Wealthy Affiliate Review: Introduction
However it is another one of those making money online membership programs that is centered around selling other people’s products.
But the vast majority of those affiliates who promote Wealthy Affiliate are also members using using their own affiliate link.
The program is designed to show you how to be a “wealthy affiliate marketer”, but affiliate marketing can be an uphill battle if not done correctly, and you could end up losing more money than you make if you’re not careful.
But, in full disclosures, we want to be completely honest in this review, so…
Wealthy Affiliate Review: Overview
In this Wealthy Affiliate review, we’ll dive into the pros and cons of the program.
But before that, let’s ask ourselves: Is affiliate marketing even a worthwhile business model?
On the one hand, the promise is great…
You don’t have to create products, worry about fulfillment, customer service, or bad reviews.
Your only job is to get the right customers in front of the right offer, and take a commission when they buy.
And – theoretically – you can do it all in an hour a day from the beach.
Sounds simple, right?
Well, not really. Driving traffic (that’s internet speak for getting customers) is single-handedly the hardest part of the entire marketing process.
Later in this review, we’ll talk about all the different skills you need to drive traffic successfully.
For now, let’s just say the promise doesn’t really match up with reality.
At best, affiliate marketing is a job. You’re working for someone else, selling their products, and at any time, they can change your commission structure or block you from selling their stuff entirely.
In this business, you don’t really own or control anything. Since – for the most part – you’re driving traffic (again, the hardest job of all) and sending it to someone else, you don’t even get to keep the customers, who are the most valuable piece of the puzzle.
At worst, affiliate marketing is a pyramid scheme. There are certain – ahem – programs that charge you a monthly “membership fee”, under the guise that you will learn how to be a “wealthy affiliate marketer”.
Once you join, however, you find out the only way to really make money is by being an affiliate for that program.
That’s pretty much the textbook definition of a pyramid scheme.
Now, let’s say you really want that hour-a-day-work-from-the-beach lifestyle.
What if there was a way you could build a passive income stream that’s actually passive?
An income stream that doesn’t require:
Thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours before seeing your first dollar
Doing all the hard work of driving traffic to only get a tiny commission
Running your business on someone else’s terms
An income stream that brings in consistent revenues every single month (from a couple thousand dollars to well over $10,000)?
An income stream you could actually build in your spare time, and grow as large or as small as you want to, without having to spend hours a day testing, tweaking, and risking your money in the hope you can finally start making sales?
If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, check out Digital Real Estate.
This is like taking all the good parts from affiliate marketing (however few there are), and putting aside all the bad.
However, if you’d still like to know more about Wealthy Affiliate, keep reading…
What is Wealthy Affiliate?
Wealthy Affiliate is an old online training program that claims to be an all-in-one-ecosystem for affiliate marketers.
According to their website, there are over 1.4 million Wealthy Affiliate members in 193 countries.
They also boast about having more than 1,800 “expert coaches” inside the Wealthy Affiliate Community, claiming to help over 23,000 people every single day.
The company founders, Kyle and Carson, suggest that you don’t need anything outside of their platform to successfully make money online.
To keep their promise, Wealthy Affiliate offers:
- Weekly live trainings
- A content library with over 100 modules
- A website hosting platform
- A content management system for your websites
- A keyword research platform
- The ability to buy a domain name
- A social network-like community to communicate with other wa members
How Does Wealthy Affiliate Work?
In theory, Wealthy Affiliate is simply a membership platform with some courses and software tools designed to help you build, run, and scale a profitable affiliate marketing business.
You get a very limited look at the Wealthy Affiliate platform and training material as a free starter member.
Or you can upgrade to a premium membership and get full access.
But is it worth it?
That’s what we’ll find out in this Wealthy Affiliate review.
Let’s start by looking at each of the three membership tiers:
Wealthy Affiliate Membership
Like I said above, there are three membership tiers you can choose from:
Starter Member ($0):
The Starter Membership is essentially a “freemium model”, where you get access to a very limited selection of tools, training, and support.
As a Starter Member, you get to build a single website using the WA site builder software.
You get a free starter account to Jaaxy as well, a keyword research tool that I believe is also owned by Kyle and Carson.
They claim it’s a dream-come-true research tool for affiliate marketers, but I’ve literally never heard of this program anywhere else.
Regardless, with your free Jaaxy account, you get 30 keyword searches before you’re forced to upgrade.
On the training side, Wealthy Affiliate gives Starter Members the first few lessons from both their Online Entrepreneur Certification Core Training and their Affiliate Bootcamp Core Training.
You also get 7 days of what Wealthy Affiliate describes as “Limited Support”. Assume that means a chatbot constantly telling you to upgrade to a premium membership if you actually want help.
Premium Member ($49 Per Month):
If you upgrade to WA Premium within the first 7 days, you’ll get your first month for just $19.
After that, the price will increase to $49 per month.
The Premium Membership has been Wealthy Affiliate’s flagship program for years now.
At this tier, WA offer the ability to build 10 websites (at what they claim is a $100/month value…spoiler alert: it’s not).
In addition, they promise unlimited support and over 52 “Expert Classes” per year.
Plus, you get full access to all their core trainings.
That’s 50 lessons in the Online Entrepreneur Certification Core Training, and 70 lessons in the Affiliate Bootcamp. In total, that adds up to over 1,000 training modules.
Later on, we’ll get into whether this training is actually any good.
As a Premium Member, WA also offers you a Jaaxy Lite account, valued at $19/month, according to them.
But if you go on the Jaaxy website, that membership tier doesn’t exist…odd.
Premium Plus Member ($99 Per Month):
This is a relatively new offering, which is obvious considering that the thousands of Wealthy Affiliate reviews online fail to mention this at all.
That’s because most of those reviews were written in like 2015 and never updated (kind of like most of the WA training material)
Honestly, I’m having a really hard time figuring out the value-add from the WA Premium Plus membership.
They promise the ability to build and host 50 websites instead of 10 (at a $250/month value).
They offer unlimited “priority support”, but don’t explain what that means.
They offer 4 times as many “expert classes” (over 200 per year).
And finally, they offer Jaaxy Enterprise, advertised as a $99/month value.
I definitely question that, since the only people I can find who actually use Jaaxy are those writing a review in order to promote Wealthy Affiliate or Jaaxy itself.
Which Wealthy Affiliate Membership is Right for You?
Wealthy Affiliate says on their site that the Starter Membership is for those just looking to get started.
And that’s true.
You should get started, realize just how garbage their system is, and move on to a more legitimate form of making money.
Like I said above, the WA training hasn’t been updated since like 2015. As a result, everything they are training you on it outdated knowledge that no longer works in the world of affiliate marketing.
It’s filled with poor SEO strategies that have a greater chance of hurting your business than actually helping you make money online.
Not to mention their so-called “Keyword Research Tool” is a piece of junk compared to similarly priced (and even cheaper) alternatives.
So save your money and time, and find a better online business model.
But if you really want to give Wealthy Affiliate a shot, just go with the Starter Membership. The only lessons and training material that they seem to update are the first few anyway.
Probably so that you feel like you’re getting good value and upgrade to WA premium.
But don’t. It’ll be the biggest waste of $49 per month, trust me.
Who Owns Wealthy Affiliate?
Wealthy Affiliate was started by two Canadian entrepreneurs, Kyle Loudon and Carson Lim.
Kyle and Carson claim to have been successful affiliate marketers since 2005. While their actual success is pretty questionable, they do have a paper trail proving they’ve at least been in the space since that time.
Kyle Loudon – Co-Owner
Kyle seems to be quite active in the community, and he really does give the impression of being a good guy who wants to help WA members make money online.
Unfortunately, I personally don’t feel as though Kyle Loudon is qualified to teach affiliate marketing to anybody.
And Kyle gives us the proof himself!
Early on, Kyle talks about three different affiliate sites he built and runs. He claims they make him a ton of passive income every month. But do they really?
Here’s a quick Ahrefs analysis of each of his websites (btw, Ahrefs BLOWS Jaaxy out of the water in every conceivable way):
Does 3 whole visitors a month really sound like an affiliate marketing business that’s killing it?
Do you really believe a site that has zero traffic is really bringing in fat affiliate commissions?
Yeah, didn’t think so.
Carson Lim – Co-Owner
You don’t really see much of Carson inside Wealthy Affiliate. Right from the beginning, you’ll be introduced to Kyle and Carson in the following context:
Kyle is the “training guy,” and Carson is the “tech guy”.
So you’re basically told “Kyle is the guy you see pretty much daily, and Carson is the guy you never see.”
His Instagram is cool though…
Lots of pictures of boats, the ocean, and ski trips. Plus, the very VERY typical “entrepreneur bro” pic:
Kyle and Carson Together
Here’s my theory of what’s going on. Back in 2005, Kyle and Carson had some success with their various affiliate sites.
They were making money, bringing in some decent affiliate commissions, and then started training others to do the same.
Originally, Wealthy Affiliate was a monthly keyword club. For $29.99 per month, WA members would receive a niche idea and a list of keywords for that niche each month.
However, that was just the beginning. Over the years, I think Kyle and Carson realized they could bring in way more money if they turned the Wealthy Affiliate site into a community.
So over time, they bumped the price to $49 per month, and began training people on how to profit online.
None of this is inherently bad. The issue I’m mostly running into with these two guys is that they haven’t really improved their skills much since they switched over to training.
And for a while that was ok. From the early 2000’s up to 2012 or so, affiliate marketing wasn’t that hard.
There wasn’t a lot of competition, so you could pretty easily build an authority site, get it ranking, and start bringing in affiliate commissions.
But we all know that Google’s algorithm is constantly changing. That means the state of both affiliate marketing and SEO in general are always changing too.
Your skills need to grow, and your strategies need to adapt. One of the reasons I don’t like Wealthy Affiliate and much prefer this other program that’s been a huge part of my own success is because the strategies are ALWAYS improving.
Now, that’s not to say Kyla and Carson are bad guys. I think they just realized their strength was in selling a dream as opposed to actually being successful affiliate marketers, and chose to focus more on growing their training business than improving their skills.
Jay Neill – Training Chief
This guy, on the other hand, definitely rubs me the wrong way.
He’s got a pretty nice bio on the Wealthy Affiliate site, which immediately makes you think he’s a trustworthy expert, and that you’re in good hands once you become a WA Premium Member (since Jay runs the weekly trainings for those with a premium membership).
But before getting too excited, let’s do a bit more research.
A quick Google search for “Jay Neill” doesn’t reveal too much (except the profile of a mass murderer and bank robber who killed four people back in 1984…probably just a guy with the same name. An unfortunate mistake).
So I tried “Jay Neill Wealthy Affiliate,” and that brought me to this site, which appears to be Jay’s main website:
Seems legit, like Jay’s providing resources for the reader who wants to become a successful affiliate marketer.
But that’s not quite the case.
Is Jay Neill a Successful Affiliate Marketer?
A closer look reveals the entire purpose of this website is just so Jay can promote Wealthy Affiliate.
Most of the links just lead to his WA affiliate links. Like this one:
You click on that button, and it takes you to this page:
Yeah, that’s right: Jay is promising you a blueprint to help you earn your first $1,000 in 30 days with affiliate marketing.
All you gotta do? Just click on HIS link and become a member of Wealthy Affiliate, of course!
There’s a lot of things wrong with this promise…
First, getting any meaningful amount of traffic to an affiliate site can take MONTHS, if not years.
Second, monetizing that traffic doesn’t happen overnight. You need to create a relationship with your audience, which also takes multiple visits to your site.
And third, a thousand bucks just isn’t that much money.
Yeah, that sounds like a dick thing to say, but if you’re gonna put in the amount of grueling work to become an affiliate marketer (which, trust me, isn’t easy), you might as well bring in some REAL money.
The program that helped skyrocket my online business to $50,000+ per month teaches some of the affiliate marketing skills, but shows you how to monetize them in a much, MUCH more profitable way.
Is it Worth Becoming a Premium Member to get Jay’s Training?
Here’s another problem I have with Jay specifically.
He presents himself as an affiliate marketing expert and a training genius. But is he really?
Let’s take a look at another part of Jay’s site, where he makes a VERY big claim:
You read that right…Jay claims he’s helped over 2 million people in the last ten years through his blog.
Let’s put that to the test, shall we?
I threw Jay’s domain name into Ahrefs to see just how much traffic he’s bringing in:
Now, on the surface, those numbers seem pretty good!
Until you realize Ahrefs reports everything on a MONTHLY basis. So Jay is bringing 2,300 visitors to his website per month.
Let’s assume he’s done at least this well for the past 10 years, or 120 months.
2,300 times 120 = 276,000.
So, in the very best case, Jay has had 276,000 people come to his site over the past 10 years. That’s about 10% of his big claim of 2 million.
And I’d question whether he actually “helped” any of these people, considering the site is just filled with his affiliate links to sell Wealthy Affiliate memberships.
There’s no real value on this site whatsoever. Unless, of course, you consider having sub-par affiliate offers shoved down your throat “valuable”.
Just take a look:
If you click the main button on Jay’s site, what does it take you to?
Any guesses? Anyone?
Yep, a simple fake, Wealthy Affiliate review.
This review is just Jay telling you how great Wealthy Affiliate is…all so you can click one of his affiliate links (this page is FILLED with them), and become a member of Wealthy Affiliate.
Maybe it’s just me, but I find something super sleazy about using affiliate marketing to sell an affiliate marketing course instead of something useful.
Especially when the course itself is so outdated.
Feels kinda incestuous, but that’s just me.
When we talk about the WA affiliate program later on in this review, you’ll see my point.
How Much Does Wealthy Affiliate Cost?
I mentioned this part earlier, but let me just reiterate:
WA members don’t pay anything to get started.
You can become a Starter Member for zero dollars. Which, as I keep saying, is about all the training is worth.
And if you really want to become a Premium Member, that’ll run you $49 per month. But at this point, I’m sure you realize there are much better programs out there that can help you make A LOT more money.
Finally, if you feel like wasting even more of your hard-earned dollars on Wealthy Affiliate, you can upgrade your Premium Membership to Premium Plus, and give away double your money ($99 per month).
Does Wealthy Affiliate Make You Money?
From everything I’ve seen, there’s really only one good way to make money from Wealthy Affiliate: and that’s by becoming a WA affiliate yourself.
Yep, that’s right: the best way to actually make an affiliate commission using WA training is to join their affiliate program and sell other people on Wealthy Affiliate.
If that sounds a bit circular, like a certain other business model with a pretty sketchy reputation, you’re not far off.
Now, technically, there’s nothing stopping you from using what you learn inside WA to build an affiliate business in another niche.
Well, except for the fact the training is so outdated you’ve got almost no other chance of making money with the Wealthy Affiliate program.
Why You Should NOT Join Wealthy Affiliate
At this point in this Wealthy Affiliate review, it should be pretty obvious that I DON’T recommend becoming a WA member.
And the reason for that is obvious:
The training is outdated, there’s a good chance you will never earn money with any of the services Wealthy Affiliate offers:
The community, the websites, the hosting are all subpar.
Not to mention, the marketing AND the training are all full of misleading claims and TERRIBLE advice.
Let’s take a look at some examples:
Misleading Claims in Wealthy Affiliate
Misleading Claim #1: Build a Fully Operational, Profit Ready Website in 30 Seconds
This one’s just laughable. On the WA homepage, you’re told that it takes less than 30 seconds to build a “revenue ready website”. Give me a break.
If you could build a traffic producing website in under a minute, we’d all be millionaires.
What Wealthy Affiliate is really saying here is that they’ll show you how to build a WordPress website.
But tell me if you’ve ever seen a brand-new WordPress site that’s “revenue ready”.
No content, no images, no plugins. Nothing optimized at all.
Good luck using something like that to make any kind of affiliate commission.
Misleading Claim #2: Every Google Update Makes the Wealthy Affiliate Marketer More Money
Give me a break. Neither Jay nor Kyle have been able to show proof of an effective, highly profitable affiliate website.
I mean, if getting 2,300 visits a month is the best you can do, and you call yourself one of the best affiliate marketers on the planet, something’s very wrong.
So what would either of these guys really know about Google updates, never mind basic SEO principles?
But don’t take my word for it…check out what some other WA members have to say:
Take a close look at that last post…
The writer literally compares the last Google update to THANOS snapping his fingers.
He says he lost 30% of his traffic practically overnight.
So HOW exactly does WA consider this a “boost” in traffic and rankings?
It’s literally the exact opposite. Now, to me, that sounds like Wealthy Affiliate is literally making money by lying to its community members.
Misleading Claim #3: Easily Scale a Campaign to Over $1 MILLION Per Year
Below are some screenshots from one of Kyle’s WA blog posts.
According to the header, this post was updated on Dec 2/2020:
Like most of the publicly available Wealthy Affiliate blog posts, this one is a poorly veiled attempt at getting you to become a WA member so you can then join the affiliate program.
In this particular post, Kyle recommends a number of ways you can be successful promoting Wealthy Affiliate.
He tells you to go after people who don’t like their jobs, people who are employed part-time, and people who are unemployed.
He also mentions a bunch of interests you can target.
Including the brilliant gem of targeting people who watch TV. And he includes examples of popular TV shows people watch, like the Apprentice and Deal or No Deal. Shows which were popular in, I don’t know, 2005?!?!?
Then, of course, Kyle makes the wonderfully misleading claim that you can “easily” scale a single campaign to over $1 million per year.
We have no proof that Kyle himself could get anywhere close to that amount.
He’s got 3 defunct sites, some very old success stories, and appears to make most of his money by convincing people to join Wealthy Affiliate just so they can turn around and sell WA to other people.
This is not the guy I’d trust to show me how to start a profitable online business.
Misleading Claim #4: Wealthy Affiliate has the Best Website Hosting Available
I’ll give the WA team props for this: they take the whole “all-in-one solution” philosophy very seriously.
Wealthy Affiliate doesn’t just offer training. They have a community, and affiliate program, and a keyword research tool.
And as a member, they also offer you their own website building and hosting platform.
So they live up to the ideal of offering all the tools you need to run a successful affiliate marketing business.
Too bad all the tools suck.
Next on the list: SiteRubix.
On the WA website, they mention their SiteRubix hosting platform. Wealthy Affiliate claims SiteRubix is an extremely fast and powerful hosting service.
They even brag about their average page load time of 1.3 seconds.
Did nobody tell the folks over at WA that 1.3 seconds isn’t something to brag about?
Let’s take a look at what’s considered a fast load time in 2021:
Notice that three of these hosting platforms (Flywheel, DreamHost, and InMotion) ALL have page load times less than HALF a second, and two (Kinsta and SiteGround) come in under a full second.
Yet WA is walking around like their 1.3 second load time is something to bge proud of.
Who are they trying to fool?
I’ll tell ya: they’re trying to fool you.
Good, honest, hardworking people just trying to figure out how to build a successful online business.
It pisses me off. The people at Wealthy Affiliate are giving internet marketers a bad name.
Misleading Claim #5: Over One Million “Lucrative” Niches to Choose From
So, this is an old marketing trick. You throw out a big number, and tell folks it’s “theoretically” possible to achieve this.
That’s what WA is doing when they say they’ll help you find a profitable niche from over a million options.
Spoiler alert: you don’t have over a million lucrative niches at your fingertips. You’ve got a handful.
We’ve entered this weird world where everyone thinks everything is a niche.
I was in one online marketing community, where someone was asking folks to answer some questions about his business in “the burger niche”.
No, man. That’s called a restaurant. You have a restaurant.
Expect this level of intelligence if you ask for niche help inside WA.
Misleading Claim #6: Access to Over 4 Billion Potential Customers
This is another marketing trick like WA used in the previous example.
They tell you you have access to over 4 billion potential customers you can share your message (and affiliate links) with.
I mean, I guess that’s technically true:
According to Statista, there are 4.66 billion people in the world who are active internet users.
So yes, they are all “potential customers”.
But, like, come on.
First off, at least a billion of those people don’t speak English.
Almost ALL of them aren’t in the US. And since Wealthy Affiliate pushes you to either promote WA or start a blog and throw up a bunch of Amazon affiliate links, your overall audience is gonna be limited.
Second, this directly contradicts the promise in Misleading Claim #5. By definition, a niche has a small group of very passionate buyers.
What kind of niche has 4 billion people in it? Give me a break.
Yeah, that’s the same screenshot from Claim #6. I had to break it up into two parts, because, no surprise, there were too many misleading claims in the same section.
In the bottom part, you can see that WA claims their members “own a huge share of ALL traffic online.”
Then, to drive the point home, they have the audacity to say “That is a fact.”
Well, time for a fact-check then.
According to SEMRush, these are the top 20 websites on the internet:
Facebook and Google alone control 20% of the world’s traffic. Add Netflix and Amazon to that, and you’re up to around 40%.
I don’t see WA anywhere on here, so I’m not sure how they can say their members own a HUGE share of traffic online. Unless PornHub is a Wealthy Affiliate site, I’d say this claim is clearly false.
But let’s just close the book on this once and for all. Here’s the traffic snapshot for the entire Wealthy Affiliate website, including all their subdomains:
According to Ahrefs, WA isn’t even in the top 5,000 of sites on the internet.
But wait, maybe some of their members are absolutely killing it, and making money hand over fist.
Is it possible that some folks in the WA community are doing better than WA itself?
Let’s put it to the test:
Wealthy Affiliate Success Stories
I wanted to see some of the top WA sites out there, so I could answer once and for all: “Is Wealthy Affiliate Legitimate?”
So I search for the “most successful wealthy affiliate websites,” and guess what I found?
Yep, more sites full of Wealthy Affiliate reviews.
It seems like if you want any legitimate info on WA, you’re out of luck. Most blogs with the title “Honest Wealthy Affiliate Review” are anything but.
It feels like the only thing they teach in the Affiliate Bootcamp is how to poorly sell WA to every sucker who happens to stumble upon your site.
But I kept looking, and the closest I could find was this:
Yes, if it wasn’t completely obvious, this guy is just using his site to promote WA. If you click on that button in the top right, you know exactly where it takes you.
But, since this was the best I could find, I went through these so-called “success stories”.
The first guy featured is a guy named Dom W. And according to this site, Dom did $680,000 in sales in 2016 with one site:
Ok, lots to unpack here.
First off: in the world of internet marketing, 2016, was like 3 lifetimes ago.
As I’ve said again and again, the WA training is extremely outdated. And if the best case study is from 2016, that’s the proof right there!
I took a quick look at Dom’s site, and I have three main takeaways:
- It’s just a WA affiliate site
- It took FOREVER to load
- The last blog post is from April 2020
I was actually hoping for a different website, given the domain name.
But looks like out of the 1 million+ niches they advertise, it somehow always comes down to just becoming an affiliate of WA.
That’s beside the point. Let’s see how well Dom is doing since his big 2016 when he allegedly pulled in $680,000:
Sounds about right. 1,300 visitors a month, and traffic is valued at about $1,200.
So, there’s two ways to interpret this, and neither makes WA look good.
Option 1: Dom and WA are lying about his results
The unfortunate reality of this online business world is that it’s very hard to know who to trust.
Too many shady marketers take advantage of our innate human need to trust.
We want to believe people are good and honest and have our best interests at heart. So we let them tell us what we want to hear, and we don’t demand proof.
But that’s exactly how WA can get away with sharing questionable success cases like Dom.
And it’s why I created GG Money in the first place. So you never have to fall for another tactic like this again.
Option 2: WA never updated their training, and Dom lost all his traffic
I find this theory much harder to believe.
If Dom was able to take the lessons from WA to create a business that brought him $680,000 in 2016, he has to have been smart enough to at least keep it at that level, if not grow it over the past 4 years.
Plus, with a success story like that (if it were true), Wealthy Affiliate would definitely bring him in as a coach and invest in their training so they could create even more superstars.
There’s no way anyone who had an affiliate website worth $680k would just let that go.
Is Wealthy Affiliate Worth it?
If this article was titled “Wealthy Affiliate Review 2012,” I’d say it’s probably a no-brainer.
But it’s not. This review is for the year 2021. In fact, even if it was 2017, I’d still say you’re better off spending your money on other affiliate marketing courses.
And now that it’s 2021, my warning is even louder. Wealthy Affiliate is NOT worth it.
Their Affiliate Bootcamp is not worth it.
Their Online Entrepreneur Certification is not worth it.
Their community is not worth it.
Their affiliate programs are not worth it.
Their tools and hosting are not worth it.
And the business model they teach is DEFINITELY not worth it.
Does that answer your question?
It is entirely possible to build a profitable, successful online business.
Is Wealthy Affiliate Legitimate?
Something tells me you already know the answer to this.
I’m 99.99999% sure the founders of WA make all (or at least the majority of) their money by pushing members to become affiliates and sell WA to others.
And I’m just as certain that the only people making any money from Wealthy Affiliate are those just promoting Wealthy Affiliate.
Just type #WealthyAffiliate into any social media site.
It’s full of people making spammy posts about how to make money through affiliate marketing, and trying to get you to click on their WA affiliate link.
Is Wealthy Affiliate a Scam?
So, is Wealthy Affiliate a scam? Not technically. You can make money with this program, but making money with affiliate marketing definitely isn’t as easy as the company makes it sound.
Driving traffic is extremely difficult. In order to do it successfully, you need to at least understand all these things, if not be a ninja at them:
- Google Ads
- Facebook Ads
- Content Writing
- Website Building
- Conversion Optimization
- Email Marketing
- Click Tracking
And a lot more.
There’s a ton of work to be done upfront, no real guarantee of success, and – most importantly – the actual commissions are pretty small.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with front-loading the work and making the money later.
But if you’re grinding it out for 3 months and then your reward is a $50 commission, it’s not really worth it.
What if, instead, you could do that same 3 months of work (in your spare time), and your reward was a $500 to $2,000 payment that came in every single month?
And what if you only needed 1 or 2 of the above skills to get started, instead of mastering all 12 before seeing your first dollar?
And what if you actually didn’t need to wait 3 months? What if you could get started today and have your first payment in a week?
And what if you could double it next week?
Well, that’s the power of Digital Real Estate.
Your laptop and an internet connection is all you need.
Some of the most successful students in this program run their entire 6-figure businesses from:
- A camper in the middle of the woods
- A beach chair on the water in Mexico
- A small villa in Greece
They’re able to travel around, living their lives first, and focusing on their income second.
Because even if they stop working for an extended period of time, the money keeps coming in.
So adventure, memories, and experience are the top priority.
And they never have to worry about how to pay for the next trip, or consider asking for time off.
If this sounds more like the type of life you want to lead, just click here to find out more about Digital Real Estate.
How Does Wealthy Affiliate Make Money?
Something that really irks me in this online marketing world is when someone sells a product, and then tells you the best way to succeed with that product is by selling that product to other people.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what WA does.
You become a member, and you’re told you can “earn while you learn”. Which basically means you should share your affiliate link anywhere and everywhere.
Then, if you’re lucky enough to make a sale like that, you get your first little affiliate commission, and you’re hooked.
The sales argument becomes:
“Look how easy this was. Now imagine what happens when you become a Premium Member and have access to all this training. You’ll be unstoppable!”
And if you don’t make a sale with your free membership?
Then the story changes a bit:
“Affiliate Marketing is something we at WA have been perfecting for years. As a Premium Member, you get all the training in our Online Entrepreneur Certification. Plus, you can enroll in our Affiliate Bootcamp and learn the best tips and tricks for promoting WA!”
That’s the irony of most affiliate marketing courses. They promise to teach you how to make millions as an affiliate marketer.
But it’s a bait and switch. Because once you’re in, they just want you to promote their course.
Something seems kind of sketchy about that, no?
Is Wealthy Affiliate a Pyramid Scheme?
So technically, a pyramid scheme is an illegal business or investment model where a paying member gets paid for enrolling others into the business instead of actually selling the company’s products.
However, since WA IS the product in this case, they technically aren’t a pyramid scheme. Instead, Wealthy Affiliate just comes right up to the line, but doesn’t cross it.
Since WA offers training and courses, as well as website building and hosting as part of their membership, they narrowly avoid the “pyramid scheme” label.
Is Wealthy Affiliate an MLM?
Now, there’s a better argument here.
Multi-level marketing is basically defined as a business opportunity where you get paid to bring other people into the company to also act as salespeople and recruiters.
So, that part’s true.
But, to qualify as a multi-level marketing model, there’s usually a downstream revenue model.
So you don’t just get paid on those folks YOU bring in, but also the people THEY bring in.
This distinction is the big difference between network marketing (NWM) and the multi-level kind.
And it also saves a lot of companies from being labeled a pyramid scheme by the government and targeted.
WA falls into this category. You could probably call it a network marketing company that brands itself as an affiliate marketing company. The two are extremely similar.
How to Make Money with Wealthy Affiliate
If you’ve read any part of this review, you’ll do the smart thing and stay well away from WA.
But if you’re really desperate to turn a profit with this company, here’s the easiest solution: don’t give them your money. Congrats! Now you’re making $99 per month with Wealthy Affiliate.
You’re doing better than 99.9% of people in the program by not paying the monthly membership fee.
How Much Money Can You Make With Wealthy Affiliate?
The snarky answer here is nothing, nothing, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!
But I’m sure you’re probably more curious about the Wealthy Affiliate commission structure. So let’s talk about that.
I’ll actually give props to WA here. Even though I don’t like everything else about them, I can’t fault them on their commission rates.
WA is very generous in this regard.
When someone joins WA through your affiliate link and completes their profile (uploads a profile a picture and fills in the description), you get a dollar.
It’s not much, but it’s something to incentivize you to start recruiting free members.
If one of your recruits upgrades to Wealthy Affiliate Premium within the first 7 days (for the $19 first month offer), you get an $8 commission. Basically 47%.
That’s the same rate for the $49 membership. You get $23.50, also about 47%. And yes, that’s recurring for as long as the person keeps their membership.
Now, 47% sounds really good.
But what if you could double that? And run an online business where you get to keep 90% of the profits?
And get that same recurring income month after month?
Even better, instead of selling a $49 product that someone else owns, your average sale will come in at about $1,000…PER MONTH.
So instead of bringing in $23.50 per sale, you’ll be closer to $900.
And you own and control the whole thing.
How Long Does it Take to Succeed with Wealthy Affiliate?
I really can’t answer that. It looks like all the biggest WA success stories are still struggling to succeed with their own affiliate marketing businesses.
So, is it reasonable to answer “forever”?
WA Red Flags
Like all affiliate programs, WA sells a big dream, but the reality never quite matches up.
So in this review, I want to take some time to go over some of the major red flags I’ve seen after going through their promotional material and training.
Plus, there’s a few other things I noticed while doing additional research for this review.
Random WA Red Flag #1 – Churn Rate
So, here’s something that totally threw me off:
On their affiliate program page, WA proclaims that the average commission per sign-up is $121.
That would mean the average person keeps their membership for about 5 months ($23.50 x 5 months = $117.50, just under $121).
But wait…I thought WA was THE go-to platform for affiliate marketers at ALL levels?
So how come the average member only lasts 5 months?
By my calculations, that’s just long enough to review all the WA training, realize it’s mostly useless, and cancel your membership.
It’s something to think about, if nothing else.
Random WA Red Flag #2 – 30% Conversion Rate
I always get a little suspicious when I see sky-high success rates being broadcast.
On the affiliate program page, WA claim that they upgrade an average of 12% of free members to paid members.
And they go further by saying that in many cases, they see upsell conversion rates as high as 30%!
Now, all the affiliate marketers reading this just lost their minds.
The industry average conversion rate for affiliate marketing ranges from 0.5% to 1%.
So Wealthy Affiliate is claiming they get anywhere from 12 to 60 times the industry average?
Hmmm, definitely seems like a red flag to me…
Especially when posts like this are quite common inside the WA Community:
Don’t get me wrong…2% is nothing to sneeze at. But it’s a hell of a lot lower than the promised 12-30% conversion rate.
Random WA Red Flag #3 – Contradictory Info
This is a common problem inside much of the training.
I could list hundreds of examples, but since this review is getting long, I’ll just list one for now…
In one lesson, Kyle explains how and why you should set up a Google AdSense account for your affiliate site.
Because, instead of actually teaching you something useful about affiliate marketing, he instead uses this lesson as a shameless plug to – wait for it – use your site to promote WA!
His genius insights include:
- Make your entire site about affiliate marketing
- Write a fake review about a bunch of other affiliate marketing courses, then tell them why WA is better
- Write a really flattering fake review of Wealthy Affiliate, then push everyone to your affiliate link
Random WA Red Flag #4 – Poorly Organized Training Material
I could honestly fill this entire review with examples of Wealthy Affiliate’s poor organization when it comes to their “industry-leading” training.
In one of the Affiliate Bootcamp lessons, Kyle talks about how important it is to create your own videos when trying to promote WA. It gives that whole personal touch when you’re selling other people on this very questionable product.
But then, five lessons go by, Kyle hits his head or something, and he once again starts telling you why video is super important:
This is basically the same lesson twice, with just a different intro each time!
Sounds like they did a really great quality check on
this “top-of-the-line” training.
Random WA Red Flag #5 – Many Wealthy Affiliate Training Modules are Just “Breaks”
Ok, this is just weird. Again and again in Kyle’s trainings, he encourages you to “take a break” or “do what you like today”:
I mean, if this was a random, once-in-a-while thing, you could say it’s strategic or empathetic.
But then this stuff happens:
A 10-day break? That’s just lazy. They clearly didn’t have enough outdated lessons in the Wealthy Affiliate vault, so they resorted to this garbage.
And if that wasn’t bad enough:
Seriously? 20 days to work on your site?! What happened to the promise of a powerful, revenue-ready website in just 30 seconds?
20 days is like a billion seconds.
Random WA Red Flag #6 – Outdated Training in Wealthy Affiliate
I’ve spent a lot of this review ranting and raving about how outdated the training is inside WA. And I’ve given a bunch of examples already, but this one is hands-down my favorite:
Come on, seriously?
Google Plus got phased out in April 2019. It’s 2021! Why is Wealthy Affiliate even talking about this at all?
Here’s another one:
Because according to StatCounter, Google owns 91.38% of search engine market share worldwide.
Bing and Yahoo! together account for 4.15%.
So give me a break with that 33% BS. That might have been true in 2012.
But it most likely wasn’t true in 2018, when the above lesson was last updated.
And it definitely isn’t true now.
Wealthy Affiliate Support
I don’t have too much to say about the support at WA. Allegedly, you can message Kyle anytime for help if you have questions.
In reality, it’s most likely a VA answering questions from their outdated knowledge base.
Here’s one example of the type of “support” you get from Wealthy Affiliate, as shared by someone else in WA:
Good luck with that.
I’m passionate about Phil Collins…not sure how much luck I’ll have building a niche site around that.
Wealthy Affiliate Community
The community is about as useful as Kyle’s “support”.
You’ve got two types of members here:
The clueless newbies who’ve completely drunk the Kool-Aid and fully believe they’re one niche away from striking it rich…
And the sketchy “elite” members who brag about their results but never provide proof or share any good advice.
So, if you were hoping for, at the very least, that “family who help each other” vibe, you’re out of luck.
Fortunately, there’s a better option with a community of folks who actually care about your success and are there to help you every step of the way.
Are There Alternatives To Wealthy Affiliate?
Yes, there are plenty of Affiliate Marketing programs and resources to choose from if you want to pursue this business model. Here are just a few:
- CB Engine
- Simple Wifi Profits
- Wealthy Affiliate
- High Ticket Affiliate Programs
- Global Affiliate Zone
What Is Our Top Recommendation For Making Money Online In 2022?
Our review team has spent months researching, reviewing, and vetting dozens of business models and thousands of programs.
While there may be no “perfect business”, the research IS conclusive:
Digital Real Estate is the #1 online business model for those just starting out.
Whether you’ve never made a dollar online, or you’ve been in this space for a while but never really “made it,” Digital Real Estate is for you.
1) It’s Flexible: got an hour a day? You can do this. Ready to drop everything else and dive in full time? You can do this. Yes, the more time you put in, the faster you see results. But even with a little time each day, you can move the needle in a Digital Real Estate business.
And because this system is so flexible, you don’t have to constantly be working to make more money. It’s called PASSIVE INCOME because if you stop working, the money doesn’t.
Imagine taking 3 months off to just tour around Europe, rent a cabin in the woods to write a book, hike the Appalachian Trail, or live on the beach and surf all day.
This is only possible if you have an income stream that’s not tied to your time.
2) You Own & Control EVERYTHING: With Affiliate Marketing, you don’t really own anything. You have no control over the quality of products. You don’t even own customers.
Look at the fine print for most affiliate agreements. At any point, the company can change your commission structure, reduce your profit margins, or kick you out entirely.
With Digital Real Estate, you own the assets, which means you have all the power and all the control.
3) Little To No Startup Costs: It’s possible to get into Digital Real Estate with zero dollars upfront. Because, using the strategies outlined in this program, you can get a client to pay you BEFORE spending a penny out of your own pocket…even before you do any work.
Even without getting paid in advance, you can have your first Digital Rental Property up, running, and generating profits for less than $100.
4) Easy To Duplicate: Ok, here’s the best part: once you have your first Digital Rental Property up and running, you can literally DOUBLE your income with a few clicks, a couple keystrokes, and a single phone call (and you don’t actually need the phone call).
Remember: each Digital Rental Property is worth $500 to $2,000 a month in semi-passive income (over 95% profit). Every time you decide to create another one and increase your income, it gets easier.
Because you have more knowledge, more experience, more results, and more momentum.
If you wanted to double your income with affiliate marketing, you’d have to double your traffic, double the average order size of each customer, OR double your commission rate. And, guaranteed that’s a lot harder than a few clicks and a few minutes of your life.
5) Make Money Helping Real People: This part is what makes it all worth it. With affiliate marketing, you’re selling the product with the best commission rate, NOT the one that’s going to improve the most people’s lives.
And that makes it pretty hard to sleep at night.
But with Digital Real Estate, you’re actually helping people by solving your clients’ biggest problem:
Small, local businesses need more customers, and with Digital Real Estate, you are unleashing a flood of happy, paying customers for these businesses.
You make money by helping them make money.
Not a big, faceless corporation either…a small business owner who’s using that money to put food on the table for their family, start a college fund for their kids, or take care of a sick parent.
Once you see how Digital Real Estate makes a real impact in the lives of real people, you’ll sleep like a baby with a big smile on your face.
Now, the choice is yours. You could continue browsing, looking at opportunities like Anthony Morrison which could one day make you money.
You could continue researching, never making a decision.
OR, you could take a look inside, consider what you really want, and join a program that makes your dreams a reality. At the same time, joining a community of over 2,000 successful students that are living life on their own terms thanks to Digital Real Estate.
A consistent, reliable, semi-passive stream of income that doesn’t depend on you or your time to keep producing profits.
All while genuinely helping real people who are grateful and happy to pay for it.
If this sounds more like what you want out of life (or if you just want some nice side income), click here to learn more about Digital Real Estate.