$99 for Pro Academy; $15,882. Update Feb. 2018: Total Cost $10,837 due to Elite Academy no longer being available. They have basically doubled the price of all the other components except Pro Academy. I wonder why…do you wonder why? A bit of a mystery there. Why did they ditch their most expensive component? hmmmm

Owners: Keala Kanae and Kameron George

Related Post: WEALTHY AFFILIATE UNIVERSITY REVIEW – why not compare apples to apples?

How Did I Find This Program?

This is my first affiliate program review, because Keala’s video ad was the first video ad for marketing  that I clicked * on purpose * on the sidebar of YouTube. I clicked on “Entrepreneurial Marketing Training – Free PDF of Freelance Marketing Secrets” with a man named Keala Kanae, because I thought as long as it comes with a free PDF, I can read up on this guy later and see how I feel about it.

I watched the video, which is a bit over 8 minutes long. It starts off with Keala walking you through his mansion by the beach, while explaining that he makes 6 or 7 figures. While I did have a bit of an idea what Affiliate Marketing was, what I learned in the video was the basics of a sales funnel. Keala also shows himself laying in a bed of cheques that he received as commissions for affiliate marketing. This is a teaser to a webinar that you will be invited to if you give him your email address.

I wanted to know what he was selling…How does one get a bed full of cheques and live in a mansion by the beach? I want to know! I won’t spoil the ending for you, so read on!

WEALTHY AFFILIATE – FREE 7 DAY TRIAL plus two free websites to play with. 10 free lessons to get started and NO CREDIT CARD REQUIRED! Click the link to see for yourself.

Is AWOL Academy a scam or just really, really expensive?

I signed up on the email list so I could find out what exactly Keala is offering. Within minutes I was invited to the webinar. Since I was just starting my research, and the webinar did not cost me anything but my time, I enrolled. The webinars seem to only have a start time of 6 pm Pacific time.

graphic of pdf guide on avoiding online scams
Sign up today and grab this free PDF guide!

It was supposed to be 2 hours start to finish, but topped out over 3 hours. Keala spent quite a bit of time in the beginning giving everyone a history of his life and how being broke was his motivation to find a better way. Fair enough.

And the rest of the first two hours was Keala expanding *a bit* on what was already on the 8 minute YouTube video ad. The last hour was Q & A from the participants, with the sales pitch to sign up for his basic program. At that point, I started doing dishes and tidying up around the living room so I could still listen. Honestly, my butt was sore.

Here is someone else who had a similar experience watching the webinar:

After the webinar, I went online to look at the web page, because honestly, Keala does not answer the questions that he says that he is going to answer. You do not get to see how he makes a ton of money.

I wanted to see what is really involved in this whole sales funnel business. Remember, I was brand new to this kind of online business and from some basic searching on the internet I had a bit of an idea on what Keala was talking about. And I still did not fall for it.

There is NO free trial. There is NO preview, video or otherwise, on what the program looks like. You must pay $99 to get inside – to access to the program. All I have found out, without paying anything, is that once you sign up, you are encouraged to purchase the upgrades including the Elite program for $10,000.00 with the assurance that you will earn it back in the next 90 days, selling AWOL Academy! (**Update 2018…Elite program is no longer offered).

However, if you have no experience with online marketing, you are going to require the other components because the $99 Pro Academy will not teach you very much (read on).

So, ya, it is not a scam, it is just really, really expensive and the no try-before-you-buy is like the number one way to discern if something is a scam…

Related Post: Try before you buy or money back guarantee? – Which is better for you?

AWOL Academy has 6 5 levels of products!

Starting with Pro Academy at $99, where you will “walk away with a sophisticated business system”. They set you up with a sales funnel, website, and domain. Well, that is not quite a business “system”, but only the beginner steps.

WEALTHY AFFILIATE – FREE 7 DAY TRIAL plus two free websites to play with. 10 free lessons to get started and NO CREDIT CARD REQUIRED! Click the link to see for yourself.

This is where you make a page dedicated to selling one product, and you are selling AWOL Academy. Since everyone is promoting the same stuff, you are competing with everyone else who is doing the exact same thing at the AWOL Academy, the exact same way. Are we moving into the duplicate content here? You tell me.

Related Post: Copying vs duplicate content – Ya, Google does not like this stuff.

This man tried the Pro Academy and here is his experience, which seems to be a common one!:

Will you earn your fortune? I do not see how. There is a lot more involved in earning money online, which leads us to…

Inbox Academy at $297 $497 $447 (yet another price change??) which is learning email marketing tricks. Kind of a pricey add-on when there is plenty of free information on the net. And plenty of inexpensive books and webinars teaching this. In fact, I have a free tutorial on getting started with email marketing using MailerLite here. You’re welcome!

As well, not all “tricks” work for all websites. And as the online world changes, so do the things we need to know to market effectively.

No matter what these guys say, there are no “secret” strategies. It has all been done before, by bigger and better companies. Most of the people who set up companies like this, to get you to sell their product, have already learned how to do this from other people. Either they enrolled in someone else’s program and then copied the idea. Or they started another company previously, and  possibly it failed, and they learned what they needed to do to create a new program.

AWOL even uses a time-honored strategy to get you to enroll; “Curious to know what it is? There’s only one way to find out…” That’s right…anticipation.

As of this update (July 2018) there is a new add on called Internet Income Explained for $49. Okay, well I am guessing but that sounds like it might be about how to use affiliate marketing to make money. I have a bunch of posts on this subject which you can find by clicking on the tab above called Earn Online; help yourself to some free information.

I thought it might be helpful for you if I created an infographic to compare what AWOL offers vs how much it costs in the real world. Siteground is $3.95 a month for the basic plan or $5.95 for the plan with daily backups (recommended), so either $48 a year or $72, still less than $99 and it is for a full year.

You can also sign up with Wealthy Affiliate for $49 a month (first week free!), including hosting, site security, backups AND the blogging education, as well as a community of mentors to assist you and answer questions that you need answered right now.  And if you buy the Black Friday yearly the price goes down to $25 a month.

So very much cheaper than ole AWOL and you get to see in the free week exactly what the education is like. No guessing. No upsells except to go from the free account to a paid account. You can easily stay on the free plan forever and you can monetize your site! Can’t do that with WordPress.com free sites.

As for Pinterest Ninja which I think is the best course for getting set up with Pinterest marketing and bringing tons of free traffic to your website; you can read my review here. And really, you should keep your costs low in the first year until you make some money and can invest in better themes or Pro plugins.

Conversion Academy at $997   Now $1,797, or how to write the kind of copy that brings in the paying customers.

This seems to be an unnecessary expense, as writing from the heart is what all the successful bloggers recommend – not selling, selling, selling. Most people can smell the sales pitch a mile away, so unless they are already willing to pay for the program, pre-made copy will not help.

As well, if you want to use copy that all the other students are using, good luck with ranking on page One with Google. The first person to use this copy can get ranked on Google, and everyone else who uses it will be dropped to the bottom of the search ranks. Because it is duplicate content. Sigh.

Traffic Academy for $997 now $2997, which is “secrets to unlocking a flood of traffic”. Maybe it has to do with SEO. but again, there is lot’s of free information on the internet about SEO. And SEO is a skill that you get better at with practice…over time.

According to the website “these are the secrets to generating a flood of website visitors that convert into loyal customers”. Oh I dunno about that. Are you going to sign up and pay lots of money to someone that you know nothing about? Are you going to trust a stranger to tell you the truth about whatever he or she is promoting for hundreds or thousands of dollars? I do not purchase stuff off the internet like that…do you?

Generating legit loyal traffic comes from building a relationship with the people who visit your website – hence the word LOYAL. You cannot get people to pay thousands of dollars to a stranger based on secrets that are not really secrets. People, like you and me, read reviews of these products before they buy. Because that is a lot of money to lose.

Some people are lured by the promise of awesome returns, but really you will be lucky if you get your money back. Get Rich Quick promotion is a scam, plain and simple. Maybe this is why you see so few good reviews of this program…

Masters Academy $3497 now $5497, which is money management and tax planning. This would be good stuff to learn if you are actually making money this way. However, this information can be had for much cheaper. Much cheaper.

And while we are talking about this, it would make sense to learn about money management before signing up to a program that is just going to bleed you bank account dry and still not help you to have a nice “laptop lifestyle”.

(**Update February 2018: AWOL Elite is not on the website anymore. I assume that is why the prices went up on all of the other components** I am leaving this here for reference) AWOL Elite for $9997, where you get a personal mentor. As soon as you sign up for Pro Academy, and do a couple of lessons you are encouraged to sign up for Elite, with the guarantee that you will make your money back in 90 days. They will teach you how to sell the same program that you just bought, so you can break even. Wow.

Why do you not get a mentor after paying $99? Should you not have someone helping you out from the beginning?

AWOL Academy Should Affiliate Marketing Education Really Be This Expensive?
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If you buy everything, your education at AWOL Academy is $15,882 Update: $10,837 , now minus Elite Academy.

That is a lot of money. To help Keala and Kameron become wealthier.

Oh, and the free PDF that I got for watching the 8 minute video is the exact same information as the video! I guess you could consider it to be “notes”?? I did not get to see how Keala makes his money, because he does not tell you that you have to pay him 10K first. And that is how he makes his money.

I went to the PRAISE tab at the website (Update 2018: the Praise tab is gone…why??) to see what kind of reviews his students had to say. I checked a couple of the Case Studies, but these people only have a couple of posts in their web pages, and one had a 404 error, so I guess they are too busy trying to earn back their 10 grand to maintain their websites. That is not much of a recommendation. I was expecting pages of glowing reviews. Nope.

You might also find other glowing recommendations on the internet – along with income reports which may or may not be real, but what I found extremely odd, is that there is one reviewer with several websites! He has a generic review, which again says nothing about the program and only what a great guy Keala is (complete with lots of photos and no information), and he links this review to his other webpage, which (wait for it…) gives you the exact same NON-information!

I have also seen a few YouTube videos, also from people who talk about how great Keala and Kameron are. Awesome, but how does that help me to decide if this program is right for me? It doesn’t.

I want to hear from someone who bought the program components and was able to earn back their money in 90 days. Or 120 days. Or even ever. Please. Anybody?? echo…echo…echo…The only place to find some real reviews is Better Business Bureau, where you can find reviews like this:

AWOL is teaching how to set up a sales funnel. You need a website, an email service provider, a landing page (which you can create using a page in WordPress), and a way to generate traffic. Long term traffic generation comes from great content (blog posts), and you can get short term traffic in a variety of ways…all of them free. Do a quick Google search of all of these items and see if you have to pay $10,000 to $15,000 for them. I have a post on the subject here.

No one needs to pay $1800 for pre-written copy that everyone else in the program is going to use, and which should be free if you are already paying a ton of money to be in that program. And no one needs a email traffic program for $3000 when you can take a full course for anywhere on the internet from $99 to $500.

Even Affilorama was offering 5 done for you sales funnels in one of 18 niches for less than $1000. Why is AWOL so expensive? You are paying Keala’s mortgage, that is why.

AWOL Academy- FAIL

You do not learn anything from AWOL except how to sell AWOL- which, from what I understand, makes this a pyramid-type scheme. The only people earning money with AWOL are the ones who got in at the start.

How that works is: person A buys in at the beginning. He convinces person B to buy in, thus earning a commission from that sign-up as well as earning a commission from the mandatory affiliate programs that person B is forced to buy as part of their education at the academy.

The problem with this type of MLM program is that it gets harder and harder to find people who will sign up. The more bad reviews out there, the harder it gets to find people to sign up. But even if you cannot find people to sign up, Keala and Kameron are still making a ton of cash off of all the people who have already paid and/or are going to purchase upsells.

You do not learn how to use WordPress, or add plugins to WordPress, or any other real online affiliate education. You buy pre-made templates, pre-made email responses, and pre-made content. You cannot even tailor the website so that you can sell your own items because everything is tied to AWOL information.

Even if they do teach you how to use WordPress, you are still stuck selling their stuff. And if AWOL tanks? You have nothing to fall back on. Sketchy, especially now that they ditched their most expensive component (I still wonder why…do you?)

$15,000.00 (Now $10,837) is a lot of money to spend, especially since you do not get to “try before you buy”. How do you know what you are really getting for $99, until you pay and check it out? And that is when the up-sells begin…

If you want to know what the actual steps are for creating a blog that you can promote affiliate products with, sign up for my blog post updates and grab the two free pdf’s that explain it. And then come back to the AWOL Academy website and see if what they are offering is still a good deal.

There is more to making money online than signing up with an expensive program that promises you the major returns on your investment. The only people earning the big bucks with this program are the two owners.

Building a business takes time. The kind of time where you might want to start while you still have your 9-to-5 job to pay the bills.

Build a website, write blog posts, develop a relationship with your visitors. That is how you become successful with online marketing. Not using pre-made junk that all the other students will be using as well, so that you are all just white noise on the internet.

There are 3 BILLION people online daily. There are tons of awesome affiliate products that you can promote that will earn you a tidy sum. There is more than enough for everyone. You do not need to sink 10 grand into a so-so education.

My recommendation

If you are interested in affiliate marketing, and want to “try-before-you-buy” (7 day free trial) and actually learn how to create your website, check my other review of Wealthy Affiliate here. Even if you sign up and purchase the yearly membership (which has an awesome discount on Black Friday!), you are still paying less than Pro and Inbox Academy combined. And you are getting an actual education that will allow you to sell whatever you want and not just regurgitate the AWOL products.

Save your money and do some more research. You can have a successful online business if you want to!

Related Post: Wealthy Affiliate review

Related Post: Affilorama review

Related Post: Six Figure Mentors/ Digital Experts Academy review

Related Post: Clickbank University review

Cheers and Happy Blogging! Follow me on Pinterest

-Irma 🙂

*Note: This post was updated in February July 2018 to reflect the prices and content of the AWOL Academy programs. It was originally published in May 2017, and has been edited for clarity and comprehensiveness. Apparently they have changed some more prices and upgraded the cost for what used to be Elite Academy. Regardless, it is a lot of money to be hog-tied to only selling one product.

Do you have experience with AWOL Academy that you would like to share? Have you been swindled by unscrupulous ads promising you vast returns in less than a year? I invite you to leave comments or questions in the box below.

As well, feel free to share this post on social media and educate your friends before they spend vast sums of money!

Author: Irma

A single mom and online entrepreneur, learning to navigate through courses, webinars, and PDF downloads to create a new life for myself, and to teach others to do the same!

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4 thoughts on “My Review of AWOL Academy

  1. Hi Irma,

    I am a member of Wealthy Affiliate and have a review posted about AWOL. I have been checking out other reviews today only to find positive recommendations for AWOL. This puzzled me, because I don’t agree with 95% of what I was reading. After I read your blog I was relieved to find someone with the integrity to do an honest review.

    I joined the AWOL program in February 2018 as a way to improve my online marketing skills. I was blown away at the intentional deceit of these people. Nothing was mentioned before joining about the up-sells you will need to buy to get any of the advanced training. This is intentional deceit. The products are fair, maybe a 4-6 rating of 10. They are really nothing special and filled with redundant information or easily attainable information.

    At this time AWOL is not listing Elite membership on their product page but it is still a part of the program, cost is $15,997 if you purchase in the first 10 days, $17,997 anytime afterwards. My opinion is, AWOL is riding the fence on being a complete SCAM. Marketers writing glorious reviews of AWOL are obviously affiliates due to the huge affiliate payouts up to $5000.00 per referral who goes Elite. I don’t like to bash anyone’s business but in this case I feel it may save someone their hard earned money. I look for AWOL to self implode eventually.

    Your review is spot on, great job!

    Steve

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    1. Thank you for this very insightful comment Steve! And I agree 100%.

      It is not that I thought that AWOL was a scam, but that they are taking advantage of people who are too early in the buying/research cycle to know that there are better and less expensive ways to earn money online. Unadvertised upsells are, in my opinion, unethical. People should be told upfront what the product or service can do.

      Thank you!
      -Irma 🙂

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  2. From the sounds of things, I am glad I went looking for an Awol review. I thought I took a hit when a $97 course turned out to be from 2012 but this one seems way to expensive to even keep researching.

    I am very interested in finding something that really works but many dishonest people say online training is a waste of time since you can follow people and enjoy the freebies.

    Not really sure where to start so I filled out your email subscription. Fingers crossed. 🙂

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    1. Hello Eric and thank you for visiting today,

      That is the whole reason that I started this site…to help present FREE information for anyone who is thinking of starting an affiliate site and wants to know how to get a decent education.

      Tragically, AWOL is not the most expensive program that I have seen, but it does go to show that you can make money online with a sales funnel.

      It is just too bad that they focus their training on only selling their own program, unlike Wealthy Affiliate who teach you to create your own niche site and promote whatever you want.

      WA does have a free program that is limited (the 7-day trial is full access to the whole site), but it does help you get a website up with a few pages to start. You can learn the rest for free from others, but it takes longer, because it is not structured to learn in stages!

      I recommend that if you want to stick with WA after the free trial, to go for the yearly membership so that you can take a full year to get a solid education. It can take a few years to really build a business, and that is no different when creating an online business.

      Cheers,
      -Irma 🙂

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