Online Course Platforms: Kajabi vs New Zenler vs GrooveFunnels
Aug 10, 2020
Recently, someone in a business Facebook group asked for an opinion on these 3 course platforms: Kajabi, New Zenler, and GrooveFunnels. I wrote such a long response that I decided to use it as a draft for a blog post, lol. So here's my highly unconventional assessment.
Links in blog posts may be affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, if you click one and make a purchase, I may receive a commission for having referred you.
I've been with Kajabi
since 2016 and did a LOT of research and analysis on course platforms and "all-in-ones" before I chose them; clearly, I've been super happy with Kajabi 🤩. At that time, New Zenler and GrooveFunnels weren't even around.
But I've checked into both since then - because I like to keep up on what's out there for courses/memberships - and so far I've not been impressed (this could improve over time, idk).
Note: Please don't think I'm "Kajabi Only, rah rah rah!" I routinely refer people to other GOOD and proven choices out there, like Teachable
, if I truly feel Kajabi isn't a good fit for their situation.
What No One Is Telling You About Popular Online Course Platforms
Honestly, there's a big reason that you keep hearing about New Zenler and GrooveFunnels in Facebook groups. I want to explain what's going on since no one else seems to be talking about it.
You hear about New Zenler and GrooveFunnels lately because they both are doing nontraditional but very effective promotion. Specifically, they're really depending on their affiliates who are flooding all the groups - with recommendations and affiliate links - but not much in the way of details from what I've observed.
I'm a GrooveFunnels affiliate but haven't really promoted it because there's no "there" there yet, kwim? It's mostly talk so far about what's coming, and a lot of "you'd better get in on the ground floor while the price is such a deal." They do a great job of keeping their affiliates hyped, with weekly webinars and Facebook Lives.
I've Never Seen a Course Platform with an Affiliate Plan That's This Aggressive
What I've found out by researching and observing the GrooveFunnels affiliate program is that they use a very unusual and effective 6-pronged approach.
1. High Commission
GrooveFunnels affiliates are being paid very handsomely. In affiliate marketing groups and the GrooveFunnels group, people share their earnings screenshots in the thousands $$ after only a short time promoting it. I don't feel comfortable taking screenshots from private groups but here's something from the GrooveFunnels site:
2. Heavy Promotion
The top announcement in the GrooveFunnels group right now is the above person showing you how to explode your affiliate commissions like she has, where she teaches "Sniper Style" methods:
And they boast that they have the top-earning affiliate program:
(I wonder how they determine that??)
And they're inviting you to sell with GrooveFunnels even if you have nothing to sell:
3. Free Account
From a video thumbnail on that same page: "You know how it works. You get 100 free people who in turn get 100 free people ... That's 10,000 people you can earn from."
Speaking of which, they encourage you, even if you don't use GrooveFunnels yourself, to sign up for an affiliate account, get access to part of the platform for free, and then promote the platform. Again, that's not a super-common affiliate scheme.
For example, with Kajabi you have to be a paying customer to be an affiliate. And if you're paying for Kajabi, you're likely USING Kajabi for your own business and, therefore, can speak firsthand about its pros and cons. You have some skin in the game, so to speak.
I think GrooveFunnels also does this so they can say "we have 10 kajillion members" (or whatever number, lol), failing to mention that a high percentage of those 'customers' are not USING GrooveFunnels but just promoting it to get the affiliate income. Because it's super easy to get rich, remember?
5. The Biggie: Sub-Affiliates
The other thing that makes GrooveFunnels affiliates so enthusiastic is that they have sub-affiliates. That means if they sign people up as an affiliate under them, they get a percentage of whatever their sub-affiliates make too.
In that respect, it's similar to an MLM setup and I don't know of any other course/membership/all-in-one that does it that way. Heck, I don't know of ANY affiliate program that has sub-affiliates and I'm in a lot of programs.
Here's the actual breakdown:
If the affiliate has only a free account - they earn 20% commission on what they sell, 5% on what their sub-affiliates sell
If the affiliate has a paid Pro account - they earn 40% commission on what they sell, 10% commission on what their sub-affiliates sell
For comparison's sake, most other course platforms offer 20-30% affiliate commission with no sub-affiliates. And this could actually be prong 5a ... affiliates can double their commission if they become a Pro member, thus GrooveFunnels sells even MORE accounts. They're marketing to their own affiliates, ha!!
6. Lifetime Cookie
Unlike most other affiliate programs, GrooveFunnels also uses a "lifetime" tag or cookie. This is great for the affiliate marketer because it means that once you click on any of my GF affiliate links, you're "mine" for life. If you decide to sign up at any time in the future, I'll get credit for your signup - even if you've clicked 50 other affiliates' links by then.
The downside for the customer population (you) is that it becomes sort of a "land grab" and encourages GF affiliates to be really aggressive because they want to get to you first. Most other affiliate programs I'm part of have 30-day, 45-day, 60-day, or 90-day cookies. Some even have "last click" programs and, heck, Amazon gives you only 24 hours! So you can see that a lifetime cookie is a BIG incentive for GrooveFunnel affiliates.
So all of that said, I don't think it's out of line to state they have an aggressive approach to their affiliate marketing, right? And this begs the question: Does GrooveFunnels want to SELL a bunch of product or PROVIDE a great product? The better part of me will hope for both. Hmmm ...
Why I Can't Recommend GrooveFunnels (Yet) ...
All in all, this affiliate program method tells me that GrooveFunnels owners are really effective marketers - but can they build and backup a good product? That remains to be seen and I look forward to watching how their platform develops. As an active affiliate marketer myself, I sure would love to believe in their product so I could promote it and make those big dollahs 😂.
In the meantime, I feel it's inauthentic to share my affiliate link here or push their product. I wish others would hold their horses a bit too because all the promo is getting really tiresome in the business groups I frequent. (I'm not the only one who's noticed and, believe me, people are taking note of who these people are ...).
This Affiliate Scheme I Mostly Just Find Annoying #sorrynotsorry
New Zenler on the other hand does an "invite only" scheme where you either have to get on a "waiting list" (false scarcity; it's been that way for years) or use an affiliate link to get in.
Therefore, it's hard to poke around the product unless you succumb to one of these - which I haven't been willing to do yet. Honestly, if this is the kind of marketing they believe in, I highly doubt I'm going to use or recommend them anyway.
As you know, at ErikaFriday.com I'm all about Authentic Marketing - transparency, honesty, making true connections - and that's one of the big reasons I chose Kajabi to align my business with.
As of writing this post, this is what the NewZenler.com home page looks like:
So it seems maybe they're transitioning their name from New Zenler to Zenler?
And as you can see, it's still in Beta - which it has been for quite a while now. I'll go back and do some research but it seems like I've been hearing it's in Beta for about 2 years now. That seems an especially long time to remain in beta AND throttle signups, doesn't it?
... Okay, checked the Wayback Machine and found this archive of NewZenler.com's home page on 11-30-18 (almost 2 years ago), stating "Pre Beta" and "Access with the Secret Key" (ugh):
Bottom line: Why can't I just go to their home page and sign up for an account? It's annoying that I have to jump through hoop 1 or hoop 2 just to see inside.
But as with GrooveFunnels, I do look forward to New Zenler (Zenler?) expanding on and opening up their product ... putting it out in the sunshine for all to see. When they do and I know of firsthand, non-affiliate, happy customers - or I've been able to try it myself - I'll likely promote it as well for use cases that it matches up with.
The Best Course Platform: Kajabi, New Zenler, or GrooveFunnels
"Best" is an impossible question to answer. Best to you might not be best to me. But my point in this post is, if authenticity and longevity are important to you and you want the real deal, check out Kajabi. They are transparent and up front. They've been around for 10 years and their members just surpassed a BILLION dollars in sales - so clearly their platform works. What you see is what you get.
Yes, they have an affiliate program but it's a straight commission, nothing tricky. If you sign up with my link
, you get 28 days free trial, instead of the standard 14 days, plus some bonuses. They do gamify their affiliate program which means there are incentives at certain milestones, which I'm sure motivates their affiliates.
But no waiting list, no affiliate linked invite-only, no secret key, no sub-affiliates, no lifetime cookie, no free account; and with Kajabi, no waiting around for a full feature set. If it's on their home page, you have access to the feature the day you sign up for a trial.
If you want a lower price and are willing to wait for full functionality, don't mind their marketing tactics, are up for working through the bugs of relatively new systems (Kajabi was there years ago too and it could be painful!), and waiting for "someday" features, perhaps give the other 2 a try.
I Don't Recommend New Zenler or GrooveFunnels; I Do Recommend Kajabi
Personally, I can't recommend GrooveFunnels or New Zenler yet. It's hard for me to get a true assessment of them since there's so much tied up in their marketing schemes.
It's like getting a real review of high-ticket courses by the gurus when their affiliates make $1000-2000 per referral (though I do have an unbiased, non-affiliate review of Marie Forleo's B-School right here
'cuz I like to buck the trend, of course).
I think it's clear why I recommend Kajabi and that I stand behind it:
- I was a virtual assistant for 12 years, used a bunch of other systems for clients, and tried 3 other systems for myself
- I became a Kajabi-only VA when I found how superior it was to the others
- I'm an affiliate who uses Kajabi to run my own businesses and am now building my own courses with it (no longer a VA!)
- I refer people to Kajabi when it seems a good fit for their business but make other suggestions if it doesn't
- I have 2 blogs full of Kajabi tips and tricks so clearly I use it and adore it
How to Pick the Best Online Course Platform
When evaluating those course platforms you "keep hearing about," pause and ask yourself: "Are they sharing the full truth or just telling me what I need to hear to get their commission?"
And then, as always, I suggest you do your own research - study the sites themselves, look through their help files, etc. - because no one can really tell you what'll work best FOR YOU, especially if the source is only suggesting something where they can make money.
How can you tell? Look for things like this:
1. they recommend the perfect solution without knowing your needs
2. they only ever suggest one platform, even if it might not be the best fit for you
3. they don't have their own business on the platform or put clients on it
4. they share a link that has a referral ID in it (most people don't do the disclosures that are required by law, i.e., "this is an affiliate link" so you have to look at the link itself).
I just want you to find the best platform for you and your business, whether it's Kajabi
or something else. Feel free to email me any time ([email protected]
) with course platform questions. I'm happy to respond. Wishing you all the best in your course-building journey! ✨
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