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Authority Hacker Review 2020

33 Things You Should Know About The Authority Site System

Authority Hacker review thumbnailThis is the definitive Authority Hacker review for 2020.

I recently spent 20+ hours reviewing all the free and premium training materials for the popular Authority Hacker course known as The Authority Site System 2.0 (TASS).

If you want to know:

  • How TASS compares to other affiliate marketing courses
  • Who are the guys behind Authority Hacker (hint: I’ve met them both)
  • How to get a $398 discount for TASS
  • What are the common criticisms of Authority Hacker
  • If the whole thing is legit or a scam

Then you’ve come to the right place.

Let’s get started.

The Authority Site System – Key Points

An impressive affiliate marketing course that teaches you how to build authority websites and earn passive income.

💰  Price

$997 regular price, $599 with discount (discount info, join now)

😍  Pros

Created by respected experts with proven results. Concise, step-by-step training. Regularly updated.

😩  Cons

It generally takes several months to start earning decent money from an authority site.


The best affiliate marketing training I’ve seen. Highly recommended.

Overall Rating

About the Author

Niall DohertyHey, I’m Niall Doherty.

I quit my last 9-to-5 job back in 2010.

Since then, I’ve earned my living online doing a variety of things:

  • Blogging
  • Web design
  • Advertising
  • Online courses
  • Ebooks

At the end of 2018, I decided to focus on affiliate marketing.

Several months later – when I began writing this review – I was already earning more than $1000/month in affiliate commissions.

Affiliate Payments may oct
Total affiliate payments received in six months (May-Oct 2019). See my finance reports for latest earnings.

I’ve been able to achieve those results mostly from following the advice of Authority Hacker, as laid out in The Authority Site System.

Table Of Contents

This review is a joint effort between Niall Doherty of eBiz Facts, Hazel Lau of Leap Funnels, and Conor Walsh of Nomad Africa.

Our process:

  1. We all joined The Authority Site System separately at the end of 2018.
  2. We went through the course materials and took notes (Niall went through everything twice, several months apart).
  3. We all joined the private Facebook group for members and had a look around, participated in some conversations.
  4. We discussed our impressions of the course, what we liked, what we didn’t like, etc.
  5. We agreed we were happy with TASS overall and would recommend it to others.
  6. Niall searched online for other reviews of the course to see if there were any key points we missed.
  7. Niall wrote a first draft of this review.
  8. We sent the draft to our Freedom Business Builder community and asked for feedback.
  9. We sent the draft to the Gael and Mark from Authority Hacker and asked if they had any comments or corrections.
  10. We made our final edits and published the review.

Note: We earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase through referral links in this review. Read our full disclosure here.

The Best Affiliate Marketing Course?

There are many other affiliate marketing courses out there, but the Authority Site System is the best I’ve seen so far.

I’m on a mission to review all the top affiliate marketing courses.

So far, The Authority Site System is the best I’ve found…

Course Rating Review
Authority Hacker’s TASS 4.6/5 Authority Hacker review
Income School’s Project 24 4/5 Project 24 review
Commission Hero 2.6/5 Commission Hero review
Udemy affiliate marketing courses 2/5 Udemy affiliate marketing courses review
Affiliate Marketing Mastery 1.5/5 Affiliate Marketing Mastery review
Affilorama 1.5/5 Affilorama review
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing 1.5/5 Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing review
Wealthy Affiliate 1/5 Wealthy Affiliate review
Six Figure Mentors 0.7/5 Six Figure Mentors review
ClickBank University 0.5/5 ClickBank University review
Super Affiliate System 0.5/5 Super Affiliate System review
See all the affiliate marketing courses we’ve reviewed »

But don’t just take my word for it.

Here’s a member of TASS posting unsolicited in the private Facebook community:

Authority Hacker testimonial
(personal info hidden for privacy)

And here’s another TASS buyer comparing it favorably to other courses:

Authority Hacker testimonial Quora
(via Quora)

What is Authority Hacker?

Authority Hacker is a website (and podcast) that promises to share “actionable online marketing education” and teach people how to “build highly profitable authority sites.”

Authority Hacker has been around since 2013 and has built an impressive reputation in the internet marketing world.

They’ve received praise from big names, such as:

Authority Hacker testimonial Noah Kagan

Authority Hacker testimonial Tim Soulo Ahrefs

Authority Hacker testimonial Miles Beckler

Authority Hacker is owned and operated by Gael Breton and Mark Webster.

They look like this:

Authority Hacker: Mark Webster and Gael Breton

I first met both Gael and Mark in Budapest in 2011, before they had started Authority Hacker. We hung out several times back then and I’ve kept in regular contact with Mark over the years.

Who is Gael Breton?

Originally from Normandy in France, Gael Breton is one of the co-founders of Authority Hacker. He teaches roughly half the lessons in The Authority Site System.

Gael Breton from Authority Hacker

Here’s Gael’s bio from the Authority Hacker website:

Gael Breton bio

Here’s video of Gael’s 2013 talk at Harvard Business School:

Who is Mark Webster?

Originally from Aberdeen in Scotland, Mark Webster is one of the co-founders of Authority Hacker. He teaches roughly half the lessons in The Authority Site System.

Mark Webster from Authority Hacker

Here’s Mark’s bio from the Authority Hacker website:

Mark Webster bio

For the record, having met Mark, I’m 99% sure he’s not a robot 😜

You can learn more about Mark and his story via this 2017 interview with Miles Beckler:

How is Authority Hacker different?

Authority Hacker stands apart from others who teach affiliate marketing in five ways: they walk their talk; they’re well respected by other internet marketers; they excel at design and branding; they play the long game; they are masters of systematization.

I’m reviewing Authority Hacker right after reviewing Wealthy Affiliate, and the contrast couldn’t be more stark.

Here are five things which I believe separate Authority Hacker from most other folks who teach affiliate marketing:

  • They walk their talk
    The Authority Hacker guys are constantly building and running high-level authority sites, and are pretty transparent about their results.
  • They’re well respected by other internet marketers
    You’ll find many big names within the IM world praising and recommending Authority Hacker – see above – and Gael and Mark are also regular speakers at IM events.
  • Emphasis on design and branding
    Mark and Gael aren’t designers, yet their sites always look incredibly well designed and branded. (There are a number of lessons about this within TASS.)
  • Long-term focus
    It’s clear that these guys don’t build sites just to make a quick buck. They strive to create white-hat, value-adding sites they can be proud of, and that are likely to be profitable for a long time.
  • Systemization
    These guys are excellent at figuring out step-by-step processes and finding ways to streamline them. You’ll see many examples of this in their free and premium training.

All combined, it’s no wonder that brokers like Empire Flippers and FE International have positive things to say about sites that are built the Authority Hacker way.

Authority Hacker sales page: Thomas Smale
Above: screenshot from the sales page for The Authority Site System

What is an authority site?

“An authority site is content-driven website that is a respected and trusted source of information. It is a larger site that delivers real value through it’s excellent editorial standards. This makes people trust the advice and recommendations from the site.”

That description is from this page on the Authority Hacker website, which does a great job of breaking down the authority site business model.

They go on to explain:

Authority site business model

Authority Hacker Courses – What’s The Difference?

This review is about an Authority Hacker course called The Authority Site System, not to be confused with the more advanced courses Authority Hacker Pro and The Shotgun Skyscraper Blueprint.

There seems to be some confusion about this so I’ll quickly explain the different Authority Hacker courses.

Authority Hacker Pro

This was the first course produced by Authority Hacker. It is their highest-level training for building profitable authority websites, and includes The Authority Site System (TASS). Enrollment is often closed for several months at a time.

The Authority Site System (TASS)

This course is for people new to authority sites who want to learn the fundamentals and start generating passive income.

Mark elaborates on Quora:

The Authority Site System: Mark Webster Quora

The Shotgun Skyscraper Blueprint

This is the most recent course produced by Authority Hacker. It’s an advanced course which zooms in on the process of building links to an authority site. Enrollment is often closed for several months at a time.

(Note that the fundamentals of “link building” are covered in a full module inside The Authority Site System.)

To be clear…

Authority Hacker Pro and The Shotgun Skyscraper Blueprint are advanced courses for people who already have experience running successful authority sites.

The Authority Site System is for people who are looking to build their first affiliate site.

This review you are reading is about The Authority Site System only.


The guys from Authority Hacker refer to TASS as “a complete step-by-step training course for building highly profitable authority sites from the ground up.”

Is that true?

Let’s find out…

Who is The Authority Site System for?

The Authority Site System is intended for “online marketing newbies,” people who have tried and failed to earn at least $1000 per month with authority sites, and “builders wanting to scale.”

Here’s how Authority Hacker puts it on the sales page for the course:

Authority Hacker: who is it for?

Who is The Authority Site System NOT for?

I would advise the following types of people to steer clear of The Authority Site System: anyone expecting to “get rich quick”; people short on time; anyone expecting every little step to be detailed for them.

Absent from the TASS sales page is an explicit description of who the course is NOT for.

Having gone through the course materials (twice), I’d say this is a fair assessment of the type of people who would NOT benefit from The Authority Site System:

  • Anyone expecting to “get rich quick”
    Authority Hacker are clear that it usually takes students at least several months of effort to start earning $1000 or more from an authority site.
  • People short on time
    Authority Hacker say you should have at least 5-7 hours available per week to build an authority site. I personally think a minimum of 10 hours per week is more realistic (unless you’re planning to outsource a lot of the work).
  • Anyone expecting every little step to be detailed for them
    Mark notes that TASS is to a large extent “paint by numbers”…
The Authority Site System: Mark Webster comments on Quora
Above: words from Mark on Quora.

… and this is true, but you will still need to Google many things and utilize the private TASS community to solve problems specific to your site/niche.

How does The Authority Site System work?

The Authority Site System helps you build a Stage 1 authority site, which is part of the authority site business model. Authority Hacker explain this model in detail on their website.

Let me give you a quick overview here.

Authority Hacker specify three “stages” of authority site:

Authority Hacker's three stages
Above: screenshot from the free Authority Hacker webinar: How To Build 6-Figure Authority Sites

The Authority Site System focuses entirely on Stage 1 sites, which can quite naturally evolve into the latter stages.

A Stage 1 site focuses on one type of traffic, and one type of income:

  • Organic traffic
    This is traffic from search engines, primarily Google. TASS teaches you how to “rank” high on Google for specific keywords related to your niche, thus giving your site a free, steady flow of visitors.
  • Affiliate income
    TASS teaches you how to sign up for affiliate programs for reputable companies like Amazon, find quality products to promote, and recommend them to your website visitors. When someone clicks on one of your affiliate links and buys the product, you receive a percentage of the sale (with no additional cost to the customer).

Later-stage sites can add more types of traffic – eg social, paid – and more types of income – eg display ads, your own products.

But the goal of a Stage 1 site is to keep things simple.

When building a Stage 1 site, you focus on the few key things that are most likely to get your site earning “job replacement income,” which Authority Hacker defines as $2,000 to $10,000 per month.

Authority Hacker stage one site
Above: another screenshot from the free Authority Hacker webinar.

It is also noted in the webinar that Stage 1 sites are capable of earning more than $100,000 per month if taken far enough. But it’s usually safer to diversify traffic and income sources once you’ve reached job replacement income and can afford to spend more time building your site.

How is The Authority Site System structured?

The Authority Site System is divided into 6 core modules with 50+ total lessons.

Once you’ve signed up for The Authority Site System, you’ll see this homepage:

The Authority Site System homepage

Here’s how the modules are described on the TASS sales page:

The Authority Site System content

TASS Facebook Community

The Authority Site System has a members-only Facebook group, where you can ask questions and get feedback from Gael, Mark, and other authority site builders.

The group looks like this:

The Authority Site System mastermind Facebook group

It’s pretty active:

The Authority Site System mastermind Facebook group activity

Here’s how the group is described on the TASS sales page:

The Authority Site System mastermind Facebook group description

Having been in the Facebook group myself for a few months now, I can tell you that they’re not overselling it here.

It truly is a valuable part of The Authority Site System.

While writing this review I jumped on over to the group and grabbed screenshots of the two most recent posts. As you can see, they both received solid engagement within a few hours…

The Authority Site System mastermind Facebook group posts

How much does Authority Hacker cost?

The Authority Site System is Authority Hacker’s course to help you build your first successful authority site. The regular price is listed as $997, but use this link and you’ll save $398 😉

At this point you’re probably wondering if there’s a discount available for The Authority Site System.

There is a significant discount offered at the end of a free webinar the Authority Hacker guys put together, giving you $398 off the regular price.

Authority Hacker webinar

The webinar provides a very good overview of Authority Hacker’s system and will give you a feel for the quality of their training. (I watched the whole webinar in about 45 minutes with this speed hack.)

To get the discount WITHOUT sitting through the webinar, use this link.

Additional info related to the price of the course:

  • Lifetime Access
    At first glance, TASS looks to be more expensive than other affiliate marketing courses, but given that you get lifetime access to the course – including future updates – and there are no recurring fees, the price is actually very competitive.
  • Training Isn’t The Only Expense
    To build a successful authority site, you’ll also have to spend money on a domain, hosting, and a few select tools. Authority Hacker are very up-front about this, and even have a lesson within TASS all about budgeting your site.

The Authority Site System: budget lesson

  • Discounts within TASS
    It seems that whenever possible, Authority Hacker provides coupon codes to members so they can buy recommended tools at a steep discount.
Authority Hacker discounts
Above: screenshot from the TASS members-only Facebook group.

TASS Refund Policy

Authority Hacker is somewhat unique in this space by offering a 30-day “no questions asked” money-back guarantee. This applies to all their courses, including The Authority Site System.

Here’s how the guarantee is explained on the TASS sales page:

Authority Hacker money-back guarantee

This is in stark contrast to a couple of other popular affiliate marketing courses:


Highly Respected

Authority Hacker has been around since 2013 and has built an impressive reputation in the internet marketing world.

As noted previously, Gael and Mark from Authority Hacker have received praise from big names like Ahrefs, Miles Beckler, and Noah Kagan:

Authority Hacker testimonial Noah Kagan

The Authority Hacker podcast has also received many positive reviews over the years…

Authority Hacker podcast

Proven Results

Authority Hacker have clearly had lots of success building and running their own profitable authority websites, one of which they built and sold in 18 months for “a very acceptable mid 6 figures amount.”

Authority Hacker are quite famous for starting an authority site from scratch in 2017 and selling it only 18 months later for a hefty sum.

Authority Hacker success case study
Above: screenshot of the case study detailing how Authority Hacker sold an 18-month-old site for mid 6 figures

They’re also well known for their success with link building…

Authority Hacker link building
Above: screenshot from the free Authority Hacker webinar showing how many links they built to one of their sites – HealthAmbition.com – in only two years. (In case you’re not familiar with this stuff, trust me, such results are very impressive.)

More importantly, Authority Hacker students also get results…

Authority Hacker review student success
See below for more examples of student results from the Authority Hacker training

Practical Advice

Authority Hacker are well known for their highly practical training materials, which you’ll find plenty of inside The Authority Site System.

In the very first video inside TASS, Mark promises that they will always show you two things throughout the course.

The Authority Site System: Mark two things

“Number one: why we do things the way we do, so you can learn to make decisions on your own.

And two: how to do things step-by-step, using over the shoulder, screencast videos, so you can follow along every step of the way.”

In other words, they explain WHY they do what they do, then show you exactly HOW you can do it, too.

My favorite example of this appears in module four of The Authority Site System, where Mark walks you through the entire process – researching, planning, writing, proofreading – of creating a high-level piece of content.

The end result is an impressive 2,590-word article.

The Authority Site System: content creation video

The article is all the more impressive considering, by Mark’s own admission:

  • He’s not much of a writer himself
  • He has little experience with the subject matter
  • He researched, planned, wrote and proofread the entire thing in about 2 hours

All possible thanks to…

Step-By-Step Systems

The most impressive part of The Authority Site System is that it actually lives up to the name, particularly the last part – it’s an authority site SYSTEM.

Perhaps the best example of this is the Trello board you get access to when you sign up for TASS:

The Authority Site System Trello board

The board breaks down the entire TASS system into small, manageable tasks.

As Gael says in the free webinar:

“If you go from the beginning to the end of this to-do list, you will have a profitable website.”

Here’s a deeper look at one of the tasks on the board:

The Authority Site System Trello board detail

It’s not a stretch to say that within TASS, you’ll find a step-by-step system for pretty much everything.

  • Niche research
  • Picking a domain name
  • Designing your website
  • Keyword research
  • Link building
  • Etc.

Templates Galore

The Authority Site System also provides dozens of templates to help you make smarter decisions and save time when building your site.

Like this spreadsheet template to help you choose a great niche:

The Authority Site System niche spreadsheet

Or this 7-page content template (one of three content templates provided inside TASS):

The Authority Site System content template

Or a bunch of email templates, like this one:

Authority Hacker email outreach template

No Bullshit

The internet marketing world is full of hype men who overpromise and underdeliver. Authority Hacker do the opposite.

I really appreciate how the Authority Hacker guys set realistic expectations for students of TASS.

For example, in stark contrast to Wealthy Affiliate – who make the ridiculous “promise” that “you will not fail” – Authority Hacker tell you straight that failure is a possibility, and describe a realistic “worst-case scenario.”

That is, using the knowledge you gain from building an authority site to land a job in digital marketing…

Authority Hacker worst case scenario

They’re also very clear on how much time and effort is required before you start seeing results.

Authority Hacker patience

And how much money you’ll need to spend to build your site…

The Authority Site System: budget lesson
Above: screenshot of a lesson within TASS. They give you a copy of the spreadsheet shown here so you can create a budget for your own authority site. Note that the total displayed above would be spread out over 12 months.

I also appreciate that they point out whenever a student’s success isn’t typical, as in the case of this student…

Authority Hacker text message testimonial

No Fluff

To borrow a phrase from a Canadian rock band I’d never heard of, The Authority Site System is “all killer, no filler.”

A TASS member on Quora may have said it best:

Authority Hacker testimonial: Allan Dore

Not Salesy

You won’t see any desperate or shady sales tactics from Authority Hacker.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve become jaded by all the “gurus” trying to wow you with their mansions and Lamborghinis so you’ll buy whatever course they’re selling.

*cough* Tai Lopez *cough*

Thankfully, there’s none of that with Authority Hacker.

  • You’ll find no over-the-top sales pitch for The Authority Site System.
  • No upsells either.
  • You’ll frequently see Gael and Mark recommend paid tools they could be affiliates for, but they choose not to use an affiliate link.

All that to say, I’ve never gotten the impression that these guys are mainly in it for the money.

Text + Video Lessons

Whether you prefer to learn by text or video, The Authority Site System has you covered.

Each lesson inside TASS consists of text and video.

The videos range from 2 to 30 minutes in length – some lessons have more than one video – and the text is essentially the same info from the videos, but easier to skim through and refer back to.

The Authority Site System video lesson
Above: screenshot of a training video from TASS, offered as a free sample on the course sales page (click through and scroll down until you see “Take A Sneak Peek Inside The Course”)

Regular Updates

It’s clear that The Authority Site System is a constantly evolving course, with improvements being made to the material on a regular basis.

The first version of the Authority Site System was released in 2017 and the course has been updated many times since.

In June of 2019 they began keeping an update log:

The Authority Site System update log

As Simple As Possible…

Building an authority site can be a complex process. The Authority Site System does an admirable job of simplifying and clarifying that process.

In a post on Quora, Mark wrote that “the real value in TASS lies in the structure and simplicity”

The Authority Site System: Mark Webster Quora

It’s easy to see the fruits of this approach within the course.

One small thing they do which I find powerful in this regard: they specify a clear goal for each lesson, so you always know what you’re supposed to get out of it.

The Authority Site System lesson goal

…But No Simpler

While The Authority Site System is a simplified approach to building a successful authority site, it is not oversimplified. The course is quite thorough and doesn’t shy away from nuance.

An example from the SEO 101 lesson:

The Authority Site System lesson: SEO 101

Here Gael explains how, counterintuitively, the second keyword is more valuable to HealthAmbition.com than the first.

While the first brings 9x the traffic, the second generates 5x the revenue.

“It’s not about search volume only. It’s about the mix of search volume and intent.”

You’ll find this kind of nuanced approach throughout the course. They take the time to explain different strategies and tactics, note the pros and cons of each, and point out which is usually best in a given situation.

Uncle Albert would be proud:

Albert Einstein quote: as simple as possible


While I don’t consider the following criticisms to be a deal-breaker by any means, my goal with every review is to be fair and balanced, highlighting both pros and cons.

With that in mind…

Does TASS go deep enough?

While The Authority Site System aims to be the only course you need to build your first successful authority site, some believe it doesn’t go deep enough.

I’ve heard this criticism a couple of times, once directly from a student of the course.

To paraphrase the complaint:

I would like to see lots more lessons in TASS, diving deeper into the details. As it is, I frequently find myself googling for answers to questions I have that aren’t answered within the course.

As I understand it, TASS was never intended to be a fully comprehensive course that covers every detail of building an authority site.

To quote Mark’s Quora post again:

The Authority Site System: Mark Website on Quora

Given that, if you are thinking to invest in TASS, do so with the understanding that it will NOT answer every question you have about building an authority site.

Nor will any other course, for that matter.

You’ll always have new questions to answer and unique challenges to deal with.

To figure out that kind of stuff, you can:

  • Search for answers on Google
  • Ask for help in the private TASS community

Personally, I like that TASS isn’t a huge course with massive amounts of information to wade through.

They intentionally kept it simple to help you avoid overwhelm and stay focused on the 20% of tasks that lead to 80% of the results.

Overly reliant on premium tools?

The Authority Site System recommends using a keyword research tool that costs $99/month, and outreach tools – for link building – that can cost a combined $35/month or more.

Another popular affiliate marketing course I’ve reviewed is Project 24 by Income School.

Famously, Income School:

  • DON’T recommend using premium keyword research tools
  • DON’T recommend doing any link building
Income School videos
Above: Income School videos on YouTube arguing against link building and keyword research tools

This clearly conflicts with the advice of Authority Hacker in The Authority Site System.

So who’s right?

Well, I believe they both are.

Income School’s main argument against keyword research tools like Ahrefs is that they are not very accurate, which Authority Hacker actually agree with…

The Authority Site System: keyword tool warning
Above: screenshot from a lesson in TASS

The way I see it, the value of a keyword research tool like Ahrefs isn’t in any single estimate, but in how the estimates compare to each other.

For example, let’s say you’re building an authority site in the fishing niche 🐟

Here’s some data you might come across on Ahrefs:

Ahrfs keyword research: fishing niche

Taken in isolation, the volume, keyword difficulty (KD) and traffic estimates for any of those keywords are fairly useless.

But compare them to each other and it’s clear that you should prioritize creating “fishing pole” content before “fishing gear” or “fishing tackle” content.

As for link building, Income School’s position is that excellent content naturally gets linked to over time, so there’s no need to force it.

There’s some truth to that, but remember the 18-month old site that Authority Hacker sold for a mid-6-figure amount?

That wouldn’t have been possible without the proactive, white-hat link building campaign that earned them ~500 linking root domains within 12 months.

Authority Hacker link building campaign
Above: image from the Authority Hacker case study showing the results of their link building campaign

So I guess what it comes down to is this:

  • How fast do you want to build a successful authority site?

The stated goal of Project 24 is to “replace your current income with passive income in 24 months,” which is probably doable without using premium keyword tools or link building campaigns.

But if you want to speed up the process, a tool like Ahrefs and some proactive link building seem to help a lot.

Health Ambition took a big hit

Authority Hacker’s most public authority site – Health Ambition – lost a ton of organic traffic in the wake of Google’s Medic Update, which might raise questions about the viability of Authority Hacker’s approach to building authority sites.

Launched in 2013, HealthAmbition.com had apparently been a nice money-maker for the Authority Hacker guys over the years.

That was until the infamous Google Medic Update in 2018 😱

This graph from Ahrefs clearly shows the big drop-off in organic traffic after the update:

Ahrefs: Health Ambition organic traffic

I asked Mark from Authority Hacker about this.

His response.

HA was never really our main money maker. As soon as we put it into the public light it became a sort of experimental site. Revenue was pretty flat for years. The site design, structure and setup were poor as this was our first authority site.

Thus, the motivation to work on it was quite low. Any real progress we’d make, would often just be a gift to all the copycats out there.

We were all set to sell the site in May 2018. But the valuation we got wasn’t what we wanted.

So we held on with the plan to do absolutely nothing but keep the lights on and earn a regular paycheck from it. This worked great for about 3 months until the Medic Update hit.

The site gets around 50-60k visits a month, far more than what Ahrefs shows. Yes it has still dropped a lot, but that graph makes it look a lot worse than it is.

Also worth pointing out that the specifics of the niche were largely responsible for the drop.

That last point is significant.

The Medic Update is so-called because it hit the health niche especially hard. You can read more about the impact over at Search Engine Land.

Back to Mark:

No one out there is contesting that the way we build or market sites had something to do with this.

It’s unfortunate for us that the one site we chose to make public experienced this. As a comparison, the other site we sold in Jan 2019 had nothing but growth throughout all these same updates.

So much as to say, that people shouldn’t infer there is something wrong with authority sites in general from this.


Here are some other minor issues with The Authority Site System worth mentioning, such as the stated minimum time commitment, and an empty final module.

  • Minimum Time Commitment
    On the TASS sales page it says, “We recommend you have at least 1 hour to spend every weekday for 6-12 months if you want to see significant results.” I personally think you should have at least 10 hours per week available to build a successful authority site.
  • Affiliate Marketing = “one of the easiest ways to make money online”
    Gael says this in a lesson called Affiliate Marketing 101. While something like building a SaaS business or an ecommerce site is usually harder than affiliate marketing, I believe most people will find it easier to make money online starting with freelancing or remote work.
  • TASS is unfinished
    As of this writing, there’s nothing in Module 6 of the course, and there hasn’t been for several months. (Not a huge deal, since there was never intended to be any additional training there anyway, and they’re pretty good about keeping the earlier modules up to date.)
The Authority Site System final module
Above: screenshot from the final module of The Authority Site System.
  • Too white hat?
    Authority Hacker only teach “white hat” SEO strategies and tactics. One student told me they’d prefer if the course also covered grey and black hat SEO and let you decide for yourself which path to follow.

Again, I don’t consider any of the above issues to be a deal-breaker for The Authority Site System. No course is perfect – which is why we’re so stingy with awarding a 5-star rating – but TASS comes pretty damn close.


Are students actually getting results with Authority Hacker?

Yes, a significant number of students appear to be getting good results by following the Authority Hacker training.

You can see a bunch of testimonials from students of The Authority Site System over on the TASS sales page and in the free Authority Hacker webinar.

Some of them are incredible, like this one:

Authority Hacker text message testimonial

But as Mark and Gael will tell you themselves, results like that are exceptional.

The following are more typical results seen by students who put in the work consistently…

Authority Hacker testimonial: David Pedley

Authority Hacker testimonial: Ajay Verma

Authority Hacker testimonial: Dimitar Margaritov

And here’s another that shows the kind of exponential growth you can see from an authority site if you stick with it for the long haul:

Authority Hacker review student success

Authority Hacker state on the TASS sales page:

4,500+ customers & partners already saw results using the Authority Hacker methods.

I’ve seen enough testimonials from those customers and partners to believe that the success rate of TASS students is equal to or better than every other affiliate marketing training program.

But what kind of success can YOU expect if you join The Authority Site System and put in the work?

Gael provided an answer to that question in a message to their email list:

The Authority Site System: average student results

Who should take this course?

The Authority Site System is intended for “online marketing newbies,” people who have tried and failed to earn at least $1000 per month with authority sites, and “builders wanting to scale.”

Here’s how Authority Hacker puts it on the sales page for the course:

Authority Hacker: who is it for?

Interested in The Authority Site System?

If so, I highly recommend you go watch the free webinar Gael and Mark put together.

It gives a solid overview of their entire system.

And if you’ve already decided to sign up for TASS, do yourself a favor and buy it with a big discount

Authority Hacker Alternatives

I’m on a mission to review all the top affiliate marketing courses.

Here’s my progress so far:

Course Rating Review
Authority Hacker’s TASS 4.6/5 Authority Hacker review
Income School’s Project 24 4/5 Project 24 review
Commission Hero 2.6/5 Commission Hero review
Udemy affiliate marketing courses 2/5 Udemy affiliate marketing courses review
Affiliate Marketing Mastery 1.5/5 Affiliate Marketing Mastery review
Affilorama 1.5/5 Affilorama review
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing 1.5/5 Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing review
Wealthy Affiliate 1/5 Wealthy Affiliate review
Six Figure Mentors 0.7/5 Six Figure Mentors review
ClickBank University 0.5/5 ClickBank University review
Super Affiliate System 0.5/5 Super Affiliate System review
See all the affiliate marketing courses we’ve reviewed »

If you can’t afford to invest in a premium affiliate marketing course, here are some high-quality free resources from Authority Hacker you can check out:

Your Authority Hacker review

Are you a member of The Authority Site System or another Authority Hacker course?

Please consider leaving a review below – good or bad – doesn’t matter so long as it’s helpful to other readers.

Thanks for your support!

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  1. Hey Niall,
    Great review! Masterclass in writing a review lol.
    I currently own a website that makes anywhere between $1000 – $3000 per month and I feel like I want to do “more” with it, or start another. (It’s nearly 2 years old)
    It’s a level 1 authority site, and since I’m not really interested in putting ads on it, I think it’s going to stay that way.
    I’m currently a Wealthy Affiliate member, and their training has got me this far, but I’m looking for something else. I feel like I’m missing some pieces that could help me grow my website or improve it.
    Given where I’m at with my current website would you recommend I go for the Authority Site System or the Pro?
    Also, do you have any thoughts on the Wealthy Affiliate keyword tool Jaaxy?
    Thank you for your help!

    1. Hi Emily,

      Congrats on your success so far! That must have taken a lot of work. Well done.

      Given where I’m at with my current website would you recommend I go for the Authority Site System or the Pro?

      Go with TASS. You’ll find that a big step up from Wealthy Affiliate. I still mostly follow what they teach in TASS, haven’t dipped much into AH Pro.

      Also, do you have any thoughts on the Wealthy Affiliate keyword tool Jaaxy?

      I wasn’t impressed by it. And as mentioned in my Wealthy Affiliate review, in a survey of 137 internet marketing experts, nobody mentioned Jaaxy when asked which tool is best for keyword research. Not a good sign!

  2. Hi Niall. Appreciate your honest appraisal. Do you need to come from a tech background to realistically be able to set something up using AH? I also was not clear on how I would make money doing this, i.e what product do I try sell and how do I know I can make money trying to sell? Are there any examples on the AH website or can trial before committing? Thanks Ed in Dublin

    1. Hey Ed,

      A tech background helps because there is a learning curve to setting up a website. But I wouldn’t consider it a necessity. The same way a writing background helps for creating content but it isn’t a necessity. TASS is pretty good at walking you through website setup, content creation, and everything else. Then it’s really just a matter of diving in and practicing everything yourself. Or if you have a budget for it you can hire help.

      what product do I try sell and how do I know I can make money trying to sell?

      That’s all figured out when you go through the niche and keyword research process. They show you how to pick a niche that you have a good chance of succeeding with and how to find products to promote in that niche. Then it’s a matter of creating good content based on keywords that you can rank for.

      Are there any examples on the AH website or can trial before committing?

      I’d recommend going through all the free affiliate marketing resources I have listed here, including the free Authority Hacker webinar. That will give you way better insight into what affiliate marketing is and how it works. If you like the sound of it after that, you could sign up for TASS and you’d have 30 days to try it out properly and get a refund if you decide it’s not a good fit for you.

  3. Hi Niall
    Thank you for the most honest and in-depth review of an online course that I’ve ever come across. I might consider re-purposing an old website of mine with related existing content to see if it may give me a headstart of sorts on Google. But anyway, with regards to the budgeting spreadsheet provided by TASS, I was wondering if you would consider it a fairly good estimate or otherwise?

    1. Hey Adam,

      Thanks for the comment.

      Yeah, I’d consider the TASS budgeting spreadsheet to be very helpful and a good estimate of what it costs to build a legit authority site. Much less accurate is the minimum time they say you need to invest each week to build a successful site. They say it’s only 5-7 hours, but I reckon you have little chance of success unless you’re spending at least 10 hours per week on it.

  4. Hi Niall,
    After reading through your review of Authority Hacker, I am sure that Authority Hacker is the site for me to invest time in. My only question is that, being only 17 and going into college, will my age have any effect on me building a successful site? Especially with the case that I do not have any prior experience with writing on a professional level and web designing.

    1. Hey Dennis,

      Thanks for the comment. I don’t think being 17 years old should deter you. Nor should inexperience with writing or web design. But if this your first try at building an online business then I think you’ll find affiliate marketing quite tough, especially if you’ll be going to college at the same time.

      If I were in your shoes, I’d pick a skill related to affiliate marketing, like SEO or writing or web design, learn as much as you can about that in 1-2 months, then try find some freelance gigs. You’d be making money faster that way, and you’d also get to practice and improve skills that you can use to build your own affiliate site later if you still want to.

  5. Hi Niall,

    Thank you for posting such an accurate and thorough review.

    I do have a question if I don’t have a lot of experience writing articles will this still be a good course? I know writing has never been my forte and may be holding me back. I was unclear if they teach you how to write for your website.

    Thank you

    1. Hey Quinn,

      It’s definitely better if you have some writing experience, but one of my favorite parts of the course is where Mark walks you through writing an article from scratch. I mentioned it in the review. See above where I wrote, “The end result is an impressive 2,590-word article.”

      That part of the course won’t make you a great writer overnight, but it’ll give you a solid process for creating content, and you’ll get better with practice.

      One question I’d ask you though: do you think you’d actually enjoy writing lots of content? If not, building an affiliate website probably wouldn’t be a good idea for you, unless you can outsource the content creation.

  6. Hi Niall,
    May I know if members of TASS have the freedom to choose where they want to host the domain? I joined one of affiliate course that was rated low by you, and it seems like it recommended to host domain through their site.
    After reading a few of the reviews on TASS, I kind of regretted that I rush into my current course instead of doing some research for other affiliate courses available out there.

    1. Hi Vivian,

      Yes, the TASS training tells you to use whatever hosting your want. If you already have hosting somewhere, use that. If you don’t, they have a couple of recommendations. If I remember right, one of them is SiteGround. But I don’t think it matters that much for the first year or so. I had my site on Dreamhost for several months before I outgrew that hosting and switched to Kinsta.

      I joined one of affiliate course that was rated low by you, and it seems like it recommended to host domain through their site.

      That sounds a lot like WA. If you want to move your site off their hosting, search for Marion Black move Wealthy Affiliate hosting and you should find a decent guide there.

      1. I pasting what I see when I click your link:

        Only $997

  7. Great article- So thorough and honest!
    Really looking into trying to build An affiliate marketing side hustle with a hope to be a full time gig…Have you any thoughts on Dean Holland’s internetprofits?

  8. Thanks Niall for that great review.
    I am beginning on affiliation but not in a hurry so I’d like to engage with TASS in a long term building website.
    Only one point is confusing.I see that most people making money with that kind of website is using amazon affiliate program for their revenue or a big part of their revenue, so if I want a website without amazon affiliate shall you still recommend that course to build a business with affiliate website.


    1. Hi Hassan,

      The TASS training does include the Amazon affiliate program, but they warn of the dangers of that. When I first went through the training about 1.5 years ago it was clear to me that it was risky to focus solely on Amazon. I know Mark and Gael are updating the TASS training now to make that even more clear and present additional alternatives.

  9. Hello,

    The results you posted ($7798), were those obtained with free traffic? Also, may I ask how much of that is profit? Did you create a website, etc? Just trying to get an idea of expenses incurred while working an affiliate…

    I’m seriously looking into this and this course, based on your review.

    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Marie,

      Yes, all free traffic. I haven’t bought any traffic since I started eBiz Facts in December 2018.

      As for profit/loss, you can see all my business income and expenses in my monthly finance reports. I built the website myself – I have lots of experience with web design – and also wrote the content myself, so I didn’t need to outsource anything big. I did hire some VAs every now and then to help with small tasks, and had the usual hosting/software expenses, but nothing huge there. I did buy several courses so I could review them.

      But I worked A LOT those first six months, and still work a lot on this website. If you break down my earnings per hour worked it’s not going to impress anyone. If you’re going to build an affiliate site, do so with the understanding that you’re unlikely to start seeing a good ROI until year 2 or 3, maybe longer.

      Note that I also had some advantages starting out. One was my experience with web design and content writing. Two was having a fairly well-established website (I repurposed an old blog into ebizfacts.com) which allowed me to rank faster and higher in Google. Three was that I came in with pretty good knowledge of my subject matter (online business).

      You can still succeed without those advantages, of course, but if this is your first time trying to make money online, I’d recommend starting with freelancing or a remote job instead. You could build skills and experience that way which would increase your chances of building a successful affiliate site down the line.

  10. Hi Niall, Thanks for the review!
    Is there a spanish version of this course or, failing that, with english subtitles?
    Thanks again!

    1. Hi Felipe,

      There isn’t a Spanish translation for the course but there are English subtitles. I logged in just now and took a screenshot of one of the video lessons with the subtitles turned on:

      The Authority Site System subtitles

  11. Great review! really appreciate the work put into these reviews! Looks like AH is the real deal. My question is if i dont have any prior training in website design/creation, is that a dealbreaker for me?

    1. Hey Bert,

      Web design experience definitely helps, but it’s not a deal-breaker. I’d say the most important thing you need is persistence, because it usually takes several months to start seeing decent results.

      Also, in the first few months, I believe it’s more important to focus on writing/creating content than on web design. It’s very easy to get caught up with making your site look pretty, but Google cares a lot less about that than they care about the quality of the information you provide. I know some trustworthy people like Miles Beckler even recommend using one of the default WordPress themes for the first few months so you don’t spend loads of time on web design when you should be creating content.

  12. Wow, that’s an insightful review. Am keen to step up my affiliate game and this review nailed it for me.

    Just a question. Does TASS go on a discount of sorts during Black Friday or July 4th?


    1. Hey Leo,

      I believe I’ve seen Authority Hacker do Black Friday discounts on some of their higher-priced training, but I can’t remember them ever doing that for TASS.

  13. Jennifer Parshall

    I understand this isn’t a great rich quick scheme, but if I had more time to invest per week than your recommendation of 10 hours per week, would that speed up the process? Or do websites need time to gather organic traffic even with more frequent posts? For example, if I had 20-30 hours per week to devote, is it plausible to be at a replacement full-time income after a year?

    1. Hey Jennifer,

      Oh yeah, the more work you can put into it, the better. It will still take time for your content to rank on Google. But say you published 100 quality content pieces in 6 months compared to 50. With the 100, you’ll likely be getting twice as much traffic, and so potentially twice as much affiliate and advertising income.

      Of courses, you’d still need to make sure your content is targeting good keywords, and that a significant chunk of that content is monetized properly.

      is it plausible to be at a replacement full-time income after a year?

      Aim for that but don’t get your hopes up. I think $1000/month is a great result after a year, even if you’re putting in 20-30 hours a week.

      I was able to get to about $2500 per month after a year, just with affiliate marketing (no ads), but I wasn’t starting a site from scratch (I repurposed and started monetizing an existing site), and it helped a lot that I focused on affiliate programs that pay high commissions (ie. not Amazon).

      One of the screenshots in my review shows an Authority Hacker student reporting earnings of $23,000 in one month after only a year, but that is truly exceptional. From what I know about that student, he basically did nothing except obsessively work on his site for a whole year. And I’m not sure if he started completely from scratch.

  14. Is this unbiased, or based on the amount these companies pay commission per sale? Authority hacker doesn’t have many reviews elsewhere…

    1. Hi Lee,

      I don’t think any review can be 100% unbiased, but we do a few things here to safeguard against bias:

      • We try to have multiple people review each course, so it’s not just one opinion. (3 people contributed to this Authority Hacker review)
      • We state openly that we may earn a commission from any sales we refer. You should be able to see that message on your screen at all times when browsing this site on desktop, and at the top of the page on mobile.
      • We always try to back up our claims/opinions with screenshots and/or external sources. That way we’re SHOWING you instead of just TELLING you, and you can draw your own conclusions based on the info we present.

      Beyond that, we’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time reviewing affiliate marketing courses that we DON’T recommend people buy. Wealthy Affiliate is a good example (reviewed here). If our main goal was to earn commissions by any means necessary, we’d have given WA a positive review. But we didn’t think it was good so we gave it a negative review.

      As to why there aren’t more reviews of Authority Hacker online, part of it is probably due to them not pushing members to become affiliates. Wealthy Affiliate does that, actively encouraging and even training members to promote the product. That’s why you see so many (overly positive) reviews of WA everywhere.

  15. I actually enrolled in TASS and must say that I do not regret it. It’s very thorough yet simply put together. The seo keyword research is an excellent summary. I am very confident that this system is going to work for me!

  16. Hey Niall! Thank you so much for the great review. Affiliate marketing, authority sites, SEO…. All new to me. Your work brings light into the chaos. Feels like learning a new language!

  17. Hey Niall! Another great review as always. You’ve got me thinking about taking this course. As a content writer and editor for many different online sites, even if I didn’t get a successful site running myself, I would become much more of an expert when it comes to creating effective content for my clients. I’ll go watch their webinar soon and keep mulling it over! 🙂

    1. Hey Zoe,

      Thanks for the comment.

      And yeah, even if you don’t plan on building an authority site yourself, there’s a lot to gain from TASS. I’m a far better content creator because of it. Their content creation module could actually be packaged and sold separately and I’m sure it would do very well.

      1. I watched the free webinar and have been getting some emails from TASS about signing up with the discount they offer at the end of the webinar.

        In one of the emails they write:
        “When the countdown timer reaches 0, you can bet your Grandmas teeth the price will have jumped up considerably. And once it goes up, it doesn’t go back down.

        If you take action NOW, before the countdown timer reaches zero, you’ll pay a heavily discounted price of $599 (instead of the usual $997). This also happens to be the lowest price we’ll ever offer this at. Period.

        We’re very serious about price increases, so please don’t expect to email us afterwards to get the discounted price. (Others have tried and failed. Please, don’t be that person.)”

        So they are basically lying when they are saying all that, correct? Since you say you can just click that link and always have the discount at any time, right?

        1. Hey Zoe,

          Thanks for the comment.

          I believe Authority Hacker have their sales page set up so that it reads your IP address and/or cookies when you visit, and it doesn’t give you the discount if it knows you’ve been offered it before and the timer has expired. So in that sense, the discount offer is about as strict as it can be.

          As for the discount link in this review, here’s a little context…

          When I first wrote this review, I didn’t include the link to the discount, because that was supposed to be an offer reserved for people who watched the webinar. That’s how the Authority Hacker guys set it up initially. So I just hinted in my review that people should watch the webinar before buying.

          Then I noticed another review of TASS that told people about the discount. That review linked directly to the discount offer.

          I asked Mark from AH about this, and he said yeah, they didn’t want affiliates doing that initially, but it was too hard to police so they just embraced it. After hearing that, I added the discount info to my review as well.

        2. Yeah. And the fact that there was a pushy, sleazy countdown timer on their sales page is a massive, MASSIVE turn-off for me, however ‘strict’ it is.
          Going with Income School.

          1. I’m not a big fan of countdown timers either, but Income School are known to use them, too. See the 5:10 mark of this video, for example. There the Income School guys overhaul someone’s site and use an evergreen countdown timer to boost sales of an ebook, something they say they’ve done on their own sites many times before.

  18. Hey Niall, great review! I did the Authority Hacker Pro course and it was one of the best courses that I ever took on online marketing. Great videos, over the shoulder content, no fluff and very practical/to the point. Great job on writing up this review and covering each and every aspect that someone would want to know before buying. Your review is even better than the course itself :)!

  19. Great review; answered all my questions about this course I think.

    I’m very tempted but not sure I trust myself to put in the 10+ hours a week after I’ve been writing blog posts all day as my day job.

    Plus, when I’m getting paid to write for my day job, I find it hard to justify writing for a side project that doesn’t make any money (yet), when I could be writing for clients and getting money today.

    Do they talk about how much content is required for a typical site, like 10 x 4,000 word articles to start, then 3 x 2,000 words a week being added etc?

    I guess the other worry is picking a niche that looks great after carrying out research, as they did with the health one, then getting hit with an unexpected Google update, and losing everything!

    But I guess that’s the risk with all businesses, you could open a brilliant coffee shop, then 2 months later, Starbucks opens next door and you’re out of business.

    Definitely tempted though…

    1. Hey Joe, thanks for the comment.

      I’m very tempted but not sure I trust myself to put in the 10+ hours a week after I’ve been writing blog posts all day as my day job.

      What about outsourcing content creation? They show you how to do that in TASS. They do recommend writing the first 10 articles yourself, but in your case, since you’re already an experienced writer, it sounds like it wouldn’t be necessary.

      Do they talk about how much content is required for a typical site, like 10 x 4,000 word articles to start, then 3 x 2,000 words a week being added etc?

      It really depends on the niche and the competition.

      But if I remember right they have 50 articles as a big milestone to get to. I’ve seen sites with less than that do well, but the articles have to be top-notch. For a long time I believe Brian Dean at Backlinko only had 40-50 articles on his site and he was still crushing it.

      As for word count, the advice there is to make your article a little longer than the average word count of the articles ranking on page 1 for the same keyword. Google seems to be rewarding that length, so you write just a bit more.

      I guess the other worry is picking a niche that looks great after carrying out research, as they did with the health one

      Look up what a YMYL niche is. Those are getting harder and harder to compete in without some serious expertise and/or authority. Pick a non-YMYL niche and you’re less likely to get whacked by Google at some point.

      1. Thanks Niall.

        I will give it some more thought.

        That’s a good point about outsourcing. Do they discuss the best way to do that in the course? I know about sites like Upwork etc, but maybe they have some extra advice.


        1. Yeah, they list three sites in the course that they’ve used for outsourcing. One of them is Upwork, though that’s not their first choice. The sites aren’t a big secret or anything, but the value of that lesson in TASS is that they give you their template for creating a content brief that you can then send to writers. It’s very well done.

  20. By the way, I HATE it when people say they’ve earned X amount because of a course, but don’t disclose how much of those earnings came from referring THAT VERY COURSE!

    *cough* pretty much every Wealthy Affiliate review ever *cough*

    So let me not be one of those people, and tell you that, as of this writing, I’ve earned $7,663.93 from affiliate marketing so far this year.

    And only $676.87 – less than 9% – of those affiliate earnings have come from referring people to any Authority Hacker course.

    Unlike Wealthy Affiliate, which constantly urges members to become affiliates for the course itself, I’ve seen ZERO mention of Authority Hacker’s own affiliate program within The Authority Site System.

    Kudos to them for that.

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