My Top 10 Criteria to do a Review Rating

how to do a review rating the right way coverRecently I’ve been attacked by numerous MLM radicals who wanted me to take down my reviews since they told me that I don’t have a system for giving my ratings.

As many of you might have noticed, out of ten programs I review normally only one or two of them receives my green light and got deemed legit – That’s how strict I am when it comes to rating.

And it’s maybe the reason why some people find it offensive.

Nevertheless, do read on to find out more on how I rate my reviews where I will explain into greater what elements I take into account…


The Criteria –Elements I Check for When Rating.

Generally, I rate my reviews with a 5-Star rating system and although it seemed simple enough I do take into consideration elements that justify my actions and those are…

The Plusses

  1. Updated system (+) 
  2. Offers free trials (+) 
  3. Productive and friendly community (+) 
  4. No upsells (+) 
  5. Great support (+) 

The Minuses

  1. Abusive community (Keeps pressuring you) (-) 
  2. Upsells (-) 
  3. MLM (-) 
  4. Outdated system or methods (-) 
  5. Too many complaints (-) 

Before I start writing my reviews, I do a thorough inspection to learn more about a certain program.

All reviews will start from a zero mark and as I go, I add the plus and minuses from the list above. Simple as that.

If you see a program that has 5 stars, then you know they have fulfilled all of the criteria above and has none of the negative elements above.

Whereas if it’s the other way around and you see a program rated zero out of five, then you know that they have all the red flags that make them a high-risk program that I cannot recommend.


Why I Choose these Criteria for My Reviews? –Allow me to Elaborate.

I get a lot more arguments from people telling me things like “Hey Riaz, you should definitely add in other criteria like testimonials or success stories to take into account in your ratings”

While other elements may affect my rating, let me remind you that first and foremost, it’s my own review from my own blog so if you prefer information elsewhere, there are tons of other blogs that do reviews as well.

So decisions are entirely up to me and it is not based on any standards that I refer to.

Still, I do this based on my experiences of coming across scams all these years and as for testimonials and success stories, anyone can craft them easily these days so it’s hard to identify which ones are correct as these pro internet gurus can make everything seem so real.

Now let me explain in detail what I mean by the Plus and Minus Criteria which I mentioned earlier…

Is an Updated Program Really a Big Deal? –Bigger Than You Think.

google sniper search thingy

Simply put, if a system is not even updated, why should it be recommended at all to consumers?

Especially in the Online Marketing industry where we deal with technology, getting updated on the techniques can mean a white hat or black hat practice for a website.

For example, I reviewed a program called Ranking Miracle and the lessons are not even updated as it still shows illegal backlinking techniques that are banned by Google.

And the same goes with another scam I reviewed called Google Sniper whereby the lessons are rehashed and are so outdated that the photos were taken back in 2007!

Supposing you implemented their lessons on your site, you would be flagged by Google and you won’t be able to rank at all so it’s important to get an updated program instead with good and active updates regularly.

Is Having Free Trials Really a Good Sign?

Nowadays there are so many scammers on the internet today that they can really convince you to spend money on things that aren’t really worth it.

If you see two programs that cost $97 each to join but no free trials, would you join either of them? Depending on the marketing right?

But if one of them were to have a free trial for you to browse through, you’d definitely be more interested to join.

In my experiences, many “Internet Gurus” don’t offer free trials because they know their program sucks and that if you join, you would leave straight away which is why they don’t want to let you have a peek inside.

Even big names like Quicksprout or Walmart can create internet courses but unless they give us free trials, we won’t know if theirs is good as their marketing says or not so it’s better to be wary on this one.

Good Community Interaction? –Follow the Crowd!

Seems easy enough but not many programs actually have a good community.

Most have a terrible community with a huge amount of likes but no interaction, some have a community where members badmouth and pressure each other (Like in many MLM groups), while others don’t even have a group to begin with.

Here’s an example of a program called Ranking Miracle which teaches how to drive traffic but on their page, there isn’t any interaction at all…

Ranking Miracle FB page

And here’s another example of a program called Success With Anthony who does the exact same thing…

success with antho fb page loser

Having a group also shows that that particular program speaks for itself because if everyone’s happy there and helping each other out, that means the program itself is fantastic to have people enjoying and helping one another there.

Not only that, do you think thousands of people would generally stick around and chat with one another if that program is a scam? Of course they won’t and that alone should tip you off as fishy – Especially if that program is supposed to teach you to tap into the power community.

Unlike testimonials and groups, a good community is something we cannot fake because they are just simply too many people and everyone’s talking about different things and that’s a good sign.

Annoying Upsells are Always a Huge NO Sign!

Upsells in the member's areaHow would you feel if you join a program which says “I promise you it’s only one price to join and none again”, but as soon as you join, you’ll be bombarded with countless upsells?

Many internet gurus tend to do this by baiting you with their low price just so that they can bombard you with other higher priced programs so that they can make more money.

Admit it, you’ve fallen for one or two already, haven’t you?

This is pretty normal and a lot of programs offer upsells simply because it’s so easy to make money that way.

I would say 95% of programs on the internet have upsells but one particular scammer that I come across called Ewen Chia does upsell like crazy in his program called Autopilot Profits where he included up to 13 upsells, ridiculous!

I did a review on his program and exposed his schemes and he was very angry that he took down some of my videos exposing how his program looks like from the inside.

Upsells are actually pretty normal.

One upsell is agreeable, two is still understandable but having more than that is called taking advantage and worse, have upsells which are hidden is definitely unethical not to mention illegal in many countries which is why I do not favor programs with blatant upsells because by the time you joined on the first month, you’ll be broke already before you even start your journey and I’m here to save you from that.

Normally, I don’t mind much about upsells but having hidden upsells just screams danger.

Imagine having just enough savings to join a program for one month only to come across a hidden obtrusive upsell baiting you to buy it and not allowing you to click on the close icon to exit that page.

You’d end up wasting your money for nothing and would definitely ask for a refund as you won’t be able to pay for something that you didn’t expect right?

Those are the kinds of unethical upsells that we should avoid.

Can’t Seem to Get in Touch with Them? –Not a Good Support, is it?

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of good support.

Sometimes they look so active with their team and promotions but as soon as you ask them a question or two, they reply to you with bad manners, sometimes no reply at all!

I did a review on Child’s Play Profits and they mentioned there 200% money-back guarantee no questions asked but when I asked for my money back, this is what I got…

reply refund

(Click the image to enlarge).

I didn’t get 200% back, just a hundred percent but I didn’t complain much because it was the original amount I paid so I got my money back in full.

But what I was devastated about was how rude the support guy was with me saying that the 200% is only for people who implemented.

I actually implemented it for 2 weeks but I was stressed out because the course was so terrible and limited because of the upsells, and he has the nerves to lie to me in my face about the “No questions asked” policy?

If it was a big amount of money, I would have sued him.

If the support can’t handle something so simple and instead, chose to go back on their promise and find an excuse to take advantage of it, then it’s not something we should focus on.

Support is important in any program or platform because besides the fact that they are obligated to help you out should you come into any difficulties, it also shows the true nature of the owner and whether or not he is a liar.

Few Complaints? Meh, but a Hundred Complaints?

Not all complaints matter but sometimes, there’s always that one company that looks promising but with tons of complaints.

Take a look at this…

BBB for melaleuca with 244 complaints

That’s a picture from BBB by a company called Melaleuca which I did a review on and it has 244 complaints in BBB alone!

With that many complaints something is definitely wrong and we definitely need to avoid it because it’s a very high risk to take.

All businesses may have a few complaints, that’s normal but having loads of complaints, well that’s just too much.

Some companies are so bad that consumers take one step further to go and create forum threads of even Facebook pages…

mary kay sucks FB page with lots of likes

Mary Kay has over 110 complaints and Thirty-one Gifts has over 67 complaints.

Noticed the similarities between these companies? They are all MLM companies and that is last the one thing I’m going to touch on today…

MLM Companies, the Bane of all of Us.

As a former Multi-Level Marketer, I have been attacked by countless MLM junkies the moment I left their companies.

Before I continue saying anything, here’s a quote made by the Federal Trade Commission themselves…

Statement by the FTC regarding MLM and pyramid schemes.

There is a difference between a pyramid scheme and a Multi-level Marketing scheme (MLM).

Pyramid schemes have no product and make money solely by recruiting and that is illegal.

However over the years after being shot down by the government, they have transformed to what we now see today as MLM which are basically just pyramid schemes that have products to make them look legit.

They may be legit though but according to the FTC, they are only legal if they focus on selling their products through retail.

However if they were to push you into joining as a member, that is considered recruitment and it’s downright illegal because they are making money off of you by persuading you to join their cult.

Network Marketing changes people and in your eyes, everyone is a customer, even your own family and friends because you are being brainwashed and pressured by your uplines every single day.

So how do you know if you’re meant for MLM or not?

If you’re not a people person, you don’t fit.

If you don’t like hard selling, you don’t fit.

And if you can’t handle the high rejection rate, then it’s definitely not for you.

And it’s not just for anyone either, MLM is tough and there is a high failure rate of people giving up and if you didn’t know, less than 1% of people actually succeeded in MLM…

percentage of people failing in MLM and succeeding

So still think you might have a chance in MLM?

It is very hard to find a legitimate MLM company and all in my life, the successful ones are those who focus on referral recruitment instead of selling products because if you might have noticed, products sold by MLM companies are very expensive compared to retail stores which is why they have to resort to network marketing.

So try to recall back to the time when those MLM junkies tried to approach, you – Do they ask you to buy their product, or were they trying to get you to join as a member?

If they want you to join, then that’s illegal.


Too Strict? -Better Safe than Sorry!

better safe than sorry

Some people like the fact that I filter programs while others don’t because they feel like I may be wrong.

Nevertheless, don’t you think that it is much better to be sure about a program, than it is to have doubts?

I’ve been in the Internet marketing industry since 2014 and from my experiences, I know the characteristics that these so-called “internet Gurus” have in common and what kind of programs they usually do.

I know this because I have been scammed multiple times before I find my bearing in the Online Business world.

One of the programs that I joined when I first started out was Dot Com Secrets X where I spent almost a year trying to make money but never made a single cent.

CB Passive Income where I wasted up to a thousand bucks trying to make solo ads work by listening to what they said but their lessons weren’t deep enough which led to being tricked by a lot of solo ad vendors who ran away with my money without giving me the clicks, even after I paid them.

Another scam that made me who I am today is Empower Network, the mother of all Internet MLMs which has a terrible system where you end up spending hundreds before you even started, and has a community that really pressures you into recruiting more people like there’s no tomorrow.

Of course there are many more programs that I ended up falling into but after a while, I learned how to spot a scam from things that they share in common and if things look too good to be true, they probably are.


My Final Word

The reason I do my reviews is to help the other internet users especially the beginners to avoid these pitfalls which I fell for and help guide them to better programs which are more legitimate so if you like my reviews and have doubts about a certain program that you’ve been eyeing for, do let me know!

You could leave a comment below, I’ll do the hard work of joining the course or buying the product myself to try it out for you and write out my review as detailed as possible.

If you have any further questions on how I give my ratings, you know where to find me.

18 comments to “My Top 10 Criteria to do a Review Rating”
  1. What an amazing article. You have a great way to review companies that arent so good and the ones that are good as well I guess.  I think someone like yourself who does such thorough reviews really is an unsung affiliate marketing heroI want to start doing more reviews an with your permission would love to use your model.  Of we can keep people from joining these scams or not so good opportunities then I think we are succeeding.Thank you for a great article.

  2. I have my own website and I give a lot of reviews on the product I chose to sell. Well as I am a starter I’m still learning how to give an insightful review on my products. 

    This is a great article. I learned a lot about reviews. I realized that there is lot more than I thought in giving reviews. I am going to take these tips and layouts and follow through in my next review.

    Thank you so much for sharing this article with us.

  3. This is a great post Riaz!! Thanks so much for sharing

    I had no idea MLM was actually illegal if they don’t sell products. Also, where did you get those stats from about the % that make money? That is insanely low!!

    A great point is does it update for training! I never even thought to consider that one!

    Thanks again for your help.

    I look forward to seeing what comes next


    • Hey Mike!
      I got those stats from a financial site which analyzes MLM companies and their success rates, the founder himself was in MLM like me but he got out because he doesn’t like the fakeness that the people there do every day. It changes people and the environment there is full of negativity and the “positivity” aura that they tried to emit was actually meant to convert people into mindless drones who see everyone else as a money machine.

      Glad you found it interesting, I love sharing small tips like this every now and then. Thanks for dropping by!

  4. Hello Riaz, you and I have similar experiences and opinions about MLM. So I can appreciate your website and your mythbuster-like role

    A few items:
    – I really like your overall layout and flow.
    – Your honesty about the process and your independence exudes confidence
    – A question – have you thought about moving your reviews to a dedicated website? Seems to me your approach may lead to attacks against you.

    I wish you the best, you are on the right track

    Leon B.

    • I don’t really like to complicate things Leon and this site is already a blog so there’s no harm in writing my reviews down here. There is no success without people attacking you, there will always be people who are jealous or envious on what you’re doing so if you don’t have any of those yet, you’re not even halfway there.

  5. You have really opened my eyes. Although I am always looking for ways to enhance my online business, I have had no real way of judging systems that I look at. I was particularly struck by the fact that many of these programs don’t update often. I did not know that. Its amazing that they are suggesting practices that aren’t allowed.
    I think you are probably hitting a nerve if programs ask you to take down what you are saying. I find the way you examine these programs to be good…. you are just looking at the program.
    I was in an MLM awhile back that had good products, but it was very hard to reach customer service for help.
    As I look at programs in the future, I am going to apply your review rating principles. I am going to bookmark you site and read about what your are reviewing. Thanks for all your work.

    • That is very nice of you to refer to my article Anastzja, thank you! A rule in life I hold on to is that if you’re not touching nerves, you haven’t made progress yet so with enemies, I think i’m at least having some progress in my journey. Appreciate the feedback, cheers!

  6. Hey Riaz, I see how passionate you are about exposing people who scam others online. However when you give any program such poor ratings and they threaten you in return, how exactly do you deal with it? I mean from a legal standpoint when they threaten you with some action. Has there been any instance where they have reported you and your site has been penalised by Google, etc. And if so then how do you deal with or get out of a penalised situation or expose them to Google so you are out of red. I personally believe this is very important for one to know before we start writing reviews to avoid unnecessary issues later.

    • Hey Alex,

      Actually, I don’t get penalised for anything, its perfectly legal to blog but some of them do threaten with words to discourage me from blogging. Jealous people with no motivation for themselves but to bring others down, Its important to know that as long as you know that you’re doing is right, don’t bother about what others say about you.

      I do get some YouTube videos flagged though because I exposed too much of how their programs look from the inside and honestly, this fuels me to do reviews even more because if you know someone is trying to take you down, then you’re on the right track on your work. Plus if you think logically, other companies pay you to review their stuff and show people what they are about but these internet gurus don’t because they know their programs are scam.

      Hope I answered your doubts Alex, great question. Do let me know if you have any more burning questions. Hope you have a great Friday!

  7. Hi Riaz, awesome website! You give a lot of details and offer your reader the option to decide for themselves whether to consider your reviews. Wishing you lots of luck on your website.

    Yamaris Vanderhorst

  8. Hi Riaz,

    I really like the way you have detailed the way you review – I think I am too guilty of just taking a review at face value rather than understanding how the rating has been achieved. It’s really great you do this given the amount of programs out there that have eleemtns to them that sting thier members. your review make sure people go in with thier eyes wide open. Thnakyou and keep up the great work!

  9. Hi Riaz,

    Screw’em! (I mean not literally!!).

    The fact that they complain or comment regarding your blog in an attempt to disqualify you only really shows poorly upon their behalf – I mean if their products or programs were ultra-bombastic and mega-fantastic why would they be so concerned about what one or a few blogs have to say?

    There is no such thing as bad publicity, right?

    Congrats on responding in a very honorable and dignified way by providing information and an insight into how your rating system works.

    They on the other hand by attacking you and your blog and rating system have not done anything to prove the worthyness or quality of their products/programs. By discrediting someone or something else they have not proven their products are actually any good, They just side stepped the issue!

    • Hey there Derek,

      Definitely! Blogs are a way for people to express their opinions and they’re shooting down our fellow bloggers one by one and I’m taking extra steps to leave my back unexposed. Whatever happened to freedom of speech right? Thanks for the reassurance and kind words man, always a pleasure to see you here 🙂

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