The thing I enjoy the most about being an online business owner is this: Nobody can take away what I have built with SBI! - John Shank, SBI! member since 2003

SBI! vs. Wealthy Affiliate Review: WA Proof of Success… or Failure? Part 1

SBI! vs. Wealthy Affiliate Review: WA Proof of Success... or Failure? Part 1

WEALTHY AFFILIATE COMPARISON & REVIEW
Summary & Results

Not everyone has the time to read all 24,000 words that make up this meticulous study’s introduction, methodology, and results. If you are willing to accept the conclusions at face-value, here they are:

Wealthy Affiliate surrogates create fake reviews of Solo Build It! (SBI!). Many disparage SBI! – a few praise it. Whatever the tactic, it is all “bait and switch.” Here’s why:

  • Wealthy Affiliate’s fake reviews about SBI! are found by those searching for information about Solo Build It!
  • The solopreneur believes that s/he is reading a legitimate review. S/he is actually entering a Wealthy Affiliate “sales funnel.”
  • The affiliates recommend Wealthy Affiliate as the best (without any proof of success to support the claim).
  • Affiliates earn a large commission for each sale.

But is the recommendation true? Does Wealthy Affiliate truly represent the best chance of building a profitable online business?

To answer that, we designed a study that is objective, rigorous, statistically significant and reproducible by anyone. It is based on data from Alexa, SimilarWeb and SEMrush.

Results

Wealthy Affiliate has approximately 17,000 active, hosted sites while Solo Build It! has approximately 10,000. The study found that:

  • SBI! Sites are 33 times (33X) more likely to achieve “Outstanding – Excellent” levels of traffic than Wealthy Affiliate.
  • SBI! Sites are 10 times (10X) more likely to achieve “Medium” levels of traffic than Wealthy Affiliate.
  • The only category where Wealthy Affiliate “beats” SBI! is in the worst level of failure, “Invisible” (i.e., they get no detectable traffic). 87% of Wealthy Affiliate sites are “Invisible.”

The superiority of SBI! is so high that these results will seem unbelievable to some. We repeated the study one month later with near-identical results. We invite others to repeat the test, too (see Part 2 for how).

Takeaway Conclusions & Lessons

  1. Solo Build It! gives you a 10-33X higher chance of success. Wealthy Affiliate cuts your chances by more than 90%.
  2. Beware of fake reviews. Watch for “Bait and switch.”
  3. SBI! has always proven success, made verifiable by including domains. This study is the ultimate in head-to-head proof.
  4. Wealthy Affiliate provides zero proof of success – it and its affiliates claim success repeatedly, but none offer verifiable proof.
  5. Insist on domains to verify claims. Domains allow you to:
    • use a whois tool to verify where a site is hosted
    • check traffic using Alexa, SimilarWeb and SEMrush
    • review the site
    • contact the owner

THAT is verifiability. Insist on domains – ignore claims.
After all, it’s your future, your vision and goals, your time that is at stake!


This summary requires your trust. If you have doubts, please read all 3 Parts. We invite comments and questions!

The 3 Parts: SBI! vs. Wealthy Affiliate Review: WA Proof of Success… or Failure?

Part 1: Fake Reviews, Our Response and A Peek At The Truth (You are here)
Part 2: The Study: Objective, Rigorous, Statistically Significant & Reproducible 
Part 3: Full Results and Final Summary & Conclusion

At Sitesell (SBI!), we are always improving our methods and tools to better serve our customers. Since launching SBI! in 2002, we have taken great pride in enabling more solopreneurs to build profitable businesses than any other product.

Even two $50,000 challenges have failed to surface a business that delivers higher levels of proven success, in some verifiable way, such as how we prove it.

So when a Wealthy Affiliate review claims that they have a better system than ours, it piques our interest. When we found two more reviews making that claim, we started to dig. We didn’t stop until we hit the truth.

In this first part, we’ll cover:

Ready? Let’s get started.

Introduction

A company called Wealthy Affiliate (WA) has affiliates who have written countless reviews promoting WA. The claims, lacking any proof of success, were dubious.

We became interested, however, when we discovered reviews by them about Solo Build It!, posts that rank in the Top 10 at Google. The first two were a curiosity, but we soon discovered many more.

It struck us as odd that there should be so many, so we checked for Wealthy Affiliate reviews for our pre-rebranding name, “Site Build It!.” These reviews virtually dominate those search results. The “reviews” of our product were basically excuses for content that ultimately linked to the WA website and/or the affiliate’s Wealthy Affiliate review, claiming it to be superior to SBI!.

The majority follow a similar format…
Bogus Comparison Chart - Wealthy Affiliate Review

  • They “review” SBI! using various approaches (from attacking SBI! with untruths and concluding it’s “useless” to a seemingly objective review, calling it “good”).
  • Some use the identical “Wealthy Affiliate vs. SBI!” product comparison table (see right).
  • No matter what they conclude about SBI!, useless or good, they end with their “#1 Recommendation” link to Wealthy Affiliate, “the best.”

The “bait-and-switch fake review” is a well-known affiliate strategy. We wondered, at first, if this was a couple of rogue affiliates (for an honest company). It soon became clear that this was a campaign initiated by the company itself.

So we headed over to the Wealthy Affiliate website to find out more…

Reviewing the Wealthy Affiliate Website

Wealthy Affiliate Review

We recognized the company…

  1. It first released its product in 2005, using an approach that was superficially similar to our C T P M approach. We weren’t concerned — it was just another “make money” product where almost all clients would fail.
  2. Their new headline message “Turn Your Passion into a Thriving Online Business” has drifted from “Become a Wealthy Affiliate.” They seem to be positioning themselves as a more direct competitor.
  3. Sidebar: We have increasingly emphasized important messaging that “site business” in recent years. That culminated with our commitment to the solopreneur with our 2017 rebrand from “Site Build It!” to “Solo Build It!.”
  4. They claim to have “over 800,000 Internet Entrepreneurs.” Almost 1M?
  5. Their sales copy suggests an approach that’s superficially similar in concept to ours. Examination of its product’s materials, though, showed it hadn’t evolved substantially, with out-of-date content…
  6. Old names of products renamed several years before
  7. Missing coverage of important new material
  8. Failure to revise material to reflect recent developments.
  9. It remains closer to C T P M, circa 2006.

Despite the new headline, all seemed superficial, behind the times and still mostly affiliate-focused…

The “Success” section of their website makes vague comments such as “There are 1,000’s of people succeeding every day within Wealthy Affiliate.” But there’s no way for the reader to verify that claim of success, nor does WA try to provide any.

Activity FeedThe home page does, though, show a stream of non-success-generating activity, incentivized by rules and rewards (e.g., must post 2 site reviews before being able to ask for 1).

In fact, though, activities such as creating a new profile blog post, asking and answering questions, creating blog posts within your own WA account…

They all create new content for the company, which increases its traffic, but does nothing for the solopreneur.

How big is the impact? Of 366,000 Wealthy Affiliate pages that are indexed by Google, only 45 are created by the company.

So all that activity you see on the home page? It’s mostly non-productive work that creates success by capturing increasing Google search traffic… for WA. It’s clever. We have nothing against indexing information if people are aware of it. But…

Incentivizing people into activities that are sub-optimal use of their time (“time” being the solopreneur’s most precious resource) is not in the best interests of the client. You should not have to do 1 site review, let alone 2, before asking for 1. And, one must ask, what is the quality of a review when you have to “give 2 to get 1”?

Not an impressive way to start.

Meanwhile, on the Success page…

  1. There’s no mention of a single successful client.
  2. Their “forums” do not display domain names.

Affiliate “reviews” talk about success, too, but offer no verifiable proof.

Providing domain names is the simplest way to enable verification. The reader can check ballpark traffic by using Alexa, SimilarWeb and SEMrush. Even ardent Alexa-haters would agree that if WA’s sites were mostly >20,000,000 at Alexa, with only 50 having enough traffic to rank <1,000,000 (Top 1M), that would be poor.

Sidebar: Alexa is the most widely misunderstood and maligned product in all of Internet Marketing. See our Alexa review for the definitive word on this useful tool. You’ll find that Alexa is surprisingly useful — if you know when and how to use it.

Not only does Wealthy Affiliate not provide any verifiable proof of online business success, we only found 2* affiliate reviews that provided domain names (most do not). Ironically, both do more harm than good to WA’s claim of success…

  1. Of its 16 “success stories,” one only provided domain names for two sites. But those two were not WA-hosted sites.
  2. The other provided a list of 40 sites. Many of those had Alexa and SW ranks >10M, >20M and even >30M, and/or with SEMrush of 0. Of the 40, only 4 were in the Top 1M with good SEMrush scores and hosted at WA. If those 40 sites = success, this was a review working very hard to work with very little.

* Curiously, there were a few other reviews with the identical lists. Compare this to the many different types of genuine SBI! proof, none of which are failures.

SBI!, like WA, has its own sitebuilder. Those who use it must host with us (Name Servers NS1.SITESELL.COM and NS2.SITESELL.COM). Wealthy Affiliate uses Name Servers NS1.MYWAHOSTING.COM and NS2.MYWAHOSTING.COM.

It’s possible to be a “customer” of both products without using the sitebuilders, but it’s sub-optimal. For the purposes of this discussion and the subsequent study, we define “paid customer” as someone who uses the product fully, including the builder.

Our interest was indeed piqued. Could Wealthy Affiliate in fact be outperforming us? Why would they not provide verifiable proof of success, as we do? And why were all those affiliates using morally dubious “fake reviews” to bait-and-switch to WA.

A fake review can be defined as a positive, neutral or negative review that is not an actual consumer’s honest and impartial opinion or that does not reflect a consumer’s genuine experience of a product, service or business.European Parliamentary Research Service, 2015

What are the odds that so many pages that claim to recommend SBI! all follow the format and process of the WA affiliate training materials, do little to recommend SBI! except in generalities or rehashes of other reviews, and finally choose WA as “#1?”

Remote.

The disconnect between Wealthy Affiliate claims and lack of proof intrigued us. Think about it…

If you sold a product that truly enabled people to lose weight, run faster, or be cured of a medical problem at a greater rate, wouldn’t you provide lots of verifiable proof? “Before and After.” Medical studies. Lottery winners.

Whatever the field, proof is a powerful marketing tool.

Delving Deeper

Since both Wealthy Affiliate and reviews by WA affiliates failed to prove success, and since our reputation was under attack, we became determined to discover the truth.

This 3-part series, culminating in a never-before-performed study, exposes an elaborate and long-standing scheme that seems to have misled thousands (perhaps tens of thousands since 2005) down the road of dashed dreams…

  1. Part 1 (which you’re reading now) lays out the elaborate Wealthy Affiliate fake review program. It closes with a “taste” of The Study’s results. The difference from WA’s claims is astounding.
  2. Part 2 focuses mostly on the construction of The Study itself. It’s important because a serious study such as this one must be objective, rigorous, statistically significant and reproducible by third parties (i.e., you can perform the same process to derive your own results).
  3. Part 3 provides the full results of The Study, with discussion. We have provided a small peek at its results near the end of today’s post (Part 1). The full results yield startling conclusions and raise profound questions that go beyond this particular instance that casts shame on our industry.

Before getting into the study (aka “The Truth”), it’s necessary to set some contextual background information to fully appreciate its importance…

Wealthy Affiliate uses a superficially similar approach to SBI! and professes to care about its users. Was the “busy work” activity (above) that serves WA’s business interests so well just an anomaly? Let’s scratch the surface.

WA lures you in with a “free” version that includes “two free sites.” Those are two subdomain sites (e.g., subdomain.siterubix.com*), where you join thousands of others on a single domain.

*Siterubix is the name of WA’s site-building system laid on top of WordPress.

You have near-zero chance of traffic with free subdomains such as these, let alone success, yet its affiliate training program claims that this freemium is better than paid programs. This, we knew, could not be true…

It has no value to the person who signs up. The free functionality and training materials are meager, access to most materials restricted. You will be upsold to the paid system in a relentless manner.

Comparison: SBI! provides full access to all materials and tools. It even includes a free domain name in its 90-day trial period, risk-free due to its guarantee. We don’t waste your time with freemium come-ons.

In the first Wealthy Affiliate Certification Course (similar to SBI!’s Action Guide), they advised the new would-be business-builder…

Please do not spend a week choosing your niche. Within the next 15-30 minutes (maximum) you should have your ‘starting point’ niche chosen.Wealthy Affiliate

The Damage of Bait and Switch

Consider the fate of a would-be solopreneur with important reasons for starting an online business. Interested in SBI!, s/he searches for reviews. She finds pages that s/he believes to be reviews but are bait-and-switch sales pages for WA.

With some help, such as we provide, s/he could have found a “real” (non-“make money”) niche to build a site and business to be proud about… a business with profits, one that builds equity. Instead…

“Make money” is a difficult and demoralizing niche. There are loads of “dark side” and sophisticated marketers out there. They will recommend anything to you for a buck, they’ll make it sound good, and they’re pros at ranking high in search results.

We advise SBIers to stay away from that niche for three reasons…

  1. You’ll do better in a niche that you know and love.
  2. The more you see of the “make money” niche, the more distasteful it becomes.
  3. There are fewer pros in your niche, if any.

In short, you will not only do better in a niche that you truly care about, your chances of building a long-term business that generates significant cash flow and grows in value (equity) soar.

The damage that bait-and-switch tactics do to human beings with the courage to try, the willingness to work to succeed, to acquire some freedom and self-reliance cannot be measured. We find the bait-and-switch practice shameful.

That’s why our advice is the opposite — find the right niche!

So please — find a topic that you know and love. Work in joy and build a business that you’re proud to show your friends and family.

We provide strategies and tools to help the solopreneur. If it takes weeks to find, refine, position, and investigate its commercial potential, that’s fine. This upfront work pays huge dividends later on.

Or does it? Could we be wrong? The study will answer, but thinking it through…

Who benefits from the subtle, but strong, push of new solopreneurs into “make money? Having seen how the advice works to the detriment of the WA user, it’s not the solopreneurs who win. But it’s easy to see how Wealthy Affiliate benefits…

Reviewing the WA Affiliate Program

How strong is that push? Over ⅓ of the Wealthy Affiliate sites are either about “make money” or “make money online” (“MMO”) — or they’re related to the topic (e.g., affiliate marketing, how to sell e-books, or how to do social media). On the other hand, almost all SBI! sites are about what we will call “real” niches.

What’s a “real” niche? Folks who search on “real” niches (e.g., Caribbean cruising, exotic tortoises, debt consolidation) are not looking for information to help them build an online business. They’re planning vacations, or researching how to breed a specific type of tortoise, or they want to know how to deal with debt.

In our experience, the vast majority of solopreneurs know something about something well enough to create content that others want to know. But when it comes to MMO, they…

  • know little about the topic
  • are not ready to compete with the minority who do know some aspect of the topic (e.g., email marketing)
  • have next to no chance of ranking against the even smaller fraction who really excel at it
  • would do far better at a niche they know (e.g., Caribbean cruising, exotic tortoises, debt consolidation).

Nevertheless, over ⅓ drift into “make money” (on the guidance of Wealthy Affiliate) instead of being challenged and helped to find a higher-potential “real” niche. The natural progression is that they are then moved toward the WA affiliate program…

  1. The commissions are high and recurring.
  2. WA “fits” with just about any topic related to MMO.
  3. WA advises them repeatedly to write reviews about competing or related products, then conclude with an affiliate link to WA.
  4. They assure the affiliate over and over that they are indeed the best, that they do their visitors a service to share that information.
  5. Finally, they become highly motivated by a free trip to Las Vegas if they reach certain sales targets. Few make it.

Wealthy Affiliate has again served their own best interests. They have created the perfect, circular, self-propagating marketing system. Let’s review.

Wealthy Affiliate, a “make money” business, sells a “make money” business opportunity to people who are “pushed” into a niche related to “make money,” for which it’s natural to write “make money” reviews or articles, which appear real to unsuspecting visitors, thereby continuing the “vicious circle.”

The “reviews” for Wealthy Affiliate that rank highly are expertly written — this is “cream of the cream” material. The information itself, though, is dubious or outright wrong, at least when it comes to SBI!.

It’s written so convincingly that the uninformed can’t see through the false, twisted or exaggerated information. It’s especially convincing when so many other reviews (also from WA affiliates) come to the same conclusion.

We mentioned the pattern of these reviews at the beginning of this article. There are so many of them that they drown out the occasional story of how SBI! has truly impacted a life in an amazing way. Speaking of those…

Contrary to Wealthy Affiliate users, SBI! members write about “real” niches. So they have no financial reason to write about SBI!…

  1. Their sites attract visitors searching for information about “real” niches. Few of those visitors, if any, are thinking of starting a business.
  2. While some SBIers do write about their experience with SBI! and how it has changed their lives, it’s not for the money. They realize that the conversion rate will be very low (for the above reason).
  3. Only a small number of SBI! stories rank in search results for “review” keywords. It’s because their sites are considered authorities (by Google ) for their niches, not for niches related to MMO.

We Call This the “Anti-Circle”

SBIers succeed more frequently and at higher rates than any other group of solopreneurs. They produce value to get value, and build profitable businesses that grow equity.

The Wealthy Affiliate “make money” system is a self-feeding, circular “buy make-money” to “sell make-money” game. These sites add little value and most fail. The low percent who generate fake reviews that rank actually create negative value for their visitors, who are lured into an inferior “make money” system.

It’s an ironic problem that we need to solve. SBIers, who build sites about REAL niches, attract visitors interested in that niche, not about “making money online.”

People searching for reviews of SBI! are, therefore, flooded with fake reviews. We realize their need to find real reviews by real SBIers who explain how SBI! has been critical in creating their high-value, profitable and joyful businesses. Therefore…

As of early May, 2017, we have asked SBIers to share their stories on their sites, emphasizing clearly not to expect much financial return if they use affiliate links.

We asked them this because we believe Wealthy Affiliate’s fake reviews are immoral actions that threaten the future of the only product that enables everyday solopreneurs to do extraordinary things. We hope to see some SBIers’ review pages rank, despite their lack of MMO authority (i.e., SBIers avoid these niches).

SBIers know that they will earn little by writing their reviews and experiences with SBI!. They write their reviews to support a product they love, the last bastion of everyday solopreneurship and proven success. What about WA affiliates?

Do Wealthy Affiliate’s Affiliates Believe Their Reviews?

So far, we have found no proof of success among many Wealthy Affiliate sites. We have found several reasons why they should fail. While our research raised our suspicions, The Study reveals the comprehensive success vs. failure truths for both SBI! and WA.

Wealthy Affiliate must know its own internal data of how dismally their clients perform, overall. And they should realize that, even though they have 70% more active sites than us, they cannot come close to matching the cumulative proof we present on our own website, even though that is only part of our success story.

All this raises the obvious question…

How aware are Wealthy Affiliate clients and affiliates of this reality? How many clients know that they have been misled regarding success? Do affiliates know that they are not “doing a good service for their visitors?” Do they realize that they are far more likely to dash the dreams and goals of real people who dare to try?

We have discovered why WA affiliates really seem to believe what they write. The WA training materials repeatedly assure them that their product is the best… over and over again until the affiliates believe it.

That untruth is then magnified thousands of times by affiliates, many of whom we believe do not know better. They beat down competitors with what are fake reviews, a major problem (even if they don’t realize it).

Is WA’s high commission the driver of Wealthy Affiliate reviews? That depends. it’s either…

  • “the cherry on top” bonus for those who truly believe they’re doing solopreneurs a service.

-OR-

  • the driving force, for those who may not believe that Wealthy Affiliate is better and who do not care (or who do not care to investigate more deeply, given the promised payments… if they make a sale). As long as the truth is murky, “it’s all good.”

But What If the Truth Comes Out?

Our own interest in this subject evolved from curiosity to disbelief to anger about underhanded techniques. WA affiliate reviews attack more than our long-term viability. While profits grow our ability to accelerate the SBI! Advantage, it’s SBI!’s human impact that fuels us all.

That undermines the viability of our core belief upon which SBI! was created…

We believe that if we clear the obstacles, everyday solopreneurs with BAM are capable of far more than they could have realized. Many start SBI! with doubts.

Boiling this down to its deeper ramifications…

Wealthy Affiliate attacks successful everyday solopreneurship by establishing a tightening choke hold at the final point of decision. The under-informed pre-customer, expecting honest reviews, is virtually defenceless against this approach.

With hundreds or thousands of reviews out there, all coming to the same conclusion (“WA is #1”), we’re reminded of a famous quote (right)…

Would-be solopreneurs who seek information have no way of knowing what the truth is.

Lenin Quote - Wealthy Affiliate ReviewGiven the number of fake reviews, all making the same “recommendation,” they conclude WA is best. Repetition does seem to confirm Lenin’s famous quote.

But Is Wealthy Affiliate Truly #1?

Our existing proof, compared to Wealthy Affiliate’s lack of proof, raises serious questions about Wealthy Affiliate. The Study answers them, as you’ll soon see. The answer is obvious…

Solopreneurs who make the wrong choice unknowingly suffer a large decrease in the likelihood of success, right at the moment of purchase. The Study’s results are important because…

  1. The human cost to people who are fooled by “bait-and-switch” to Wealthy Affiliate is high. The Study shows that 87% of those using WA fail at its worst level.
    Note: If you are a Wealthy Affiliate customer and you’re failing, too, switch to SBI!. Like other ex-WA users who now use SBI!, you’ll find the difference striking.
  2. Most WA affiliates are likely not aware of the damage they do. We openly call upon them to examine their hearts after reading The Study. We invite you, the WA affiliate, to do the right thing after reviewing it…

    Support SBI! instead. It pays less, that’s true. (We pass those savings on to SBIers, keeping its price as accessible as possible.)

    If you have Top 10 rankings, we’ll organize 1-to-1s or small, live webinars to answer your questions. Contact SiteSell Support for more information.

  3. Wealthy Affiliate threatens the future of “everyday solopreneurship.” This is the most important damage of all.
On a Personal Note: Personally speaking, if I ever did encounter a clearly superior product at a similar price, run by good people who believe that they only succeed if their solopreneurs do, I would, after discussion with SBIers, arrange with that company to migrate SBIers and SiteSellers to it, ideally with the click of a button.

Pre-SBI! ventures have treated me well. SBI! was never about the money. It was the ultimate experiment, a bet on the individual and concepts such as freedom and self-reliance. However, my wife of 40 years has been patient for far too long. So the day after the last SBIer was transferred to good hands that will continue the concept of successful everyday solopreneurship…

Janice and I will be back to our joint passion. We’ll be on the first jet to someplace far, far away. ✈ 😃

But are we telling the truth? Even my personal note could be a con. After all, this space is a quagmire of clever tricks. And most folks have waded through the muck to reach the search results at Google for “Solo Build It! review.” Consider this…

We have presented more verifiable proof of success than anyone else. There’s little room for “trickery” when we present a combination of proof that illustrates…

  1. volume (500 sites in the Top 1M of all active sites — 170M!).
  2. longevity (case studies that stick with the same businesses for as many as 10 years or more, posting their occasional update).
    (We’re proud to say that two have recently realized the equity in their business by selling some or all of each. There’s little if any equity in “make money.”)
  3. new, current stories from our blog, with a focus on the human aspect of what it means to build a profitable business based on a subject you love (it angers us to think of what their stories could have been with Wealthy Affiliate).

This proof alone is especially convincing because no company, not even Wix and its 2.7 million paid sites (source: quarterly earnings report) matches that. Still, this form of presentation does not tell the whole story. What about failure, you may ask?

Wealthy Affiliate sparked our desire for a study that reviews every active site at both Wealthy Affiliate and SBI!. Head-to-head, company-to-company, “marketese” eliminated, what would such a comparison look like, warts and all?

We’re About to Find Out!

Yes, we’re getting closer to the Study and SBI! vs. Wealthy Affiliate results.

Meanwhile, we should state the obvious for greater clarity. Even before the Study, we found enough evidence to conclude that these reviews were not the work of rogue affiliates. Wealthy Affiliate not only knows what’s happening, it’s training/encouraging much of it. The plethora of fake reviews by WA affiliates confirms the intent.

So when we talk about Wealthy Affiliate promoting itself as being the best, we mean that they do so indirectly, using affiliates. They promote themselves as the best to their affiliates, who in turn magnify the message a thousand-fold, seeming to believe it (we feel that most do believe the Wealthy Affiliate claims).

This affiliate action is widespread and done with Wealthy Affiliate’s knowledge. It’s Wealthy Affiliate’s claim, without any evidence to support it, that is multiplied and blankets Google search results with fake reviews.

This study will settle that claim conclusively.

So Where Is SBI! Inferior?

Our weakness lies, ironically, in our strength…

We do not have a circular system like Wealthy Affiliate. We have no “make money” business that sells a “make money” product to those “pushed” into a niche related to “make money,” for which it’s natural to write “make money”-related reviews or articles, which appear real to unsuspecting visitors, who purchase that “make money” product and so continues the “vicious circle.”

“Real niche” businesses (e.g., about Anguilla) have clients who are not searching for online business info (e.g., they’re planning a vacation). Instead of Wealthy Affiliate’s circular system that produces (it could be argued) negative value by recommending an inferior product, we have the “anti-circle” — clients have no business need to write a review, let alone an SBI! vs. Wealthy Affiliate review.

The whole Wealthy Affiliate system is, we must admit, clever — in an immoral way. It comes at a heavy cost…

  1. It does a disservice to the solopreneur-customer and to all affiliates with a conscience (once they know the truth, for the reasons outlined above). It’s nice to be proud of the business you build, to sleep well at night.
  2. Wealthy Affiliate contributes heavily to the increasing problem of fake reviews. While this is a growing problem for every niche, business or consumer, WA affiliates virtually blanket the “Internet Marketing products” space.

    Many respected pundits consider “make money” and “affiliate marketing” to be a particular problem. Consumer protection groups and government bodies are looking to legislation to address the issues. Meanwhile, all of us in this general space take a hit while cynicism rises among prospective clients.

  3. Little or nothing of value is contributed to the amazing diversity that solopreneurs bring to the Web.

Solopreneur “Cake Fairy” Shows You How to Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too - Wealthy Affiliate ReviewThe Fortune 500 do not make the Internet what it is. Solopreneurs do — the “Fortune 5,000,000!” Sharing your unique knowledge not only adds what you know to this infinitely diverse ecosystem, your content is of value to others (who search for it).

Those searches for your knowledge, along with your social media component, can be converted into an honest, valuable and joyful business. Instead, many Wealthy Affiliate solopreneurs focus their precious time on luring others into “make money opportunities.” That’s likely not what many anticipated when starting out.

In summary, Wealthy Affiliate, by moving new recruits into “make money,” has created an affiliate-written, review-generating machine with which a tiny number of sites dominate the rankings. Whatever they write about SBI!, Wealthy Affiliate seems to justify it to them through heavy repetition of being the best. After all…

If you say it often enough, it must be true.

A very small percent of solopreneurs can make this work. The rest make little to nothing. But the incentivized, frenetic activity keeps them excited, well beyond the time that they should see the writing on the wall.

While The Study should be expected to show that a much higher percentage of SBIers succeed (if the above logic holds true), we have created the anti-circular system, one where the visitors to SBI! sites do not come seeking online business info.

How Do We Respond to All the Affiliate Claims?

We don’t need to, thanks to The Study.

We should warn you of two general approaches of many of these fake reviews…

  1. “Fair” These seem to be objective, balanced and fair. They may not be up-to-date (which suggests pulling information from old reviews by others). Overall, they’ll say that SBI! is “good”… “except Wealthy Affiliate is best.”
  2. “Unfair” These use an amazing range of claims that go from lies to exaggerations and twisting of half-truths; from molehills turned into mountains to “assumption jumpers” (take a small fact and make a huge incorrect conclusion without knowing the facts).

It really doesn’t matter what the content is because these are not actually “reviews” in the true and expected sense of that word. They amount to Wealthy Affiliate sales pages.

Debating just creates more smoke. This study seeks the truth by blowing away the smoke. A hard data study that can be replicated by anyone, one that delivers a clear winner based purely on the data, eliminates debate. Just send them The Study…

THAT reveals the truth in a single breath of fresh air.

Summary of the Background for the SBI! vs. Wealthy Affiliate Review

Initially, we wondered if Wealthy Affiliate had truly found a better way. The more we dug into this before the study, the more we smelled something wrong.

There’s a lot wrong. They have developed what appears to be a superficial copy of the SBI! process of C T P M. Next, it looks like they corrupted our total focus on success with policies and approaches that work to their advantage but to the solopreneur’s disadvantage.

As a company dedicated to solopreneurs since 1997, we took umbrage with that. The study, comparing actual traffic results of all SBI! vs. Wealthy Affiliate sites, is much more than just “who’s-best” bragging rights.

We undertake and publish this to (hopefully)…

  1. restore our reputation
  2. “vaccinate” those who find those fake reviews
  3. assure potential new SBI! members that your best choice is SBI!. The difference in our already-existing proof makes you wonder, “where’s theirs?

    But the head-to-head Study is overwhelmingly clear. Those with unshakeable ulterior motives will try to find fault with it. I look forward to debating that.

  4. provide thought-provoking, data-proven facts to convince Wealthy Affiliate’s customers that their best future lies with SBI!.
  5. reveal reality to those honest Wealthy Affiliate affiliates who promote Wealthy Affiliate because they truly believe the repeated claims. It seems you were misled…

  6. If you have Top 10 rankings, we’ll organize 1-to-1s or small, live webinars to answer your questions. Contact SiteSell Support for more information.

If this study shows SBI! to be as conclusively superior as we claim, WA affiliates will be faced with decisions…

“Do I reject this behavior and leave a program that puts my reputation at risk?”

“Can I live with now knowingly misleading my visitors to a less effective program?”

Those who continue to knowingly send innocent people to an inferior product now “own it.” These are fellow human beings with solopreneur dreams and goals, too. They deserve better. Also…

Check with an attorney in your own state or country regarding how much liability you carry if honesty does not matter to you (read this example lawsuit). We have no intent of suing any individual affiliate (barring outrageous defamation), but some of the other 175 competitors from a list received from Wealthy Affiliate may not feel the same.

So, let’s get to the BIG question of the day…

Is SBI! Truly Inferior to WA, As Claimed by So Many “Reviews”?

Before the final discussion, here’s a sample of the results…

  1. SBI! places 2,200% (Alexa), 3,340% (SimilarWeb) and 4,280% (SEMrush) more sites into the Top 1,000,000 sites than Wealthy Affiliate. That’s way more than our estimates (400-500%).

    If you’re not a numbers person, that means 22X, 33X and 43X better. And that comes to an average (Alexa, SW and SEMrush) of 33x better.

  2. In the bar chart below, you see bar couples for each range of Alexa traffic rankings. SBI! is blue. Wealthy Affiliate is red, and each couple adds up to 100%. In other words, you see how much of each traffic ranking range (e.g., 0-100K) is “owned” by SBI! and WA.

Share of Alexa Rank Ranges - Wealthy Affiliate Review

For example…

  • SBI! “owns” 96% and 98% of the 0-100K and 100K-200K brackets, nearly unattainably high traffic for a solopreneur.
  • SBI! owns more than 95% of each 100K bracket until 900K-1M.
  • SBI! owns more than 80% of each bracket from 900K-1M until 4-5M.

Important: This chart shows absolute numbers, uncorrected for the fact that Wealthy Affiliate has 70% more sites. So the above results are 70% stronger than they look.

  • Finally, we get to the worst level. Alexa >30M correlates with SimilarWeb > 30M and SEMrush of 0 (zero). This is the only bracket where WA significantly “passes” SBI! — the worst traffic level possible (>30M). Wealthy Affiliate excels only at failure.

The bar chart speaks for itself. The pattern, for those who like math, shows that Wealthy Affiliate’s numbers have a “power curve” distribution. It levels out towards 0% at the highest levels of success, grows slowly and then starts to grow geometrically until we reach the worst level of traffic (i.e., none, basically). We suspect that, if Alexa went as high as 50M, WA would “own” 100% — just a mathematical speculation, for those so inclined.

Here’s what we can say conclusively, based upon this…

  1. SBI! dominates at success.
  2. Wealthy Affiliate dominates at failure.

Note: The study was performed identically for all SBI! and Wealthy Affiliate sites using Alexa. It was repeated using Similar Web and SEMrush, for which the results were even more favorable.

Conclusions of the SBI! vs. Wealthy Affiliate Review

  1. WA appears to be misleading its customers with claims of success..
  2. WA also seems to mislead its affiliates with repeated assurances that they do their visitors a service when recommending people to Wealthy Affiliate in their “SBI! reviews.” We suspect that many would not be morally comfortable with their recommendations if they knew the truth.

Wealthy Affiliate’s fake SBI! “reviews” get found at Google by folks searching for reviews about us. The content is designed to send those visitors to Wealthy Affiliate directly or to the affiliates WA review (glowing, of course)…

We know this deceitful strategy is successful due to the decrease in our conversion rate. Prospective SBI! clients who chose Wealthy Affiliate due to this, as you can see above, significantly diminish their chance of success and greatly increase the odds of failure.

We detest being used to fool solopreneurs into choosing Wealthy Affiliate. They preach success (without proving it) and (per The Study) they deliver failure (an average of 87% of their sites are Alexa >30M, SW >30M or are 0 [zero traffic] at SEMrush). At the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s near-zero real success (53 sites in the Alexa Top 1M out of almost 17,000 active sites).

 Solopreneur Income - Wealthy Affiliate ReviewFinally, while numbers don’t lie, this is really about the people behind those numbers. It’s important to put a human face on this…

Imagine the people we feature on our blog failing dismally in a niche they despise, trying to mislead others into “make money.”

We sincerely hope that Wealthy Affiliate stops their misleading marketing techniques that are putting a choke hold on the only company that makes “everyday solopreneurship” a reality.

We invite Wealthy Affiliate clients to join SBI!. If you’re one of the very few customers who succeed at Wealthy Affiliate, congratulations! We invite the vast majority who are failing to come over to SBI! for a much greater shot at success.

To WA affiliates with ranking SBI! vs. Wealthy Affiliate reviews, please contact us through Support if you would like to do the right thing. We would be happy to work with you to set the record straight.

And finally, to all with the heart of a solopreneur, if you want to build an online business to achieve goals that matter to you, ignore those fake reviews and start with SBI! now. We can’t be sure that it’s right for you, but the 90-Day Guarantee….

  1. gives you total access to all of SBI!, including a free domain name (instead of 2 useless free subdomains that waste your time by giving you only partial access, while upselling you to the paid product)
  2. provides more than enough time to understand what we’re all about, and see how you’re going to achieve what so many others do.
  3. makes your attempt totally risk-free.

Get started today. You may have lost time, the solopreneur’s most precious asset, up until now. It’s gone. But it’s never too late…

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. – Chinese Proverb

Start a REAL Business Today!

Watch for Part 2 (Monday) and Part 3 (Tuesday)…

  1. Part 1 laid out the elaborate Wealthy Affiliate fake review program. It closes with a “taste” of The Study’s results. These show how much reality differs from WA claims. SBI! dominates at every level of success. Wealthy Affiliate excels only at failure.
  2. Part 2 focuses mostly on the construction of The Study itself. It’s important because a serious study such as this one must be objective, rigorous, statistically significant and reproducible by third parties (i.e., you can perform the same process to derive your own results).
  3. Part 3 provides the full results of The Study, with discussion. We have provided only a small peek above. The full results vindicate our claim that no other product delivers solopreneurial success like SBI!. That turns out to be secondary, sadly…

The methods employed and the “claim-vs.-reality delta” raises the question whether Wealthy Affiliate crosses the boundary between “hyperbolic marketing” and fraud. The full results raise several more important questions that go beyond this particular instance, issues that cast shame on our industry.

This has spawned two new directions that our blog will be exploring…

  1. Fake Reviews: an in-depth look at this widespread and growing problem.
  2. Solopreneurial Success vs. Failure: we deep-dive into this under-studied but important topic. There’s a great deal of excellent information to help the solo entrepreneur, but how do they actually do and what can we do to improve both their rates and levels of business success?

Continue on to Part 2 and learn more about this objective, rigorous, statistically significant & reproducible study.

The 3 Parts: SBI! vs. Wealthy Affiliate Review: WA Proof of Success… or Failure?

Part 1: Fake Reviews, Our Response and A Peek At The Truth (You are here)
Part 2: The Study: Objective, Rigorous, Statistically Significant & Reproducible 
Part 3: Full Results and Final Summary & Conclusion

Ken Evoy (CEO, SiteSell)
Ken Evoy is the Founder, CEO, and Chairman of the Board of SiteSell Inc. He is the creator of SBI!, SiteSell's comprehensive Web business-building system. Ken is also a successful inventor, author, and emergency physician. He feels strongly that solopreneurs can be empowered by leveraging their income building potential online.
  • Ken – this is a fantastic and long-awaited study to set the records straight. In full disclaimer, I’ve been with Solo Build It since 2010 (and here in SBI still with > 4 sites with you all =D), since it was called Site Build It. I was a WA member for about 1+ year (on off) to try out WordPress since most of my online success was on Solo Build It, marketing my physical therapy practice (SBI platform with lots of content helped me get an average of 10+ new patients every month since 2010, but I had failed miserably with WordPress).

    I was curious about why there seems to be so many people succeeding with WordPress (think of superstars like Pat Flynn, Ramit Sethi etc) so I wanted to find a platform who has success with it. I joined WA to try it out and then I became a premium member because of all their premises eg $47/month for up to 25+ WordPress sites (domains paid separately, about $11-12/domain), and for those who love WordPress, this is fairly cheap because their hosting IS fast. And they had a speedy support and forum and some successes (I spent much of my time in WA success discussion forum)

    Truth to be told, their Bootcamp does do this BUT I would have to say not everyone takes the bait-and-switch route. Many of them DO have conscience and do things the write way, just some of the misled one who doesn’t know better AND/OR had done it so long that they’re too deep in to back out.

    In fact, I feel comfortable enough to even promote WA….BUT I refused to do the launchjacking bait-and-switch approach that is so prevalent, because I JUST CANNOT write about stuff I don’t know and hadn’t tested about (ie how WA members can write about SBI/other platforms and say WA is better when they don’t know better) but allowing the free basic membership for life is a good and lower barrier for most newbies. I agree with this.

    However, I pulled the plug on my membership this year because I was told by the founders that there is no refund (I had paid close to 600 days in advance because of some promotions) BECAUSE they had paid the referring affiliate HIS affiliate commissions and thus they cannot refund ANY parts to me, and I just have to sit and wait out my remaining 597 days. I strongly disagree with this, WA optimized for taking care of their affiliates and themselves rather than a customer, which made me deeply dissatisfied as a user and customer. Hence I pulled out my membership and in all my WordPress posts, I indicated that I am no longer promoting WA because of the reasons above.

    I wrote a few articles on this:
    http://www.nigelchua.com/passive-income-lifestyle/wealthy-affiliate-my-personal-experience-and-honest-review/
    http://www.nigelchua.com/passive-income-lifestyle/no-longer-promoting-wealthy-affiliate/
    http://www.nigelchua.com/passive-income-lifestyle/i-just-pulled-my-membership-from-wealthy-affiliate/
    http://www.nigelchua.com/passive-income-lifestyle/wealthy-affiliate-doesnt-provide-refunds/

    In my internet marketing blog at nigelchua.com, though I recommend self-hosted WordPress, SBI is my de-facto platform to build successful online businesses and to marketing offline businesses, with strong action guide, less distraction, lower cost long term-wise etc (article here: http://www.nigelchua.com/make-money-online/my-1-recommendation-for-online-success-solo-build-it-sbi/).

    I also compared self hosted WordPress to Solo Build It here http://www.nigelchua.com/make-money-online/solo-build-it-sbi-versus-self-hosted-wordpress/

    I also recommend other training platform which is Mark Ling’s Affilorama which is great to give directions for newbies (I benefited a lot from learning and understanding the 18 tried and tested timeless niches etc).

    Ken/Solo Build It, I am aware I placed quite a few links here, but I feel and think that it’s relevant – kindly remove them at your discretion ya.

    • Thanks for that, Nigel. While I agree that the refund policy is obnoxious and that you got a raw deal, the real reason to leave is the extremely low success record (less than 1/3 of 1% of sites in the Top 1M).

      We did not find any “cherries” that we would want to pick from WA for SBI! – and believe, me, we’re big believers in incorporating good ideas from anyone! 🙂

      Watch for Part 3 of The Study – I’m polishing it up now so will keep this short. Bottom line on the WA vs SBI! study…

      When one product (SBI!) outperforms the other by 30-fold, there’s never a reason to recommend WA. These and other results are flat-out facts, nothing to discuss. Aside from that, though…

      I detest apparent self-serving policies that disfavor their own customers and affiliates, a mindset which I find to be unethical. And while I’m sure they have some honest affiliates, the fact is that their affiliates clog up the search results with fake reviews (175 product list!) – in my opinion, that starts to border on fraud. In another post, I linked to a lawsuit about this type of misleading behavior which comes from their training materials.

      I have no idea if they are better than “Affilorama” or not and don’t really care. But I do know there are similar fake reviews from WA over there, too. What I do know is that their SBI! reviews are fake because SBI! flat-out beats them at every level except for the worst one – Alexa or SimilarWeb > 30M and SEMrush =0 (no traffic, basically). They have a huge lead over us in failure. So all those recommendations hardly reflect honest, balanced reviews.

      Anyway..

      The Study will put an end to many other misconceptions, even beyond WA. For example, NO sitebuilder software makes a substantial difference to success. It’s the PROCESS along with the combination of right tools that matters (sitebuilding is just one of the 10 “DAYS” of the Action Guide). And finally, a great community to “help and be helped” on all matters related to business.

      So when you were wondering…

      “about why there seems to be so many people succeeding with WordPress”

      It’s because there are 10s of millions of users. You only see the winners. Find “Survivorship Bias” in Wikipedia. We’ll be extending our study to other sitebuilders such as WordPress and Wix, web hosts like GoDaddy, etc, and will paint a comprehensive picture of solopreneur success/failure.

      And don’t get me wrong…

      We like WP. It took me a long time to realize that it was not a competitor, just a good CMS with a fantastic plugin system (which also makes it more compex to figure out). So we created a version of SBI! just for it. In the same way that SBI! clears the path so folks can focus on business, we sort out WP for those with SBI! for WP. Man, I was pretty dense on that one….

      http://www.sitesell.com/sbiforwp

      Anyway, onward and upward. Thanks very much for your support.

      All the best,
      Ken

      • #1 Ken, this makes perfect sense:

        “why there seems to be so many people succeeding with WordPress”

        It’s because there are 10s of millions of users. You only see the winners. Find “Survivorship Bias” in Wikipedia. We’ll be extending our study to other sitebuilders such as WordPress and Wix, web hosts like GoDaddy, etc, and will paint a comprehensive picture of solopreneur success/failure.

        #facepalm #shinyobjectproblem

        #2: This is super: When one product (SBI!) outperforms the other by 30-fold, there’s never a reason to recommend WA. These and other results are flat-out facts, nothing to discuss. Aside from that, though…

        I have always known/felt my outcomes with SBI was better than any of my WP ones, but I didn’t know it’s 30-to-1! Looking forward to the part 3 =DDD

        #3: “I detest apparent self-serving policies that disfavor their own customers and affiliates, a mindset which I find to be unethical. And while I’m sure they have some honest affiliates, the fact is that their affiliates clog up the search results with fake reviews (175 product list!) – in my
        opinion, that starts to border on fraud. In another post, I linked to a lawsuit about this type of misleading behavior which comes from their training materials.”

        Yeah, I’m sad to see how it’s hardwired into the training module to encourage newbies (who probably didn’t know better) to just “follow the program”…and that created monster levels of artificially inflated/induced backlinks and rehashed “my #1 recommendation”…I hope they get Google slapped massively for this.

        #4: Affilorama – it’s an old training program by Mark Ling, and one of the few benefits of it is that it provides 18 “tried and tested niches” (one still need to niche in further), 1-year’s worth of pre-written newsletter and support. Funnily enough, I’m using what I learnt from there AND placing into a NEW SBI that I just signed up for – I love to test and R&D. If it works well, I think it’s a good to share with SBI because there is a guide (that 18 “proven niches” was very helpful to me, as it gave me a sort of “roadmap”)

        Looking forward to your part 3 Ken! Thank you!

  • boreirar

    Very interesting and I agree with every point you made. If someone hosted at WA and left to host elsewhere because of the lack of control, no Cpanel etc, then they have a huge learning curve ahead of them.

    I think every WA member should read your post. It is morally and factually correct. I too hate the idea of dreams being shattered after so much effort. Why not offer a special deal for WA members to go to SBI?

    You would have my respect for walking the talk and staying true to your values.

    Best wishes,
    Ben

    • Aj Allen

      sorry, should have been new post and not a reply.

    • Haha, we’re on the same wavelength, boreirar. I don’t think we could leave that up as a standing offer (but I’ll ask my CFO to run the numvers).

      That said, for now, I do believe in value for value. I know what the success and failure rates are and we’ve evaluated all their materials, etc. So we understand why they have the track record that no one seems to know about – if we were anywhere near that, I’d close the company, give everyone their money back and wish them the best.

      And their affiliates (some of them) say that “SBI does not work?” Whoa! ✋

      What I’d most like to know from folks who use Wealthy Affiliate is why they stay. We’re also working on a second mystery…

      We have a reasonable idea about what happens to folks who write really ugly reviews – I think i wrote in our forums about one case who had to take down his page because he was being sued.

      —–SIDEBAR—–
      Here is the long version of how this unfolded in a series of 16 posts in the forums…
      https://forums.sitesell.com/viewtopic.php?p=1369913#p1369913

      And here’s the TLDR of that…
      https://forums.sitesell.com/viewtopic.php?f=64&t=222514

      OK, I found it. Here’s the proof for that legal case….
      https://forums.sitesell.com/viewtopic.php?p=1370757#p1370757
      —–SIDEBAR—–

      And I think my “terrier” has found another one or two. Another site changed around dramatically from totally anti-WA to pro. So odd things are happening under the water’s surface. That’s still a bit of a puzzle, but we have a real terrier of a digger. She’ll figure it out – it’s all part of forming a complete profile of who we’re up against.

      So here’s the value for value….

      I’d like to know what keeps folks there. Is it a social thing? Do they believe that many others are succeeding and that their time will come? Are they under a spell. 😉

      —–SIDEBAR—–
      We have critics who used to call me a “cult leader” (Charles Manson, even!) because we tell folks “you follow your niche with RSS and we’ll take care of all the rest. Put the blinders on and focus on your business.”

      it’s great business-building advice. The reality is that time is limited. If you’re spending it reading articles on the latest hare-brained affiliate marketing trick or mobile app, you’re NOT spending it on an activity that can move your BUSINESS ahead.

      Sure, if you like Danny Sullivan’s SEO coverage, put him on your RSS feel. But keep that to the lowest minimum possible.

      For that, I’m branded as a cult leader? A mind-control freak who wants to own them forever?

      If that’s true, I’d love to know what Kyle’s secret is. 😉 Sorry – just having a little fun with this – we really don’t get it.
      —–SIDEBAR—–

      So here’s the bottom line…

      We see a business, from what we’ve seen, that uses both its customers and its affiliates for their benefit and to the solopreneur’s disadvantage. We see a product that is dominated by failure for all the obvious reasons, and the only ones who succeed are basically exceptions to the rule.

      What we can’t figure out is why people stay when 87% are in the zero/near-zero traffic category and only 53/17000 (less than 1/3 of 1%) build enough traffic to be in the Top 1M at Alexa (worse than that at SimilarWeb and SEMrush)?

      I would love to hear from WA users about what keeps them there.

      I’ll trade that for SBI! at $249 to active WA users. Same message as I gave you, boreirar…

      Please contact Support…

      http://support.sitesell.com/contact-support.html

      Let them know that I said you could have your first year at $249 instead of $299. They may have to figure out how to do this (ex., PayPal and then set you up with a free copy).

      If there’s enough interest and my CFO says we can make it work, we’d have to create a special page for WA users. So don’t hold your breath on that – we’re in the midst of a some heavy dev including a major release on our brainstormer that is going to become sort of an ongoing helper/partner, spotting opportunities, problems, etc. We’re super-excited about that.

      And this is important…

      I can’t guarantee it’s for you. It’s deeper and will push you harder. So if you try it, wipe your mental slate – some concepts will be familiar, much will be new and most importantly, when we contradict what you “know,” trust the Action Guide. 🙂

      Don’t skip ANY step because it’s basic. Every successful SBIer will tell you the same thing…

      “Follow the AG.”

      If you don’t like it, just refund within 90 days.

      All I’d like in return is some insight into the only mystery that we can’t figure out. I should have addded that we know their churn rate is high. Average lifespan is only about 5 months, we figure.

      Their attrition rate is more than double ours but they absolutely kill us on sales…

      1) the 360,000 pages created by “busy work” has grown their long tail traffic. I have nothing against using real content, with the user’s knowledge. But when they incentivize activity that is not YOUR top priority, I don’t agree with that. And judging from the activity board on the home page, there’s a lot of that.

      2) and the affiliates that head off future SBIers at the critical moment do the rest.

      So they kill us on sales and we’ve got to change that. it makes no sense, given the product. Then, when you lift the veil and see the secret, it’s not pretty.

      But now that we know, we’ll figure this out.

      I’d just really like to know why more don’t leave. If you could let folks know the value for value deal, I’d love to greet new WA users into the SBI! family. No matter what type of nonsense reason that folks concoct about SBI!, The Study is the only answer we need.

      We learned (the hard way) that debating “bait” is a massive waste of time and counter-productive. Now, with the study, we plan to “de-bait.” 🙂

      Thanks very much for all your comments. I’ve learned – for you (only), tell Support $199.

      Warm regards,
      Ken

      p.s. Same warning about typoos. 🙂

      • boreirar

        Ken,
        “I’d like to know what keeps folks there. Is it a social thing? Do they believe that many others are succeeding and that their time will come? Are they under a spell. ;-)”

        In my opinion all of the above and more.

        I would suggest signing up for a 7 day free trial, and then the discounted month and view the activity log.

        I think you would be horrified about what you see there. And saddened for the people who signed up in dire straits hoping to provide for their future.

        Have a look at newcomers asking when they can expect to make money. And observe the answers. I am at this a long time and I know people have no idea what is needed to succeed.

        The community aspect takes over and people are using it like Facebook. Some even just post daily motivational quotes. Quote of the day etc.

        The answer to that is that people are free to do what they like. They paid their membership. But the rules say posts should be business related.

        Rule no 8: Do not post content that is irrelevant to the online business world or your respective journey through the online world. Anything that is “niche” specific should be posted on your external websites.

        Not enforced and a complete waste of your time when the feed is full of them.

        Rule 2: No copied content allowed to be posted here at Wealthy Affiliate. This content will be immediately removed and you will lose posting privileges.

        Lost posting and reply privileges for weeks over trying to stop this, as members were being duped into thinking poster was an expert in his field.

        He was posting PLR content which was obvious to me and letting everyone think he was writing it all himself. It was pitiful to see the comments. Comments like they don’t know where he gets the time to write so much, they will never get to that level etc.

        The funny thing is I believe you are rewarded financially for creating ‘training’ like that.

        So I could not participate because 10 members pressed the Spam button which an algorithm then automatically banned me. Could not even PM the owners!

        As one astute member said recently – ‘The blind leading the blind’

        Regards,
        Ben

    • Ben, I answered this, but our spam detector seems to be running awry. You raised the point higher up about WA users who just don’t see the bad track record and how they are being used.

      That totally puzzle us, too.

      I’ll get the admin to unblock the answer – I’d love to hear from folks about why they think people don’t see it. We’ve prettty much figured out how their entire business runs, but not this

      If some folks over there are interested in SBI! at a special price, I’ll trade them a special price of $249 for their opinion on this “mass blind spot.”

      (full answer to follow when it gets unblocked)

      All the best,
      Ken

  • Leanne RichWill

    I appreciate this post Ken. I too, was greeted by the negative reviews of WA after a google search. This review was done through an affiliate but what I found interesting was the double standard approach of the affiliate. She said WA was the #1 method for building a business but she also had elsewhere another product she said was #1. The bias was clear by then.

    Prior to finding this fake review. I did read SBI!’s proof (if not all content) about the benefits of using content to build your business.

    I’ve been around the internet with various build an online business courses/packages for some time (even signed up for WA but quit them because of the upsells…). I’m now weary with all the talk about blogging and the underhanded approach/scheming to make money. So I appreciate the frankness of SBI! of taking a different approach to business building: finding real niches and content marketing primarily through structured webpages and not primarily through blogging. This approach is not popular but its clearly practical.

    (From a recent SBI! For WP customer)

    • boreirar

      Yes Leanne, if you were new to this whole business you would have stayed. It is sad to see so many people thinking they will succeed. I feel for them but we make our own choices. WA is the new Facebook, if you spent anymore than 5 minutes in there you will see that. As someone said previously, the blind leading the blind. Apart from 2 or three individuals giving great advice if you search for it, many do not even seem to be concentrating on building a business.

    • Leanne, you described what I think it THE most devastating of reviews. “It’s good, even really good, but I’ve got something better.” It establishes the reader as objective (after rehashing old info from other reviews) and wins a sale. Brutal and immoral.

      I wouldn’t mind if the content was actually what people expect of a review and if WA was truly bettter. Neither is the case.

      You’re right. People love to blog even though, for most (not all – some are “made to blog”), it’s the much harder way to build a business. I haven’t looked at blogorbuild.sitesell.com for a long time, but I recall the material as evergreen.

      We’re sort of like the shoemaker with a twist. We take care of our family (the SBIers), but we don’t market ourselves aggressively now. I guess we can thank WA for waking us up, even though I don’t look forward to the type of work that is necessary.

      CTPM (ctpm.sitesell.com) is an evergreen concept. It worked 100 years ago and will work 10 years from now (who can see any further out than that nowadays. What I’m trying to say is the the concept is so fundamentally “business” that it’s easy to integrate new developments as they come along, from RSS to UGC, etc.

      Thanks for writing – I’m glad you saw the light.

      You didn’t mention what you’re doing now, but if you have the time for an exciting challenge and a community where you don’t have to do 2 of these to get 1 of those, folks who just “help and be helped,” I’ll extend the same $240 offer to you.

      Just contact Support and send them to this URL so they can see I really did this. 🙂

      http://support.sitesell.com/contact-support.html

      Thanks very much for your support!

      All the best,
      Ken

  • boreirar

    Here are my stats since I joined. Bear in mind I never did reviews or setup an affiliate site promoting WA as they suggest. I wrote affiliate and marketing articles and left a link in there. But I knew it did not sit right with me, and your article has confirmed https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/704836e6cbae6c17081d273a35f37767fb57a9261171dac4277103e69a1b0e23.png that.

    • boreirar, these appear to be affiliate stats for WA (i.e, paying to work as an affiliate to sell WA). I am unable to understand how they manage to keep customers and affiliates happy, given both the failure rate at one end and the lack of success at the other. That is the only part of WA that I have not yet figured out.

      boreirar, even if you made money, it would not be not a business. It would be an undiversified money stream, high-risk and with no equity. SBI! started out as being for affiliates for the first few years, and I guess that’s where WA picked up on our concepts.

      But we have left that so far behind. Sure, still be an affiliate for programs that fit your niche (ex., my daughter is experimenting with booking.com). But as you grow, there are better models for maximizing $-per-visitor ratio.

      WA has not grown their customers. With not a lot more work, if you manage your time and focus correctly, you could be doing something that gives you pleasure, earns income and builds a business that somone would buy (2 of our Case Studies are currently selling their businesses. My daughter could sell hers for $250,000, based on conservative valuations), but has a much bigger plan to leverage her traffic and reputation.

      But I digress, I just wish they had never picked on us because the whole thing is just too depressing. It’s a non-productive use of my time and puts me in a foul mood.

      “Make money” is just a bad space to be in. I grew us up with Thoreau and Whitman and even Ayn Rand (but gentler 🙂 ). I believe deeply in the ability of the individual who dares to stick his/her tortoise neck out and put in the work to change life (whatever the goals of importance may be to that person).

      So when I have to waste the team’s time and mind to figure out how to combat this, it’s non-productive but necessary. I could write 10 pages on the subject of why “old school marketing” (i.e., basics such as “affiliate marketing” and scammy arenas such as “MMO”) are among the hardest to win for. Instead, I’ll cut to the bottom line…

      About your stats: We’ve studied WA’s “reviews.” It’s not just us they attack – there’s a list of 175 companies, many direct competitors. There are perhaps 20 who dominate. Of those 20, about 1/2 are customers. That means 10 ouf 6,000 affiliates (1/3 of 17,000) who are customers dominate. (I’m just ballparking here because the numbers are so spectacularly poor, it doesn’t matter if I’m off by 20 here or there).

      You are one of the 5,990. I’m sure you put your heart into it, but it’s the toughest space to win. One of those 10 doing well is an ex-SBIer. It broke my heart to find out because he had written us the most amazing letter in the forums thanking us for changing his life. His review said that SBI! no longer worked.

      I’m hoping that Part 3 changes his mind. I do believe that affiliates have been manipulated through constant repetition of them being the best (no proof). When those who are good realize how they are hurting others, I believe some will be quite upset and leave. If not, it will shake confidence that most people are basically good and they’ll find a way to make it OK.

      But about SBI! “not working”….

      In fact, since mid-2013, after we published 2 massive studies (that involved hundreds of SBIers gathering data with the team), we have been gaining traffic, culminating with a 40% gain (on average, across all sites) with Panda 4.

      In mid-2013, when SEOers were asking “what’s next,” I wrote to SBIers that Google had finished – NO more major dislocations were coming. They had over-corrected and put solpreneurs at a disadvantage.

      Between Google’s correcting of that in steps and SBIers making site audits and necessary corrections, traffic came roaring back.

      —–SIDEBAR—–
      Did SBI! fail at that time? Yes and no…

      SBIers had gotten too sloppy in the early years. It got so easy that many had multiple sites with mediocre content yet making money. My thinking had not matured sufficiently to see how violating the “build 1 great business and not 10 medicore ones” would ultimately hurt. We were hit late compared to others (Panda 2,5,2), but many were hurt. CTPM (ctpm.sitesell.com) didn’t let SBIers did – I just didn’t see the future clearly enough, even though I had been railing in the blog about the “content factories.”

      And Penguin was sillier. The blogosphe was link-crazy for 2-3 years prior to Penguin. Many SBIer were not only doing bad link practice, they were bringing it into the forum. I debated them that ti would not last, but it was too little, too late. I missed that we really needed more drastic measures. Now, when someone publishes something that we believe to be counter-productive (and I’m not wrong often – NO other SE algo has ever caused us pain, even major ones that had the SEO community in uproars) – now we just “red-ink” it. That means “use at you own risk, we believe this to be bad information.” If we had done that from the start, Penguin would have been a non-factors. My daughter for example was never impacted by any algo release.

      A lower % of SBIers were impacted by P&P than other solopreneurs who had traffic (remember, most don’t so there’s not much to lose). But those 2 events and the studies pushed my thinking ahead considerably.

      Only 20% of SBIers now have more than 1 site. It used to be mroe than 50% and with crazy numbers. It’s our recommendation NOT to have more than 1 until it’s well under control, monetizatioon is maxxed out, AND even the, the next domain should be related.

      CTPM didn’t fail SBIers. I missed the big picture. In both cases, I was writing about it, but didn’t realize that the inevitable algo change would impact us.

      Anyway, I digress.
      —–SIDEBAR—–

      Back to Google and mid-2013…

      I still don’t think that anyone has yet written what I said at the time. Google, based on what we sa in our data, had completed the MAJOR triumvirate of Caffeine (infrastructure), Panda (crappy content) and Penguin (SEO manipulation, largely but not only links). But they had over-corrected.

      The future for solopreneurs was strong at that point and traffic has grown steadily.

      And the future is bright due to…

      1) RankBrain’s growing importance will yield more search traffic for high-quality content

      2) Social media (if you knkow how to do it – we have major developments u nderway for SBIers for that) and

      3) mobile, more search and social.

      boreirar, we eat live and sleep this. We rejoice with SBIers usually. And we have cried with them, too. I’m upset to be victimized by fake reviews that trick affiliates into recommending a clearly inferior product (we didn’t realize how inferior, though).

      When you put up stats like that, it’s not the zeroe’s that make me saddest, its that you are paying to promote someone else’s product. I don’t get how folks don’t see they’be being used. And what’s with all that “busy activity” that builds thier long tail traffic with 366,000 pages. That time needs to be focused.

      Time is a mantra here. It’s the solopreneur’s achilles heel – limited by definition. It must ALWAYS BE USED to push YOUR business ahead.

      Anyway, when I get going on this, I can’t stop. But I do have to finish Part 3. Data is just data. You have to patient cast your fishing rod into it to see the patterns that bring out the most interesting conclusions. And I’m under the gun, since we publish that on Tuesday.

      One last thing…

      If you’d like to try SBI!, please contact Support and let them know that I said you could have your first year at $249 instead of $299. I can’t guarantee it’s for you. It’s deeper and will push you harder. So if you try it, wipe your mental slate – some will be familiar, much will be new and most importantly, when we contradict what you “know,” trust the Action Guide. 🙂

      And if you don’t like it, just refund in 90 days.

      Whatever you decide, you deserve better. Thanks for writing and wishing you only great things,
      Ken

      PS Sorry for any typoooos. This was kind of stream of consciousness, no time to proof-read. I hope I didn’t do a “not” instead of “now” or other weird misses.

      • boreirar

        Well, Ken I can add nothing further to that! Well said and I appreciate your detailed reply. I put those figures up to demonstrate the number of unique clicks which don’t turn into anything. There is lots more I don’t like but am not going to go into it here.

        I do see how people are being used. I wanted to quit in February but had signed up for the year, so cannot get anything back at all.

        I never did reviews or attacked anyone. I transferred sites because speed was so slow. I spoke out too much in the activity and lost posting privilges as a result. For weeks I could get no response as to why. Well it turns out only 10 people have to get together, press a button and you are effectively banned.

        It amazed me how people did not want to hear how they were being manipulated and distracted by members with their own agendas.

        Thank you for the offer Ken, and I will have a look tomorrow.

        Ben

        • More interesting info this note, too…

          1) I posted below about who WA user don’t seem to get upset about the poor results or that they are used. The spam filter caught it – it’ll be released in a bit.

          2) Meanwhile, you may have answered it, at least in part. We’ve read how they are liberal with censoring those with complaints such as yours.

          And like I noted in my longer post (the one caught in the filter), they seem to go after folks who put up outside web pages that are really negative about them. Links to one example and the lawsuit are included.

          3) I joked about “cult,” but this is interesting…

          “Well it turns out only 10 people have to get together, press a button and you are effectively banned.”

          That is either easy to hide behind as an excuse – the company could claim that “it’s not us” while pushing the “block” button – or there are a small group of folks to keep the culture pure.

          Ironically, while you’ll read how much we censor, the truth is that the only thing that gets you blocked in our forums is intractable trolling. There have been isolated cases of a moderator or even the admin making a bad call. Those are mistakes – it happens. The rule now is that blocks have to come to me, and there hasn’t been one in a long, long time.

          In general, though, if you read about “I was censored,” you can almost bet he (almost always a “he”) refused to stop causing fights. We used to refund those folks, but the admin prefrred to ban and leave it up to the customer if he wanted a refund. Fair enough.

          4) Refunds – SBI! refunds in full if you find it’s not for you within 90 days. It’s pro-rata after that. Their policy shows a lack of confidence in their product.

          We admire anyone who has the guts to try what is still seen as rather non-conformist by most people. The most common reason for refunding boils down to “too much work.” When someone finds out that they’d rather spend TV time with the family instead of short-term sacrificing for longer-term goals, they can at least put away the “could-woulda-shoulda” regrets of what might have been – and just enjoy life on its own terms.

          Being a solopreneur is not for everyone. All you can really do is give it a good, solid try. If you do that… Why would I want your money if it’s not for you?

          You are a wealth of information, Ben, filling in blanks and confirming some of our suspicions (it’s hard to find the hidden stuff 😉 ).

          When my longer reply below is released, I guess you can ignore making the offer to WA users – I had missed that you were blocked! Pretty draconian stuff, but it does stifle what would likely become quite an angry movement.

          Thanks very much for that.

          All the best,
          Ken

          • Hi Ken, I agree with item 4) that you mentioned, on refunds – I couldn’t agree with their non-refund policy “just because they had paid their affiliate the commissions” – ugh.

          • That’s not a good reason, Nigel (for no-refund policy). You just deduct a refund from your affiliate if you have to refund. It it turns out not to be a sale, the commission paid should just be deducted from hext payment.

            Sure, we “eat” a few that way, but if you don’t start out being fair to your customers first, you end up getting everything else wrong. This “money before customers” seems to be a recurring theme with WA.

          • Yeah Ken, I agree with that, and that’s how SBI continues to be my de-facto platform I recommend in my personal site. I have screen captures of my email conversation with one of WA co-founders on the no-refund issue at http://www.nigelchua.com/passive-income-lifestyle/wealthy-affiliate-does-not-refund-prepaid-membership-amounts/, and at the end, I recommended him to consider adding a clawback to affiliates for dropouts, but he didnt reply anymore thereafter.

            It’s sad because I was openly feeding back and conversing, and by just “dropping” the conversation, it seems that I/my feedback doesn’t matter anymore, even though I’ve spent hundreds of dollars and still had 597 days of membership in WA. It does point and feel that WA founders are optimizing for maximum dollars for themselves and affiliates and skimming/eating the customers who may be just “cash cows” to them. Ugh.

          • Taking money back from affiliates would reveal their high churn rate. So it seems they prefer to stick it to the customer. It’s not the only time that “customer comes second.”

          • Ya, and I find this very sad as a fellow business owner and investor myself – this business is artificially inflated and strengthened, AND customers get the brunt of everything: costs, results etc – sigh.

  • Aj Allen

    Well, my comment seems to have disappeared.

    As I was saying, I have been with SBI for over 10 years, and building websites for a lot longer than that. Some have been failures, some extremely successful. But it’s no coincidence that the ones that were successful were the SBI sites.

    My 2 best websites were created around topics I knew a lot about, and enjoyed writing about. When the time came to move on with other things, I sold them for a very good return.

    I do a lot of website design, graphics etc on the side, and much of that is for SBIers. It always amazes me just how successful many of those customers are. Sites that get 10,000 visitors per day or more, and incomes in the 4-5 figures a month. I wonder how many WA hosted websites can say that??

    It’s easy to claim you’re the best at something, the problem comes with supplying proof. And when I see hard facts, indisputable proof that WA are indeed what their affiliates claim…. the best – then I will quit SBI and join up with WA. But I think we all know that is never going to happen.

    Cheers, AJ

  • Claudio Ciganotto

    Hi Im working with WA currently but I want test SBI, can you send me your email? You leave me a message in my post..Many Thanks

  • Hmm…my comment seem to have disappeared.

    Anyway, finally we have this write up to clear the air and stand the ground. It’s quite annoying to have all these WA fake review sites bashing SBI even without any experience using SBI.

    Ok, I was saying:

    1) I’ve been a very satisfied customer and user of Site/Solo Build It since 2010; having built a very strong and successful website for my private physical therapy business which sends me a minimum of 10+ new patients per day. This is significant as a new client for different businesses is different, and for us, an average new patient value PER injury is between $600 – $1200. I happily recommend and endorse SBI to serious online AND offline entrepreneurs.

    2) I tested WA for about 1+ year and was happy with them enough to promote them. But this year, I stopped my membership with them as well as stopped promoting them because when I wanted to pull out, they told me that they had paid their affiliate commission so I cannot get a refund (apparently I had prepaid an additional 597 days but too bad, I have to wait it out). I disagreed with this philosophy.

    Second problem that I have with WA is that their training program that says “if you have no idea, just “enter the bait-and-switch IM sites”, which I feel hardwires new members to do so, That explains why the crazy influx of “this is bad/ok/good BUT my #1 recommendation is…” – it’s in the bootcamp training system.

    • Sorry Nigel, the comment got flagged by Discuss, it has been manually approved now and we see it below.

  • Thanks very much for that, AJ. Your comment disappeared – seems to have been a glitch in the spam detector. It was incrediblly nice of you to type it all over a 2nd time – you an probably safely delete it not. “Probably.” 🙂

    Thanks again – very much appreciated.

    Warm regards,
    Ken

    • disatqus

      Hi Ken,

      My comment seem to have disappeared for the 2nd time! Why?

      • Discus flagged you as a spammer for a few reasons. No comment history, link in the reply, etc. I approved your first comment and see it below.

        • disatqus

          Hi Jon. Thank you for the approval.

  • Aj Allen

    Ken, I looked at that “Success” page that you linked to. https://www.wealthyaffiliate.com/success/

    One part towards the bottom of the page stood out for me…

    “You Won’t Fail. We Promise.
    A bold approach to business, but one we strongly stand behind. We have never seen someone fail at Wealthy Affiliate that didn’t quit.”

    When you think about it, that promise means nothing, but it certainly looks good. Someone that has tried for years and never got anywhere, then quits because it’s not working for them, well they aren’t counted as a failure according to that definition. And somebody that has never earned a dime yet, but is still with WA can’t be classed as a failure either, because they haven’t yet failed. They are still working towards success.

    So in a sense, that statement is true. Except for the fact there are so many WA members that haven’t got any traffic or make any money. But they apparently aren’t failing. I just hope some of them read this blog post and do their own due diligence, it’s hard to argue with solid proof.

  • disatqus

    It is like the Apple and Samsung debates.

    It is also like the traditional taxi drivers thrashing out at Uber.

    We now live in the world where information travels faster than the lightning flash!

    It is all about who is doing what and who is not doing enough to meet the end user, the customers, needs, and demands.

    For the customers, all they care about and want, are the highest returns from their spendings/investments using the less sum of money.

    Frankly speaking, what you are doing at the moment is fighting fire with fire. As you have already mentioned, it consumed many person-hours to debunk the WA claims, and this is not productive!

    What you are seeing are noises to keep you off the track. When the supply is created to meet the demand, creative destruction will be the by-product. Suppliers will do anything and everything to undermine the competitions to bring the demand to their side.

    Instead of fighting back, I would strongly suggest you do something more productive. I will give you some examples below.

    You have had some customers left SBI in the past and probably now as I am writing this passages. Take a look at their email replies and feedbacks, and I am very certain they will let you know the reasons why they are leaving SBI.

    I think it will be more productive if you and your team analyze those reasons and where applicable capitalize on improving the SBI deliverables and customer experience. There must be a reason or reasons why they leave SBI! Find those reasons and make the most of them. Capitalize them. Improve on meeting/exceeding customers expectations.

    I will throw in some insights, but this is purely for points to consider, and I do not expect ten pages reply to debunk or to concur each of the pointers—you have the tendency to write very looooong reply 🙂

    1. Building Block (BB), could it be possible to replace it with TinyMCE (or something similar). Alternatively, the users could be given the option to use BB or TinyMCE (or something similar). TinyMCE makes publishing a material super easy, rather than building the material block-by-block.

    2. One SBI hosting = USD299. Could it be possible perhaps USD299 the customers could receive up to five web hostings? I am talking about hosting only here, and not the “educations” part of SBI that the customers will receive when joining SBI. For information and comparison sake, WA is a Managed WordPress Hosting provider, and it comes with 25 own domain name WordPress hosting and another 25 free websites with the xxxxx.siterubix.com hosting. For all the 25 own domain name WordPress hosting, it comes with server side speed technology (can test using the Google PageSpeed Insights to compare the speed of any websites hosted by SBI and WA), SSL, and spam blocker. The WA customers as well have access to huge WordPress plugins to consider (and of course that includes the SBI! for WP). So, for the customer segments that only consider hosting features as the key determinant, WA offers better value proposition than SBI.

    3. Using similar business model like WA, could it be possible for SBI to migrate from the current BB platform to become a Managed WordPress Hosting provider? SBI already has a rock solid technical team of system administrators working behind the scene helping fellow SBIers. I think it makes perfect business and commercial sense for SBI to migrate to become a Managed WordPress Hosting provider too. After all “WordPress was used by more than 27.5% of the top 10 million websites as of February 2017.” You have already recognized WordPress prowess via the SBI! for WP, and why not bring SBI to the next level, perhaps “SBI! @ WP.”

    4. Simplify the domain management system.

    5. Write less, and no pun intended here but sometimes less is more especially for the SBI “educations” material. Copywriting is a great tool for publicity material. However, the presentation and delivery could do better with less copywriting techniques build in the “educations” material. Cut the chase and straight to the point.

    What else SBI can do to silent the competitions?

    • Those are interesting analogies, though not altogether accurate. If you read the details of the issue here, you see that it’s NOT about one competitor offering different features or even better features. It’s about how a business and their affiliates conduct themselves online.

      So if you really want to make it about how Apple and Samsung compete, then you’d look not to their product features, but to how Apple was forced to sue Samsung for illegal business practices.

      As to your feature/option suggestions, rest assured, we have sufficient team members in place to have these conversations AND continue to work with our wonderful community members on continued product enhancements and improvements. We’ve been doing this for two decades. 😉

      • disatqus

        So, what is stopping SBI from taking legal action against WA or WA affiliate marketers for illegal business practices? It is more productive to take legal action, isn’t it 😉

        Just one legal action is enough to water down the WA or WA affiliate marketing tactics.

        I would not use number of years in service as a yardstick and gauge meter. Business as a going concern must always take stock of what the customers demand and continuously meet/exceed that demand. Never get too comfortable and rest on one’s laurels; otherwise, the competitions will eat the business alive. I have a gut feeling that majority of the ex-SBIers who left SBI are mainly because they want to migrate to WordPress platform.

        Again, I strongly believe that SBI should not fight fire with fire with WA or WA affiliate marketers. If they are doing something that is proven to be wrong, or providing false information, then take the matter to Court like Apple did to Samsung.

        The tug-of-war between SBI and WA will go nowhere.

        • We have not ruled that out, d. We choose to market the “truth” for now. If you knew the time and level of distraction of legal action, I don’t think you’d say “just” as in “just one legal action.”

          I note your “strong belief,” about fighting “fire with fire,” but “fire with fire” is not a good analogy. It implies the we are using tricks to fight fake reviews to trick people into a product that has a small fraction of SBI! chances of success. We’re using a rock-solid study that generates data to prove the truth. So…

          We’re fighting “fire with WATER” meaning that we are fighing misleading techniques with the TRUTH.

          You see, there’s just no way to hide the fact that WA’s secret is out of the bag. Somehow, and I must say that I’m quite impressed, they have proven that if you say something often enough, it does become “the truth.” But now the study provides facts that no one can dispute…

          The study shows (highlight results)…

          1) SBI! owners are 33X more likely for solopreneurs to be “Outstanding-Excellent”

          2) They are 10X more likey to land in medium-level.

          3) The ONLY category where WA “beats” SBI! was in “abject failure” (Alexa>30M, SimilarWeb >30M, SEMrush = 0).

          That’s a staggering difference that you can’t hide from.

          We prefer to get the truth out first. If a WA customer does not put 2+2 together to realize why s/he is failing, at least we informed them.

          And if WA and its affiliates (who will also be informed) don’t change behavior, they won’t be able to say “we never knew.”

          And on a final legal note, about WA customers who were misled into WA instead of SBI! (due to a fake review) and are failing? They should check with an attorney regarding the legal liability of this type of referral. Your expectation was for a fair, balance review…

          You did not get that. You lost year(s), hundreds of dollars, not to mention the pain and suffering of a needless disappointment. Search Google and you will find lawsuits on this basis – it is a fast-evolving area.

          • disatqus

            Hi Ken. Thanks for the reply. I have clarifications regarding The Study methodology.

            Was The Study based solely on WA “paid customer” that uses the Name Servers NS1.MYWAHOSTING.COM and NS2.MYWAHOSTING.COM?

            Was The Study based solely on reverse analysis of the Name Servers NS1.MYWAHOSTING.COM and NS2.MYWAHOSTING.COM?

          • Yes, identical criteria for both products. The 17,000 Wealthy Affiliate sites and 10,000 SBI! sites would HAVE to be “paid” customers to have a domain hosted on our servers (NS1.SITESELL.COM NS2.SITESELL.COM).

            The study discusses that both companies probably have a few customers who don’t use the sitebuilder and host their sites elsewhere, but it would be a small number and if they are otherwise truly using each of our products, there’s no reason to expect a difference in performance from the vast majority, and certainly not enough to change the huge difference in performance.

            We don’t count their 800,000 (?!) members, most of whom are doubtlessly long-gone free accounts, so not exactly a fair representation. It all boils down to 32,000 domains (if memory is correct), of which 17,000 are active sites. Even though we know our own traffic, of course, we apply exact same rules to our base so that we always compare apples to apples.

            Hope that helps, d

          • disatqus

            Thanks Ken for the explanations.

            Will BB be in service indefinitely, or is there plan to migrate to TinyMCE, or migrate to WordPress platform?

          • There’s no such thing as” indefinitely” online, d. 🙂

            And there is already a version of SBI! for WP users…

            http://www.sitesell.com/sbiforwp/

            That is what WA users should move to if they like WP. Or, if they’re stuck with basically zero traffic (87% of Wealthy Affiliate sites, per The Study), they could just start over and use the regular SBI!.

            The question, in any event, is not really relevant – for a few reasons (just off the top)…

            1) SBIers are happy with both the SiteDesigner and the sitebuilder. There are so many myths about SBI!. One of them is that its designs are clunky. See this page…
            http://www.sitesell.com/businessdesigns.html

            And the 2nd is about the builder itself. There are WA fake reviews that contain misinformation about it – I mean, they just make stuff up, vague statements that indicate user dissatisfaction. That’s wrong…

            SBIers are happy with it.

            2) NO sitebuilder has ever been shown to matter (as long as it’s not terrible). We are going to be studying this area a bit later. This study methodology has many other interesting applications.

            3) The SBI! vs. WA RESULTS are so large that it eliminates the importance of opinions, feature review, etc. etc. etc That may sound drastic, but think about it…

            If you want RESULTS, what difference does anything else matter when SBI! is 30X better at delivering high-traffic sites?

            Hope that helps. 🙂

    • Thanks, disatqus, for a thoughtful post. Unfortunately, in the midst of ‘all my words,” you seem to have missed the main points and somehow got the impression that we don’t think about our customers or improving SBI!.

      I’ll answer your general comments simply with how this post starts…

      “At Sitesell (SBI!), we are always improving our methods and tools to better serve our customers. Since launching SBI! in 2002, we have taken great pride in enabling more solopreneurs to build profitable businesses than any other product.”

      So yes, improving SBI! never stops. It evolves with the times and adds new features to grow The SBI! Advantage year after year.

      One thing before I get into the meat…

      This is not really like “Samsung vs Apple” (unless you mean Samsung Note 7 and its flaming battery – sorry, it was too easy to resist that joke ;-).

      Your specific points show you don’t really understand SBI!. For example…

      This concept of having many “sites” (for the same price) is a common one, and a sign of immature thinking (not you, specifically – I mean in general) about online business-building.

      Any solopreneur only ever has enough time to build ONE business at a time. SBIers don’t “put up sites,” they build ONE honest-to-goodness genuine business that grows profits AND equity.

      Later, when time allows and if they have added help (many don’t want to), they may decide to start a second BUSINESS (ideally, related to the first, so they can leverage the success). They are delighted to pay $299 because they understand the concept.

      And on another note about that…

      During the CTPM process (ctpm.sitesell.com), SBIers get a lot more traffic than anyone else. We couldn’t afford to make the offer you suggest, even if we believed in the concept of building multiple sites at a time.

      You go set up 10 sites at GoDaddy, grow them all to 5,000 visitors per day, and then tell me if you’re still paying $10 per month at GoDaddy. Well…

      – not only is it impossible to build 10 successful businesses to that level (while remaining a SOLOpreneur)..

      – you’d be paying as much as SBI! costs per month, if you ever did accomplish that magic.

      But none of this matters.

      Here’s what does matter…

      I’ll boil this down to our opinion of how we see the situation, keeping it real short.

      Imagine this business case study, a study of 2 companies that each market only one product, both for the same target market…

      1) Company A claims success with theirs (zero proof). They repeat that (a ton!) to their affiliates who end up believing it.

      They amplify that story, focusing near-totally on fake product reviews. They never prove success in any verifiable way (i.e., PROVIDE DOMAIN WITH STORY) for a simple reason…

      They can’t. Any company does when they can, but they don’t.

      2) Company B gets caught up as a target for those fake reviews.

      Company B, though, not only claims success, it proves it in VERIFIABLE ways (proof.sitesell.com).

      So claims of “oh I made $500 last month” in A’s “forums” is not proof of success, just an unverifiable claim. Incentivized activity in their forums is only a sign of creating content for the company – it’s not fruitfully moving together toward success.

      And oddly, almost none of those folks mention their domain, nor does the company provide it in their own forums for other customers to see. It’s all hidden for some reason.

      3) A’s fake review have varying content about Co. B’s product. Some trash the much-better product, some pretend to be fair. But it’s all generalities, rehashes of other reviews (as they are trained to do), etc. Here’s the closer, though…

      They all link back to the very first review they wrote, for Co. A. Then that links to A’s inferior product. They do this for the money, calling Co. A’s product “the best” or “#1” and so forth. Now…

      Those affiliates believe Company A’s claims. So they probably believe they’re doing the visitor a service. That’s fair enough if they really believe that.

      The content of the review rarely constitutes a fair and balanced assessment, so most are still fake reviews. But, they figure, “if B is so crappy, any bad info I find about it must be true.”

      Whatever, their conscience about the referral to A is clean even thought it’s misleading. They have, in short, been misled to mislead, at least as it relates to B’s product.

      Bottom line result: Someone is searching for a review of Product B. They find a review that is actually a sales pitch leading into A’s sales funnel. That’s almost the perfect definition of “fake review.”

      SUMMARY: Company B is being attacked by Company A, which has a dismally inferior product, misleading people into believing that it is better through reviews that aren’t really the reviews that searchers believe them to be.

      They are misled to A’s product, which hurts their chances enormously. Remember, we’re not talking about a flaming Note 7 by Samsung. We’re talking about losing a year or more of one’s life and hundreds of dollars – worst of all, broken spirits and dreams.

      So those stakes are much higher than “which smartphone.”

      Co. B knows the truth. And A almost surely knows it, too (their own database shows they can’t match B’s public proof, which is only PART of the story).

      You can see why I say “attack” – thousands of affiliates write reviews about competitors, including Co. B’s product. 10-20 of those people invariably jam the SERPS with those reviews (the rest fail).

      And those reviews are right at the point where the person is about to decide, “which product?”

      ALL of those affiliates are in the “make money” space (i.e., “MMO,” “affiliate marketing,” etc). THAT is THE space that Company B advises ITS clients to stay out of because it is a depressing, cynical, and difficult niche to win (some very competent pros have been doing this for years – many aren’t even A’s customers).

      Given this situation, d., do you really believe that Company B’s best strategy is what you outlined above? Sorry, disatqus…

      Any serious business person would tell you that Company B has no choice but to…

      1) reveal the truth and unmask Company A. Part 3, today, finishes that story

      2) rally its customers to write their own stories. THEY know the truth, how much Co. A’s product has meant to them.

      3) promote that difference widely so the world knows (let’s leave the details out).

      4) More specifically, Co. A’s customers need to know how they may have ended up there, and WHY they are almost all flat-out failing.

      Their affiliates need to know so that the honest ones who believed they were doing good can change their course and REALLY help people.

      The ones who don’t will have to live with destroying the goals and dreams of others, people just like them, people who are just starting out or who may have learned quite a bit over the years (some of it wrong) and have never been able to truly go beyond banking a few hundred dollars here and there.

      Their reaction to learning the truth will define them as what kind of people they really are. There’s no more hiding.

      I really DO thank you for your comments, d. I’ll bring this back to SBI! now.

      If you look at if from OUR perspective, I think you’ll see it differently.

      We already DO have the best product. And we know it. We put up PROOF of it. Everyone understands that THAT is marketing/sales. The smart ones dig a bit deeper and examine the actual domains, check the traffic. Some even contact the owner.

      They realize, “no one else does this. But any company would if it could.”

      THAT is what make DOMAIN INCLUSION such a key part of PROOF. It’s THE most important part of all.

      But most folks need more. They search for reviews, normally a good idea.

      Here, though, they fall into a fake review trap. It works well – Wealthy Affiliate WAY-WAY outsells us. They also churn failure like crazy, the result of the customer realizing what WA is all about and that they won’t succeed with it.

      We do get folks who join SBI! after WA. They see the HUGE difference. They also set about in a very different way towards building something that matters in ways you only really “get” as it grows.

      But, at the end of the day….

      The only HUGE difference that matters are the results from a full, objective, reproducible study that measures the traffic results of every single site from both companies. And on that note…

      Watch for Part 3 later today.

      We’ll keep making SBI! better, of course. It’s a constant “work in progress.” But that doesn’t preclude us from becoming much stronger, more aggressive-yet-honest, marketers.

      I hope that summary helps clarify the issues.

      Warm regards,

      Ken Evoy

      • disatqus

        It is very unfortunate SBI, and WA has to go to these paths. Also, it is also unfortunate for the general public that both companies are privately owned; otherwise it will be interesting to see which company is making or losing revenues and profits.

        • stevy888

          Looking at this objectively. the only unfortunate thing is WA’s immoral tactics, which is likely going to bring a law suit by ONE of the 175 companies which they encourage fake reviews on .. i think it’s good for any company and every company in all markets to do factual comparable studies so the consumer has facts and not hot wind, to make an informed choice … dishonest reviews verse factual studies, there’s only one unfortunate path there.

          • Thanks for that Stevy. The other likelihood is that several of the 175 will join together.

            But the biggest unfortunate outcome of “WA’s immoral tactics” is the diminished future of the solopreneur who searches for a review of our product. The person who gets fooled by the fake review into using WA has 1/33rd of the chance of “Excellent-Outstanding” level of Success, and around 1/10th the chance of building medium-level success. Where are they most likely going to end up if they go to WA?…

            HINT: 87% of WA sites are in the “Invisible” category of the study (i.e, Alexa, SW >30,000,000 or SEMrush = 0).

            THAT’s the disaster here. We believe that the solopreneur who dares to stick out her/his neck to build an online business to reach a goal that has important impact for her/him and their family, well… THEY DESERVE BETTER than being tricked to go to the inferior product, as proven by The Study.

            And regarding your comment…

            “i think it’s good for any company and every company in all markets to do factual comparable studies”

            Absolutely! Once you see how badly SBI! beats WA, all the marketing-speak disappears. It answers the ONLY QUESTION that the solopreneur wants to know…

            “Where am I most likely to succeed.”

            We plan on studying Wix, WordPress and other solopreneur-built sites that deliver the only thing that matters – ONLINE BUSINESS SUCCESS.

            There’s a ton of misinformation on us, a side effect of being the best since 2002. The motives are never about finding the best product – always an ulterior motive. Now we cut through all that with one simple answer…

            The solopreneur’s best chance is right HERE.

  • disatqus

    Hmm…my comment seem to have disappeared?

    Repost …

    It is like the Apple and Samsung debates.

    It is also like the traditional taxi drivers thrashing out at Uber.

    We now live in the world where information travels faster than the lightning flash!

    It is all about who is doing what and who is not doing enough to meet the end user, the customers, needs, and demands.

    For the customers, all they care about and want, are the highest returns from their spendings/investments using the less sum of money.

    Frankly speaking, what you are doing at the moment is fighting fire with fire. As you have already mentioned, it consumed many person-hours to debunk the WA claims, and this is not productive!

    What you are seeing are noises to keep you off the track. When the supply is created to meet the demand, creative destruction will be the by-product. Suppliers will do anything and everything to undermine the competitions to bring the demand to their side.

    Instead of fighting back, I would strongly suggest you do something more productive. I will give you some examples below.

    You have had some customers left SBI in the past and probably now as I am writing this passages. Take a look at their email replies and feedbacks, and I am very certain they will let you know the reasons why they are leaving SBI.

    I think it will be more productive if you and your team analyze those reasons and where applicable capitalize on improving the SBI deliverables and customer experience. There must be a reason or reasons why they leave SBI! Find those reasons and make the most of them. Capitalize them. Improve on meeting/exceeding customers expectations.

    I will throw in some insights, but this is purely for points to consider, and I do not expect ten pages reply to debunk or to concur each of the pointers—you have the tendency to write very looooong reply 🙂

    1. Building Block (BB), could it be possible to replace it with TinyMCE (or something similar). Alternatively, the users could be given the option to use BB or TinyMCE (or something similar). TinyMCE makes publishing a material super easy, rather than building the material block-by-block.

    2. One SBI hosting = USD299. Could it be possible perhaps USD299 the customers could receive up to five web hostings? I am talking about hosting only here, and not the “educations” part of SBI that the customers will receive when joining SBI. For information and comparison sake, WA is a Managed WordPress Hosting provider, and it comes with 25 own domain name WordPress hosting and another 25 free websites with the xxxxxdotsiterubixdotcom hosting. For all the 25 own domain name WordPress hosting, it comes with server side speed technology (can test using the Google PageSpeed Insights to compare the speed of any websites hosted by SBI and WA), SSL, and spam blocker. The WA customers as well have access to huge WordPress plugins to consider (and of course that includes the SBI! for WP). So, for the customer segments that only consider hosting features as the key determinant, WA offers better value proposition than SBI.

    3. Using similar business model like WA, could it be possible for SBI to migrate from the current BB platform to become a Managed WordPress Hosting provider? SBI already has a rock solid technical team of system administrators working behind the scene helping fellow SBIers. I think it makes perfect business and commercial sense for SBI to migrate to become a Managed WordPress Hosting provider too. After all “WordPress was used by more than 27.5% of the top 10 million websites as of February 2017.” You have already recognized WordPress prowess via the SBI! for WP, and why not bring SBI to the next level, perhaps “SBI! @ WP.”

    4. Simplify the domain management system.

    5. Write less, and no pun intended here but sometimes less is more especially for the SBI “educations” material. Copywriting is a great tool for publicity material. However, the presentation and delivery could do better with less copywriting techniques build in the “educations” material. Cut the chase and straight to the point.

    So, what else SBI can do to silent the competitions?

  • disatqus

    Hmm…my comment seem to have disappeared for the 2nd time! Why?

  • Mary O’Donnell

    I’m finding several points here to be untrue, for example I’ve tried their two free websites and found a lot of value to them and have seen people get both rankings, traffic and income on them. But that isn’t even their purpose – it looks like whoever wrote this review has succumbed to the very thing they criticize WA of doing!

    • stevy888

      hey mary how are you ?

      “You said several points here to be untrue” … could you please point out the exact points

      The WA free site rubix is a sub-domain … it’s basically impossible to get good rankings with that, even if you create a nice looking site … you said it’s not there purpose to get money or rankings (and if that isn’t there purpose then WA really is for them)

      but making a nice looking site isn’t really what internet marketing is all about (if you want a free website i recommend a free blogger blog … free wordpress one … or a free tumblr if you like to do image blogging … yeah or even WA if you want a free blog which makes no money …..

      The issue is WA is not marketed as just a free blog , but rather a place to make money, so should be judged on how successful the people who sign up to it …. if you check out the objective results of the comparison study in post number 3 … you’ll see SBI carries at 3,300 percent better chance of success for people who go with it ..

      sounds crazy marketing hype … the methodology though is released for all to see …

      It’s good when searchers for business builders are able to make an informed choice .. i think that’s the real value of the success comparison study

      .

    • stevy888

      hey mary how are you ?

      “You said several points here to be untrue” (in the above post) … could you please point out the exact points

      The WA free site rubix is a sub-domain … it’s basically impossible to get good rankings with that,(just like you said in your comment), … you said it’s not their purpose to get money or rankings (and if that isn’t their purpose then you’re right, WA really is for them) … however most people do sign up for WA to make money not just for a nice looking site …

      Making a nice looking site isn’t really what internet marketing is all about (if you want a free website i recommend a free blogger blog … free wordpress one … or a free tumblr if you like to do image blogging … yeah or even WA if you want a free blog which makes no money ….. the best way to judge success of a business builder is by money or traffic .. so the business builder which helps clients get more traffic is the better bet

      The issue is, WA is not marketed as just a free blog , but rather a place to make money, so should be judged on how successful the people who sign up to it …. if you check out the objective results of the comparison study in post number 3 … you’ll see SBI carries at 3,300 percent better chance of success for people who go with it ..

      sounds crazy marketing hype … the methodology though is released for all to see …

      It’s good when searchers for business builders are able to make an informed choice .. i think that’s the real value of the success comparison study

      • Stevy888 (are those 8’s for “good luck?” 🙂 ),

        You said it perfectly, including this…

        “sounds [like] crazy marketing hype”

        It’s the one thing that worried us the most. It sounds unbelievable. Either SBI! is so good or WA is so bad, or both, we ended up with a number that sounds impossible.

        But it DOES sound impossible. And then you made the right comment…

        “the methodology though is released for all to see”

        And to do, I’d add. 🙂

        As we studied their product materials and reviewed a samping of their sites (which you can get through whois.domaintools.com, our estimates of how much better SBI! sites must be – it kept going up.
        (It gets depressing looking at their sites, knowing how much better they could be doing. I was never in SiteSell for the money – this was about enabling good people to take advantage of an incredible window in history to take back some joy and freedom in life, establish a degree of self-reliance by building a profitable online business that grows equity – we’re not about “MMO”.)

        But back to the results…

        3,300% means 33x more likely to place a site in the “Outstanding-Excellent” range. That’s crazy high. But the study is easy enough to perform. If someone doesn’t have the skills, they can hire a programmer at any of the free-lance sites to do it for them for $100. They’ll get the same results.

        So all we can say to folks who don’t believe it…

        We don’t blame you…

        But do the study for yourself (EXACT steps are in Part 2). You’ll get the same results (you can see for yourself in Part 3 how close our 2 versions of the 2 studies were, 1 month apart…

        We re-did it totally from scratch – new Alexa Top 1M, new sets of sites that met the definition of “active” site, and so forth. Exact same “rules” for both SBI! and WA.

        And exact same results. The up-and-down minor (random) deviations (in the line graph of Part 3) are all the more impressive when compared to the massive gap beween the peformance levels.

        Thanks, Stevy888 (“888” for short? 😉 ). It’s a good point that many just seem to miss or ignore.

        • stevy888

          Haha .. so can we do the study ourselves without buying sem rush /Alexa / similar web ?

          Programing isn’t the problem .. I just thought I needed to get a premium subscription to some of those tools (?)

    • Hi Mary! Thanks for stopping by.

      You raise a couple of interesting points.

      First, this comparison isn’t about whether or not a someone can get value out of a free site – that’s entirely up to the site owner and what they perceive as value. If you’re building a side business and are happy making a little extra money, that’s a win for you! We love celebrating those successes with our own members as they create their own spaces within their niche.

      However, it’s hard to argue that, at the end of the day, if you want to earn a real income from an online business you’re going to need high levels of traffic, and in order to get that high traffic, you’re going to need a site that’s recognized by Google and others as an authority. While not impossible, the odds of achieving that with a free subdomain are against you. If you’ve personally beaten those odds, Kudos to you! I’d love to see what you’ve built.

      Second, the criticisms leveled at WA and many of the WA affiliates through these articles are that they:

      – mislead prospective solopreneurs
      – misrepresent what Solo Build It! offers
      – mistakenly repeat lies and fabrications

      These are serious claims and we’ve gone to great lengths to verify and demonstrate our concerns with how Wealthy Affiliate and their surrogates are conducting themselves.

      Now, you claim that we’re doing the very thing we criticize WA for doing. If that was the case, you would NOT be reading about it here on our blog. Instead, you’d be seeing thousands of fake reviews from OUR affiliates pouring into the Internet based on templates and instructions by our affiliate manager.

      Rather, we’ve decided to take the high road and defend ourselves with facts and data. I know this will be painful for Wealthy Affiliate users and surrogates to read, but it’s the truth.

      Many of you have been shown numbers, like “850,000 affiliates,” without being told what that means.

      Many of you have been misled into believing that it’s OK to disparage another company.

      Many of you have been shielded from any negative commentary about WA through censorship.

      The truth is, most of you have been led into this pattern of deception and just needed an outside company, rather than individual affiliates, to stand up for themselves.

      The sad truth is, there seem to be very few truly wealthy Wealthy Affiliate users. I know there will always be exceptions, and I’ve even seen some people who started with WA, worked hard, and created success for themselves. We are truly happy to celebrate their successes as much as any SBIer!

      Because if you think this is about bashing a competitor, you’ve completely missed the point.

      Our concern is with making sure that every individual who wants to follow their dreams and build a real online business is given the tools and opportunity to do so. If that means they choose to use Wix or Squarespace or even WA to get there, it doesn’t matter to us so long as they’re getting the help they need.

      • Mary O’Donnell

        you claim to have taken ‘the high road’, there are just so many distortions and lies flying around here that it would neither be wise nor intelligent to engage you – you are your own advertisement, and while you claim some beginners to online marketing wrote a negative review about you – take a look – you are not beginners, and I stand my ground, you are not only guilty of doing all the things you accuse other people of doing but when you state you are an experienced company – then that actually makes you worse.

        I know what you are saying is not true…and you are twisting my words in your response the same way you twist your entire review…the truth will win in the end.

    • Please send URLs. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read this. It’s like the urban myth. You never find the actual person it happened to. Send me the full URL, please.

      And please add what value you got out of those 2 freebies – did you go on to build a paid site (the only real purpose of the freemium)? If so, please send the domain name. At the end of the day, did all that end up as a business success?

      REAL proof is VERIFIABLE. Every one of our success stories always comes with the domain so you can dig as deeply as you like for the truth (traffic, quality of site content, even contact the owner)…

      There are 500 on results.sitesell.com, plus long-term stories some of which we’ve been tracking since 2002 and so forth on proof.sitesell.com. Where’s the WA proof of success?

      • Mary O’Donnell

        Who do you think you are that I need to prove anything to you? 😀

        Your waffle doesn’t fool me, you are paranoid and aggressive and spewing negative energy and negative lies about your competitor. You are your best advertisement, and this comment page is a disgrace – as is your review.

        • stevy888

          Actually Mary I would appreciate proof (as would hundreds of other people)

          In other words real customers would like the url’s…

          Not being aggressive but rather objective

          Serious would appreciate them .. if your not willing to back up claims for the help of people like me .. then with all respect to you , your posts are like trolling and actually ad hominem attacks on the post author (which is logical fallacy)

          Hope no offense taken but urls and proof in this murky world of internet marketing is really needed .. I’m sure you’d agree with that (?)

          By the way the methodology of the study between sbi verse wealthy affiliates is available and easily reproducible .. you can’t call those facts lies but rather “scientific”… releasing the methodology of the comparison study is one of the most impressive to anyone …

          By the way, Mary, if you prove another system better you’ll be doing us all a favor, as Ken said he would export sbi sites to that system (After consulting the customers), .. so URL’s please , it would be very helpful (you’ll save me a lot of money by doing that)… I would even call it loving me (and others)

        • boreirar

          Well Mary, I think you should relax a little. It is a fair point to ask for clarification. You stated:

          “I’ve tried their two free websites and found a lot of value to them and have seen people get both rankings, traffic and income on them.”

          What value did you get from them? What does ‘value’ mean to you?

          The fact you ‘seen people get both rankings, traffic and income on them’ without providing any proof is just hearsay.

          People can say whatever they want. Do you believe everything you read?

          Are you able to FTP into your free sites Mary? Do you know why that may be an important factor to consider?

          If your free site is doing great under your subdomain siterubix name, can you then register it and continue on?

          I know the answers, I just want to see if you do. It is extremely important to realise it.

          You state: ‘Who do you think you are that I need to prove anything to you? :D’

          Obviously you are new to the making money online scene Mary, because if you know nothing about the company and the individual you are responding to, you need to do your research.

          Do not get caught up in the sheep mentality as I believe you are doing. It is comfortable to stick with the herd and attack.

          When you engage in meaningful dialogue, and your parting shot is:

          ‘Your waffle doesn’t fool me, you are paranoid and aggressive and spewing negative energy and negative lies about your competitor. You are your best advertisement, and this comment page is a disgrace – as is your review.’

          intelligent and further debate is meaningless from this point on.

          Facts Mary is where we get the truth from. So you do need to provide them, step off the high stool and engage.

          Take the blinkers off and at least try to see the fundamentals of the debate. It would help everyone going forward. No one likes to see the hissy fit, lack of detail, accusatory comments you have made.

          It helps no one, and the point is to enable people to evaluate and make a choice based on what they have and will learn.

          You are of course entitled to your point of view, as is Ken, but at least try for it to be an un-blinkered, objective point of view, based on facts which you can prove or disprove.

        • Sorry to offend you by asking you to support a statement, Mary.

  • You’re are doing the same thing those fake reviews do, a professional company wouldn’t do this..

    • I don’t accept the premise of your argument. Fake reviews are, by definition, fake. There’s nothing fake about presenting a competitor or their affiliate’s claims, debunking those claims, presenting actual proof of success, and doing so in a way that is completely public, above-board, and verifiable.

    • Have to agree with Mike, Anis. Think about it…

      1) WA is the one that train their affiliates in a way that ends up with tons of fake reviews. Not us.

      2) WA is the one that tells their affiliates that they are the best. They do it so often that affliates believe it and feel OK about making the recommendation (that WA is the best – the smartest ones likely know better, but let’s keep it simple.)

      3) We built a professional study to reveal the truth. We let the data do the talking and it speaks rather loudly.

      Some highlights…

      A) SBI! owners are 33X more likely for solopreneurs to be “Outstanding-Excellent”

      B) They are 10X more likey to land in medium-level.

      C) The ONLY category where WA “beats” SBI! was in “abject failure” (Alexa>30M, SimilarWeb >30M, SEMrush = 0).

      Full data is at… http://www.sitesell.com/blog/2017/05/wealthy-affiliate-review-part-3.html

      Like Mike said…. “completely public, above-board, and verifiable.”

      We don’t delete forum posts that are critical of us. We don’t chase affiliates with truly fake reviews (while negative pages have been removed after threat of lawsuit from WA).

      Who’s not being professional here? How about commenting on those results?

  • Jonathan Lawes

    I came across you review/comments about the Wealthy Affiliate program after reading Mary O’Donnell’s negative comments about this within the Wealthy Affiliate community. To explain I have some access to the Wealthy Affiliate site though I am not a member neither am I customer of Sitesell so I am not in a position to comment on any of your comparisons. I can say that I can find no fault with what you have actually written about Wealthy Affiliate (WA) though.

    I wouldn’t say WA actively push the promotion of their program however they do “Suggest” that if you have any difficulty coming up with a niche to promote you can always start their Boot Camp training which does help you learn how to promote the WA program. They even provide “examples” of negative reviews of other programs, all in the name of training. Not that I think anyone would use these or even re-write them to fake honest reviews.

    I think any training program of value teaches people how to create a profitable business with the emphasis on business . This is not really what WA achieves with many of their members doing no more than blindly following what their “Gurus” proclaim to teach and do within the training sample niches. Members don’t seem to want to learn to understand their own niches and learn to research and think for themselves.

    A lot of the core training provided by WA is Ok although nothing special and nothing that could not be picked up elsewhere for free. A lot of their training is based on quite outdated practices which they dish up to their cult following who through various methods they have eating out of their hands.
    I say cult as I think a lot of members stay with WA for the community side of things which they use more of a social networking platform. On any given day you’ll find anywhere between 40% -70% of posts within the WA community praising the WA platform, training or the fact that they have paid a years membership in advance as such posts are actively encouraged by WA, I wonder why? They also seem to get ecstatic when their site has been indexed by Google ( The other WA God). Mmm!

    Does WA have 800,000 Internet Entrepreneurs ? Well it depends on your definition I guess.
    When a member joins WA they create a profile. If they decide to pay for full membership they become a premium member. However, if that member than decides to no longer pay and in effect therefore leave WA, their profile is NOT removed and still clearly visible to other members. No annotations are made to the effect that they have left and cannot be contacted anymore as they are not active members . So I would very much doubt they have 800,000 active members. but who knows? Something WA might keep secret for very good reason. Dishonest, you decide?

    Saying this there are a few successful and knowledge members within the WA community but I think these folk have the right mindset for success and would have achieved this anyway in spite of the WA training. The vast majority don’t I am afraid and spend their time passing on misguided training tips they have picked up on the grapevine without any great deal of understanding a long the way.
    A number of some of the long standing WA members, having reached Ambassador status (top 25 community participants) will not have earnt enough online income to fund even a few months of WA membership. I guess success is subjective !

    • Jonathan,

      Thanks very much for an interesting post. You sound like a careful observer of the WA scene, so this means something to me…

      “I can say that I can find no fault with what you have actually written about Wealthy Affiliate (WA) though.”

      We’ve dug amazingly deep and are starting to better understand the subtle dynamics that have been woven into WA – it’s brilliant stuff, but only leads to WA growing a business, not solopreneurs.

      Regarding this….

      “I wouldn’t say WA actively push the promotion of their program”

      They suggested that if you can’t find a niche within 15-30 minutes go into “make money.” They have changed that since we publicized this, so we’re glad that if point out defects, they’ll act once weaknesses are made public.

      But they still do subtly guide folks into “make money.” And from there, to join their affiliate program. And from there, the first step is write a review about them. And then about others. It’s all pretty relentless.

      To really see just how much they “push,” you just have to look at fact that over 1/3 of their sites are “Make money”-related. Out of millions of niches, that’s just not possible.

      We do the opposite. We provide tools, aids and techniques to find a great niche that could be either in your backyard or from 40 years ago (2 recent success stories from our blog). We tell folks to stay away from “make money.”

      It’s depressing, full of scams and has folks who have been tricking others for many years, who know all the angles. It’s not a spot from someone who wants to feel proud of their business AND succeed.

      Funny you should use the word “cult.” We have been insulted with that claim many times. I took it as compliment, like the “cult” that Apple had before it got too big. But folks meant it as an insult. It wasn’t fair because SBIers have always way outperformed the solopreneur space.

      With WA, I can say this… If I did ever want to create a cult, I would know where to go for lessons. 😉 The rules, control, lack of critical thought – all the stuff that you pointed out, makes them way more “culty” than we ever were.

      But, since I always hated that word as an insult, I won’t apply it to WA either. Let’s just say I don’t like their techniques either. We didn’t believe the claim from affiliates that said WA was better, so we designed “The Study.”

      The results now can just speak for themselves. Hard to argue with numbers like 33X more high-traffic sites and that 87% of their sites end up as undetectable traffic by Alexa, SW, SEMrush.

      It takes all the opinion and bias one may have. Affiliates could justify their actions before (since WA told them that they were the best). Not now. Most folks are basically good – when they realize the damage they do, they’ll do what’s right.

      And yes, we noticed this…

      “On any given day you’ll find anywhere between 40% -70% of posts within the WA community praising the WA platform, training or the fact that they have paid a years membership in advance as such posts are actively encouraged by WA, I wonder why? They also seem to get ecstatic when their site has been indexed by Google ( The other WA God). Mmm!”

      Once you understand the failure rate, and that folks are incentivized to post, etc, we’re finally starting to understand all that non-productive content.

      And about this…

      ” So I would very much doubt they have 800,000 active members. but who knows? Something WA might keep secret for very good reason. Dishonest, you decide?”

      No, they don’t. At best, they’ve had 800,000 freebie members, which boils down 17,00 currently active sites (as noted in the study).

      It’s marketing hyperbole, not the biggest crime, but a little tricky. 😉

      “Saying this there are a few successful and knowledge members within the WA community but I think these people have the right mindset for success and would have achieved this anyway in spite of the WA training.”

      Yes, “few” is right. 53 out of 17,000 are in the high-traffic division of the test. SBI! has 697 out of 10,000 sites (i.e., out of 7,000 fewer sites).

      Like you, I see SOME folks with the right mindset. They’d do much better at SBI!. I felt that strongly after reviewing their materials, but now we KNOW it after the study.

      And this…

      “The vast majority don’t I am afraid and spend their time passing on misguided training tips they have picked up on the grapevine without any great deal of understanding a long the way.”

      It’s such a good observation. Our total focus is on MAXIMIZING THE USE OF TIME. Every second must be about doing whatever most moves the business ahead, whatever stage you are at (early stages of niche selection to advanced monetization improvement).

      It’s NOT about “keeping them amused.”

      It IS about building winning businesses.

      Jonathan, thanks very much. I’ll leave you with the final word, since this says it all…

      “A number of some of the long standing WA members, having reached Ambassador status (top 25 community participants) will not have earnt enough online income to fund even a few months of WA membership. I guess success is subjective!”

      Sad stuff. It feels like brilliant manipulation that takes advantage of, does not empower, folks to succeed.

      Thanks again.

      All the best,

      Ken

  • Hi There,

    I have been at WA for close to two years now. I will go on and read part 2 and part 3 of this post. So far there isn’t anything you have written that I can dispute. Even the words from WA are accurate. Choose a niche in 15 minutes is accurate.

    It’s sad that members from WA write these types of reviews without knowing the program they are writing about. Many people get into this business just for the money and inevitably these people disappear into the night.

    For what it’s worth, not much, I am sorry that WA people are slamming Solo Build without having a clue what it is about. It makes me feel badly being associated in anyway with these types of reviews.

    Well on to part 2 and 3.

    Barry

    • Thanks a lot for dropping by and sharing that with us, Barry. It’s actually worth a lot to hear that!

    • Thanks very much, Barry. We have, up to now, believed that most WA affiliates believe WA’s claims. They repeat that they’re the best so many times, it’s “truth through repetition.” Then they infer to the affiliates that they do a good service to their visitors by recommending the best.

      This is a systematic program. Affiliates get a list of 175 products/companies to target. It’s basically what the entire program is based upon. Now, WA does not go out and tell them to publish lies – it stops short of that.

      But it’s the inevitable conclusion. One person, Nathaniell, if memory serves, even wrote a book for WA about how to write reviews without owning/using the product. At the very end, there’s a tiny disclaimer “of course it’s better to own the product and write from experience.”

      I laughed – he know that few read the fine print at the end. Why not put that upfront, large type and let them know that he’s teaching them to write fake reviews, by definition of the term?

      It’s an amazingly elaborate process, skillfully put together to get exactly the type of results that we are seeing. So like I said..

      It’s hard to blame the affiliates. They don’t even know the potential legal liability they take on for writing reviews that deliver a product that is so inferior that anyone who is misled could have legal standing to sue for loss of 2 years of effort, expenses and worst of all, pain and suffering.

      Now that The Study is out, these affiliates will have to make a real decision. If they base it on morality, they’ll do the right thing and either drop the review or join SBI!.

      If they don’t, they won’t be able to hide behind “it was my best opinion” at the time. The Study turns this into black and white, bad vs good. That opens them up to potential problems even if they are sociopaths who don’t care.

      We believe, though, that most will examine their souls and realize that their recommendations hurt real people with goals and dreams that matter. THAT is the big reason for them to change course.

      Barry, thanks again. Please spread the word back to WA (well, within the bounds of the censorship of the “Takedown Gang”). 🙂

      All the best,

      Ken

      P.S. It’s also impressive that you’re reading the Study. WA won’t publish a link over. Few do the work to search for it. So most comments are just empty generics that don’t help other WA users learn the truth. I’m anxious to hear what you say after Part 3.

      Part 2 is boring once you get into “Methodology”(unless you are a study-geek 🙂 ). But it’s the foundation for the results that follow. Frankly, we had trouble believing the huge difference. But when we repeated the study, results were near-identical. And that’s the point – anyone who repeats this will see for themselves. It tells you…

      1) how to get the Alexa Top 1M, for example (also SimilarWeb and SEMrush)
      2) how to get all domains of Wealthy Affiliate and SBI!
      3) narrow that down to “active sites”
      4) compare vs the Alexa/SW/SEMrush
      5) compiles results.

      A solid study must present the info necessary to enable skeptics to check for themselves.

      Looking forward to your final impressions. 🙂

      • I finished reading the study some time ago. I have not repeated your study but trust that you did the research and have posted the results honestly.

        I do not doubt your results.

        Many of the comments I see on this thread from WA members are very similar to many of the WA reviews I read. Lots of opinion without a basis in facts. I believe that if you do not have enough interest to read an entire post you do not have the right to comment on it.

        I appreciate the time, effort and research you have put into this post and hope people read it with an open mind. I think one thing that many members of WA overlook is that WA is a business. In it to make money.

        It’s a business model that is skillful put together to do just that, make money. It took me awhile to recognize that. It’s difficult for me to believe that the actions of the affiliates are coincidental.

        This post is known in the WA community. I have been looking for a response from the owners of WA but have yet to see one. I guess they are too busy.

        All the best to you Ken and team. Thanks for this thorough post. My hope is that SBI membership goes off the charts.

        Barry

        • Barry,

          Thanks very much for your thoughtful post. You are a rare WA user, indeed. Few have read it (judging from the comments) and fewer still have actually thought about this, despite how important it is.

          Your post hits several issues that remain puzzles to us. I’d love to pick your brain on 3 topics, the last of which is about you.

          1) We finally believe we understand how WA has kept their results (“near-zero-traffic”) a secret….

          – WA affiliate “reviews” flood the Web. Aside from one ripoff report by a pretty astute poster, a search for “Wealthy affiliate scam” goes on and on and on with, ironically, posts by WA affiliates who explain that it’s NOT a scam.

          Meanwhile, the training materials basically teach you to write review that sure seem to meet this definition of “fake review” by the European Parliamentary Research Service

          “A fake review can be defined as a positive, neutral or negative review that is not an actual consumer’s honest and impartial opinion or that does not reflect a consumer’s genuine experience of a product, service or business.”

          The practice is widely considered to be immoral and illegal. They may argue that they never say “write fake reviews” but there are so many areas that all add up to the practice, the end result of which we see online.

          Their affiliates control Google’s SERPs. Google should be able to stop this since most reviews don’t seem meet the quality requirements of Panda, being mostly rehashes, known facts (stuff taken from our web page). There are no real, true reviews, none that we’ve noticed, anyway.

          And second, you noted that “This post is known in the WA community.” But half of the posts have been dropped (those with thinking people like you who took the thread dangerously into thinking-person territory).

          Beyond that, though, we have seen a kind of group-think phenomenon in the WA community discussions, it’s mostly social chit-chat and self-reinforcement, much less about helping each other grow their business.

          Is there a cult-type “round the wagons” thing going on? We were surprised to read them blaming us for attacking WA when the instigating factor was, of course, the fake reviews.

          QUESTION:

          Does this combination amount to suppression strategy that keeps the truth from getting out and even from spreading within. I find it amazing that these study results…

          ———–

          1) SBI! sites are 33 times (33X) more likely to achieve “Outstanding – Excellent” levels of traffic than Wealthy Affiliate.

          2) SBI! sites are 10 times (10X) more likely to achieve “Medium” levels of traffic than Wealthy Affiliate.

          3) 87% of Wealthy Affiliate sites are “Invisible.” This is the only category where Wealthy Affiliate “beats” SBI! (i.e., in the worst level of failure – “Invisible” – they get no detectable traffic).

          For complete, detailed results, please see Part 3 of The Study…

          http://www.sitesell.com/blog/2017/05/wealthy-affiliate-review-part-3.html

          ———–

          … don’t start peeving people, who should realize that they’ve been tricked.

          Are we missing other reasons why folks don’t actually get upset at being fooled?

          2) Complacent, Confident Affiliates

          Similarly, affiliates look like they are being misled by all the unproven statements (in the training Bootcamp materials) that they are the best so it’s OK to review a competing product and then mention the best (i.e., them, of course).

          The absence of any VERIFIABLE proof (i.e., WITH domains), such as we have always provided on our site, does not seem to worry them…

          -i) Volume (500 sites in the Top 1M of all active sites — 170M!).

          http://results.sitesell.com/

          ii) Longevity (case studies that grow the same businesses for as many as 10 years or more, posting their occasional update).

          http://case-studies.sitesell.com/

          NOTE: Two have recently realized the equity in their business by selling some or all of each. There’s little if any equity in “make money.”)

          iii) New stories from our blog, with a focus on the human aspect of what it means to build a profitable business based on a subject you love, including real-life takeaway lessons (it angers us to think of what their stories could have been with Wealthy Affiliate).

          http://www.sitesell.com/blog/real-life-success-lessons/

          Somehow, if you say it often enough, well, it seems that the affiliates conclude that “WA must make folks successful.”

          The Study has pricked that balloon.

          Any reasonable person would conclude that it all adds up to advice on creating fake reviews (of 175 products suggested), but this practice puts each affiliate on the line – morally, legally, reputation.

          Some point to the small amount of good information in the Affiliate Bootcamp. Within the entirety of the training, though, it boils down to what feels more like “obligatory disclosures” (ex., “create true, valuable content”) to cover themselves.

          THAT should be the main focus, not the creation of reviews that are going to be fake, by definition, if you follow their advice.

          And the reality (thousands of fake reviews of all kinds of products) speaks for itself. So does the failure to monitor and discipline affiliates who use these illegal activities.

          So those disclosures would likely amount to CYA (i.e., not true and forceful advice that people actually follow).

          The bottom line…

          Affiliates ruin their reputation, risk a pursuit from the FTC (or regulatory body of whatever country they live in, and finally, perhaps even the riskiest possibility, a personal lawsuit from a victim of a knowingly bad recommendation. Heck, in our space, it’s not just the money – it’s the time (opportunity cost) and disappointment of failure.

          When folks learn the truth,some are going to be pretty made. And that brings me to The Study…

          Worst of all, though, is that once they have seen The Study, TRULY read it as you have, or been informed of it with some sample results, affiliates actually HURT people’s chances…

          We have informed every WA affiliate who ranks in the Top 20 about the Study – twice. Those who keep their reviews “live” know the damage they do (even if they have some weak reason that justifies it in their own minds). They can’t hide behind “It’s just my opinion.” Their answers are incredibly weak justifications.

          They are willing to hurt others to make money. That’s what the real bottom line seems to be…

          Despite all this, they continue on. It’s all fun and games until a lawsuit (one of which is already underway against WA) closes them down.

          Or until Google figures this out. That’s only a matter of time – not “if,” but “when.”

          Meanwhile…

          We are encouraging folks, especially those who have been fooled by the fake reviews, to report this immoral and illegal practice at…

          United States: Federal Trade Commission

          https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/

          Australia: Competition and Consumer Commission

          https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/consumer-protection/where-to-go-for-consumer-help

          Canada: Competition Bureau

          http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/frm-eng/GHEÌ81T-7TDNA5

          United Kingdom: Advertising Standards Authority

          https://www.asa.org.uk/make-a-complaint.html

          Other countries and general information

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_advertising#Regulation_and_enforcement

          Fake reviews are illegal, subject to misleading advertising law. Report each fake affiliate review you find, including its URL to government bodies. The issue of fake reviews and misleading online promotion, in general, are on the regulatory bodies’ priority list.

          QUESTION: Who are these people? How can they actually continue to do this, even knowing the Study’s results?

          Personally, I don’t believe in being 2nd best, not in this niche. The day a much better product comes along is the day we talk to SBIers about putting them into even stronger hands (assuming good people, sustainable advantage, reasonably close price).

          Seriously, it will have been a wonderful ride. But we have no intention in impeding the progress of those who we believe in so fervently – the individual who dares to reach out for “The Individual Dream.”

          3) From what we have seen in the WA community discussions, it’s mostly social chit-chat.

          There is no organization of material for folks to quick drill down to (ex., the various Monetization forums). And people are incentivized to post (ex., must 2 do site reviews before you can get your first – never mind that if you are asking for your first, you are probably not going to be able to GIVE a very useful review).

          There’s a lot of “busy” work. You can see it on the home page where they proudly show that scrolling box of what people are doing. Whether it’s creating one of those useless subdomain “sites” (WA claims their freemium is better than most paid products!) or making a comment to their blog (which builds free traffic for WA but does nothing for the WA customer to build HIS/HER OWN business), it all just feels like a game.

          But underneath all that don’t folks notice that threads get censored, especially those that challenge the “Truth According to WA?”

          On the Internet, no one can get away with this stuff.

          But they do.

          Our forums are open. If an SBIer is upset that we haven’t released https yet, we have an intelligent conversation about it. That way, folks learn how we think. And that helps them to think….

          There are times to lead.

          There are times to monitor and follow. As it happens, we just did our first “getting ready for https” (the manual stuff that has to be done by the actual user). We’ll keep doing 1 of those per week until we launch https.

          But we’re ONLY doing it because the adoption rate (about 0.2% per week) shows no sign of leveling off. This would have been lower priority if it had leveled off. Google has tried to extort us with “It’s going to be a minor factor” many times.

          We won’t waste an SBIer’s time until we’re sure something is real and will stick.

          But I digress – we have great, even combative at times, conversations. We don’t censor.

          The goal is to “FIND right,” not “BE right.”

          I use the word cult carefully, because others have applied it to us (you can do a find on the page where I discuss this).

          We DO ban intractable trolls if, despite warnings, they insist on causing fights and distracting folks from building their businesses. Some of those have gone on to spread lies about us outside of SBI!, but they never mention the exact circumstances of what they did.

          It’s a price we pay to rid the forums of non-stop flame-throwers.

          And yet, folks just seem very passive – there’s no complaints about threads being deleted. It makes me wonder…

          Do we just attract smarter, thinking people (like YOU, actually)? Or do SBIers become that way due to the culture that has developed?

          New SBIers grow in many ways with SBI!, not just learning how to build a successful business. They also grow and mature as business thinkers. And I believe they absorb the values of self-reliance, integrity, keeping it real, freedom, thinking for yourself, etc.

          Most people WANT to be like that, but bend somewhat to a prevailing culture. WA’s seems to want to shut thinking criticism down, at least as it relates to anything that could threaten their business model that points out any of several major flaws, from weak materials, to unethical affiliates, etc.

          So my questions…

          Why don’t more people see what YOU do?

          And will you stay with them? If you can, I’d love to hear how your business is doing and what its domain is.

          Someone like you should do very well with SBI!. You’re exactly the type of person we want as SBIers.

          If you stick with them, would you share the reason?

          I’m NOT trying to sell you, BTW – trying to learn about some elements that we still don’t have nailed down.

          A few others get what you do, but seem ready to give them a pass. Am I wrong with that impression or, if right, why do think that is?

          Barry, thank again for a wonderful post. I hope you’re willing to shed some light on these points?

          All the best,

          Ken

          P.S. I agree with you that they are brilliant marketers in a Machiavellian sort of way That’s probably the saddest part. From all that we see, it seems to come at the expense of others.

          Sooner or later, a house of cards falls. Of course, THEY can become quite rich from it. But there are few customers and affiliates who are actually succeeding.

          Per the study…

          1) Only 38 people (averaged over the 3 tools) out of 17,000 in high-traffic

          2) 87% of sites in the “invisible”

          And if you eyeball the search results, you mostly see the same 15-20 domain names. You can funnel 17,000 people into the same niche and expect more than a teeny fraction to do well, let alone the “make money” space.

          • Thanks for replying Ken. Give me some time to reread and digest your response.

            I will be happy to answer all your questions once I clear them in my mind.. I should have some time tomorrow 6/11/2017.

            One thing I can say off the top. There is a cult like feel to WA and some do follow mindlessly. If you veer from the mantra you can be scolded as I have been more than once.

            Also I am still there because I signed up for the yearly membership. Once that expires I will not renew.

            I will cover my sites and the path I took tomorrow. See you soon.

            Barry

  • Researchers just finished reviewing 6 threads on Wealthy Affiliate in their “forums.” They were all responding to our Study that shows the following results…

    1) A solopreneur who starts with SBI! is 33X more likely to be “Outstanding-Excellent.”

    2) A solopreneur who starts with SBI! is almost 10X more likely to be “Medium”-level success.

    3) The ONLY category, where WA “beats” us was in “abject failure.” 87% of their sites are “Invisible” – that is basically abject failure.

    It’s important to understand that this is a meticulous study. I’ve designed studies in science and medicine. It’s on that level. We divided it into 3 parts…

    Part 1: Intro, Summary, “Peek” at Results

    http://www.sitesell.com/blog/2017/05/wealthy-affiliate-review.html

    Part 2: Methodology

    http://www.sitesell.com/blog/2017/05/wealthy-affiliate-review-part-2.html

    Part 3: Complete Results http://www.sitesell.com/blog/2017/05/wealthy-affiliate-review-part-3.html

    If anyone doesn’t believe The Study, read Part 2 carefully and repeat it for yourself. Or use a freelance service to hire a programmer to do it for you for $100 or so. It’s easy to do – we use APIs, but it’s easy enough to scrape results.

    The Study is objective, rigorous, statistically significant and reproducible (i.e., anyone can do the exact same study). There is no factor that favors SBI! over WA or vice-versa. And I can’t overstate the importance that we provide the full methodology…

    In March 1989 Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons, well-known chemists announced a major breakthrough in cold fusion. Free energy, no pollution – the world was about to change in magnificent ways!

    Sadly, not a single lab around the world was able to REPRODUCE the results. There is only one way to validate a study – make it reproducible…

    Those 2 (unlucky) scientists provided the exact methodology to let anyone in their field to do the same experiment. But no one could.

    The discovery was, therefore, false. THAT is why reproducibility is so important.

    Normally, studies are correct because no one publishes false results on purpose. It’s inevitable that others won’t find the same results.

    That’s why we made a study that lives up to the standard of science.

    Objective, rigorous, statistically significant and reproducible – those are the hallmarks of a solid study.

    —————————————

    *****WHAT THE WA THREADS DO NOT SAY*****

    First, know that you get the censored version…

    Several threads have popped up in the WA “forums” after The Study and its shocking (even to us!) results. The first thread, which tilted in SBI!’s favor was deleted by WA or its “guardians” (aka “THE TAKEDOWN CREW”) who seem to have found it dangerous. We have the Google cache for it, though…

    The original link was at…

    https://my.wealthyaffiliate.com/glenpalo/blog/site-build-it-review-of-wa

    It redirects to the author’s profile now. But the Google Cache caught it before it took off beyond the original link…

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?num=100&site=&source=hp&q=cache%3Ahttps%3A%2F%2Fmy.wealthyaffiliate.com%2Fglenpalo%2Fblog%2Fsite-build-it-review-of-wa&oq=cache%3Ahttps%3A%2F%2Fmy.wealthyaffiliate.com%2Fglenpalo%2Fblog%2Fsite-build-it-review-of-wa&gs_l=hp.3…1208.3067.0.3790.8.7.0.0.0.0.173.962.0j7.7.0….0…1.1j2.64.hp..1.6.844.0..0j0i3k1j0i131k1j0i10k1.INVugOae150

    We’ve read lots of reports about this. Some seem to resent this, but they can’t mount much complaint because they’d get taken down. THIS was my first experience IN witnessing it.

    It was hardly a flaming blast, just a well-reasoned discussion.

    Too dangerous, it seems.

    ***And this does not happen only within the walls of WA. It happens “off-WA,” too. We are finding what seem to be attempts to repress negative reviews (the types of reviews that WA affiliates write). Here is a recent example…

    http://jefflenney.com/internet-marketing/wealthy-affiliate-review/

    That page now just redirects to the home page, but Wayback Machine caught the “Tier 2” page that links to it…

    https://web.archive.org/web/20170301014413/http://jefflenney.com/category/internet-marketing/

    The relevant part says…

    “The Wealthy Affiliate Scam Wealthy Affiliate (not an affiliate link) is nothing but another Scam. You’ve probably seen their affiliates online, giving negative reviews of every Internet Marketing product”

    Wow! Yes, that’s what we’re talking about with SBI!. We are not alone.

    We read the actual review – it actually WAS a negative review, not one of those WA affiliates that use “SCAM” as click-bait to promote the very product it claims to be a scam.

    It was gone the next day. We’ve learned to PDF everything now, plus take legal-worthy screenshots should the need ever arise.

    Here’s the lawsuit against the author…

    https://www.pacermonitor.com/public/case/21195091/Niche_Marketing,_Inc_v_Lenney_et_al#

    One researcher has gathered several more articles that have been taken down. These are hard to dig up, so there are doubtless more that we’ve yet to find.

    *****THE SECRET IS OUT*****

    Needless to say, this is a company that works hard to keep some secrets concealed. But now, THE most well-guarded secret of “no traffic” is out.

    WA has long claimed to deliver success. It convinces its affiliates to recommend them because they are best. They don’t prove it, just repeat it many times. As a result, I believe that many affiliates don’t realize that there’s a much better product.

    Now, though, there’s iron-clad proof of a better product. It’s called Solo Build It!. It has always been better, but we pretty much minded our own business.

    And then, along came WA affiliates making outlandishly bad recommendations to the very people we serve with dedication… the individual who dares to TRY.

    The results are clear. There’s no opinion, debating, feature lists, charges and counter-charges, debate and “de-bait.” There are just crystal-clear numbers.

    *****AVOIDANCE RESPONSE*****

    Response among WA users to crystal-clear numbers and what they mean is rather odd. To some degree, since these threads seem to be somewhat controlled and regulars will have formed an attachment, it’s to be expected.

    We thought we’d bring them here, though, so that anyone can build upon them, argue with them, take note of them or simply ignore. It also provides those who would like to speak out on WA the opportunity. And finally, it gives us a chance to reply to a rather one-sided conversation.

    At the end of the day, the numbers speak and these folks don’t really care to speak back in any type of constructive way. Some folks DO recognize that fake reviews are ruining WA’s name, which is at least a step in the right direction. And a couple did, in passing, seem impressed by the superiority of SBI!

    Aside from that, it was like ignoring or tip-toeing around an 8,000 pound elephant. Here’s what the researchers brought back, filled in with some editorial from yours truly. 🙂

    *****Matter of Conscience*****

    Now WA affiliates have a “matter of conscience” choice to make. Should you keep referring solopreneurs, folks with the guts and the goals to stick out their necks and build an online business, knowing that you’ll cut their chance for success by more than 90%?

    The right decision is to join SBI!. Actually, if you’re NOT making any money and getting little or no traffic, your right decision is to start a REAL niche-based business that has a much better chance to succeed. In other words, if you are flailing and failing…

    Get out of MMO and use SBI! to build something that makes you both proud and profitable.

    *****SO HOW HAVE WA USERS RESPONDED?*****

    Let’s get back to those 6 threads.

    The quotes, now moved to the P.S., were provided to me by researchers as either “interesting,” “typical” or “needs an answer,” etc. I preface each answer with “Answer” while their quotes are in quotes. Each Q&A is separated by a “–” (working within the limitation of Disqus).

    The first thread on WA (about the Wealthy Affiliate Review & Study and its conclusions) is called…

    1) WHAT? An EXTREMELY Negative Wealthy Affiliate Review

    https://my.wealthyaffiliate.com/davesw/blog/a-negative-review-wealthy-affiliate-review

    FIRST OBSERVATION: NO LINK TO THE STUDY!

    Unlike WA, we provide the link over to the thread in question. It’s not only rude to make your readers have to dig for it, it guarantees that many won’t bother.

    It shows fear that we might change minds. And finally, it explains the shallow, generic statements of so many.

    Sadly, it actually might have changed a few minds.

    Anyway, to OUR readers, you can follow along in the post, find the snippets that I use below for full context, etc.

    SECOND OBSERVATION: “EXTREMELY Negative” or “Scientific and Accurate”?

    Despite the title of this thread (“WHAT? An EXTREMELY Negative Wealthy Affiliate Review”), it’s not really “EXTREMELY Negative.”

    It just is what it is – an accurate summary of what led up to this (WA’s fake reviews about SBI!) and The Study.

    We can’t help if the facts don’t work out the way folks would like them to.

    THIRD OBSERVATION: THEY JUST KEPT COMING AND COMING AND COMING

    My apologies to the researchers. There were so many that we only did this first thread. And we moved the comments with our answers to the end (the P.S.) for reasons explained there.

    I thought I’d be able to go through all the posts of all the threads, but this gives you a taste of the level of commentary and “debate” (there is not a great deal of inquiring debate about how SBI! could be so dominating).

    It’s more like social reassurance that “everything is OK – just ignore that 8000 pound elephant of truth. He’ll amble away.”

    No, we’re not going away because this practice of fake reviews is, in a word, WRONG. It hurts our business and does a tremendous disservice to solopreneurs who are ready to try.

    ————————-

    *****WRAPPING UP*****

    Egad, more and more comments kept coming.

    Most are all the same, basically self-reinforcing that “all’s fine” even though the data tells you what you already know if you use WA – you are most likely failing (87%). Most make comments without visiting since the link is not provided.

    Some of the thought leaders try to lead the followers astray with a variety of “answers.” And a few careful thinkers actually add some balance.

    All in all, we’re not going to change many minds of those who post. And that’s fine if you enjoy the social interaction and online business success has become secondary.

    Data doesn’t lie. If you are too invested, you find a way to let it slide by.

    Not even results like 33X causes them to take a step back and think.

    They’ll be fast to accept bogus explanations that can’t possibly nullify the results (ex., SiteSell’s own site traffic or clients hosted off of our respective servers). Neither can dent 33X but “any port in a storm.” In other words….

    They’ll do and say anything, rather than face the naked truth of numbers. And that’s OK for one big reason…

    *****The Thinking “Lurkers”*****

    There is always a thinking majority population who quietly “reads and thinks.” I invite them to read The Study carefully. It’s worth the time when you consider what is at stake…

    Review our various forms of proof (on results.sitesell.com and case-studies.sitesell.com) and Current Stories (with human interest and takeaway lessons on http://www.sitesell.com/blog/real-life-success-lessons/).

    Note that ALL our proof comes with domain names, which lets you verify the traffic, read the sites, see SBI!’s branding concepts in action. Heck, you can even use the contact form to ask an SBIer what they truly think of SBI!.

    —–SIDEBAR—–

    And you can use whois.domaintools.com to determine if a success story is actually hosted at SBI! or WA. Two of our sites on case-studies.sitesell.com are not because they’ve been sold. It’s the final update – the realization of equity when you build a GENUINE business.

    Sadly, we’ve seen several supposed WA customers promoted as successful. But they are not hosted by WA. Show us REAL customers who FULLY use the product. Most “MMO” sites are not true businesses because they build no equity. When you stop, the traffic drops until it stops earning. And that’s it. Game’s over. Not for SBI!.. SBI! businesses have a balloon equity payment at the end because they create genuine value. But I digress…

    —–SIDEBAR—–

    Here’s the big lesson that will help you avoid making a fatal mistake..

    INSIST ON DOMAINS WITH SUCCESS STORIES…

    INSIST ON LOADS OF THEM!

    —————————————

    Ask yourself – WHY doesn’t WA do that? Where are the domains?? How can you let SBI! do it while you bluster with statements like, “There is no upper limit to the level of success you can achieve.”

    Even members can’t see each other’s sites. We’ve heard that they don’t want members to spam their version of “forums.”

    Well, that has not happened in our forums because folks are there to do business. They are interested in each other’s sites as examples, not because, say, they are planning vacations to Anguilla.

    We’ve provided a ton of proof (with domains) on our site, always have. But NOW…

    *****THE STUDY IS THE NEXT STEP, A WHOLE NEW LEVEL*****

    It’s head-to-end, conditions equal for both. Result? WA falls way behind in rear-view mirror of performance.

    So you pretty much know why WA doesn’t seem to do ANY of that “proof stuff.”

    But more to the point…

    Why don’t YOU insist on it? You certainly have the right – the obligation to yourself – to be sure. It’s YOUR life we’re talking about, goals that matter.

    After all, every other company that can PROVE verifiable success, does. I’m not talking about bogus before-and-after pix of weight loss programs (you can’t actually contact the people or weigh them).

    I’m talking things like evidence-based medicine. Take, for example, a data-supported protocol for the best way to diagnose, say, appendicitis. Solid studies, good data (not “statistics”) – it’s bullet-proof.

    Some surgeons won’t like that a mechanical process works better than their 20-years of experience-based approach. It devalues them, they feel. They resist it even in the face of overwhelming proof.

    That’s classic when one group has something to lose – it’s a big ulterior motive. In the case of appendicitis, it does not serve those patients well.

    The end-user, the patient, has little knowledge or power to force this change. But now, YOU do. It’s simple…

    *****INSIST ON VERIFIABLE (DOMAIN-BASED) PROOF OF SUCCESS*****

    If they have it, they should flout it. If they don’t, you’ll get excuses.

    Another consideration arises…

    Affiliates DO need to pay attention, too.

    You have a duty of care to your visitors, in the same way that a surgeon has to his/her patient. And, as patients who have been let down, people are starting to sue.

    Losing a couple of years of your life and many hundreds of dollars is a serious matter, not to mention the pain and suffering of needlessly failing. The FTC is paying more attention…

    https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2011/03/firm-pay-ftc-250000-settle-charges-it-used-misleading-online

    Some of the 175 targeted companies are getting peeved, too. So this is not going to go away. Truth will win in the end. And on that note, let’s bring it home…

    *****THE SBI! STUDY DATA SPEAKS FOR ITSELF*****

    No matter how much some folks don’t want to see it, no matter how much they come up with irrelevant arguments, the ostrich approach does not hide that 8000 pound elephant…

    33X, 10X and 87% is too big to ignore. The even bigger results for organic search results shows that SBI! solopreneurs are stronger than ever in SEARCH, too. That’s data, not “statistics” and the conclusions are clear.

    The quest of good science is simple…

    *****FIND what’s right. Don’t fight to BE right.*****

    To those who have yet to succeed, ask yourself after you read the study…

    “What do I truly believe NOW? Which program makes me more likely to succeed?”

    To affiliates, ask yourself if you can live with yourself for what you do to people with hopes, dreams and the BAM (www.sitesell.com/#BAM) to succeed. Consider becoming an SBI! affiliate and do the right thing for those people.

    And to WA, we ask you to stop these practices. This won’t go away.

    Warm regards,

    Ken Evoy for SiteSell.com
    (CEO and founder)

  • Researchers just finished reviewing 6 threads on Wealthy Affiliate in their “forums.” All the threads were responses to our Study that shows the following results…

    1) A solopreneur who starts with SBI! is 33X more likely to be “Outstanding-Excellent.”

    2) A solopreneur who starts with SBI! is almost 10X more likely to be “Medium”-level success.

    3) The ONLY category, where WA “beats” us was in “abject failure.” 87% of their sites are “Invisible” – that is basically abject failure.

    We were planning to pull together replies from all 6 and answer the variety selected by the team. But frankly, we couldn’t keep up.

    What follows is great team work, a wide variety of notes from the most prominent of the 6, with notes and possible answers.

    This came out longer than we would have liked. We even had to split the WA replies with our answers into a separate PDF which you can reach at this URL…

    http://www.sitesell.com/pdfs/wealthy-affiliate-review.pdf

    It’s important to understand that this is a meticulous study. I’ve designed studies in science and medicine. It’s on that level. We divided it into 3 parts…

    Part 1: Intro, Summary, “Peek” at Results

    http://www.sitesell.com/blog/2017/05/wealthy-affiliate-review.html

    Part 2: Methodology

    http://www.sitesell.com/blog/2017/05/wealthy-affiliate-review-part-2.html

    Part 3: Complete Results http://www.sitesell.com/blog/2017/05/wealthy-affiliate-review-part-3.html

    If anyone doesn’t believe The Study, read Part 2 carefully and repeat it for yourself. Or use a freelance service to hire a programmer to do it for you for $100 or so. It’s easy to do – we use APIs, but it’s easy enough to scrape results.

    The Study is objective, rigorous, statistically significant and reproducible (i.e., anyone can do the exact same study). There is no factor that favors SBI! over WA or vice-versa. And I can’t overstate the importance that we provide the full methodology…

    In March 1989 Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons, well-known chemists announced a major breakthrough in cold fusion. Free energy, no pollution – the world was about to change in magnificent ways!

    Sadly, not a single lab around the world was able to REPRODUCE the results. There is only one way to validate a study – make it reproducible…

    Those 2 (unlucky) scientists provided the exact methodology to let anyone in their field to do the same experiment. But no one could.

    The discovery was, therefore, false. THAT is why reproducibility is so important.

    Normally, studies are correct because no one publishes false results on purpose. It’s inevitable that others won’t find the same results.

    That’s why we made a study that lives up to the standard of science.

    Objective, rigorous, statistically significant and reproducible – those are the hallmarks of a solid study.

    —————————————

    *****WHAT THE WA THREADS DO NOT SAY*****

    First, know that you get the censored version…

    Several threads have popped up in the WA “forums” after The Study and its shocking (even to us!) results. The first thread, which tilted in SBI!’s favor was deleted by WA or its “guardians” (aka “THE TAKEDOWN CREW”) who seem to have found it dangerous. We have the Google cache for it, though…

    The original link was at…

    https://my.wealthyaffiliate.com/glenpalo/blog/site-build-it-review-of-wa

    It redirects to the author’s profile now. But the Google Cache caught it before it took off beyond the original link…

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?num=100&site=&source=hp&q=cache%3Ahttps%3A%2F%2Fmy.wealthyaffiliate.com%2Fglenpalo%2Fblog%2Fsite-build-it-review-of-wa&oq=cache%3Ahttps%3A%2F%2Fmy.wealthyaffiliate.com%2Fglenpalo%2Fblog%2Fsite-build-it-review-of-wa&gs_l=hp.3…1208.3067.0.3790.8.7.0.0.0.0.173.962.0j7.7.0….0…1.1j2.64.hp..1.6.844.0..0j0i3k1j0i131k1j0i10k1.INVugOae150

    We’ve read lots of reports about this. Some seem to resent this, but they can’t mount much complaint because they’d get taken down. THIS was my first experience IN witnessing it.

    It was hardly a flaming blast, just a well-reasoned discussion.

    Too dangerous, it seems.

    ***And this does not happen only within the walls of WA. It happens “off-WA,” too. We are finding what seem to be attempts to repress negative reviews (the types of reviews that WA affiliates write). Here is a recent example…

    http://jefflenney.com/internet-marketing/wealthy-affiliate-review/

    That page now just redirects to the home page, but Wayback Machine caught the “Tier 2” page that links to it…

    https://web.archive.org/web/20170301014413/http://jefflenney.com/category/internet-marketing/

    The relevant part says…

    “The Wealthy Affiliate Scam Wealthy Affiliate (not an affiliate link) is nothing but another Scam. You’ve probably seen their affiliates online, giving negative reviews of every Internet Marketing product”

    Wow! Yes, that’s what we’re talking about with SBI!. We are not alone.

    We read the actual review – it actually WAS a negative review, not one of those WA affiliates that use “SCAM” as click-bait to promote the very product it claims to be a scam.

    It was gone the next day. We’ve learned to PDF everything now, plus take legal-worthy screenshots should the need ever arise.

    Here’s the lawsuit against the author…

    https://www.pacermonitor.com/public/case/21195091/Niche_Marketing,_Inc_v_Lenney_et_al#

    One researcher has gathered several more articles that have been taken down. These are hard to dig up, so there are doubtless more that we’ve yet to find.

    *****THE SECRET IS OUT*****

    Needless to say, this is a company that works hard to keep some secrets concealed. But now, THE most well-guarded secret of “no traffic” is out.

    WA has long claimed to deliver success. It convinces its affiliates to recommend them because they are best. They don’t prove it, just repeat it many times. As a result, I believe that many affiliates don’t realize that there’s a much better product.

    Now, though, there’s iron-clad proof of a better product. It’s called Solo Build It!. It has always been better, but we pretty much minded our own business.

    And then, along came WA affiliates making outlandishly bad recommendations to the very people we serve with dedication… the individual who dares to TRY.

    The results are clear. There’s no opinion, debating, feature lists, charges and counter-charges, debate and “de-bait.” There are just crystal-clear numbers.

    *****AVOIDANCE RESPONSE*****

    Response among WA users to crystal-clear numbers and what they mean is rather odd. To some degree, since these threads seem to be somewhat controlled and regulars will have formed an attachment, it’s to be expected.

    We thought we’d bring them here, though, so that anyone can build upon them, argue with them, take note of them or simply ignore. It also provides those who would like to speak out on WA the opportunity. And finally, it gives us a chance to reply to a rather one-sided conversation.

    At the end of the day, the numbers speak and these folks don’t really care to speak back in any type of constructive way. Some folks DO recognize that fake reviews are ruining WA’s name, which is at least a step in the right direction. And a couple did, in passing, seem impressed by the superiority of SBI!

    Aside from that, it was like ignoring or tip-toeing around an 8,000 pound elephant. Here’s what the researchers brought back, filled in with some editorial from yours truly. 🙂

    *****Matter of Conscience*****

    Now WA affiliates have a “matter of conscience” choice to make. Should you keep referring solopreneurs, folks with the guts and the goals to stick out their necks and build an online business, knowing that you’ll cut their chance for success by more than 90%?

    The right decision is to join SBI!. Actually, if you’re NOT making any money and getting little or no traffic, your right decision is to start a REAL niche-based business that has a much better chance to succeed. In other words, if you are flailing and failing…

    Get out of MMO and use SBI! to build something that makes you both proud and profitable.

    *****SO HOW HAVE WA USERS RESPONDED?*****

    Let’s get back to those 6 threads.

    The quotes, now moved to the PDF, were provided to me by researchers as either “interesting,” “typical” or “needs an answer,” etc. I preface each answer with “Answer” while their quotes are in quotes. Each Q&A is separated by a “–” (working within the limitation of Disqus).

    The first thread on WA (about the Wealthy Affiliate Review & Study and its conclusions) is called…

    1) WHAT? An EXTREMELY Negative Wealthy Affiliate Review

    https://my.wealthyaffiliate.com/davesw/blog/a-negative-review-wealthy-affiliate-review

    FIRST OBSERVATION: NO LINK TO THE STUDY!

    Unlike WA, we provide the link over to the thread in question. It’s not only rude to make your readers have to dig for it, it guarantees that many won’t bother.

    It shows fear that we might change minds. And finally, it explains the shallow, generic statements of so many.

    Sadly, it actually might have changed a few minds.

    Anyway, to OUR readers, you can follow along in the post, find the snippets that I use below for full context, etc.

    SECOND OBSERVATION: “EXTREMELY Negative” or “Scientific and Accurate”?

    Despite the title of this thread (“WHAT? An EXTREMELY Negative Wealthy Affiliate Review”), it’s not really “EXTREMELY Negative.”

    It just is what it is – an accurate summary of what led up to this (WA’s fake reviews about SBI!) and The Study.

    We can’t help if the facts don’t work out the way folks would like them to.

    THIRD OBSERVATION: THEY JUST KEPT COMING AND COMING AND COMING

    My apologies to the researchers. There were so many that we only did this first thread. And we moved the comments with our answers to the end (the PDF) for reasons explained there.

    I thought I’d be able to go through all the posts of all the threads, but this gives you a taste of the level of commentary and “debate” (there is not a great deal of inquiring debate about how SBI! could be so dominating).

    It’s more like social reassurance that “everything is OK – just ignore that 8000 pound elephant of truth. He’ll amble away.”

    No, we’re not going away because this practice of fake reviews is, in a word, WRONG. It hurts our business and does a tremendous disservice to solopreneurs who are ready to try.

    ————————-

    *****WRAPPING UP*****

    Egad, more and more comments kept coming.

    Most are all the same, basically self-reinforcing that “all’s fine” even though the data tells you what you already know if you use WA – you are most likely failing (87%). Most make comments without visiting since the link is not provided.

    Some of the thought leaders try to lead the followers astray with a variety of “answers.” And a few careful thinkers actually add some balance.

    All in all, we’re not going to change many minds of those who post. And that’s fine if you enjoy the social interaction and online business success has become secondary.

    Data doesn’t lie. If you are too invested, you find a way to let it slide by.

    Not even results like 33X causes them to take a step back and think.

    They’ll be fast to accept bogus explanations that can’t possibly nullify the results (ex., SiteSell’s own site traffic or clients hosted off of our respective servers). Neither can dent 33X but “any port in a storm.” In other words….

    They’ll do and say anything, rather than face the naked truth of numbers. And that’s OK for one big reason…

    *****The Thinking “Lurkers”*****

    There is always a thinking majority population who quietly “reads and thinks.” I invite them to read The Study carefully. It’s worth the time when you consider what is at stake…

    Review our various forms of proof (on results.sitesell.com and case-studies.sitesell.com) and Current Stories (with human interest and takeaway lessons on http://www.sitesell.com/blog/real-life-success-lessons/).

    Note that ALL our proof comes with domain names, which lets you verify the traffic, read the sites, see SBI!’s branding concepts in action. Heck, you can even use the contact form to ask an SBIer what they truly think of SBI!.

    —–SIDEBAR—–

    And you can use whois.domaintools.com to determine if a success story is actually hosted at SBI! or WA. Two of our sites on case-studies.sitesell.com are not because they’ve been sold. It’s the final update – the realization of equity when you build a GENUINE business.

    Sadly, we’ve seen several supposed WA customers promoted as successful. But they are not hosted by WA. Show us REAL customers who FULLY use the product. Most “MMO” sites are not true businesses because they build no equity. When you stop, the traffic drops until it stops earning. And that’s it. Game’s over. Not for SBI!.. SBI! businesses have a balloon equity payment at the end because they create genuine value. But I digress…

    —–SIDEBAR—–

    Here’s the big lesson that will help you avoid making a fatal mistake..

    INSIST ON DOMAINS WITH SUCCESS STORIES…

    INSIST ON LOADS OF THEM!

    —————————————

    Ask yourself – WHY doesn’t WA do that? Where are the domains?? How can you let SBI! do it while you bluster with statements like, “There is no upper limit to the level of success you can achieve.”

    Even members can’t see each other’s sites. We’ve heard that they don’t want members to spam their version of “forums.”

    Well, that has not happened in our forums because folks are there to do business. They are interested in each other’s sites as examples, not because, say, they are planning vacations to Anguilla.

    We’ve provided a ton of proof (with domains) on our site, always have. But NOW…

    *****THE STUDY IS THE NEXT STEP, A WHOLE NEW LEVEL*****

    It’s head-to-end, conditions equal for both. Result? WA falls way behind in rear-view mirror of performance.

    So you pretty much know why WA doesn’t seem to do ANY of that “proof stuff.”

    But more to the point…

    Why don’t YOU insist on it? You certainly have the right – the obligation to yourself – to be sure. It’s YOUR life we’re talking about, goals that matter.

    After all, every other company that can PROVE verifiable success, does. I’m not talking about bogus before-and-after pix of weight loss programs (you can’t actually contact the people or weigh them).

    I’m talking things like evidence-based medicine. Take, for example, a data-supported protocol for the best way to diagnose, say, appendicitis. Solid studies, good data (not “statistics”) – it’s bullet-proof.

    Some surgeons won’t like that a mechanical process works better than their 20-years of experience-based approach. It devalues them, they feel. They resist it even in the face of overwhelming proof.

    That’s classic when one group has something to lose – it’s a big ulterior motive. In the case of appendicitis, it does not serve those patients well.

    The end-user, the patient, has little knowledge or power to force this change. But now, YOU do. It’s simple…

    *****INSIST ON VERIFIABLE (DOMAIN-BASED) PROOF OF SUCCESS*****

    If they have it, they should flout it. If they don’t, you’ll get excuses.

    Another consideration arises…

    Affiliates DO need to pay attention, too.

    You have a duty of care to your visitors, in the same way that a surgeon has to his/her patient. And, as patients who have been let down, people are starting to sue.

    Losing a couple of years of your life and many hundreds of dollars is a serious matter, not to mention the pain and suffering of needlessly failing. The FTC is paying more attention…

    https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2011/03/firm-pay-ftc-250000-settle-charges-it-used-misleading-online

    Some of the 175 targeted companies are getting peeved, too. So this is not going to go away. Truth will win in the end. And on that note, let’s bring it home…

    *****THE SBI! STUDY DATA SPEAKS FOR ITSELF*****

    No matter how much some folks don’t want to see it, no matter how much they come up with irrelevant arguments, the ostrich approach does not hide that 8000 pound elephant…

    33X, 10X and 87% is too big to ignore. The even bigger results for organic search results shows that SBI! solopreneurs are stronger than ever in SEARCH, too. That’s data, not “statistics” and the conclusions are clear.

    The quest of good science is simple…

    *****FIND what’s right. Don’t fight to BE right.*****

    To those who have yet to succeed, ask yourself after you read the study…

    “What do I truly believe NOW? Which program makes me more likely to succeed?”

    To affiliates, ask yourself if you can live with yourself for what you do to people with hopes, dreams and the BAM (www.sitesell.com/#BAM) to succeed. Consider becoming an SBI! affiliate and do the right thing for those people.

    And to WA, we ask you to stop these practices. This won’t go away.

    Warm regards,

    Ken Evoy for SiteSell.com
    (CEO and founder)

    • Wow! What a great team effort. Thanks guys!

      I’ll share my favorite John Galt quote once again because it continues to grow in relevance:

      “Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.”

      I hope every would-be solopreneur and, especially, those who had a fire for an idea, will read this and not let their spark be extinguished in that hopeless swamp!

  • Irina Burciaga Aguilar

    Hi Ken,

    Just to add my 2 cents:

    Today I bumped into the “Inbound Marketing” concept, and immediately realized this is exactly what SBI!’s CTPM process is about.

    Perhaps this could be another angle of approach to help SBI! make ist case once and for all?

  • Simon

    Hi, Ken! It’s so interesting than I’ve even read it till the end)
    But can I check all these seo things with SerpStat instead of your tools? Will it be effective?

  • Jude Banks

    An interesting read, Ken. I would like to clarify a few points.

    1.
    Have you approached the WA owners to raise your concerns about those
    alleged fake reviews? (Sorry, I use ‘alleged’ because I have not seen
    those reviews).

    If so, what response did you get?

    I am a
    current WA member and have been for several years. I have completed the
    training and have never seen anything that supports the idea of fake
    reviews.

    They teach that reviews must be based on facts. They teach that you can state your opinion but it must be based on facts.

    I
    fully understand your concern about fake reviews. I am not disputing
    they exist. If there is small group in WA encouraging that – you say
    around 20? – it must be stopped.

    2. Niches.
    Getting Started training focuses on choosing a niche based on your
    passion and what you love. Someone mentioned that they suggest not
    spending more than 15 to 30 minutes to decide on a niche. That
    statement appears to have been taken out
    of context. The idea behind it is for new members not to get frozen into inaction because they have not come up with a profitable niche early in the training when for most
    people their first niche is not going to be their final niche. This is not some clever ploy. A message is sent to those members offering encouragement and further help on niche selection.

    WA
    is not a biz op. It is an affiliate marketing education and community
    platform. I read today on one SBI website the suggestion that WA
    members are paid to do false reviews. I’ve been around for a while and
    that is the first time I have heard anything like that! It was also
    suggested that “the vast majority of WA members do NOT have websites,
    let alone successful ones. They make their money from recommending the
    product, not using it.”

    Wow, where did that statistic of the
    “vast majority” come from? If you need the name of that website, please
    ask. It is a nice credible website other than that addendum which
    has obviously recently been added to their SBI review. Oh, my!

    3.
    Refund policy. I can only speak from my own experience. A while back
    one of my referrals had a change in circumstances and requested a refund
    of the annual fee. I suggested that he contact the owners and put his
    case, which he did. Despite the no-refund policy WA refunded him in full
    and charged back to me the commission I had earned. I have no problem
    with that.

    4. Success is not just about high rankings in search,
    or even high volumes of traffic. It means different things to different
    people. Contrary to what you say, the official WA training is kept
    reasonably up to date, with new
    material added regularly and practical action steps, but it is up to each individual to create their own success.

    WA
    is not perfect. I don’t know but I suspect SBI isn’t perfect either. No
    program is. If there were a perfect program, everybody would be in it
    and there would be no competition!

    As for “proof of domains” –
    some members list their websites on their profiles, some don’t. Some use
    their own websites in their member training, some don’t. It is not up
    to WA management to publish domain names of its members to prove
    anything. Those domains belong to the individual member, not to Wealthy
    Affiliate.

    Statistics. The problem I have with your
    statistics is the conclusion you draw about the causation of low traffic
    or search ranking. Numbers don’t lie, true, but the interpretation can
    be misconstrued when relevant factors are not addressed in the
    analysis. For example, did you account for the average age of those
    domains? It is well known that new websites do not attract traffic and
    ranking. The number of newbie websites would far exceed that of
    established business owners.

    Further, you state that 1/3 of the
    membership are in the mmo niche and they are given bad advice to go that
    route. I have seen firsthand that many of the more established members first
    built a niche website. Once they generate revenue with that, some go
    on to create a second website in mmo. They leverage the success of
    their niche site as proof that WA works for them.

    I
    believe that affiliate marketing and mmo can be done ethically and
    properly. A few members might breach this because of inexperience,
    ignorance, or being Machiavellian. Even SBI is not immune to that
    possibility.

    To me, ethical marketing means providing unbiased
    honest information based on facts and full disclosure of affiliation. WA
    covers that in the training and does not teach anything misleading,
    shady or irresponsible.

    • Hi Jude! Thanks so much for your comment.

      I also appreciate that you’ve obviously been using Wealthy Affiliate for a number of years and commend you for the success you’ve achieved.

      It seems, however, as though things may have changed since you first went through the training.

      There are actually dozens, perhaps hundreds, of fake reviews of our product that all seem to have been published within the past year or two, which suggested to us this was a recent tactic.

      The fact is, while the training does not specifically say to create a “fake review,” between the suggestions offered in written and video training, the activity that’s encouraged, the list of competitors that’s provided, and the examples offered by other affiliates, a climate and culture of creating reviews for products people *have never, ever tried* is cultivated.

      Rather than encouraging new members to take their time and do the necessary research to find a niche that might work for them, they are, as you say, told to choose “make money” within moments.

      You see, TIME is the most valuable commodity that a solopreneur has. Spending a little more time up front has the potential to avoid wasting *tremendous* amounts of time later on. The idea that the best way to find a profitable niche and business is to simply try one idea after another is deeply flawed.

      That would help to explain why the majority of Wealthy Affiliate members really do not have successful sites – 87%!

      As Ken pointed out in the study, the definition of “success” is truly an individual one when it comes to online businesses – but we all have to agree that it’s impossible for an *online* business to be successful, by any definition, if it gets no traffic at all.

      We know firsthand how many of our members have built incredible businesses and sites for themselves that achieve exactly what they want.

      But whether a site is weeks or years old, it matters little to your pocketbook if it’s not getting any traffic and not generating any income.

      And this is where the MMO recommendation is particularly poisoned. You and I both know that the MMO niche is extremely crowded. We also know that *revenue* from MMO recommendations is scarce.

      You simply can’t make that much money from a single MMO referral – you need *volume* to be “successful” in that niche, which brings us back to the requirement of traffic.

      Now, I couldn’t agree with you more when you say that “affiliate marketing and mmo can be done ethically and properly” – I strive to achieve that personally, and that’s what we encourage and expect from our own affiliates.

      We know that the owners of Wealthy Affiliate are well aware of our study and the issues laid out here. We’ve encouraged them to reproduce the study themselves, to reconsider their approach to training new members, and to carefully audit the reviews and statements being put out by affiliates.

      To date there has been no response.

      If an affiliate of a company misrepresents that company and defames a competitor, who is ultimately responsible?

      Moreover, if a company claims that they’re the best at something, but it’s shown that they’re not even close, what then?

      Again, Jude, I really do appreciate your willingness to comment and discuss these important issues. These are the kinds of conversations that need to take place if we’re going to make sure that would-be solopreneurs are given the chance they deserve to succeed.

      – Mike Allton, SiteSell CMO

  • Jude Banks

    The comment that I left yesterday seems to have disappeared.

    • Hi Jude,

      Your comment was flagged as spam by Disqus — we have found it and manually approved it.

      • Jude Banks

        I thought that might be the case. Thank you for taking care of it so quickly.

  • Hi Barry,

    Thanks very much for your answers. Sorry to take so long to get back to you – this whole WA thing has added a whole new layer of work – not enough hours in the day! 😉

    Your thoughtful review of Wealthy Affiliate tactics, and how you interpret them, and even how you feel (that expression of fear amazed me) was really useful to help me build out a mental model of who we are dealing with.

    Some comments…

    You’re right in that it’s very subtle — i.e., they don’t flat-out say “Write fake reviews.” That would be a direct incitement to break the law.

    However, when you pull out all their instructional statements that are relevant to this topic, scattered throughout their Affiliate Bootcamp, we don’t see any other conclusion by the user – “write fake reviews.”

    The new affiliate won’t even think of it that way.

    But the outcome seems inevitable to us. Here’s just one logic pattern (repeated in a variety of ways)…

    1) They provide a list of 175 products, with instructions to write reviews

    2) “You know we’re the best” is said in a variety of ways, often (no proof – and The Study has now clearly disproved that.)

    3) “So you do the reader a service by writing these reviews and then recommending us.”

    That in itself fails the test of a “true review.”

    What else would the affiliate conclude? It’s bait-and-switch to the trained pro who can recognize this, but it’s not presented as such.

    Like you said… “subtle.”

    The beginner has no idea what he’s done. And those with rankings? Only 1 has dropped their review, even though they now know what they are doing – hurting others’s chances of success.

    About this…

    “POINT: The training at WA is good training. A person can learn how to build an internet business by following it.”

    If you mean the Certification program, it’s superficial, missing key parts of what it takes, has bad info that hurts one’s chance of success (such as the parts about going into MMO). It’s “better than nothing,” I guess.

    But we did not see this as “good training” in the sense of “good enough” to provide a strong chance of success.

    The word “can” in “can learn how to build” will always be correct. But the numbers from The Study show how unlikely that “can” is.

    If you mean the Bootcamp training for affiliates, it’s mostly about writing fake reviews (like we said, they don’t use those exact words, but the materials are virtually all some part of that). There are loads of other ways to market affiliate programs. I would not call a uni-dimensional approach like that “good training.”

    Almost forgot – they also have a section on PPC. I’d like to see documented proof that affiliates can actually do that. Most lose money. It may make sense for the company which earns the gross dollar cost. But affiliates earn a commission and PPC has a long and expensive learning curve, especially in the “make money” space.

    P.S. One WA user claimed he used PPC heavily with great success. Unlike in their forums, we challenge our own customers to document what they say when we see that type of statement. Anyway, he provided the domain so we sent him to links showing zero PPC traffic.

    That’s the problem with domains. They make your statements verifiable.

    It’s OUR biggest asset. Domains let people check your claims.

    As for this…

    “At WA current members write and post training materials. It’s great for WA that the members themselves do a great deal of the training for the company.”

    We’ve reviewed that. The material is uneven. And that, together with “100s of videos” – it’s exactly the opposite of SBI!….

    We’re all about cutting down a firehose of information to “FOCUS on what matters and execute that well.” The occasional SBIer does write an article about a topic that s/he may know and execute really well. But we review it – it must fit within the CTPM (http://ctpm.sitesell.com) construct.

    You’ve picked up on several of the “subtle” aspects, starting as early as their “freemium program” and their steering of PAID customers (in their Certification) into “make money” niches (a deadly, depressing niche largely owned by a small number of pros – anyone with a conscience eventually realizes that they have been reduced, as human beings, into luring others into scammy products – few, if any, truly deliver REAL results in REAL niches).

    So here is how we see this…

    They NEED this because it keeps the affiliate program growing. If a product has little REAL success, you basically need to subtly “bribe” folks to write favorable reviews, fake ones that pull down SBI!, among others. Of course, that means you have to convince them you’re the best, etc, etc. – hence the Bootcamp’s content.

    SBI! vs WA is particularly important because it is the only program that delivers success at its rates and levels. Moving people who search for reviews into fake reviews and from there, bait-and-switch into a program that has 3% of the high-traffic success, 10% of medium success?

    It’s not just that they attack our business. IT’S MUCH MORE THAN THAT.

    We have a deep philosophical belief in the ability of the “everyday person” and what they can do IF you remove the hurdles and provide a clear pathway. That “theory” is vindicated every day by the amazing stories and results…

    1) Volume (500 sites in the Top 1M of all active sites — 170M!).

    http://results.sitesell.com/

    2) Longevity (case studies that grow the same businesses for as many as 10 years or more, posting their occasional update).

    http://case-studies.sitesell.com/

    NOTE: Two have recently realized the equity in their business by selling some or all of each. There’s little if any equity in “make money.”)

    3) New stories from our blog, with a focus on the human aspect of what it means to build a profitable business based on a subject you love, including real-life takeaway lessons (it angers us to think of what their stories could have been with Wealthy Affiliate).

    http://www.sitesell.com/blog/real-life-success-lessons/

    THAT is what drives us to NOT letting this practice stand. It inspired The Study, which finally unmasks that truth of how rare success is.

    Your note is especially interesting, Barry, because parts of it still believe it to be legit…

    “Since most new members have been scammed themselves in the past and WA is the first legitimate program they have come across they tend to make the leap that, therefore, all other programs are scams.”

    Yes, they ARE better than terrible. 😉

    After a total review of both the Certification program and the Aff program (Bootcamp), our conclusions were…

    1) Certification – we did not see the depth of coverage, nor the coverage of some key aspects, to enable solopreneur success. At best, we figured it would deliver a minimal level of improvement over those who “figure it out.”

    Before The Study, we guessed that SBI! would be be 5X more effective at delivering high-traffic sites. THAT would have been impressive.

    We weren’t close – it was 33X. That’s amazing. We were so surprised, we repeated it – same results. And I’d be surprised if WA has not tested it, too – it’s the first thing I would do if I were them.

    So THE WA PRODUCT is NOT a scam. But it doesn’t come close to deliver on the illusion of success, brilliantly propagated by the sheer power of repetition, without VERIFIABLE proof (i.e.,include DOMAIN name – there is NO good reason not to provide that, despite the various excuses to do so – I’ve written about that elsewhere).

    THE WA MARKETING? We see it, as executed by the affiliates through fake reviews, as being both immoral and illegal. That would be the case even without The Study. WITH The Study, though, this descends to a whole new level…

    Those affiliates who write SBI! “reviews” mislead folks away from a product (SBI!) to one that has a small fraction of the success, is dominated by failure (87% “Invisible”). That is a DISSERVICE to the visitor.

    Is WA to blame for that? There’s no way to know that. But we believe that they are extremely clever marketers. We don’t see how they could not know what their training program will end up delivering – it’s exactly what HAS happened.

    Further, any affiliate program manager should be monitoring and disciplining, as necessary. This is not the occasional rogue affiliate – their fake review practice is widespread.

    So, if it was not their intent, why would they not contact those affiliates and instruct them to take down fake reviews, make them real, etc.?

    And if they are getting all those fake reviews, why not totally change their Bootcamp and lead folks AWAY from MMO, like we do?

    This is a program that, if neither the company nor its affiliates adjust their ways will, sooner or later…..

    1) be reviewed by the Canadian Competition Bureau (misleading advertising, performed online, is a priority of theirs)

    ii) be slammed by Google. I am surprised the Panda has not already hit this low-quality content (most of it is rehash, myths taken from elsewhere, facts taken from our site, etc. – little if any true, original material). We have not seen a true, serious “review.”

    So, when you start with that, and add the disservice that it does (searcher does not get his/her “search intent” – a REAL review), those pages are the opposite of Google really wants to deliver.

    Panda should pick up these low-quality efforts. RankBrain will nail the rest on “intent” (more of a A.I. function). Searchers want REAL reviews, not WA sales funnels.

    We believe that that these activities will be hit hard by gov’t or Google. The only question is WHEN.

    Barry, you hit the nail on the head here…

    “”””””

    The top people at WA say and encourage people to start in the MMO niche which is a bad idea to me. How can a person promote something they know nothing about?

    Thing is by the time new people make the move to MMO they already believe WA is all that and a slice of bread. So off they go.

    “”””””

    You still seem to want to believe that these are good guys, that they believe it to be good information. But consider this..

    Even BEFORE The Study, they KNEW that they could not come close to proof of success such as the 500 sites on http://results.sitesell.com/

    So why include us on that list of 175 products? The review not only has to be fake, its recommendation has to mislead because they are NOT sending folks to a better product.

    We can’t see how their database would not tell them that. They only have 38 sites (average of the 3 metrics) in the Top 1,000,000. We show 500 out of the 700 (per The Study).

    People want to believe that all is good, that the program is honorable. That fascinates us because, after reviewing and storing all their information – we can’t see how more people don’t see through the whole thing.

    I’d be furious when I realized what I had been convinced to do, all the more so when I see The Study results. Of course, we are seeing WA users coming over to SBI!, but even they just seem to feel “OK, it’s time to move.”

    I guess it’s a healthier way to think. So that much is good. 🙂

    Of course, we don’t know how folks REALLY feel. The Study bursts the bubble. There have been numerous threads about it in their “forums,” about half of which have been deleted. The ones that remain don’t touch the actual results, don’t criticize or contain serious, thinking insights.

    My advice? Do what our researchers did and take a really hard look with an open mind. I think you’ll realize that they realize what they are doing. Once you start with “these are really smart guys,” it’s hard to come to any other opinion.

    From what we’ve seen, the WA owners are too smart to offer such bad advice. They NEED that self-serving, self-propagating system of “sell make money” to “make money” from others who “buy make money” and then those new folks go into the same loop. Round it goes.

    We can’t see how it could be an accident.

    We, ironically, have the same problem in reverse. Our strongest marketing asset is SBI! users. They get results. They love SBI!.

    More and more, we’re realizing, we need that support to be expressed so that others can’t attack us the way that WA affiliates do. That enables us to grow and do more, keep making SBI! better (it will never be “finished”).

    But here’s our “problem”…

    We talk folks AWAY from “make money.” So few write reviews – THEIR visitors are NOT searching for info on online biz building.

    THAT made us vulnerable to attacks such as what WA affiliates are doing for search terms related to reviews of SBI!.

    Now we are asking SBIers to write reviews, their honest experience. We tell them there is no money in it. Some use an affiliate link, some don’t. But NONE do it for the money.

    My point? With MMO sites and a high commission, you can find folks who’ll go and pitch whatever/wherever the money is. Those are the pros. The beginners, you convince by telling them that “we’re the best”, repeatedly, and then explain how they do their visitors a service by following advice that will almost inevitably end up in the creation of “fake reviews.”

    This is all done without saying “write a fake review.”

    We, meanwhile, hate to distract SBIers with this. But it’s necessary for the future of SBI!. Our advantage grows every year. And there’s a lot more we want to do.

    The means hiring and growing – we’ll stop at 50K, at which point we only replace attrition. And the total focus is purely on getting better and better. We don’t need to be bigger than that.

    But now I digress. 🙂

    So, in answer to your BIG question…

    “My big question is: Is this all by design?”

    We can’t see how they would not know. Were they clever enough to design it this way from their first day of existence in 2005? Not likely.

    But 13 years is a lot of time to learn by trial and error and “go with what sells.”

    “Fake reviews” is not a new strategy. They must follow the literature, like we do. We can’t see how this is not “by design” – it’s just logical opinion.

    About this…

    “I can say that if something is posted at WA that they think reflects poorly on the training or the company there is a swift response that leads me to believe that they have flagged certain metrics and when they pop up they are quick to respond.”

    But what has changed that matters? They still guide folks into MMO, and not just new customers “after 30 minutes.”

    And they censor threads that would cause others to realize what’s going on.

    We don’t censor. The only rule re posting is “no trolling.”

    Meanwhile, you said all that needs be said…

    “I do know that if WA thought I was posting against them that they would take some kind of action against me. They are very protective of the program at almost a scary level. ”

    We’re slowly realizing the whole cult thing. There’s a high churn rate, so the folks who stick somehow buy into the whole thing – WA never gets past the “make money with your site” way of thinking. That, together with fear, leads to subservience.

    It’s still a construct that is forming in my mind – all speculation. But it sure does not smell right.

    SBI! has evolved way beyond that over the years, but always anchored by CTPM (ctpm.sitesell.com) and catch phrases such as “keep it real” and “OVERdeliver.”

    New SBIers grow in so many ways, from all the concepts of building a real, long-lasting business to doing business with integrity and obsession for the visitor’s well-being.

    The process has evolved (there are places where their material is years old) in two ways…

    1) with the times

    2) as a much stronger, build-a-BUSINESS concept where SBIers not only grow higher, more robust income, but equity too (for that final balloon payment if and when you sell your BUSINESS).

    There’s much more to be done.

    So we can’t let some dishonest marketing tactic damage us by hurting those who are our champions.

    Thanks, Barry, for helping to fill in the blanks.

    All the best,

    Ken

    P.S. Sorry if there are any typoos. I spell-checked it, but I hope that weirdies crept in (ex., “NOT” instead of “NOW” – one of my worst ones that can change the meaning).

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