Affiliate Marketing Language Matters

We’ve changed our lingo for the better. 

Affiliate marketing has been an ever-evolving sector of the ecommerce landscape since the beginning. In fact, the first affiliate marketing website, PC Flowers and Gifts, launched the same year as Amazon–1994. Only four years later, in 1998, ClickBank entered the scene. In the two and a half decades that affiliate marketing has existed, the language used to describe the process and the players has been decided by each individual company as they forge their way into a largely uncharted future. In fewer words, the industry has a lot of words, terms, definitions, and lingo. 

Since many affiliate marketing companies are not the megalith that Amazon is, the industry has not had sufficient consumer involvement to enforce the rhetoric in the front-facing sector of the business. “Google it” became a verb because it was used externally, not just among Google employees and their clients. “HopLink,” “Gravity Score,” and “Pitch Page” will likely never become household names, but for ClickBank clients these terms mean something.

As affiliate marketing, performance marketing, and general ecommerce grow into the future with more sellers and affiliates choosing to pursue earning an income online, Clickbank acknowledges the weight of our influence in the industry and the importance of providing a more modern platform that is easier to use and employs consistent vernacular. This dedication to evolving, in tandem with the progress of the tech industry, has inspired us to retire the terms “whitelist” and “blacklist” from our rhetoric. 

ClickBank previously used these terms in conversations and copy about our affiliate commission programs. Sellers had the option to hand-select affiliates based on their eligibility to promote. This feature was formerly referred to as “whitelisting.” If a seller wished to bar an affiliate from promoting their products, the seller could add the affiliate to a “blacklist,” which meant that the affiliate could no longer promote that seller’s products. While these terms are common across the industry, we’ve found that using them no longer aligns with our commitment to empower all entrepreneurs and help businesses automate and grow. 

These terms will be replaced with more inclusive and straightforward language. A seller’s “whitelist” will now be known as “approved affiliates” and the “whitelist” setting will now be known as “Affiliate Require Approval.” 

The term “blacklist” will be replaced with the phrase “blocked affiliates” and the verb “blacklisting” will be replaced with the phrase “blocked by ClickBank.” 

Not only is this language indicative of an outdated era in the tech industry, our team has determined that the new language is more efficient, easier to translate, and consistent with our values. We look forward to evolving and bettering our company now and in the future, and we challenge our industry partners to do the same.