Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fallacy of the the "join today!" tactic

Image representing Richard Branson as depicted...
Sir Richard Branson, head of
The Virgin Group
Image via CrunchBase
Just the other day, I ran into a Richard Branson quote:

Business opportunities are like buses;
there’s always another one coming.”
- Richard Branson

This made me wonder, who does it seems every bit of sales technique, INCLUDING MLM, tries to make you "buy now, now, now!" hmmm?

Every "product infomercial" like those ovens, cookers, super knives, gadgets, and so on have "bonuses" and such to entice you to buy now. Free upgrade to express shipping, limited time offer, free accessory kit for first X orders, if you order in the next five minutes we will double your order... You probably seen them all.

Even the MLM seminars and such where they want you to join do the exact same thing, with the same sort of pitch: join today and start earning today, special quickstart bonus if you join today, raffle for a prize for people who join tonight, or something like that.

Ever wonder why?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Are you marketing "meatball sundae"?

Meatball Sundae: Is Your Marketing Out of Sync?
Meatball Sundae: Is Your Marketing Out of Sync? (Photo credit: marklarson)
Have you ever ran into a product that you wondered "Who in the world would buy something like that?" Often, the product is a combination of two virtually unrelated products. Seth Godin coined the term for it: a meatball sundae. (For those of you who have not yet understood the reference, Sundae is a type of ice cream, which is sweet. Thus, it would never go with meatball, which is, of course, salty. The two do not go together. )

Seth Godin was referring to marketing, about how a firm's marketing campaign may be completely out of sync from the product and the company's mission. However, the metaphor is applicable to all areas: there are some things there are NEVER meant to go together.

This is applicable to MLM in two ways:

a) Is the product you are marketing a "meatball sundae", i.e. a product where two unrelated items are mixed?

b) Is your marketing plan, i.e. MLM, a meatball sundae, in that it does NOT go with the product?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Investigating HugeYield... it's just a clone of HYIP ponzi scheme

International Money Pile in Cash and Coins
International Money Pile in Cash and Coins (Photo credit:
It is "easy" to make a bit of money on the Internet, if you start scams and trick people into giving you money.  It is, of course, illegal.

On the other hand, it is possible, but not likely, for you to make money off such schemes not started by you. And the lure of such profit is what keeps people pushing them. When MLM 'veterans' who had been in the "industry" for decades started to push such schemes, often known as HYIP (High Yield Investment Programs), it's indeed sad to see such people fall.

One such a scheme is called "HugeYield", and it was pushed by two MLM "veterans" who had subsisted on other participants for decades, without finding much success. They are also apparently the owners, though they insist some generic-name person is the owner.

Modern HYIPs are always on the internet, and to disguise their Ponzi-scheme business model, they usually adopt a disguise. The most frequently used is "advertising", i.e. you are supposedly buying advertising units, but if you recruit enough people (who also buy such advertising units) you will make your money back and earn much more than you put in. HugeYield is no exception.

There are some people who know the risk of putting money into a scam, but is determined to "time" these scams any way, as they think they can beat the odds by joining early and be one of the early winners, and leave all subsequent joiners holding the bag. I personally consider that to be despicable, but that's just my opinion.

Read more about this Internet Ponzi scheme
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The "Darth Vader" Solicitation

David Prowse as Darth Vader in The Empire Stri...
David Prowse as Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Remember in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, when Darth Vader offered Luke Skywalker a chance to join him to rule the Galaxy? (The twist after that is voted #1 twist of all times) This is AFTER Vader sliced off Luke's hand, mind you. Clearly, the offer will not be accepted.

Did you know that Moamar Khadaffi offered one of the most prominent dissidents in Libya a chance to join him to work through the problems, in order to avoid the revolution that eventually killed him? The offer was turned down as well. The dissident knew then that making such an offer means Khadaffi will lose and the rebels will win.

Clearly, such offers are almost NEVER taken seriously.

So why do defenders of potential scams (and outright scams) make such offers?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Herb O. Buckland and his long rant "ZeekRewards Scam?"

Trick or Treat cards ...
Trick or Treat cards ... (Photo credit: CalamityJon)
I've done rant analysis before, but few as long and pointless as this one, IMHO of course.

Herb O. Buckland has a website called Threesology, where everything is "power of 3", including recruiting for ZeekRewards.

I'll put his words in blue, and my comments in RED.


Zeek Rewards Scam?

My examples of "threes" used by Zeek Rewards should be followed-up with commentary that should be taken into consideration since I have placed myself in a vulnerable position of advocating its activity, to some degree, by eliciting readers to join me. Please understand that the undertaking is meant as a forthright presentation and must therefore be likewise presented with any counter considerations. Hence, the following is presented in this light.

So in other words, "I told you to follow me, but you don't have to?" Isn't what weasel talk?  What counter-considerations are you referring to? 

Is Zeek Rewards a scam? I don't know. 

So are you going to argue one way or the other? Or is that more weasel talk?

Myths about Pyramid Schemes Busted!

The unsustainable geometric progression of a c...
The unsustainable geometric progression of a classic pyramid scheme, from Securities and Exchange commission report on pyramid schemes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Pyramid scheme defenders often used myths to "defend" their little "opportunity" as "not a pyramid scheme". Here are some of the myths they used, and how you can bust these myths and send the scammers packing.

Myth: We have a product / service, therefore we are NOT a pyramid scheme!

Verdict: Logical fallacy -- red herring

If the compensation plan pays on recruitment, not sales, it's a pyramid scheme. The existence of product or service is IRRELEVANT, thus red herring.

Myth: No purchase is required! or Membership is free! Therefore it's not a pyramid scheme!

Verdict: Logical fallacy -- red herring

If there is an option to buy-in is there (i.e. there are free as well as paid memberships, or "upgrade", or whatever) then it still could be a pyramid scheme. Existence of free membership neither proves nor disproves it is a pyramid scheme or not. It is irrelevant, thus, red herring.  Furthermore, it is possible for products to act as money replacements. It could STILL be a pyramid scheme.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Continued Influence effect

Official photographic portrait of US President...
Official photographic portrait of
US President Barack Obama
(born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009)
and victim of "Continued Influence Effect"
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Psychologists have long noticed this particular mental bias in everybody... when you got things wrong, and you correct it, the WRONG item STICKS in your mind, and doesn't quite fade for a long time. During the time where you *knew* you WERE wrong, that WRONG FACT will still affect your thinking.

One of the more popular and contemporary examples was the hoax that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya and is a Muslim, and thus NOT eligible to serve as US president. Even when the former (born in Kenya) had been debunked several times over (even the birth certificate in Hawaii had been published), there are PLENTY of people who CONTINUED to believe that President Obama is a Muslim or not born in the US. Furthermore, only the question of birthplace would affect president eligibility, NOT religion. By linking the two together, the people who "believed" the hoax continued to believe one part of the hoax even when the other parts have been debunked. Furthermore, people CONTINUED to dig up information of unknown reliability and claim it somehow "proves" their point instead of examining the reliability of such info with some critical thinking. They just accept info that fits their worldview without fact-checking

Scammers work the same way: they give you all the "good" parts and lie about the rest. Even AFTER some of the lies have been exposed, victims continue to believe OTHER PARTS of the lie, and continues to defend the scam.