In the fast paced world of the internet, changes occur so rapidly that normal offline learning usually struggles to keep up. Taking time out to get a degree and then finding a few years later that what you have learned is outdated will just not work when trying to build an online business and earn from home.
For newcomers to online marketing and online business, it proves to be a big dilemma; how to get the business going but also learn at the same time. This is where online communities and learning providers come in. At their best they provide up to date learning resources in both written and video formats, tools and resources to make life and learning easier, support for when you get stuck, a community to network with and value for money.
Not every site boasting that it will help you learn internet marketing is legitimate. Often these are just rouses to get your cash and provide you with substandard learning materials, or information that is out of date. Recently I came across Affilorama, a seven year old site boasting a lot of these factors, so I had to take a look at it.
Beauty in an Ugly World
I like web design, I code and I love design, and when reviewing scams and business opportunities for I’ve Tried That, my heart has often been broken by the poor design and usability of the websites out there. Not so with Affilorama, I was struck by the professionalism and quality of the site itself. While not an indicator of trustworthiness in itself, it goes a long way when a site breaks away from the standard fake highlighted text and even faker check examples.
Up Sell, Down Sell, Side Sell
One key factor for determining if a site is a bit on the dodgy side is the number of upsells down sells they offer. Now an upsell is where after purchasing the initial product or service they try to sell you something else which will supposedly improve or benefit you. A down sell is instant discounts to try and get you on board for something. Often they are mixed together to try and get as much cash out of you as possible. Affilorama is interesting in that it doesn’t cost anything to join (awesome!) but the services it offers are at an additional cost, so in a way an upsell, yet it doesn’t feel like they are trying to push them onto you.
Experiencing the free version of Affilorama is of course going to be a slight sales pitch, after all they are a business, but what do you get for nothing?
free and unlimited access to over 85 video tutorials with PDF lesson notes
That’s not bad for handing over your email address. The information is obviously geared at beginners though there may be something in there for intermediates and even advanced users in need of a refresh. The free documentation covers a wide range of topics from web site building to marketing ideas, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC (Pay Per Click advertising). Each article does come with a short to medium length video to assist with learning. The information itself is pretty good, I got hooked reading a few of the articles before remembering I was meant to be writing one! These are not skimpy articles taken from some PLR website or written by someone on Fiverr, these are quite detailed, often hitting over the thousand or two thousand word mark with good advice and information contained within them. So far Affilorama is not looking scammy at all!
On the Inside
After paying your $1 sign up fee (remember this converts into $67 a month after the first month), what exactly do you get?
Premium Training & Tools
There is a good number of videos here, 22 at my count, but no way to know how often these are updated or added to. The quality is high, with some interesting topics discussed, including a series on digital product creation which is often over looked by many of the training systems out there.
The tools section was very interesting; there is a new system and an older section.
The older section has a lot of different tools available such as keyword checkers, writing tools, seo tools and more.
However, these seem to not work very well or even at all, probably they want the focus on their newer tools system.
The new system is modelled on a cross between Google analytics, WordPress and SEOmoz. You add a website and it will pull out data such as backlinks, ranking etc. It could be quite powerful, though I was reluctant to give a third-party system like this access to my Google and Clickbank data, limiting its use quite dramatically.
There is nothing here that cant be found elsewhere though, but having it all in one place is a nice touch.
It’s a blog! There are some interesting points raised but nothing really that makes me think wow, that’s$67 well spent.
This is where the money per month could be justified; the forum is large and vibrant, with most of the main sections having responses with the past few days. A lot of other marketing communities, with some notable exceptions, would struggle to keep conversations going.
Ok, so it had to hit at some point, Affilorama has to make money right? So what are they selling? There are several products, so let’s take each one in turn.
Joining Affilorama costs $1 for the first month and then a fairly hefty $67 a month after that. Compared with other internet marketing learning/community sites out there, this is on the expensive side. For your monthly cash you will get access to the following:
- Monthly Training Magazine
- Live Affiliate Blog Bootcamp
- Premium Software Tools
- Free Web Hosting for 15 Domains
- 30 Quailty PLR Articles Every Month
(N.B. that’s their spelling error, not mine!)
The AffiloBlueprint is a complete package which builds on the membership itself. It costs a hefty $197 or $597 if you want a year’s membership thrown in as well. The main part of this is the blueprint itself, a step by step guide to online marketing. You also get their theme thrown in (see AffiloTheme below), a couple of webinars and access to their private forum. The cost of this is really high for the value. I just can’t see it being justified. That being said the quality of their work is high so you are not getting a poor quality product per se.
Oh dear. Remember me saying the site was quality and went past the ugly and worrisome sales pages? Well here is exactly that. A huge sales page with fake highlighting included, selling you a rather expensive raft of a product. In essence the AffiloJetpack is pushbutton garbage; they provide you with 5 separate websites templates so you can create 5 websites.
My issue with this is that though they provide a lot of extras such as articles, reports and images, they provide the same ones to every person. That means unless you know enough to change everything to make it unique, you will struggle to get anywhere online as Google will see it as duplicate content. I have a huge distaste for prebuilt systems, as they prey on beginners that don’t know better and can cause a lot more harm than good for the person.
If this was cheaper I would maybe suggest buying it to study how they have written everything, as it could make a good case study to learn form, however at $497 it is really expensive, and I would advise you to be cautious about buying it.
WordPress is the de facto website creation solution for most internet marketers (I personally love WordPress!) and as such it is a wise move for Affilorama to create a theme. Is it a wise move for you to buy it? I am a big fan of premium themes, so long as there is premium support and updates included.
That being said, most marketers, especially beginners, can have just as much success with using a free theme, or even the WordPress default themes. The theme itself is actually pretty good and with lots of options it is quite customisable. The header creation tool is amazing for anyone with no artistic bone in their bodies like me. It even includes a link cloaking tool and squeeze page creation.
As seems to be a running theme (pun intended) with Affilorama, it does seem overpriced at $97, when you can get quality themes though maybe not specifically targeted at online marketers, for around $40-70. However I am willing to forgive it as it is option rich and suitable for people who don’t like getting down and dirty with HTML and CSS.
The Bottom Line: Is Affilorama a Scam?
Is Affilorama a scam? No it isn’t.
It provides a lot of information in one place for free which is a huge resource to beginners and advanced alike. While it’s other services and tools are premium, there may be reason for you to test out the membership, especially at $1 for the first month.
I would however caution you to think long and hard about the other products they offer. Not so much that they are bad, but I think they are overpriced, when similar information is available elsewhere for a lesser cost.