Ben Cummings eCommerce Fast Track, Elevated eCommerce Podcast, and Amazon FBA – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

This no holds barred review is going to pull no punches.  I’m very sorry to say it is going to be mostly negative, so I thought I’d try to balance that by starting with the positive things.  After more than 3 years as a Fast Track member, also as a Traian Turcu Masterclass member, and after more than $18,000 paid to Ben and Emily Cummings, I have a pretty sound understanding of them, and the good and bad in their service.

Let me give you a disclaimer though – these are only my opinions, based my experiences as a Fast Track member.  My opinions may be right, or they may be wrong, it is for you do decide.  I’m simply presenting an opinion!

The Good

I cant be completely negative.  There are some good things that you can learn from Ben.  He is first and foremost a master of sales psychology (a skill which he uses to sell his various coaching products such as Fast Track).  You can almost learn from watching him sell to his list (ie selling to you!).  In my opinion, he’s very good at getting you to buy, using his genial manner and feigned modesty, by building buzz and desire in his listeners by casually throwing in subtle pre-sales messages like “my Launchpad Software is closed we only sell rarely etc” just before building up to a sales campaign on the Launchpad Software, for example.  This is very subtle selling, or perhaps not so subtle!

In addition, Ben serves as something of a nucleus of Amazon sales related information.  He’s built enough of a reputation and a sufficient number of contacts that he gleans techniques and tactics for selling on Amazon, almost like an aggregator, and is able to teach these to his list.  His partner in the Elevated eCommerce podcast, Traian Turcu, has I believe taught him a great deal, as have others.

As a Fasttrack subscriber, or an Elevated eCommerce podcast listener, you get to benefit from this aggregation of up to date strategy (but see below for a warning on this).

In summary, you will learn from Ben, for sure.  What we’ll explore below is, at what cost?

The Bad

It’s difficult to know where to start.  I’ve heard Ben in public forums (not on Fasttrack – I’m not in a position to reveal anything said on there as I’m still bound by the Non Disclosure Agreement) I’ve heard him talk about the importance of following HIS teaching vice other bloggers and so on who, he implies, you can’t trust.

There is a big red flag that I see here.  Ben says he’s been an entrepreneur all his life and run many businesses.  Well, let me ask you, would you follow an entrepreneur in his mid 50s that still lives in a town house and dreams of St Barts?  If he was good, wouldn’t he have made it by now after 30 plus years entrepreneurial hustle?

There is a big question mark here in my mind.  Richard Branson I’d follow; or Jeff Bezos, who is a similar age to Ben.  But I’m not sure that Ben’s record is any endorsement for Ben.  I wouldn’t want to follow someone who’s taken 30 years to NOT get where he wants to.

What about his track record on Amazon FBA as a third party seller?

Chris and I had previously done some SEO on Ben’s products for Jason Fladlien and Wil Mattos from RapidCrush, when they and Ben were working together.  So I know Ben’s product lines.  I can’t reveal them of course, but let me tell you – the sales ranks I’ve seen are abysmal.  These do not reflect the success you’d expect of an Amazon guru, or “Amazon whisperer,” in my opinion.

Do poor sales ranks reflect the 7 figure Amazon marketer Ben claims to be?  Is this a track record you want to follow?  I don’t know, you decide, but I have my opinion!  Does Ben really do FastTrack as a sideline, as he states publicly, with Amazon his main activity?  Or is it in fact the other way round, where he makes his money selling to YOU!??  I don’t know but I have my opinion.

In addition, as a marketer myself with experience in both creating courses, and implementing strategies, in my opinion his teaching is often missing details and hard to follow without using my own experience to fill in the gaps.

Even when he produced “detailed SOPs” they would on occasion be missing important information, instead including detailed walk throughs of simple aspects of the strategy which really don’t need explanation, and missing important details that are so essential.  I remember trying to implement a certain ranking strategy ads, where he appeared to teach an Ad strategy as part of it, when in fact you needed to refer back to some teaching from 6 months previously.  It was completely unclear, and in my opinion would be very hard to follow without existing marketing knowledge.

What about Support?

This brings me to another point – the support (or lack of it).  At that time I wrote to ask a simple question on applying the strategy.  My email was met by the standard “this is a great question for the Q&A webinar” – in other words, they chose not to offer teaching support via helpdesk, instead running a monthly Q&A to answer all the questions their subscribers submit.  Well, good luck with that!  I pre-submitted many questions to the Q&A in my early days as a Fast Track subscriber.  I don’t think I ever had one answered (maybe one).  I gave up submitting them.  There was no point.

I also remember receiving a reply from support, in my early days as a member, which was so bad tempered and unhelpful I actually used it as a training aid for my own support staff in how NOT to do customer service!  Wow.

What about the Teaching itself?

More substantively, it is my opinion that Ben’s teaching in Fast Track is incomplete and often flawed.  And it’s my belief that he doesn’t really care.  I can’t say those are facts, but they are my opinion based on my years as a Fast Track member, and what I’ve seen and heard.

In his sales pitches for Fast track, I’ve heard Ben state that his members get all his best teaching and techniques.  It is my opinion, after being a member more than 3 years, that he has not taught his Fast Trackers some of the top techniques he is aware of.  I’m sorry that I cannot give examples in a public forum like this because of the NDA I remain in observance of.

Finally, it’s my belief that his training is flawed in places.  When I last had access, Ben was still promoting a ranking technique which relied on a pricing structure which he already knew was ineffective for ranking (as he had discussed with Traian on a podcast months earlier).  As I said, it was a long time later that this ineffective ranking technique was still at the top of the Fast Track members area as THE ranking technique to use.  This is downright either dishonest, or lazy at best, in my opinion.

Does he even know what he’s talking about?  I cant say one way or the other, but I’ve heard Ben say publicly that he knows more about the Amazon ranking algorithm ‘than anyone else he knows.’  That’s an interesting way of putting it!  Well, there’s one major ranking factor which is a) pretty self evident and b) proven in my experience and c) taught by others – and we are talking a major ranking signal in Amazon’s algorithm – which I NEVER heard him mention in my over 3 years in Fast Track.   And he’s the Amazon Whisperer?  Boy, I have to wonder.

The Ugly

This is actually the worst part of it all in some ways.  In my opinion based on my experiences interacting with them, Ben and Emily are dishonest, uncaring, and lack integrity.  I don’t believe they care about their Fastrackers, despite them implying they do, and I feel their sales techniques in selling to their list are disrespectful and contrived.

Let me tell you a story…

About a year ago, Ben sent out an email offering a commission for any referral sales of Traian Turcu’s Masterclass.  Because I had a lot of respect for Traian, I emailed a lot of people recommending the course.  Now, as many of you know, I have a pen name which I use in business.  In my purchases from Ben I had always used my real, legal name.  But read on…

Two people wrote back saying that they had bought on my recommendation. I waited for my commission.  Nothing arrived. When I then wrote to inquire from the Cummings team, the trouble started.  First of all, there was an error my end – one of those two people who told me they had bought on my recommendation in fact had not done so.  I immediately apologized to the Cummings team – clearly this was not deliberate on my part.

But Ben’s assistant Ed then started suggesting that I was not due referral commission on the other sale because of the time it had taken to write in, and other baseless excuses (as I said, I was just waiting to be sent the referral).  It was quite extraordinary to me.  And pretty dumb on their part (well, it’s led to this!).  I wrote to Traian, asking him to vouch for me.  As a result, Emily Cummings flew into an email rage, told me I had violated the non-disclosure agreement by using a false name (I had not, I always used my real name, and have obeyed the NDA to this day), told me they would not pay me the referral I was owed, and denied me access to any updates on the Traian Turcu Masterclass, which I had purchased myself.

I wrote to Ben through a mutual friend (a big marketer, whose name you all know).  I went out of my way to pour oil on troubled water, apologizing even though no apology from me was due, etc etc, just to try and mend relationships.  Ben’s response to our mutual friend was that he would not engage with me.  I never heard from him.  Dumb.

My point is this – if they will treat me like this, a fellow marketer with some influence in the industry, who if they had any sense they would befriend….

… if they’ll treat me like this, how will they treat you?  If I were you, I wouldn’t risk it.

Summary and Recommendation

Should you buy into Ben Cummings eCommerce Fast Track?  If you are an experienced marketer, willing to read between the lines and fill in the gaps in any teaching, you will for sure learn things that likely outweigh the cost.  But you need to be willing to put up with the level of support offered or not offered, and take on the chin the disrespectful (in my opinion) marketing, constantly trying to sell you more.  And the $3,540 per year it will cost you….

For me, after more than 3 years subscribed, I determined that the information I was getting was not worth the cost.  And I have a big budget to spend, tax deductible, being already in the marketing business.  I had already cancelled my Fast Track membership before the argument with Ed and Emily.  I would never recommend Fast Track to my family members who are Amazon sellers.

If you are NOT an experienced marketer, my honest advice is that you steer well clear of anything Ben Cummings does.  I’ve only been able to put a small portion of the reasons for this in the above review, but I personally do not trust him, what he says, or what he teaches.  Your choice.

Please Comment

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, both good and bad.  If you are gong to be critical of Ben and Emily Cummings, I suggest you do not put your real name against the comment.  I wouldn’t trust them not to retaliate…

7 Comments

  • randy sewell

    Reply Reply March 15, 2020

    I`ve been following you guys for a long time John and I can definitely say with 100% confidence that I feel like you have always had your subscribers best interest in mind. I`ts hard to find your type of honesty these days. Thanks for all you have done and continue to do for us.

    • John Pearce

      Reply Reply March 15, 2020

      Thank you Randy!

      • Betty

        Reply Reply March 15, 2020

        I was a subscriber for a while but my logical mind kept telling me that everything sounded so complicated. I put it down to me being an inexperienced marketer!!

        Yeah, self exaltation wore me down a bit. LOL!

  • John MacDonald

    Reply Reply March 16, 2020

    Thanks for the great post and inside info. I did take up Ben Cummings offer of free 6-week training on Amazon selling with FBA.

    I should mention that I am also a member of ASM (having bought that through you). This meant I was also able to see other parts of Ben’s training courtesy of RapidCrush’s Masterclasses.

    I found much of the information Ben shared very useful especially tools that I had not come across before. However, as you mention Ben has some useful information on the psychology of selling and how to apply those.

    In my case having spent $3000 on ASM I was not about to spend more money on Ben’s training (upsell) but I admit had that not been the case I might easily have been tempted – hey he is great at marketing 🙂

    So what benefit is there, after spending much time and effort on the free training? Happily, as an online marketer who is also helping others with their websites and lead gen, some of Ben’s techniques translate well into any online situation so not a total waste of time.

    Personally I think ASM is a better investment to get people started, even though personal circumstances stopped me completing the course when I purchased and so I have been paying tax-related costs on the company I set up for that, despite making no money whatsoever. 🙂

  • XXX

    Reply Reply March 16, 2020

    LOL…I’ve received quite a few “not so friendly” emails from their support team as well 🙂

  • Brian Mckay

    Reply Reply April 7, 2020

    I have always known you guys to be reputable. I happen to be a chiropractor as is Ben. I earn most of my living as a chiropractor. I always felt there was way too much hype with his offerings. The steps you took here to inform shows the integrity you have have. Thanks Brian McKay

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