I’ve been away recently. I returned home to find a heel of bread in my bread-bin that I’d forgotten about. It was covered in mould – the kind of green spores that puff up into the atmosphere in little clouds of dust. I had to hold my breath for fear of getting Farmer’s Lung, as I tentatively lifted the offending article out and into the kitchen bin. It dropped in there, releasing a pastel-green effervescence. I had to wash the inside of my bread-bin out because the spores had settled on the wood. In fact, I may well put it on the bonfire and get a new one. Now, imagine eating that mouldy heel of bread. Even with jam on, it’s going to leave a very bad, gag-inducing taste in your mouth. I’m sorry to turn your stomach, but that was pretty much the taste that was left in my mouth after sampling Commission Shops.

Commission Shops is a software application for affiliate marketers that seeks out the most profitable products from Amazon and Clickbank and adds your links to niche websites. People click on your links and you earn top dollar as an affiliate. Looks good on paper.

It’s from Josh Vacek and Tom Geller. I can find precious little out about Josh Vacek but Tom Geller released a similar product called Mass Income Multiplier a little while back. From what I can deduce, Commission Shops is a rehashed version of that.

Their sales page for Commission Shops is the usual boloney and hyperbole that I’ve criticised so often before.

The product is based on a sound theory, but it fails to deliver. The quality of the commission shops websites that you set up equates to the quality of that mouldy heel of bread I was telling you about. The product promises that you’ll make a boat-load of money from viral sharing, but to be truthful, nobody is ever going to share such poorly designed websites, let alone make any purchases from them. A large part of social networking is based around the desire to be aspirational and the promotion of this. You share something or ‘like’ something or tweet about something in effect, to give it your stamp of approval and inform your friends that this is what you like. How often do you see the ‘like’ button on websites accompanied by the line: ‘Be the first of your friends to like this’. It’s all about putting across some ideal of status. Nobody, just nobody, is ever going to want to share these websites that you get through Commission Shops. There’s more chance of the supermarket slapping a ‘Reduced Item’ price-sticker on that mouldy bread and successfully selling it, than these websites going viral. Proper marketing techniques (and a high quality of website) can result in things going viral, but there is absolutely no coaching from them on this whatsoever.

Humour me for a second in going back to the moment when I lifted the lid off the bread-bin and my head recoiled at the sorry-looking green thing in there. Well multiply that head-recoil to the power of a hundred and you’ll get somewhere close to the amount of times Vacek and Geller hit you with up-sells once you’ve signed on for the product. I don’t mind the occasional valid up-sell, but they were relentless in throwing all manner of stuff at me.

Once inside the members’ area you get a pretty good idea of the quality of the product, before you’ve even seen the shambles of a website that they suggest will be the catalysts to you realising your fortune. The visual and audio quality of the training videos is like that of the earliest of home-camcorder footage that has been left in a damp cupboard for 20 years.

Despite all this, I tried the product for 22 days and set up 4 shops. I had 98 views and zero purchases.

Money-back time. Only, they do not honour their no-questions asked money-back guarantee. They’ve failed to give me my money back, despite many emails, and a quick search online reveals other frustrated customers having the same problems. It is through ClickBank though, so I’m confident I’ll get my money back. I urge you to consider them to have absolutely no customer service, despite what they may say on their sales page. Incidentally, before buying the product, if you decline it at $97, you get the option of buying it at $47. Such a massive down-sell reflects the lack of ethics that is behind this operation and reeks of desperation more strongly than that mouldering piece of bread.