SiteSell is a company that claims that their “proprietary” system called Site Build It (now called Solo Build It!) will help anyone, even a person with no technical knowledge, build a thriving, income-generating, “life-changing” website if you follow their step-by-step instructional Action Guide. I’ve evaluated their claims regarding Site Build It! (now Solo Build It!) in this review, which is based on my own personal experience with the product.
Is Site Build It (Solo Build It!) a scam? In my opinion, yes. And in this thorough and detailed Site Build It (Solo Build It!) review, I will strive to prove that claim to you as well. I have used claims made by Ken Evoy, the owner of Solo Build It (also known as Site Sell and SBI!), as well as a detailed evaluation of customer results from the data provided on the Site Sell marketing pages, and data gathered on the Site Sell Facebook page in order to cut through all of the sales hype, the misleading marketing claims, and the hundreds of “positive review” websites that have been set up by sales affiliates.
If you are a regular reader, please bear with me. I know this is a deviation from the usual topics around here, but this is a topic that I feel is very important. I absolutely despise any company that tries to weasel their way into people’s pocketbooks by making promises they can’t keep and using misleading marketing strategies and outright lies to pawn their inferior product off on unsuspecting people.
What qualifies me to write this review?
- I was a Site Sell customer for three years and have a working knowledge of the product;
- I have used four different platforms for building/hosting online sites:
- I have uploaded my own HTML to my Yahoo Small Business site,
- I have uploaded my own HTML to my Site Sell site,
- I have blogged on Blogger,
- I currently blog on WordPress.
- As the owner of a monetized site, I know first hand what kind of traffic (and therefore, what kind of Alexa rank) it takes to make decent money from a monetized website.
Now before I jump into this topic, let me address one thing. It seems that anytime someone attempts to review Site Sell in an honest way where Site Sell doesn’t come out smelling like roses, the owner, Ken Evoy, as well as the hoards of SBI! affiliates swarm and attack. Their website says:
Most negative SBI! “scam reviews” are made-on-demand. These so-called “reviews” are fabricated by thousands of followers of “Make Money Online” (“MMO”) gurus who promote dishonest and spammy schemes and products. They perceive the integrity and value of SBI! as a threat.
So if your name is Ken Evoy, or you are an affiliate who wants to try to put me into this category, I urge you to first stop, take a few deep breaths to clear your head, and take a look around. Here’s what you will find:
- You will see that you are on an interior decorating blog, not an online marketing blog, or a make money online blog.
- You will see that in this review, I am not selling ANYTHING that would compete with Site Sell.
- In fact, within this review, I am selling nothing at all. You will not find one single affiliate link within this post, or any of the supplemental posts that accompany this post.
I have no ulterior motive for writing this other than a genuine desire to share the truth and shed some light on the claims made by Site Sell on the marketing pages of their website. To claim otherwise–to say that I have different motives–will only make you look like a fool.
As a side note, according to one SiteSell site that was set up by the company to counter The Great Negative Review Debacle of 2009, there are over 80,000 affiliates (people who sell this product for a profit), and yet there are only 40,000 customers. Here is a screenshot from that site…
In other words, at least half of the affiliates don’t even use the product! They’re just selling it to make money. Doesn’t that seem a little backwards? (Which leads me to my absolute funniest and most telling discovery yet.) And an FYI, when you Google the terms “Site Build It Scam” or “Site Build It Review”, you find loads and loads of glowing reviews. These glowing reviews were written by affiliates who stand to gain financially if you purchase the product using one of their links.
So let’s get to the question at hand:
Is Site Build It (Site Sell) a scam?
In order to answer that question in a way that is rational, clear, and free of emotion or hype, we first need to start with a base line. We need a definition of the word “scam”. For that, I went to Consumer Fraud Reporting and found this simple definition:
scam, slang n.
A fraudulent business scheme; a swindle. By “fraudulent”, we include misleading, misdirected or exaggerated claims in advertising.
So does Site Sell (Site Build It) fall into this category? Well, they do use misleading, misdirected, AND exaggerated claims, as well as outright lies, in their advertising. And you know what they say. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck…
In this case, if they use misleading advertising, use exaggerated claims, and use outright lies (all of which SBI does in the marketing pages of their website), then is it a stretch to call SBI a scam? I hardly think so.
There is so much information to cover here, and so many of their misleading marketing pages to evaluate, so as I stated above, this review will be very lengthy, and will include many supplemental pages. Most of you won’t care about all of these details, but it needs to be “out there” so that potential customers dreaming of financial freedom with an online business with Site Sell can know exactly what they’re getting into, and what to reasonably expect from that company’s product.
I’ll start with my own personal story:
I started out as a blogger in 2007 with a free blog set up on Blogger. It was called Addicted 2 Decor, and had a .blogspot.com address. At the time, I really didn’t know much about blogging at all, but I knew I had a topic that I loved and wanted to share with people.
I didn’t really take it seriously the first year. I would blog for a while, then disappear. Then I would return for a while, and disappear again.
After about a year, I was told about Site Sell, and was given a free site as a gift. That’s when Addicted 2 Decorating was born, and I finally had my own domain. I read through all of the marketing pages, with the impressive sounding numbers about Alexa ranks. And even though at the time I had no clue how to decipher those ranks, all of the stuff about Site Sell websites being in the top 1% of all websites in the world sounded seriously impressive to me. I was excited about beginning my journey to financial freedom with my new online business.
As I went through the Action Guide (a several-part, step-by-step guide telling you how to build a successful online business), some of it interested me…other parts didn’t. In fact, I never even finished going through the whole thing.
Right from the beginning, I veered off on my own path by choosing to write about a very broad topic–a huge niche with tons of competition. That’s completely contrary to the Site Sell way of doing things. I didn’t care.
Then I veered off completely when I decided to ignore the most foundational part of the Site Build It program. The tool they seem to be the proudest of is a key word generator called Brainstorm It. This tool searches for key words (terms that people use to search in Google and other search engines) in your niche that have lots of people searching for them, but few websites providing that information. Then the idea is that you provide the information they’re looking for by writing articles that are specifically geared towards these specific key words, and voila! Traffic! And traffic equals money!
Well, I didn’t do that at all.
Sure, I ran my key word search on at least two occasions, and it always resulted in pages and pages of key words that I found overwhelming and uninteresting. So I decided that wasn’t the vision I had for my site, and those pages filled with key words would always wind up in the trash can.
I simply have never written for key words (i.e., for search engines like Google). I write about stuff that is interesting to me, because I figure that if it’s interesting to me, then there are others who will find it interesting as well. And I figured that if I did it well, with lots of interesting pictures, great tutorials, etc., then the quality of my site would be what draws people, would make people want to tell their friends and family, and would (hopefully) impress Google.
Another tool that they’re incredibly proud of, and which I never used, was the Analyze It tool. This tool analyzes each page as you upload it, checking to see if it’s perfectly search engine optimized. (Many current and ex-SBIers suspect that this, along with Ken Evoy’s personal war with Google, are what has caused Google’s latest Panda algorithm updates to totally decimate so many SiteSell websites. So-called “perfectly” optimized pages are used to manipulate search results, and Google doesn’t exactly like being manipulated.)
I didn’t use this tool ONE.SINGLE.TIME. Not once in three years. Never. Ever. All of these tools seemed like ways to manipulate search engines, and if you take a look at the pages of most SBI sites, you’ll see that they aren’t impressive to actual HUMANS at all.
I wasn’t interested in manipulating search engines. I just wanted to write about stuff I love, and I wanted to do it well.
My hunch has paid off, especially when compared to the average Site Build It website.
In a nutshell, Addicted 2 Decorating was built without the help of one single SBI tool that they claim is so valuable and makes their system superior to any other.
So essentially, Site Build It wound up being nothing more than a website host for me, and a host with a lot of irritating, cumbersome hoops I had to jump through just to get a single page uploaded.
I should also mention that the entire time I had my Site Sell website, I also kept blogging on Blogger. My blog was set up as a subdomain on my addicted2decorating.com site using Site Sell’s Infin It! tool so that it all “read” as one website.
By the beginning of 2011, I began to grow tired of the limitations of my Site Sell site that were causing me to have to waste several hours each week doing manual work (stuff that WordPress does automatically), so I began to contemplate a move to WordPress.
The thought scared me. I mean, really scared me. I was afraid WordPress would be too difficult to learn. I was afraid that I would lose all of my URLs, and in turn, all of my traffic. I was afraid that it would take forever for Google to find me again. On and on and on…
My frustration with SBI’s limitations reached a tipping point…
By the end of 2011, I had finally reached my limit with the time I was wasting just to get my Site Build It site to function like I wanted, and I finally decided that even if the absolute worst scenario came true, and I lost all of my URLs, all of my traffic, and Google completely lost track of me for a while (in other words, if I had to start from scratch), it would still be worth it in the long run. I knew the functionality of WordPress would FAR, FAR, FAR, FAR surpass the functionality of Site Build It and Blogger, and would give me a website that would actually function just like I wanted…not to mention the fact that a WordPress blog LOOKS far better than anything I could ever produce on SiteSell or Blogger.
So at the end of December 2011, I paid someone to make the switch for me. Even at the cost of $950, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it would be worth it in the end. (Keep in mind that if I had done it right from the beginning, and started on WordPress, I could have saved myself the huge headache and stress of moving my site, AND the additional $950 to move. Starting out on a self-hosted WordPress site costs $15 to register the domain, and less than $10/month for hosting.)
Let me interject that in December 2011, according to Alexa, my SBI website was receiving about 40% of my traffic, while my blog was receiving about 60% of my traffic. And again, my blog was just a free blog set up on Blogger.
Again, my hunch paid off. Here is a screen shot of my traffic stats from December 2011 (my last month on Site Build It and Blogger) and January 2012 (my first month on WordPress).
Just take a look at the massive increase in pageviews that resulted JUST from my move to WordPress! And why do you think that is?
Well, if you’ve seen many SBI! websites, you probably know why that is. SBI! sites look outdated (especially those built with SBI!’s block builder tool), disorganized, and difficult to navigate. By contrast, WordPress sites are generally much easier to navigate, look current and updated, and much better organized.
So where do I stand today?
As of this writing, Addicted 2 Decorating has an Alexa rank of 104,373. I average about 6,200 visitors per day, with 15,800 page views per day.
*Update 12/22/2012: I’ve now been on WordPress for one year. My current Alexa rank is 82,148. Last month (November 2012), I averaged 11,473 visitors per day, and 24,095 page views per day. Needless to say, my income has drastically increased since the beginning of 2012.
Also, about three months ago, I started having other bloggers come to me for WordPress help. I now take on WordPress work (mostly helping bloggers move from Blogger to WordPress, and also creating custom WordPress blog designs for people). That has turned into quite a thriving side business.
Of course, Ken Evoy would use that against me, saying, “See? She’s just part of the machine that is made up of millions of affiliates pushing many thousands of [WordPress] products, from e-books to templates to plug-ins.” (The underlined part is an actual quote from Ken Evoy in a recent forum post where he once again tried to scare people away from WordPress and convince people that SBI! is a superior product….an incredibly laughable and ridiculous claim. His stated goal in the forum post was to push SBI! customers to become affiliates so that they can sell more products and reach Ken’s goal of 100,000 SBI! customers.)
The hypocrisy of Ken Evoy really astounds me. Of course he, along with his 80,000+ affiliates, will push his inferior product on you for $300 per year (per website), and then try to make you feel like he’s doing you a favor because of it. In addition, they offer personalized coaching that you can purchase…as in, pay money for…for a fee…in addition to the $300 per year for your site and all of those “special products” that come with it…from SBI! This coaching ranges from $69 to $99 per hour. And then there’s the custom site design services that you can purchase from SBI!, with a basic design starting at $297.
Did I also mention that if you need immediate technical support for your site, you have to pay an additional fee for that?! Ha! It’s true! If you want immediate email support, you have to pay per incident. If you want technical support by phone, you have to pay per incident. And at a cost of $19.95 per incident, that could certainly add up very quickly in a year. But wait! There’s more! You can’t just pick up the phone and call. You have to jump through their hoops, be connected to a third-party company that will take your payment, and then hope to goodness that someone from SBI! will be available to take your call. They’re very often “away”, even during business hours, and in that case, you have to fill out a form and wait for them to arrange a phone call for you at some time during their office hours.
My WordPress site is hosted by HostGator, where I get FREE customer service (by VERY knowledgeable people) 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year. And again, the technical support I get from them is absolutely FREE and always just a phone call away. No filling out a form, no waiting in a queue, no waiting for “business hours” the next day, and no additional fees. And my average wait on hold with HostGator is usually less than two minutes.
Selling products and services (and making enough to live in a beachfront mansion in Anguilla) is perfectly fine for Ken Evoy. But anyone else who tries to do that must be scamming you, right? The SBI! cult leader would certainly have you think that.
Do yourself a favor. Tell Ken Evoy where to stick his inflated ego and inferior product, jump from the SBI! ship before it sinks completely, and move your site to WordPress where you’ll have an ACTUAL chance at real success.
So how do those numbers translate into dollars and cents?
Keep reading, because I’m spilling details. These are details that few bloggers and website owners feel comfortable revealing, but when it comes to answering the question of whether or not Site Build It delivers what it promises, I want to leave no room for mystery.
If I had to do it all over again, with the knowledge I have now, I would have started out on WordPress. Period. Sadly, at the time, I had never heard of WordPress, or if I did, I had absolutely clue what it was so the info went in one ear and out the other.
I truly believe that Blogger and Site Build It held me back, and limited the growth of Addicted 2 Decorating in its first four years.
WordPress has given it the wings necessary to enable it soar.
Let me wrap up this main post by saying this:
Site Build It sites have been hit hard by Google’s Panda algorithm updates. (Ken Evoy vehemently denies this, but the comments from users tell a different story. These people are frustrated and frightened at seeing their traffic, and therefore their income, drop like lead weights.)Bottom line…Google doesn’t seem to like SBI! sites anymore, while it does seem to love WordPress sites. Here is a quote from an SBI! customer in the Site Sell forums:
I have a number of a very small WordPress sites, which are probably ‘overoptimized’ in Google’s definition. They have adsense on them and shortened links to Amazon or clickbank products.
They have pages on them with fewer than 50 words, just pictures and H1/H2 headings. They are not content rich in anyway. They all have around 20 pages of content.
My WordPress sites were not affected by the Penguin update – they’re all still on page 1 for the keywords I’ve optimized them for.
My SBI site has suffered a 50% drop in traffic.
My SBI site has Google analytics on it. My WordPress sites do not.
If the Penguin update truly did what it was supposed to do, then logic tells me that my SBI site – not overoptimized and using backlinks from all the legit places suggested by SBI like Ezine, guest posts on other blogs, social bookmarking, Facebook and Twitter – should have been unaffected and my WordPress sites should have been nuked. I smell a rat.
All I can say is…get out while you still can! I (and many others) firmly believe that SBI! is a sinking ship. Don’t let them take your website down with them!
Here’s a comment from the SiteSell Facebook page:
My site is high quality and I lost all my rankings. How irritating! Now, I won’t make the money I predicted.
This customer went on to mention the key word “make money online”, so I Googled it, and what did I find?
Of the top ten search results on the first page of Google for that term, seven of them were WordPress sites!
I left a comment mentioning this simple fact (which of course was deleted), but a SiteSell admin responded to my (deleted) comment with:
Kirsti at Addicted 2 Decorating: To me that confirms what I said earlier… that people use WordPress because they want to make money online…
Hahahahaha!! I couldn’t have said it better myself, Margit. People use WordPress because they want to make money online (ummm…isn’t that what you claim your product does?). And those Google search results show that WordPress users who are serious about it, have a very good chance of doing just that with WordPress.
Now let’s get on to evaluating the marketing claims of SiteSell.
Click on the links below to see the truth of the claims made by Site Build It on their Site Sell marketing pages:
- WordPress vs. Site Build It (SBI!) — Their ridiculous claims that lit a fire under me to begin with. The argument started here.
- WordPress.COM vs. Site Build It (SBI!) — A fair and reasonable comparison? Not even close. I reveal in depth one of Ken Evoy’s most devious marketing schemes.
- Making sense (and cents) of Alexa ranks, and is “being in the top 1% of all websites” really as impressive as it seems? I spill some juicy details of how much I make on my Addicted 2 Decorating.
- Site Sell Random Sampling — A look at real customer Alexa ranks (and therefore, traffic and potential for income)
- A realistic look at those “100’s of successful Site Build It websites”. An in-depth look at the “success stories” from their marketing information. The results? It’s not pretty.
- The Great Negative Review Debacle of 2009 — The review, SBI!’s response, and my funniest and most telling discovery yet.
- SiteSell Domains Losses/Gains For 2012 and 2013 — If SiteSell delivers on their promises, why do third-party sources indicate a mass exodus of customers over the last 13 months?
I’ve put many hours into this research, and I hope it helps to clear up any confusion regarding Site Sell, and helps you see through the loads of absolute bull on their marketing pages.
So, according to the actual facts, does Site Build It use “misleading, misdirected or exaggerated claims in advertising”? Oh, you better believe they do! So therefore…
Is Site Build It a scam? I would say absolutely Yes.
SBI! customers are welcome to comment here as long as you give the URL of your website, and the date it was created (keep in mind that this info is easily verifiable) so that we can gauge your online success via your Alexa rank.
Gushing about how much you love Ken, how thankful you are for SBI!, and how much this product has changed your life, without showing VERIFIABLE PROOF will only reinforce the very common belief (that is talked about a great deal on many websites) that SBI! operates more like a cult than a business, and that many members develop a “cult mentality”, vehemently defending a product that doesn’t work, and defending a person who has made promises that he can’t keep.
And if your name is Ken Evoy, your contributions are not welcome here.
On May 2, 2012, a SiteSell customer groupie (see sidenote below) named Abdul posted this on the SiteSell Facebook page:
The blogger you talked about also has been removing the comments not agreeing with her. Is this an honest behaviour?
To which Margit, the SiteSell Facebook admin responded;
Thank you, Abdul. We did not know that our “critic” is now also deleting dissenting opinion….
This is now a third indicator of a lack of trustworthiness…
Thank you, Abdul, for your support and adding yet another piece to the puzzle of Kristi’s underlying behavior and sense of ethics.
That is a bold-faced, outright lie, and this behavior…making these types of unsubstantiated claims…is the type of thing that SiteSell resorts to time and again in their pathetic attempts to discredit anyone who dares to publish the truth about their product or their devious marketing schemes.
I have absolutely not deleted any comments from supporters of SBI. In fact, I just checked my spam folder, and I did have one comment on this post that got caught in the spam folder. It was from someone thanking me.
Simply put, to date, I have not had ONE.SINGLE.COMMENT from a supporter of this product. LOL That’s just a plain and simple fact!! But as I’ve already said, any supporter will be required to leave the URL of their SBI! website so that we can all check the Alexa rank and the date that the site was started. Perhaps that’s why they’re afraid to comment.
Or perhaps it’s because, as Margit said, they “ask [SBI!] folks NOT to reply” to my review. My gosh. If that isn’t evidence of the cult mentality of this company, I don’t know what is. Their leader essentially says, “Don’t worry about the outside world. Don’t worry about trying to read and understand all of that complicated stuff. We know you’re too stupid to understand it, so we’ll read it for you, and then tell you want to believe. You can trust us. In the meantime, come over here and have some of this refreshing Kool-Aid we’ve prepared for you!”
SBI! has a very low tolerance for truth.
Sidenote: I checked Abdul’s Facebook page, and the only website that he has listed as his own is a WORDPRESS site. 😀 So what exactly is his relationship with SBI? Perhaps he’s one of those 40,000 affiliates who sells the product but doesn’t actually use the product!
So no. I haven’t had one single comment in support of SBI! What I HAVE received are several emails from current SBI customers asking me how to move their sites to WordPress. Would happy SBI customers do that? Obviously not.
Margit also said:
Again, we remain proud to have been part of her initial success. Regardless of what she says now, the process and tools, well done and used by her, laid the foundation for her success. And strong execution of subsequent parts of the process certainly played a part in that success. Now that she has greater/specialized needs and can afford ***$220/month for hosting*** and ***other expenses*** for tools and developers, it’s a shame that she has felt the need for such an over-reaction to what had been a friendly debate on SiteSell Facebook (until she entered it.)
As stated in my own personal journey, I didn’t utilize any of the SiteSell tools, other than their server to host my website. For Margit to claim that she has knowledge of my using the tools is just flat out RIDICULOUS. Was she in my house, sitting by my side as I built my site? Seriously. This woman has a few screws loose.
If anything, SiteSell held me back.
And yes…I do pay $220/month for my server now, because that’s what I require for my traffic AND my peace of mind. If I based my server needs just on my traffic, I’d be paying FAR less than that. But peace of mind is valuable to me, and definitely worth the extra cost. Plus, I have several websites on that server — not just Addicted 2 Decorating — and I also have plenty of room for future growth. I can add as many sites as I want on my server. How much would five SBI! websites cost me? $150 per month. So an additional $70 per month is nothing when you consider that I’m using a far superior product to build my sites, my sites look and function a million times better than anything I could ever build with SBI’s archaic blockbuilder, and my traffic and income have tripled since moving from SBI! Even with the additional cost, I’m coming out way ahead!!
Any person starting up a new online business using WordPress can do so for less than $10/month.
So Ken, Margit, Aaron, and the rest of you SiteSell talking heads…stick that in your pipe and smoke it!