People keep coming to me and asking me, "is Clickfunnels a pyramid scheme or a scam?"

It's so common in fact, I've decided to write up this article on the company, their founder (Russell Brunson), common complaints about the company, and whether or not it qualifies as a "Pyramid Scheme".

First of all, what is Clickfunnels - is it a real product?

Clickfunnels is a SaaS product developed by Russell Brunson, one of the most prolific internet marketers of the last ten years. He's written numerous books including DotComSecrets and ExpertSecrets and is mostly known for his roll as the founder of Clickfunnels. 

Clickfunnels let's small businesses, entrepreneurs, marketers, bloggers, and digital course creators quickly build and launch high converting "sales funnels".

The product includes a landing page builder and editor with free and paid templates, funnel builder, funnel analytics, built in email autoresponder (Actionetics), affiliate tracking software (Backpack), and much more.

Anyone can use the product to drive more email opt-ins, get sales online, build membership courses, and a lot more since it integrates with tons of marketing apps.

Clickfunnels is definitely a very real and working product - I myself use Clickfunnels in multiple businesss - and it's helping over 90,000 customers around the world create high-converting marketing funnels

If you're new to Clickfunnels, see all of our Clickfunnels resources here and start a 2 week free trial here.

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So what is a Pyramid Scheme and does Clickfunnels qualify?

Wikipedia defines a pyramid scheme as... 

A pyramid scheme (commonly known as pyramid scams) is a business model that recruits members via a promise of payments or services for enrolling others into the scheme, rather than supplying investments or sale of products or services. As recruiting multiplies, recruiting becomes quickly impossible, and most members are unable to profit; as such, pyramid schemes are unsustainable and often illegal
In a pyramid scheme, an organization compels individuals who wish to join to make a payment. In exchange, the organization promises its new members a share of the money taken from every additional member that they recruit. The directors of the organization (those at the top of the pyramid) also receive a share of these payments. For the directors, the scheme is potentially lucrative—whether or not they do any work, the organization's membership has a strong incentive to continue recruiting and funneling money to the top of the pyramid. - Source: Wikipedia

Why do so many people think Clickfunnels is a pyramid scheme?

Clickfunnels drives growth primarily through it's Affiliate Marketing Program, of which I myself am a member.

When affiliates send a visitor to Clickfunnels via their affiliate link and that person purchases the product, the affiliate gets a commission (usually a very generous recurring 30% in the case of Clickfunnels). 

Because of that an army of affiliates have emerged just promoting the software. Many don't even use the product, they simply grab their links and start spamming them around the web.

There's plenty of ethical affiliates out there and plenty of shady affiliates which leads to a lot of confusion about products, even great products that provide real value. I strive to be a white hat affiliate marketer, it's why I add affiliate disclosures on every page and why I'm transparent about my financial relationships with companies I promote, you can read that disclosure right here

Many people conflate affiliate marketing with pyramid schemes because other people are often the person primarily pushing the product and introducing it to you other than the principals behind the business.

You often see a lot of "get rich quick" nonsense with shady affiliates, but the truth is affiliate marketing is a legal and viable business model, whereas a pyramid scheme is a form of financial fraud related to a ponzi scheme. 

Check out this post from Reddit user TomRiddleVoldemort (love the name, by the way dude): 

is clickfunnels a pyramid scam

This kind of reaction is pretty common. People have their guard up when it comes to online products and have learned to spot promotional tactics that aren't transparent and trustworthy.

Sadly a lot of bad affiliates have given a bad name to those of us trying to honestly promote products that really work.

Side note: if you're interested in joining the Clickfunnels affiliate program, I suggest starting with their free Affiliate Boot Camp.

How is The Clickfunnels Affiliate Marketing Program Different From a Pyramid Scheme?

The first thing to know is that Clickfunnels has a limited 2 tier system to the affiliate program meaning the original affiliate earns a commission from a buyer and if that buyer becomes an affiliate and refers another sale, the original affiliate also earns a lesser commission on this new sale. 

Because there's only two tiers, Clickfunnels doesn't qualify as a pyramid scheme - new buyers of the product do not dilute affiliates sales, the commissions always stay the same and all affiliates have equal earning potential.

4 Reasons the Clickfunnels Affiliate Program is NOT a Pyramid Scheme

  1. You do NOT have to invest in anything or purchase anything to become a Clickfunnels affiliate and promote their software or other products.
  2. Limited tiers means all affiliate of Clickfunnels have equal earnings potential. Typically in pyramid schemes there are dozens (if not hundreds of tiers) and top tier members profit, while bottom tier members lose money.
  3. Clickfunnels is a real product that provides substantial value, and is not an investment in the way that securities or stocks are an investment. There are NO promises of financial returns with Clickfunnels, another hallmark of Pyramid schemes and Ponzi schemes.
  4. Clickfunnels affiliates make money by selling the product, not by recruiting new people into the scheme. There's a real product being sold, not just an effort to onboard new individuals.

Does Clickfunnels Really Work or is it Just a Bunch of Marketing Hype from Affiliates?

Yes, Clickfunnels absolutely is working for a LOT of people, that includes entrepreneurs, software businesses, bloggers, digital course providers, ecommerce businesses and a lot more. Last I checked there was 90,000 customers, that's a lot of customers and they can't be all wrong about the product.

Is there a lot of marketing hype, too? 

Yes, absolutely.

Because Clickfunnels relies on the affiliate model to promote their business, there's a lot of bad quality promotions from a lot of shady affiliates out there. There's just no way for the Clickfunnels team to police all these affiliates, of which there are thousands.

But does the product actually live up to some of the hype?

I believe it does, but it comes with a big caveat: if you're completely new to internet marketing, paid traffic, email marketing, and building high-converting sales pages you're simply not going to get the same results as experienced marketers.

Clickfunnels enables great marketers to be better by giving them tools that solve common marketing pain points (like funnel-wide analytics and tracking), it does not help newbies get rich over night.

Be wary of affiliates that don't disclose their financial relationships or promise results that seem unrealistic. As an example my disclosure is clearly placed at the top of every page and in the footer.

Check out these testimonials from well known marketers all growing their business with Clickfunnels and getting great results: 

Do you have a Clickfunnels success story? I'd love to hear it in the comments.

Who is Russell Brunson?

Russell is a gifted marketer and former affiliate marketer turned product creator who is largely responsible for opening marketers eyes to the limitless potential of online sales funnels

The concept has been around forever, but Russell and team blew the idea up so huge that it's been one of the main marketing buzz words of the last few years, and Clickfunnels has been at the center of it and really capitalized on "Sales Funnel Fever".

Russell has been around for some time in the Internet Marketing World and has been at the front of several product launches, including supplement products, and comes from the direct marketer and sales copy style of marketing.

A lot of people sadly conflate this kind of marketing with Sleazy Selling and I tend to agree that a lot of it is really over the top, but honestly, it also gets results. 

Russell knows the power of selling with hardcore sales copy and is NOT afraid to use his knowledge to get the sale.

Because of that I believe his image suffers a bit compared to, say, a "Tech Startup Founder" coming out of some Silicon Valley Startup Incubator. These guys don't need to get dirty in the trenches and sell as hard because VCs are giving them millions to market their apps.

But is Russell Brunson a scammer? Absolutely not.

Side note: fascinatingly enough, Clickfunnels smashed all the records for startup growth without ever taking a dime from any VC... so while the sales tactics they use may put some off, there's zero doubt they get results and so does their product.

The other issue is that a lot of people have been taken in by some unscrupous affiliates, promised massive results, and failed to get those results, or even take any action at all. This has left disgruntled customers who then spread their discontent on forums and blog posts. They may very well have legitimate complaints, no judgement here, but with any fast growing company you're going to get happy and unhappy users, it's just the name of the game. 

Common Complaints about Clickfunnels

Common complaints about Clickfunnels seem to revolve around the scammy promotional tactics of certain affiliates.

"Is Clickfunnels a Scam?"

"Is it a pyramid scheme or some kind of ponzi scheme?" 

People also complain about the customer support and technical support which is limited. For such a fast growing company, they definitely can do a better job serving their customers. 

Many people also complain about the costs, but with a free 14 day trial you should have plenty of time to evaluate the product without financial risk, so I've never really understood this one. 

There have also been complaints about the Clickfunnels membership function breaking down, leaving users in the cold after signing up for courses. 

The truth is not everyone is going to be happy with this product, or any product for that matter, the best you can do is research the product fully before purchasing and making sure it's right for you.

A great place to start if you're in the "research phase" for a landing page and sales funnel system right now is our Clickfunnels resource page where you will find free beginner training courses, comparison posts, etc.

My Experience With Clickfunnels

I've been a Clickfunnels user for 3 years now and absolutely love the product and recommend it to anyone who's serious about growing their business, getting sales online, growing an email list of raving fans, and lowering their CPA (cost-per-acquisition). 

Is the product perfect? Hell no.

Does it have issues? Hell yes.

Am I 100% happy with the product. No, of course not.

I've got quite a few complaints with the product. I'll try to get to these in a large review-type post soon, but for now you can check out my comparison posts where I include pros and cons on each product:

I am happy with the product, so much so that I'm comfortable putting my name, face, and reputation on the line to promote it. I only recommend products to the public that I know and use myself and get enough value out of that I think others would benefit from it as well. 

Look, as with anything Clickfunnels is for some people but definitely not for everyone.

Clickfunnels is great for performance marketers, paid marketers, sales funnel architects, bloggers, and anyone who wants more conversions at a better price.

I've personally used Clickfunnels in several businesss to create high-converting lead magnets, high-ticket product funnels ($3,000+ monthly agency clients, for example), and highly optimized sales funnels in multiple verticals including finance, cleaning, B2B, real estate, and more.

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The Bottom Line: Clickfunnels is NOT a Scam or a Pyramid Scheme

Nope. Clickfunnels is not a pyramid scheme, and it is not a scam. 

There are some shady affiliates out there that promote the product as if it's the holy grail, but individual results vary, just like individual marketers experience and resources vary. 

Clickfunnels has definitely suffered in some cases because of this, and since they have a huge customer base, there's simply no way everyone using the product is going to have a great experience with it. The "vocal few" have every right to post their grievances with the company, but everyone should form their own opinions, do their own research, and choose the right product for them based on their goals, budget, and needs.

I believe the 14 day free trial is a great incentive to do just that. It should give you plenty of time to decide whether or not the product is for you and your business.

Another great way to build confidence in Russell Brunson and his products before buying is by reading his books first. DotCom Secrets and Expert Secrets are both amazing introductions into the mind of Russell, his expertise and motives, why he does what he does, and rare transparent glimpses into his style of marketing. Both books are free at the links above as long as you pay for shipping, and yes, they are both affiliate links 🙂

Looking forward to your feedback in the comments! 

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When you sign up with Clickfunnels via our affiliate link you get a 2 week risk-free trial plus all of our bonuses below. You can easily setup opt-in funnels, lead magnets, webinar funnels, sales pages and more within minutes.

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  • Total Value = $11,795

    Disclosure: I am an independent ClickFunnels Affiliate, not an employee. I receive referral payments from ClickFunnels. The opinions expressed here are my own and are not official statements of ClickFunnels or its parent company, Etison LLC. To receive your bonuses email me via my contact page and tell me which email you used to sign up for ClickFunnels.

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    About the author 

    Sam Rexford

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