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  1. LJacob

    Thank you Kyle for taking time to address some of these problems of Online or Affiliate marketing programs. I believe more are still springing up on daily basis and only God will deliver us and those still falling victim will notice their operations and quit.

    • Kyle

      They surely are and when they get big enough, the FTC, Competition Bureau and other entities tend to find them and dissolve them. I am aware of a handful of programs online that may be on the radar and hopeful the government entities can do an effective job of tackling these from a legal standpoint.

      It is not fair to the consumer when they are being taken advantage of, in particular when it comes to people take advantage of their “hope” emotions in order to in essence, steal money from them.m

  2. Emma

    I have been so confused and overwhelmed the last few months. I have been buying courses and asking for guaranteed money back because of the upsell scams you described. No body gets anywhere selling the same thing over and over. Thank you for your information.

    • Kyle

      You are not alone. I think the frustrating is really running rife within the industry because there are so many unscrupulous companies out there sucking you in at a low price, with the core purpose of upselling you on much higher ticket prices. If this happens to you, ask for a refund immediately as the company is likely taking advantage of you.

      If a company is claiming they are affiliate marketing and they are not being forthcoming about their “pricing”, then they should immediately be added to your illegitimate/scam list.

    • Kyle

      I am in unfamiliar with this network/product. I have actually never heard of it. What I can tell you though is if you’re looking to create a proper business online and do so in an ethical manner, I would recommend that you had in the direction of Wealthy Affiliate. It is completely free to get rolling and by lesson for of the initial training alone you are going to have your very own niche website up and running.

  3. John Babcock

    Has anyone heard about MAZ Marketing, LLC? Legit or scam? I’m looking to do something in retirement and had a call from them using Amazon Affiliates.

    • Kyle

      I haven’t heard of this program, but we will investigate this program when we get a chance to do so. I can tell you though that any company that solicits you through telephone is one that you typically want to avoid. You should never get a phone call from a company (legitimate one) without you first making the contact first.

      • HASSAN

        Hello sir,
        Just recently I saw their ads over Facebook, i am a bit interested so I signed up, later on I got a message on my messenger, inviting me to join them. Now I am doubtful, maybe your investigation will make me decide.

        Thank you

  4. Phyllis A. Thoren

    Kyle, So if joining Wa, the membership and tools are free, correct? Then you are able to upgrade and pay what amount, and what do you get for the extra money, and isn’t this considered an upsell? I am really interested in your company, just need a few answers. Thanks

    • Kyle

      The Starter membership at Wealthy Affiliate is completely free. This includes a great deal of training, 2 free websites, support, mentoring, etc. The access is of course more limited than the Premium membership, but whether or not you upgrade is completely up to you. W hat I can tell you is tha tWA is the most comprehensive, cost efficient platform in the industry (even at $49 per month for Premium) and others in this space are charging several $1,000’s per year for MUCH less.

      My recommendation is that you sign-up for the free Starter membership. This will give you newfound perspective and you will be able to directly get help from me within the back office as well, even as a free member.

  5. Mary O'Donnell

    What about Stuart Ross of laptop entrepreneurs, he is all over every youtube video I watch and has lots of people doing ‘success story’ videos that seem insincere and copycat – thing is I watched his intro videos and he would not tell us what he was selling or the price!! Just dangled a lot of carrots at us. And after suffering through to the end of a long video there was a chance to ask questions – so I asked about disclosure on the price – never got an answer

    good tip on those ‘free’ books btw , the fmed docs who have taken brendon burchard’s course are playing that tactic all the time in my inbox, their marketing is horrendous and ruins their product and services

    • Kyle

      That is the first sign that you should avoid any given program or scheme. If there is a series of sales videos or sales pages and you go through them and STILL don’t have an idea what you are getting into or what are getting, chances are you are about to be taken advantage of.

      If the company or person trying to sell their product or service to you based on WHAT that product or service is, chances are you should avoid this program. It will more than likely end up being either vastly overpriced or a complete affiliate marketing scam.

  6. Adam

    Hi Kyle, that is a good post. A few weeks ago i was one click away from joining an affiliate network called GAZ then i looked further into it and it looke to me to be one of the systems that simply sells its own memberships. The coach that i was connected with assured me it was a legit system that sells health products but for the life of me i could not find proof of that online.
    That led me to more research on the affiliate marketing systems out there and it finally led me to the WA, its been about 2 weeks as apart of WA and so far i am really glad i found it. My website is coming along and every time I think ‘how do i do _______?’ there is a video to walk me through it and a calm voice guiding me to do that which I would not be able to figure out on my own.
    I find that this journey isn’t only a business opportunity but it is also like taking a part time college education.
    Thanks for all the guidance.

  7. Rebecca Alfaro

    I signed up with AWOL Academy and after reviewing the info, decided it was too difficult for a tech novice. I reached out to take advanytage of the refund but they never returned my call. I finally got through 4 weeks later and they refused to refund my money. I was supposed to recieve some training materials which never arrived. All I have received is an auto generated e-mail from the founder once every week. Im going to an Abraham Hicks Seminar next month and Im going to make sure they know what is going on as AWOL advertizes on Abrahams You Tube Channel. DO NOT SIGN UP FOR AWOL ACADEMY!!!

    • Kyle

      I haven’t heard of this program, but sorry to hear you have been taken advantage of. I recommend that if you are experiencing such difficulty getting a refund, you contact your credit card or bank and let them know what is happening. They should be able to help you out.

      There are a lot of programs online that offer what appears to be a great refund policy, but when you attempt to actually get a refund they tend to make it difficult to get one. Thanks for your feedback, I think it will be helpful for others.

      • Ashlie

        Any updates on what you think of Team Phoenix Affiliates? I’m debating on joining them and a bit weary if it is a scam.

        • Kyle

          If you’re wary something is a scam, chances are your intuition is correct. If you don’t understand what the program is or they don’t let you try it before you buy it, then I would be weary of joining at all. And if people tend to seem protective actually what you’re going to be doing an like it’s some sort of secret, then I would also avoid any programs that take that approach. They’re hiding something for reason (and its usually that you are going to be taken advantage of).

      • Kelinda

        Have you investigated team Phoenix yet? I been researching and studying the program before I join. They ask for 99 a month. Includes training and 90% of everything is done for you.. sent me a blueprint and watched videos. Give you a 14 day money back guarantee…

        • Kyle

          90% done for you? I never like the sounds of that, as it is unrealistic and is setting you up with false hopes. It takes work and effort to build a business online, you need the proper tools, training, services and support. If you are looking to build a business online, then you shouldn’t look any further than Wealthy Affiliate as absolutely everything you need is within WA to create, grow and manage a business of any size online. 🙂

  8. Regina


    Thanks for your article. It was informative. I just got involved with 411. Have you heard of them? My family is convinced that it may be a scam. Into days the owner has an appointment to have a telephone conference with me. According to article this may indicate it’s more legitimate. This is a Microsoft affiliate program. My website is ultimateelectronics.biz. I would welcome you to look at it and would appreciate your feedback. Thank you.



    • Kyle

      I would always be careful about any program that sets you for a Phone Conference, they are likely doing so in order to pressure sell you into much higher ticket programs or mentorships. I am unaware of this particular program, but there are many very similar programs out there in the affiliate marketing space.

      If you a review of your website as well Regina, please get in touch with me inside of WA and I will be more than happy to help you out.

  9. Solo

    Hey Kyle,

    Just recently linked up with AWOL Academy and paid about 1000 dollars for some their training programs. Have you heard of them? Is their training worth the money?

  10. BobbyCorno

    Kyle – I was recently burned (but thankfully only for $7) by an outfit called Rich Janitor, whose spiel was that he’d stumbled on some way to make fabulous money on the net. After signing up, I was immediately pommeled with an offer for ‘special individual help from the founder’, which would only cost me an additional $497. I declined, and immediately started seeking out legitimate ways to make money on the net, and came across Wealthy Affiliate, on which I am now a member.

    I could not be happier with that choice, and will be working through the spectacularly detailed and honest programs that WA offers while reaching my internet marketing goals. Thanks for the great share!

    • Kyle

      Well I am glad you found us before you likely got sucked into a rabbit hole. The $7 product on front end, with plenty of upsells on the back end is a pricing model that has been around for quite some time. Often times this is the tune of far more than $497, some as high as $50-$100K.

      I know you are going to love Wealthy Affiliate and I really do look forward to working with you!

  11. Tyler

    Lol I have been getting constants ads linking to Global Affiliate Zone (globalaffiliatezone.com) in my Facebook. It is almost mind boggling how this is not illegal. The bread and butter is you join this group and get others to join this group and then you run around and post about how great it is and put up cliche and trite motivational quotes all over social media. Man I guess it shouldn’t bother me that there are stupid people out there who fall for these traps,m but it is bothersome the effort and energy put in by the people producing this content.

    • Kyle

      I would avoid any program where you are joining the program, just to get others to join the program, and them having to do the same to recoup their costs. That is eerily similar to an pyramid scheme. I have not heard of Global Affiliate Zone, so I cannot comment in that respect, but just do be careful joining such schemes as mentioned above.

    • Kelly

      This is huge in BC Canada right now, GAZ has over 10,000 people buying into this scam! Its unbelievable this is not illegal- the catch is they all sell their lives to show how rich they are and they only work for 2 hours a day. Sign up for a membership for $99 but then you have to buy a water filter system for $8000…. scam for sure. Hopefully someone catches on to this soon. It was on ctv news, an 70 year old man fell for this and they refused to give his money back. Funny thing is the one running this brags about making $300,000 a year…

      • Kyle

        I actually caught wind of that CTV news special explaining what is going on. It is unfortunate that people are getting taken advantage of and this particular water system has been around for many years. When you have programs of this nature, there is a great deal of people that end up losing as a result (as with all MLM programs). Typically around 1-2% are lucrative, and the other 98% feed the beast.

        The “red flags” have to be set off when it feels as though you are being sold on “the riches” or “the glam” without truly being told what you are doing, what you will be selling, and how you will be selling it. If a company or person selling you into a program feels as though they are being secretive, then you absolutely should avoid the program at all costs.

  12. Camil

    Kyle, how do we know you’re not also a scam, promoting your wealthy affiliate by pushing your competitors aside? I’m not saying you are a scam, but I don’t know who to trust anymore.

    • Kyle

      You don’t. That is the thing. If I was you, I would be doing my due diligence before joining anything online and the thing about Wealthy Affiliate is that we operate in a very transparent way allowing people to join our service/platform/community without spending any money at all through our Starter membership. You will immediately be able to tell that we are very much involved in helping people, the community is amongst the most helpful and forward thinking on the internet, and the services we offer are unparalleled in the industry.

      So don’t trust what I say, trust what I do and that will be more than obvious if you decide to create a free Starter membership at Wealthy Affiliate.

        • Kyle

          There are no requirements. You just need to need to be interested in building an online business, because that is what is taught at WA. Simply go to the homepage, WealthyAffiliate.com and create a free Starter account. You can do this right from the main screen.

          From there you will be in and have instant access to the training, the ability to create 2 websites, expert affiliate marketing support/help, and a community like no other in the industry.

  13. Lissy

    Hi Kyle,

    Great informative article. I have been looking into starting a website for affiliate marketing and have looked into the affilorama blueprint training and also the wealthy affiliate. I was wondering what insight you could offer into if the are good value for the money paid? Or if you would be able to recommend another affiliate marketing training program. I am keen to get started but do not wish to be paying over the odds for something that is not worth it.
    Look forward to your response.

    • Kyle

      Well I am co-founder of Wealthy Affiliate and I can assure you that if you do take the step to even create a free Starter account at WA, you will be entering a world that you have not experienced anywhere online. We are the only all-inclusive affiliate marketing platform in the world and even with the free membership (truly, no catches) you will be able to get training, help, websites, hosting, and access to network with other like minded entrepreneurs.

      You can get your free Wealthy Affiliate account here.

      Also, if you have any questions about the industry, affiliate marketing or how to go about the business, I will be more than happy and will absolutely be available to help you out within WA.

  14. Terry

    Kyle, Great information! Thank you for posting this as it helped me to feel good about the decisions I have made in the past two weeks!

    • Kyle

      Good to hear is offered some clarity into the Affiliate Marketing industry. Unfortunately there are many “tricks” that the unscrupulous folks within the industry are using to take advantage of people and it is my obligation to bring this to the attention of the customer base within the industry so they don’t get taken advantage of.

      Wishing you a bright and very successful venture within the affiliate marketing world in 2017!

  15. Michael Spadaccini

    Hi Kyle,

    As a networker (proud one at that) I was approached by an affiliate marketer known to me, inviting me to look at his opportunity. As I normally look at new opportunities for what they may offer, with extreme due diligence I may add. His did not appeal from the get go for the following reasons.

    1) He was involved with two mlm companies whereby he promoted the heck out of them to only burn the people originally involved with him.

    2) His foray into affiliate marketing is seeing him post his earnings which appear handsome, but fails to disclose any pros or cons unless signing up to his website for a paltry $1.00

    My point I wish to make & and illustrated by you. Is that there is legit & illegitimate opportunity out there in “ALL” businesses / opportunities. As a very proud networker marketer, yes I will name my company, MaxInternational. I thoroughly researched the company & its science, and the how & why we bring to the world our brand of scientifically proven products.

    The everyday mum & dad, not to mention all those with entrepreneurial ambition, that are looking for their “vehicle”. Must do their due diligence before embarking on their new journey.

    There is no such thing as a get rich scheme, as all worthy cause entails hard work. It must also include without question transparency, honesty & full support. Devoid of hype, sensationalism & BS.

    Please do not write off all mlm companies or scare with the good old, its a pyramid.

    Wishing the very best to all entrepreneurs in our mutual quest to not only succeed for ourselves, but too also empower others in a solid biz & friendship relationship.

    Mike Spadaccini

    • Kyle

      The problem is, that is NOT an affiliate marketer. He is involved in an MLM, has a history in MLM, but he is trying to legitimize himself as you would state by saying that he is an affiliate marketer.

      That is what is happening far too much these days, companies and their participants presenting their opportunity as “affiliate marketing” when in reality, they are not even MLM, they are operating within the pyramid scheme space. These programs are very obvious as they are sold based on “how rich” or “how much money” someone is making, the product itself is never mentioned and if you ask questions about the product they will say things like “just sign up for a $1” or “sign-up for $50 and find out”.

      These are not affiliate marketers, these are scammers. Big difference.

      If you are involved in such a program as this or being sold a program like this, you are on the fringes of operating in a space in which the FTC is going to be investigating the program you are involved with. If you are operating in an MLM where your goal is to recruit others into it, be careful. That is not an mlm, that is likely going to be deemed at some point a pyramid scheme.

      If you are building a business by helping other people and offering them a fair priced, high quality product and that is your focus, then you are 100% legitimate.

      • I agree totally Kyle. The scammers are the ones running for the hills as a new breed of honest, hard working regular people take our internet back from the scammers.

        One thing about google plus. If I were you, I would stick around g+ more than facebook, because it seems goolge treats likes and shares from within the google network waaaaaaay better than coming from fakebook.

        • Kyle

          There are always going to be people and businesses that rely on scamming or misleading others. Wherever there is money to be made to do this, you can best bet there is going to be some unscrupulous people there to fill the void. There has never been more prominence of that than these days, I actually believe that the internet use to be a much safer place to seek out a way to “make money online” or to become an affiliate marketer than it is today.

          Too many companies are presenting their service as affiliate marketing, when in fact it is an MLM…or worse, a pyramid scheme. People are stating they are affiliates when they don’t understand what an affiliate is. Companies are teaching affiliate marketing as a way to attract people into their scheme and sell high ticket, overpriced programs just to earn high affiliate commissions (with a total disregard to the customer). Lots of stuff taking place, lots of people getting ripped off, and by helping folks understand this it will minimize the number of people that get hurt from this.

    • Kyle

      It can be very difficult when starting out to determine what is a legitimate opportunity and ethical way to build a business when there are so many companies and individuals out there that are operating in a way that is quite unethical. Glad I could offer you some clarity in respect to items to consider and scams to avoid when looking to get into affiliate marketing.

  16. christinamk

    You give great advice by saying to research a program before signing up. I was researching programs online I found so many negative reviews about certain product and people saying that they have lost thousands in the them. But there was evidence of some people succeeding with the program so I was still interested in it.

    But when I found a review of Wealthy Affiliate and could not find a single negative remark about the program, I knew that Wealthy Affiliate was the better choice and that the other program was a huge scam in comparison. I’m glad there are good people like yourself in the world of internet marketing that can help others make an honest income on the internet.

    • Kyle

      There are definitely many low quality programs online in fact we reside in an industry where there are vultures everywhere you look. They are in the business of taking your money, nothing more. Many of these companies have to tell you that making money online is an instant process, it will happen overnight and they will usually tout success of a select few in their programs (the only ones actually making money) to sell their program.

      The focus of any product/services sales page should be what benefits the product/service can offer you. If it is all about selling you on the sizzle and doesn’t even mention the steak, you have a reason for concern in this industry.

  17. Raymond Oickle

    Hi Kyle, One of the things I really despise is the lack of integrity some people have when sending out emails. I’ve even seen programs that actually tell people to pretend their emails are being sent from highly respected sites, such as paypal…

    Anyway, sorry for going off topic, there are plenty of scams out there, and those upsell programs are one of the worst.

    • Kyle

      I really wish I could say this surprises me, but nothing does these days. Companies are stooping to all time lows in the affiliate marketing world. The loser unfortunately is the consumer and their pocketbook. Fortunately people can only rip off others for so long before they either get caught by authorities or people naturally move into the online world to let others know about their experiences.

  18. Chris

    Wow! Thannks for your post Kyle. It’s amazing, the amount of scam companies out there posing as legitimate companies. Because of this I was naturally suspicious of Wealthy Affiliate and I spent the entire 7 free days before I joined. I am GLAD I joined. This just make it harder for legitimate companies like WA to earn the trust of individuals.
    Keep up the good work Kyle!

    • Kyle

      It is only natural to be suspicious of any program out there and I recommend you do your due diligence before buying any program online. The problem is that there are so many companies out there that prey on the fact that people have so much hope and often times desperation to make money (and to do so fast).

      The reality is that there is a RIGHT way and a WRONG way to build a business online. Also, the reality is that affiliate marketing can be done in any niche and the start up costs are very minimal if you choose the right program and if you are not being taken advantage of (less than $400 per year tops, including a domain).

      So glad you have done your research and didn’t make any rash decisions when choosing a product/service online Chris. I also really do look forward to working with you. The affiliate marketing world is an exciting and one and one that continues to grow.

  19. CherylK

    A really good article and lessons to learn. Years ago I was recruited into Mary Kay, a skin care company. At the time, I was so naive I didn’t realize was an MLM was. I ended up spending way more money than I earned and when I decided to send everything back and quit, I received a tongue-lashing from my “director” that completely threw me for a loop! She was angry because my leaving the company was going to reflect on her numbers!!

    • Kyle

      That is exactly where the idea of MLM being a pyramid derives from. Not only are you selling product for someone else, you are having to pay them (often times a lot) of money just for the privilege to promote their products and services. In order for people to succeed in almost ALL MLM’s, they require a downline of folks. They cannot rely on their own sales of the product itself to drive their business and this is where that business model breaks down and in my opinion, is very deceptive.

      Your reaction by your “director” is pretty commonplace in the industry, people use OTHERS as instruments to their success, not as partners. If you want to read more on my thoughts about the MLM industry, head over here.

  20. Patricia

    You know I never considered just paying for shipping & handling a scam, that was an informative and interesting point.However, I do believe you’re right, when the word ‘FREE’ is mentioned there shouldn’t be any payment at all or someone has told a big fib. That really aggravates me and I fuss about that quite a bit.My true pet peeve though is the scam that you mentioned called pyramid, I was involved in one but was unaware at the time.

    At first I felt so excited at being part of a group that was seemed so promising and met at seminars since I loved stuff like that and still do. Then my sponsor got me approved as an Associate there and I was told it would be easy but it was far from it, it was intrusive and expensive as well. Although they changed their name, Prepaid Legal was definitely one of those pyramid places.You have achieved your purpose here, this article has made me much more aware and appreciate Wealthy Affiliate even more. Thank you Kyle!

    • Kyle

      Yeah, the pyramid schemes out there are getting better at masking themselves as something else. When you join a program with the sole intention to recruit others into the very same program, followed by them doing the same person then you might be involved in a pyramid program or something that is pyramid like. The Affiliate Marketing is far removed from the idea of being a pyramid, but there are companies claiming they are affiliate marketing companies that are not operating that way. Just be careful.

      Affiliate Marketing is process of promoting someone else’s product in exchange for the commission. These can be digital or physical products and there are literally 10,000’s of affiliate programs (free to join) and MILLIONS of products that you can promote as an affiliate. It in essence allows you to enter any niche/vertical online and creating a business within it, without ever having to carry any inventory, deal with shipping, returns, or support for the actual product.

  21. Brandon

    Hey there!
    Thank you for taking the time to warn us of the pitfalls we can come across while searching for affiliate marketing opportunites. I have come across a few of these myself, and it is not fun at all. Thankfully there is communities like WA like you mentioned that do help you and it’s great!

    • Kyle

      Yeah, it isn’t fun at all when you run across these top scams in particular when you have no awareness of what is taking place. Hopefully this will give some newcomers to the affiliate marketing worlds and those that have never run across these some newfound perspective as to what to avoid.

  22. Mijareze

    I just read your post. I find it hard to believe all the scams that are out there. It’s no wonder people are afraid of doing business with legit companies. It took me 2 months before I joined Wealthy Affiliate University because I thought it was just another scam site. Today, I am glad I took the plunge.

    Thank you,

    Edward Mijarez

    • Kyle

      That is what happens, someone gets ripped off or it happens several times and they just blanket their entire industry as being a scam. That is unfortunate for the companies and business owners that truly do care about people and their success (and not just making money). It truly is an uphill battle.

      I am really glad you found Wealthy Affiliate and I know you are going to have a very successful and fruitful journey moving forward. I promise you now that you have found us, you will never be scammed again as everything you need is offered to you.

      • Angela

        The best article I read on the topic of scams online, very true all! From the moment I start to search for online business I have seen pretty much all of these. Companies are in the business of taking advantage of you these days it seems and it is rare that I don’t see at least one of these attributes in companies I come across. So glad I found Wealthy Affiliate and the awesome community you guys have there.

  23. Heather Grace

    I have just started in internet marketing (less than 6 months) and found this article very informative! The thought of not getting paid was one of my worst fears. I have shied away from smaller lesser known companies. But some of the bigger ones pay so little that it becomes hard to make anything. Do you have any tips additional on protecting yourself from non-paying affiliate programs? Great stuff as usual!

    • Kyle

      Most affiliate programs are very good about payment and will offer you their payment schedule (ever week, every month, etc). There are very rare circumstances where they don’t end up paying you on the date they were supposed to and that should create need for alarm. Either they don’t have the resource system in place to be able to pay on time or they simply do not have the money.

      Out of the 100’s of affiliate programs I have been involved with over the years, I have only had that happen once. The other affiliate program I had issues with, the company was actually shaving and scrubbing sales (hint: one of the most popular hosting companies).

      I wouldn’t tread to carefully when joining affiliate programs, but look for signs of them not paying within the first couple of pay runs and if they are not paying properly, stay clear of them and move on. There are too many options out there to waste your time and stress out dealing with things like that.

  24. SeasonGirl

    Hi Kyle 🙂

    You know I never considered just paying for shipping & handling a scam, that was an informative and interesting point.

    However, I do believe when the word ‘FREE’ is mentioned there shouldn’t be any payment at all or someone told a big fib. I fuss about that quite a bit 🙂

    My true pet peeve is the pyramid; someone says it’ll be easy but it’s far from and expensive as well. Although they changed their name, Prepaid Legal was one of those places.

    Thannx 4 listening,


    • Kyle

      Well, it is free until you get to the shipping part which is usually inflated to the point where it costs the same amount as buying a paper back in the store anyways ($12-15), so it is hardly a discount. This is usually followed by a series of pitches for much more expensive products, coaching, mentoring, masterminds and conferences…the spending was just begun!

      The problem with MLM’s and companies that present themselves as MLM’s (but are much closer to pyramids) is that you soon run out of people to suck into these sorts of schemes. Usually people rely on friends and families as that is the easiest way. There are MANY of them out there (too many)!

  25. Terrance Williams

    This is quite an interesting collection. You have to remember that a lot of the people running scams are actually misdirected geniuses. They are experts at manipulation. I think any one who has been involved in shopping around for some sort of an income for a while has been taken in by one or more of these scams. It is almost a badge of honor saying I survived and still have enough of an ego to go on trying. I bet you even left a few grammatical errors in this so we could think that this guy is really one of us!

    • Kyle

      I would never doubt the intelligence of anyone or any company that is operating an affiliate marketing scam, I do question their motives though. They are indeed experts in manipulation and when you have an innate understanding with technology, it is very easy to trick others into a scheme or a potential scam.

      Almost everyone I have worked with over the years (100,000’s of people) have run across more than one scam before finding us over the years. It is unfortunate, but it is the reality of what is taking place within the Internet space these days.

  26. Chris Towers

    Thanks for this information.

    There are a lot of scams out there with the ability to give you the impression they are the best programs around. It is only after you have parted with your money that you realize the mistake you have made.

    There are a lot of so called offers out there that do not pay and will take your money in advance happily. Your post really highlights what to look out for.



    • Kyle

      I agree, many programs out there are very eager to take your money…in fact TOO eager. Then when it comes to offering their service or their product, they hide behind the walls or anonymity without any repercussions. Fortunately there is a voice that people have within the online space to share their experiences with such programs these days to help others avoid them.

  27. Brendan

    Hi great post. I read with interest your recommendations and looked into the Wealth Affiliate program in a bit more depth. This program looks like there are great resources and tools as well as a really solid and supportive community. Is this your experience?

    • Kyle

      Everything you need to create and grow an affiliate marketing business online is included within Wealthy Affiliate. I recommend that you get yourself rolling on the Starter membership, it will give you the ability to get your business rolling right away and do so in any niche.

  28. Italian Brave Heart

    Hi great post. I read with interest your recommendations and looked into the Wealth Affiliate program in a bit more depth. This program looks like there are great resources and tools as well as a really solid and supportive community. Is this your experience? Are you planning to look at any other programs in the near future?

    • Kyle

      Yes, I am always reviewing new programs and helping folks understand various business models (some good, some bad) that are taking place within the online world. There are an incredible amount of high quality and very consumer quality “conscious” companies out there, but there are also others that are in the business of taking money from people. It is my mission to help people understand both dynamics within the affiliate marketing industry.

      Wealthy Affiliate is the only platform you need if you are looking to create and grow a business online. If you want more information on what is offered, you can check out the following page for more info.

  29. Ariel Baradarian

    Once again Kyle, this is an awesome post that really exposes the negatives of the many affiliate programs out there, most of which are really scams.

    And I’m impressed that you didn’t even have to mention the names of any programs, although by now, we probably can tell which ones are scams!

    • Kyle

      Most affiliate programs are not scams, in fact 95% of them are legitimate. It is more on the side of affiliate marketing training/coaching/schemes, people that portray their companies as being affiliate programs, and then the odd affiliate program with tangible products that doesn’t pay. Generally speaking affiliate programs are very low risk them, lots of fantastic ones out there.

  30. Samuel

    Hello Kyle,

    Great post in pointing out the top affiliate marketing scams. What I notice is that since pyramid schemes are illegal, a lot of companies are just adding some products into their “scheme” to hide the fact their still scamming people of their money. Even if you know what a pyramid scheme is, you still might be scam by them because they are just so good at using psychology to trick people. They really bring a bad name to making money online…

    I just want to say I’ve been in Wealthy Affiliate for about a month now and I did not regret my decision since the day I joined! Thank you for your help all this while, I really appreciate it! 🙂


    • Kyle

      A lot of companies creating pyramid scams online are in fact getting caught and they are getting taken down by authorities. The likes of ZeekRewards, BannersBroker, Vemma…just to name a few in recent years. The SEC/FTC has their hands full with programs like this and they tend to go after the bigger fish in the industry where the most people are getting ripped off, but they are definitely aware of all of the others.

      If you are buying a program/scheme just to promote the same product/scheme which is followed by you trying to get others to do the same, you need to be very careful. People get so caught up in the “making money” thing that they forget what they are actually doing.

  31. Arif

    This is a very good article and in great depth. It is good to have this sort of information online for customers who are interested in venturing into the world of affiliate marketing. I myself have looked online for many different ways to make money online and whilst coming across affiliate marketing, I never went ahead because I was scared and had very limited knowledge.

    I never knew there were so many different type of scams with affiliate marketing. It is good that you are letting others inside of the world that you know so well and help us prospective entrepreneurs before we do get ripped. Fantastic information.

    • Kyle

      Yeah, over the years I have seen the evolution of the internet and affiliate marketing worlds and it has almost come full circle. To be completely honest with you Arif, I have never seen it more acceptable to create a business around the idea of “making money” versus offering a quality service in exchange for a reasonable price point.

      People are spending $1,000’s just to make money off of others doing the same thing. People are spending $7 only to get promoting $5,000 “coaching” programs. People are getting ripped off left and right.

      Fortunately there are many folks out there that are standing up to this kind of behavior and helping others avoid these types of programs. My suggestion is to always do your due diligence before you invest your money online, in particular if you are entering into the opportunity world and the company is not up front about what their product actually is.

  32. Sam

    Hi, Kyle.

    Another excellent post, very informative and to the point. However, I do have two questions for you?

    When you say that one phone company owed you but failed to pay when it was due for over 2 years. How did you eventually get them to pay up? Did you have to use any legal action?


    When you say investigate the company before becoming an affiliate for them to check are they not near bankruptcy.

    I take it you have to investigate companies individually or is there a website that holds reports at the end of the month for specific companies in a niche?

    I’ve had a similar experience but the money owed to me was too low for me to take action on them ($23.00 from two sales) and the program disappeared after three weeks after I was due payment. The program was called Blue moon.

    • Kyle

      No I didn’t threaten anything, I just let them know that I wasn’t going to be promoting their program any longer. They had paid me out for some time before this happened, so the trust wasn’t completely lost…but they strung me along for some time and I think they actually got tired of me asking for it and just paid it out one day. It happens on occasion, but it is very rare. Just something to consider when joining affiliate programs.

      If I am joining an affiliate network or a very established company, I definitely don’t do much research. If I am joining and indie affiliate program and one that is fairly new to the market, I will definitely do a little bit more investigation.

      In your situation I would chalk it up as a loss and move on. It won’t be worth your time and energy in this case, but you offering your experience here might prevent someone else from running into the same issue.

      • Sam

        Thanks for the insight Kyle.

        I guess the lucky thing for me would be the two sales came from visitors who was attracted from organic traffic rather than using PPC for the campaigns I created for Blue moon.

        I’m aware of the difference between Affiliate programs and independent ones but never really considered the difference between Indie and well-established programs. A lesson learned.

        I guess a good piece of advice for your visitors here would be…

        Master the methods of attracting organic traffic before considering PPC for campaigns and learn as much difference between the different types of affiliate programs to prevent losing money for the work you put forth.

        Thanks again, Kyle.

        • Kyle

          The problem is also in part to companies biting off more than they can chew when it comes to having an in house affiliate program. They invest into the technology and to get it set-up, but often times don’t have the time and resources to have a team manage the affiliate program, payouts, and support side of things. At that point it collapses and affiliates don’t get paid.

          And it would be that much more frustrating if you were spending money promoting something and they weren’t paying, which was my experience with the voIP affiliate program I had issues with.

          • I couldn’t agree more Kyle.

            I make enough finances online from the niches I promote and had authority status within two of them before selling them on. However, I still work for other people.

            A company I work for as a team leader has the worst structure you could think of.

            They invest a lot of money into new systems to advance their services on offer but don’t employ a team to manage them correctly.

            My team I supervise are complete amateurs at managing customers who clearly need better training regardless of their degree status.

            The structure?

            Phone people up randomly receiving their information from other companies who shouldn’t be handing this information out, and flood them with awareness to offer them loans but not in a friendly way more forcefully like they’re trying to manipulate them.

            Just today one of my workers was convincing a potential customer to buy into a loan who was eager but…

            The potential customer then revealed they’re unemployed and my staff shut the phone down on them.

            That isn’t how you manage people.

            You and I both know when it comes to the customer lifestyle process and customer comprehension, you must earn their trust before considering offering them a product or service that is beneficial to them.

            My team are complete amateurs at this where the key for them is to strike a profit. The boss (top executive) is all about profit without serving his custom right.

            This will come back to crush the company, in the long run. I know this from experience that once people see through your manipulation to only demand profit out of them, the exit point leaves in hoards.

            My luck is I will leave them come May and watch how the boss destroys his own status due to his greed.

            The marketing funnel they have in place will soon collapse as their systems of processes are based on greed alone and not actually solving problems for people.

            If you can solve a set of problems then you have a business is the way I see it.

          • Kyle

            If the only motivate is profit, then the business will eventually crumble under the external pressures put on that very company to continue pushing profits over people. Word of mouth marketing works in both ways, if you offer a low quality service at a price that is too high, eventually word will get out in the exact same way that word of mouth marketing can be a really good thing for companies offering a high quality service.

            Greed is something that is slowly taking over the internet marketing and affiliate marketing spaces and hopefully the better interest of the people within this niche and the “voice” of the people will reclaim this industry. I can slowly see an uprising to these and people of the opinion of “making money at any cost” are hopefully slowly transforming their businesses putting the customer first. Those that do will prevail.

            Thanks for the insights into your experiences Sam, they are very helpful and I think you are very accurate with your assumptions as to what will ultimately happen with the company that you are working with.

  33. Jonathan

    Great post Kyle! I appreciate the honesty and straight forwardness. Sometimes I feel as if honest and straight forward people are a dying breed. There are still a few of us out there and we will need to keep hustling and pushing forward to reach as many people we can so that we can reproduce more of us. I’m sure a lot of people want to be honest and have an honest business but they just get turned because of the majority. True leaders will be alive forever.

    • Kyle

      It absolutely can feel like that within the internet marketing space. True affiliate marketing companies and affiliate programs haven’t followed the same suit, but there is a new breed of companies/folks that deem themselves as being “affiliate marketing” companies when they actually are not. They are MLM…or worse.

      Creating an honest business starts with the principles of your business. At the core of every successful, long term and ethical business is your ability to HELP people. Putting the idea of value and helping folks first, leads to trust, leads to you actually offering a valuable service, and subsequently a long term business and brand.

  34. Michael

    Hey Kyle,
    what a great article to great for a noobie just getting into affiliate marketing. Personally I have almost fell into an MLM, but before I make a decision on anything I usually talk to the people around me for advice. They immediately told me it would be very difficult to actually make money from it and it could be a scam so I never did it, and I’m glad! Overall, awesome article and I will share it with my friends. Have a great one Kyle.

    • Kyle

      It is always a good idea to seek advice if anything seems suspicious or unrealistic. The problem is that most people jump far too quickly on the hope train and the see a shiny new car in a video or “out of this world’ claims on the site, and their blinders go up as to what is really going on (they are about to be scammed).

      Feel free to share this article with anyone that you know that is looking to join a program within the online space, chances are good that these days they may fall into one of these categories and if not, they should be comfortable joining that particular program.

  35. Gloria

    Yup, I’ve seen them all. It’s good to have this information available to the public as a lot of people don’t have a clue that they are about to be scammed. Too bad so many choose to be dishonest. You have to wonder why they don’t see the big picture , as it will eventually all come falling down when they are found out.

    • Kyle

      I think that in large part these companies do not feel they are being dishonest, they are doing not only what they are taught but what they see going on around them by those they may look up to.

      When you see other programs selling their over-inflated high ticket programs, then you think it is OK to do so…in particular if you come from a position of trust.

      When you see other folks giving away books for free and selling people on MUCH more once they have their contact details, you think that this might be OK to do.

      And it goes on. What happens is the next generation of affiliate and internet marketers is learning a very skewed ideology of how to run a business and the premise of many of these businesses is based on how much money you can take from someone, not how much value you can offer them in exchange for their money.

  36. Somesh

    Hey Kyle,

    Thanks for this great info. It will be a help to many, I’m sure.

    Wealthy Affiliate was where we got our foundation, and today many years later, we have a legit online business that has generated over 6 figures a year for the past several years and we’re currently building a products business that’s looking to grow much bigger. But WA is certainly where it all began, so yeah – we can vouch for that. We proudly tell people that we got our basics at Wealthy Affiliate.

    • Kyle

      So wonderful to hear you are doing so well Somesh and it sounds like you have been working very hard at your business!

      Hard work, dedication and starting off your business with a solid foundation really takes you a long ways within the affiliate/internet marketing world and you are a true testament of that (along with 1,000’s of others I have worked with over the years). It is not rocket science and absolutely anyone can establish a long term and very successful business within any niche, it comes down to treating it like a business…not a scheme.

  37. Tony B

    1 – upsells, indeed wtf! surely it should be included, otherwise it’s a little like the carrot and the stick is it not?

    2 – I don’t know how many times I have to remove myself from email lists where I know they are selling my details OR just ignoring my requests for removal, it’s a never-ending task it seems.

    3 – Best get a handle on good affiliates, no harm in asking in a “trusted forum” init!

    4 – MLM – I ain’t even going to get started here as it’s something that REALLY rubs me up the wrong way.

    5 – High ticket seems to sell the idea of higher quality – BS, I’ve seen far too many products coming from the guru’s like ‘FK’ that have far too many red flags!

    6 – Hey Kyle … you nailed it! “They will set up shipping at a price point that covers the cost of publishing their books. They are going to use your mailing information and your contact details to present you with other offers. ”

    Hell yeah, opportunity knocks for peeps that want a real opportunity. I got scammed by an eBay rip-off back in 2008 to the tune of £6000.

    That’s when I found that about Affiliate marketing and WA

    • Kyle

      Thanks for your feedback Tony, it sounds like you have a pretty good handle on some of the most persistent scams and schemes taking place in the online world. It is nothing new if you have been around for any length of time and I know that your insights are definitely going to help folks out here.

      And £6000, that at the time was one of the more high end scams I imagine, nowadays price points of $5,000 and beyond are so much more common place and they move up to the $50,000+ range. It is really sad that people are falling for this stuff, truly.

      • Yep £6K was probably top end. They were pro’s closed the deal with phone calls and ended up costing me dearly.

        However, I’m a testament to peeps will do almost anything when your back is against the wall. I was desperate;y trying to get ahead.

        It’s such a shame that there’s an enormous business in scamming peeps, purely because we often seek the wrong solutions. (a quick fix) Real business takes time, and the foundations are critical, and pretty simple when all is said and done.

        Kudos to you fro bringing it to our attention :o)

        • Kyle

          That is how high ticket programs work, they close the deals through fine as it is very difficult to sell high ticket products of $5K plus without some sort of phone consultation. This is very often how they will capture your financial details by asking how much money you have and what sort of access you have to “debt”. These are sure signs up of a program you never want to get involved in. If they are phone you offering high ticket programs or if they are asking you how much money you have in terms of access to debt, RUN!

          And you are right. People want a quick fix and that is why they get involved and taken by scams in the first place. They are usually very good at selling hope and the idea of success, they rarely do though…and when they do, often times you are required to become one of them (and earn your money in an unethical way).

  38. Michelle Williams

    Thanks, Kyle, for your insight on this. Number 6 is definitely a turnoff for me. More often than not, the shipping fees are not disclosed on the initial page until the buy button is clicked and then it’s displayed on the payment page. A big turn off. So are those “upsells”. I did purchase some in the past, but those have become turn off to me, as well. Thanks for this refreshing article. 🙂

    • Kyle

      Yeah, FREE not so FREE. It is a shady marketing model in my opinion, but one that works on people. It is not so much that that bothers me, there is an expense that goes into creating a book and time and energy by the author, I don’t think people’s time is free nor do I think their ideas should be free.

      What I don’t like is deception on what you are getting, you are not just getting an book you are going to be heavily upsold on many other things after the fact. And then to top it off many of these “books” are basically a paper bound sales pitch.

    • Michelle Williams

      Correction – I meant to say, some of those upsells…….IMO, I don’t think all of them are turnoffs -some of them I will purchase because I need the info……….. 🙂

  39. Kendall

    Been in the industry long enough to realize that for every good product there are 5 or 6 bad ones and this is based on experience. It is too bad that companies can get away from such robbery but like you said when there is a lot of money at stake people do evil things.

    One other thing you could add to your list here are products that make ridiculous claims, earn $1,000’s overnight sort of thing. I see these everywhere and I just laugh knowing all the suckers that fall for this junk, frig I was one of those suckers a few years back.

    Don’t fall for the get rich quick stuff because the only people making money off of that are those selling those types of wares.

    • Kyle

      It is amazing how many people in this industry have literally been taken for $1,000’s of their hard earn money. It is quite sickening that the business model for many companies has been based on how much money you can get out of a single customer versus offering a truly valuable service. Thus the reason people in general are so skeptical of this industry, it is full of crookery and you only have to be ripped off once by these affiliate marketing scams before your guard goes up.

      I agree that one thing that I could have added to my list is “insane claims” and this is something that I have actually included within the Avoiding Scams page here on my website which outlines a way to determine if a product or service is a scam (covers 8 points).

  40. Stu

    I just wanted to drop a small testimonial about WA and the support within. The program has really changed my life, and it’s thanks in part to the guy who wrote this article (Kyle).

    I too was victim of an MLM, and looking back I just have to laugh. I was so excited about it, and I tried so hard to convince people that it was legitimate, and even though technically it wasn’t a “scam”, there was no value in it. Sure, I made money, but it wasn’t consistent. It wasn’t sustainable, and in my opinion now, it sure as heck wasn’t ethical.

    I mean, if your aim is to make money at the expense of helping people, what does that say about you?

    Affiliate marketing, and specifically WA, is something that you can get excited about. It’s worth the time, and worth the sacrifice. In it you will learn how to build a real business, with a solid foundation.

    There are so many positive aspects to it, and before I get long-winded I’ll say this: The support is second to none. Instead of fumbling around in the dark like you would with other programs, you have 24/7 access to every member available. It’s truly powerful stuff. Its real!

    Thanks Kyle for helping to change my life and outlook!


    • Kyle

      Thanks for your kind words Stu and I am so glad your eyes have opened to not only the idea of what a real business looks like online and you have some sound direction moving forward with the build out of your business. We all run across things along our journey to find something that works and you definitely cannot dwell on your past or your involvement in the particular MLM that you were involved with.

      Onwards and upwards bro, looking forward to working with you moving forward!

  41. Wanda

    Awesome information about some affiliate programs is scams. I would like to know if my decision to be an affiliate is not in vain when I make a selection which affiliate program I choose.

    Thanks so much for the information.

    • Kyle

      Yeah, you are typically pretty safe with most affiliate programs in particular if you are promoting a reputable product. There will be information on an affiliate program out there if they are known for not paying their affiliates (you can do a quick search for that if the program seems a little bit suspect).

      The key to success is relevance in the affiliate marketing world, so make sure you choose the best and most relevant products when choosing them for your audience. As you build out your website you will likely be promoting many different products as well.

  42. Ian

    I am probably a bit different than most of the people reading this, I have never done an affiliate program or made money online..I have a great career but I realize to have true freedom I need to do something else for myself..I see all of these people on fb pimping out new programs every week and talking about their amazing lifestyle but it is so hard to know who or what to trust so I haven’t started anything.

    It seems like a lot of these guys have huge lists and just bring a bunch of people with them to each program. I have a passion to learn this and I know theres a lot of money to be made but I don’t know where to start. Any input would be much appreciate. Thank you!

    • Kyle

      This is definitely the case and you have to be skeptical of anyone that is “touting riches” to get you to join their scheme. This is commonplace within the various schemes out there that rely on portraying success to the sell their product. It is typically a scam when people need to sell a program based on the money that it can hypothetically make you versus what the product or service actually is.

      Gurus with big lists do drive a lot of businesses as well. They jump from program to program, MLM to MLM, scheme to scheme…and they take their followings or fragments of it and get them to join the next scheme they are involved in, that dries up, then they move onto the next best thing. The cycle is a vicious one and never ends.

      If you have a passion to learn this Ian, I can definitely help you out. There are a few things I will always be real about. Success does not happen overnight. It takes hard work, but anyone can achieve success within the affiliate marketing world if they are willing to work at it. If you are cool with that idea, then I invite you to check out Wealthy Affiliate, a platform where you can get personal coaching and help directly from me and absolutely everything you need to create and grow a business to any level online.

      • Ian

        Thank you Kyle!!
        I would love to learn from you!! Would my first step be to get set up on the WA website? I definitely understand it takes work and time and am willing to do that I just want to learn the right way. Thank you again for replying.

        • Kyle

          Yeah, you can simply join through the WealthyAffiliate.com website and get rolling from there. Before you build a website you are first going to be choosing a niche that you are passionate about and moving forward from there. This will all be covered within the training. I look forward to working with you Ian.

  43. Online English Teacher

    What a pleasure to learn that the affiliate marketing industry is growing. As a newbie trying to find my way into affiliate marketing I must confess I can’t fall prey of such scams after digesting your piece of advice.

    Just a quick question is there anything being done to clean the industry of such malpractice?

    • Kyle

      Yeah, if you are aware of what is going on before you come across things like this in the affiliate marketing industry you will be much less likely to be “taken” by these types of companies. They are quite obvious when you know what you are looking for.

      The problem is that there really is no entity to clean up the affiliate marketing industry other than the people’s voice. There are circumstances where the larger schemes out there have been taken down by the FTC or SEC, but they have their hands full and they tend to go after the “bigger” scams versus the smaller ones that pop up everywhere.

      If there is anything you are ever unsure of, please feel free to get in touch with me and I will give you my personal feedback and insights. Been at this for 14 years within the affiliate marketing and internet marketing industry, and I have seen the evolution of these sorts of programs take shape (and many, MANY come and go).

  44. Dr. K.

    Hi Kyle,

    As always, your site is extremely useful and straightforward. The article is also super easy to follow and absorb. I definitely learned a lot – I wasn’t even aware that there were still affiliate programs out there that didn’t pay..!

    I’ve seen a lot of the “Free book, just pay shipping” scam – a real shame for (true) new authors trying to market their books and honestly offering the same deal (without the upselling).

    I’ll be checking out the rest of your site to explore the other ‘scams’ out there!

    All the best,

    Dr. K.

    • Kyle

      Not all “free books” or “free ebooks” are scams by any means, but there are a lot that I have seen over the years that are free hard cover books that offer free shipping. They seem to have gained popularity once again and this scheme relies heavily on up-selling people, auto-payments, and/or luring them into some very high ticket mentoring, mastermind, or conference programs.

      And yeah, it definitely does ruin it for those authors that are legitimating creating a free book to gain traction and recognition for their great work. Fortunately though, many people that utilize that model are within industries that are far disconnected from the affiliate marketing/mlm/opportunity world (like children’s books) so I think they will be just fine in many cases.

  45. Rosie

    I was scammed recently by a site that ‘paid’ for referrals….it was a front for a ‘referral spam’ site that changed names every time you reached the payout level! Then, to make it worse, it used your own sites against you! It took some doing to get it out of my sites back office….lol. A lesson I won’t forget. Apparently, a lot of it comes from RU links….be forewarned.

    • Kyle

      Wow, this sounds like one epically shady organization. One thing that you have to be careful about and that is a true sign of a company that is doing unethical things is when they start changing their company names. This is very common with the notorious scammers out there.

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