Carl Parnell Automated Dropshipping Academy Review

by | Jan 31, 2020

About Automated Dropshipping Academy

Automated Dropshipping Mastery is a course by Carl Parnell which claims to teach how to start your own dropshipping store that can make upto $30K in revenue with a simple copy and paste store setup without running any paid ads. The course claims to “turn dropshipping on its head” by having zero startup risk costs because you will never have to run ads. Parnell says this is possible due to “social media automation”. All of this is built up to be leading to passive income with automated sales. 

Automated Dropshipping Academy Intro
Automated Dropshipping Academy is Parnell’s spin on dropshipping using automated software to generate passive income.

It makes many typical claims that most dropshipping stores use: guaranteed money, passive income, and an easy startup. 

NOTE: We currently recommend eCom Elites over Automated Dropshipping Academy. eCom Elites is highly rated in all areas and is one of our top online courses. Here’s why

Who Is Carl Parnell?

Carl Parnell’s USP is his achieved success in dropshipping without running a single paid ad. He doesn’t have a sizable social media presence, but he does have a facebook page which, at the time of writing, has around 3800 followers. This is a red flag, as someone teaching social media marketing as an essential part of dropshipping would have success themselves. Based off the claims, be advised to go into the course with reduced expectations given these credentials.

Automated Dropshipping Academy Carl Parnell
Carl Parnell, the course creator of Automated Dropshipping Academy.

From Carl Parnell’s own words on his website, he is a course creation specialist. Course creation. That means he sells a course on how to make courses based on the skills you have. It’s a pretty open warning to claim that you’re good at making courses, rather than the topic that you teach. 

Automated Dropshipping Academy’s Pricing

The course is priced at $1497, putting it on the higher end of the pricing range for equivalent courses. There are a few bonuses that you get for that price, such as access to a private facebook group, exclusive automation software and Carl’s promise of helping you on your journey. 

Automated Dropshipping Academy Pricing
The course costs $1497, with no monthly payment options.

There is no sales funnel to speak of. The store page is minimal with one paragraph explaining the different chapters in the training. The buy button takes you to an even more barebones page with a couple of sentences repeated from the main page. This seems like such a stark contrast to most landing pages which have things like user testimonials, videos, founder bios and more. It seems as though the facebook page as the main entry point for a potential customer.

That being said, the course only has one main pricing point, at $1497. There are no other additional tiers or other pricing.

Automated Dropshipping Academy’s Curriculum

The course consists of 8 modules and an introduction. All the modules stick to one topic and expand on it in detail.

Module 1- Picking your niche

This section is pretty barebones. Carl gives you an abysmally small list of categories, most of which won’t even qualify as niches (things like “relationships”). They are broad categories of products that you can base your store around. A niche is generally a targeted topic about a subculture or hobby. His list contains sections which are very broad like Jewelry, Vegan, Christianity which are just the starting points of drilling down into something. In my experience, once you have picked one of these topics, you will still need to do a lot of research and trial and error on products that work for you. Also, most of these categories are already so saturated that you are going to face stiff competition if you follow his lead.

Module 2- Finding your products

This section leads you to Aliexpress and the standard tips about what kind of products and shipping options to look for. He is not breaking any new ground when it comes to this information. There are a lot of potential pitfalls that he completely misses. So much so that someone might get burned due to the incomplete information presented here. He doesn’t delve enough into the psychology behind buying impulse purchase products which are the bread and butter of dropshippers. This is the standard technical tutorials that all courses do, but it’s done in a very lazy and rushed fashion.

Automated Dropshipping Academy Aliexpress
Parnell giving a tutorial about how to use Aliexpress.

Module 3- Store Setup

This section is all about Shopify. This information can be beneficial for those who are new to the Shopify ecosystem. It is pretty well structured as he runs through a brand new store setup himself. This information is generally very fragmented when you try to search online. It is great to have all of it explained concisely and to the point. This section is split into 3 videos as there is just a lot of content here. The three sections are:

  1. Store Settings
  2. Importing Your Products
  3. Designing The Store

Parnell covers the basics of setting up a store in a thorough way, although this information can very easily be found through other sources.

Module 4- Shopify Apps

 In this section, Carl runs through the common apps like currency converters, social proof sales pop ups and more. This is a useful section for dropshippers who are brand new and need familiarity with third party applications. However, I would argue that one visit to the shopify app store can inform you much more about the choices you have regarding apps. He also fails to mention that you don’t have to pay for all the apps if you just get a premium shopify theme. Overall, this section is a thorough explanation, but yet again the information here isn’t exclusive or groundbreaking to justify the cost of the course.

Automated Dropshipping Academy Shopify
Parnell teaching students how to use Shopify applications.

Module 5- Instagram Accounts 

This section deals with setting up Instagram accounts and hooking up the accounts with services to get you “automated” followers to make your account seem more authentic. This is a completely useless strategy. This section was when the bubble of making money without paid ads completely burst. Instagram is very good at figuring out bot accounts, and with it’s recent API change makes it near impossible to succeed in this way. You are not going to get genuine eyes on your product pages if you resort to these techniques. You are setting yourself up for massive disappointment if you follow these strategies. To actually make money off instagram marketing, you need to gain your follower’s trust and build a social brand that resonates with them. Once you have a bunch of real followers and that trust is established, then you even consider monetizing your Instagram account. This section is very bad information, and makes us question the legitimacy of Parnell’s online presence himself.

Module 6- SalesBrain Automation Setup

This is the most controversial section of the entire course. Once you have setup your instagram accounts, Carl persuades you to sign up with SalesBrain(now called to automate the instagram marketing and connecting it with Shopify. While it sounds good at first, you are required to give 25% of your revenue to the app every two weeks. Then there is also the liability of trusting your store’s future on one application. It just creates a very tight dependency. If you cancel the subscription or the company closes down, you are left with a dead store. This step is highly not recommended. It really casts a negative light on the whole course, and almost seems like a paid promotion.

Module 7- Order Fulfilment

In this section, you learn the basics of fulfilling orders from AliExpress. This is a short section which is straightforward and to the point. He touches on the precautions to take while ordering from AliExpress but it could have been explained more.

Module 8 – Scaling Up

In the final section, Carl talks about strategies to scale the store up to the claimed “30K per month”. The strategies are logical though not anything that guarantees wealth. He trivializes the amount of work needed to grow a store that lasts. He also recommends techniques like using VPNs and incognito mode to manage the multiple accounts that you need to create to scale up. Essentially, the advice he gives isn’t bad. It’s not good either. But once again, not anything that’s completely groundbreaking at all. 

Automated Dropshipping Academy Worksheet
Parnell’s worksheet for this module is just screenshots of his course.

Parnell’s Poor Course Quality

The quality of course materials is not up to par. The production is very minimal with all the videos consisting of Carl talking in front of the camera and explaining stuff with a screen capture software recording his desktop. It feels like a youtube video series. It doesn’t feel like a premium course given the amount of money that you are paying for it. The modules themselves aren’t even split up by topic. Each module is just a 30 minute video, making it insultingly lazy to even call it a module. The only thing that hopefully makes up for the lackluster course materials is the live support provided by Carl and access to private Facebook group. Even then, one has to question how long he will keep supporting this group, given the effort seen in the course itself.

Automated Dropshipping Academy Website
Part of Automated Dropshipping Academy’s website was left unedited from its original template, proving the laziness of Parnell.

Does Parnell’s Course Deliver?

With the benefit of the doubt, the course delivers on its promise of giving you Carl’s strategies. The problem is that the strategies are garbage. They might have worked at some point in the past but are absolutely worthless now and not something that should be attempted by newbies to dropshipping. You are better off learning about what works now, or choosing better courses.

Automated Dropshipping Academy What You'll Learn
Parnell proves to tailor unrealistic expectations from this course.

Anyone with dropshipping experience will tell you that you are not going to get to 30K per month with this course. You may see some sales here and there but are most likely going to be disappointed if you buy into Parnell’s unrealistic expectations.

Who Is Automated Dropshipping Academy Best For?

This course isn’t best for anyone. It’s designed for beginners, but it skips over a lot of information and is lazily put together. If you are going to pay $1497 for a course, pay for one that provides more than 5 hours of content. Additionally, experienced dropshippers who want to implement automation to their store will realize that the automated strategies Parnell presents are outdated and risky.

The truth is that you have to learn the basics of marketing to succeed in this industry. This is not a silver bullet that will solve all your problems. You are not going to make money with simple automated software. This strategy might have worked when dropshipping was in its infancy but that boat has long sailed.

Is Carl Parnell’s Course Worth the Money?

The course is absolutely not worth the money. Even if you are looking for an automated strategy to just test out, you are better off googling this stuff on your own and then following the tutorials for the automation software. That is all that is offered here. This is a glorified tutorial for a software that you can learn on your own. To learn everything else, you can watch the videos on youtube.

The only way I see this course being remotely worth the money is how you use the support that Carl provides through consultation and in the private Facebook group. Apart from that, this is a colossal waste of money.

NOTE: We currently recommend eCom Elites over Automated Dropshipping Academy. eCom Elites is highly rated in all areas and is one of our top online courses. Here’s why

Automated Dropshipping Academy Alternatives

Considering how lacking this course is, consider using the many other viable alternatives:

  • ECom Elites (Franklin Hatchet)- Learn a lot more about how internet marketing and running a legitimate business is supposed to be. He also gives away a lot of information for free so you don’t feel like you are wasting money when you spend on his course.
  • eCom Success Academy (Adrian Morrison)- If you are deadset on paying a lot of money, consider this course instead. It’s one of the few Shopify approved courses and comes with hours upon hours of tutorials and tips to get you started.

Our Final Verdict

This course is a resoundingly bad choice for anyone looking to get into dropshipping. It is way overpriced, poorly produced, creates misleading expectations, and regurgitates stale information. It is also blatant cash grab as Carl makes a percentage on every new customer he brings to Salesbrain. 

It is also clear that Carl has moved on from this course as he claims to be a course creation specialist now. This course should have been scrapped a while ago. The fact that it is still live will only anger people who buy it and damage his personal brand. The course feels like an audition for the main event which is to sell a course on how to make courses.  If it seems complicated and scammy, then it is.

You should not buy this course expecting to get to 30K a month. The dropshipping landscape has changed. Following this course will just be a huge waste of time and money. This is no way to build an online business. 


  1. No upsells
  2. Solid tutorial for the automation software used


  1. The automation strategy is an awful way to do business
  2. The course is way overpriced
  3. Over promises and under delivers
  4. Very very very lazily put together

Andrew Green

Andrew is a successful entrepreneur and lifelong learner. Throughout his career, he has watched hundreds of online courses that have allowed him to achieve success in highly competitive fields such as online marketing, investing, and sales. Andrew is committed to expanding his knowledge and expertise and he reviews the premium courses he watches on his online blog.
Overall Rating: 1.43 out of 5

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