Learning internet marketing cannot be done solely with eBooks and the guru’s next big “system”. It requires decent training and most of all, support. Having a network of like-minded people around you can be very uplifting, both from a morale point of view and from a learning point of view.
Whether you are using that network to chat and keep motivated, to learn new ideas and techniques or to network and gain business partners (or all of the above!), working without a network makes life a lot more difficult.
There are a few communities out there, one of the famous ones being Wealthy Affiliate, but today I am going to discuss the Affiliate Power Group (APG).
First Impressions at Affiliate Power Group
As the old saying goes “first impressions last” and I find that true to some extent for websites as well as people. I want to be wowed!
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APG has a standard site of course showing the merits of the system, nothing out of the ordinary. Of course they have a sales page, but thankfully it isn’t their home page. Their testimonial page is interesting. Normally, you get testimonials with stock photo images which naturally lead you to believe the testimonials are fake too. Here the images are real people (yes I have researched it, they are genuine). I can’t say the words are, but the pictures are genuine. That’s usually a good sign.
On The Inside
You can join APG for a dollar, for the first two weeks, $19.95 a month afterwards. On joining, what I didn’t expect to get hit with was 2 upsells, one for an unknown product (video was broken — this was not a good sign) for $27 and one for a website at $97. Both of these occurred before check out ended.
I’m not a fan of in your face upsells, so that annoyed me.
The main focus of APG’s training is around the standard model of affiliate marketing: find a niche, make a website, add content, add links, profit. There is nothing new about this and it is still a valid way of bringing in cash, and is especially suited to beginners.
Their actual site is a mass of links that looks a little terrifying to begin with. It is broken down into 10 areas.
Oddly enough this is a list of links to get you off the ground. The info is pretty light, with some links to creating a website, with the first two options being ready made squeeze pages or website from AGP, for a cost. The third option is to create your own.
There are a few “bonuses” including a discount on those websites, and some videos. The member spotlight was interesting as it hasn’t been updated in 2 years; I hope that isn’t a sign about the rest of the site!
The “What’s New” section obviously shows stuff that has been added, it only went back a few months and the entirety of the content was PLR articles and MRR/PLR ebooks. Basically, it is content that you can use/sell/give away depending on certain conditions.
I generally look down on PLR content. In some rare cases it serves a purpose, mainly as idea generation or ways to help get email lists, but I would never use it on one of my own websites.
Ready Made Sites
There is basic information on obtaining domains and hosting (with affiliate links of course) and then a couple of links about their website services. No mention of how to obtain a free WordPress or similar site though.
Traffic Power Plan
This is the meat of the content, an 18 step guide to getting an online business going (although 2 of these had the amazing content of “Coming Soon!”).
Overall, the content in these sections isn’t too bad at all. At times I felt there could have been a little more explanation than just directions. I was also confused by some of the choices, such as Platinum SEO over WordPress SEO, and Statcounter over Google Analytics, but I suppose it is each to their own.
It is quite heavily focused on beginners, though I feel intermediates could take something away from some of the lessons.
Products & Services
Well, this is just a bunch of links to internal sales pages for different products. I wouldn’t have minded if these were balanced, fair reviews, but sales pages? Come on!
I’m taking nothing away from the products. They might be good. They might be awful. I don’t know as I didn’t buy them; however, so far it feels like there are a lot of upsells and affiliate links going on in this membership site and that makes me uncomfortable.
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The Resource List
Here you will find links to some free and premium services. The free list is pretty weak, there isn’t anything bad there but nothing exciting either: Google Analytics, Firefox, Filezilla and some others. Using the term “Marketing Tools” for these links is being generous.
The premium links aren’t much better, mainly article creation services, and article submission services.
There is also a monthly download section here with which contains more PLR/MRR ebooks for use on your site. Again, these are possibly useful but nothing to be excited about.
Weekly Action Sheets
I have come across this style of content before, and I am not keen on it, but some people do appreciate it. Basically the Weekly Action Sheets are only made available as your membership lengthens. When you first join only one is available to you, after you fourth week, four will be available and so on.
Think of these as action plans for helping you focus on getting things done. Very useful for those who are goal-oriented and like working towards checking things off a list. If you already have a slight clue about websites or about internet marketing, the fact you can’t skip ahead a bit will be a little frustrating.
Your account details: enough said on that.
Whereas the Traffic Power Plan was a structured course in getting started, the Learning Center is more ad hoc with plenty of materials available on a wide variety of subjects.
This content is mainly videos and mostly standard stuff but can be very useful to a beginner. Can you find this content elsewhere? Of course you can, though it is quite handy to have all of this in one handy place.
That being said, seeing an article about article spinning made me feel sad. How can a business that promotes internet marketing not realise that article spinning does much more harm than good in the long term?
Create Your Own Website
Here is a small selection of articles about building your own site; they are too brief in my opinion. A lot of focus seems to be placed on their “create a site” service with very little attention given to creating a free site.
Modify Your Website
Once more some basic information provided, with their paid for sites getting the top links.
At the start of this review I mentioned about having a good network to fall back on. I honestly though that APG was going to have a solid community as a base to find assistance and support and to network with.
I was wrong. Completely wrong. There is no community at all, no forum, no live chat, no private messaging. Apart from the testimonials you don’t know who else is in there.
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Support wise there is a contact form and ticketing system and a knowledge base. The knowledge base mainly revolves around your account (cancelling, site issues etc) rather than the actual learning.
As such I would say there is no support network.
The Bottom Line: is Affiliate Power Group a Scam?
I was disappointed with Affiliate Power Group. As a Wealthy Affiliate user I suppose I have set myself a certain standard for internet marketing communities, and in some ways I do compare sites like this to Wealthy Affiliate.
The content has some good points, and their guides are fairly basic but solid.
The disappointment comes two fold.
One, there is just way too many upsells and affiliate links. While this may not seem bad, it does make you feel like the owners are just after your cash rather than actively trying to assist you.
Secondly, there is a lot of focus on outdated techniques including but not limited to article spinning and directory submissions. The large, LARGE, amount of PLR content is plain ridiculous, it seems like they are not comfortable with the quality of their training as they are bulking it up with this rubbish. Or worse, they believe PLR content is good…
Then on top of that, there is also the lack of a community. This is too huge for me to overlook. Learning without being able to get feedback, opinions and advice, will take you ten times as long and make you more willing to give up.
As such, though Affiliate Power Group is not a scam, I cannot recommend it as a long term investment for learning internet marketing. There are much better sites out there with live, vibrant communities.
For me, I’ll be sticking at Wealthy Affiliate.
After review a membership system such as this I tend to cancel my subscription, after all what do I want with it? Normally this is quite an easy task, log into PayPal, cancel. Job done. Affiliate Power Group don’t use PayPal though and their cancellation terms are somewhat strict:
You may cancel your subscription at any time by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org along with your full name, email, and date of cancellation desired…and we will cancel your subscription within five (5) business days after we receive your request. When requesting a cancellation, you must agree to give us at least five (5) business days prior notice to your next billing/renewal date. You are responsible to make sure we received your email. Upon receiving your cancellation request, we will confirm receipt by replying to your email within five (5) business days. We are not responsible for emails that get caught in spam filters, or related issues.
The key bit here is You are responsible to make sure we received your email. That would be very easy to do, send an email, send another in a couple of days and then maybe send something by their contact form. However, first off they don’t have a contact form, secondly when sending them an email you do not expect to get this as a response:
I double checked the email to send it to and it was correct. Now to contact my bank and hope I can cancel it that way.
Is Affiliate Power Group a scam? Currently I think they might be!