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A Mom Influencer Is Defending Her $175 Online Parenting Course After Followers Questioned Its Legitimacy

"Aren't your viewers getting exactly all of this from your instagram account, which is monetized as well but free to access?"

Courtney Adamo

A popular parenting blogger based in Australia is facing criticism from some of her followers for her new, five-week "collaborative e-course on family lifestyle" she's offering at a cost of $250 AUD, or $175 USD.

Courtney Adamo is a mother of five children who has written about parenting and her life for a number of years on various blogs.

About a year and a half ago, Adamo and her husband left their home in London to travel with their kids around the world, from Tokyo, to Sri Lanka, to Uruguay, to Los Angeles. They settled in Byron Bay, Australia, last year.

Adamo now documents all aspects of her family and travels on Instagram, where she had nearly 250,000 followers.

Last Saturday, Adamo introduced an online lifestyle and parenting course she's named "In the Loop."

Adamo promoted the venture with a video featuring her husband and children, which she shared in an Instagram post. "Through this collaborative course, I'm excited to share and learn together," she narrates.

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In the caption, Adamo writes that the e-course is the result of "3 intense months of planning, writing, filming and collaborating" and will cover " the lessons [she's] learned, helpful tips & tricks, fun how-to videos, insightful interviews, [her] favorite products and so much more."

The onetime, five-week-long course is priced at $50 AUD ($35 USD) per weekly lesson.

Adamo provided BuzzFeed News with a framework of her online course.

"Each week, subscribers will receive a newsletter into their inbox...this looks a bit like a mini magazine — roughly 30 pages of exclusive images, lessons I’ve learned, tips & tricks, thoughts, resources and a take-home exercise each week," she said.

According to Adamo, the topics — "Family, Home, Food, Travel and Lifestyle" — will also each include three videos. In these videos, Adamo will answer various questions about the topic, provide "how-to tutorials," and do a sit-down interview with someone she's deemed an "expert" on the subject.

Adamo added that her online course is "completely unsponsored" but will offer "exclusive discounts" to some of her favorite brands.

She told BuzzFeed News over 300 people have already signed up for the course, and she will close registration in mid-May.

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While many of her fans congratulated her on her new business, some are more skeptical and downright confused about it all.

A handful of her Instagram followers are asking exactly what customers will be learning or getting from Adamo at a premium cost that they can't get for free elsewhere.

"Aren't your viewers getting exactly all of this from your instagram account, which is monetized as well but free to access?" a user asked in the comments.

"I do think Courtney has good intentions behind the course, but I think it should be rebranded. E-Course implies an education of sorts but really this is just an assortment of tips and information that is available anywhere, just now for a fee," another said.

One person then responded to this comment, writing, "Would also add Mrs Adamo is not a trained kids educator..."

Some asked if the mom influencer will only be teaching everyone how to live her life.

"Isn't family lifestyle something we want to each develop with our own families rather than copying someone else's?" one person asked. "It seems like an odd thing to make into a business."

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Others are calling out what they consider to be Adamo's extreme "privilege bubble" and "self-absorbed" world.

Commenters claim Adamo has financial privileges that have afforded her support and access to nannies, and opportunities to travel around the globe with her family for more than 18 months. They also made claims that her husband, Michael, can afford to be a stay-at-home dad.

Adamo told BuzzFeed News, in response, that "the accusations people were making were completely false."

"People claimed that I have a full-time housekeeper and a full-time nanny. In reality, we went without any childcare, babysitter, nanny or a housekeeper, from the time we left London in 2015 until just last year, when we hired a cleaner for 4 hours per week," she said.

She said that when they made the decision to leave their lives in London to travel the world for a living, she and Michael chose to do so to "simplify [their] lives."

She acknowledged that "maybe [they] were privileged to even have the option."

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Adamo believes she's been "fortunate" in her life, but defended herself against the idea that she's privileged. Her life is the "consequence of [her] life decisions and hard work," she said.

"Obviously the concept of privilege is completely subjective," she said. "But I think that, sadly, it makes some people feel better to explain away my happiness by making false statements about the incredible privilege I must have."

She also wanted to clarify to commenters that her husband is not a stay-at-home father. She said he works five days a week as a managing director for a Melbourne-based animation company.

Addressing the concerns that she's "charging people to live like" her, Adamo said she's simply sharing her experiences of being a mother and writing about it to her subscribers.

"It’s also a two-way street. I’m just as excited to learn from the participants, from their experiences and about their go-to resources," she added.

She said the "In the Loop" course was inspired by the "dozens of questions daily" she receives from strangers online. She believes she's simply creating a "new platform" and "community" to answer these questions, and allow other parents and aspiring influencers to share their knowledge.

"People are craving connection in this family and lifestyle space," said Adamo. "I’m incredibly excited about this new platform because it is an opportunity to explore topics week-by-week, in a more in-depth, supportive and communal way than blogging or social media can offer."

"It’s clear that people love engaging and sharing with each other," she added.

Tanya Chen is a social news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in Chicago.

Contact Tanya Chen at tanya.chen@buzzfeed.com.

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