Product Name: Kalatu
Product Owner: David Wood, Chris Record, Jonathan Cronstedt
Advertised Price: $25/month
What Is It?
Kalatu is a custom version of WordPress blogs mainly used by people that are interested in promoting Empower Network.
Though some custom features may appeal to a specific audience, Kalatu provides no real advantage over a standard WordPress blog and is not worth the $25/month price tag. Moreover, it’s association with Empower Network is more reason to stay away from this platform.
Before You Buy
The term “viral blogging platform” has been beaten to death by Empower Network. When they first launched a few years ago with Empower Network branded blogs, they were supposedly starting a revolution in the blogging industry.
Less than 3 years later, empower network blogs have been completely wiped off the face of Google.
Sometimes around 2013 they launched ENv2, also known as Blog Beast. This was supposedly another viral blogging platform that was going to revolutionize the blogging industry by allowing us to blog from our phones.
Have you ever heard of Blog Beast? Unless you run in network marketing circles, probably not. No one uses it.
Somehow, they are now launching yet ANOTHER so-called viral blogging platform called Kalatu, and spinning the same rhetoric about revolutionizing the blogging industry.
If past performance is any indication of future results, I think we can guess which way this is heading. But let’s take a look at what they actually offer, and whether it’s worth your $25/month.
What I Liked
Easy Social Media Integration
Every video on YouTube taking us inside a Kalatu Blog spent a good amount of time on the “social media card” section. This seems to be the one part of online marketing that Kalatu bloggers really understand, I'm guessing because it's related to a business card, which most people are familiar with.
I agree, that sometimes setting up the social media portion of a WordPress blog can seem a bit scary to a completely new blogger. Having this part of the blog already set up and ready to insert your credentials is a good feature to have.
Hosting Included, Brandable TLD
All the blogs looked the same and even used the same web address (website.empoewernetwork.com). EN advocates blabbed on and one about the Alexa Rank of Empower Network and how it was going to boost their SEO. Turns out that subdomains don't take any ‘SEO power’ from their main domains, and Alexa Rank doesn’t even have much bearing on a website’s popularity.
With Kalatu, folks are building websites on top level domains (TLD), i.e. .coms. They are also give more options to customize their themes and the look of their website.
However, it’s unclear just how much customization access we’re given. Questions which were not answered were
- Do we have FTP access?
- Do we have access to website customization code?
- Can we use 3rd party WordPress themes?
- Can we move our website to a different host at a later point?
Regarding hosting, $25/month for shared hosting is quite expensive, since you can get it for as little as $4. However, since EN is providing an extra “service”, I can see that $25, while pricey, is not that crazy.
If the hosting was good and the service was good, it might be worth it. However, I’ve seen that this is not the case in most instances.
Most of the live Kalatu demonstrations on YouTube I saw had people commenting on how slow their blog was (blaming their computer). And as you’ll see below, there is no support available.
Still, hosting included in your membership fee is a positive to consider here.
Blogging About Passion
This is basically what I do for a living, so I can’t complain here. There is a lot of emphasis on blogging about what you care about as a way to earn money online.
However, Kalatu and EN seem to have missed the point of blogging about passion and making money. There is a world of affiliate programs out there that mean people can sell products related to their passion and make money. Instead, it seems that members are encouraged to promote EN regardless of what their passion is.
- Gardener? Promote us
- Artist? Promote us
- Runner? Promote us
- …etc etc
What I Didn’t Like
Lack of Customization
If you haven’t used WordPress before, you might be impressed by everything that Kalatu has to offer. But actually, it’s quite a dumbed down version of what’s available if you use the normal version of WordPress.
From the videos I watched, there is no Plugin section:
Plugins are little “add ons” to your website that can do cool custom features like add comparison charts, tweak your social media buttons, add advertisements, add opt in forms, or make your blog do unique things.There are thousands of free and paid ways to customize your website out there, many of which are not available on Kalatu.
No Comparison to Standard WordPress
Kalatu isn’t really it’s own “viral blogging platform”. It’s just a custom version of WordPress. While this has the advantage of removing extra features that may confuse newbies, it means as you grow your website you are going to be seriously limited in what you can do.
You can get a standard WordPress website for $4/month + $11/year on independent hosting that will has no control over your content.
Mosts hosts even have phone support or live chat that can help you set up your first website very easily. PLUS, there are millions of users out there with video/written tutorials to show you how if you just take the time to look.
WARNING: Empower Network can shut down your website and block you from logging in for any reason they want. By self-hosting or using other, more reputable services, you cannot get blocked from your website.
No Real Training
Ok, let’s imagine that you really do want the stripped own version of WordPress and want to pay $25/month to build your website on it. Maybe you do really believe that Empower Network is the way you want to build your business.
From what I’ve seen, Kalatu bloggers do not know much about SEO and blogging. If that’s any indication of what they are learning inside with the available training, I would not recommend you follow their advice.
Here are some examples of bad advice I’ve seen from Kalatu bloggers.
- take images from google image search (copyright violation)
- write blog posts without keywords (bad SEO)
- write blog posts under 200 words (bad SEO)
- using lots of tags to get ranked (useless advice)
- images need a description (they don’t)
- blogging without intent (waste of time)
- re-uploading viral YouTube videos (stealing) then posting affiliate promotions in the description
The process of how to make money with a blog is not as simple as writing stuff you know then adding an advertisement at the bottom.
If you blog about mixed drinks, does it make sense to try to sell someone a biz op to make money online? No!
If you are a real estate agent blogging about homes for sale in your area does it makes sense to put a banner ad for ‘make money at home’. No!
So why are people blogging about anything under the sun, then trying to sell Empower Network subscriptions? Relevancy is key to making sales. If you have a blog about dogs, you need to sell dog related products.
You’ll also notice that on my website I don’t even have ads because I think they are useless. All of the money I make from my website is within LINKS in the blog text.
But I’ll be these guys don’t tell you that because they probably don't know it.
Lack of Support
I had a few questions for the guys over at Kalatu since there really is very little information about what we're signing up for. The things that interested me most were about the website. I've made it clear that I think the biz op portion isn't very good, but maybe they actually have an OK blog that some people could like and get use from. Mainly I wanted to know:
- Can we upload our own themes?
- Can use our own plugins?
- Who do we contact if our website goes down?
- Can we move our website to another host in the future?
Since Kalatu doesn't have it's own support system, I went over to the EN website and attempted to contact their support.
The live chat spit out a bunch of random FAQ at me since no one was actually on the other end of live support (despite being within business hours). Ok, so I still gave them the benefit of the doubt an called the phone number.
I got a machine recording saying that all lines were busy. They didn't put me on hold, tell me to call back, or say that they would call me back. I guess we're on our own.
Association with Empower Network
The bottom line is that Empower Network has already tried and failed twice to start a ‘blogging revolution’. Kalatu launched sometime in January this year, and a month later, still hasn’t really caught on.
Do you want to put your faith in a regular WordPress site that you can get for $4/month and has millions of active users you can consult with for help or in Kalatu, a platform that just launched and is associated with a network marketing company with an extremely bad reputation online.
There's nothing truly viral about Kalatu or Empower Network, and you're better off doing things without ties to this company or its services.
If you truly interested in making money from home and NOT selling memberships to a network marketing company, then you need a WordPress website.
If you want to know how to get your website found on Google page 1 instead of treading water on page 3+, then you need to learn about website optimization and online marketing.
The Wealthy Affiliate online business community provides free hosting, online marketing + SEO training, and shows you how to build a website where you can advertise anything you want. YOU get full control of your website and which products you promote. You also get access to a community of people (including myself) that can help you build your business the right way, instead of just sticking ads on there and hoping for the best.