When it comes to Wealthy Affiliate, there are 3 types of people:
Category #1: The Haters
Those who hate Wealthy Affiliate… with a vengeance. We’re talking utter contempt and resentment. They spit venom at the mere mention of it and tell everyone Wealthy Affiliate is a scam, cult or pyramid scheme.
My best guess is either they tried it and didn’t like it, or they encountered someone from category #2…
Category #2: The Fanatical Fans
These are the super loyalists who check Kyle and Carson’s Instagram 4 times a day. They genuinely believe Wealthy Affiliate is the best thing since sliced bread and the perfect one-size-fits-all for everyone.
They can’t let a negative word or complaint go by undefended and don’t you dare suggest any other training could come close to what Wealthy Affiliate offers.
Category #3: The Normal People
I am going to call these people, normal. Unlike the extremists in camps #1 and #2, they tend to be more rational and balanced. They realise Wealthy Affiliate isn’t perfect, it isn’t for everyone and it has its cons as well as pros.
I’d like to think I’m in category #3. I just hit publish on my Wealthy Affiliate review pointing out the good, the bad and the ugly about the platform, including what I think they do very well and what could definitely be improved.
No, it’s an online course that teaches affiliate marketing – a legit business model you can do very well with.
Is Wealthy Affiliate a good place to start for beginners?
Yes absolutely. It’s where I got my start.
Are there better alternatives out there?
Yes, Commission Academy is one of them.
God only knows there are enough overly positive Wealthy Affiliate reviews out there and if you’re deciding whether to give it a try then you deserve the full truth – not a lopsided version of it.
So this post is me doing my bit to help balance that out and give you a rose-tint-free look at what being a Wealthy Affiliate member is like. I apologise in advance for the rant.
What I’m gonna say here comes from the perspective of someone who joined Wealthy Affiliate 8 years ago and has probably logged into the members’ area every day since then. I’ve met Kyle and Carson in person and their course took me from nothing to $10,000+ month and for that, I’ll be forever grateful.
I do have some things to get off my chest. This is gonna be good therapy for me 😅
So let’s take a look at what Wealthy Affiliate is before diving into the biggest Wealthy Affiliate complaints.
What Is Wealthy Affiliate & How Does It Work?
Wealthy Affiliate is an affiliate marketing course that promises to equip students with the training, tools and support they need to “create a successful, long-term business within the online space.”
They teach affiliate marketing, essentially a commission-based business model where you make a percentage of every sale you generate for online stores like Amazon and eBay.
Check out our Affiliate Marketing Beginners Guide to find out more.
Wealthy Affiliate quick stats:
- Wealthy Affiliate was co-founded in 2005 by Kyle and Carson
- Starter membership is free and Premium is $49/month (see pricing info)
- Today they have over 2.2+ million members
- Wealthy Affiliate has a 4.9 out of 5-star rating on Trustpilot
The Biggest 21 Wealthy Affiliate Complaints
None of these Wealthy Affiliate complaints are dealbreakers by any means. As I say, I’m still a paying member, but allow me to vent some of my frustrations and pet peeves and show you what others are saying.
1. You CAN’T Make Money On The Free Starter Membership
Wealthy Affiliate has 3 pricing plans:
Starter is free, Premium is $49 a month and Premium Plus is $99 a month.
Some say you can make money with Wealthy Affiliate as a free member, like this guy:
But he’s completely wrong and I’ll tell you why.
The Starter membership is very restricted. You only get the first 10 lessons of a 50-lesson course, you can’t ask a question, use Private Messaging or Live Chat after 7 days and you can only build 1 website on a free subdomain rather than your own .com domain.
So your website will look like “yourwebsite.siterubix.com” instead of “yourwebsite.com” and that’s a major problem.
I’d say it’s nigh on impossible to get a free website on a subdomain ranked in Google anywhere near the top spot. It does happen but not very often. And without the light of Google shining down on you, you’re not gonna get any traffic.
No traffic means no sales…
No sales means no money…
And that’s why you can’t make money as a free Starter member. You can quote me on that.
The Wealthy Affiliate Starter membership is great for testing it out but you’ll have to upgrade to Premium to access the full training and host a website on your own .com domain to be in with a fighting chance.
2. Kyle & Carson Don’t Do Affiliate Marketing Anymore
Kyle and Carson co-founded Wealthy Affiliate in 2005 after achieving a level of success in the PPC world, back when it was still the wild west and all you needed was the right Google ads campaign to make a boatload of cash.
Don’t get me wrong, they are very capable, intelligent guys. Just understand that their focus has changed. They create case study sites for training videos but they’re no longer in the trenches building and growing their own affiliate sites; they’re too busy running a training platform.
I think this is a major drawback, especially when I look at the likes of Jim and Ricky who run Income School or Mark and Gael from Authority Hacker or Dale and me who run Commission Academy and have a whole portfolio of niche sites we’re currently working on and are more up-to-date on current trends.
3. Wealthy Affiliate Do NOT Offer Refunds
The most common Wealthy Affiliate complaint I see on sites like Reddit, BBB and Trustpilot is that they don’t offer a money-back guarantee.
I understand why they don’t give refunds as a general rule. You can take Wealthy Affiliate for a free test drive with the free Starter membership – like a “try before you buy” so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
The complaints start coming when members pay in advance for the month or the year all happy and excited but then lose their passion over time. Twelve months later they’ve completely forgotten about subscribing to Wealthy Affiliate and get a shock when they check their bank statements.
In cases like these though (especially if it’s within the first 10 days) you can message Kyle explaining the situation and he will usually give you your money back.
Moral of the story?
Do what nobody else does and read Wealthy Affiliate’s Terms of Service before signing up.
4. Outdated Training From 2014?
This one was really annoying.
There was a time (around 2019) when the Wealthy Affiliate core training was in urgent need of a revamp. It wasn’t that the training was wrong or anything, just that some of the videos needed redoing to accurately portray how WordPress, Jaaxy and other platforms look like now.
This is a big problem because beginners struggle to follow along if the layout isn’t exactly the same.
I understand this is an issue any course creator is gonna come up against, (which is why Dale and I are so big on keeping the Commission Academy training as up-to-date as possible.)
What I don’t understand is why it took them soooooooo long to fix it.
They have done a major update of the training but even now in 2023, there is a lesson on Google Plus, over 3 years after it was shut down… 🙄
They tell us they have a team of 30+ programming and support staff so like, just get it done!
I’m not the only one who says this either. here’s a guy complaining about Wealthy Affiliate on Reddit:
“I went through all 120 lessons in the core WA training. Most of the videos I’ve seen in there date from 2015-2016. Some date from as early as 2012. Much of the text accompanying those videos clearly hasn’t been updated for years either (despite what the “last updated” dates say).
This wouldn’t be an issue… except we’re talking about affiliate marketing here! This industry evolves FAST! What worked in 2016 isn’t nearly as effective today.”
5. Wealthy Affiliate Hosting: Who Are You Talking To?
When you host your websites at Wealthy Affiliate you get 24/7 technical support. You can submit a support ticket and get an answer back within a few minutes. The only problem is there are no names and you have no idea which technical team member you’re talking to.
A couple of years ago I pressed the wrong button or deleted some code and totally messed up my site. I went straight into frantic panic mode and asked them to restore the latest website backup.
Wealthy Affiliate sell themselves on the fact their website hosting includes daily backups but this guy (or gal – who knows?) said there were no backups available for my site.
I told them they didn’t have a clue what they were talking about.
I also told them I would have to escalate the issue to Carson and that’s exactly what I did.
Long story short, Carson sorted it but I shouldn’t have had to fight for it.
The worst part was that whoever I was talking to, took a sarcastic tone and started getting a real attitude and that’s the LAST thing I needed when my website (i.e. my online business and main revenue source!) was down.
So I lost trust and not long after that, I moved all my websites over to BigScoots hosting and never looked back.
I’d say Wealthy Affiliate’s hosting is great when you’re just starting out and there are less than 1,000 visitors per day coming to your site, but get to more than that and you’re gonna want to do what I did.
6. Wealthy Affiliate Is Some Kind Of MLM Scam?
Wealthy Affiliate is not a pyramid scheme but I can totally see why some people think it is, especially when we think of the fanatics in category #2.
There are two ways you can make money with Wealthy Affiliate:
- You can take the Online Entrepreneurship Certification Course and build an income-generating website promoting whatever products you like in a niche of your choice.
- Or you can take the Affiliate Bootcamp Course and build a website based on promoting Wealthy Affiliate.
The problem is too many members are encouraged or pushed in the direction of promoting Wealthy Affiliate at the point in the training when they’re struggling to pick a niche.
“If you are REALLY STUCK at this point and you cannot decide on a niche, you may be interested in the make money/affiliate marketing niche. If you don’t have a niche at this point, this will be your niche and we have an Affiliate Bootcamp dedicated to those who are interested in promoting Wealthy Affiliate”
Posts like this from Kyle to every new member don’t help either:
I said this in my Wealthy Affiliate review and I’ll say it again here:
You do NOT have to promote Wealthy Affiliate to make money with Wealthy Affiliate.
And if you’re new to online business, just don’t do it… I’m serious. I’ve seen so many newbies go down this route and it almost always ends in frustration and failure. Don’t be one of those sellouts who recruit people into joining Wealthy Affiliate when you have no experience and no idea what you’re talking about.
Follow your passion instead. Build a successful site around you topic you know more about and enjoy. Go out there, get some skills and experience under your belt and, if you want to promote Wealthy Affiliate in a few years, you can do so with more credibility.
7. The Training Is Missing Some Key Elements
Another complaint I have about the Wealthy Affiliate training is there’s some vital information missing from it.
There’s nothing in the Online Entrepreneurship Certification course about:
- Growing an email subscriber list
- Getting Google featured snippets
- Tracking where your sales from
- Linking anchor text
- Building backlinks
- How to launch a successful YouTube channel
- Increasing your revenue with display ads
- Selling your website for 36x the monthly revenue
At Commission Academy, we make sure to cover all this stuff either in our Fast-Start or Advanced course because they’re SUPER important skills you need to master if you’re serious about reaching your income potential.
And before all the Wealthy Affiliate fanatics start hating on me in the comments, I know, I know…
All of this information will be covered somewhere in the Weekly Live classes, member-generated training or Premium Plus classes, but a beginner is going to first have to be aware of these concepts before they can search them and they should a part of the structured core training.
8. Billing Issues
There are a lot of Wealthy Affiliate complaints online from people about billing; either they joined and forgot all about it or they’ve tried cancelling their account and are still getting charged.
I don’t think this is the main issue though. I worked in call centre complaints for years and it happens.
I think people (for the most part) only start getting upset when they can’t speak to anyone to get a quick resolution – something that’s hard to do with Wealthy Affiliate because one-man-band Kyle makes up the entire customer service department.
Want to refute a charge? Need a refund? Can’t access your account? Have any other issues?
Your only option is to message Kyle directly and wait for a reply. There’s no telephone number. Sometimes it can take days and sometimes you fall between the cracks and don’t get a reply at all. Kudos to him, he must reply to 100s if not 1,000s messages a day but that’s going to mean messages get missed and people get frustrated.
A lady who gave Wealthy Affiliate a 1-star review on Trustpilot put it like this:
“The owners do not have any resources for back office admin. They do this on-the-fly, and thus are easily overwhelmed by messages requiring more than 1 second of their attention span…
There is no back-office staff with the tools of system generating a ticket, a person actually r-e-a-d-i-n-g the entirety of your message and replying with relevant actionable steps. They just skim through messages, hit the “reply” button in a frenzy to empty their inbox and send copy/paste replies unrelated to the resolution needed.”
9. They Send Too Much Spam
Some members complain they get too many emails after they join Wealthy Affiliate. By default, you’ll get emailed every time someone leaves you a message on your profile, replies to one of your comments, you get a new follower or someone you’re following creates a new blog post, and on and on it goes…
The good news is you can change your notification setting by tapping on your profile pic in the top right and going to Account Settings > Notifications and either switching off all email notifications or selecting what kind of emails you want to get.
10. Making Money With Wealthy Affiliate Takes A Long Time
It really does and I think this is the biggest reason people quit Wealthy Affiliate.
It just takes too long, especially if you’re used to putting in the hours and getting paid at the end of the week.
How long does it take to make money with affiliate marketing?
Honestly, a good 12 months before you’re getting a consistent income depending on how much time you can put in. This isn’t a quick fix and you’ll probably want to hold on to that day job until you’re ready to transition over to working for yourself full-time.
And that’s gonna take a massive mindset shift. You really have to master the art of delayed gratification – and that’s easier said than done!
11. Wealthy Affiliate Is Too Much Like Facebook
Wealthy Affiliate has a massive community which is great if you have a question you want answering immediately, but it also means there’s a lot going on.
Now I’m not one of those people who updates Facebook with every move I make (I like my privacy!) but some people do and it’s the same with Wealthy Affiliate.
Some members stick to sharing their latest progress updates or sharing helpful affiliate marketing-related tips but others post stuff totally unrelated to running an online business and it can get annoying.
Maybe I’m getting old and grumpy – I don’t know – I just feel like a large percentage of WA members waste a lot of time in Live Chat talking about what they did at the weekend when they could invest that into building their businesses instead. At the end of the day, that’s what’s going to make a difference to your bottom line.
12. What’s With All The Glowing Wealthy Affiliate Reviews?
A common accusation is that they teach students to write product reviews bashing other affiliate marketing courses and programs just to get more people signed up to Wealthy Affiliate.
I can tell you this is not what they teach in the training but I’ve seen A LOT of Wealthy Affiliate members do it.
They’ll do a review on an affiliate marketing course without actually ever taking the course themselves and with no clear understanding of what the program even is, just so they can try to funnel people into Wealthy Affiliate.
It’s disingenuous and unfair and it’s not right.
Sure, there’s a lot of junk out there and a ton of affiliate marketing scams, but that doesn’t mean you should tar everyone with the same brush and I get why this turns people off.
13. Wealthy Affiliate Don’t Pay Out?
With the Wealthy Affiliate affiliate program, you can grab your link and earn commissions every time one of your referrals signs up and goes Premium. Kyle and Carson claim they haven’t missed a single affiliate payment in 15 years and my experience has certainly been that they pay out like clockwork on time, every time.
But some people call Wealthy Affiliate a scam, saying they never got paid:
As it turns out, this guy had just set the minimum payout threshold too high. It’s easily done.
I would just go back to my earlier point – having one person (Kyle) responsible for replying to every single issue like this on a 2.2 million+ membership site probably isn’t the best solution and you are going to face criticism.
14. Chasing Rankings
I pull my hair out over this one because I see it every day 😡
So Wealthy Affiliate rank members based on their activity as a way to try and nurture a more “pay it forward” community. The top 25 most active members are called WA Ambassadors:
Totally fine and I get that.
What irritates me is when members post stupid and pointless answers to a question without answering it like “I don’t know but hopefully someone else will!” or “Good question, I look forward to finding out the answer!” just to try and improve their ranking and be officially recognised as an Ambassador.
I honestly don’t get it. What a complete waste of everyone’s time! It’s not like there’s any real-world benefit to being in the top 25, but it seems to matter a lot to a lot of people.
And this leads me, very smoothly I might add, to the next complaint…
15. You WILL Get Some Really Bad Advice
I’ll be honest – if I’m not sure how to do something I will very rarely ask an open question to all members. I just know I’m gonna get a ton of useless answers from people who mean well but don’t have a clue.
I’m far more likely to private message someone, I know who has expertise and experience in the topic.
Please don’t get me wrong here:
If you’re a beginner then the community is a real lifeline and a God-send. I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. I remember really struggling with my first website. I can’t remember what the issue was but I didn’t know how to do something in WordPress… and a member actually logged into my website and fixed the issue.
That just blew my mind! 🤯
There are some amazing Wealthy Affiliate ambassadors and members who DO know what they’re talking about.
Ready for the but?!
But it’s an open community and just like (hopefully) you wouldn’t take life advice from Yahoo Answers or a YouTube comments section or any other public forum, be careful which Wealthy Affiliate members you take advice from.
I’ve seen newbies being told things like:
- You can do affiliate marketing without a website
- You don’t need to worry about SEO
- You don’t need to choose a niche for your website
- Building an email list isn’t important
- You can’t promote more than one product
And this is all terrible advice!
Just make sure you get the right help from people who are actually successful affiliate marketers and not just someone chasing WA rankings. Enough said!
16. Wealthy Affiliate Is Too Expensive
Wealthy Affiliate costs $49/month paid monthly or $495/year paid yearly. The yearly option works out at $1.30ish a day which I think is affordable and I’ve certainly 100x my investment. I just wish they offered a lifetime option.
I’ve been a member for 8 years but let’s keep it simple and say 10:
$495 a year x 10 years = $4,950
That’s a considerable chunk of cash and it can definitely add up over time!
I know a lot of people, like me, don’t want to pay a monthly subscription for a membership site and would much prefer the chance to pay a one-off fee for lifetime access.
17. You Can’t Downgrade From Premium To Starter
Most people upgrading to premium don’t realise there’s no turning back. You can downgrade your membership from Premium Plus to Premium but you can never go back to being a Starter again.
And this is a real problem when you start a website with them because you’re tied into their hosting. Cancel your membership and you could lose all that work you put in. Like this guy:
So you’re going to have to plan ahead of time to transfer your website over to a different host if you want to cancel your membership without losing all your work.
18. They Try Upselling You To Premium Plus
People will tell you to upgrade to Premium Plus for $99/month. I mean, of course they will; they want to make more commissions off of you – but you don’t really need it.
The truth is, the Premium membership gives you more than enough to launch a thriving online business. I’d say Premium Plus is best for more intermediate to advanced affiliate marketers who are looking for more in-depth training on more specific topics or those who want to host more than ten websites.
Learn more about the differences between Wealthy Affiliate memberships here.
19. Jaaxy Doesn’t Give The Most Accurate Info
Keywords are fundamental and having a reliable keyword tool is critical to your success because without the right info your content plan will be off and you’ll waste hours creating content that results in no traffic or sales.
Jaaxy is the keyword tool included inside the Wealthy Affiliate members’ area.
It’s ok for getting started I guess. I used to use it all the time, for years but a few years ago I started noticing the keyword data was entirely accurate and it’s at least 2-3 years out of date.
Now I use Mangools instead and we recommend all Commission Academy students to do the same.
20. Some Say Wealthy Affiliate Is Misleading
I’ve definitely seen cases of Wealthy Affiliate being missold, especially by newbies promoting it.
There’s a whole “hype culture” surrounding making money online and I think it’s all too easy for beginners going through Affiliate Bootcamp to fall into the trap of promising fast and easy results, especially when they’re desperate to get new signups.
But I think putting your audience first is key to achieving affiliate marketing success. You should do everything you can to help them succeed and a massive part of that is setting the right expectations. Building an online business takes TIME and WORK and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Some critics have accused Wealthy Affiliate of making misleading claims. Here are a couple of quotes from Kyle:
- “Members here at WA succeed at the highest rate out of any platform online!” (Lesson 1)
- “There is NO SUCH THING as choosing the wrong niche.” (Lesson 3)
OK, so the first claim is completed unfounded. There’s no way test or prove this is the case or not. It’s not like they’ve done a survey or seen the affiliate earnings stats of their members, or have a clue about the success rates of other affiliate marketing platforms out there.
The second one is false too. You can definitely pick the wrong niche. You have a pick a niche that’s based on a passion you have, that’s popular and that hat has potential profitability. If not you won’t make money.
This ties in very nicely with my last Wealthy Affiliate complaint:
21. Most Wealthy Affiliate Members Will Fail
I know, you won’t see this on the Wealthy Affiliate homepage or in any Wealthy Affiliate reviews but it’s the truth.
95% of all aspiring affiliate marketers fail.
I’m not saying this is Wealthy Affiliate’s fault (I know first-hand that the training works), it just goes back to what I’ve been saying about how building an online business is bloody hard work and you’re going to have to put in the effort consistently over time to get real results.
And most people start out with great intentions but then get busy or distracted or shift their focus onto something else.
Should You Still Sign Up For Wealthy Affiliate?
This post was more about getting stuff off my chest but yes, if you want to learn a real way to make money working for yourself from home and you’re not afraid of a little hard work then Wealthy Affiliate is going to show you how to make it happen.
At the very least, join as a free Starter member and test the waters to see if it’s a good fit.
I signed up in 2014 and I’m still a member. That should tell you something.
I haven’t touched on the many positives of Wealthy Affiliate and I won’t share my story here (another story for another time) but safe to say, joining Wealthy Affiliate and becoming an affiliate marketer has been life-changing.
Is There A Better Wealthy Affiliate Alternative?
Yes, try Commission Academy here and you’ll get instant access to 100% free, cutting-edge affiliate marketing training that’s going to put you on the path to online success.
Your Biggest Wealthy Affiliate Complaints?
Have a bone to pick with Wealthy Affiliate?
A gripe you just have to get off your chest?
Here’s your chance to tell us your biggest Wealthy Affiliate complaints.
I promise you’ll feel better for it, I know I do! 😊