May 11, 2020 - 06:52 PM
Amazon business courses are subject to the same rule that governs most “how to make money online” courses: many are scams, but some are legitimate learning opportunities.
Have all the people selling “Build a Profitable Business on Amazon” courses actually built a profitable business on Amazon? Absolutely not - there’s no entity to vet their claims before they start selling courses. You don’t have to accomplish something yourself in order to claim that you can teach someone else to do it.
However, some of them have done what they claim to be able to teach. The trick lies in learning how to tell which is which. Here are some ways to steer clear of scams.
Check for FTC Compliance
Companies that make certain claims are required to comply with the FTC’s Business Opportunity Rule.
One requirement of this rule is that, if a company claims you can make a certain amount of money after buying into their system (“Make up to $10,000 in your first month!”), it has to provide an earnings claim statement. That statement must offer proof that people can actually earn that amount using their methods. A second requirement is that the company has to offer a disclosure document about their business.
If a company is a scam, it probably won’t comply with this FTC rule. Before you buy a course that makes these promises, ask for their earnings claim statement and disclosure document. If the seller can’t provide that information immediately, it’s probably a scam.
Read the Fine Print
The FTC has left a loophole for scammers, though. If the seller of a course states that their method “doesn’t work for everyone,” they can avoid the FTC pressure to back up their claims. If you see some version of this statement in the fine print, it could mean lots of people have lost money trying the methods the course advocates.
Connect with Former Learners
If a course is legit, other people will have taken it before and succeeded. You can ask the seller to connect you with former students from the course.
Of course, this doesn’t guarantee that they won’t connect you with bogus “students” who they’ve paid for reviews (or with one of the sellers posing as a student). However, if they can connect you with several former students and don’t hesitate to do so, that may be a sign (though not a guarantee) that it’s a legit course.
If you do talk to former learners, ask for specifics, such as how much they were actually able to earn from their business and what it took to get there.
Read Online Reviews
Always do a quick Google search before you invest in a course. If lots of people have reviewed it negatively or called it a scam, that’s an obvious red flag. However, keep in mind that a lack of information may also be a bad sign, and positive reviews can be paid-for or fake, so they aren’t a sure sign of legitimacy.
Check the Language
Scams tend to over-promise, while genuine courses will be more realistic. Of course, any course will use language that tries to entice you to buy, but it’s worthwhile to look for too-good-to-be-true claims.
Scam courses often claim to offer a “proven system,” or guarantee fast profits with minimal work. Real courses will be realistic about the time and effort involved in building a profitable Amazon business, and the fact that not everyone who attempts it succeeds. Be wary of courses that make it sound easy.
Also, be wary of refund policies that suggest there’s no risk involved in buying a course. Scammers often claim they’ll refund your money with no intention of actually doing so.
Watch out for Pushy Freebies
Many scams rope you in with a free call or consultation. Legitimate courses may also try to hook you with a freebie, though. The difference is that the scammers will put pressure on you to buy their course right away during the conversation. A legitimate seller won’t try to convince you that you must buy now to avoid missing out.
Learn Amazon’s Terms of Service
Scammers often sell tips that actually violate Amazon’s terms of service and could get you banned from the site. Even legitimate courses may accidentally offer tips that violate those terms. Make sure to get familiar with the terms of service, and don’t spend money on any course that suggests you violate them.
Be Wary Even of Non-Scammers
Courses that aren’t aiming to scam you still may not provide the best information. Among sellers who genuinely want to help, there’s a large range in the quality of courses offered.
So, once you’ve determined a course isn’t a scam, keep thinking critically to determine if it’s really worth your money. Some courses offer very basic information that you can easily get for free elsewhere, for example.
Despite what many courses claim, there are no secrets to selling on Amazon. A good course will simply collate information that, while you could find it elsewhere, would be hard to find all in one place.
What’s the Best Amazon Course?
Even with careful research, sellers make it very hard to tell which courses are legit and which aren’t.
Because it’s so hard to tell the legitimacy of a course until you’ve taken it (or spoken at length with the sellers and former students), we can’t recommend one specific course as the “best.” However, let’s take a look at the courses you mentioned, plus one source for courses that might be worth your time and money.
Is Nine University legit? A quick glance at their website suggests that the answer may be no.
Many aspects of the site look promising, such as the detailed success stories on the homepage. However, at the bottom of the page, there’s a disclaimer that includes this text: “Honestly, if you are reading this disclaimer and wondering whether this is a ‘scam’ of some sort, you probably aren’t ready to be an entrepreneur.” A legitimate company isn’t likely to be so dismissive of skeptics - it would offer proof of legitimacy instead.
The site also makes it difficult to tell how much this course costs, but it appears to be $1,997. That’s a very high price tag for learning how to profit on Amazon: something that many people have taught themselves. Even if Nine University isn’t a scam, it’s likely not worth that price.
Interestingly, Jungle Scout isn’t actually a course. Instead, it’s a subscription-based site that helps with Amazon product research. You may ultimately decide you don’t need it, but it’s probably not a scam - you can try it (for $49/month, not a huge investment) and then cancel your subscription if it doesn’t work for you.
Ecommerce Empire Builders
As with Nine University, it’s hard to say for certain whether or not Ecommerce Empire Builders is a scam. However, the claims on its site certainly sound too good to be true.
For example, the homepage promises a “Free $3,500/Wk Sales Funnel Template” if you watch the free training. That’s a high claim, and it’s very unlikely that everyone who uses the template will actually see sales like that.
This site also makes it hard to see the cost, but other sources suggest that you’d pay $997 for the course - another high price tag for information that can’t be guaranteed. Remember that even if you find a good course, there’s no guarantee that your Amazon store will be a success, since the eCommerce world is very competitive and changes fast.
If you do want to take an Amazon business course, we suggest starting with those offered on Udemy, rather than the high-cost, big-name courses listed above.
Udemy is simply a site that aggregates courses on a variety of topics. There’s no promise that a course on the platform is valuable. But the good news is that you can find many low-cost Amazon FBA courses there, which often have many user reviews.
Take a few inexpensive Udemy courses to learn the basics, and you’ll probably find that the $1,000 and $2,000 courses look far less appealing.
Many Udemy courses also focus on specific aspects of selling on Amazon, rather than a one-size-fits-all “how to make a profit” approach. This lets you combine your own research with cheap Udemy courses to fill in your knowledge gaps - and if a course turns out to be not that great, at least you won’t have spent much on it.
It’s very easy for scammers to use marketing tactics to make their courses appear legitimate. Many high-profile Amazon course scams showed few or no warning signs to buyers until they had already spent thousands.
Glowing online reviews and mentions in high-profile online publications don’t guarantee a course is legit. It takes a lot of research to figure out which are scams and which aren’t, which is why we won’t make any certain claims about the courses mentioned here - but we will say that they look too good to be true.
If you can easily spare $1,000 or more and are dying to take a pricey course, that’s fine, but remember that there are far more scams than legitimate courses out there. Even the legitimate ones aren’t likely to teach you anything particularly revolutionary. And once you’ve spent money on a course, most sellers will use savvy marketing tactics to get you to keep spending. So, we recommend starting with inexpensive or free information instead. It may take a little longer, but the time spent could save you thousands of dollars.