Gumroad vs Koji: Which is the Best for Your Online Digital Products Now?

by Vadim  - November 6, 2023

Selling online digital products without your own website can be daunting. Yet with the right platforms, it is entirely possible to build an income stream through digital downloads.

In this post, we'll look at two options for selling eBooks, online courses, graphics, subscriptions and more. If you're not up for reading check out my video about this below.

First, we'll review Koji, an app store for creators. Then we'll explore Gumroad as an alternative. We'll compare the pros and cons, and I'll share tips from my experience in digital entrepreneurship. Strap in for a tour of selling digital products without a website!

Purpose of this blog post

When I first delved into the realm of selling digital products online about two years ago, a video I created titled 'Selling Digital Products Without a Website' became my highest viewed video on my channel (20K+ views), which was quite surprising.

The main point of discussion was Koji - a newly-launched platform riding on the hype wave of LinkTree and other social buttons. Today, I am revisiting that conversation with you, talking about whether Koji has managed to stand the tests of time, its characteristic features, and an intriguing new alternative that I've switched to. 

My goal here is to cut through the noise. I'll share transparently about my own experiences with Koji and Gumroad. You'll get an inside look at the platforms' strengths and weaknesses.

By the end, you'll feel equipped to choose the best platform for your business. You'll also have actionable tips to hit the ground running.

koji a platform to sell online digital products

Koji Platform for Online digital products

Overview of the Koji platform

Koji positions itself as an "app store for creators." The premise is simple - you can build mini apps and sell them, without needing coding skills. These bite-sized apps might offer calculators, planners, games, utilities and more.

It seems like a great way to make passive income. Just build once like a Lego set, and collect earnings over time. But does it live up to the promise in reality? Let's peek under the hood.

I was initially excited by the idea of a digital app store for everyday entrepreneurs like us. No need to learn complicated code or hire developers. Koji promises a fast lane to selling useful tools.

But it reminds me of those TV infomercials with clever gadgets. They showcase all the ways the product can improve your life. Yet when you order it, the reality never quite matches the hype.

Does Koji fall into this familiar trap of overpromising and underdelivering? Let's investigate further.

Fee structure and potential confusion (depend s on the type of online digital products you are going to sell)

Koji takes anywhere between 5-15% cut of your app earnings right off the top. I always found this confusing and till today I am not certain I can explain to you what is it driven by.

I expected a single flat commission like on other platforms. But Koji has a variety of fees. This is not a deal breaker per se, but indeed something to factor into your cost of whatever online digital products you plan to offer.

For example, my friend Eva spent weeks building a meal planner app. She priced it at $14.99, hoping to earn a decent residual income. But once Koji took its 15% cut, substantially less was left, then if simply used Stripe as a processor. But I guess you pay for convenience.

Make sure you factor in Koji's fees when pricing products. Crunch the numbers carefully. You'll want to price your apps accordingly to still profit after Koji takes its cut.

buying online digital products

Getting paid after selling online digital products

I saw some concerning 1-star reviews about trouble withdrawing earnings from Koji. And I was called out in the comments to my video I mentioned earlier for not covering this. I will be upfront – I have not experienced any such difficulties, but I thought it would be prudent to cover this as an “FYI”.

Some creators encountered months-long delays getting paid out. Others had their earnings disappear from their accounts outright.

One reviewer, Amanda, described excitement building her first revenue-generating app. But when she tried to withdraw her $75 earnings, there were suddenly "errors". Two months later, Amanda is still fighting to get paid.

Another creator, Brian, had over $400 vanish from his Koji account balance overnight. His multiple support tickets went unresolved.

These withdrawal issues are unacceptable. Regular access to your rightfully-earned profits is non-negotiable! Koji needs to address this urgently to gain creators' trust.

As Amanda put it, "What good are earnings if you can't access them?" It's like doing work and your employer refusing to pay you. A complete violation.

For now, the jury seems out on Koji until improvements are made. I'm wary of building a business on such unstable ground.

gumroad a platform to sell online digital products

Alternative Option: Gumroad

Overview of Gumroad as a marketplace for Online digital products

You know that I have a store right on this site and if you are running a WordPress blog, I recommend you do the same (it's free - so, why not!). Check out this link for the how.

If the concerning cons of Koji are making you hesitant, check out Gumroad. This platform lets you sell digital downloads like eBooks, courses, graphics, photography and more.

It operates like an Etsy focused on digital creators. You can build your own little "storefront" by creating a custom URL. Then drive traffic to your shop through marketing.

I love this concept of an online bazaar for everyone's digital wares. Need a budget spreadsheet? A mindfulness course? A recipe eBook? A design brush set? Gumroad sellers have you covered!

As a solo entrepreneur without a ton of tech skills, Gumroad intrigues me. It democratizes digital commerce beyond just the tech giants. Everyday folks can stake their own small claim.

Ease of use and navigation

I found Gumroad super intuitive to navigate, like a well-organized thrift shop. The clean dashboard makes it easy to manage products, orders, and customers.

Uploading new products is a breeze, as simple as posting an item for sale on Craigslist. You just enter a product name, description, pricing, cover image and upload your digital file.

My friend Maria had her gardening eBook up in minutes. She didn't need to mess with website plug-ins or codecs.

The built-in analytics also provide helpful sales data at a glance. Maria tracks her conversions and revenue sources with ease. This informs her marketing and product strategy.

Drawbacks of having online digital products on Gumroad

Gumroad isn't without limitations, however. Customizing your page design is restricted, like trying to decorate a rental property. You're limited to Gumroad's template options.

There are also some constraints around formatting product listings. You may need to compromise between design aesthetics and function.

For example, my other friend Sam struggled to highlight his photography package options. The templated layout was inflexible. However, for some (like myself) that is a bonus not a drawback. I like when all I need to do is fill a forma and all my online digital products will look uniform.

I do not know if this is a true drawback, but Gumroad does charge a flat 10% fee on all online digital product sales. It can be seen as a lot, but it does make it super easy to start selling your products, services or subsciptions.

But overall, Gumroad simplifies selling digital goods. The convenience seems to outweigh the restricted design options for most creators.

affiliate for online digital products

Money-making Tip: Becoming an Affiliate and Promoting Others' online Digital Products

How to become an affiliate marketer on Gumroad

Let me walk you through how to become an affiliate for products on Gumroad. This cool feature lets you earn commissions promoting other creators' products!

  • First, you'll need a Gumroad account. Once logged in, Go to “Affiliated” tab section under Product menu item.
  • Here you will find the general affiliate link to use when referring people to  browse Gumroad's product catalog.
  • You can also grab a link to any Gumroad product, paste it into the respective section and Gumroad will generate a new link with you affiliate code.
  • Think about the possibilities for promoting online digital products. It works similar to Amazon partner product, but the items you can use are way more interesting.
  • If you are on the way to building a coaching program you can grab a Gumroad published online digital product today and start making a fee while you complete your own.
  • For example, I became an affiliate for an social media templates eBook. Whenever someone buys through my link, I earn 10% commission!
  • You can also become an affiliate for your own products this way. Just toggle your items to "on" to activate your creator affiliate link.
  • It's like getting paid to market your own offerings!

The power of earning passive income on affiliate sales

As a Gumroad affiliate, you'll make 10% on any sales driven by your custom link. There's no extra work involved either.

It operates like passive income autopilot. You simply share your affiliate links prominently on your website, email list, social accounts and more.

Imagine having your affiliate link in your Instagram bio.

Gumroad does the hard work of tracking any sales and automatically paying your commissions.

My friend Tyler put a how-to course in his affiliate links in his YouTube videos reviewing filmmaking gear.

The commissions give him a nice side income stream.

Here's an example of a product on Gumroad that creates a full eCommerce store on Notion (another platorm)

So, explore becoming a Gumroad affiliate yourself! It's a set-it-and-forget-it way to monetize your audience and assets.

In Conclusion

Choose Gumroad for selling your own online digital products

To wrap up, the choice is clear - I recommend Gumroad as the better platform for selling your digital products.

Gumroad's transparent 10% fee beats Koji's confusing commissions. The intuitive interface makes it fast and easy to create your online storefront.

So why not open your Gumroad shop this weekend? Make that first digital product you've been dreaming up!

Promote others' products as a Gumroad affiliate

But even before you launch your own offerings, start as a Gumroad affiliate.

Find relevant products in your niche and get your custom affiliate links. Share those links widely through social media, email lists, and content creation.

For example, create YouTube reviews showcasing the product. Include your affiliate link in the video description. In fact if you know how massively replicable content framework works (check out MRC-ai right here), you can create a whirlwind of social media activity without breaking a sweat (and generate passive income in the process).

You can quickly start earning commissions and gaining an audience. Use affiliate marketing to boost income as you build your own digital product business.

You've got this!

Selling online without a website is within your grasp. Gumroad can help you monetize your knowledge and find financial freedom. Content creation becomes an ever important component of driving readers/followers to your products. Start building your funnel.

You have so much wisdom to share with the world. I can't wait to see your creations thrive on Gumroad and beyond!

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