AWOL Academy- FAIL
$99 for Pro Academy; $
15,882. to purchase everything! 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
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…
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.
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.
After the webinar, I went online to look at the webpage
I wanted to see what is really involved in this whole sales funnel business. https://www.awolacademy.com.
There is NO free trial. There is NO preview, video or otherwise, on what the program looks like. You must pay $99 to get 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.
So, ya, it is really, really expensive and the no try-before-you-buy is like the number one way to discern if something is a scam….
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.
This is where you make a page dedicated to selling one product, and from what I understand, 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.
Will all of 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 (**Update: This course is now $497), 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 course on getting started with email marketing 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…”
Conversion Academy at $997 (**Update: The price of this course is 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. And Google hates that.
Traffic Academy for $997 (**Update: This course is 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.
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.
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.
Masters Academy for $3497 (**Update February 2018: This course is 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.
(**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.
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 went to the PRAISE tab at the website (Update 2018: the Praise tab is gone) 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 webpages, 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!
You do not learn anything from AWOL except how to sell AWOL- which, from what I understand, makes this a pyramid-type scheme. You do not learn how to use WordPress, or add plugins to WordPress, or any other real 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.
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 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!
*Note: This post was updated in February 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.
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!