Christina Piccoli
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What is Wealthy Affiliate? Scam or Legit?

Ok, I get it. You’ve seen all these other “make money from home” “passive income is amazing” “I’ll make you rich if you just sign up for my $2,000 course” sites out there. I have as well. In fact, I’ve fallen for a few of those too. (grumble, grumble) And now you’re looking at Wealthy Affiliate thinking “What is Wealthy Affiliate? Scam or legit?” I have the answer to that question for you.


Once Upon a Time… The History of Wealthy Affiliate

First, let’s go into a little Wealthy Affiliate History so we know how it all started. In 2005, Wealthy Affiliate was started by Kyle Loudoun & Carson Lim. (You know, I just learned their last names while researching this. We just know them around the hood as Kyle and Carson.)

Kyle and Carson had found success with affiliate marketing and wanted to help others do the same. So they created a service where you paid a monthly subscription fee and you would get keywords lists every month that you could use for your affiliate site. It was $29.99 / month and there wasn’t a free membership.

As time went on, they started adding more and more things. They added a forum, then a little bit of training so customers could know how to properly use the keyword lists, then added a hosting infrastructure, then a keyword tool, live chat, free starter memberships, private messaging, classrooms and now they’re making everything more mobile-friendly.

Phew, I’m tired just reading that!


How Does This Differ from Other Affiliate Programs?

What the history of Wealthy Affiliate tells us is that Kyle and Carson are not doing this just for the money. Do they make money? Oh, I’m sure they make tons. But they also spend tons of money (and time and energy) working to make their platform better all the time. Just like all the other successful businesses out there that we know and love.

To me, they are constantly contiuning to improve their site and their training to make it easier for more people to be successful. When their customers are successful, those customers spread the good word, and they get even more customers. It’s a beautiful thing.

Now, what happens with other affiliate marketing programs (and I’m not saying all of them, I’m sure there are some great ones out there) is that someone who’s pretty seasoned in this business will say “hey, I can make the most money if I sell someone my information.” And so they put together a course, charge you tons of money and then disappear off the face of the planet.

I’m all for creating your own product as long as it actually helps people. I’ve purchased other affiliate tutorials that were great. I learned a good amount from them. But it’s not cool just to make a quick, lousy product, sucker a bunch of people into buying it and then jetting off, leaving them in the dust. That happens a lot, and I understand why people looking at Wealthy Affiliate are skeptical. I was too at first.


The Benefits of Wealthy Affiliate

Now that you kind of have an idea of the history of Wealthy Affiliate and how it all got started, let me tell you a little bit about the benefits of the site.

  • Step-by-step traiing. This includes a combination of video training and written training. A little something for everyone.
  • Weekly live video trainings on various topics. These can be viewed any time.
  • Trainings by members. This ensures everything you ever wanted to know is covered.
  • Supportive community.
  • Live chat.
  • Premium members can host up to 25 websites at no additional cost.
  • Free starter membership. No credit card required.
  • Keyword tool included.
  • Purchase domain names right through Wealthy Affiliate. Convenient and easy.
  • Have a website up and running in just seconds. See this post about that.
  • SiteContent included. It’s where you create your posts, keep track of how many posts you’ve written and even how many words you’ve written. Set writing goals.
  • Easy website management right through the platform.
  • 1000s of free images you can use and load straight from the SiteContent.

Wealthy Affiliate is Not All Sunshine and Roses

With all those benefits said, is Wealthy Affiliate perfect? Nope. Not at all. Nothing is, and that’s why you continue to work on improving. (Life lesson there, kids!) Here are some of the downsides.

  • They have a network system where you follow people and they follow you. I honestly don’t completely understand the benefit of this. Maybe I have 2.8k people in my network, but this doesn’t seem to benefit me in any way.
  • They have a ranking system that I also don’t completely understand. If you’re a higher rank, it doesn’t mean you make more money or have more experience. It just means you’re active in the Wealthy Affiliate community. You can see my rank at the time of this writing is 156 and I’m in the Top 200. I enjoy being active in the community, but this doesn’t mean much else.

  • Some parts of the site go down, like Live Chat. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. I’ve never seen the whole site go down. Nothing that drastic happens.
  • There is a lot – a lot – of information in Wealthy Affiliate, and it’s not always super easy to find what you’re looking for.

Is Wealthy Affiliate a Scam?

So, the big question. Is Wealthy Affiliate a scam? 

Wealthy Affiliate may not be the perfect platform, but I can assure you, it’s not a scam. I started as a member in 2009. I left for a few years as I was busy with other things, and then I came back at the end of 2017. If it was a scam, I definitely would not have come back. I would have run far, far away and found something that would actually help me.

In fact, when I came back, I was SO impressed with the changes that had taken place. And even since I’ve been back, the guys continue to make great improvements. Without Wealthy Affiliate, I wouldn’t know how to do anything. I mean, I could do a little back in the day. I coded my own sites in HTML. (Yuck!) But I didn’t have a clue what to do after that.

I, like everyone else, went through the training step-by-step. In fact, I went through it twice because when I came back, I had forgotten a lot of it. And little by little, I got the hang of it. That’s how it goes for everyone.


How to Be Successful at Wealthy Affiliate

Wealthy Affiliate is just a training platform. They’re not going to do the work for you. I see this ALL the time among the new members over there. “When will I start making money?” “What’s the fastest I can make money?” “How come no one’s coming to my site yet?” Yup! I was that person at one time too!

Now I’ve learned if you want to be successful in affiliate marketing, you’ve got to set your expectations. Anyone, and I mean anyone can be successful. But you have to give it some time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, as they say.

It takes time to: 

  • Figure out your niche (what you want to promote)
  • Find a good domain name
  • Get your website up and running (although that’s super fast at Wealthy Affiliate)
  • Find good keywords
  • Write content
  • Write more content
  • Write even more content
  • Get Google to find you
  • Get Google to index you so people can find you

If you’re serious about affiliate marketing and really want to give it a go, then I suggest you commit to a year. Now, I’m not saying you have to quit your job to do this. In fact, the beauty of it is that you can set your own schedule. But whatever time you have to give to it, commit to giving it one full year. And be consistent. You will be amazed at what you can do.


However, Start with the Free Membership

I suggest you start with the free membership before you 100% decide to go all in. That way, you can poke around the site, build a free website (you can build 2 free sites as a free member) and see if you even like affiliate marketing! You may decide it’s not right for you at all. And if you like it, then you can make that commitment to yourself to give it a full year.

Oh, by the way, you know how you sign up for something free, but then you have to worry about remembering when it ends so that they don’t automatically charge you? Yea, I hate that too. No worries here! They can’t trick you and charge you when you forget because…Wealthy Affiliate doesn’t require you to add any credit card information. Breathe a sigh of relief!

Let me get you started with some things.

First, you can see my full Wealthy Affiliate review.

Or, you can sign up as a Free Starter Member here.


Any questions or comments? I would love to hear from you! Also, if anyone is or was a member of Wealthy Affiliate, I’d love to hear your opinion of it. Please be honest! Leave your comments below.

About the Author Christina Piccoli

Christina loves petting cats. She loves writing and reading. She tries to stay away from tortilla chips. She's usually unsuccessful. She thinks it's weird to talk in third person. Read more about her here.

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  • Amjad says:

    Hello Christina and thank you for the honest review!

    I was looking to learn about affiliate marketing but with all the “best system”, “my secret formula” “my magical click this button and make money overnight”, …etc. stuff that are out there, especially the guys with Lamborghini, I feel like the whole affiliate marketing thing is just a scam.

    I’m actually surprised not to see any of kind of that advertising from Wealthy Affiliate. I read some blog posts about it but never seen salesy ads. They are being recommended by normal people. This is why they look genuine.

    However, before I invest time in it, I want to make sure that affiliate marketing the the route to follow.

    How long does it take to make a full time income and quit my job. Let’s say I can put 2-3 hours every day, six days a week. Can I start making at least $2-3k/month after 12 months as you recommend? Or is it just to create a small side income?

    I hope you help me with since you have a good experience.

    Thank you in advance!
    Amjad

    • Christina Piccoli says:

      Yea, it’s a tough, tough world out there in Affiliate Marketing land. All those Lambos and fancy houses just staring you right in the face. It’s hard to resist sometimes. But we all know those systems are a *bit* overstated, if they’re not downright scams. 

      Committing yourself to 12 months is just a good rule of thumb. That’s because many, many people start in affiliate marketing and they give up right away when nothing is happening. You’ve got to have patience in this business. 

      I can’t say for sure how much you’ll start to make and when. There are so many different factors at play. My best advice to you is to put your head down, focus, and get as much useful content up on your site as you can for your 2-3 hours a day. 

      Be consistent and the visitors (and then the money) will follow. Have patience. It takes time, but it’s worth it. 

      Much success to you!

  • Rob says:

    Hi Christina 🙂 Excellent review of Wealthy Affiliate. You covered all the bases. Because while Wealthy Affiliate is awesome, it isn’t perfect and as you say nothing is. But the big thing is that it is totally NOT a scam. I’ve been through so many scams and this isn’t even close to one.
    It’s the real deal and you pointed out everything you have to do to be successful. It takes a lot of hard work, patience, persistence, and a desire to never quit. Follow the training and always ask for help with the support team and huge community!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Rob, and sharing your experience with Wealthy Affiliate. I’ve been through my share of scams also and yes, they are just a totally different ballgame. This is a place of learning and action. And community!

  • Rachael Dax says:

    I was also a member of Wealthy Affiliate a few years back – 2013 I think. I followed the step by step training to the letter and launched a couple of blog-based businesses. The first one was a total disastrous flop (!!) but a massive learning experience. The second actually started making a bit of money before I sold it. And the third, more recent project, was bringing in a healthy part-time-job level income before I sold it to put a down payment on my new place. Affiliate marketing really, really works and over at Wealthy Affiliate they definitely teach you to do it right. I 100% agree with everything you said here and wanted to express my support.

    I have to say I really enjoyed reading your review, too! I didn’t know Kyle & Carson had last names! Haha ^^ We really do have a great community and I was so excited to come back this year to see all the updates and new features!! Currently working on a new project and I just renewed my subscription for another year to make sure I launch it right.

    Since I left back in 2013/2014, they changed quite a lot (all improvements I think). My favourite feature so far is the Content Writer tool. It helps me structure and stay focused on writing my blog posts. Plus! We have an amazing community to network with and help get projects off the ground. 😉

    Best investment I’ve made in any business by far.

    • It sounds like we have a similar starting story, Rachael. At least, the huge flop part! haha. My first websites were TERRIBLE. Embarrassing, even. Then I started getting pretty good at everything, and I did the worst thing you can ever do. I just gave up. I do NOT recommend doing that because all it means is that it set me back 4 years. I can’t imagine where I’d be if I would have just kept going.

      Anyway, I appreciate your story. Especially since you were able to learn from Wealthy Affiliate and build your sites up enough to then turn around and sell them. Genius!

      I absolutely live the content writer tool as well. It really helps me stay focused on what I need to do. And I love that we can just pick images from right in the tool. No more scouring the internet for images that won’t get us in trouble!

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing about your journey. 🙂

  • Julie says:

    Hi Christina, Very informative and learned a but more about WA … thanks for the details! All the best to you, Julie

  • Gillian says:

    Hi, thanks for your honest review. You have presented it clearly that if I’m not a member yet then I would probably sign up because of your review. Well done.

  • Brandi Sharp says:

    First, I must say, you seem like a hilarious person to be around just based on your tortilla chip comment. I love your review of Wealthy Affiliate. It is so hard to differentiate what is a scam and what isn’t on the internet and you did a great job answering that question here!

    • Honest to goodness, I am eating tortilla chips right now. And I need to stop. 1, because they’re not healthy. And 2 because my keyboard is getting greasy!

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by and I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Now, back to my chips. 🙂

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