The Wealthy Affiliate marketing program by Kyle Loudoun is a favorite for many in the digital space. You learn the basics of getting started in affiliate marketing and you can earn commissions by promoting the Wealthy Affiliate platform itself. In this Wealthy Affiliate review, we'll highlight the top 5 challenges associated with affiliate marketing, who Kyle Loudoun, what you learn in the recently revamped WA education platform, if anyone is having success as an affiliate, and what alternatives exist for this program. I'll then compare affiliate marketing to another online business model that thrives on your ability to generate leads locally and pays you passively each month, local lead generation.
Wealthy Affiliate Pros
Kyle Loudoun has made over 7-figures in affiliate commissions
7-day free trial period
Live chat & active community for support when you join Wealthy Affiliate
Wealthy Affiliate dashboard was updated in 2022; much easier to look at and navigate than before. The previous dashboard was cluttered.
Wealthy Affiliate Cons
Lots of repetitive content
Too many spammy comments within the group
Affiliate marketing doesn't offer you the chance to earn a predictable income each month
Wealthy Affiliate Pricing:
Wealthy Affiliate has 3 pricing tiers (Free plan, Premium is $49 per month, Premium Plus is $99 per month)
No refunds; you can stop your monthly subscription at any time
Over 16 hours of training videos, constant training videos being uploaded
The Wealthy Affiliate community is forum-style (Over 1 million members)
Kyle Loudoun started Wealthy Affiliate on September 2005
One of the more popular affiliate marketing programs.
Wealthy Affiliate Lawsuit
In 2015, Wealthy Affiliate was served with a lawsuit by an MLM (multi-level marketing) company called MOBE.
Kyle Loudoun, co-founder of Wealthy Affiliate, wrote an article backed with research and facts claiming MOBE to be a scam. MOBE came after Wealthy Affiliate aggressively with lawsuits claiming Kyle's article defamed their company, leading to loss in revenue. This lawsuit was nothing more than MOBE's attempt to bankrupt Wealthy Affiliate because of the court fees it would have to pay to defend against the claims. It cost Wealthy Affiliate half a million dollars when all was said and done.
MOBE was facing serious allegations from the FTC that they were running a pyramid scheme, duping members into joining an opportunity that provided no real value. As more people joined and spent their money, those higher in the pyramid were the ones profiting. Eventually, MOBE was shut down by the FTC and the lawsuit against Wealthy Affiliate was over with.
Who is Kyle Loudoun?
Kyle Loudoun is the co-founder of Wealthy Affiliate. When he was a 21-year-old college student, he got started with internet marketing. While in college, he initially studied computer science but fell in love with business and online marketing.
After coming across the affiliate marketing business model, he decided to go all in. He first had to borrow some money from his girlfriend, who is now his wife, to get started using PPC ads to promote a product. His first month's profit wasn't much ($75) but he kept at it. In month 6 of Kyle promoting products, he reached $10K per month in sales.
In 2005, he and his business partner Carson Lim started the Wealthy Affiliate marketing platform, which can feel like a Wealthy Affiliate university of sorts, with the goal of helping people make money online and also increase their own affiliate commissions.
Wealthy Affiliate Breakdown
Wealthy Affiliate Bootcamp: Free Training
The free, revamped Wealthy Affiliate Bootcamp contains 5 lessons, which include 10 lessons each.
In this first lesson, you learn how to navigate the Wealthy Affiliate dashboard and community. You'll be shown what to do to finish setting up your account and also what you'd get if you signed up for the Premium membership.
In this lesson, you get an overview of what to expect in your new affiliate marketing business.
Choosing a niche can be one of the more difficult things to do, no matter the business model. In this lesson, Kyle teaches you the steps you need to take so that you can choose the right niche for you to get into. This will help set the foundation and give you direction for your online business moving forward.
To have success in affiliate marketing, you've got to at least have your affiliate website dialed in. Kyle shows you all the things you need to do to create and optimize your site properly so that it can convert visitors into customers.
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Wealthy Affiliate Premium Training
The Wealthy Affiliate Premium training offers more value in the form of...
- Access to more training (finding affiliate programs, generating traffic, leveraging product reviews, social media, content creation, etc.)
- At least double the payout
- More support
- Access to the Wealthy Affiliate community
Is Wealthy Affiliate a Pyramid Scheme or MLM?
Wealthy Affiliate is not a pyramid scheme, because there is real training on things that you can implement immediately, such as setting up sites, hosting them, finding affiliate offers, some traffic generating tactics, and more.
But, the training focuses a lot on dated affiliate marketing tactics like creating Facebook pages & commenting on other posts.
What's happened is that the best opportunity in Wealthy Affiliate is to actually promote Wealthy Affiliate. Who ultimately benefits the most in this structure is the course creators because they keep making money off of every new referral. Many people have asked, "is Wealthy Affiliate legit?" for many reasons but it isn't a pyramid scheme. The Wealthy Affiliate scam doesn't exist, but it is like a MLM (multi-level marketing). It is like the Legendary Marketer program by David Sharpe that shows you how to make money with affiliate marketing, but they ultimately want you to promote their program.
Wealthy Affiliate Compensation Plan
The Wealthy Affiliate compensation plan comprises 3 different membership levels. With the free Starter membership, you earn $11.75 per month, per referral and $117.50 yearly. To move up into the Premium membership, you have to pay $49 each month. Your monthly commission per referral is $23.50 and $235 yearly. For the Premium Plus membership, you'll pay $99 each month and make $46.50 per referral each month, as well as $465 yearly.
One thing to make a note of is that the commissions you earn in WA are lifetime recurring commissions.
For more details on the earning potential and Wealthy Affiliate cost, read my article on the Wealthy Affiliate Compensation Plan.
Wealthy Affiliate Success Stories
Bryon Brewer is one of the more successful students inside of Wealthy Affiliate. He joined Wealthy Affiliate in 2012 and it only took 2 years for him to go full time into affiliate marketing. Today, he's made 6-figures with this business model. On December 5, 2016, he shared a post about some sales he made on the recent Black Friday weekend. After promoting a simple offer, he generated over $9K in revenue off of just 14 sales in only the first 40 minutes of the offer going live. By the end of the weekend, Bryon had done 55 sales and generated almost $40K in revenue. Bryon was most likely selling a physical product as an Amazon affiliate.
Eddie got into affiliate marketing in 2015. He took a break for some time, but then got back into it in 2018. On December 2020, he shared a post mentioning that in only a 3-month span in October to December 2020, he made $116K. The goal he had set for himself was to make $120K. Although he came up $4K short, this was still a success for him.
Grace is another Wealthy Affiliate member who joined in 2016. After 4 years of being in this affiliate program, she had reached over $100K in total commissions. Grace's success has permitted her to earn the title of Super Affiliate. This means that she is one of the top affiliate marketing earners in the Wealthy Affiliate program.
Nathaniell is one of the more well-known Wealthy Affiliate affiliates. He joined the program 12 years ago, and he's also created a popular online blog that helps people make money online through blogging. Nathaniell wrote one of the more extensive Wealthy Affiliate program review articles online. On June 10, 2019, he shared a post of a win he had. Nathaniell sold the oldest website he created for $30K. This site was generating him $1,200 per month in passive income. At one point, he was making over $12K per month on that one site.
To read about more students' successes, read my article on the Wealthy Affiliate Success Stories.
Wealthy Affiliate Complaints
1. Overdose of Wealthy Affiliate Positive Review
If you go looking for any review on Wealthy Affiliate, you're going to find that there is an overdose of reviews that are pushing the WA platform. One might initially think that this speaks to how great the platform is, but when you slow down and look deeper, you're going to realize that this excess in positive reviews can signify that promoting Wealthy Affiliate is completely saturated. All the review articles that are ranked on page 1 of Google are from students who put in the time and work to get their sites ranked and are the ones who are getting most of the affiliate commissions within WA. This makes it difficult for you to outrank them, especially if you're new to online business and can discourage you immediately.
2. Lack of SEO Training
The SEO training in this program is not high level by any stretch of the imagination. You get lots of basic SEO training videos and are taught thing such as how keyword research factors into your affiliate marketing business, subtle content tricks and little things you can try to do to amplify your rankings. There are far more important things you need to do if you want to rank your affiliate websites.
Something else that doesn't instill any confidence in the SEO training of this course is when in lesson where Kyle talks about creating readable content, he says that using an H1 tag is too big for a new section in your content and that you should go with an H3 or H4 tag. If you know anything about SEO, you'd know when it is the best time to use a certain H-tag or not. It's not simply because it's too big.
As a Premium member, the SEO training you get is limited and you only get more training when you move on to the Premium Plus membership. Apparently, they don't expect you to actually make any progress with SEO if you're not in Premium Plus.
3. No Phone Number for Support
If you need any kind of help, there is no way for you to call anyone on the Wealthy Affiliate team.
You only get help through live chat, email, or private message.
For a list of more complaints, check out my article that lays out the top 7 Wealthy Affiliate Complaints.
Wealthy Affiliate Alternatives
Super Affiliate System 3.0 by John Crestani is an affiliate marketing course that shows you how to make money online by selling someone else's products using ad platforms like Facebook, Google, and YouTube ads. You even learn how to create landing pages that pre-sell people on your products or services right when you make recommendations. There are over 50 hours of training video content, live weekly webinars with John and you're provided with tools, landing pages, emails and even affiliate network referrals. This is one of the best affiliate marketing courses you can invest in.
Price: Super Affiliate System 3.0 costs $997
More Info: Super Affiliate System Review
The Affiliate Lab, by Matt Diggity, is another Wealthy Affiliate alternative. Not only do you learn how to build the authority of your niche site, but Matt shows you how to flip your niche sites for up to 40X the monthly revenue your sites generate. Matt teaches you high-level SEO techniques and some of the best link-building strategies to help you rank your niche sites. There are over 24 hours of training videos and you're provided with SEO tools, checklists, and bonus courses. Matt keeps the course up to date and stays active within the community to provide support.
Price: Affiliate Lab costs $997
More Info: Affiliate Lab Review
Legendary Marketer by David Sharpe is like Wealthy Affiliate in that you learn how to start an affiliate marketing business and you can earn commissions from promoting the education platform. The difference is that David teaches you more than just how to make money with affiliate marketing. You also learn how to sell digital products, how to make money as a coach or consultant and how to profit from hosting events and masterminds. Legendary Marketer is cheap to get started ($7) but they upsell you on their higher ticket courses in the 15 Day Online Business Builder Challenge.
Price: Legendary Marketer pricing ranges from $7 to $4,500
More Info: Legendary Marketer Review
Power Lead System by Neil Guess provides affiliate marketing opportunities with high commission rates. Besides that, it also offers a multi-tool platform for digital marketers. It costs $30 per month for customers and $53.97/month for PLS + affiliates.
Wealthy Affiliate Review Reddit
You'll find mixed reviews for the Wealthy Affiliate platform. This review is of a student who had nothing but good things to say.
It took about a year before their starting seeing any results in their business, but they are grateful to Wealthy Affiliate for all the training they got.
This next Redditor wasn't as pleased with the program. They feel that it's a scam because they felt they restrict you from doing certain things on the WA platform unless you upgrade your membership plan.
It seems they are just upset because they have to pay for everything. That's the thing with affiliate programs, you have to play by their rules. They dictate how much commission you get paid, which affiliate offers you can promote, and what permissions you have while on their platform. If you think it's unfair, just cancel your membership. At least Wealthy Affiliate doesn't cost you thousands of dollars compared to other affiliate marketing programs or courses.
Is Wealthy Affiliate worth it?
The Wealthy Affiliate training is only worth it if you want a basic introduction to the affiliate marketing business model. Don't expect to make 6-figures if you're new but, you'll get your feet wet with affiliate marketing. Although there are several complaints about the platform, there is still some valuable training inside.
Now, promoting Wealthy Affiliate is another issue. The best platforms to promote are on Google, YouTube or even TikTok, but beginners are going to have a hard time with this. The problem is, there are only 10 spots on the first page of Google and those spots are always filled up with savvy online marketers who have ranked their high domain authority sites. On YouTube, there are also several video reviews that affiliates have posted.
Promoting Wealthy Affiliate is saturated, but you lose nothing in the free membership. The $49 for the Premium membership and $99 for the Premium Plus memberships aren't bank breaking, so if you don't want to continue as a member, you can always cancel your Wealthy Affiliate membership.
Is Affiliate Marketing profitable in 2023?
Affiliate marketing is still profitable in 2023, but only if you understand everything that is required of you.
First, you need to know that to succeed, you must rank globally for the search terms relevant to the niche and product you're promoting. Also, you need to spend money generating a lot of traffic because you're going up against thousands of affiliate marketers from around the world. To generate traffic, you've got to work hard creating a blog and building its authority, create a YouTube channel or run ads on Facebook, which is getting more expensive each year. Now, it may take months before you see any commissions, if ever, and the income isn't a predictable one, which doesn't let you plan out your monthly budget.
Another issue you deal with as an affiliate marketer is that your affiliate commission won't be that high. You may earn between 8-10% in most cases. High-paying affiliate offers are few and far between.
To make a decent income ($10K per month or more), you need to invest a lot of your money to create massive authority like my site does. On top of that, it will take 2-3 years to reach your goal.
Similar to other online business models, affiliate marketing can be a hassle because you have to pay attention to too many variables such as your affiliate link. The company whose products you're promoting can change their links, which means you now have to change your affiliate links everywhere you have them.
Local lead generation is like affiliate marketing in that you're generating more sales for another company.
The difference is that you're the one who is in control of all aspects of your business. You choose how much commission you make each month, and as long as your lead generation site is ranked on page 1 of Google in your local market, your income will be predictable. A local small business owner is going to have no problem paying you each month for consistent, exclusive leads.
I built this tree care site over 7 years ago and it's been paying me $2000 every month on autopilot.
The best part about local lead generation is that once you rank your digital property, they will continue generating leads. There isn't much work you need to do, but check up on them to make sure everything is running smooth.
Also, you're only competing with 10-15 local small businesses instead of thousands of marketers worldwide, which makes it easier to dominate any market. There are also thousands of niches you can go into, even pandemic-proof niches like plumbing, HVAC, and more.
To learn how you can build out your own digital properties to become financially free, check out the local lead generation training program.