Is Wealthy Affiliate a MLM? Recently I stumbled upon a review which claimed that Wealthy Affiliate is a MLM business.
I was baffled. How can they claim that? Obviously, the reviewer does not know what Wealthy Affiliate is or how it works. So therefore, I wrote this article to compare these two and prove my case – Wealthy Affiliate is not an MLM.
The way I see it: To test and see whether a company it is an MLM or not, first one needs to understand what an MLM is and how it works. Once you know that, you can put any business to the test and see if it falls into an MLM category or not.
That’s what I am going to do here to answer the question, “Is Wealthy Affiliate a MLM company or not?”
What Is MLM Multilevel Marketing?
[Sidebar: I have already done an extensive research and wrote a 2000+ word article on MLM and I highly recommend you to read it: “MLM vs Pyramid Schemes – MLM Is Not What You Expect. See Why.” It will give you a clear picture of what MLM is and how it compares with pyramid schemes.
Therefore, in this review I am just going to emphasize the most distinctive characteristics of MLM companies. I will help you understand whether Wealthy Affiliate is one of them or not.]
To put it simply, MLM or Multilevel Marketing is a business model where retailers are bypassed and products and services are sold through an extensive distributor network (It’s members are called distributors). That’s why multilevel marketing is also called ‘network marketing,’ ‘direct selling,’ ‘referral marketing,‘ etc.
MLM distributors can earn commissions in two ways:
- By selling the company’s products (using direct selling)
- By recruiting new members
To sell these products, you must buy them in the first place. Then you can resell them to others.
Let’s look it closer:
MLM Pyramid Shaped Commission System
All distributors in MLM or Multilevel Marketing businesses (as the name says), stand on clearly distinctive levels.
The person who recruited you, is called your upline and stands above you in the recruitment chain (pictured below). He will earn a commission from each sale that you make.
Similarly, all these members that you have recruited, are called your downlines – you earn commissions from their sales.
This is important – When your downlines recruit new members, these too are your downlines – meaning, you will earn commissions from their income as well. And so on and on:
So it’s easy to see that you earn commissions from all your downlines. Meanwhile your uplines earn commissions from you and your downlines. That’s why it is called a multilevel business.
As you can suspect, money in such pyramid shaped businesses is always rolling from lower levels to the upper ones.
What about Wealthy Affiliate?
Is Wealthy Affiliate a MLM?
To answer the question above you need to understand what Wealthy Affiliate in the first place. Also, how you can make money with Wealthy Affiliate. And see whether it falls into MLM. So let’s tackle these two:
1. What Is Wealthy Affiliate Program?
Wealthy Affiliate is an all-inclusive internet training platform. For me (and I’ve been its member since 2013) it resembles a social media network for internet marketers.
Also, because of its extensive courses, it is also a bit like an online business university. That’s the reason why people sometimes call it Wealthy Affiliate University (you have certification courses, teachers, fellow students, tasks to do, high level support system, etc.)
What Does Wealthy Affiliate Include?
1. Two Distinctive Membership Programs
Wealthy Affiliate has only two distinctive memberships:
- Starter Membership, which is 100% FREE and therefore somewhat limited
- Premium Membership, which is $49 a month (or cheaper if you choose to go yearly) and is all-inclusive. It means, there are no further upsells or paywalls. Zero. Nada. Nil.
Wealthy Affiliate includes Certification Courses, which will teach you on how to start, run, and grow you own successful online business in ANY niche in the world. The training (as the company name says) focuses on affiliate marketing but you are not restricted with it. You can do content marketing, social media marketing, video marketing… you name it.
The courses are 100% newbie friendly and include simple, step-by-step lessons with tons of practical tasks. So it’s like “earn while you learn.”
You can do that (I emphasize) with no requirement to promote WA, sell its products, or recruit new members.
Therefore, WA is not an MLM (more about that later).
Wealthy Affiliate does not give you only training. It has an awesome support system for you as well.
[Sidebar: It is well-known fact that it is extremely hard to succeed in online business alone. What do you do when you get stuck…? Or what do you do when you have questions but no answers…? Or when you have lost motivation and are tempted to quit? That’s why you need a good support system.]
The fact is, all the support you get within Wealthy Affiliate is free. For Starter members it is somehow limited but still free.
Wealthy Affiliate offers all its members free hosting. It is state of the art hosting, one of the best in the world (Here’s why). For free starter members their hosting service is a little bit restricted (not much though). For the premium members it is already included in the price.
Try Wealthy Affiliate hosting now and build a beautiful, fully functional website right here (takes under 3 minutes):
5. Keyword Research Tool
Wealthy Affiliate offers all its members free keyword research tool. It is a somewhat restricted version of their Premium Keyword Research tool called Jaaxy, which is an awesome tool indeed (Read my Jaaxy review here).
Although Jaaxy is created by the same people who founded Wealthy Affiliate, these two websites (and services) are independent. You can buy Jaaxy without being a member of Wealthy Affiliate (and vice versa).
Try Jaaxy here (for free):
2. How to Make Money With Wealthy Affiliate?
As I wrote, Wealthy Affiliate focuses on teaching you on how to start, run, and grow your own successful online business. (Click here to learn more on how you can do it.)
The core of their training is Affiliate marketing though.
How to Make Money With Online Affiliate Marketing
The whole process includes 4 simple steps (for more detailed description on how to make money on affiliate marketing, please read this):
- Choose your interest (or niche – in other words, where your passion is). Remember, in Wealthy Affiliate you can choose ANY niche in the world. Any!
- Build a website. Wealthy Affiliate will teach you how to build a beautiful, fully-functional website around your passion.
- Attract Visitors. Here Wealthy Affiliate will teach you how to get readers (potential customers) to your website. It is called ‘driving traffic to your website.’ The more traffic you have, the more bigger is your potential earning power.
- Earn Revenue. You will learn how to help people find what they are searching for. And when they go and buy based on your recommendations, you will earn money.
This simple process is called Affiliate Marketing. As I mentioned above, this way you can make money in any niche in the world (whether it is a fishing gear, children’s books, gardening, used cars, or something else.)
Therefore, as you can easily see, there are no MLM style distributor levels in this process.
What About Wealthy Affiliate Affiliate Program and Commission System?
You might wonder whether WA Affiliate program this is a MLM?
As thousands of other big brands, Wealthy Affiliate runs its own affiliate program as well. It means, you can promote Wealthy Affiliate and earn commissions from each signup.
This is how affiliate marketing works so nothing to do with MLM here.
Let’s dig deeper:
For those people who want to promote Wealthy Affiliate, the Bootcamp course is offered. WA Bootcamp is similar to its Certification courses. The only difference between the two is that Bootcamp focuses on make-money-online niche and on promoting WA only.
…Is WA Bootcamp an MLM, you might ask.
It is true that WA Bootcamp training teaches you on how to recruit new members. That is similar to MLM business indeed. Also, you will earn a small commission from each premium sign up under you.
However, the following differences easily prove that Wealthy Affiliate IS NOT an MLM.
Proofs That Wealthy Affiliate IS NOT an MLM Business
First, within Wealthy Affiliate you will earn NO commissions whatsoever from earnings of your downlines.
Second, within Wealthy Affiliate, you will earn NO commissions whatsoever when your downlines recruit new members.
Third, within Wealthy Affiliate, your referrals ARE NOT required to take the Bootcamp course and learn how to recruit new members. To tell the truth, this path is NOT recommended to new members. Why? Because make-money-online niche is the hardest and most saturated niche on the Earth.
The new Wealthy Affiliate members are always pointed to the WA Certification Course (which is not about recruiting people).
Here’s what I recently wrote to one of my referral:
And here again:
Here is an example of what Kyle (the co-founder of Wealthy Affiliate) recommends:
See! It’s obvious that Kyle – the co-owner of WA – would make much, much more money if he pointed every new member to the WA Bootcamp course and teach how to recruit people.
However, as you see, he does not do it. Instead, he sends them to the WA Certification course so that the new members could start their own independent online businesses.
Fourth, within Wealthy Affiliate there are no distributors. Neither are there any WA products which you can buy and later resell. The only thing you can do is refer others to Wealthy Affiliate.
As I proved above, Wealthy Affiliate is not an MLM business. Because its affiliate program does not have a pyramid shaped, multilevel commission system found in MLM businesses and pyramid schemes. Neither are WA members required to promote Wealthy Affiliate or recruit people. And there are no WA products to buy and resell.
What About You?
Thank you for reading the review. I hope you found the information that you were searching for.
Now that you have come to the end, what do you think – Is Wealthy Affiliate a MLM or not?
Please drop comment into the comment section below and I will return with a response.