Saturday, June 30, 2012

Are you asking the right questions regarding an income opportunity?

English: There are no symbols that represent s...
Are you seeking the truth when it comes to
income opportunities? Are you thinking critically?
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When you judge an income opportunity on whether to join or not, what are your criteria?

Are you *sure* those are the right criteria?

Almost all the sales pieces on the Internet about an income opportunity are guilty of some sort of propaganda, where they

  • Answer the wrong questions by assuming some answers as fact when they are not, often with logical fallacies.
  • Asking the wrong questions and answering them convincingly, hoping you never notice those are the wrong questions.
  • Highlight stuff that look good and omit stuff that look bad
However, just a little critical thinking is all you need to see through the veil, and determine what are the REAL factors (risk, cost, and reward) you need to make a decision, and whether they have been misrepresented, and how serious are the misrepresentation, which would indicate additional risk. 

Learn the basics of critical thinking, the four types of reasoning errors, and how scammers exploit those errors to help you make the WRONG decisions in

Super Short Guide to Critical Thinking and Logic to Income Opportunity Seekers

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Friday, June 29, 2012

"Nobody believes you": the Semmelweis reflex

Ignaz Semmelweis 1860 (Copper plate engraving ...
Ignaz Semmelweis 1860 (Copper plate engraving by Jenő Doby) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Some whistleblowers, who realized something is fishy about a certain opportunity, lamented that they are NEVER believed by their peers, which either leads him (or her) to leave, or keep silent.

When this sort of thing happens to oneself, it is called the Semmelweis Reflex

Here is an example:
  1. A examines idea. 
  2. A accepts the idea as logical
  3. nobody in A's group will accept it, 
  4. therefore A shall disregard idea
Semmelweis Reflex is a type of "negative confirmation bias", where instead picking information that confirms your positions, you discard information that does not fit your position. Actually, it's NOT your position, but position of your peers. And you do it so readily and reflexively you may not even realize it. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

How do you detect a "spin" answer instead of an honest answer?

If you have a healthy dose of skepticism, you are probably asking questions. Which brings us to a different problem...

How do you detect a "spin" answer, i.e. an answer designed to CONCEAL the truth, instead of a real answer?

In general, a spin answer does one of two things:

Be evasive

Give an answer that does NOT answer the question you asked, but sounds as if it does.
Give a vague and/or abstract answer instead of a detailed and specific answer

Be slippery

Appeal to emotion, secrecy, or some excuse to NOT answer your question.
Offer answer that *could* explain the facts, but is NOT the only answer

:Learn how to spot "spin" answers >>

Full Response to DnD100's "critique" of my ZeekRewards Review hub

A person with handle "DnD100" appeared on my Hub review of ZeekRewards and is the *first* Zeek supporter to offer a relatively detailed counter-points to the analysis and questions my hub. Unfortunately, instead of pointing out the alleged "mistakes" I made, and defeat my logic and analysis through that, he actually used several fallacies. My comment reply is too short and cannot be formatted, so here's a full reply.

His stuff will be in blue, my comment will be in red.

DnD100 wrote:

First off I will say you did a great job mix truth with fiction and emphasizing your speculations. I really had to read it twice to wade through the BS.
Well, well, we can pretty much see where this is going from here, don't we? "Hate mail."  But let's see where is "fiction" and where is "speculation" according to Dnd100. 
You stated that Rex Venture Group has a F rating with the BBB which is true. But unlike you I will give a little info about myself I own a construction company in the state of California (yeah I know taxes suck) for over 12 years and I recently checked my BBB standing which was a D- with no complaints so I contacted the BBB and asked why I had that rating they stated it was because my info was not verifiable. So I completed their little questionnaire during the course of all this they tried to sell me to become a member which I respectful declined. After all of this well and behold I have C+ rating. I called back again and of course they told me if I became a member it would clear all this up which I did (because times are tough and I don’t need any negative propaganda) after paying their extortion money I now have an A rating still with no complaints. So you using this against Zeeks shouldn’t hold any water because they decided not to pay the extortion money.
This is basically an attack on the reliability of the BBB rating. 
First of all, this is "anecdotal fallacy", assuming that your case (in California) is "typical" of all BBBs (even the one in North Carolina, the other side of the country). But let's leave that aside for a second... According to you this is easily fixed by spending like what? $2000? Zeek made tens of millions in 2011. Why haven't that been "fixed" then, if this is so easily fixed? 
This leads to a few conclusions if we accept your fallacy: 1) Zeek doesn't have the money to pay this "extortion" as you claim, even though it is a TINY amount  2) Zeek doesn't *care* about any one seeing this rating. Obviously, neither can be right based on your premise. 
As your counter-premise is supported by anecdotal fallacy, you have NOT proven your counter-premise. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Crowd-sourcing your investment strategy is a horrible idea

This image has been stitched from several tile...
Ever heard of Tulip Mania?
It was the "original" bubble.
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One of the most often "hooks" used by scammers is to claim that X number of people have already joined, and you should too. This can be expressed in a variety of ways:
  • One million members have already joined!
  • Join our family of ____________!
  • (A membership counter steadily increases)
  • 10000 users can't be wrong!
  • and so on
This is so often used, and had such a long history, it's a well-known fallacy known as the Bandwagon Fallacy.

However, I'll also show you a couple examples that conclusively proves that even if a TON of people have invested, it can still be bad for you. And they don't even have to be scams. They are known as "bubbles".

In a bubble, people see a few people enjoying success doing a particular thing, so they join in as well, which in turn entices MORE people to join in, driving up prices, which causes even MORE people to join in... and it snowballs until people realize this is stupid, gets out, and the snowball breaks apart, wiping out a lot of people.

And this is not even a scam, as it's completely legal, albeit stupid.

I picked four major cases: the tulip mania, the South Sea bubble (that gave us the term "bubble"), the Railroad Mania, and the Stock Market bubble that gave us the Great Depression.

Read more about "Why Following the Crowd is Stupid: How Speculation Bubbles Busted Fortunes, then and now.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

MLM Basic: what is a Ponzi scheme, and what is the difference between it and pyramid scheme?

Many defenders of potentially fraudulent business opportunities, when confronted with evidence that their opportunity may in fact be a Ponzi scheme, often immediately retort "Ponzi schemes are investments, but this is a business opportunity!"

However, a Ponzi scheme can easily be either an investment or a business opportunity. People
 are so familiar with the investment version of Ponzi scheme, few if any ever considered the possibility that a business opportunity can be a Ponzi scheme. Ponzi schemes can pretend to be work-related income opportunities, or an outright business... such as pigeon farming.

Ponzi in 1920
Ponzi in 1920 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It sure doesn't help the issue when in a MLM, recruiting and marketing are so intimately linked, that often people can't tell them apart. Instead of "investing", you are usually told you are buying a starter kit, or making a "down payment" on a discount card, and so on. So you are thinking you made a purchase, when in fact you have indeed "invested".

In fact, most people are completely ignorant of the law when it comes to what exactly *is* a Ponzi scheme.

So what is a Ponzi scheme?

Monday, June 25, 2012

What is gullibility? And how can you avoid being gullible?

According to Stephen Greenspan, who literally wrote the book on gullibility, there are four components to gullibility:

  1. Situation -- victim was influenced by social situation, such as friends
  2. Cognition -- victim does not recognize the danger signs of a con/scam
  3. Personality -- victim is susceptible to "being led" or "being told"
  4. State -- victim is too incapacitated to make rational decisions

And everybody is vulnerable to gullibility, in one form or another, at one time or another.

Gullibility however, requires some sort of ACTION by the victim... such as handing over $$$.

Learn more about gullibility >>
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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Who the **** would buy this? 7 Most Hilarious Products sold through MLM

Ever ran into a product and wonder who on this Earth would buy something like that?

You can sort of understand the appeal of a toothbrush that plays a Justin Bieber tune when you brush...  (real item!)  or a hair curler that's endorsed by the movie Twilight...

But there are some products that are so outrageous that you wonder why would ANYBODY buy them....
  • A can of air that was certified by world renowned body to do absolutely nothing
  • A pill (like a vitamin) you feed to your CAR to make it run better
  • A mystery fluid that claims to make gasoline flammable even in an Arctic storm
  • A water pitcher that claims to make all your water molecules line up in a conga line
  • A finger tester that proves you need to buy vitamins
  • A glass disk that does everything, including making salt taste saltier
  • And... a MLM designed specifically for... UFO believers?!?!?!

Read on for some of the most outrageous products sold by multi-level marketing.

7 Most Hilarious Products Sold through Multi-Level Marketing 

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