Site Build It Scam:: A Closer Look At Those 100s of “Success Stories”

(This is a supplemental post to the main Site Build It Scam post.)

Site Build It claims that if you follow their program, you will see results.  You’ll end up not with just a website or a blog, but with a online business–a money-generating website.

In addition to their “star” customers, they also have a page that includes “a few hundred success stories”.  The call this list their “certified proof of success.”

On this list, there are 375 Site Build It websites (not counting the one that was allegedly built by Ken Evoy’s daughter all by herself when she was a young girl), and on the page SBI! says:

You won’t find another page like this. Compare it against the few sites on the “Success Stories” page of a standard Web host. TIP: Get the real story! When evaluating a “success story,” enter the domain name into Alexa.com.

Well alrighty, Ken!  I did just that!  I took your “success stories” and entered the domain into Alexa.com.  The results?  Sad.  Keep reading…

Here’s a quote from the “Results” marketing page:

Here’s what you’ll find when you investigate most so-called “success stories”… low traffic! And those are the few “successes” that are being presented by others. You will certainly never encounter another listing of hundreds of sites, all proven to be in the Top 1% of all sites on the Web.

So is that true?  Are all of these “success stories”?  Well, not quite.  Here’s what I found:

  • Of the 365 “success story” websites listed, not one single Alexa rank was accurate. (Yes, I checked every single one of them.)
  • A handful of the websites (maybe 15 of the 365) had actual Alexa ranks that were lower than the ones shown on the Site Sell marketing page (remember, the lower the better), but the overwhelming majority had actual Alexa ranks that were drastically higher than the ones shown on the Site Sell marketing page.
  • The average Alexa rank of the 375 “success story” sites listed on the “Proof” marketing page was…

690,529

That’s life-changing online success?  You’ve got to be joking!!
(Click here if you need help understanding how Alexa rank translates to dollars and cents.)

Here’s a small sampling of the discrepancies:

Actual Alexa ranks of a sampling of sites listed in the 300,000’s on the Site Sell “results” marketing page:

  • 800,698
  • 956,013
  • 1,034,941

Actual Alexa ranks of a sampling of sites listed in the 400,000’s on the Site Sell “results” marketing page:

  • 1,082,535
  • 1,186,409
  • 1,251,837
  • 1,316,255
  • 1,480,929
  • 2,535,139 <– !!!
  • 3,626,958 <– !!!

Actual Alexa ranks of a sampling of sites listed in the 500,000’s on the Site Sell “results” marketing page:

  • 1,003,770
  • 1,113,833
  • 1,206,740
  • 1,263,965
  • 1,348,017
  • 1,501,703
  • 1,831,137
  • 1,893,370
  • 3,166,075 <– !!!

Actual Alexa ranks of a sampling of sites listed in the 600,000’s on the Site Sell “results” marketing page:

  • 1,129,815
  • 1,228,452
  • 1,251,811
  • 1,276,591
  • 1,350,070
  • 1,358,905
  • 1,429,216
  • 1,610,208
  • 1,624,376
  • 1,865,087

I could go on and on, but there’s really no need.  Again, not one single Alexa rank displayed on the “Results” marketing page was accurate.

On the SiteSell Facebook page, I had made a comment about Site Sell’s pathetic response to their customers whose sites were devastated by Google’s new Panda algorithm.  Ken left a very lengthy response, and in his comment, he said this to me:

I am happy to debate. But I can’t tolerate lies.

My response, which has since been deleted, said something like, “You can’t tolerate lies?  That’s interesting after I’ve spent the last couple of days looking at your marketing pages.”

My comment was deleted, and one of the admins on the Facebook page left this comment:

Kristi posted a reply despite Ken’s post that she was no longer welcome. It has been deleted and she has been banned. The one thing that Ken will not tolerate is outright dishonesty. He took that final statement, clearly not true, very personally, like he does the future of all SBI! owners.

It’s a shame that friendly debate and repartee had to come to this. Intelligent, honest people can agree to disagree. WordPress fans can make their points and SBI! fans and SiteSell can reply with their viewpoints. We all make our cases and then the careful reader can decide for themselves. But outright lies? No.

With regrets,
Margit & Team

Really?  The one thing Ken will not tolerate is outright dishonesty?

What do you call a person who uses misleading and outright incorrect information to make his product look far better than it actually is in an effort to get you to open up your wallet and hand over your hard earned cash to him because he’s promised you online success (which the numbers show he clearly can’t deliver)?

“Liar” barely scratches the surface.


 

UPDATE:

On May 1, 2012, Margit (SBI Facebook admin) posted this excuse regarding all of the discrepancies on this “Success Stories” marketing page:

Results.sitesell.com has a bug. It is supposed to be fixed soon. Normally, that page updates daily so that the buttons and ranks are in sync.

By the way, the sites appearing on this page were last chosen 4 or so years ago. The number of sites and blogs on the web (with domains) have DOUBLED since then to 200 million, according Netcraft.

So, in fact, those sites are now in the top “1/2 %” and not the top 1% of all sites online. We have not updated that either.

After the bug is fixed, we will be making a change to account for that, as well. Thank you for reminding us to both fix and update this page.

We’ll also be sampling another large group of sites for results.sitesell.com, since many TIMES more sites than this have joined the top 1/2 % since that page was published.

Thank you again for the reminder to take care of our marketing. The page will, fairly, be more impressive. Also, this shows how there are 2 sides to every story.

-Margit

So, does that make everything better?

NOT…EVEN…HARDLY.

First of all, let me point out that whether or not your website is in the top 1% of one million websites, or the top 1/2% of two million websites, or the top 0.000001% of a billion websites is…

…COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY IRRELEVANT…

…if that website isn’t making you any money.

What SBI! has promised their customers is a life-changing, money-making website, but they simply aren’t delivering!

And frankly what does it say about the product and the promises made in the marketing material when all but about 15 of the 375 SBI “success story” websites have increased in Alexa rank (meaning a drop on traffic), and the majority of them have had a significant increase in Alexa rank, with some of them increasing by well over 1,000,000?!

If 96% of their “success story” websites are losing significant traffic, and a large portion of them are drastically losing traffic, that means THE PRODUCT IS BROKEN!!.

It definitely doesn’t speak well for SBI’s “proprietary technology”, does it?

So yes, Margit, you’re right. There are two sides of the story.

  • Side 1: Your company lied in its marketing material, or
  • Side 2: Your product is BROKEN.

So which side of the story do you choose, Margit? Does it really matter? Both make SiteSell and your product look pretty darn bad.


Click on the links below to read more about the claims made by Site Build It on their Site Sell marketing pages:

20 Comments

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Site Build It Scam? A Site Build It Review From A Former Customer
    April 30, 2012 at 9:19 am

    […] A realistic look at those “100′s of successful Site Build It websites”.  It’s not pretty. […]

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Site Build It Scam? A Site Build It Review From A Former Customer
    April 30, 2012 at 9:19 am

    […] A realistic look at those “100′s of successful Site Build It websites”.  It’s not pretty. […]

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    CY Wong
    February 21, 2013 at 3:05 am

    Hi Kristi,

    I consider myself relatively new to internet marketing and am not bias either FOR or AGAINST SBI. I am just looking for the most suitable and sustainable way to try making an online business and would appreciate your comments.

    I have joined SBI in 2011 for a few months and then stopped (meaning, I cancelled my account) for over a year due to my hectic schedule not enabling me to continue. I did not realise there has much much debate about SBI scam on the net cos I stayed away for awhile. Recently, I took up their offer of Buy 1 Free 1 and have re-started again. And this past 2 days, I have been reading all the anti-SBI reviews (and all the comments by former SBiers) and am naturally concerned.

    I’d like to share my thoughts as well as ask some questions (I hope you don’t mind as I am a real non-techie person) :

    1. I think SBI is good for those who do not know anything about making money online and do not have a clue how to begin! I remember, a few years ago, having spent money to buy ebooks and softwares and not knowing what to do with them before I came upon SBI. So, having a programme that actually does everything from educating you to guiding you to providing all tools under one roof is so very much welcomed!

    2. Going through the AG, I realise that using SBI does not guarantee success. I think it is made pretty clear you DO need brains, you DO need motivation, you Do need to connect with visitors to your site. I guess many do not make it in SBI due to a lack in some areas. Not everyone is cut out for SBI. I have visited some rather boring SBI sites. However, the AG does stress many times we need to connect and provide valuable content to the visitors. I think many do not make it due to a lack of good writing skills as well as a lack of personality (as well as the time needed – yeah, SBI is hard work! But surely whatever platform we use, if we want to succeed, would require hard work).

    3. The main problem, as I perceive it, is the problem of Panda and Penguin (did not even know what these are before reading your post -thank you!). This, I think should be my BIGGEST concern. Since I have not started to actually build a site, still at Day 3 and 4, I want to consider my best options.

    4. I have a little experience with websites as I have build a few simple ones using webeden and pays them 8.99 pounds a month to host 5 websites and use their website building tools which do not require html etc. The one thing I found difficult about SBI is their website making tools were clumsy (don’t know how is their BB2 now).

    5. I think if I do not use SBI, I need a lot of aid. What do you think is my best bet? I tried using wordpress before (I joined the wordpress blog free site and tried my hands at their software but found it difficult, that was a few years ago. I mean, I did not even know how to change their font!) If there is a workable option for me, I certainly would like to consider as I do not want to go through the tedious ways of SBI and found that it is a waste of precious time and money. Also, SBI actually guide you through all the marketing steps and traffic optimisation, submitting to search engines etc etc. Where can I get such resources?

    6. I know that going with SBI will require a lot of work. Going on my own may be worse! I may end up spending more money and heading nowhere, getting stuck over technical problems and not knowing where to look for solutions. What would you recommend?

    Thanks for reading, you know, as I read some posts and comments from ex-SBIers, can’t help but feel that the spirit of sharing of info is still very much alive outside of SBI forum!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Cherry
      May 5, 2013 at 2:43 pm

      Was there a reply to this comment as I would love to read it if so. I am also using SBI right now.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Juanita
    June 7, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Sounds like a case of sour grapes. Of course the sales page isn’t going to have up-to-date stats on something as ever-changing as traffic ratings. And, I have yet to see your ‘proof’ that SBI members aren’t making any money. Do you have some secret access to their bank accounts and they just don’t know it yet?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Michael Scott
    July 21, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Hi, Kristi.

    I VERY much appreciate all the hard work you’ve done, as well as the research and revelations you’ve posted about SBI; I, too, am a past user (I subscribed for two years but never got my site launched) and my only experience was prior to the Panda/Penguin fiasco.

    Before stumbling onto your site, I recently began to do some of my OWN research with plans of resubscribing. I started my groundwork by contacting some of SBI’s informal “spokespeople”…specifically owners featured on the page http://ilovesbi.sitesell.com/, “SBI! Owners Explain in Their Own Videos How It Changed Their Lives…”. Oddly, several of them openly admitted that they don’t really have much to do with SBI anymore…now that they “know what they’re doing”.

    This indicator alone has me resolved to at least find and/or explore a “next best alternative” to what has long been considered (at least by Evoy) as the gold standard. Any and all of your help in deciding what other options I might consider is most appreciated.

    Michael

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Will
    April 14, 2014 at 12:34 am

    I believe you have made a mistake in your analysis. Only some kinds of earnings correlate loosely with Alexa rankings. An example would be Adsense.

    However many other kinds of earnings don’t. For example selling products with high margins require less traffic to make more money especially if that traffic is targeted. Also a website driving customers to an off-line business can be making a lot of money even with an Alexa ranking in the low millions. Some examples would be a car dealership or real estate company.

    Consequently your conclusion that there is a direct relationship between Alexa rankings and earnings is false.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Tavi
      April 12, 2018 at 9:46 am

      Her “conclusions” are usually drawn in a manner that fits her agenda. Her agenda being: “SBI is a scam”.

      And she keeps going on this note, even though there are quite a few people on this site already, asking the question: “I am an ex-SBI-er and I’ve never did anything about my site? Is it SBI’s fault, for my failure?”

      In the end, SBI is just a tool, one of the best tools for beginners in building websites, the tool that I’ve used to launch a business that is one of the most successful in its niche, in Chicago (definitely in top 1% around here, which is what SBI claims for their sites) EVEN THOUGH I hardly worked on it (haven’t touched it in years).

      Now, to be clear, my business today evolved way beyond SBI but if it wasn’t for SBI, during those dangerous couple of years when most business die, we would have probably shut down.

      Does that mean wordpress is not a viable option? Absolutely not! If WordPress works for you, by all means, use it.

      But if you don’t know much, if you need support on your way to a building an website, SBI is probably the better option, because it has everything you need in one place.

      Can you eventually grow to a point where you might feel there are better options than SBI? You might or you might not but, taken as a herd, those than know nothing about building websites and go a different route than SBI, are more likely to fail than those using SBI in MY OPINION.

      Now, my opinion is just that, an opinion, DO NOT take it as a fact.

      And, unfortunately, her opinion that SBI is a scam, is just that, an opinion, DO NOT take it as a fact.

      As vile as it may be, it’s just that, HER OPINION!!!

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        Kristi
        April 12, 2018 at 10:26 am

        “Can you eventually grow to a point where you might feel there are better options than SBI? You might or you might not but, taken as a herd, those than know nothing about building websites and go a different route than SBI, are more likely to fail than those using SBI in MY OPINION.”

        That is demonstrably false. I know hundreds of bloggers who have never even heard of SBI, much less used it, who are making six figures a year if not more. And there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of highly successful people with web-based businesses, information websites, etc., who have never heard of SBI, much less used it.

        SBI sites are a drop in a massive ocean of websites on the internet. By contrast, WordPress runs 28% of the entire internet. Here are some more rather impressive WordPress statistics: https://www.codeinwp.com/blog/wordpress-statistics/

        And again, anyone can come here and claim, “SBI helped me start my highly successful website!!” but without proof, your claim is empty. Any internet troll can make a claim, but that doesn’t make it true.

        My guess is that you’re nothing but an SBI affiliate who is seeing SBI’s dismal failure and customers fleeing, so in your desperate attempt to stop the hemorrhaging and the drying up of your SBI affiliate revenue, you’re now trolling all of the negative SBI reviews online and making claims about how “biased” the authors are, and how enlightened and successful you have been thanks to SBI.

        WHERE’S YOUR PROOF?

        While you’re gathering that info, I’ll leave you with this. This shows my 2017 display ad revenue, which is just one of three — soon to be one of four — streams of income from my Addicted 2 Decorating blog.

        https://www.addicted2decorating.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/ad-revenue-main-source-2017.png

        So either put up or shut up. I’m seriously SO SICK AND TIRED of you slimy SBI affiliate sales people coming here, pretending to be SBI customers, calling me names and calling my integrity into question, leaving glowing reviews of SBI, all while giving ABSOLUTELY NO PROOF of your touted success and SBI’s “amazingly helpful tools.”

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        Kristi
        April 12, 2018 at 2:23 pm

        And let me just say for the record how unbelievably hypocritical you SBIers are. I just clicked over to the SBI website to see if there was anything new lately, and I clicked on the “proof” tab. That page drones on and on and on, in true Evoy fashion, about demanding “proof” of the claims that SBI competitors make. Here are some golden nuggets from that page:

        “Claims of Success Are Easy to Make, and Fake”

        “Insist on Verifiable Proof of Success”

        “All you need to do is go to the website of any company that you’re considering. Look for verifiable success stories. If they have them, they’ll show them.”

        “Insist on a domain name with every success story. Domain names enable you to verify claims of success…”

        “Bottom line? Ignore success stories that cannot be verified.”

        “Ignore [success] stories without domain names — anyone can (and does) make stuff up.”

        I could go on and on.

        And yet, of all of you SBI-promoting JACKASSES who found this review in the years since I wrote it, called my integrity into question, called me names, came here to promote and sing the praises of SBI and tell me and others how remarkable it is, only two or three of you have ever had the balls to leave a URL, and NONE OF YOU have ever given concrete proof of your alleged success with SBI.

        You all are a bunch of cowards, fools, and slimy grifters looking to scam people into buying your cheap, inferior, failing product (I hear that the SBI forums are like a ghost town these days, and the SBI Facebook page is all but dead, with only one or two “likes” per post — not really the signs of a thriving company with an awesome product, is it?). So if you plan to leave another comment, and it doesn’t include VERIFIABLE PROOF of your SBI success, your comment will be deleted. I’ve had my fill of you snake oil salesmen over the last few years, so no more.

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        Kristi
        April 13, 2018 at 4:02 pm

        Once again:

        “So if you plan to leave another comment, and it doesn’t include VERIFIABLE PROOF of your SBI success, your comment will be deleted.”

        You can bitch and bellyache and call me names all day long for “blocking” you from commenting, but don’t say I didn’t give you fair warning. Verifiable proof, or shut up about how great SBI is.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Seth
    November 15, 2014 at 2:53 am

    I know this is an old thread but you are way off. Take the example of http://www.classic-country-song-lyrics.com/ – go to Sitesell’s Results page, check it out on Aelxa. It’s listed on Sitesell as a rank of 124,624 – according to Alexa it’s actually 123,294 and that’s globally – in the US it’s around 44,000. I’ve found it to be accurate and the SBI people to be good. I don’t use them anymore but took their course back in 2010 and they taught me sound basics of SEO, things people are charging a ton of money to teach these days.

    Basically IM is like anything. Someone can take a fishing course, learn to fish be shown the right way – go fishing, and get nothing. Does that mean fishing is a Scam? Hardly.

    SBI is great for beginners and most people who achieve success do move forward.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      November 15, 2014 at 9:38 am

      So you pick out one that might be somewhat close to accurate, and that means that my whole post is way off base? Ummm…okay. LOL

      “I don’t use them anymore but took their course back in 2010…” That’s really all anyone reading this needs to know, in addition to the fact that your current site is a WordPress site. Sitesell is a sinking ship because most people “don’t use them anymore” but at one time way back when, several years ago, they used them. Thanks for supporting my main point about Sitesell with your own personal experience.

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        Seth
        November 15, 2014 at 1:32 pm

        I’m just not clear why you have so much bile against them. It’s a $30 a month program that teaches the fundamentals of SEO. They provide detailed, in depth guidance which is what’s sorely lacking for beginners. Meanwhile there are some places like Full Sail University charging $10K to $30K (and their laughable “Internet Marketing Degree”) for less detailed information. That’s a Scam in my eyes.

        I think it’s great that you’ve had so much success just blogging – but are you telling the average person to just “start a blog” without any guidance?

        I respect your opinion, but provide your readers with some kind of an alternative. At least with SBI you do get a methodology that does work. It worked for me, helped me build my first site. It even worked for you, according to your own numbers — 40% of 100,000 is 40,000 visitors a month. The other platforms you were using generated more traffic, which is great, but does it make the less productive one a “Scam”? A Scam is something that rips you off and gives you nothing, like buying a car with a broken engine.

        Yes the platform was clunky, but that is secondary. Anyone can set up a WordPress site these days, it’s the content and structure of the site that matter.

        Their research tool helped me start my first site, make my first sale online. Eventually I outgrew them but I don’t deride them as a “Scam”. Believe me, I’ve seen Scams in the MMO Market, promising easy quick riches. These guys have a 10 day tutorial and tell you to not expect a profit for months.

        Anyway Kristi I don’t have a person axe to grind with you, I congratulate you on the success of your blog. But in the spirit of accuracy, I went through and did a video of many more of their result success stories, then clicked over through to Alexa. Every one is accurate within a few thousand, which is natural because these rankings fluctuate.

        http://youtu.be/VQmnjG_-IAk

        I am all for calling out a big organization on it’s bullshit, but this one isn’t the problem.

        Sure, SBI could be improved, like any product or service. Cars and computers are updated every year. Since you are clearly so passionate about this then I would at least provide people with recommendations on what to do instead, something constructive, rather than just railing against SBI.

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        Russ
        May 1, 2015 at 2:02 am

        Kristi,

        You are jumping to the same false conclusion as Michael in a post above. Just because SBI users say they do not use it again after doing one site does not mean the first one was a failure. I would take it to mean quite the opposite.

        SBI provides excellent training videos and resources and the actual web building process is so simple you can focus on the content building rather than other technical issues.

        However, of course the price is higher than things such as WordPress, so once you know exactly what you are doing, you may well go on to use something such as that the next time round. WordPress is a great tool, but if you are a relative beginner, SBI I would say is better if you are prepared to pay the extra cost.

        I used them to build a very successful website and now I’m using WordPress. It’s a logical progression that I think many make, not a sign of failure.

        • Reply To This Comment ↓
          Kristi Linauer
          May 1, 2015 at 8:08 am

          I can assure you there are no false conclusions about Sitesell. Just the fact that the number of websites hosted by Sitesell has decreased by 14,845 since January 2012 speaks volumes. That’s a net loss of 12.29 sites EVERY SINGLE DAY (i.e., sites deleted or transferred away from Sitesell’s servers, with the overwhelming majority of them being deleted) for the last three years and four months.

          Heck, just this year alone, the server activity for SiteSell looks like this:
          New domains: 1034
          Transferred in: 495
          Transferred out: 312
          DELETED: 2394

          That’s JUST in the last four months. So the numbers don’t really support your idea of a “natural progression” to WordPress. The numbers show that the overwhelming majority are giving up (deleting their sites/domains altogether) and not simply transferring them to another host as a “natural progression.”

          If Sitesell is so awesome, their overall number of hosted sites would be at least holding steady, as the word of this great system would spread, and people would be jumping on board all the time to even out the number of oh-so-successful people who are transferring their domains to new hosts to use the wealth of knowledge they learned at Sitesell as this “natural progression” you speak about. But that’s not at all what’s happening. Heck, they can’t even seem to give away their product these days! Even during their two or three annual “buy one, get one free” sales that they have during Christmas and other times of the year (sales that have been extended during recent sales, seemingly in order to drum up interest and sales), their net numbers decline on almost every single day of the sale.

          The numbers speak for themselves. You seem to be the one drawing false conclusions. But I must say, you did at least make me laugh. I don’t think I’ve had one single other pro-SBI commenter try to make the case that Sitesell’s failing business and waning customer base is a sign of it’s amazing product. LOL. I’m pretty sure that anyone with the slightest bit of common sense can see through that.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Simone Barker
    September 22, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    Hello, I feel compelled to add that I was an SBI user for years also. I graduated to WordPress when I felt ready but boy I found SBI to be fantastic for helping me develop the foundational skills I needed. I feel no regrets about using them in the past and would wholeheartedly recommend them.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Bob
    November 11, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    Seth,

    That website you referenced (http://www.classic-country-song-lyrics.com/) has to be one of the ugliest websites I have ever seen. What’s up with all the blank space on the right side of the webpage? I’ve noticed that all the SBI! sites I have seen all look like they were built in the 1990s. UGLY!

    Why would you want the “face” of your business to look ugly and outdated like that? Granted, not every WordPress site looks like it was designed by a professional, but the majority of them look modern and much better looking than any of the SBI! sites I’ve seen. By the way, I have a degree in web development, so I have a pretty good idea of what I am talking about.

    By the way, if you want to see another SCAM website, just go to Google and type in “MOBE scam”. I think those guys are even scammier than SiteSell. Of course, you have guys like John Chow who are making $200,000 a month or more endorsing their scam products. MOBE actually tells you that their course is only $50 to start. What they don’t tell you, is that once you get halfway through the course you have to shell out close to $2,000 before you can go any further. DISGUSTING!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Brian
      July 23, 2018 at 12:02 pm

      Hi Bob,

      UGLY is a gentle word to use for the SBI sites. How about hideous or grotesque? It think that would be far more accurate.

      Brian

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Britt
    July 27, 2018 at 5:26 pm

    I looked at people’s websites that they designed in sbi. My opinion is, if you dont follow the instructions, expect a failure. They instruct you to pick easy and small and memorable domain names.what do most do? I.e: maraquita-okay- a-ho-day.com.and you wonder why they fail.

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