Is Wealthy Affiliate a Pyramid Scheme?


blue pyramidMany people who check it out wonder if Wealthy Affiliate is a multi-level marketing scheme. The answer is a clear NO, but let me explain why.

Multi-level marketing schemes or pyramid schemes require the account holder to sell something to someone and then pressure the people to whom they sell, to then sell to other people. That’s how the people at the top of a “downline” make money. A downline describes the people who are working beneath you or the people who are “down the line” from you, or are lower in the pyramid.

Multi level marketing programs can work for a while if you know a lot of people and the product or service is very new. The problem with these pyramid schemes is that they expand so quickly that they run out of new people to bring in.

Once a multi-level marketing scheme has been around for a while a lot of people have already seen it and are doing it, or have either tried it already and didn’t like it, or are not interested at all. They tend to attract people who are very young, and haven’t seen a hundred of them come and go already in their lifetimes.

The picture below shows you how quickly pyramid schemes run out of people.


pyramid scheme example

Wealthy Affiliate is very different from a pyramid scheme


First off, there is no downline. You can recommend it to people and get credit if they sign up, but when the people you recommend then recommend it to others, you don’t get credit, so there is no pressure to try to get the people under you to perform.

Secondly, Wealthy Affiliate is more of a social media college, where you can take courses and learn about website development, affiliate marketing, driving website traffic, etc. And, there are hundreds of people there to help you along the way. The main objective of Wealthy Affiliate is not creating a huge pyramid, but it’s about creating a huge community of people who help each other to succeed.

I go into much more detail on my “Is Wealthy Affiliate a Scam” page.



With Wealthy Affiliate there is never any pressure. You can learn at your own pace, sign up for the paid version only if you want to, and cancel at any time. I have never felt like I was being sold anything there. In fact, what I experienced were people reaching out to help me when I needed it even though there was really nothing in it for them other than feeling good about someone else’s success.

It’s a very unusual program


In most businesses or money making schemes, people will just step on each other or take advantage of others to succeed. Wealthy Affiliate is not that kind of program. You can sign up for free and try it out, and the creators themselves will help you to get started. There are multiple courses for learning about creating an online business and SO, SO many knowledgeable people to ask for help.

Sign up for a no-risk, FREE account today!


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  1. That’s cool that you explained what is a pyramid scheme. I’ve been with WA for 3 months now and I don’t regret it. It’s a difficult and lengthy journey to success – but it’s a damn worthwhile one. You expressed that in a short manner. To anyone who’s reading this, go with Wealthy Affiliate and don’t look back – you won’t regret it.

    1. Thanks Julius. I couldn’t agree more about going on the Wealthy Affiliate journey. There’s been absolutely no pressure and nothing but helpful people. I wish you much success in your ventures. 🙂

  2. Hi there, you really surprised me with the title of this post. I am a Wealthy Affiliate member so this is understandable. Your conclusion is that it is not a pyramid scheme and I agree. I agree also with the statement that this is a very unusual program. So thank you, very interesting approach to WA description.

    1. Hi Jovo. Nowadays, you really need to use headings that capture people’s attention and I thought they might read it if I explained why WA is NOT a pyramid scheme. I’m sure there’s information out there that makes people wonder. Thank you so much for visiting my page.

  3. Very good review, I hear this a lot that Wealthy Affiliate is an MLM, but as you say there are no downlines after yourself. So, that’s plain and simple isn’t it? I’d forgotten that MLM’s require downlines to function so when I’m approached again I can actually say NO! I believe Wealthy Affiliate is awesome and is the best place to learn how to create a website easily, nothing comes close to it on the internet and no up-sells – how about that!

    1. Thanks for visiting my page, Sharon. People like us who have seen MLM’s throughout our lives know how to spot them quickly, and WA definitely is not one of them. I’m so happy that you too, are enjoying your experience with WA and I wish you much continued success. 🙂

  4. Hey you have a really nice looking website with a lot of engaging content.

    This is a really good explanation of a pyramid scheme and how wealthy affiliate isn’t one. MLM are really hard to succeed in and you are only selling one companies product.

    You can promote wealthy affiliate but it doesn’t require you to buy anything and you go through google. It also teaches you how to sell any product you want.

    Thanks for the information.

  5. Great post. That’s how I explain Wealthy Affiliate to people I know. It’s not a pyramid scheme because it doesn’t sell anything. Basically you’re paying for constant help and host for unlimited websites. You can promote them but you don’t have to. All the people here that are successful have proof that they earned money with only the things that WA gave you. Perfectly explained pyramid scheme btw.

    1. Hey Alex, thanks so much for visiting my page and helping me to confirm what we already know about Wealthy Affiliate. I wish you great success with all of your endeavors. 🙂

  6. Hey, Shannon! I have also joined WA, and I am a premium member. It is liberating to be part of such a participating and helpful community. Also, WA takes off obstacles in my path to building a commercial website that otherwise would have taken me months to remove. So I think of it not only as an university, but as a one-stop-shop for everything related to my website. I highly recommend it!

    1. Thanks Daniel, for helping me to convey what WA is all about. Isn’t it nice to know that we have all of the help we need at any time? I really appreciate having all of the WA family available to help me and I really feel that they care about my success. 🙂

  7. Excelent article! What you say is really accurate.

    I love that WA community is so altruistic and unselfish, they make you feel like home since the beginning and that is the power they have to attract people to their business. And is a very honest one.

    I would recommend this site to anyone interested on creating a business online, it is worth it.

    1. Hi Carlos. You make a really good point about people at Wealthy Affiliate being “altruistic”. I seriously had three people just on my first day alone who left messages on my profile offering to help me if I needed it. And I definitely took some of them up on it. Good luck with your endeavors! 🙂

  8. Hi Carlos,

    I have been looking at Wealthy Affiliate for a few weeks now and based on your post now I think its time to move from trial to premium membership. There seem to be a lot of resources and tools here and it appears that the community is helpful, is this your experience?
    Do you know if I can stop my membership at any time?
    Cn I re-activate it?

    1. Hello. The tools and resources are phenomenal on WA, and I have always been able to find help any time I have been stuck on something. And you can stop your membership at any time, and come back if you want to re-activate it. I’m not sure if they will store your websites if you de-activate your account. That’s something you would have to ask them directly. Thanks for visiting my page.

  9. Hi Carlos,

    I have been looking at Wealthy Affiliate for a few weeks now and based on your post now I think its time to move from trial to premium membership. There seem to be a lot of resources and tools here and it appears that the community is helpful, is this your experience?
    Do you know if I can stop my membership at any time?
    Cn I re-activate it?

  10. Yes, whenever I have mentioned Wealthy Affiliate to people, they have said it sounds like a pyramid scheme. The big difference, as you point out, is that with pyramid schemes you earn money for your whole downline. This means the people who joined early are the only ones who make any decent money. Another way that pyramid schemes are different is that usually the actual product is of very little value. That’s definitely not the case with WA because you have great training, website hosting, keyword research tool, and a supportive community. But of course, if you manage to refer other people, it’s only right that you should be compensated.

  11. I’m not a big fan of MLM because the whole business model is a scam, at the end of the day! I have already been involved in a few network marketing opportunities, but never again!

    Wealthy Affiliate sounds awesome! From what you have said, I can definitely see that it is not a pyramid structure, but a totally legit learning platform for helping people make money online.

    Thanks for this…

    1. Thanks Neil. I totally agree with you on MLM. You just run out of people too quickly. Thanks for visiting my page. 🙂

  12. I’ve got to be honest – I think all programs that have some sort of affiliate offer harbor some pyramid factors (it just depends on what way you look at it! ). Of course WA is not a traditional pyramid setup but you do have the ability to showcase their memberships and refer others? At the end of the day the biggest winners will be the owners – no matter what system/opportunity you are promoting!

    1. Hi Chris. Yes, I agree with you. The nice thing about WA is that you don’t have to keep bringing people in under you like a typical pyramid scheme. You can bring people in if you want, but that’s not it’s main purpose like most pyramids. 🙂

  13. Hi Shannon, interesting article. I have a slightly different approach to this subject, as I am crazy about both Affiliate Marketing (particularly Wealthy Affiliate) and Multi Level Marketing (MLM)
    I totally agree with you regarding Wealthy Affiliate not being a Pyramid scheme, but I differ with you on one point. I don’t see MLM as a whole, as a pyramid scheme.
    It’s true that recruiting and sales are the life blood of MLM. The idea is to sell products of value to people who enjoy and benefit from the products.
    If they like them so much that they start recommending the products to their friends, they become sales people within the organisation.
    As they build a team of buyers or salespeople they get rewarded by moving up the levels of leadership. Most people who join reputable MLM or network marketing companies join simply to get their favourite products at a discounted price. About 20% of them make some pocket money, and about 2% of them become wealthy.
    MLM, in my mind, is not so much about pressuring people to sell, as teaching people to sell. Much like WA is about teaching online marketing.
    Now… Pyramid schemes… the moment a company promotes recruiting people into a system where there is no product, or no product of value, it’s considered to be a pyramid scheme. It’s companies like these that have given MLM a bad name.
    The DSA (Direct Selling Association) regulates which companies are playing by the rules, and which are not.
    In my mind, Wealthy Affiliate and MLM have three things in common:
    1. People first and foremost enjoy the product for themselves.
    2. People who are crazy about the products, recommend them on their websites to others, and sign up other affiliates.
    3. The Training offered by Wealthy Affiliate is brilliant, as is the training offered by reputable MLM companies.
    The two distinct differences are:
    1. At WA we sell via online marketing rather than face to face.
    2. WA has a uni level structure, i.e. affiliates only benefit from affiliates they personally recruit.

    1. Hi Lauren. Thanks for visiting my page and for your insightful comments. You make some good points about MLM and I do agree that if there is a good product involved, it can be a beneficial business. :

  14. Hello, you are absolutely right! I’m also a member and I can really tell that it’s not a pyramid or any other similar model. Mainly, because there’s no pressure to promote Wealthy Affiliate. You can do whatever you want with your websites, even promote WA competitors.

    Great article, thank you!

    1. I completely agree. I’ve never felt any pressure with WA to either sign up for it, or pay for a membership. I just like having it. 🙂

  15. Wealthy Affiliate isn’t a pyramid scheme. In fact, if you choose to be an affiliate for WA, you can only earn commissions for direct referrals – there’s no multiple tier structure. And the best part is, they teach you how to build an online business even if you’re not interested at all in promoting them; you can follow your passion and earn an online income in that market, whatever it may be. It’s a great platform in my opinion.

  16. Well after being a member there twice over (total of over 7 years ) I can firmly say that this is no pyramid scheme. To be honest I would have no idea why someone would think that in the first place?
    It’s nothing more than an education platform – where you go to learn. Besides, pyramid schemes don’t have free memberships! 🙂

  17. I will start of by saying that wealthy affiliate is not a pyramid scheme I know because I was once apart of this type of progarm and I tell you it is not worth it. the only person who make money with a pyramid program is those that are at the top but those to the bottom hardly make and income if any. But wealthy affiliate has a soild business modle and I am glad that I am a part of a community such as wealthy affiliate. With this type of business model that wealthy affiliate is offering everyone can have success. All the best to you and have a good day.

  18. Thank you for making it a point that the referrals you make, that make referrals to other people do not impact your compensation one bit unlike in MLM where you make a tiny portion.

    I also know that unlike other MLM’s you are not restricted to promoting Wealthy Affiliate because its just a tool to help you build a business in whatever field you feel you are an expert in (camping, basketball, photography, etc.. MLM’s on the other hand force you to promote the products that they offer.

    I was wondering if you ever wondered if it was a pyramid? I know in theory that there are only so many people in the world that you can promote it to until there is no more people to promote it to.

    I was wondering initially until I figured out the differences that I mentioned above.

    Love hearing your thoughts,


    1. You are absolutely right…it is NOT a pyramid because a pyramid has multiple levels under it and for WA there is just a referral fee for people that sign up because you referred them, and at least for me, it’s not the main reason I’m there. All of the other education and hosting services are why I use it. 🙂

  19. Hi Shannon. Thank you for this information. I agree that there is no way wealthy affiliate could be a pyramid scheme. Affiliate marketing is a much more lucerative and engaging source of income, and you can have success within any niche, while MLM only allows you to promote its services.

  20. Wow Shannon,

    I really like what you said about Wealthy Affiliate. And I want to add to what just said, to all who want to know what Wealthy Affiliate is about.

    It is never a pyramid scheme. What even like bout the platform is the fact that you’re allowed to try their training program for FREE which allows you to build your own business online even before making any payment.

    I highly recommend it to all who’re interested in building a businesses online.


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