Leaving Wealthy Affiliate

Last Update: April 24, 2010

April 29th will be my last day on Wealthy Affiliate.

After some careful consideration and review of the materials available to members, I have concluded the following:

1) The tools, such as keyword research, niche q, rapid writer, and the hosting, are not worth the monthly membership.  Similar tools are available for free elsewhere.

2) The mentoring that was promised by Kyle and Carson, as well as my sponsor, Jay, is nowhere to be found.  I even got something of a teaser message, stating I would receive a private message with some guidance.  That never happened, even when I followed up with Jay.
UPDATE:  Jay has contacted me since I made this post, and has been extremely kind and forthcoming with advice and information.

3) The 12 week action plan, to the point at which I have arrived (week 5) is inconsequential in its informational presentation.  I found the material to be elementary.  I've taken action - I just haven't seen anything here that I haven't seen for free elsewhere.

4) The web site is orchestrated in somewhat of a Ponzi scheme, with everyone perpetually touting the virtues of Wealthy Affiliate.  Teaching other people how to make money online is surely a righteous endeavor, but it seems that many of the so called gurus seem to do mostly that, and not much in the way of promoting services of actual, tangible value.  I have ethical qualms with that.

5) Websites such as scam.com and IMReportCard.com don't particularly favor Wealthy Affiliate.  Some have offered empirical anecdotal evidence as to precisely why Wealthy Affiliate is of little value outside of one (or a few) month's worth of membership (the forum is often touted as the saving grace of the community).

6) I have not been active in the forum, however, I often see only one or two replies to a thread.  This pales in comparison to many free forums.

7) I bought a product, marketed by Valeri Tkatchenko, which I found to be a solid product.  However, he mentioned in his sales page that he could be contacted for support.  Not only did I contact him with some very solid recommendations to improve his product, but asked some serious questions.  These messages were sent multiple times, to multiple addresses, and were ignored.

8) Nihilism seems to be the run-of-the-mill around here, but the "front" to market products seems to be one of philanthropy.  While I can certainly appreciate this approach from a business (profit) perspective, it is an undeniably ugly way to conduct business.  Further, it is my contention that such methods will eventually result in the undoing of whatever business chooses to engage in such practices.  For historical evidence, you may refer to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Goldman Sachs, General Motors, Enron, and a host of others.

9) I have often seen people say that there is just *too much* information on Wealthy Affiliate, and that's where people get lost.  People get lost because the organizational structure is poor and not useful in the first place -- not because the information is of so much value that our pea-sized brains cannot process the great wealth of knowledge contained in this community.  This denigration of the intellectual capacity of the members of Wealthy Affiliate is counterproductive to the aims of the community.

10) It is obvious that about 10% of those who join Wealthy Affiliate are willing to employ grey-hat or black-hat marketing techniques to get a leg up on the competition, where about 80% are not willing to take that mental leap -- and thus, don't get anything from methods that teach to this end, and the final 10% simply don't know which way is up or down.

I am in the 80%.  I am not willing to snipe reviews from other products, to use other people's content and pawn it off as my own, to steal graphics without giving due credit, or any of the other stuff that is very clearly used by some of those who are on the "top" in Wealthy Affiliate.

I am not willing to compromise my ethical standards of conduct with regard to my interaction with other people, to get a leg up.  There are numerous ethical marketing practices that I have become acquainted with as of late.  While the road may be a bit longer to achieve success, I will be able to sleep at night.

I know that any money I make is made for providing a real value to my customers, without misrepresenting any part of my product in the sales letter, using false testimonials, or whatever else.

Here are a few of the resources I have found to be of extremely high value:

A Successful Web Business Explained....Step-by-Step! FREE VIDEO COURSE! (Chris Farrell)

My Blogging Blueprint

Internet Marketing Report Card

In closing, I'd like to thank everyone here for their cordial welcomes.  Many of you are wonderful people.  The business practices employed by Wealthy Affiliate are questionable to say the least.  I have no doubt the processes defined on this site will "work" - they just aren't methods that I myself feel comfortable with.

All the best,
John
john.beard@gmail.com

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Remanifest Premium
@cld111: It has been nearly three weeks. How much time should I allow before it seems like I'm being ignored?
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Remanifest Premium
It is important for me to let everyone replying to this blog know that Jay has absolutely reached out to me with some guidance. I received a private message in my inbox from him yesterday, and I'm just about to reply to him. I'm leaving the blog unedited for now, to give people a chance to review it in its original form.
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cld111 Premium
I think everyone had some good comments, and you are 100% entitled to your opinion, so I don't have anything to say about that. I do want to comment on Valeri though. I don't know if you know that he goes to school full time, and IM is what he does to pay his way through school. So, I just want you to give him a little bit of the benefit of the doubt. He's probably insanely busy!

I'm sticking up for him because when I was having some issues, he wrote to me and got it resolved right away. I really don't think he's ignoring you on purpose.

You have to give people some time to respond.
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Remanifest Premium
@Kyle: Thank you very much for taking the time to review this blog, listing it as blog of the day, and for commenting. Your Thomas Edison analogy rings true here.

The amount of time and energy that you and Carson have invested in Wealthy Affiliate is really obvious, and has resulted in a site that functions quickly, and has a lot of really robust features. WA Spaces is impressive, as is the Notifications panel. All of the modules that have been crafted to give WA its own brand of research tools is impressive from a developer's perspective. My background is in network security, but I have built databases using MySQL and PostgreSQL, and have experience with PHP and a bunch of other scripting languages. My point in saying this is to illustrate that yes, I really do understand the astounding amount of work that has been put into developing this community. Again, thank you very much for replying.
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mcstir Premium
No matter what you say about WA, there are so many thousands of members that you can network with and learn from, it is simply incredible. Most "free" forums are full of people who are tight lipped because they won't give up their secrets. There are no secrets here at WA, and I think that is one of the most positive aspects about this community. I have met several people on here that I continue to work with online, and without WA, I would not have had that opportunity. Sorry to see you go, but just remember, you have only spent one month here, you have not even given WA a chance.
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Remanifest Premium
@Louise: Being listed as the Blog of the Day was *really* unexpected given the topic of this blog. I have to say I was really impressed and surprised with that!
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jatdebeaune Premium
John, You have gotten a lot attention here in the community that disappoints you. I think people really want you to hang around, not because they agree with everything you have said, but because you're interesting and have done a great job of stirring things up. You are a person with whom we can bat around ideas and vice versa. We're a bunch of rebels, not sycophants. As you have said, most of us are really good people. Now, that is the core of WA. Sure you can learn a ton of things: techniques, big words, etc., but networking is the biggest value here. It's making a family of like minded people, and I might add brilliant Internet Marketers from whom you can learn a lot. Add the "warm" factor. The character quality here is highly evolved, just the opposite of what you think. If dropping WA is what you have to do, then that's what you have to do. I was looking forward to getting to know you. Happiness to you whatever you do. And yes, thanks for your service. Joan
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Remanifest Premium
@redneck: I suppose the major hurdle with doing something like that is this: the problems seem so ingrained, and so utterly large, and seem to be such a symptom of the overall culture, that one doesn't even know how or where to begin with offering such suggestions. When I was scripting and designing websites back in the mid 90's, when HTML was pretty crude and the tools available were not nearly as robust, I understood that making navigation plainly simple, with the content the visitor requested easy to find, was important. I'm not so sure my help would be welcomed now, but I would be willing to help drive this community. In my opinion, it's really, really important that the culture is far more welcoming to newcomers. Video guidance would be a huge step in this direction - the web is largely multimedia and social networking based now. My product line (when it's finished) will include video instruction as the primary method, with text instructions for those who want to use that method.
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Kyle Premium
John...sorry that you feel this way about Wealthy Affiliate, but everyone is welcome to their opinion so I do not fault you for that. In saying this I do disagree with you on many different levels (me being the biased owner)...but I can give you an explanation why.

WA is and was a community created based on member feedback. We created this community to improve the education within the Internet marketing world teaching techniques that "really work"...I know, how revolutionary.

Carson and had achieved great success prior to WA as independent Internet marketers and the Wealthy Affiliate medium quickly became a medium for teaching people how to do this same.

Everything we "say" within our community, and the resources that we have created represent things that worked and still work for us. We have moved into a more wiki-based system as of September of 2009 because we realized that there were a lot of great people that wanted to share techniques that worked for them.

This was a catch 22 because the content has grown and so has the overwhelming nature of the content. So yes, this does need to be addressed and that is why we created the action plan, a time released, task based module that will get people moving in the right direction.

I have worked with 10,000's of people over the years and the two reasons people fail are:

(1) Try to do too much, when it only takes a little
(2) Read and then don't act

As Thomas Edison once said, it takes 1 percent inspiration and 99% perspiration. That still holds true to this day...and for anyone that comes in here expecting any different is going to have a tough go at "any business".

That is how we teach business. It is not some turnkey, turkey technique that will make you successful, it is the understand of the main principles (mainly consumer relevance and content these days) and then the application of what you learned through hard work.

This is not a sponsor type system, so there is no guarantee that someone that signs you up is going to help you on the other end. If they say they will, than that is another story and they should own up to it. However, there are people that feel comfortable marketing and there are people that love to help...not all people fit into both categories.

Carson and I do answer all PM's that we get so, yeah, we do live up to our support that is offered and there are many people that we have personally helped meet their goals in the online world.

To say our service is not worth it, is a personal one I suppose, but not an opinion shared by people who have seen what is out there. We have invested millions into the development of WA and will continue to invest to make things better.

Your feedback is helpful and it is both the negative/critical feedback and the positive feedback that helps us improve our service.
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Remanifest Premium
@will23: Thank you very much for your comments. Your post really stands out, and I found myself agreeing with what you said. No discouragement here, just a "fork in the road", if you will. I am still 100% determined to make internet marketing work as a career.
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Remanifest Premium
@Jazonc73: If Wealthy Affiliate is working for you, and you see it as a great resource, then by all means don't let me discourage you. Thank you for taking the time to post - I wish you the best of luck!
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Remanifest Premium
@jsides: Thank you very much for your comment - much appreciated!
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Remanifest Premium
@Robg1: You completely read that sentence wrong. I'll translate for you: philanthropic *front*, nihilistic intent. I truly appreciate the rest of your comments, and also wish you the best. Thank you for taking the time to comment!
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Remanifest Premium
@John Edmunds: Yes, empirical anecdotal evidence is... well, anecdotal in nature. Scam.com has a few threads about WA too - mixed reviews, but I found those that were critical to ring true, for me. Obviously, I understand and appreciate differing perspectives. I posted this in my blog section for that reason: to share my perspective. You can see the "empirical" part of what I was saying, if you're willing to dig a bit. Obviously, since this is a community of marketers, finding critical reviews is difficult - since most keyword searches with critical words have already been ranked for by the marketers.
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sox1n05 Premium
That's quite a speech! I can certainly appreciate your response, however I don't totally agree with it. I found that in order to get the most from the WA, you need to really dig into it. Because there is SO much information here, it can be difficult to navigate through it. It's like a big text book that you get in school. You know the info is there, you just need to sort through a chapter or two to find it. I believe that is the same with the WA. It's just a matter of how much you want to work at it! Anyhow, I appreciate your post and wish you the best of luck!
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R-L-Atch Premium
What is your domain name? Let me know and I will have a look for you. This is an ISP issue and although you can't see it, others can. I would suggest that you either wait (will only take 12 hours) or you could try rebuilding your website.
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John Edmunds Premium
I had a check look on IM Report card to see if what you were saying is true and the third comment down on the WA review reads -

"This is alright if you are a complete newbie. It is a good place to start for about a month, but that is about it. However, if you have any affiliate marketing knowledge than I would not recommend this."

So basically what you did is - went on IM Report Card, looked up WA, read some comments by random people on the internet, beased your judgement on that, and now you are reffering to it as "empirical anecdotal evidence"? I have to say I find that completely ridiculous...
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redneck Premium
WA is a collection of people and information with different opinions and goals to be used for your personnel improvement. We as individuals should sort though what is given here and take what we need to promote our own business. Ethical Standards and creating honest business models and websites is up to each and everyone of us individually. We make our own choices.
I appreciate your views but am not sure if you put the effort into actually reviewing with an open mind all the information available to you. Would like to know how much effort you applied to accomplish your goals using this resource? One thing I would like you to think about is using your talents to improve the program rather than criticize it without making suggestion to make WA a community you would be proud to be associated with. I do wish you the best.
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lovin_life67 Premium
I am so sorry to hear that you feel that way about WA. There is a lot of information here and it does take structure, self discipline and implementation. It's like going to college. It's a lot of work. My enroller promised me too. He was there for me for a couple of weeks and disappeared off the face of the planet. So I sent a private message to Carson and he responds to me every time in a timely manner. Kyle and Carson are great guys and they are here for you, if you want. You have to remember they are very busy guys putting all this stuff together for us. So you have to send them a message. I have found everything ethical here and I am a very ethical person. These guys taught me how to make first page on Google. That's every IM dream, but that's just the beginning. I hope you find what you looking for. I've found my home. I wish you the best on your endeavor.
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will23 Premium
The way I see it, the WA site is much like a distance education course. There is some structure and a basic course(12 week action plan) but you really have to just start. Somewhere. Anywhere. But unlike a distance ed course, you have to be willing to make mistakes. That's where the real learning comes from. I've been trying to find a good foundation for internet marketing since 2000 and it's taken lots of wasted hours and thousands of dollars to get to WA. Some of what you say is true, but really it's true of the whole IM community. You have your good, you have your bad. But so many times in our world we expect to have all the answers before we proceed. And because we don't get all the answers we need, we do nothing. You know, the whole "analysis paralysis" syndrome...
I wish you the best. I just hope your experience here doesn't make you bitter. Because as far as I can see, IM is the best way for a normal guy to make an abnormal amount of money in the shortest period of time(and when I say shortest period, I'm talking 12-18 months).

Once again, take care and I wish you the best!
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jsides Premium
Although I may not agree with everything you've said here John I can certainly respect your position and the way in which you've expressed it. So many people turn to "flaming" in the forums when they don't get what they expected but I think you've chosen a great route here. I also respect that you are not willing to compromise your ethics. I am sure you'll go far in whatever you choose and I wish you the best of luck.
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Robg1 Premium
Empirical anecdotal evidence?? Philanthropy will be the undoing of this company?? So let me translate. The telling of stories about WA is bad. And WA's good will and kindness will see it end???

You are obviously an intelligent dude and despite those minor slips I get what you say.

This world is full of a million different products offering many different solutions to many different problems. Sometimes many products offering different solutions to the same problem. WA offers a solution to market things on line problem. Some like it some don't. If its not for you then that's fine. Show me a product with 100% customer satisfaction - and I will sell it!

I have looked at many things on line and this is the best I have found. You maybe have a little more entrepreneurial flair and so can go it on your own more easily. For me this a good home.

best of luck

Rob
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Jazonc73 Premium
Man that was quite a post and a mouthful. You have me doubting for a moment here.. I have only been a member for a couple of days and I already have been given some really good advice from someone who is quite high in the pecking order. I am not going to say that this site does not have its flaws, and I respect your post but its not quite as bad as you make it out. Will I continue here?? I don't know.. I do have to say that i have been spoiled on another site-- I wont name it here-- and all others have paled in comparison. I only joined because of the great content I was given by PPG. and was hoping that this would take me to the next level... yeah you can get most of this information for free.. but how do you know whos right? With people making 1000 or more a day here, I stay open minded. A sponsor? guidance??- didnt even know we got those here. I guess I will let you know in a month how I feel then, but so far I am getting my moneys worth..-- And I have been around..
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Louise M. Premium
Hey a real proof of Kyle and Carson's honesty is that they've put your blog on the front page! It's "the blog of the day"! What do you think of that? :) By the way, even if I don't agree with you at all, I appreciate the fact that you take the time to answer our comments and discuss your decision.
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Remanifest Premium
@Louise: I must admit, not receiving the guidance I was promised was a bit disheartening. Even still, I think most of the above still rings true. I don't think Jay is a bad dude - far from it, he seems like a real nice guy, with lots of value to offer. Just would've liked to have seen that delivered is all. Thank you for your comments, Louise. I will take them under consideration :)
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Louise M. Premium
Criticism is something important and I know many people here are willing to learn from their mistakes and look forward to hear constructive critics from other members.
Still, I'm a bit suprised with your post but you're not the first to leave. We all have our own expectations and experience WA in a different way but I guess what takes "credibility" off your speech if I may say is when you talk about Jay. You have no idea how this guy helps people here and is being extremely honest and helpful. I've noticed he replied to your post saying he actually sent you the email (which I was sure of) so I'm thinking.... If that email did go through and if you received it on time, would you really have said all these things? I'm not judging. at all. I'm just saying that it's up to everyone here to determine who we want to listen to, the way we want to use the tools available here,...
This community is a web of different individual paths, of course you'll come across people trying to sell their own stuff, maybe stuff with low value of course, but it's up to everyone to make choices and make the most out of this place which has been and still is a turn in my life and where I can ALWAYS get help from and motivation too and ethical marketing advices, that's for sure.
I wish you all the best John and hope you'll find what you look for and eventually succeed! :) Louise.
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Remanifest Premium
@Pete: Thank you for your reply. I got lost a little bit during your reply. I certainly have not been focusing on the negatives. Quite the contrary. One of the interesting things about this community is the personal vitriol that flows from (some) people when even the slightest bit of criticism is levied. It speaks volumes about character.
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Slugger_mn Premium
Hey- I want to start by saying that I spend more time in my days answering emails from students of "EOS" which is a course that a fellow member and I created to help beginners make a profit practicing honest ethical marketing. "See a need, fill a need" we breath this at EOS, and I live this in every aspect of my life... I will say that I have seen unethical behavior in the forums here, and else where as well.. But places like "Worrier Forum", and other outside forums support this behavior and preach it... Believing in other people is a powerful thing and something I practice every day... Be, Do, Have is something that needs to happen to achieve success.. I find it funny that a person that seems to know so many big word, and has such a wide verity of opinions doesn't seem to know this.. I read your post two times because, well.. to be honest I wasn't sure what to make of it the first time because you have such a great ability to talk so much, but say so little... Dress it up how you like, but complaining is complaining, and truth be told you have no right because you said so yourself.. "I have not been active in the forums"... Here is the bottom line... I have never spoken with a person that succeeded while focusing on the negatives... If you wanted to, you could take the knowledge from this place and use it how you like.. The fact that you "can't" means little about the ability this place has to teach ETHICAL marketing.. I will say this as well, you have a talent for spinning words and that could make you special, the ability to talk is a valuable thing, and you can talk... But you do need to learn respect, and looking at the good things in programs, and people alike wouldn't hurt either... Best of luck to you friend, I am sure you will find what you are looking for(:
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jangee Premium
oops sorry should say how and not hoe :0)
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Remanifest Premium
@Jay: Of course - if you'd like to send the email again, I'd be open to that. I just checked the conversation in my gmail account again, and the reply certainly didn't come through.
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Remanifest Premium
@jatdebeaune: You are one of the members that I have seen offering quality advice all over the place. Thank you for that - my beef is not with you. In many places, I have seen people using fake product reviews to market their products, as well as swiping the content from other peoples' sales letters. It seems to me this is part of the culture.
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magistudios Premium
Hello John - re: #2
I emailed you as promised to the email that was given to me when you initially contacted me. I am happy to send again if you want.
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Remanifest Premium
@Wootton: None of the things I linked cost money. They're not affiliate links, nor are they my products. A rudimentary review would have yielded this as the truth to you.

My freedom of speech gives me the right to express my opinion from where I'm sitting. So I can, and I will, speak against something that has proven to be of little use to me.

You looked at my page where he *said* he was going to PM me. I think I made that clear in my original post. Re-read it, and it should become clear what I was saying. As far as me being heard, that doesn't concern me much. I did, after all, make this post public.
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Wootton Premium
Well from where I am sitting, you are just trying to make profit on WA time. Call me crazy but I love WA and I am no long term member, you havent been here long enough to say anything. So if you are so succesfull why would you take this course and put up your links(other then praying on WA members to convert to your cause.) I think if you are so disgusted why would you want to show that you have even been here? So go do your own thing, but don't think for a second that you can just bad mouth something that has helped me make a living. Oh and you said that no one tried to help you, I looked at your page where he PM you. Cover your tracks before you talk about people who have personally helped me, that's just bad slander. I think you should go stand in the light of your own Hypocrisy before you talk bad about any of the members here, they just mite hear you.
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jatdebeaune Premium
John, Your post makes me sad. I've experienced just the opposite here, immediate response to my questions, and high standards and ethics. Where's the black hat? I wish you well.
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