program

Some other characteristics of a high ticket affiliate marketing scam, may also include:

  • When masterminds or conferences are involved
  • Cost is in the $1,000's for information or coaching
  • Buying into a program level in order to earn commissions at that level
  • The owners have a track record of being involved in scams

When you see these signs, be careful getting involved in such a program. If you are joining something for the sake of high commissions and because it is being sold on "high commissions" not the actual tangible value of the products or services that you are promoting, be VERY careful.

Many such programs are actually operating illegally and every year the FTC, the SEC, the Competition Bureau and other regulatory entities worldwide are putting these sorts of schemes under a great deal of scrutiny and this can and has even meant jail time for the founding partners of these companies.

These programs are operating across a wide breadth of industries, and are certainly not limited to the "opportunity" space. You see them within the health and fitness industry, telecom industry, the vacation and travel industry, and within the local marketing / franchising space.

Don't Fall Victim to Being Scammed, or Worse Yet, Scamming Others.

If you are promoting a product or service online that is in the thousands of dollars, you need to find out if there is an appropriate trade off between money and the actual value of the product/service. Also, is there comparable and lower cost options in the industry that you could promote and put the customer in a better situation.

If you're joining and paying for a high ticket affiliate marketing product, for the purpose of being able to promote that same product or service to others, then you are potentially getting involved in something that may or may not be legal. So be careful about that as well.

These types of schemes are surely not affiliate marketing, rather they are MLM and there are bordering on the idea of potentially being a pyramid scheme (which are illegal in almost all countries).

The problem when you get involved in such programs that are "high ticket", typically for the purpose of higher commissions, you are instantly involved in a scheme that is likely going to require you to do the same thing to others.

If you are going to go the route of "high ticket affiliate marketing, make sure that you are promoting products with VALUE and that people are exchanging their money, for a true value product/service. Like a fridge. Like a watch. Like something legitimate.

There are definitely repercussions for affiliates. If you play with the "bad" players i the industry, you are just as vulnerable to investigation and in some cases criminality as those that are operating these schemes. There are constant cases by the FTC that are starting, and claw backs (from affiliate earnings) are usually the result of the receivership process. Just be careful.

I would love your feedback on your personal experiences with high ticket affiliate marketing and if you have any questions or feedback, please leave it below.

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Recent Comments


Thanks Kyle, very informative re-prices online.

There seems to be two major considerations when buying goods and services online. 1/ Is the website a scam? And, 2/ if research shows it is a legitimate site (and in some cases that can be a long job) is the price value for money? I think there should be a third consideration, how efficient is the service and how accurate is it? I joined a legitimate service last year for one a one month trial for $35, then found out, luckily, there were two transactions taken from my card. The second was for $495 for the full service which I had not ordered. I do not believe this was a scam, as a reverse credit was instantly made, it was simply an error caused by inefficient service.

I have looked at prices for online services to receive option trading recommendations and as some can be over $5,000 per year, they must rank as "high ticket" services. Although, they vary a lot, I try to calculate the expected return to justify the price. For example, if an option trading website offers a subscription service for say $2,500 per annum and included in the price is a minimum of 12 recommended trades per month, it works out to be $17.36 per recommended trade. If historically the service has provided say, 60% winning trades and on average they each gave 100% profit, then $2,500 buys up to 86 winning trades (60% of 144). $300 invested in them all at an average 100% return is an annual gain of $51,600, less the losses (58 x $300) $17,400, less the $2,500 subscription fee, produces a gain of $31,700 for the year.

It sounds a good return but there are other considerations and there are no guarantees any of the trades will actually make any money, even though it is most unlikely they will all be losers. So the decision of whether the price is value for money or not, really rests on how much the service is considered to be reliable, based on its performance so far, to make $31,700 profit for an outlay of $19,900. There are a lot of generalisations and assumptions which will change the outcome, for example the percentage gain will not be exactly 100% for each trade, the trading strategy will not always be with the same stop loss,and the length of time each trade takes to realise the gain will vary. Also, bearing in mind past performance is no indication of future performance being the same, all these factors will have an effect on the outcome, for and against the trader.

The track record of the service being as described above would indicate the subscription price is value for money, but should the performance of the service deteriorate, it could easily be considered not to be value for money. As with most of these types of services, they are sold on their merits during the best circumstances and rely on how much they can support their claims. If there are 86 winning trades and 58 losing trades, there could be 58 losing trades in a row and the trader has to find and lose $17,400 before winning one trade. Even then, there is no guarantee the next trade will win and after losing 58 trades non-stop, how keen will the trader be to place another recommended trade from the same service?

This type of service has more than its fair share of scammers and the task of finding them is made more difficult by websites claiming to be independent. Is ABC Services a scam? How can you tell if ABC is a legitimate service? Etc etc. The site then continues to praise the service for its merits, giving false information about it and declaring it is a legitimate service but it is another website which belongs to the same scammers! The scams take various forms, the simplest being they take your money and do nothing more. They deliver nothing like the service promised and they cannot be contacted.

With so many scammers involved it makes it hard to find the legitimate services and they are all looked upon with suspicion. Also, regardless of the size of the affiliate commission, will it ever be paid? And, why would anyone want to be involved with a crooked operation?

Hi Kyle! Before i joined WA, I was exploring about affiliate marketing on internet. I was about to join some other program but there was something odd that I was feeling. Everything leaded to sell their own program with high commision. And then I was searching more and that how I came to WA. Here nothing pressures me about selling WA program. After I finish my education and set up my page and make aff.mark. on it, I will think about being affiliate of WA which I think is worth. Thank you on this post. Vesna

I have been moving more into promoting high ticket products because I'm fed up with the large number of scammy and short-lived products in the Make Money Online niche.

There simply isn't the time to review and evaluate all the products that are released so it's hard to endorse any of them with any authority.

I now only promote products I use myself. I usually write a review of them and give readers an inside look so they're better informed about whether the product is a good fit for them or not.

I have been burned in the past when buying high-ticket programs and I could name names, but I won't.

I've also come across "gurus" who tell you that you need to do paid advertising to really make money. And, naive as I was at the time, I did try that...and lost money.

The high-ticket affiliate marketing training program I'm currently promoting is one I'm a member of myself. I've been through the training, talked with the course developer and I know his history. He has his students best interests at heart and denounces unethical marketing and is fickle about adhereing to FTC rules and guidelines.

His course is excellent and I am happy to endorse it to my own readers and email subscribers. I can't say that about most other high-ticket courses I've bought over the years. But there are a couple of others I do think are quality courses and am happy to endorse those too.

There are more low-quality and scammy products in the low-ticket arena, simply because more products are launched at those low price points. But from what I can see, most of these products have a short shelf life (a year if you're lucky) or support is virtually non-existent. And when they break becuase of changing tech, they stay broken.

I'm also fed up with the "killer" products that are becoming increasingly common - the "Product X Killer", "Why Subscribe To X When You Can Get Our X killer For a Single Payment?" etc. type sales pitches.

The unwary get taken in by these click-baity headlines and think they're saving a ton of money and getting a product of equal functionality as X.

And eventually they get burned.

The other thing I don't like about low-ticket offers is the incessant one-time-offers, upsells and downsells. As an example, several year ago I bought a front-end product for $47. I expected the usual 2 to 5 upsells in the sales funnel. There were 14. As an experiment, I bought everything offered. Total amount spent: just over $720.

When I reviewed everything I'd bought, it was amateurish, rehashed and in some cases, outdated. Getting a full refund for all that crap is a whole story in itself.

That marketer is still selling stuff and launching new products 3 or 4 times a year. I wouldn't touch any of it with a 10-foot barge pole.

It's possible he's cleaned up his act and now does sell quality products. But my experience with his product tarnished his reputation with me forever. It takes a log time to build a good reputation and yet it can be destroyed in an instant.

I also don't like the "buy this product to make money online selling this product" type of marketing. One of the top-selling products on Clickbank followed this model. That's just a marketer leveraging affiliates to make himself even more money.

The bottom line is that where there's money to be made, the unscrupulous will make a bee-line for it.

The better affiliate networks do at least have some screening processes in place to keep out the dross but they're not immune to allowing vendors on their platforms to sell questionable products.

Even product reviews can't be trusted. Most, it appears, are fluff pieces designed to get readers to buy the product being "reviewed". In fact, these reviews seldom have more than content cut and pasted from the product sales page and a sentence or two of endorsement from the blog owner.

It really is a minefield out there. So on my own blogs, I try to provide as much salient information to readers as I can. I try to provide value rather than a sales pitch. It's important to gain the trust of your readers and subscribers by being "real" rather than "salesy". People who trust you are far more likely to buy through your affiliate links in the future. People who's paradigm is to make as much money as possible (i.e they're self-serving) won't do nearly as well as those who put other people's interests first. People can read between the lines in the way information is presented to them and they'll make a decision at that stage as to whether they'll ever do business with you or not.

I try to stay away from the digital courses and coaching programs as they are all pretty much the same reused material that has been filtered down to make it look brand new
There is nothing out there that even comes close to comparing to Wealthy Affiliate when it comes to digital coaching programs
I have a sports website where it's very rare that the products I advertise are over £100 but I'm doing ok at the moment and it is getting better and better as the weeks go on
So it's not the price of the products you promote, it's the knowledge and value that you can give to your visitors :)

In 2014 I fell for the MOBE scam. I still feel sick to this day when I think about the money I simply handed over to be left high and dry. These days I have a passionate hatred for those sorts of schemes and some of the high flying tricksters who promote them. I would urge everybody to be on the side of caution and keep their hard earned cash for legit opportunities

I Enjoyed reading your post, timely.
I have fallen victim to a few HTAM over my time.
A few have been deliberate to find out what they were selling Vs what I have learned online.
One thing that has worked in my favour is the 30 day money back guarantee.
Something people should look for if signing up to anything online.
Moving forward though, in most cases they weren't products I could promote and be happy doing.
I am now looking for reputable affiliate opportunities and in most cases something I have experience in.
From what I have just read, it looks like I am going to have to study up on Rolex watches.


They scammers certainly make it enticing but the questions are always there regarding the ethics of their program, the prices are typically very high as you say and just being involved in these schemes should be enough to keep most of us awake at night...don't bite! Great post Kyle...thank you.

Very informative, love it. I have been introduced to some MLM companies in the past and I still wonder today if they are legal or not. It's hard to believe they would be illegal since they make a lot of money and many people are in them.

At the beginning I thought WA was a MLM because I didn't know well what was the definition of MLM. But now I know that WA IS NOT a MLM business, definitely not.

It's sad, because of these bad MLM programs, when you introduce WA to people they have a bad feeling about it and they have the same opinion than for MLM... It takes some extra effort to show them it is different.

I hope I'll be able to convince a couple of person to understand the chance they are missing if they don't join WA!

This is a great article! In the past, I too have fallen for the shiny object in the room and fell by the wayside. There are still the snake oil salesmen out there looking for an easy target. I am glad I ran into the WA program and I have full faith in this program that you and Carson have put together. Thank you.


Thank you, Kyle.
Really appreciate this information. I did fall prey to one of these high ticket affiliate marketing companies. They skirt on the edge which makes it difficult to pin them down as an outright scam. Thankfully for me, I could not afford to put more money in, that was my saving grace. I am grateful to them too though, because of my experience there, I knew that WA was the place to be within a very short space of time.
Blessings as always

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