Affiliate Disclosure: Look, I'm working my ass off delivering value to you. So, yes any links that you see in this post are probably affiliate links to help keep this blog going. They are true recommendations and if you click on them and purchase, I probably earn a commission (at no additional cost to you).
I’m sure you have heard of Wealthy Affiliate, probably the most recommended affiliate marketing course on the internet. So, today I wanted to discuss this “Wealthy Affiliate Scam”
Everywhere you go, you hear blah blah blah about affiliate marketing or another product, with a conclusion that says, you should try Wealthy Affiliate.
Recently, they have even been in my blog comments, but I instantly mark them as spam and trash them. But today, I thought I would do some research into this program to see what it’s all about.
Apart from the fake reviews that just want you to join Wealthy Affiliate, the results were pretty ugly.
Also, I just wanted to make two things clear before we jump into my research:
1. All the information throughout this article, was found by other people and I have provided the sources. I am NOT a member of Wealthy Affiliate.
2. This article does not promote any other product or course instead of Wealthy Affiliate. I am not incentivized to tell you Wealthy affiliate is a bad product.
Is Wealthy Affiliate A Scam?
While I don’t believe Wealthy Affiliate is a scam, I definitely don’t think it’s a good product.
Yes, you will get training, support & a community but that doesn’t mean that the training, support & community is good.
As I said earlier, I am not a member of wealthy affiliate and I will not lie about that, throughout this article, I will talk you through my findings and link to the relevant sources so that you can see the proof or more information on that point.
Below is what my research found of this program, each point has a source and is explained so that you know, why it’s a problem.
Please feel free to share your opinion on Wealthy Affiliate in the comments. Also, all sources are clearly linked to so that you can check them out, I just felt like sharing my findings with my readers.
1. E-biz Facts – 7 Big Problems With Wealthy Affiliate
Please also feel free to check out the creators of this video channel, E-biz facts.
Key Problems Explained:
1. Outdated Training
Affiliate marketing is probably one of the fastest evolving industries in the world. It grows incredibly quickly which indicates that it evolves quickly too. We are in 2020, most of the training is from 2016 with other lessons even being from as early as 2012.
That alone is one of the main reasons, I would not recommend joining this training. Why are you paying a fee EVERY month when the majority of the training is from 2016 and before. I don’t understand.
2. Outdated Credibility
One of the main educators within Wealthy Affiliate has very little credibility. He reveals three of his sites that get a combined value of 90 visits per month. Now, I know that sites that are less than 6 months old often go for keywords that only get a couple of searches but actually get way more. However, we are talking about sites that are 3-8 years old!
3 sites, 3-8 years, 90 visitors per month. Great stats for a main educator. Saying that I know that he probably does get a little bit more traffic than that, but to have a site that gets that little-recognized traffic after 3-8 years, is not good.
The other main educator, claims his site makes $300 per day and for proof, he shows a screenshot from 2016 that shows he made $1000 in 3 days. Just because you make $1000 in 3 days, doesn’t mean that you will make $1000 every 3 days.
Note that this is also one screenshot, so first of all, this was probably his best 3 days of affiliate marketing. The second problem is that it’s from 2016 and lastly it could be edited or not even his.
When asked for more proof, the educator did not provide it. In terms of students’ credibility, there are 9 members that have good results with proof. Wealthy affiliate has 1.5 million members and only 9 have good results?
3. Misleading Claims
“It is only going to take less than 30 seconds to get a fully operational, profit ready WordPress website up and running online.”
“Wealthy Affiliate members have always noticed notable boosts in rankings and traffic from every google update”
I don’t even think I need to explain why the first quote is a load of B.S. Creating a WordPress site can take a long time, there is a big learning curve before getting used to it. When I started my blog, I had almost 2 years of experience in affiliate marketing already and I found certain parts hard.
As for the second quote, the forum area is full of members that are reporting that they have been damaged by Google updates.
I mean how do you expect to be safe from future Google updates when creating your site based on training from at least 3 years ago?
Google is always updating its search engine with new guidelines for content creators, if you don’t follow these, your site will be harmed.
4. Bad Advice
The training has some bad advice too.
Advice such as there is no wrong niche is repeated many times throughout the training. Now, I somewhat even agree with that there is no wrong niche if the niche has:
A good amount of buyers/products
Some decent amount of search volume
However, the training just says there is no wrong niche. In the video that I have linked above, he then uses the example, of creating a site for the niche Tiddlywinks for African-American amputees.
The training says that there is no such thing of too targeted niche, which of course there is. Again, their forum is full of members who believe they have chose the wrong niche.
Lastly, the educator also says that you should use only heading 3 and heading 4 tags, which means that there are no important parts of the article in SEO language.
Additionally, these headings would then have a smaller size (14pt) than the recommended body font size minimum (16pt) for good readability. This means that the size of the body text will be as small as 10pt-12pt which has hard readability which results in fewer people on your site reading your content and therefore fewer sales.
5. Missing Crucial Info
No training on crucial topics such as:
“No follow” links
External linking to authority sites
WordPress page building
Some other topics too
This is absolutely terrible. How will you build a successful site without training on backlinks, caching and email marketing?
It will be pretty hard, I can tell you that. But it kind of explains why you see affiliates of wealthy affiliate running around the entire web selling wealthy affiliate. They have no idea how to build an email list!
While some of those topics are addressed, they are not addressed with even the core material.
Additionally, you could also run into a lot of legal trouble, if you don’t use affiliate disclosures. I’ll leave it up to you to make yourself an opinion of this.
6. Disorganized Training
The training itself is very disorganized.
There are instructions that should be before other instructions for common sense, but it isn’t.
For example, you are told to write a bunch of articles and 45 lessons later, the training tells you how to write an article. So, why did you write the 20 articles before?
I have no idea… Maybe to get used to writing? I don’t know.
The other example is when you are told to create a Google Adsense account, but then the next lesson you are told forget Google Adsense, just do affiliate marketing. Well, what was the point in the previous lesson & creating your Google Adsense account?
Again, I have no idea. Also, some of the training lessons just say things like “Today you can do whatever you want.”
So, paying $50 a month for a majority of wrong, outdated and useless lessons seems a little bit stupid to me.
7. Ranking System
The ranking system inside wealthy affiliate is based on activity within the forum, completing lessons and other activities within wealthy affiliate.
So, it’s entirely possible to be in the top 25 of all 1.5million wealthy affiliate members, but in reality, be terrible at affiliate marketing.
In fact, it’s not only possible some are actually doing it, one of the top 25 members said that she was 11 months into her website and only sees 30 visitors per day. She also said that very few of these are from Google.
Also, this woman was a member of wealthy affiliate since 2009. So, 10+ years of education through wealthy affiliate was not even enough to grow a blog past 30 views per day after 11 months.
According to Income School, there is also a 35 week period until you reach 90% of the search traffic that your articles will receive. 11 Months or 48 weeks is way past that 35 weeks.
Don’t get me wrong, when you are in the first couple of months and you are just building out your site, 30 views per day is not that bad. However, after 11 months, your traffic should have at least started to see a little snowball effect.
Commission Structure Is Almost Like An MLM
Now that we have had a look at the key problems with wealthy affiliate. Let’s have a look at why it’s so popular.
The commission structure.
Most wealthy affiliate members make their money off referring others to Wealthy Affiliate. These others will probably also make money by referring others to Wealthy Affiliate, or they will give up as they tried to create a niche site with their useless training.
Everywhere I go, I see wealthy Affiliate being recommended, on social media, Quora, forums and just about anywhere else on the Internet.
With a recurring commission structure like it has and 1.5 Million members, it’s no surprise. Oh and most people probably don’t even upgrade for the training, they probably upgrade for the higher commission levels.
Okay, for a digital product the commission structure is pretty normal, right?
Well, yes but no.
50% commissions are standard for digital products. But bad training made out to be a good one with, everybody, recommending it and people only buying it to earn more commissions, do you know what that reminds me of?
I would bet on it, that wealthy affiliate would not survive two more years doing what they are doing now without their affiliates. All wealthy affiliate members are just incentivized to refer more people, who then are also incentivized to refer more people too and that is how this never-ending loop of referrals is created.
They have this product that is made to look good, but really once you are inside you will find that the only way to make money is by joining this horrible loophole of going around and recommending Wealthy Affiliate.
87% of sites on Wealthy Affiliate are invisible, meaning that they get no detectable traffic. Again, this isn’t a problem if the site is less than 6 months old, however, as Wealthy Affiliate has been around for 10+ years, I don’t think 87% of members have joined in the last 6 months.
So, if you want to join a $50 per month training, where 87% of students don’t get any traffic, please feel free to do so.
3. Free Training Is Useless
I see tons of Wealthy Affiliate members comment with their affiliate link on my blog. I assume these are members from the free plan, otherwise, the paid plan would be even worse than it already is.
Additionally, there are tons of reviews on Trustpilot, that say that the free training is useless too.
4. No Refunds
Wealthy Affiliate does not offer any refunds.
If their product is so amazing, why do they not offer refunds?
Exactly, it’s not. Wealthy affiliate is not amazing and the fact that they don’t offer refunds, despite their shady fees just makes it worse.
Despite, affiliates being offered a good 50% of sales which is a good incentive to promote this piece of B.S, they still got 20% 1-star reviews. 20% is very high, especially for the most recommended affiliate course in the world.
Those 59% of reviews are Wealthy Affiliate affiliates, the great and average are probably people who just looked at the training and saw there was a lot of training. The rest are probably real people.
Bad training, outdated training, and useless training.
This is shown by the 87% of invisible sites of Wealthy Affiliate Members.
All in all, it’s just a terrible product with a good incentive for affiliates, the sales then also become affiliates. So, it’s pretty similar to an MLM type model.