Alrighty guys, I'm bored today so let's waste some time. I recently came across a blog post from James Scholes of the Evergreen Wealth Formula, and his complaint against Wealthy Affiliate reviews. It sounds like he's got a Google alert set up for his name or business name, so let's hope he checks out this page and leaves a comment! If you're reading James, feel free to leave a comment below with your thoughts.
In this post, I plan to prove three things.
- Wealthy Affiliate doesn't teach people to write fake reviews
- Not all Wealthy Affiliate Members write fake reviews
- Not all Wealthy Affiliate members reviewing Evergreen Wealth Formula give it a negative review.
Starting With #1: Wealthy Affiliate doesn't teach people to write fake reviews
James makes this claim.
Then follows up with this in the comments.
There is some truth in what he states. Wealthy Affiliate does teach people how to make review websites. However, there has never been ANY encouragement to write fake reviews.
First off, let's make it clear that Wealthy Affiliate is not a company focused on promoting Wealthy Affiliate through affiliate sales. Their main training has people create a website based on their own interests. They pick a niche outside of the MMO niche, and can be a member of the website without ever having signed anyone else up to WA. Here's proof:
So the goal of WA is not to teach people how to make just “review sites”, let alone just creating MMO review sites. They are building an authority website in any niche they want. Product reviews are part of the process, and an important part, but not the whole strategy.
Wealthy Affiliate does have a separate training called Affiliate Bootcamp. This is the training that focuses on how to build a website in the make money online niche. However, it's only presented as an alternative for someone who doesn't know what niche they want, or someone that is truly interested in MMO.
Considering a lot of WA members have been burned multiple times in the past by scams, there's a high interest in helping other people avoid those same scams. That's understandable in my opinion!
So does “Bootcamp” encourage people to write fake reviews? Nope. Not even close.
Here's the part from Affiliate Bootcamp called “Creating Reviews and Using Targeted Keywords” (link, Premium content)
There you have it. Wealthy Affiliate actually DISCOURAGES fake reviews right in the training.
It's also worth noting that this is one lesson of 70 total in the “Bootcamp” training. 1 of 70 lessons focus on writing product reviews.
Let's look at #2: Not all Wealthy Affiliate Members write fake reviews
This is a direct quote taken from http://www.james-scholes.com/evergreen-wealth-formula-review/
After going through every single one of these reviews, It’s become obvious to me…
That is, they’ve NEVER had access to the Evergreen Wealth formula 2.0, at all.
James says he's read every single review. While I find that hard to believe, let's assume he's telling the truth here. So, surely he's seen the #1 result for “Evergreen Wealth Formula Review”, right?!
The website is yourincomeadvisor.com, and the review of Evergreen Wealth can be found here. You don't have to visit that link though. I'll post a screenshot of the highlights below.
Immediately upon landing on the page, you can see he rates EWF positively. Check it out.
Those are pretty weak “cons”, so it sounds like this product could be worth my time. Oh, and shortly thereafter he shows proof of purchase.
Yes, this person is also a Wealthy Affiliate member, and yes, he recommends WA as his #1 product. However, that doesn't stop him from positively reviewing EWF and giving real insight into what was his personal experience with this product.
Frankly, I agree with Rufat here, in that the sales page for Evergreen Wealth Formula is unrealistic, bordering on deceptive. Here's a screenshot from the sales page.
Start generating sales… TODAY
Scale it up into a FULLY Automated 6 Figure Business JUST 90 Days From Now
I'm sorry, but realistically, that's just not going to happen. Start making money today and get six figures in 90 days? Yeah right! Even as an experienced online marketer I can tell you that a six figure income does not come easily, let alone in three months. Making money online is tough, and it's going to take some practice, failure, and time to gain the experience needed to get sales, let alone earn a stable six figure income.
OK, OK. Maybe sales pages are always a little hyped, so you should take claims with a grain of salt.
While I don't subscribe to this line of thinking, I hear this excuse all the time. “All the products do it. That's just the nature of MMO”.
On top of unrealistic claims, James Scholes also has implemented a no-refund policy, and no trial period.So what James is asking the consumer to do is invest $200 into a product with amazing claims of instant money and wealth, with little to no work. Oh and by the way, no refunds.
Jeeze guys. I dunno. Sounds like total BS to me.
But back to the topic as hand. The owner of yourincomeadvisor.com has written a fair, honest review, based on a product he purchased. He prefers something else, and recommends it to his audience. I don't get what's wrong with that.
And finally, #3: Not all Wealthy Affiliate members reviewing Evergreen Wealth Formula give it a negative review
This was pretty much proven in #2 above, but let's look at a few more reviews, plus check out the SERPs for Evergreen Wealth Formula and see what turns up.
Here's the Google Results for Evergreen Wealth Formula
James is ranking #1. #2 result is the website I mentioned and linked above. A positive review, and check out how he ends his review:
In other words, it's not a scam. It's worth your money. You can make money with it.
The next result is a website not affiliated with Wealthy Affiliate. Again, positive review.
Next result: An affiliate of Wealthy Affiliate, and another positive review from ScamXposer.
The fifth result is the controversial one James calls out in his blog post. The rest of page 1 is pretty much similar. They all call out James for deceptive advertising, and most results are Wealthy Affiliate affiliates. One website worth visiting is opportunitychecker.com since he does a little Q&A at the bottom of the post and addresses many of James Scholes' complaints.
The website smartaffiliatesuccess.com is specifically called out as a “fake review” here.
It is possible that Jerry did not buy EWF or EWF 2.0. I do not know. I do see his main criticisms of the product though, and find it hard to disagree.
- Unrealistic Claims
- Hidden Costs
- NO Free Trial & NO Money-Back Guarantee!
Are those not true? I haven't purchased the product, and this is not a review. But from what I can tell, based on my research, those are true, and therefore not fake. Someone please correct me in the comments if they are not true.
What are the positives listed?
- Step-by-Step Training
- Great Support
Again, as far as I can tell, all true.
So what's the problem?
Here's my assessment. A product creator is upset that people are criticizing his product in a manner which he sees as unfair, or incomplete. While I can understand his frustration, and have had similar feelings before, I'm not seeing a whole lot of “fake reviews” out there like he claims. So far, it looks like a lot of positive reviews with honest criticisms, even if those criticisms are not always about specific parts of the training.
One Review With A Proof of Purchase!
So I found one more review that doesn't rank very well, but is on Page 1 for some iterations of Evergreen Wealth Formula. Yes, he DID purchase EWF. Yes, he is also a member of Wealthy Affiliate.
Proof of purchase:
You can read the full review here, but the owner of How To Make Honest Money Online (Vitaliy) goes into detail about how EWF teaches people to copy content in order to get email addresses to send out offers. He even screenshots inside the members area where EWF describes how you have to create fake aliases and pump your fake names in Facebook groups. He also gives honest critiques of things like a lack of attention to SEO, as well as honest positives to the program.
I also discovered that I commented on this blog post about a year ago, and completely forgot about it it. Anyway, it's worth checking out this particular review to decide if you want to buy. I think it's the most thorough and honest, and I'll probably skip doing a full review on this product for that reason.
Are There Fake Reviews Out There?
Yes. Absolutely. Some people write fake reviews. I don't control their websites. Wealthy Affiliate doesn't control their websites. Imagine if HostGator monitored your content for “accuracy” and deleted pages or edited them based on their opinions. Not only would the logistics be impossible, it would be immoral.
Fake reviews are written by newbies desperate to earn commissions online. They do fake positive reviews as much as they do fake negative reviews. They just want to make money, and will do so by any means.
We see this BS run amok with Launch Jacking, and I don't see a lot of product creators complaining about that! In fact, some Warrior Plus products base their entire “system” around launch jacking as a way to earn money online. Where's the outrage for these W+ products? Hmmmmm?
Should You Listen To Fake Review Outrage?
Just reading the comment section of any post criticizing Wealthy Affiliate and their Bootcamp course is very telling. Reading the comment section of my own blog can also give some insight into why people write these reviews, regardless of whether or not they tried a product.
Let's look at two examples:
In the comment section of James' complaint (link) I found this particular comment humorous, now that it's aged.
- Well, MOBE was shut down by the FTC several months ago as a “Coaching Scheme”. (FTC link)
- More details and comments here from Ethan V.
- Check lawsuit updates here.
- Juicy updates found here on BehindMLM, including how MOBE scammed a nun, and how their CFO has some kind of connection to terrorist organizations and has made death threats.
So after the whole thing, and everyone up in arms about how Wealthy Affiliate members called MOBE a scam, it turns out they are a scam.
The same crap happens on my website.
I wrote a review of Empower Network a while back. Here are some samples of comments I got. Basically, “You're biased”. “You didn't try it”. “You're a scam”. “You only like Wealthy Affiliate”. etc etc.
You know what? It took about three years, but Empower Network finally got shut down and everyone except for the top members lost a ton of money. I called it. If you read my review and agreed with my points, I just saved you $10,000+.
What does this mean?
- You do not have to try every product to know some things about it and give good reasons for your opinion.
- Product reviews are important, especially in the IM space, where the are a ton of scams.
Look. James isn't a bad guy. It sounds like he created a good product, and I'd like to review is some day since it's been around for a long time, and pretty popular. I doubt he'd approve me as an affiliate at this point, but I guess we'll see.
Also, I get it. Fake reviews are super annoying. I hate them too. For one, a lot of the times these jag weeds copy my original content, and spin it for their own websites, then compete for page one rankings. Second, it muddies the water and affect my brand as well, with people accusing me of writing fake reviews.
I think James could have done a lot better for himself if he actually researched Wealthy Affiliate before coming to his conclusion, and I think his brand could have come out looking a lot better if he had been more open to legitimate criticisms of his product sales page and training content.
Wealthy Affiliate is not perfect. Actually, I have my own list of complaints about Wealthy Affiliate that I'm open about. Still, it's pretty hard to beat what they offer. There are legitimately successful affiliate marketers who are long term members you can learn from, on top of their already excellent core training that costs a puny $49/month or $359/year membership fee.