13 Risks of Using Done For You Affiliate Marketing Systems

As an affiliate marketer, I have be honest with you: Done for you systems in my experience are often hyped and difficult to trust.

What they sound like on the front end are often times very different than what you see on the back end and if you’re not careful, there are risks that you could lose a lot of money in this area.

In this post, I want to share everything you need to know about both affiliate marketing and done for you systems in regards to it to help you understand those risks and why it might be a much better idea (both financially and educationally) to build up an affiliate marketing business from scratch (with good help of course).

Done For You Affiliate System

The appeal of done for you systems (with regards to affiliate marketing) explained:

While done for you systems and businesses exist in multiple fields, with regards to affiliate marketing, here is what you’ll typically see (and the message that is relayed):

Example 1: High ticket affiliate marketing done for you systems.

There have been many programs in this area coming out as of late and in my opinion a lot of them are quite shady but basically here is how they work:

1) You are pitched to buy a highly expensive “opportunity”. Typically it costs $1,000’s to even $10,000s to join.

2) You are told by buying into this opportunity that you can become an affiliate for it and earn 50% commissions ($500-$1,000s per sale).

3) You are also told the opportunity comes with a “done for you system” and all you have to do is buy into the program, and let the “team” do all the marketing, selling and closing.

4) You are also basically pitched how you don’t need a website, product and how simple it is (success stories are shown).

The basic message in these kinds of programs is that even though the price is high to join, it’s considered “OK” because the program and the done for you system takes the difficulty out of the equation and that everything else will be done for you once you join (easy ROI).

This is the sales pitch.

9 major risks of using these done for you affiliate systems:

1) In very rare circumstances are these done for you affiliate systems are ever as easy as they say, let alone legit (I do have rare cases where I recommend some of these).

2) Very often, once you buy into one of these systems, you are pitched even more “upsells” that are “requirements” to join. These are often pitched to you in a sneaky way and sold with messaging like “it’s optional” but they also make it sound like “it’s necessary”. Some of these upsells include: Websites, website hosting, Clickfunnels, and autoresponders (Things which are legit by the way and sometimes necessary, but pitched in ways I’m not a fan of).

3) A lot of these done for you systems offer low quality value in their products, but pitch it as though it’s buried treasure. Realistically though, you can likely find similar or better training outside the opportunity for low prices, and even free content (YouTube, PLR websites, and alternative programs).

4) Some of these systems operate as schemes, pyramid schemes or business models that places like the FTC frowns upon (and takes down).

5) One of the reasons why is because the value of the product/program is highly inflated vs what it should actually cost. For example: If you can find an affiliate marketing tutorial on Udemy for $10 and there is a high ticket program that is $5,000 teaching the same thing, but only offering the opportunity to make big sales promoting it, that could be a pyramid scheme.

6) A lot of these done for you systems are also gateways to even bigger ticket stuff down the line including coaching packages and more inflated costs to join. And yes there are people who go for that because they think the deeper they go into the program, the more they can make.

7) In terms of success numbers, the odds of that are not good. In any online business, I would say single digit people (Under 5%) ever succeed promoting such done for you systems. When the complaints stack up, the company vanishes and leaves a lot of people hanging dry financially (this is when the FTC steps in due to those complaints).

8) A lot of these companies also have you buy traffic inside their network through things like solo ads, or have you pay for pay per click ads on many different networks. This adds extra costs and without experience, you can lose a ton of money on this.

9) Debt. A lot of times people who read into “done for you systems” think the success is just around the corner with no risk, but because they can’t afford it, a lot of these companies help people take out loans they can’t pay back (only relying on the hope this opportunity pays them) and with low odds of success, many people lose everything.

Example 2: Done for you affiliate marketing niche sites.

Niche sites in my experience happen to be a great way to produce a healthy affiliate income and there are certain done for you systems in this realm which will hook you up with a “ready made website” in whatever niche you select.

Typically these done for you opportunities can cost several $1,000 to buy. The idea here is that the site is fully operational, can promote affiliate products and is in a profitable niche, which you just “take the reigns of”.

But like the first example, here are at least 4 risks involved with this type of done for you system:

1) If you have no experience in building, running and operating websites, you will have no clue “how to take the reigns” of this and you’ll still have to learn everything from scratch. And just sitting back and doing nothing for a “read made, or done for you website” is foolish because it’s never that easy.

2) You’ll need to at least learn how to promote affiliate products and be signed up with affiliate networks (and approved to promote products). If you don’t understand this process, again you’ll need to start from scratch.

3) Certain legit niche sites that get sold may cost you upwards of $10,000 or more. These also require basic maintenance.

4) There exist certain scam programs which duplicate “ready made” niche affiliate sites, sell them for $1,000’s and give you a duplicate page making you think that it will be profitable. Well if you know anything about duplicate content, you’ll know such sites will never get ranked on Google or get you organic traffic.

Total number of risks: 13 (for these 2 examples alone that is).

Conclusions: Done for you affiliate marketing systems are rarely as easy as they sound.

Whether it be done for you funnels or done for you niche sites, the fact is that without clear experience in how to operate such things, let alone market them, you are wasting your money on such things.

Related: See this post on premade affiliate sites.

In the end, the allure of “done for you” and imagining how simple it is if you just buy a ready made business for you is what gets people into trouble, and there are many predatory people and programs neglecting to tell you the truly serious risks involved with this, only because they are just trying to make money off you.

Having spent a lot of time in the affiliate marketing world, and spoken to many people who have fallen for these types of scams, I have seen this cycle play out the exact same way, every single time.

In rare instances will you ever be able to buy a done for you affiliate system, and succeed with it, and it will only come if the site comes with training on marketing it or you buy it with existing knowledge on such a subject. But to come in completely fresh and expect to succeed in a business that requires basic marketing and affiliate skills is what will land you into serious trouble.

A better option exists: Make your own done for you affiliate system from scratch.

A lot of people who like the sound and idea of done for you systems are often manipulated into thinking that the basic way of starting from scratch is too difficult, unnecessary and too hard to succeed with.

Well that’s sort of true, if of course you have no help, no guidance and no proper direction on what to do. Fortunately, since you’re reading this article, one of the best suggestions I have for beginners to affiliate marketing is to begin with Wealthy Affiliate, which happens to help you make niche websites from scratch.

It is much better to build such a business from nothing and gain that essential experience of the process because it will propel you forward and give you the experience or building, marketing and creating a real online income from scratch.

With that experience, I can almost guarantee you that once you have it, you will look at done for you affiliate systems the way I do now and avoid them in the future.

28 thoughts on “13 Risks of Using Done For You Affiliate Marketing Systems”

  1. I have looked at a few systems which were as you call them “done for you.” A premade website and promotional material really limited the direction in which I could go with the my niche.  

    When I had difficulties other than with my account, it was hard to get help. So although I was in a done for me program, I felt alone. Affiliate marketing is great because there is no inventory, accepting of payment, returns or complaints. 

    I agree with you that starting an affiliate marketing business as I want to is very important. I wish I had seen your article years ago before I experimented to find the training program I used to build my system. I hope this article saves a lot of people both money and headaches.  

    • Thank you for sharing this. The part about you feeling limited and then having lack of support speaks volumes because this happens so commonly with the many done for you scams you see these days. They sell you the world on the front end, but the result is usually this unfortunately. I am however glad to hear you are doing better now!

  2. I have explored so-called done for you systems and found out much of what you shared here. There is one aspect of most done-for-you programs that baffles me. Nearly all of them also have extensive training programs that you are encouraged to follow. This to me blows credibility. If it is truly done for you, why do you need to learn anything? 

    I also found out that even though what you bought into is a done-for-you system, they need you to pay for tools as you mentioned as well as pay for leads. Very soon this can become a rabbit hole that sucks money out of you. The deeper you get into this hole, the more vested you are. And if you stop, you will lose all the money you have already invested. As a matter of fact, the chances are you already have lost your investment. 

    In my opinion, I feel even though these programs are not illegal, they are highly unethical. I agree with you that if you want to be successful in affiliate marketing, why not do it yourself? There are great ways to learn that will cost much less than these done for you programs. 



    • Hi Edwin. Most done for you systems are really not what we imagine and end up being bait and switch scams to further get money to the product owner. In rare cases, a good done for you system is still not 100% done for you because again, you need experience to run the business when the reigns are handed to you. But if you don’t have that 1%, you can hire experts to outsource this too, but this again ends up being a lot of extra money spent. And yeah, it’s best to learn this yourself and then avoid these headaches!

  3. Your right about most of these programs and some of them keep telling you to upgrade but don’t tell you anything different. Their training is below standard for the cost. Your better off learning to build your website, focus on one niche, and driving traffic to it. That’s what I like about Wealthy Affiliate. Best of luck.

    • Well Wealthy Affiliate teaches these core fundamentals but much more Terry. I included a link so people can see the major value this program provides (and it’s just a small part of the real value).

  4. I have personally embarked on the journey of exploring these “done for you systems” and found that I never learned how to make money online from them. I always listened to my “gut feeling” of “too good to be true”. A lot of these guys who overhype or scam use the same common language of not having to have a website, or not having to do anything and make $500 a day within a week! It’s pretty nuts. It should be common knowledge that it takes a lot of hard work to make real money online!

    • Well a lot of the scam type of done for you programs sell their pitch as though you don’t need to do anything, but there’s always X factors in online business that REQUIRE knowledge of how to handle those factors and if you don’t possess them, even the “top” done for you business models can turn into a disaster for you.

  5. You always address the best topics, that is why I like reading your articles, I learn so much from them. I agree when you say it is wiser to build up an affiliate marketing system from scratch. I have tried a few affiliate marketing sites and have always been disappointed and lost money in the long run. 

    When I read about the high ticket affiliate marketing done for you systems, I have to say it sounds shady and I have heard that before. 

    Usually, they sell a product for around $100 – $150 dollars and tell you it is a one off payment and when you pay they want you to buy another product for 4 times as much. 

    I myself have lost money that way. They also promise you a refund but when you ask for a refund is hard to get your money back. 

    Thanks for a very informative article


    • No problem Elke! Sorry to hear about your bad experiences, but the key is to learn from this and build up your affiliate business the more stable way (learning it yourself from a good system). This is how I did it.

  6. Het Vitaliy,

    I can definitely relate A LOT to this post. I started working online in 2016, and I’ve come across many of these done 4 you affiliate marketing systems. One in particular, I’ve personally spent on a high ticket course over $30K. 

    It turned out to be a pyramid scheme and lost a lot of money in the process, so I appreciate you for bringing awareness to this topic, espcially for newbies getting into the space!

    • I’m very sorry about that experience Lorenz and unfortunately I see this a lot nowadays. I hope you were able to get some if not all of your money back and can identify these organizations to the right authorities to handle it.

  7. Informative article Vitaliy, I fully agree.

    I myself have an experience with exploring through these “done for you systems”, thinking maybe I’d learn how to make money online. But I have always turned away because I always listened to that gut feeling of “too good to be true”.

    A lot of these guys who overhype or scam use the same common language of not having to have a website, or not having to do anything and make $500 a day within a week! It’s pretty nuts. It should be common knowledge that it takes a lot of hard work to make real money online!

    • Well people love shortcuts and in anything new that delivers a better quality life (wealth, health, love), people are willing to look for those lottery tickets, cheats and shortcuts to get there. 

      There isn’t much education in done for you systems on doing it yourself, hence the whole idea of everything being done for you, and in 99% of cases, it’s a mistake to get involved with such systems in my opinion.

  8. Hello. It’s a good that this topic is being covered. Since you’re an affiliate veteran, it greatly adds to the insight. 

    I’ve always thought that anything that says or promises to have something “Done For You” sounds too good to be true. I wouldn’t know exactly what took place in a “Done For You” system process. I would want to see everything step by step and how everything is being done. 

    I would rather do the work myself and reach out for help as well as ask questions if I ever feel the need to. I’m sure it’s not easy to tell the legit affiliate sites and scam sites apart. It can often take doing research as well as trial and error in other cases. Thank you for this valuable information. Anyone who looks to be in affiliate marketing for the long game, this is a learning lesson.  

  9. Hi Vitaly. I agree with you. Done for you affiliate marketing systems are the worst to say the least. For someone who wants to establish a long lasting affiliate marketing business that will pay off for your years to come, I would recommend going the long route of learning how to do affiliate marketing with websites. Laying brick by brick yourself is a much better way to go than paying someone you don’t even know that well to do it for you. I’ve learned this through my bad experiences and getting continuously burned for it.

    • Totally agree Dave. A lot of people who lack experience (and money in many cases) get involved with done for you systems, often shady ones and sadly this is a tough lesson many do not learn from. Appreciate you sharing your experiences with this topic!

  10. Hi there, I only once made the mistake of buying a done-for-you product, which didn’t deliver what I was expecting. But thankfully it only cost me $13, as I ignored the hundreds of dollars that could have been spent on upsells. And it turned out that the only way one could really make money with the program, was to buy solo ads. Something that is often not really mentioned as an additional expense.

    To build a niche website and be in control of your own website, is the way that I would also recommend doing affiliate marketing. That way you can build a digital business that can make you passive income for years to come. 

    • Hi Line, I’ve purchased similar “done for you” programs for cheap before myself and they too pitched solo ads as the fastest way to make money (of course there were massive upsells too). Speaking from experience, there’s a good chance you would have made $0 from the solo ads because generally speaking, they are not reliable sources for traffic in general, so losing $13 for the product you purchased might be a blessing in this case.

  11. I totally agree. Nothing beats building your own niche website, as more and more readers are able drawn to sites that are unique. Most of those done-for-you websites are just copies/clones and don’t have original content or ideas to share. I also wanted to say that I love your logo and how you are most interested in helping others succeed! 

  12. What I found out about these programs that want you to pay so much money upfront is how they came to you with hype but offer low quality. In other words they over promise and charge and under deliver. So many persons have fallen into this trap but thanks to reviews like yours you are sounding the alarm or raise a red flag warning people to watch out for these types of programs.

    • Thanks Norman. Yeah pyramid schemes typically cannot offer anything close to real value compared to the prices they try to get people involved in. his is most common with high ticket pyramid schemes.

  13. Hi. I have read a great deal about DFY systems in affiliate marketing and it does sound as if they are almost bound to be dubious or just downright scams. 

    You have done a great job of highlighting many of the risks and dangers. But even when you do find a system that sounds as if it might work and actually has something unique of some value to offer, the conclusion is often that this would only work for people with experience in affiliate marketing. 

    That begs an obvious question – why would anyone with experience want to sign up for a DFY affiliate marketing system? Basically, it doesn’t make sense. So these kinds of systems can only be targeted at inexperienced newbies.

    I do think there is another risk with DFY systems: If they are providing you with DFY content, then presumably all their other clients are getting this same content. Even if you customize the content to some extent there will still be common elements and aspects that are just going to look the same. 

    So your site is going to end up looking like a clone. That doesn’t sound like a recipe for success to me!

    Thanks for a great article

    Cheers, Andy

    • Great points across the board Andy and I couldn’t agree more. But let me add some follow ups based on what you said:

      1) The point about experienced affiliates not needing or making uses of DFY systems is spot on. A good affiliate can come up with their own landing page, run ads to it and get an online sales funnel going pretty quickly.

      And someone looking to start a blog is likely better off starting a brand new one, or if they actually have the money to buy an existing blog that they know isn’t filled with duplicate content and is already succeeding to buy that, but those can cost you a lot of money. People who successfully sell their sites in this realm are making $20,000-$100,000s of the website sale, so honestly, buying that might be too much of an investment.

      2) Another great point I agree with you on is the one about duplicate content being used across sites given out by the DFY system. In order to spot this, you have to actually do some digging to determine this.

      A lot of programs and self promotional affiliate opportunities give people duplicate pages and saying this is their “official store page”, and the affiliate will literally think this is the only page that exists, when in fact, countless others have the same thing. 

      They won’t be able to rank such a site and will only be able to run paid ads to it (which is how a lot of these opportunities can ever monetize anyway). But that requires way more money on top of the purchased DFY system which is a huge mistake to buy in my personal opinion (in this context).

  14. This is a perfect topic.

    You highlight topics that no one else talks about but you, so I am always keen to visit this great site.

    AlphaInvestors provide such services, but they also provide continuous site management, writing, and backlink building services. In fact, I like their service, but it is not cheap.

    What is your opinion on such services if they offer continuous management?

    Thanks, Vitaliy

    • I’ve never heard of this type of service, but it’s a two way thing meaning that once you get a done for you site, you’ll likely need stuff to keep running it so it makes sense for such a service to exist. The problem I find is that when a person has no clue how to operate a done for you site, they may end up overspending money on many different services they would otherwise never need, when just learning the business could be all it takes (and of course neither option guarantees success, but one will save you more money).


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