If you’re interested in affiliate marketing, you’ve probably bumped into Wealthy Affiliate by now. You may also have seen posts talking about the Wealthy Affiliate scam, telling you not to fall for it.
I originally wrote this article when I was still a member of Wealthy Affiliate. I cancelled my membership in November 2019 and you might be interested in reading my reasons why.
I’ve left this article largely unchanged, other than to remove any affiliate links that might have existed.
The reasons they’re mentioned so much are:
- They’ve been going a very long time (they started in 2005)
- They have a very active affiliate program that pays their members commission to promote them
- They have a lot of competition in the make-money-online niche. They don’t want you to join Wealthy Affiliate because they want you to join or buy their product instead.
In the interests of transparency, I’m going to make it clear right at the start that I’m a member of Wealthy Affiliate.
I’ve been a member since 2016 so I’ve gained quite an intimate knowledge of the platform, how it works, and whether there are any things you need to watch out for. I’m going to tell you about them here.
Yes, that’s right. I’m a member of Wealthy Affiliate and I’m going to tell you exactly why you might want to avoid Wealthy Affiliate.
I have two reasons for this. I don’t want you joining Wealthy Affiliate if it’s not right for you, and it might not be what you think it is.
What is a scam, anyway?
People throw the word, “scam” around a lot on the Internet these days so it’s probably helpful if I state the real meaning of the word before I go on.
In general, a scam is an activity intended to cheat people into paying for something that has no value or that is different from the product that was advertised.
So, if you’re told that a money making system on the Internet will make you $1,000 dollars in a week and you do everything the system requires but don’t make $1,000 in a week, that’s probably a scam.
One of the hallmarks of an online scam is when they make bold claims about how much money you will make in the first place. Could make is very different to will make.
You could make a million of dollars through affiliate marketing but you probably won’t.
The trouble is, some people are so excited about the potential to earn untold wealth that they don’t manage their own expectations and so, enter a program with the wrong idea of what they’re going to achieve.
Or, as the old adage goes: If it’s so easy to make millions online, why isn’t everyone doing it?
Common criticisms about Wealthy Affiliate
I’m going to take a look at some of the criticisms against Wealthy Affiliate and give you an opinion about how true the claims are (spoiler alert – some of them actually are).
Their members use bait-and-switch tactics to promote the program
This one is true.
There are many, usually well-meaning, Wealthy Affiliate members that will write ‘scam-or-not’ reviews about other systems just so they can recommend Wealthy Affiliate at the end.
In the Wealthy Affiliate training for people that wish to promote WA (called the Bootcamp training), it does recommend that people write honest reviews warning the reader about scam products.
The same training also tells the member to be honest in their reviews.
If a member plays loosey-goosey with the truth when reviewing a product, that’s not Wealthy Affiliate’s fault but I wish it was possible to report such members to the platform. That’s not the kind of affiliates they need.
Unfortunately, in the world of affiliate marketing there are many people that will bend the truth to try to make a sale.
Incidentally, this is one of the reasons why, when I created this site, I made a commitment to only review products that I felt had some value to you.
I have no interest in writing a heavily critical review just to promote another product (known as a “bait and switch” scam) because it’s not ethical.
Many Wealthy Affiliate members never find success
Sadly, this one is also true.
The Wealthy Affiliate training teaches people how to build a website and then write content to attract visitors organically (i.e. via search-engines) and other means.
The training also, very openly, teaches that it will take three months or longer of writing blog posts twice a week before you’ll start to see enough traffic to be generating money from your new site.
And that’s the problem. Most people aren’t ready for that kind of commitment or work.
When I joined in 2016, I wasn’t. I’m a stay-at-home dad looking after two young children and if I’m frank, I just couldn’t be bothered to make the effort. I’d put the kids to bed and then watch television or play a computer game.
As a result, I didn’t make much progress in my first eighteen months while those that joined at the same time as me were starting to make significant amounts of money per month. That wasn’t Wealthy Affiliate’s fault. That was mine.
To be successful at Wealthy Affiliate, you need to find the time and that usually means giving up Netflix, World of Warcraft, or the other things that you might waste time on. It’s worth it though.
There are lots of successful people in the community that started with no knowledge at all and now make the equivalent of a full-time salary from their websites.
Unfortunately, many people give up before they start to see results.
There is no evidence that Wealthy Affiliate works
This one’s false.
On the platform, people share countless stories of their success, often with screenshots of how their website traffic grew or how much money they are making.
Because they are sharing these stories for the benefits of other members, there is no benefit to them fabricating these stories. They share them because that’s one of the great things about the community on Wealthy Affiliate – everyone is encouraging everyone else.
Here are some links for you to look at:
- Ten Years with Wealthy Affiliate – 10 Tips To Succeed
Veronica wanted a business that could travel with her as she cared for her children and traveled between the US and her native country of Sweden. She shows graphs of her traffic growth and explains how she found success.
- Organic Traffic Growth Update
Lynne is from South Africa and joined in 2015. She now earns a full-time income from her affiliate websites.
The link above shows her organic traffic growth. She also shares another blog post in which she includes a screenshot of the commission she’d been making on Amazon thanks to her efforts on Wealthy Affiliate.
- How Long Does It Take To Rank And Make Money?
Philip shares a video that shows how long it actually takes to start ranking on Google and getting more visitors to your site. The more people that visit your site, the more likely you are to attract people that like your content and the affiliate links that you’re offering.
- A Very Important Message For All Beginners
Jerry joined in 2016 (the same year that I did) and has shown exactly how effective the training at Wealthy Affiliate can be. He’s now an Ambassador, mentoring other members with examples of his success. In the blog post linked above, he shows the growth he achieved and warns of the effort required.
The training at Wealthy Affiliate is out-of-date
Yes and no. All training will be out-of-date at some point.
The site owners recently updated all the training to reflect the current state of web technologies but even when technologies move on, there is always up to date training available.
If members get stuck they can post questions to the community. The response is impressive with answers coming from the most experienced and successful members. I love the fact that even after finding success themselves, so many of the members still help those that are starting out.
Members also contribute text-based or video training modules they’ve created themselves, showing how to achieve various tasks that will benefit the other members.
Every week, Jay, the resident instructor at Wealthy Affiliate, produces an excellent webcast about a specific cutting-edge topic that will benefit the members. Recently he did an excellent series on using YouTube and another about using funnels. These are only available for Premium members though.
Wealthy Affiliate is really expensive
This is possibly true but you get a lot for your membership fee.
Wealthy Affiliate costs $19 for the first month then $49 a month afterwards. It’s much cheaper if you pay $359 for the full year as this works out to be $29 a month.
This isn’t a small amount of money for many people but it does include the training, full access to the community, Jay’s webcasts, and hosting for up to 25 websites using your own domain (and an additional 25 websites using a subdomain of siterubix.com).
The only thing that you’ll pay extra for is registering your domains. You don’t have to do that through Wealthy Affiliate – you can point any domains you already have elsewhere to the hosting at Wealthy Affiliate.
I’m not trying to sell Wealthy Affiliate here. You’re welcome to
read my in-depth review of Wealthy Affiliate if you want to find out more.
[ link removed – see my latest post for details ],
The simple fact is that for someone struggling for money, it IS expensive, especially when you consider that it will take at least three months (more likely six months) before you start to see a return on that investment.
I’ve tried lots of ‘free’ programs and I’ve got to be honest – the fact that I’m paying for my membership has actually helped me to focus on the training and achieve my objectives.
All the evidence of success that people show is fake
I can’t speak for the evidence you’ve seen but the evidence I’ve seen has been genuine because I’ve also seen the journey of the people that have shared the proof. I’ve seen their questions when they were struggling and I’ve seen their first successes.
Ultimately, any “evidence” based on screenshots can be faked and I understand your skepticism because of the number of people willing to stoop to any tactic to make a sale.
So, is Wealthy Affiliate a scam or not?
Not in my opinion, no.
Of course, as a member of Wealthy Affiliate, you’d expect me to say that but I’ve tried to be as open and honest with you about Wealthy Affiliate as I’ve written this article.
It’s not a scam because Kyle (the founder of Wealthy Affiliate) has always been open about how much work is involved in creating an affiliate website, filling it with content, and attracting traffic (i.e. visitors).
There are no hidden fees – the cost of the program and the length of time required to find success are openly discussed.
The community is remarkably positive and supportive because everyone there knows how much work is required so they try to help keep one another motivated.
By paying the membership fee and gaining access to the training and weekly workshops, I’ve learned a great deal about affiliate marketing, SEO, the latest changes to Google’s algorithms and so much more.
You should only join Wealthy Affiliate if you’re willing to put the time in.
You will need to complete the training that guides you, step-by-step, in building your website, creating your content, and promoting it on social media. Advertising (e.g. PPC) isn’t required but training is available.
It’s a lot of work writing 50 articles but it gets easier with each one that you write.
If you’re eager to learn new skills, you’re not afraid of hard work, and you want to create your own online business then Wealthy Affiliate is probably ideal for you.
If you’re looking for a quick way to make money with minimal effort then Wealthy Affiliate is definitely not for you.
If you’re not willing to invest in your own future because you want everything for free then again, Wealthy Affiliate isn’t for you.
If you’re not willing or able to put the required amount of work in, you won’t see results and you will feel cheated but, to be blunt, that’s wouldn’t be Wealthy Affiliate’s fault, it would be yours.
If you complete all the action steps during the training, you’ll be amazed at how much you’ll learn and perhaps more importantly, you’ll be amazed at what you’ll achieve.
If you’d like to know more, please
take a look at my in-depth review of Wealthy Affiliate or read the reasons why I left.
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