Product Name: Skillpay
Product Owner: Kevin & Darin Blue
Price: $67/month or $695/year
What Is It?
A membership site that teaches you how to make money online through affiliate marketing.
The information in Skillpay is legit and there is much better support than most “make money online” programs provide. However, there are cheaper and much better options out there.
There are quite a few flaws worth discussing, and it’s also a very new community that has not proven itself in terms of trustworthiness.
Before You Buy
I was very impressed with Skillpay’s main website because they do not feed you a bunch of hype about how much money you can make in a short period of time. They are very clear that this is a business venture, and profit is not guaranteed. They even go so far as to warn you that there may be other costs involved in getting your business running properly.
This is shamefully rare in the internet marketing industry.
There is a free version that you can access without giving credit card information, which is a great way to see what you are buying. As I’ll show below however, it’s a bit of a jumble in there and I’m not quite convinced that you could really do much with a free membership.
As far as prices go, there are 3 different options. The regular membership is $67/month, but you also have option to get discounts for 6 month or 12 month membership ($349, $695). Each package comes with free web hosting and a free domain name which is awesome.
If you upgrade from the free membership to the premium membership within 24 hours you also get a 50% discount on your first month of membership.
*I don’t know how good their hosting is, but remember it can impact site speed and accessibility.
However, there’s a bit of a history you should know about regarding the owners Kevin and Darin Blue. They previously came out with a similar membership site product called “Internet Income University” which I gave a very negative review. I just checked (Oct 1, 2014) and you are still able to sign up for an account, so I don’t know why they are running both websites.
I also joined Internet Income University and was very unhappy with what I found inside. What’s most worth mentioning is that it was not an active community at all. I wonder if we will see the same thing happen with Skillpay.
What I Liked
I haven’t tested the phone support, but the fact that it exists is a plus. I do a ton of email support and there are some folks that just can’t seem to figure things out without talking directly to someone. I get a few Skype requests per month.
I am very wary of giving out my phone number because this is often a way to use high pressure sales tactics to get you to do expensive upgrades, but this doesn’t seem to be the case here.
It’s unclear whether this can be used on a regular basis or if it’s only for large problems/billing issues.
Money Back Guarantee
With a 30 day money back guarantee for all packages, trying it out isn’t really a problem. If you snag the 50% discount and pay $29.95 for the first month, that’s even less risk.
Honest About Expectations
There are numerous examples on the site encouraging people to have realistic expectations of what it’s like to build an online business.
- You have to spend time learning
- Some things will be confusing at the start
- You will have to invest some money (even if it’s not a lot)
- Results will not happen over night
- Build a business about something you love
- Focus on helping people, not on making money
These are all things I agree with. I even thought it was funny that you have to click a check-box certifying that you understand this.
I enjoy video training. I know that in some parts of the world internet connections aren’t so great, and some folks don’t like that skipping through a video is harder than reading.
But I think the majority of people enjoy over-the-shoulder training and even seeing our presenter.
The style of the videos is very casual, which I also liked. It’s clear that the speaker (don’t know which Blue brother it is) is familiar with affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing works, there’s no disputing that. “Affiliate Marketing” isn’t a make-money-scheme. That’s just the name of the business model. In essence, you are a freelance advertiser for companies like Amazon and make a commission for each product sold through your website.
You use various methods of promotion like a website blog, paid advertising, email marketing, and social media. How you promote their products is up to you.
The most important aspect of any learning community is getting support. While I can’t comment on how good the phone support is and how extensive it is, I did see that within the members area people who asked questions got answers.
Both free and premium members can ask questions on each training module. Other members as well as the owners can answer questions. I saw several examples of the owners stepping in to help people out.
This is the most important feature of Skillpay in my opinion.
What I Didn’t Like
Wealthy Affiliate Copycat?
I’m not sure whether to save this for the beginning or end of my critique because it’s a bit of speculation on my part, but looking through their sales page and website, I couldn’t help but notice a lot of similarities between Skillpay and my current #1 recommendation for affiliate marketing training, Wealthy Affiliate.
Doubled with the history of Internet Income University, this is just another red flag to consider. You decide: Are the images below a stretch of my imagination or was there some copy-catting going on?
Issues With The Free Membership
I looked over the information in the free version of Skillpay, and there were quite a few videos. However, they seemed to be quite jumbled, and it wasn’t really obvious if they were part of a comprehensive free course, or just part of a “sneak peek” to see what the quality was like.
I’m very doubtful if someone could make much out of the free version. It’s also unclear if free members can ask unlimited questions on the free videos or if this is limited in some way.
In fact, you can’t even build your website yet! The videos are just for browsing, not for taking action.
Focus on Facebook and YouTube
For being about affiliate marketing, there seemed to be a ton of focus on Facebook and YouTube. Personally, I think this is taking people in the wrong direction.
Building your affiliate marketing business around a Facebook fan page is building your business on something you don’t own. Same with YouTube. Terms and conditions on these websites change all the time, and there are serious limitations to what you can do with them.
I don’t doubt that they are a great way to boost traffic and sales to any internet business, but as the core training, I think these guys missed a step.
I would have liked to see a lot more training on how to set up our WordPress website, how to do proper keyword research, and how to write content that makes sales.
Plus, they seem to be starting newbies off with way too much information. My advice is to build your website, get comfortable with WordPress, THEN start branching out into alternative advertising methods. I guess the simplest explanation is that they are just teaching a slightly different method of affiliate marketing. But running Facebook ads, paying for an autoresponder, and other recurring paid tools are going to add up to your business costs when you could be starting out for a lot cheaper.
Yes, there are ways to ask questions within the members area. And yes, there is a private Facebook community. However, you should know that the FB community only has 40 members and many of the training modules only have 2-3 questions on them.
This is very clearly a NEW community without a lot of members. Everyone has to start somewhere, so with time, this community may grow. But right now, there’s not a lot going on.
The importance of having a thriving community is HUGE. There are many people who don’t feel comfortable asking questions in the beginning. Others asking questions not only helps those that just want to watch (instead of participate), it also helps newbies feel comfortable to ask their own n00b questions.
Kudos to Kevin and Darin for personally answering the things that get asked here, but there’s clear a vibe of member-ask owner-answer instead of people joining in and helping each other like many other forums and membership sites.
Personally, I think they should have spent much more time talking about content creation. Driving traffic to your site through search engines means you need to be writing awesome content for your readers.
What is great content? They don’t really discuss it.
How do keywords relate to your content? Not covered.
I didn’t really care for their lack of explanation of what a niche audience is and why it’s actually important to find a niche (other than making a business about something we are interested in).
I don’t think the training was bad. In fact, it’s better than most products I review. Actually, I only recommend about 5% of the things I review on One More Cup of Coffee. Skillpay certainly isn’t a scam, and I do believe that some people could make money following the training.
However, I think that the premium training in the members area focuses on the wrong things, and is setting up a lot of people for failure too.
One example is that under the “Monetization” section, they only list Adsense, Clickbank, and Amazon. I have major issues with Adsense, but OK, it is one way to monetize a site. I also have my share of complaints about Clickbank, but again, it’s an option. Amazon is a good one, but not available in many places, even within the US.
But did you know that there are thousands of other affiliate programs that you can join?! Searching for an affiliate program for your niche site is often turns up more than one result, and this was not explained in the videos that I saw.
The Money is In The List…or is it?
People hear this over and over again. I’m not going to dig into what email marketing is right now, but I do want to mention that making money by building a list is not as easy as most people make it sound.
It’s not the “virtual ATM” that the gurus want you to believe. In fact, many times it requires a lot of hype and misleading advertising to make money from a list. Have you ever gotten an annoying email about how you can make a million bucks with an uber-secret system that was just released? That kind of stuff.
Plus, you’ll be spending another $20-$50/month for an autoresponder which is going to balloon your monthly budget again. Personally, I don’t think email marketing is great for newbies unless it’s your ONLY focus.
Actually, this section should be called “Tool” because there’s only one: a keyword tool. It’s a nice addition, but very lacking. All it basically does is list search terms related to the root word you type in.
There are no traffic or competition stats to tell you which words to target. The method of deliver is a bit awkward too, and with some terms you have to scroll through long pages of results.
If we learned anything from the movie Multiplicity, the original is always better than the copy. Skillpay just can't compete with WA on any front including price, training, tools, trust, and support.
There are some aspects of Skillpay that I did like, and overall, I give it a “thumbs up”. However, for the price you pay and quality/amount of information you get, I can’t recommend it when there are much better options.
Other Recommended Membership Sites
- The Rankings Institute (87/100)
- Online Marketing Academy with Jo Barnes (84/100)
- IMPho (86/100)
- Affilorama (74/100)
- Wealthy Affiliate (98/100)
Wealthy Affiliate Versus Skillpay
I mentioned WA a few times in this post, so it’s worth comparing some aspects here. I will add that I have been a WA member for 4 years now, so I’m much more familiar with their website and their training, so I cannot avoid some personal bias in this comparison:
On a monthly basis, WA is 30% cheaper that SP. On a yearly basis, WA is 49% cheaper. Just on price alone, WA is a better deal.
It’s been around since 2005, also includes free web hosting (optimized for WordPress), and you can host an unlimited number of domains.
Free members get a step-by-step training course (in order) on how to set up their first website, PLUS, the free membership includes two free websites. These are real websites that can be found in Google and used for affiliate marketing.
Yes, there are some limitations to this version of WA, but even free sites are far better than what’s offered in SP.
Best of all, a premium WA membership includes a thriving community of thousands of members that you can communicate with over live chat, skill-targeted classrooms, personal blogs, and private messages. Getting access to the owners as well as myself for personalized, 1-on-1 support is also an invaluable bonus worth considering.
Wealthy Affiliate is where I learned to start my first online business, and now I’ve been a full time internet marketer for 3 years. The reason I recommend them so much is that I have personally used their training to create my own success story.
Are you a member of Skillpay? What do you think of the training and support?