Is Wealthy Affiliate A Pyramid Scheme? (The Truth EXPOSED!)

is wealthy affiliate a pyramid scheme

Hi and a huge welcome to Is Wealthy Affiliate a pyramid scheme!

Kudos to you for doing your research before diving into anything calling itself a money-making program, this is the best way to avoid work from home scams!

We’re going to dig in here and get to the bottom of this question but first, why should you listen to me at all?

To keep a long story short, after falling for various scams (way too many to mention) I joined Wealthy Affiliate as a free Starter member in March of 2014. A week later I decided to upgrade to the Premium membership at $49 a month.

I’ve been there ever since and yes, I’ve worked hard and become a full-time affiliate marketer. You can read my success story here

Here’s my promise to you:

I haven’t got to where I am today by blagging people and I’m not here to try and pull the wool over your eyes. I’m not like the countless reviewers out there who spin the truth to make a quick buck.

Instead, I always try to be as truthful and objective as I can, then it’s up to you to choose what’s right for you going forward.

Sound fair?

Alright! Without further ado, let’s find out if Wealthy Affiliate is a pyramid scheme or not…

What is a pyramid scheme?

Let’s start off on the right foot by getting our definitions right. 

Wikipedia defines a pyramid scheme as:

“… a business model that recruits members via a promise of payments or services for enrolling others into the scheme, rather than supplying investments or sale of products or services.”

I also like this definition from the US Federal Trade Commission:

“They promise consumers or investors large profits based primarily on recruiting others to join their program, not based on profits from any real investment or real sale of goods to the public.”

In other words, any program where the only way (or at least the main way) you make money is by recruiting others into the program can definitely be called a pyramid scheme.

Here’s a quick 1-minute video that I think gives a really good demonstration of how pyramid schemes work (and why they’re so dangerous):

I’ve reviewed a lot of so-called make money online products on The Make Money Online Blog and I never shy away from exposing any pyramid scheme I come across.

Programs like Fearless Momma and Your Dream Websites are perfect examples of this – training products where the only way members can make money is by promoting the product itself to others. These kinds of pyramid schemes are easy to spot.

Then there are those pyramid schemes that try and disguise themselves as multi-level-marketing companies (MLMs)…

Network marketing companies like Amway and Herbalife have recently been accused of being a pyramid scheme because they place more emphasis on earning money by recruiting other ‘independent business owners’ into the company, rather than actually selling products.

I absolutely despise pyramid schemes, for both ethical and practical reasons…

Reason #1: Pyramid schemes are illegal

And for good reason too – while the top 1% cash in, the other 99% end up losing money.

As a pyramid grows there comes a point when it becomes so big that the vast majority of people at the bottom are left struggling to recruit and struggling to sell products.

Reason #2: Pyramid schemes always fail in the end

No matter how much hype you build up around a scheme, the fact remains there are a limited number of people you can recruit so it’s just a matter of time until the pyramid finally collapses.

So what about Wealthy Affiliate (WA)?

Are they a money-making program where you can only earn an income by selling others on the WA membership or are they an MLM in disguise?

To get all the ins and outs of how the Wealthy Affiliate platform works, check out my full 3,279-word Wealthy Affiliate review here.

But to sum WA up in a couple of paragraphs:

Wealthy Affiliate is an online training platform that teaches you how to make money by creating websites based around topics you have an interest in.

They then teach you how to rank your site in search engines to get free and daily visitors so you can promote relevant products and earn a commission.

wealthy affiliate process for making money online
The process of making money online.

This is what’s known as affiliate marketing and it’s what they teach you at WA. It’s also the business model I follow to make a full-time income online.

Here’s a quick video breakdown that explains affiliate marketing really well:

Wealthy Affiliate doesn’t just tell you how to build profitable affiliate websites, they equip you with the website creation and keyword research tools you need too. Everything is included inside the member’s area.

Is there a cost? Yes and no…

Most people start out on the free Starter membership which gives you the first 10 lesson beginner’s course and free website builder. This is great because it gives you a free test drive of the program so you can see it all for yourself.

If you like what you see you can upgrade to the Premium membership which is $49 a month.

It’s completely your choice as there’s no time limit and you can stay a Starter as long as you like, though I personally recommend you go Premium if you like the training and decide this is the road you want to go down.

But don’t you have to promote Wealthy Affiliate to make money?

No, not at all, though you can if you want to.

Let me explain…

Some people accuse Wealthy Affiliate of being a pyramid scheme because they have an Affiliate Bootcamp course designed for people who want to promote Wealthy Affiliate.

I recommend Wealthy Affiliate as the best affiliate marketing course for beginners because (after reviewing 100’s of them) I honestly think it’s the best platform out there in terms of the quality of the training, the helpfulness of the community and the low membership fee.

But honestly, if you are a beginner to affiliate marketing I strongly recommend you don’t promote WA. It’s best to gain experience and be successful in another niche first.

Starting a website in the ‘make money online’ niche is difficult because it’s ultra-competitive and takes a long time. I see too many newbies take this road and get disheartened and quit before seeing any results.

Instead, I highly recommend you follow Wealthy Affiliate’s core training program called the Online Entrepreneur Certification course which will show you how to promote pretty much any product you can think of by blogging about any niche or topic you like.

Wealthy Affiliate teaches affiliate marketing
A sneak peek inside Wealthy Affiliate’s training.

You’ll find this a lot easier to succeed in a space with lower competition based on a topic you’re genuinely interested and passionate about.

You can create an online business on almost any topic imaginable.

what is a niche
Members are taught to create niche websites.

By creating a website around your personal hobby or passion, you can create useful content for your audience and promote relevant products or services that you know your readers will find helpful.

There are so many big businesses out there with 1000’s of products you could potentially promote (for free) and earn an affiliate commission from.

Here are just a few:

travel blog affiliate programs

For example, you could start a travel blog to share your adventures with the world and you could earn money through affiliate marketing by giving hotel recommendations or link to the camera you’re using.

If you’re especially passionate about cooking you could start a food blog giving recipe ideas and including your links to ingredients within your posts.

Whenever someone clicks through your link to, let’s say,, you earn a commission for generating the sale.

These are just a couple of ideas to get your creative juices flowing, but the possibilities really are endless!

Is Wealthy Affiliate a pyramid scheme?

No, Wealthy Affiliate is not a pyramid scheme or any kind of multi-level marketing scheme.

They are simply an affiliate marketing training platform with an affiliate program.

The core training modules show people how to launch their own websites based on any topic of their choice where they can make money promoting any number of products that are out there.

This is pure affiliate marketing!

Yes, some people make money by promoting Wealthy Affiliate but this is by earning an affiliate commission from direct referrals only.

There are no pyramid structure or downlines of any kind.

Is Wealthy Affiliate right for you?

This is probably the most important question of them all which is why I want to get real with you here for a second.

You’ll hear people promoting WA claiming you can build a website in 30 seconds and while this is 100% true, without investing your time and effort in creating content and building your site out, it will just sit there doing nothing.

Yes, Wealthy Affiliate claims to have over 2 million members but in reality, I bet only a small fraction of them are actually active.

Of those who are active, I bet there’s an even smaller percentage who are earning a full-time income online.


Because generating an income through affiliate marketing is not easy or automatic. If you are going to go into this you need to know it will take time…

Time to go through the training to acquire the new skills you’ll need to be successful at this… and time to apply what you’ve learned to build up your business.

Wealthy Affiliate is no get-rich-quick scheme but I promise you what they teach does work.

If you can bring the commitment and dedication, they’ll give you the tools, training and support to get you to where you want to be.

How do I know?

Because since joining Wealthy Affiliate 4 years ago my life has been completely changed.

I used to work in call centres for 11 hours a day at a job I hated. Now I have full control of my life and spend my days volunteering.

I used to live in an upstairs bedroom at my mum’s house in the UK, now I live in a beautiful condo in Thailand.

Whatever your online income goals are, instead of second-guessing whether WA is legit or not, why not try it yourself for free?

You can test drive the whole system without ever opening your wallet so you can see for yourself what it’s really all about.

Just for fun…

What article about pyramid schemes would be complete without this funny clip from ‘The Office’?

Enjoy! 🙂

What do you think?

Whether you agree or disagree with me, scroll down and let us know what you think in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

If you have any questions let me know and of course, I’d be more than happy to help 🙂 

About Simon Crowe

Simon launched The Make Money Online Blog on a mission to help aspiring entrepreneurs kiss their bosses goodbye.

Get his free Affiliate Marketing Guide For Newbies to learn exactly how to make your dream business a reality.


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