Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cognitive bias: the bandwagon fallacy

When MLMers try to "defend" their pet scheme against critics, another technique they often use is called the 'bandwagon fallacy'.

Bandwagon fallacy plays upon your "envy" and "desire to conform". Its argument is very simple:

"it is popular, therefore it must be good / true".

In some variants, the "therefore" portion is not stated, but merely implied.

Any time you see statement like "10000 members can't be wrong", you should beware that bandwagon fallacy is being used on you. Today, we'll study one prime example of bandwagon fallacy being used: Wazzub, the so-called "profit success sharing phenomenon".

On an update they posted in May (which is completely unlinked except through an obscure free blog), they used the following FOUR bandwagon fallacies (not to mention a slew of others, such as conspiracy theory, strawman argument, bad analogy, and much more) to "prove" their legitimacy. All captures are done on date this blog post is written.

Exhibit 1: "6 million people have joined!"

They *claim* 6 million have joined. Do they have proof, like Nielsen or Comscore survey? Of course not. This number is not audited and impossible to prove.  And this doesn't prove that the business works, as it sells nothing. They merely promised to share 50% of their profit (if they make any) with the joining members. In reality, they have yet to earn a single cent, and is now trying to "verify" all the members by requiring them to upload their PHOTO IDS.  (Can you say "identify theft"?)

Did they mention they rescheduled the "end period" like four times? Obviously not.

"Six Million" members, yeah right. Bandwagon fallacy!

Exhibit 2: "We had half a billion web hits in a month!"

Sounds impressive, until you realize that if 6 million people have joined in six MONTHS, not one month as they are implying. Let's give benefit of the doubt to Wazzub: 2 million signups in April 2012.  That would mean LESS THAN HALF of the visitors who came to the signup site (NOT the info site, but the actual signup site) actually went through with the signup. In other words MORE THAN HALF OF THE PEOPLE GOT COLD FEET AND DID NOT SIGNUP.

Not so impressive once you look a little deeper. More bandwagon fallacy: we're popular we must be good!

Exhibit 3: "We're top 1000 Alexa sites!"

So what does that prove exactly? Popularity only proves you have a good viral marketing campaign. It does NOT prove you have a good business, unless your business is marketing, and Wazzub is not a marketing business.  Bandwagon fallacy AGAIN!

Exhibit 4: "We're so good Facebook is scared of us and shut us down!"

They say they got "100000 likes". So what? Facebook have 900 million members. That like 0.01%. Again, only proves they have a bunch of "marketers" pushing the thing. They want to spin their own version of the story, ignoring the alternative and much simpler explanation: they are banned for spamming. 

A single official post from Wazzub contained no less than FOUR different uses of bandwagon fallacy. There's a ton of other propaganda techniques used in that post, we'll analyze that some other time.

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1 comment:

  1. These guys are just too funny for words. I can't believe anyone got sucked into this one :)