Wealthy Affiliate Review:
Head-On vs Solo Build It!

Solo Build It!'s integrated combination of process, tools, guidance, auto-updating & 24/7 help has enabled more solopreneurs to build profitable businesses than any other product. We know that's a bold claim.

We know, too, that any company can say that they're the best. However, we're the only ones who prove it in easy-to-verify ways. The others would if they could.

No company has ever tried to claim our title as "the best" (not even when we issued a $50,000 Challenge). Recently, though, we noticed that one did! We got to the bottom of the Wealthy Affiliate claim fast.

"Fake (Review) It 'Til Folks Buy It!"

We first became interested in Wealthy Affiliate after discovering scores of reviews about Solo Build It!. If that sounds odd, it gets odder.

Here is what we found. The reviews themselves hardly mattered...

  • Some trash SBI!.
  • Others rehash old material.
  • Some pretend to be objective.
  • Many even use the same comparison chart.
Astroturfing (aka "Astroturf Marketing"): includes "the practice of creating fake reviews that may be extremely deceptive to consumers."

"Those who engage in astroturfing typically use specific types of digital media, like online review sites."

"The use of astroturfing in digital venues is actually being pursued by state law-enforcement offices in New York and elsewhere in the United States. Officials are reviewing the practice of creating fake reviews..."

(Full definition techopedia.com)

The smelly fish comes at the end...

They all recommend Wealthy Affiliate ("our #1 pick" or "my top choice"). That raised the obvious question...

Why would so many people review SBI!, but recommend WA?🐟

The review was just the bait! They trick those who are interested in SBI! into believing they have found a review about it. Then they pitch WA by linking them to their Wealthy Affiliate review.

It soon became clear that this was not just a couple of rogue affiliates. Hundreds of reviews were virtually blanketing search results for review(s) of "Solo Build It!" or "SBI!" (or even our older name, "Site Build It!").

As a result, we did a deep-dive into WA's affiliate training techniques, which focuses almost totally on writing reviews. It even provides a list of 175 products to write about.

The "bait-and-switch / fake review" is a growing affiliate marketing tactic. It also happens to be illegal, a form of "misleading online advertising."

It reflects a willingness to deceive the solopreneur. You can do something about it. Gain the honesty you deserve and help future solopreneurs — report this immoral and illegal practice.

Let's put aside the morality and legality of fake reviews for now, and get to the study.

Big Claims, No Proof.   So Let's Look

Neither Wealthy Affiliate nor its affiliates provide any verifiable evidence of success. We always have, loads of it.

This study focuses on Wealthy Affiliate because of the claim that it's better than Solo Build It!. More importantly, we suspected that WA was leading solopreneurs to failure, not success.

Whom should you trust your future with? Which product delivers success and which delivers failure? Only a head-to-head study could answer these questions clearly.

This was simple to test...

  • Take every active SBI! and Wealthy Affiliate site.
  • Measure their traffic using 3 traffic tools.
  • Tabulate and show the results.

If you're the type who likes every last detail, here's the full study, including a detailed "how-to" (in Part 2), so that you can perform the study yourself.

This 3-part series exposes an elaborate and long-standing scheme that seems to have led thousands (perhaps tens of thousands since 2005) to dashed dreams.

Ready? Let's get into the study...

Which Is Best for Solopreneurs?
Wealthy Affiliate or SBI!?

Let's start with a quick peek at three highlights...

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

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

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).

Needless to say, affiliates who recommend WA are not doing you any favors.

Please read on for the summarized description, results, and analysis of The Study.

The Study: What If the Truth Came Out?

Goals, Definitions, and Measuring Success

The goal of The Study is very simple: determine which product is more likely to enable solopreneurs to build profitable online businesses. We're only looking for big picture, absolutely conclusive/meaningful differences. Does one product make a solopreneur significantly more likely to succeed than the other?

No vague claims, no Photoshoppable scans of commission checks, no testimonials from people who don't even include their domain name. Just a well-built, objective, rigorous, statistically significant and reproducible study.

Definition of Success

We must define success before we can measure it. To truly document success, we need hard data that can be verified by anyone.

The best way to document success is by determining organically grown (i.e., free) site traffic. Anyone can buy traffic, but there's a steep learning curve and it requires the solopreneur to sell a product with a high enough margin to justify the expense.

The same amount of traffic can generate different amounts of income, depending on how you monetize. And that's fine, because whatever someone's monetization mix may be, it's fair to say that income is proportional to traffic. And no traffic = no income.

Traffic can be easily determined and verified. Income statements from 27,000 sites can't. So traffic is our best proxy for success. The Study will, therefore, measure free, organically grown traffic as its indication of success.

Methodology

In order to compare apples to apples, The Study must use the identical methodology to analyze SBI! and WA traffic performance of active ("real") sites hosted at Solo Build It! and Wealthy Affiliate.

To ensure accuracy, we used 3 different industry standard analytics tools for measuring website traffic — Alexa, SimilarWeb, and SEMrush.

Note: Many people have an out-of-date impression about Alexa — see this series of articles for up-to-date information. If we exclude Alexa, SBI!'s advantage grows even greater. Using all 3 measuring tools provides greatest accuracy, though.

We performed The Study on April 3, 2017. We repeated it in early May with near-identical results. Here's the step-by-step process to perform it yourself...

1) Get the list of websites for Wealthy Affiliate and SBI! from whois.domaintools.com (or any source that provides all sites hosted under each name server).

32,582 domain names were listed under "MYWAHOSTING.COM" (WA's nameservers are NS1MYWAHOSTING.COM and NS2.MYWAHOSTING.COM).

16,973 domain names were found under "SITESELL.COM" (SBI!'s nameservers are NS1.SITESELL.COM and NS2.SITESELL.COM).

2) Reduce the sites to a list of "real" sites.

The Study defines a "real" site as one that has a home page and at least one link to a second page on the same domain name.

16,814 "real" sites for WA and 9,948 "real" sites for SBI!. That means...

  • 15,768 WA domain names were not real sites at WA.
  • 7,025 SBI! domain names were not real sites at SBI!.

By doing this, the following types of sites/domain names were eliminated....

  • redirects to other sites
  • single page sites (under construction, not configured yet, etc.)
  • unreachable/do not resolve.

Note: If we had kept all domain names in the study, SBI! results would have been even better when compared to WA. More than twice as many of these "non-sites" belonged to WA.

3) Get traffic rankings for each site. We obtained, using the APIs of each company, the Alexa ranking, the SimilarWeb (SW) ranking and the organic search traffic estimate from SEMrush for all "real" sites. (To repeat the study, you could scrape results.)

4) Finally, we organized the data for usable presentation.

Results of The Study

SBI! gives you a 33X higher chance of high-traffic success.

Wealthy Affiliate cuts your chances by more than 90%.

The Study looked at (approximately) 17,000 WA websites, and compared them to 10,000 SBI! sites (using the full methodology described above). The findings are divided into three groups...

  • Outstanding-Excellent — The sites in this range are in the Top 1,000,000 sites (out of a total of 170,000,000 active sites).
  • Medium — This is a broad range, good traffic to low traffic.
  • Poor — This range is also broad, low traffic to invisible (no detectable traffic).

Three tools were used to measure these sites' traffic: Alexa, SimilarWeb, SEMrush.

Important: The 3 tools agreed with each other for all results. This, combined with the massive superiority of SBI! over Wealthy Affiliate, leads to an extraordinarily high level of confidence in these results.

Outstanding-Excellent Traffic Performance

Outstanding-Excellent Traffic is defined as having Alexa and SimilarWeb rankings of less than 1 million, and an SEMrush traffic score of greater than 5,000.

Medium Traffic Performance

Medium Traffic is defined as having an Alexa and SimilarWeb ranking range of between 1 and 10 million, and an SEMrush traffic range of 100-5,000.

Although this division covers a wide range, we will see how Alexa, SW and SEMrush all show SBI! has the highest performance at the high end of "Medium," while WA only shows some significant contribution at the low end — although it still does not outperform SBI!.

Poor-to-Invisible Traffic Performance

This final grouping is the most interesting and extremely important. Solopreneurs who manage to reach the Medium (or higher) levels of performance should know enough that, with continued application and improvement, they can work their way up the traffic ladder.

However, failure to get out of the weakest category of the Poor-to-Invisible division indicates a lack of sufficient ability to succeed. "Ability" is merely applied knowledge.

This category should be transitional for solopreneurs. Unless a site is here because it's just starting out, this is the "fail zone." And, perhaps not coincidentally, based on all that we know of Wealthy Affiliate by now, this is where it overtakes and far exceeds SBI!.

Conclusions

Wealthy Affiliate's claims, along with its affiliates' fake reviews, offer the beginning of a sales funnel. The study suggests that, instead of offering a fair review that leads you to SBI!'s bright prospects, you are being led into a Wealthy Affiliate sales funnel that most likely ends in failure.

This study measured the traffic performance of every real site of Wealthy Affiliate and Solo Build It! using 3 traffic metrics tools (Alexa, SimilarWeb, SEMrush), all of which delivered the same results.

The only difference between Alexa/SW/SEMrush was not "which one is better" but "how much better is SBI!." Some choose not to believe in Alexa. If that's you, SBI!'s results improve even further if we exclude Alexa's results...

  1. SBI!'s high-traffic superiority rises to 38X from 33X for "Outstanding - Excellent" traffic.
  2. SBI!'s medium-traffic superiority rises to 11.2X from almost 10X for "Medium" traffic.
  3. 87% of Wealthy Affiliate sites are "Invisible," which increases to 89%.

Wealthy Affiliate claims a high level of success on its sales site ("There are 1,000's of people succeeding every day within Wealthy Affiliate"). In its affiliate training materials they suggest repeatedly that the affiliate serves the reader of such reviews well because there's nothing as good as Wealthy Affiliate.

However, WA offers no proof of success. SBI! always has.

No other companies provide proof, either, of course. We have always stated that "they would if they could." Well...

Now we know that they can't.

We can't promise you that you'll be right for SBI! and vice-versa. That's why we have the 90-day, money-back guarantee.

The Only Reason We Performed This Study

Many WA affiliates have criticized this study as being an unprovoked attack or as being "desperate." They have stayed away from discussing the results. And any one of them, including Wealthy Affiliate itself, can repeat and report the results of the study. So just to set the record straight...

  1. WA affiliates, as a result of Wealthy Affiliate training, attacked us with hundreds, if not thousands, of reviews that recommend WA over SBI!.

    Worse, they do it through fake reviews as a way to reach and mislead those who seek more info about SBI!.

    And finally, those who continue to do so, do it with the full knowledge that they likely lead you to failure.

  2. In response, we designed a rigorous and objective study. Let the chips fall where they may. Now they have to live with that.

This study has greater value than merely proving how effective SBI! is and how ineffective Wealthy Affiliate is. It's the first step toward a more vigorous response.

Based upon research about Wealthy Affiliate, we do not believe that they'll stop what we believe to be an unethical, even illegal, marketing practice. Complaints by other victims and at least one lawsuit (to suppress a negative review about them) convince us of their determination to stay on this course.

Sadly, we expect the fake review problem to continue to grow. The promise of money (that only a small percent will ever earn) from this practice will keep pushing more fake reviews about SBI!.

Choosing SBI! to build an online business is a serious decision. We hope and expect you to search for reviews. So please note...

  • Do not be fooled by fake reviews about Solo Build It!. They push you away from purchasing SBI!, a product that gives you a far better chance to succeed. They do so to earn a huge commission.
  • Look for real reviews by real users of SBI! (see some examples here). You'll recognize them by their domain names. They have little financial incentive to write about SBI! because their sites are about real niches (e.g., table tennis or the Victoria Falls). Those are the real McCoy.

It's this simple...

Solo Build It! Outperforms

While high traffic is not an absolute guarantee of financial success, you can't earn much, or build equity in your business, without it. Use Alexa, SW and SEMrush to sniff out the baloney.

We encourage you to reproduce The Study. We did, 1 month apart, and got the same conclusions. See the minor fluctuations, 2 lines dipping above and below each other in the graph below? Those are random minor deviations...

  • Compare those to the massive difference between SBI! and Wealthy Affiliate.
  • Note how the 2 pairs of lines intersect at 20M, the second-to-worst traffic level.
  • And see how, after 20M, WA far surpasses SBI! at increasing levels of failure.

The entire story is in this final graph. SBI! excels at success, Wealthy Affiliate. at failure. The results are reproducible.

And it doesn't matter if 1,000,000 affiliates are willing to sell their soul to drag you down.

What to Ignore?

Ignore claims of income. Anyone can (and many do) lie.

Ignore streams of meaningless activity — drone-like comments of little value do not drive results.

Ignore scans of bank accounts or payment checks.

Ignore screenshots of Google Analytics. All of those can be faked.

Ignore wonderful life-changing quotes from unverified "customers" with no domain nae — they're easy to make up.

Insist on seeing the only thing that can't be faked — the domain name of the success story. That enables you to verify that they are customers of Wealthy Affiliate. or Solo Build It! (using whois) and you can check traffic with Alexa, SimilarWeb and SEMrush.

Take Our Risk-Free 90-Day Trial

We promise you the best track record online.

We promise you total devotion to solopreneur success. But...

We can't promise you that you'll be right for SBI! and vice-versa. That's why we have the 90-day, money-back guarantee.

No gimmicky "free trial" that cripples the product, offers you 2 "free sites" (that are just subdomains and will never get any traffic), and no endless upselling. You have total access to all of SBI! — immediately.

You can't lose even if you decide SBI! is not for you. The most common reasons boil down to "too much work." If you learn that, rest assured that there's nothing easier that also works.

So you can rest happy knwing that you have other priorities that you do not want to sacrifice now for the goals and dreams that matter to you later.

Most, though, fully "get it" when they dig into SBI!. You, too, will be off to the races, building yourself a business that impacts your life.

Try SBI! and join our community of successful solopreneurs. Here are a few recent stories (real people, with stories that moved us). Enjoy them. Learn from the included real-life takeaway lessons. And then...