I cancelled my Wealthy Affiliate membership last November. In this article I’m going to explain exactly why I left.
If you’re a regular visitor (or even occasional) visitor to the site, you might have noticed that it’s been unavailable for a month or two and if so, please accept my apologies.
The site used to be hosted on the servers of Wealthy Affiliate but in November last year, I decided to cancel my membership and branch out on my own.
There were a number of reasons why I did this, some good, some not so good and I just wanted to take the opportunity, now I’ve got the site up and running in its new home, to talk about them.
I’m going to be writing this article as a sort of question and answer session as I think that might help you to understand why I’ve left and where I’m going from here.
Is Wealthy Affiliate a scam?
I’ll address the elephant-in-the-room question first. If I left, there must be a reason, right?
Well, it’s not because Wealthy Affiliate is a scam, well, not completely anyway (see the next section).
Wealthy Affiliate did exactly what they said they would – they offered excellent training to get me started with affiliate marketing and the offered a supportive community to help along the way.
They provided hosting for the sites that I developed over the course of that training and they provided technical support when those sites had problems (such as the occasion they got hacked).
Honestly, I think the community was great and I will miss it but I never really found the success there that some members experienced and so, when the annual renewal came up, I decided that it was far too much money for too little return.
Do I still recommend Wealthy Affiliate?
Yes and no.
Yes, because their training is clear, the site hosting is great for people that don’t really know what they’re doing when it comes to creating a website, and the community is fantastic.
No, and this is a big no, because when you cancel your membership, you can no longer be an affiliate.
You have to pay the monthly membership fee if you want to be paid for referring people to Wealthy Affiliate and that, I think, is a form of scamming.
The only way you can avoid this bizarre attitude toward people marketing their services is by never upgrading to a premium membership. You’ll earn much less for each referral but at least they’ll still pay you.
I’m still deciding if I’m going to take my review of Wealthy Affiliate down because of this but it’s more than likely I’m going to remove it as I no longer feel that I can whole-heartedly recommend them due to that policy.
Let me be clear – I’m not saying I can’t recommend them if I don’t get paid for it. I’m saying I can’t recommend them if you have to pay them to be an affiliate.
They couldn’t make it clearer how they view their members. Cash-cows.
Needless to say, when I cancelled, I was bombarded with all kinds of desperate emails telling me why I’ll be sorry I’m leaving.
When I left, I thought that I’d be back once I could afford the membership as I missed the ‘friends’ there but honestly, like a cult, those friends only existed within the bubble. Now I’m no longer a member, I’ve not heard from any of them.
There are, however, some people I met in the community that I still have contact with. They’re really nice people that are really happy to share what they’ve learned with the world outside Wealthy Affiliate.
So, you’re a failed affiliate marketer then?
Sure, you could say that. I wasn’t willing to pay for Wealthy Affiliate because I wasn’t making any money from being a member. That’s called a poor ROI (return on investment).
To make money as an affiliate marketer, you need to follow the steps taught in their training. This means writing a whole bunch of content to attract eyes to whatever links you were trying to promote.
Honestly, I just couldn’t really get on board with such a soul-less way of making money. I’m not criticising those that can, just that it doesn’t work for me. I’m more interested in helping people to make their lives better.
Yes, you can do both (help people and sell them stuff) but I think there’s a very fine balance between the two.
That’s why this website has very few affiliate links (and even less once I remove the WA and Jaaxy stuff).
That doesn’t mean that WA is a scam, however. I just wasn’t really interested in just being an affiliate marketer on their terms.
So, Happy Earning At Home isn’t about affiliate marketing?
This site was never solely about affiliate marketing. It’s about being happy to earn money at home.
Some of that is recommending ways you can do that but I’ve also wanted to touch on staying positive when you’re working on your own, staying productive and motivated, and methods I’ve discovered that actually work.
I will still be talking about affiliate marketing because I’ve seen that it works for other people but it’s not something I’m that passionate about.
There are better, more ethical ways to make money.
I’m confused, what have you got against affiliate marketing?
In theory, nothing.
In practice, the unethical way in which it’s practiced by the majority of affiliate marketers.
Many sites, Wealthy Affiliate included, teach that affiliate marketing is about building websites full of content that attracts Google’s attention.
When people search for whatever keywords your content is targeting, you want them to find your website, read your “helpful” content and click on your affiliate links and ideally, buy something on the target site.
The big problem I have with this model is the number of people who think it’s okay to build websites full of “reviews” of products they’ve never touched.
Wealthy Affiliate sort of say you shouldn’t do this but at the same time, they sort of say it’s okay too. They suggest that creating pages that summarise other websites’ reviews is perfectly okay.
They certainly don’t make it clear that when doing so, you should make it clear you’ve never touched or experienced the item being reviewed.
Good affiliate marketers care about their readers and will provide lots of quality content that helps them out, without necessarily selling something on those pages.
It’s strange because in some places, Kyle at Wealthy Affiliate strongly recommends this attitude but across the platform, this ethos isn’t rigorously encourage or enforced.
So, you’re still going to pursuing affiliate marketing?
Sure, but as a compliment to what I’ve always wanted to do in the first place – help people.
If I use something that I think is awesome, I want to recommend it to people but I’m only going to do so if I can actually show them how it might benefit them.
Reviews can also help people by suggesting they avoid a purchase they might regret. A review shouldn’t be written to reflect a product badly, just to recommend a different product (and the Wealthy Affiliate training does teach its members to do that).
What are you going to focus on instead of affiliate marketing?
This year, I’m really working on building my YouTube presence.
I’ve been working on new content for my niche site’s YouTube channel.
The awesome thing about YouTube is that people can see if a review is genuine. They can see you holding the product that you’re recommending, they can see you using it, and you can show them the good and bad points right there on their screen.
I realised that in order to build authority in my niche, I had to demonstrate it because the Internet public are getting wise to the liars and cheats in the affiliate marketing world.
Building a channel on YouTube is a great way to build new skills and reach an audience organically that would be much harder to reach by relying on search engines alone.
Although my videos link back to my website, that’s not really my driving reason for creating them.
A YouTube channel on its own can be monetised once you reach 1,000 subscribers and your viewers have consumed 4,000 minutes of your content.
That’s a pretty long journey for someone like me starting out but a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
The really great thing about my niche channel is that regardless of affiliate opportunity and conversion to website visitors, I’m providing honest, quality content to my potential tribe and I feel good about that.
I’ve been thinking about creating a channel for this site too but I need to focus on the niche channel first.
Online Classes and Courses
The other thing that I’ve been focusing on is creating online courses.
I created an online class about three years ago that’s done quite well. It’s been generating a small amount of passive income over the years (between $12 and $50) and I’ve never really marketed it.
I realised that I could easily create new classes that would compliment one another and that would dramatically improve my monthly income.
Print on Demand Books on Amazon Kindle
I’ve experienced a small amount of success publishing low-content books to Amazon. These are books that are designed to be written in by the purchaser such as journals, diaries, planners, and workbooks.
I’ve not really done that much in this area but I’ve still managed to achieve a passive income of between $10 and $20 a month.
I’m going to be looking at adding books to my catalogue in an attempt to increase that passive income over the coming months.
Any regrets about leaving Wealthy Affiliate?
Not really, no.
At first, I missed the community until I realised the community didn’t really care about anyone that left.
Since I left, I’ve been able to refocus my attentions on methods that actually have been making me money and I’m planning my strategy for this year accordingly.
What about new content on this website?
My plan is to expand the content of this site to encourage you be happy earning at home and to offer tips on how you can do that effectively.
I won’t ever recommend you waste your time with surveys (with a couple of notable exceptions), browser bars that spy on what you’re searching for or playing games on your phone to make cash.
Your time is more valuable than the pittance those methods pay out.
As I work on my game plan, I’m going to write about what works for me and what doesn’t.
For example, I’m sure I’ll be writing about what I’ve learned to improve my YouTube channel.