Is the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit worth it?

Screenshot of GBTK 9 logo from the waitlist page

Every year, girl boss bloggers email/post about the amazingness that allegedly is The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit (GBTK) by Ultimate Bundles (UB).

Some will even bribe you to purchase via their link with their own products and exclusive discounts.

I’m going to tick off a lot of people in this post, most likely by saying this: The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit is overhyped.

The first few GBTK bundles were cool, because collaborative bundles were unprecedented. No one curated a bunch of products into a paid bundle with a hefty discount.

How Ultimate Bundles are sold

To understand how UBs are sold, you need to understand how they’re promoted.

An aggressive marketing strategy isn’t complete without persuasive copywriting hyping up the product and hundreds to thousands of affiliates shoving the product in your face to give the illusion that you’re seeing or hearing about it EVERYWHERE.

UB affiliates earn 40-70% commission. On the GBTK, which is $97 before the upgrade, that’s $38.80-67.90 per sale. There are also sales bonuses.

Affiliates are encouraged to email their list multiple times, announce the bundle across social media, and even write a blog post (that is essentially the same as everyone else’s).

Their marketing is so major that searching for their bundles doesn’t show you the UB website for several search result pages on Google.

Affiliates are encouraged to offer an incentive to people who use their link specifically to buy the bundle, which places all these affiliates in huge competition with each other. 🥴

My experience with Ultimate Bundles

I’m not sure when UB was sold, but the GBTK started to falter in value after my own bad experiences with UB.

Buying the GBTK

I bought the GBTK from someone whose incentive was this course I’d been wanting a long time. I loved her blog and respected her as a person. I sent my proof of purchase to her email, and…crickets. Nada.

I’d wanted the bundle, but part of the $97 value, in my opinion, was this affiliate’s $297 offer for free if I bought the GBTK with her link.

This is why encouraging affiliates to create incentives is problematic: They are now associated with the customer experience, meaning you lose control over how your customers experience your brand, because they’re now associated with your brand.

Regular affiliates who don’t have incentives have no control over the customer experience beyond how they write about you.

Someone else I subscribed to dropped into my inbox a few days later to announce the bundle and how she’d be providing an incentive to people who purchased it during the discounted flash sale a few months after it. She hadn’t contributed to it, but she also had an incentive for the DISCOUNTED flash sale.

You know that sick feeling like everything good drains from your body? I felt that.

I responded to her email with my proof of purchase, asking if people really delivered the incentives or if it was just a gimmick. I also asked why people were pushing the full-price so hard while knowing there would be a flash sale in a few months for HALF the price!

Y’all. That blogger sent me her bonus incentive and apologized on behalf of sketchy bloggers. I don’t remember her name because she stopped blogging about a year after that, but she was a major peach. 💘

I didn’t buy the GBTK for years after that. By that time, the second affiliate had stopped blogging, so I purchased the GBTK via Helene’s link during the discounted flash sale ($49). She didn’t have an incentive, but she was a contributor.

I wanted the GBTK for Helene’s product, Convert: How to Turn Readers Into Fans ($49) and a course that was $100+. I don’t remember what it was now, but it was mostly useless. I did make use of other products in the bundle, plus I received a free perfume as part of upgrading to the “cheat sheet”.

Purchasing a lifestyle bundle

I purchased a wellness bundle through UB for $24.. The product I was most interested in was about menstrual cycles and spirituality ($49).

The copy for the product made it sound like it was inline with some indigenous cultures, but the product itself focused on the Christian importance of womanhood and having a functional womb. 🥴

Specifically the importance of a woman’s womb being a vessel for her husband to spread his ish into. 🤢🤮

I looked at the other products in the bundle, but they didn’t fit my needs.

I asked for a refund, explained why I wanted a refund, and promised not to use the products anymore (and also to delete them from my computer). I received an apology for my disappointment and a refund.

Why the GBTK isn’t worth buying in 2024 and beyond

Ultimate Bundles sets itself apart in 2024+ by giving a refund to unsatisfied customers.

I still use Helene’s “Convert” product. It’s helped me a lot with blogging, as have other products I received in the GBTK.

However, I don’t think buying the GBTK is worth it anymore for a few reasons.

1. Sketchy marketing

Sorry not sorry, but aggressively selling the GBTK during October by saying it’s ONLY available in October — then selling is for $49 in December and the following spring — is false advertising.

(I think the marketing schedule has since changed for the GTBK, but its initial promo period was during the fall.

To tell people they won’t be able to obtain the $97 bundle ever again, but then advertise it twice across the next year for $49, creates false scarcity.

2. You don’t need another GBTK for several years.

I bought a GBTK in 2014 or 2015, then didn’t see or feel the need to again until about 2020 or 2021.

There are so many products that you don’t need a yearly bundle like this.

Before you say, “But Freya J…isn’t this a reason TO buy the GBTK?”

No, because…

3. Free bundles happen year-round.

Again, the GBTK was really awesome when it first launched, because no one else was doing anything like it.

These days, there is at least one FREE business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) happening every month. You need only be subscribed to people who contribute to those bundles or are affiliates for them — or hey: are running bundles themselves.

I participate in at least one free bundle or summit every quarter. ✨

You could literally create your own business curriculum out of these free bundles alone. It’s what I do when I need to learn something and don’t have the budget to buy products.

Free bundles exist because they help grow email lists. Growing one’s email subscribers helps expand their customer base.

I’m more likely to become someone’s paid customer these days after experiencing a few of their products via free bundles. 💁‍♀️

4. Lizzy’s Christmas Party is unparalleled.

Lizzy’s Christmas Party (LCP) is everything I think UB could have been, but isn’t and probably never will be.

Elizabeth Goddard is a multi-passionate business owner who has an amazing Facebook community for everyone who is a customer to at least one product. You can become a customer even via “buying” one of those products via a free bundle.

LCP is a hybrid collaborative bundle that has B2B and B2C goodies.

There’s a free and paid version. The free version is the main version, and it. is. amazing.

If you’re considering the GBTK, I recommend waiting for Lizzy’s Christmas Party in December. It happens once a year, with no discounted versions later. 👀

So you know you’re buying the bundle at the lowest price if you buy the paid version. ✨

5. Some GBTK products aren’t exclusive to the bundle.

UB has gotten worse about vetting contributed products over the years. A few years ago, they had a product that had appeared in almost every bundle I saw throughout the year, which made the GBTK feel cheap right then and there.

Products contributed to UB are supposed to have never been seen in another bundle before (preferred) or at least not have been featured in another bundle in the past year.

While more people are hosting bundles now, knowing what products were in which bundle is nearly impossible unless you saw them in it yourself. The pages don’t keep existing, like an archive (though it’d be nice if they did!).

I’ve even seen some GBTK products featured in free bundles. 🥴

6. It’s undeniably heteronormative.

There are people who believe politics don’t belong in business, while including politics in business. These people are typically the ones who are upset when a business owner brings some personal things into business — religion, sexuality, etc. — that they disagree with or dislike. 💁‍♀️

Seeing a bunch of straight people in online biz is lonesome. So is seeing a lot of men in tech. Lacking representation means you can’t picture yourself on that same level, doing similar things or being “awesome” — or whatever it is you’re going for.

Super proud people will say that that’s why you have to be the first, but being the first requires a LOT of emotional labor and masking. It means facing a LOT of microaggressions with the hope that, one day, you won’t have to.

It’s shit on my mental health.

Paid bundles are NOT redundant.

I want to be clear about something: I’m NOT saying paid bundles AREN’T worth it.

I only think the GBTK bundle isn’t worth it — unless you see a product (or a few) you want that costs more than the bundle’s price. I also think you should wait until December or the following spring to buy the GBTK, instead of paying full-price. 💁‍♀️

But first, I think you should check out the products in Lizzy’s Christmas Party, because you might find what you need there.

Even the paid bundle has more variety and is less about one’s prestige. Elizabeth thoroughly vets the products.

The paid bundles I recommend are ones I’ve contributed to myself or have thoroughly vetted myself. (I’ll never promote a paid bundle I haven’t contributed to or purchased and looked through myself.)

I also don’t promote bundles for full-price that will be discounted later. Having sales as an online biz owner is one thing; pushing people to buy something you know will be discounted later so you earn more commission is another. And they always write like they’re so surprised, too, despite knowing all. along.

It’s sketch.

The people who participate in the GBTK have usually participated in a GBTK bundle before, allowing for only a few newcomers. This makes UB cliquey, as that was part of its prestige in the early days.

It also makes the GBTK repetitive, because you’ll see a lot of the same people year after year and start feeling immune to it. The “newness” that is supposed to be the bundle starts to feel common.

There are plenty of free and paid bundles hosted throughout the year by other online business owners that regularly include new names. Participating in these bundles is easier, regardless of strict vetting processes, which makes it feel more like a community.

GBTK worth

Whether the GBTK is worth it is up to you. The “cheat sheets” are valued at over $1.5k, sold for $50 more than the regular price. The valued number is supposed to be the customer’s perceived value.

I didn’t think the cheat sheets were worth $50 more when I purchased the upgrade. 🤷‍♀️ If anything, I spent more time weeding through various products. 🥴

You SHOULD buy the GBTK if:

  • You’ve looked at ALL the resources and found something(s) you want that costs more than $150.
  • You genuinely thing you could use resources “worth” $150-400.
  • You were planning to buy a few products included in the bundle anyway.
  • It’s during the discounted flash sale.
  • You have $49-97 to spend (depending on whether it’s during the sale).

You should NOT buy the GBTK if:

  • You don’t have $49-97 to spend on the bundle.
  • You will buy a few products included in the bundle anyway (and want to fully support those business owners when you do, so they receive 100% before their regular fees).
  • You need to learn things featured in the bundle, but it doesn’t HAVE to be through the contributed products.

I’m not affiliated with UB. Whether you buy it or not benefits me in no way.

What are your thoughts on the GBTK? Let me know in the comments. 👇

Love this post?

Support me by subscribing to my blog and/or buying me a cuppa:

Leave a comment