AWOL Academy Review
If you want to be successful with online business, it's absolutely necessary for you to have effective and profitable marketing. Effective marketing is so necessary that entrepreneurs are willing to pay substantial money to learn how to market effectively.
It's also no secret that marketing training can be somewhat expensive. It might sound unfair, but it makes sense that premium, high-quality marketing training requires a significant investment. It's the one skill that will determine whether you thrive, or fail with your entrepreneur projects.
However, does an expensive course guarantee that you are getting the best training available? Moreover, is it possible that courses for marketing training are overpriced, charging you thousands of dollars for remedial information?
Today, we're going to go over Keala Kanae's AWOL Academy, a series of online marketing courses that claim to provide you with effective and profitable marketing instruction. Normally, we would look at the features of this course extensively, discussing pros and cons.
However, the direction is going to be different today. Instead, we're going to use AWOL as an example of untrustworthy marketing. We're doing this because, as unfortunate as it seems, marketing coaches are still using misleading ruses to get people to buy their courses.
A Little About Me
Before we get into AWOL, I want to start by giving you a little information about me. I think it will help you understand my analysis of the program a bit more, and why I evaluate AWOL the way I do.
My name's Paul. I'm a 31-year-old entrepreneur who specializes in freelance writing. Since I was 13, I was always fascinated with the potential of internet marketing. This was a time before FaceBook, YouTube or even Google, and yet entrepreneurs were still frantic to exploit the marketing potential of the internet.
Now I'm just a normal person. I'm not a marketing guru, and despite my current success, I wouldn't even consider myself a "master" of any craft. However, with over 18 years of experience with various internet businesses, I do consider myself an expert with false promises and expectations.
If you think modern-day, internet marketing is sleazy, then you should've seen it back in the early 2000s. You see, in the modern times, social media platforms and advances in informational technology give entrepreneurs a lot of versatile options to be effective with marketing.
However, prior to the big boom of social media and streaming services like YouTube, internet marketing tools were far more limited. Not only were the overall tools limited, but these limited tools often required substantial investment.
Since the tools and techniques were more limited, entrepreneurs in those pre-social media days were even more desperate to find the secret "keys" to marketing success. What's worse, this desperation left entrepreneurs vulnerable to hyped, overpriced and ineffective training courses.
My older brother fell prey to a number of these hype deals, and eventually he and I both gave up on internet marketing until 2013. I was shocked to see that the newer age of Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube and other social media platforms offered people more opportunity than ever to be successful, independent entrepreneurs.
Yet, what shocked me even more was seeing that many of the old, misleading tactics that were used in the early internet days were still being used now. I will tell you this: it's actually gotten a lot better. However, better doesn't necessarily mean good.
My Introduction to AWOL
The innovations in technology have allowed entrepreneurs the ability to reach more people than ever with heightened efficiency. You can stream commercials through YouTube that allow people to sign up for webinars, which you can use to show prospective customers the service you are offering.
This type of commercial actually popped up on a YouTube video I was watching, where an individual named Keala Kanae was presenting an exciting, world-class training course that would change the financial future of anyone who used the course.
By this time, I had learned to have an investigative skepticism whenever I heard about online marketing courses. However, the commercial advertisement had a link embedded into it for a free live webinar where Keala would "teach" you what he was doing.
The Webinar Wasn't Really Live
What I'm about to share with you is my experience with this "live" webinar. I say this because, from the very beginning, I wasn't very hopeful that the webinar was actually live. Fact is, when I signed up for the webinar, it was set to start only 15 minutes after I signed up.
I thought this was kind of strange, because every webinar I had ever been to gave at least 24 hours for an individual to schedule their attendance. However, when I attended the webinar, it quickly began to show itself as an elaborate, marketing hoax.
I do not like calling things fake or scams because I feel that, in most cases, the accusation is misused. However, when I attended the webinar, I was more than 8 minutes early. Usually, live webinars start about 5 minutes later than the scheduled time. This is done to ensure that everyone who signed up got there before things got started.
To my surprise, I "somehow" managed to arrive at the very "beginning" of the "live" presentation. The webinar had a chat box where people who were in attendance could ask questions and post comments as the webinar moved along.
I had been to webinars like this before, and you could usually see the other members who were in attendance. However, Kanae made sure to state that I "Wouldn't be able to see other members' comments." It was supposedly to help me have a cleaner, chatting experience.
The webinar itself did very little "teaching". Instead, it was a very long and drawn-out advertising pitch for AWOL Academy. This was expected by me, and I wasn't too mad because, if the course was legit, I could appreciate using certain extravagant means to convince people to use it.
However, a surprise accident actually revealed that this live webinar was, in fact, pre-recorded. My computer loved to crash on me when I had too many videos on my Google browser, and it crashed during the webinar.
When I rebooted my computer, I tried to catch the last bits of the webinar, or to at least continue where I left off. Yet, when I got back on the webinar, the video feed was right back at the beginning of the webinar.
This does happen with live streams from time to time. You can get back into it, but it will start you from the beginning of the live stream. I knew it wasn't a new stream, because he looked exactly the same and repeated the exact same words as he did at the actual "beginning" of the stream.
Yet, more and more indicators revealed the true nature of the webinar. First, I have video-recording apps attached to my Chrome browser. They only light up if a video is recordable, and will never light up on a live video. So you can imagine how humorous it was when not one, but all my video-recording apps lit up.
I recorded the video, and figured that it might still be live. However, when I loaded the video, the total time for the recorded video was nearly two hours. When I saw this, I knew for sure that the video was pre-recorded.
How, you might ask? It's very simple: including the time it took to reboot my computer, I had spent less than 75 minutes watching the webinar. As such the webinar, at very best, should've been 80 minutes of recorded video.
Yet, the video I recorded was a full 2 hours, over 40 minutes more than total time the webinar was airing. Now, I was even willing to admit that, perhaps for some strange reason, that I was screwing up with time.
However, I saw the exact same ad for a "live" webinar again, and I figured I'd sign up to confirm whether it was a fake. Do you want to guess what I found? The exact same 15-minute time frame from signing up to attending the webinar. The exact same video, with the exact same lines. He repeated the same "names" of the webinar "attendees".
And the time frame for the video, which I recorded again, was the exact same 2 hours. Fact is, there was nothing "live" about the webinar at all.
Untrustworthy Marketing = No Trust
When I saw this ridiculous marketing scheme with Keala's course, I would quickly discover that this faux-live-webinar tactic was being repeatedly used by nearly every marketing coach that was advertising on YouTube's commercial platform.
I'll be fair here: the videos work. They draw people in, and they do demonstrate that these coaches at least know how to market online. So I can't claim that they don't know what they are doing.
However, when you blatantly lie about an educational event you created, that does not communicate trust. There is honestly no reason to lie about a live webinar that, as you can see here, can easily be revealed as pre-recorded.
The average online entrepreneur is far more practical than the ones in the earlier internet years. If you're here, you probably expect to make a significant monetary investment in your training.
You're already used to being informed through pre-recorded mediums like YouTube. You probably don't expect a successful businessman to be available at all times to record free, live webinars.
Yet, coaches like Keala are blatantly lying about these lives webinars. Heck, if they lied, and at least provided good content that you can use, then it might be worth it. But the webinar only informed about the course, and only a sensationalized overview of the course at that.
To add injury to insult, the courses that AWOL provides are quite expensive. There are 6 courses in all, but 3 of them are well over $1,000. Again, I do not blame coaches for charging high amounts of money for training. But when you start the relationship with your students based on lies, then it really sends yet another signal to walk away.
I cannot recommend a coach or a course from a coach that blatantly lies about the services they provide. Moreover, if their courses are teaching you tactics like this, where you are blatantly lying to your customers, the people you are supposed provide honest service to, then I cannot responsibly recommend such products.
Fact is, there are many other courses out there, and they don't cost nearly as much as AWOL. AWOL does have cheaper, introductory courses, but the more advanced courses are all over $1,000. If you're going to pay that amount of money, then the creator should at least be trustworthy.
But there are courses, some as low as $10 like the ones Udemy provides, where the teachers are trustworthy. If you take ones of those courses, they can at least give you enough knowledge so that you can educate yourself more appropriately with videos on YouTube.
All in all, Kanae's misleading and deceptive presentation of AWOL leads me to one conclusion: don't bother. You don't have to be a "sleazy" salesman to be financially successful, and I don't want to lead you to a course that teaches you to be one.