I’ve been a member of the Wealthy Affiliate community for just under 2 years now. About a year ago, I made the decision to actively promote the program to others. In that relatively short amount of time, while few and far between, I have heard some naysayers express their complaints about Wealthy Affiliate.
Now, it’s not that I have a problem with people expressing their concerns, everyone has the right to their opinion and WA certianly isn’t 100% pefect. But I tend to see the same few complaints thrown around by a handful of people, and I think it’s important to shine some light on the other side of the story.
So, here are the 7 most common complaints I’ve heard against Wealthy Affiliate (and my rebuttals)
#1. Wealthy Affiliate is not accreditted by the BBB and has an “F” rating
It is true that they’re not a member of the BBB, and that their rating was at one time an F (presently, it’s a B). But what most people don’t realize is the BBB isn’t really the almighty saint it’s cracked up to be. Sadly, money has corrupted the once well meaning foundation and you need to take their ratings with a grain of salt.
Most likely the small mom and pop shop around the corner, or that local restaurant you love aren’t members of the BBB club either, yet you probably still are more than happy to do business with them. Heck, even Disneyland isn’t BBB accredited, but would you acuse them of being untrustworthy?
The truth is BBB fees are expensive, and many smaller businesses just don’t have the budget to bother. Other companies, while they could afford it, simply don’t agree with having to pay in for the BBB seal of approval. After all, why should it matter?
There doesn’t seem to be any way of getting a good rating unless you actually pay them a fee to be accredited. Note the examples below.
Let’s take a look at Wealthy Affiliate’s BBB report (known as Niche Marketing Inc here).
They’ve only had 3 complaints filed with the BBB in the past THREE years, which is barely a dent in the thousands of otherwise satisfied customers. But, they only manage to pull a B rating (and only a short time ago, it was an F, even with only 3 complaints). I believe this a case where personal experience and common sense trumps any rating assigned by the BBB!
Take a look at some of the other BBB reports from companies within the industry:
Empower Network –
These guys (David Wood and David Sharpe) have gathered a pretty nasty reputation within the past year or so, as more and more people came to realize the company was nothing more than an eccentric pyramid scheme.
They’ve racked up 146 complaints with the BBB in the past three years, and keep in mind Empower Network actually wasn’t launched until late 2011, so they haven’t even been around for that entire length of time.
Actually, these reports filed with the BBB only skim the surface of the public’s overall disatisfaction. If you ask any former member they’ll tell you they were decieved and learned very little, yet persistently pressured to go “all in” (spend 1,000’s of dollars in upsells) or they’d remain a “wussy”.
It’s interesting to note that Wealthy Affiliate and Empower Network are both given “B” ratings from the BBB, yet the public opinion of these two companies could not be any different. Empower Network has been hit with nearly 50 times as many complaints (146 vs only 3) and most of its former customers would not recommend the product to their friends.
Project Payday –
This program teaches people how to make money promoting CPA offers and doesn’t forget to mention the fact they’re rated an A+ by the BBB.
Even though 39 complaints isn’t really a whole lot, it’s still a lot more than 3. It makes you wonder where this “A+” rating comes from, if another company with only 3 complaints can only manage a B?
If you ask me, something fishy is going on here. The BBB seems wildly inconsistent with how they assign companies ratings.
#2. There’s no free speech! Members get their write privelages revoked for NO reason!
It’s true that members have gotten their writing privelages revoked, but not without a reason.
WA is a spam free community. There are explicit rules that tell you not to spam and if you break those rules, you will be warned. If a very high number of your comments are marked as spam by members, you will be warned and if you continue to not follow the rules, then you will no longer be allowed to post anything within the community.
It’s definitely NOT that case where this privelage is being taken away from members left and right, it rarely happens and when it does, it’s for that reason. Don’t spam and follow the rules!
#3. I didn’t want to continue my membership but they billed me anyway… it’s IMPOSSIBLE to cancel!
Within their terms and conditions, they state that their membership is monthly recurring, and if you wish to cancel you must do so before the next billing date. Almost all programs involving monthly fees are set up like this no matter what industry – gym memberships, weight loss programs, magazine subscriptions, etc, so it shouldn’t come as a shock that this is how they work. You agreed to that when you signed up, and you’re personally responsible for keeping track of your membership renew dates so you can cancel if you so choose to. If you don’t know when your bill cycle ends, you can find out anytime by visitng your account settings.
I’ve gotten myself involved in one too many programs that made their cancellation process just short of a nightmare. You know, the ones where you end up having to call an 800 number to cancel, but the customer service representative insists keeping you on the line as long as possible, trying to convince you not to cancel! WA is NOT like that. It’s actually very easy to cancel, but you have to make sure you do it BEFORE your next bill date.
You just go within your account settings, scroll on down to the subscription settings and click manage. It really is that simple.
#4. It’s only for TOTAL newbies!
This isn’t exactly true. Wealthy Affiliate is structured in such a way so people with absolutely zero knowledge of internet marketing can utilize the training to become successful online marketers. Because of this, much of the basic training courses are relatively straight forward and simple to follow. If you are someone that already has advanced knowledge of the industry you may find much of the training offered to not be much benefit to you.
But the training extends so far beyond the basic level. If you type any subject you want to know more about within the search feature, you’ll find tons of additional training materials that have not only been created by Kyle or Carson, but by the actual members themselves.
This is part of what makes WA so cool. Members will contribute their own knowledge, advice and training materials into the mix to help make it an extremely rich and helpful resource for any online marketer. There’s tons of members who’ve experienced success that stay with WA for a multitude of reasons, including the wonderful community, ongoing support, and not to mention their unlimited web hosting.
Some people get caught up thinking they must know absolutely everything before they can make money online, but that just isn’t true – you only need to know very little. The training provided is more than enough to make anyone find success online if they actually apply themselves.
All that being said, Wealthy Affiliate is not for everyone. If you join with a starter account and find it’s somehow below your level or won’t benefit you, then that’s fine. But for most people, it’s more than enough to acheive success.
#5. As soon as you join you’ll be pressured to do the Bootcamp training to promote Wealthy Affiliate. It’s the only thing they teach and the only way you’ll make money!
This simply isn’t true at all. Wealthy Affiliate has been around since 2005, and the Bootcamp training (introducing people how to build a business in the “make money online” niche) wasn’t introduced until last year, in early 2013.
The entire idea behind WA is that it teaches people how to build a business around their own interests. EVERY new member is pointed towards their Entrepreneur Certification training, NOT the Bootcamp.
But, let me discuss the reason behind why there’s people making claims that they only teach you to promote WA. It’s true that they have a training course designed to teach people how to promote Wealthy Affiliate in the MMO (make money online) niche. I think a lot of the confusion here (and I completely understand this) stems from the fact within the first training course, they tell newbies that it shouldn’t take any longer than 15 minutes to pick their first niche.
Talk about pressure.
Then, they go on to say if you can’t come up with a niche, to start with Bootcamp because it’ll walk you through a pre-selected one.
I really don’t agree with this but I do see both sides of the arguement. While I don’t think you should spend forever picking a niche, there’s nothing wrong with spending a few days making the decision. In my opinion, 15 minutes it a little ridiculous, and honestly it scared me away from doing anything for a solid 6 months (they didn’t offer Bootcamp at the time I started).
But that brings me to the flip side of the coin. Some people honestly have no idea what they want to do and as a result, will just do nothing. The Bootcamp presents itself as a way to get involved in starting an online business without having to come up with your own niche, which is a hardest part for a lot of people.
I think the mistake a lot of people make is getting involved in this training with no interest, creating a site, then instead of just moving on to another niche, they give up. If you start a Bootcamp site and find it isn’t going to be an area you want to pursue, move on to something else. With the experience you’ve gained from all the training you should feel more confident and able to build a business around any niche you want.
#6. It’s not REALLY free, you have to pay $47 per month!
If you want continued access to communicuate, the advanced training and unlimited web hosting, yes you will need to join premium.
The starter membership is awesome, but it is meant to be a showcase for what premium has to offer. This way, people can get hands on access to what the community can offer them without putting down any of their hard earned money to find out. People who do choose to upgrade to premium know that they’re going to appreciate what they get.
If you are serious about building a business, you’re going to have to put down money somewhere. It’s unrealistic to expect to do it for 100% free.
Even so, you still do have access to tons of training materials and member blogs, even as a free member. That is pretty awesome and I challenge you to find anything else like it out there.
#7. The help isn’t all that great!
Personally I think the help is fantastic. I remember when I first started there were so many people willing to help me out at the drop of a hat, I couldn’t believe it.
For example, Wealthy Affiliate has…
- 13 classrooms
- 24/7 live chat
- Ability to PM Kyle and Carson
- Ability to PM ANY member
- Ask questions within any training video, tutorial, blog or discussion
For the people that complain the help sucks, I wonder if they’re even taking full advantage of all the help the community has to offer. If you ask a question within live chat and nobody can help, you can always write out your issue within the appropriate classroom and you’ll usually get a response. If that doesn’t work, PM Kyle, Carson or another member that you feel comfortable reaching out to. In most cases, someone will help.
Even though the system they have set up is fantastic, I do agree it’s not perfect. Nobody is going to be holding your hand 100% of the time, and yes it’s true that you may not find every single answer within the community. But for the most part it’s pretty darn good.
It’s really rare to find that type of support system within any other internet marketing “product” out there, and in fact most offer none to very little actual support.
But still, you’re never going to please everybody.
Wealthy Affiliate may not be totally not perfect, and it isn’t for everyone.
But you can’t agrue that it isn’t a great place to start, especially for newbies. It definitely helped me (and MANY others) build successful online businesses.
And it’s not just another stagnent “product” that becomes outdated – it’s a continually changing, evolving community where the owners accept imperfection and continually strive to make it the best it can be.
It’s not the same place it was 5 years ago, and even in just the past 2 years since I joined things have changed tremendously. If you were a member once upon a time, I dare you to go back and see how things have changed. If you’ve never been a member, at least give it a chance. You really have nothing to lose and so much to gain.
If you have any additional complaints about the Wealthy Affiliate program you’d like to bring to my attention, don’t hesitate to drop me a comment down below!