AffiliateU from Tim Schmidt is a great course on how to earn money through affiliate marketing. As an affiliate who's earning more than $20,000 USD per month, I can confidently say that AffiliateU was worth my money.
But my review of AffiliateU will be unlike any that you'll read online. I don't want to “sell” you this product. I simply hope to help you answer a question:
Is Affiliate University worth YOUR money?
$1500 is not cheap. When there are info-products and video courses selling for $19, is it worth spending that much money on a product?
For some people, the answer will be YES. I'm in that group. For some people, the answer will be NO. If that's the case, I'll have some alternative recommendations at the end of my review.
Because there is so much content within the members area of Tim Schmidt's Affiliate University, this page will be pretty extensive. I've included a table of contents to help you navigate. Each link will fast forward to a section of the review. If I left anything out, please let me know.
Also, there are some parts of the membership which I haven't reviewed yet. Honestly, there's a lot of info to dig through, but I wanted to get the basic stuff up first, and I'll add/change things as I complete the course.
What's Taught In AffiliateU? (Overview)
- Course Name: AffiliateU AKA Affiliate University
- Owner/Teacher: Tim Schmidt
- Website URL: www.affiliateu.com
- Cost $1497 or $397×4
- Optional Membership Addition: $97/month
Note: They are serious about raising the cost! Just last year it cost $997, but is currently $1497. The price may be raised to $1997 soon. ==> Lock In Your Price Here
This course will teach you how to get traffic to a WordPress website and promote affiliate offers to make money online.
It covers a range of topics that will help you accomplish this task, including:
- niche (topic) choice
- domain buying and website building
- plugin instalalltion
- basic and advanced search engine optimization (SEO)
- social media marketing
- link building
- picking affiliate offers
- working with affiliate programs and managers
- traffic generation tactics
- competition analysis
- visitor engagement
There are many subtopics covered within those broader ideas, but that pretty much covers it. You'll learn everything you need to know to build successful affiliate marketing business.
After listening to Tim's lessons for the past 12 hours, I have no doubt that he is very successful at what he does, and sincerely wants to help you repeat his success.
What's My Favorite Part Of AffiliateU?
Honestly, my favorite part of this course was the over the shoulder examples and competition analysis portion of the lessons.
I have reviewed over 200 products on how to make money online on my website. The vast majority of them rarely give a single example of successful websites doing what they are teaching.
Tim goes through many (at least 5-10) different examples of websites he's personally built and websites he discovers during research that are doing things right.
What's more, he also shows where these same websites are doing things wrong. This is a great learning tool for newbies trying to make money online.
What's a “nugget”? In the very first lesson of AffiliateU Tim mentioned that even experienced online marketers should watch all the lessons because you never know what small nuggets of information you could find in the lessons.
No one is perfect, and you can always learn something from peers and mentors.
Well, he was right.
Even with my 7 years experience with online marketing, I was able to learn quite a bit, and even rethink some of my current online marketing methods. I don't want to give away all the goodies (you'll need to pay for access to the course), but just to give you some insight into my personal experience, here's some interesting things I picked up:
- interact with little guys in your niche to grow brand in the beginning
- communicate with affiliate managers for brand new product releases so you can be the first to review them
- browse twitter for trending topics to write about
- look for weaker sites ranking on page 1 because that means YOU can rank there too
Other tidbits newbies will be happy to hear are:
- you don't always have to make money from products you review (you can funnel traffic to an email list, CPA offer, or other review)
- don't need to be an SEO expert to rank. Good content will get traffic
Those are, of course very generalized tips, but the actual meat of the course won't make sense out of context. You need to dig into the real lessons and start taking action to reap the real benefit of AffiliateU.
AffilaiteU Review: Pros And Cons
The members area of AffilaiteU is very extensive, but well organized. Each lesson listed below is a video, and each video is between 10-20 minutes long. In total, there are more than 10 hours of video, and more are being added as the case studies are updated and webinars are added.
Module 1: Orientation
- Course Syllabus
- What is Affiliate Marketing?
Module 2: Choosing Your Major
- Private Affiliate Programs
- Public Affiliate Programs
- Declaring My Major – Finding a Niche
- Finding a Niche – Part 2
- Analyzing the Competition – Part 1
- Analyzing the Competition – Part 2
Module 3: The Library
- WordPress Site Plugins
- Social Icons
- Creating a Voice – Part 1
- Creating a Voice – Part 2
- Auto Posting from WordPress to Twitter
- MergeWords Tool
- Using the MozBar to Assess Your Competition
- Keeping It Real
Module 4: Off Campus
- Twitter – Part 2 – Follow Up
- Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram
- Web 2.0s
Module 5: Advanced Classes
- Guest Video on CPA Marketing Strategy: Alex Gould
- Google News and Alerts
- User Engagement
- SEM Rush
- Disclaimers and Rankings Charts
- Expert Status
- Holiday Hacks
- Email Gathering 1 (Ninja Pops)
- Email Gathering 2 (Ninja Pops – Follow Up and Demo)
- Seal of Approval and SEO Benefits
- Welcome Your Guests
- Proof of Purchase
- Exact Match Domains
- Best Keywords for Conversions
- Commission Hacking
- Organic Trend Spotting
- Author Hacking
- Verify Your Brand
- Purpose of Posts
- The Interview
- Site Analysis #1
- Site Analysis #2
- URLs and Titles
- Writing for Credibility
- Negative Reviews
- Costa Rica Example
Module 6: General Education
- Affiliate Relationships
- Scheduling for Success
Module 7: Webinars
- Inaugural Webinar – December 9, 2015
- Webinar – March 15, 2016
- Webinar – April 28, 2016
- Webinar – June 21, 2016
- Webinar – July 27, 2016
- Webinar – September 22, 2016
- Webinar – January 26, 2017
- Webinar – April 5, 2017
- Webinar – June 7, 2017
- Characteristics of Super Affiliates
- Advanced Citations Training
- Forced Click Pop Up
- Looking Legit with the LightBox Widget
- Just 2017 Masters Strategy
- Masters Program Case Studies
So with that in mind, here's my breakdown of what I personally liked about this course, and what I think they could do differently.
The Best Parts of AffiliateU
It's Updated And Active
Is it ridiculous to say that one of the best parts of the Affiliate University program is that it's up to date and active? No.
In the internet marketing and “make money online” industry, there are a lot of fake gurus out there that simply recycle and rehash the same trash over and over again. They sell you a $9 PDF guide, then con you into a $10,000 mentorship and leave you in the dust.
I can see the most recent webinar was from June (2 months ago). The most recent blog post was from this month (a success story). The Facebook group is active with questions and positivity as of this week means a lot in this industry. I was even able to get in contact with the owner himself via email and Facebook messenger.
All these things mean a lot in the MMO industry. It shows a huge commitment on the owners part to make sure his course is worth the money. Sweet!
The Videos are Fun And Honest
Tim's speaking style is casual, but informative. It's clear that there is a end-goal during the lessons, but some parts are natural and off-the-cuff. In one video, a his kid comes barging in talking about the dogs. LOL. Yes, Tim really does work from home.
The lessons include face-to-face time as well as over-the-shoulder action. We get to see the steps in real time, but also see that we're talking to a real human.
The Tactics Really Work
Although I don't agree with everything in the lessons as far as SEO and site building goes, Tim makes it clear that some people will disagree with him on specific tactics. That's OK! Everyone has their own style.
But the vast majority of what's in the lessons is pretty much how I build my sites too. I know for a fact that it works for me, so I can vouch for AffiliateU's lessons! (I'll discuss below specifically what I disagree with).
Personal Support In An Active Community
Directly after signing into the members area, I was provided a big, bold link to the Facebook group. Awesome! The #1 thing I look for in any product I buy is what type of support they offer. I don't care how smart you are, building a business is hard, and you are going to have questions along the way.
Within two hours of being introduced by Tim, here's what I saw in my Facebook notifications:
10 people welcoming me with a note, and 61 people saw the post. That means in the past two hours, there have been 61 people thinking about building their business. An active, supportive community is a HUGE bonus to be included with your membership.
If you are a newbie, you'll be able to ask any question you want here. If you're a pro, you'll be able to exchange ideas to grow your business. Here's just one interesting question I saw posted within the past few days.
I have more to say about the Facebook group below, so keep reading.
What AffiliateU Could Do Better
I liked most of what I saw and watched inside the members area. However, no product is perfect. Here's what I think AffiliateU could improve, or what I would do differently with my own websites.
WordPress Building For Newbies Is Tough
If you are a complete, brand new, never built a website before NEWBIE, then I think you'll struggle a bit with the beginner content. Building a WordPress website is easy…after you've built a few of them.
The first time around, you may break down in tears (that's OK, it's happened many times during my online marketing career).
I think the beginner training could be expanded a lot more to show the exact process of how to build a WordPress website on a specific host, and have a dedicated portion to helping people get through this process.
I mentor beginners daily. The questions I get are far-reaching into the depths of “I just don't get it”. Many people don't even know enough to actually describe the problem to me, let alone take a screenshot to show it to me.
It's not their fault – we all start out as beginners! But this is the most delicate time in a person's online business building career and they need extra help.
You'll need to supplement this area of the website with your own YouTube research, or you can watch my training on this.
Please Include Written Summaries!
Video are awesome. They are my preferred way to learn because you can watch and do at the same time. However, they are not perfect. They are frustrating to search through when you want a specific piece of information. Right now, there are only video lessons. I think AffiliateU could improve value to the students by providing a written summary of each lesson so we can go back and review what we need to do.
Stuff like links to supplemental content on other websites, training resources, and examples shown in the videos would be helpful too!
Link Building Disagreement
Personally, I do ZERO link building.
I created a 6-figure business in 2011 that was destroyed by a Google update penalizing websites with falsified link profiles. I was so scarred by the experience, that I have to warn my readers of the dangers of building link profiles, especially using something like a Private Blog Network.
Sure, the work for many people! I'm sure that link building has worked nicely for Tim and other followers of AffiliateU. But I cannot recommend you do the same for your sites because I don't do it for mine.
Even building Web 2.0 properties can be playing in a grey area. Sure, if you build them with 100% original content, they could maybe help your site. But if you are spending that much time and money to build a separate, lower-quality website, that you don't own the rights too….why not just spend the same time and money on your actual website?
Spend that same money to outsource a professional to talk details about your niche, or hire someone to do your social media so you can spend more time doing research. I don't think that link building is worth the time, in the long run.
However, I will concede that building links can help you gain more authority in the short term, and that good links from quality websites to your pages can help them gain rank.
Other Strategy Differences
When any two professionals get together, there will be some disagreement on what works and what doesn't.
I certainly learned quite a bit from AffiliateU, and will use this information to help my own sites. One specific example is the “creating your voice” section, which I realized I was making a huge mistake on one of my current projects.
However, many of you reading this article are frequent readers of my reviews, or subscribers to my email list. There are just a few things I wanted to highlight that I disagree with in the training.
- I don't recommend using spun content for ANYTHING
- I don't recommend using “tricks” to gain sales like forced popups
- I don't recommend getting links from Fiverr for any reason, even for tier 2/3 properties
Keep in mind that this is a review of AffiliateU, not a review of how I build my websites. You'll have to make the choice on certain things when building your business. If you have any questions about differences between what's taught in AffiliateU and what I recommend, please leave a comment asking a specific question about something!
What Else Is Included With Your “University” Enrollment?
The Masters Club is an additional program to AffliateU. It costs $137 per month. The previous cost was $97/month, so you may see it listed as that cost on other reviews (I told you Tim was serious about raising prices as he adds value to his products!).
What's inside the Masters Club?
I'm not currently a member, so my info is based off of the introductory video. Honestly, my review here is almost 4,000 words long so I don't want to bog you down with too much information. I'll give you a brief overview of what's offered, and you'll have to decide if it's worth the monthly subscription.
Access to a network of legitimate websites to help you build links to your site: Although I've expressed my apprehension towards building links, this setup sounds pretty beneficial. They are not a “link network”, but instead are a bunch of websites that Tim is building and you can post articles, then add links to your sites within these articles. If you do not want to pay for backlinks, and don't want to spend time/money for “outreach”, then you could benefit from links from these sites.
Up To Date Updates From Tim's Personal Knowledge: The world of online marketing is changing all the time. There's only so many times you can update videos in a video course. With the Master program you are going to get up-to-date information straight from Tim and his successful online marketing buddies. What are the “big dawgs” doing on their sites? What new platforms can you leverage? What's working or not working right now?
Those tricks could be enough to pay for the membership price.
More Case Studies: Tim's working on a bunch of different projects right now, and you get to see what he's doing with his websites. See how a millionaire runs his business. Better yet, see how a successful internet entrepreneur builds his business from the ground up.
Discounts On Services: I'm not so hot on spending more money at this point, but there will be discount services on different tools to help build your site and grow traffic to it.
Private SEO Consultations: The second most exciting part of the Masters Program (the best part is the case studies IMO), is the private SEO consultations. If you have questions about your business you can just email Tim and ask him what you're doing right/wrong. Don't expect a Skype call and 1-on-1 handholding, but getting the attention, even via email, of a guy like Tim is extremely valuable. Even if you email him just once per month, that's worth the price of the course.
I already touched on this a bit, but the Facebook group is a big sell for me. This is included in the price, and there's no monthly fee to be part of the group. That means you'll be able to interact with other beginner and successful affiliate marketers every day for the next couple months (and years) as you build your business.
One thing that was very noticeable right away was the presence of Tim Schmidt himself. He was creating posts as well as engaging with posts from other users. When a product owner making millions takes time out of his day to ensure that people who buy his product get the help they need, that's a good sign. Here's just one example of Tim reminding people to plan ahead a few months. It's summer now, so it's a great time to start planning for fall affiliate stuff.
I was also happy to see some success stories posted in the community as well. These ranged from people happy about rankings, so this screenshot of earnings increase in comparison to the previous year. A 2,000% increase in earnings? Wow. That's a lot!
If you do buy AffiliateU, please join the Facebook group and interact with everyone! Making friends with similar interests and experience in the online business space is going to seriously help you stay focused on making your own business success story.
Who Will Do Well With AffiliateU Training?
A lot of people would be able to benefit from this product. The training covers a lot ranging from beginner steps to advanced tactics. But is AffiliateU worth YOUR money? That's the key question we want to answer.
After diving into hours and hours of lessons from Tim, here's who I think will benefit most from his training. You'll get the most value if…
- You are a newbie and can commit to 6-9 months of work without making any money
- Your are a complete newbie and are not afraid to ask questions or take action
- You have failed a few times at building a profitable website, and want a clear track to profits this time around
- You know how to build an affiliate website but don't understand why you are not making money yet
- You understand affiliate marketing but need extra help and advice
- You have a profitable website but want to make MORE money from it
Who Will Not Do Well With This Product?
Not everyone is a good fit! Here are the main people I think can safely NOT buy this product:
- You are a newbie and expect someone to do the work of building a website/writing content for you
- You are a newbie and expect someone to walk you through the training step by step
- You are down to your last dollar and need the money for food/rent*
- You are already making good income online and are confident you can increase beyond that without any help
*lots of people message me asking if they can make profit in a month because they need rent money. I always say that starting an online business is not a last ditch effort to make rent money. It should be an INVESTMENT in yourself, and you should have a timeline of 1-2 years before making good money in online marketing. However, you might be able to make your first sales in less than a few months if you really hit the books!
Alternatives To AffiliateU
There are very few affiliate marketing courses that can compare to what AffiliateU offers in terms of quality teaching content and additional support. That being said, there are some good alternatives which may be better for you, depending on your goals.
Option 1: Display Ads Instead of Affiliate Links
If you would like to learn how to make money with Google Adsense and other display ad networks, then my recommended course is Niche Tycoon.
The great thing about display ads is that you don't have to “funnel” anyone to a money page, or really care about who does what on your website. View = money. Your only job is to get traffic.
In expensive niches like money, tech, and lawyer-ing, you can make a TON of money just from traffic. It's massive. Like, $40,000 dollars per month massive.
The downside is that in some niches, the pay per view/click is not as much so you really need a boatload of traffic to make any significant money.
Option 2: Extra Help For Newbies
As I mentioned before, I realize that some folks are starting from ground zero. Maybe you can barely manage your email, or you are still struggling to figure out how to publish on WordPress.
If you are a complete newbie and want more direct, more instant support, then Wealthy Affiliate is a great alternative.
They have some awesome systems in their members area like live chat and private messaging to help you follow each step of the lessons. Don't understand something? Ask in live chat and get and INSTANT answer, plus follow up support.
Need more direct help with choosing a niche? Private message me and we can exchange messages over the next week to figure out a specific topic to help you make money online.
The personalized support in this 11-year-old community is unparalleled by any other program I've ever seen. It's why their my #1 recommend product for 5 years running.
Final Word About AffiliateU
Is AffiliateU worth the cost? Hell yes.
They teach creating honest, high quality websites for long term profits. Considering you also get access to an interactive Facebook community where you can exchange ideas with other online marketers, the price of $1497 is an excellent deal.
If you are making “only” $1000 per month you'll make your money back in two months.
Even if it takes you a full two years to create any kind of legitimate income, you'll be able to exchange that two years of hard work for DECADES of personal freedom.
As a person who's been studying and making money online for 7 years now, I give this this product an honest recommendation.
Are you a current member or thinking of joining? Let everyone know what you think of the training, or ask some questions in the comment area and I'll do my best to answer!