Welcome back to another honest review on Reviews Boss. This time we are adding on from my previous review of Affilorama, and taking a look at one of the most popular premium products that is offered through that brand. In this AffiloBlueprint review, you’re going to get the straight dope on this affiliate marketing powerhouse product!
Fresh and relevant for 2019, we will be dissecting the latest version of AffiloBlueprint (3.0). Although this product is getting on for being a few years old now, it still receives regular updates and remains a popular fixture in the affiliate marketing space … that means the task falls upon yours truly to ensure that it is reviewed to a higher standard than what is out there at the moment.
Go here to visit the AffiloBlueprint official website to learn more about the product as well.
If you’d rather watch a video review of the product, here is one I did a while back:
I’ve also just created another video, which you can watch here:
Why I’m Reviewing AffiloBlueprint
I actually did a review of AffiloBlueprint on my old website, which I’m phasing out in favour of focusing more on Reviews Boss (as my passion really does lie in reviewing products). So if I have already reviewed the product once, why am I doing it again?
Basically, because all the other reviews out there on AffiloBlueprint suck. I must admit that even my original review on my old site simply isn’t up to the standard I expect from myself these days.
I mean look at some of these so-called Affiloblueprint reviews:
I don’t like seeing hard working people waste their money on products that are pushed by unscrupulous affiliates only because of the commission they stand to make. I have nothing against affiliate marketing at all in principle – in fact I am an affiliate myself, and promote products on this site. However, I only promote something with my commission-earning link if I truly think it is worth a buy.
One day I’ll do a big discussion piece on the state of reviews in the Internet marketing sphere … especially on the affiliate marketing end of spectrum, which is like the digital equivalent of sub-prime loans.
What Is AffiloBlueprint?
This product is the flagship course from Affilorama. It is an affiliate marketing training course, designed to teach you a step-by-step method for creating profitable affiliate sites. The strategy you will learn is supposedly based on the one used by Mark Ling (the super affiliate/guru behind Affilorama, as well as other brands like Traffic Travis) to generate some of his best successes as an affiliate in his “up and coming” days.
Whether or not Mark actually builds any sites in this manner these days remains to be seen. But it certainly sounds nice to learn the step-by-step methods used to a super affiliate, right?
You should also note that this is a course which has been around for a number of years, and has been through several iterations. We are, in fact, up to version 3.0 of AffiloBlueprint, which originally dropped in mid 2012 … maybe a new one is just around the corner?
I don’t know much at all about version one of the course, and can’t seem to find out much about it online. However, I had membership to version 2.0 for a while. Unfortunately all access to that version of the course was removed quite some time ago. From my recollection, the AffiloBlueprint 2.0 method was focused on the following:
- Finding a niche by browsing around the Clickbank marketplace, checking gravity scores, sales pages etc
- Settle on something for a niche like “World of Warcraft gaming guides” (btw, does anyone still play World of Warcraft? I’ve been out of the gaming scene so long, I’m not really sure what is popular any more)
- Research keywords using Google’s Keyword Tool and other programs, finding phrases like “how to get better at World of Warcraft”
- Once you’ve got 20 or so keywords like this, you build your website … something like this http://wowblackbook.com/
- Pepper your articles with affiliate links, and create reviews around the products you found in the niche research phase
- Set up a newsletter list on a platform like Aweber, and then get sign ups in exchange for a mini course or free eBook. Send these leads a mix of information content and promotions of your affiliate links.
- Do some link building, and maybe push a bit of traffic via PPC.
- Rinse and repeat with a few different sites – congratulations, you’re now a super affiliate! Or at least you are supposed to be.
That site, WOW Black Book, was actually the site Mark Ling created as a sort of live case study to demonstrate the AffiloBlueprint method in version 2.0 of the course.
As you can see, not much has changed on it since it was made … I wonder if it actually makes him any more money these days? Quite possibly, if there is some residual traffic.
So What Has Changed For Version 3.0 Of AffiloBlueprint?
To be honest, not that much in terms of overall strategy structure. You see the whole point of the AffiloBlueprint system is to provide a strategy that could theoretically work until the day the Internet dies (or at least until the day that people stop searching for stuff in Google and other search engines).
What changed between the earlier versions of the course and the most recent version are things like:
- Recommended site building platform. In the earlier versions of ABP, I believe the recommended tool for building your site was XSitePro. Talk about a dated looking sales website! I wonder if you could even really make a site that looks relevant in 2019 with XSitePro? The current course recommends you use WordPress, the gold standard of site building platforms for most affiliate marketers and small businesses.
- Link building and traffic strategies. Getting links pointing to your site is very different now compared to the earlier releases of ABP. There is a lot of focus on link building techniques in the current version of the course, as well as other traffic generation strategies and inbound marketing.
What Do You Get With AffiloBlueprint In 2019?
So we have established the rough idea of Mark Ling’s strategy that is being taught in this course. But what exactly is included in the current version of AffiloBlueprint when you part with your $197?
- ~90 video lessons split over 12 steps (from basic niche research through to site optimisation and PPC traffic generation)
- Accompanying PDF versions of each lesson
- Homework section to help you progress through the lessons
- Access to a private forum exclusive to members of the course
- Free hosting for 1 year for 1 site
- AffiloTheme WordPress theme included for building your first site. This is marketed as a bonus.
- 30 day free trial of Affilorama Premium. This is marketed as another bonus. Please see my note on this in the pricing section of the review below.
My aim with Reviews Boss is always to give you the most accurate picture possible of a product before you decide to purchase it. In order to achieve this aim, I’ve actually taken screen captures inside the member area of AffiloBlueprint. Each one also includes a caption to further explain what is included. This will take some scrolling; if I get enough feedback saying it is too much, then I will change this to a slider type layout – please voice your concern in the comments section or send me an email.
And here’s a “helicopter view” of the course overview page:
What Site Did Mark Build As Part Of This Version?
If you’ve been paying close attention to this review, then you’ll know that I linked to the site Mark built for version 2.0 of the course – WOW Black Book.
But what site was made for this newer version of the course?
This is important, because the whole point of ABP is that it is meant to be a step-by-step course where you follow “over the shoulder” as Mark and his team (the lessons are narrated by different people) build . It also gives you a good idea of what the end result might be once you’ve finished going through all 90 or so lessons.
The site created is called Enlightenment Gateway, a classic self-help site that features a number of different sub topics and promotes a wide variety of affiliate products:
How Much Does AffiloBlueprint Cost?
AffiloBlueprint retails for $197 USD, which makes it a fairly expensive product by the standards of make money online courses – especially compared to the endless litany of $7 WSOs and such like that are out there.
If you’re looking for a discount on AffiloBlueprint, then I’m sorry but I don’t have one to offer. However, I can tell you to keep an eye on the Affilorama site, because from time-to-time you will see special offers announced via a notification bar at the top of the page.
Also, if you’re signed up to Affilorama’s emails through your free account, then you should get notification of any sales. I have definitely seen it advertised for $97 in the past, but that special price seems to come through very rarely.
Because AffiloBlueprint is sold through the Clickbank network, you are guaranteed a 60 day money-back refund window. Basically, this means that if you are in any way unhappy with your purchase, you can return it within 60 days for a full refund. If you do this through the Affilorama/AffiloBlueprint support, you’ll find that you will probably have to do some back and forth emails as they will try to ascertain what you’re unhappy about, and see if they can placate you. Nothing wrong at all with this approach on the part of the vendor, and actually a much better way of providing service – but I think you ought to be aware of it.
Who Makes It?
As alluded to already, AffiloBlueprint is part of the Affilorama family of products. This brand is spearheaded by Mark Ling, who has already been discussed in detail elsewhere.
There’s not really much need to add any more detail here.
How To Join
Joining AffiloBlueprint is simple enough. Simply head on over to affilorama.com/affiloblueprint and then scroll through the sales pitch until you hit the add to cart button.
If you are already a free member of Affilorama (if not, then go here to learn more about it in another one of my reviews) then you can also join through your members’ dashboard. It shouldn’t be too hard to find where to do this.
Warning: Monthly Rebill Ahoy
When you add AffiloBlueprint to your cart, you will be taken to a page that looks like this:
As you can see, the first portion is the $197 membership fee for the main course. Fair enough, you knew it was coming! But take a look at the section that says “Affilorama Premium – Free Trial”. If you read the fine print, you’ll find out that when you purchase the main AffiloBlueprint course you are automatically signed up to Affilorama Premium and you receive a free 30 day trial of it. That’s a nice bonus, right?
However, there is one problem here. You don’t have the option to opt out at this stage by unchecking a pre-ticked check box. There is literally nothing you can do to not be set up with an auto rebill membership to Affilorama Premium at the time of purchasing ABP. And after 30 days, you will get hit with a $67 charge that will recur each month unless you make a conscious effort to cancel your Premium membership.
Inherently there is nothing wrong with this practice, as you will definitely be able to get out of the Premium subscription with a quick email. However, I am also fairly certain that there will be people out there who perhaps aren’t so great at keeping on top of their subscriptions and checking their credit card statements, and they will wind up paying this recurring fee without realising it.
Giving people a free trial of a rebill product when they purchase a one-off item is probably great business practice in terms of generating profits. However, it would be nice to see this changed to a check box where you can remove Premium access before continuing to the payment gateway.
Here’s what I like about AffiloBlueprint:
- Teaches a sound, well-established method that has long term potential. I’ve seen Mark’s AffiloBlueprint method occasionally come in for some harsh criticism on more “hardcore” affiliate marketing forums and blogs because it isn’t very cutting-edge, nor is it focused on a “millionaire maker” method like CPA + PPV traffic or media buys or something more high end like that. However, you need to remember that AffiloBlueprint is actually focused on walking beginners through a system that will allow them to build a potentially very sustainable model for generating affiliate income. You’re probably never going to earn as much as you could by going all in with more advanced affiliate methods, but that’s simply not the point of this course. Instead, you’re going to learn how to build websites that have the potential to stick around for a long time and hopefully make you some good income.
- Very beginner friendly. Because the instructions are step-by-step and laid out in a very logical fashion, I honestly believe that you could give them to your mum or dad and they could get a decent idea for what they would need to do to turn a profit. In fact, one of the selling points on the sales page for AffiloBlueprint is how Mark gave this method to his retired dad, who has been able to turn it into a nice income stream.
- Rolling updates. I did a bit of poking around on the AffiloBlueprint members’ forum, and staff there have been indicating that instead of a version 4.0 coming out any time soon, what you will instead see is rolling updates to the current edition of the course. This is good, as it means that you are probably going to be supported in terms of fresh content for quite some time. There is no fly-by-night stuff here … Affilorama’s products are always supported well and made with longevity in mind.
Here’s what I dislike about the product:
- The bundled WordPress theme is very poor. AffiloTheme is simply too outdated to be useful, as none of the templates (as far as I can tell) are mobile responsive. This is a real problem in 2019, where the likelihood of the matter is that 30% plus of your traffic is probably going to be coming from mobile devices. The in-built landing/squeeze page generator also seems to break quite frequently. You will make a page that you think should look great, and then load up your squeeze page to find that it actually looks busted.
- AffiloTheme is installed by default on any website you build using the bundled hosting that comes with the product. You will need to change themes if you don’t want to use AffiloTheme.
- The bundled hosting is restrictive. Although it is certainly nice to get some free hosting with your AffiloBlueprint membership, the unfortunate truth is that this hosting is simply too restrictive in what you can do. Firstly, there seems to be a very low upload size limit when working through the WordPress dashboard. As a member of Mythemeshop, I’ve got access to some of the best WordPress themes on the Internet, and want to use them on the sites I build in order to justify the price I am paying for membership. Unfortunately, every theme I have downloaded and tried to upload through the dashboard theme uploader is rejected for being too big, even though the file size is always under 5mb – a constraint set by the hosting it seems. This means you are limited to either using AffiloTheme and its child themes, or finding a free theme through the WordPress theme browser. You also don’t get any FTP or cPanel access, which makes fixing any errors caused by bad plugins or themes difficult, and also limits you on adding extra functionality to your site. This lack of FTP access will also complicate matters if you choose to sell your site at some stage, or want to transfer it to another host.
- When I joined AffiloBlueprint you received 5 hosting slots (as shown in that image I posted earlier). I believe that now you only get 1 free hosting slot for 1 year. It then rebills after 12 months … I’m not sure exactly what the price is, but will probably be around the $100 mark for that hosting.
- Forced rebill upsell. Just make it a check-box and this problem goes away. 30 days of free Affilorama Premium is nice, but it really should be something you can opt-out of at the point of sale.
- Bonuses seem to have got worse. With my membership I got 5 free hosting slots, some bonus reports from other gurus who associate themselves with Mark, and even a free copy of Traffic Travis professional. However, the bonus offering is definitely not so good in 2019. Maybe better things will come next time there is a big promo?
Will You Actually Make Any Money?
When it comes to assessing make money online products, this is the question that really counts. If you buy AffiloBlueprint today and follow its training to the letter, will you actually make any money? After all, it does not matter one iota how well produced a course is, if it doesn’t actually help you to line your bank account.
So what’s the rub with this one?
Certainly, you should be able to build a nice enough looking website – especially if you take the initiative to change from AffiloTheme to a mobile responsive WordPress theme, and spend a bit of time learning how to make your site look great. You should be able to have a fair crack at finding a niche and products to promote as well. The instructions really are quite simple to follow. But will you succeed?
The members’ forum for this product is littered with lots of posts about people who started out with high hopes of making big affiliate bucks, but who are now languishing with a poorly performing site that’s never got them anywhere except for maybe a couple of cursory sales. Does that mean the method being taught is broken? No … far from it:
The harsh truth is that affiliate marketing isn’t easy. And if there is an easy method that goes public (like the infamous “bum marketing” back in the day where you could just spam article directories 24/7 for easy rankings and traffic) it soon gets saturated with every Tom, Dick, and Harry having a go … and then it becomes a sort of Tragedy of the Commons type scenario. Soon that easy goldmine will be exhausted. Everyone will be off to the next shiny object, and you could be left holding your shovel!
A training course or method for any type of web marketing should be seen more as a INSPIRATION than a “paint by numbers” system to follow. Anything that is truly capable of making you money with 0 creativity or independence is almost certainly guaranteed to get exhausted very quickly.
Being able to follow the instructions is, of course, important. If you can’t follow them to get your hosting configured, or create your affiliate links, or set up your Aweber account, then you’re never going to get anywhere. However, what separates the people who go through the motions and never really have any success from those who do well with this ABP method (or ANY web marketing method, for that matter) is the ability to apply their own twists. If you cannot see beyond the 91 video lessons and exactly what they teach you to do, then you aren’t likely to have much luck. Without imagination, without initiative, and without the will to experiment and learn from your mistakes, you are probably better off investing your $197 in an index fund!
This is a hard concept to explain neatly, but once you start affiliate marketing yourself I think you will quickly see what I mean. The forums and blogs out there are littered with people who want everything spoon feed to them, and who refuse to ever experiment or learn by doing and failing. These are the same people you might see in the member forum for ABP, complaining that they aren’t getting anywhere. If they’ve listed their website for help or advice, then check it out and see why. You’re almost bound to find that they followed the course instructions but never went any further than that. Instead of using the method as an inspiration, they’ve become a slave to it and cannot escape its confines!
Sorry for such a bunch of esoteric waffle – but this is something I feel very passionate about. This isn’t an indictment on a method like AffiloBlueprint; building niche sites is a basic strategy that has worked for years, and will probably keep working until the Internet gets switched off by World War 3 or something. ABP teaches a sound method. It can and has worked for loads of people, myself included. But unless you can learn organically, and develop your skills beyond relying on step-by-step strategies, then you will always struggle.
If you’re thinking of purchasing AffiloBlueprint, then I really do suggest that you hold on and save your pennies. It’s not that the product is inherently bad; there is a lot of useful information, and the method it teaches has worked well for a lot of people (it just requires a lot more work and/or luck to be successful than is perhaps made out in the training). If you combine the ABP method with a bit more focus on clever traffic generation, then I think you could do very nicely indeed out of it.
However, the big problem is that most of this information can be found for free on affiliate marketing blogs and forums. In fact, I outlined the basics of the method a number of times in this review.
If you’re looking for a premium affiliate marketing product, and don’t mind saving your pennies up for a bit longer, then I really do recommend that you hold off on AffiloBlueprint and instead look to AffiloJetpack (read my review of AffiloJetpack here). The difference between AffiloJetpack and AffiloBlueprint is that with Jetpack, you’re actually getting a whole lot of content that can be used to kickstart the niche site creation process. With AffiloBlueprint you get decent training, some okay hosting, and a very outdated theme.
On this basis, it is my honest recommendation that you join Affilorama for free instead, and then make the best use possible of the lessons available through it. Because the method taught in AffiloBlueprint is such a bread and butter one, you are probably better off trying to learn it for free and then investing the money you save into promoting the website you wind up building. $197 will buy you a decent amount of targeted traffic with Facebook Ads or Google Adwords, in order to test if your conversion funnels etc are working okay.
If you are dead set on getting AffiloBlueprint for whatever reason, then I also advise you to wait for a sale to come along. They seem to happen once every couple of months. These usually coincide with American holidays or retail events, e.g. Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
You can check out AffiloBlueprint here if you would like to buy or find more info. Once again, I want to re-assert that it isn’t a bad product. It’s head and shoulders above 90% of the affiliate training products out there. It’s just I do think that if you are patient and dedicated enough, you’re better off to learn the ropes for free and then dive in the deep end with AffiloJetpack.