Saturday, August 18, 2012

Propaganda: Lie with qualifiers

One way supporters of a suspect scheme make statements to support their pet scheme is to tell something that's not true (i.e. lie), then hide behind various qualifiers, disclaimers, and such that you can't really pin them down with a lie.  Here would be an example:

S: Acme XYZ makes you plenty of money, up to a million a month! (disclaimer: not an investment, you do need to put in your own money, gains are not guaranteed, growth may be virtual, reinvestment may be required.)
Yes, I'm somewhat joking with the example, but this is based on a real suspect scheme.

Now that Zeek's gone, what should you do as an affiliate?

If you are a Zeek affiliate, you need to read this:

Friday, August 17, 2012

NEWSFLASH: SEC shuts down ZeekRewards as $600 million Ponzi scheme

The story is confirmed by SEC website, and picked up by all major news networks including CNN, FOX, CNBC, Reuters, and more.

ZeekRewards is no more. 

Owner Paul Burks already copped a plea deal with the SEC by surrendering ALL RVG assets and additional 4 million bucks he siphoned off from the company.

The company only has about 200 million left, most of which is STUCK at various payment processors.

98% of all its payouts came from other affiliates.

This thing was a scam from the very beginning, and while I am glad to have been proven right, I am sad that it took this long.

See below for links confirming the news.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Bad Argument: "You are the 1%" accusation

When defenders of a suspect scheme ran out of arguments against critics of the suspect scheme, and prefer to continue to "vent their spleen", some resort to accusing the critics of being associated with some sort of "evil", the 1% (out to suppress the 99%).

For Americans, it could be as simple as "un-American".

As this sort of accusation is rather rare, I'll cite some ACTUAL examples:

Exhibit 1: Skepticism is "anti-American"
“Have you tried to sabotage as hard as you’ve been doing with (SCHEME NAME REDACTED) to those real ponzi that are running from offshore? I’ve found you’re an anti-american, a traitor and maybe a crook that takes advantage of the American legal system. It seems to me that you make a living by sabotaging American companies. Do you understand what a global economy is? People like you are the one who are giving away American jobs to undesirable countries and in the process benefit from it.”
For your information, this suspect scheme is believed to operate both as a Ponzi scheme AND a pyramid scheme hybrid, claims to have 1.2 million affiliates, and pays up to 1.5% DAILY ROI if you put in some money, but they insist they are NOT an investment.

Apparently, believing "if it's too good to be true, it probably is", is anti-American and traitorous, to people defending a suspect scheme.

NEWSFLASH: ZeekRewards and Zeekler websites down, office shuttered

Reports from Lexington newspaper "The Dispatch" shows that Zeekler / ZeekRewards suddenly closed their doors Thursday afternoon, and soon after most of its websites went off line, even their Facebook page.

However, before the moderators left, they disabled all comments, and deleted links to the newspaper article(s). They are linked below:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bad Argument: "Don't trust the BBB"

Better Business Bureau logo.
Better Business Bureau logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When a particular suspect scheme did not fare too well in a certain rating, such as rating by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), supports of this scheme are quick to discredit the rating agency. In case of the BBB, defenders of scheme that got a bad rating from the BBB quickly point to a scandal that rocked the Los Angeles chapter of BBB back in 2010, and tell you that you can't trust the BBB if the company received an F rating. Some will even go as far as claiming that unless you pay for BBB accreditation you cannot get a good grade, thus the company is being extorted.

Unfortunately, this is at best, lie by omission, as they neglect to tell you the following:

  1. What actually happened was BBB gave extra points to those who paid for "accredited member" status (i.e. paid the annual dues). 
  2. This happened in 2010, exposed by ABC news, then immediately corrected
  3. The extra points goes to just ONE of the SIXTEEN different criteria BBB uses to calculate the letter rating for the company
  4. No other chapter of the BBB (there are 108 of them) have been accused of "extortion" through rating. 
  5. Getting accredited by BBB cost about $500, plus another $50 every year

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

NuSkin declined to appear on CNBC debate with critic

A few days ago Citron Research brought forth evidence that NuSkin, a US MLM, is clearly violating laws in China (where MLM is ILLEGAL and considered to be pyramid scheme).

When CNBC invited them to debate the Citron Research rep on live TV, they declined.

Their bank's rep appeared, and was pretty much trounced by the Citron Research guy.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

BAD EXAMPLE: Yes, Ponzi pays, so what?

In this whole blog I have analyzed many comments, but mostly in the abstract sense. Some have asked why haven't you analyzed real comments. So here's a first... real comment analyzed.

His comments will be in blue, my rebuttal / analysis will be in red.  I will also be redacting words to make sure no identifying info can be inferred.

Aloha from [redacted]. What you all seem to be missing is that this business is [sic] awsome. Everything is fair! It is communism, socialism and capitalism all at once. Someone with no money at all can start...Yes only need to find 2 people to sponsor and you get [sic] upgrated to "silver" then your free bonus of 100 turns into real cash after 60 days.
"Find two people to sponsor, and see your free bonus of 100 (points) turn into real cash after 60 days" Sounds like he's talking about a PYRAMID SCHEME, doesn't it? Where does the money COME FROM? Hmmm? What's so fair about a system where money comes out of nothing? 
We know a [redacted] in january 2012 who only put in $ 100 and paid a $ 10 per month. She did not talk to anyone about this business and now has $ 2200 real money in there.
"Only put in $100"... what happened to free? How many people did she recruit / sponsor? How many of *those* people put in their money? And where exactly is this "$2200 real money in there"? Is it 2200 "points"? 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Humor Item: Bad Argument Generator

I previously posted this on Behind MLM, thought I'd repost it here...

Bad Arguers... This is a free template to generate a bad argument message "proving" your pet scheme is not a scam. This is a DO NOT DO list. Don't complain when you get ridiculed when your argument end up looking like it came out of this generator.

Sentence 1: Pick one of the following –
  • Lots of hilarious opinions here
  • I see a lot of speculation and very little fact
  • Bunch of amateur wannabe analysts here.
  • You guys have no idea what you’re talking about
Sentence 1.5: (scheme name) is not a scam.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The "Analysis Paralysis" fallacy

Analysis is Paralysis
Analysis is Paralysis (Photo credit: Poldavo (Alex))
A corollary bad argument used by defenders of suspect schemes is known as the "analysis paralysis" argument. It is a red herring, but it invokes a real problem... albeit wrongly applied. It usually takes this form:
A: Acme XYZ is a scam because of ____, ____, and ____. 
B: Acme XYZ works, man. You analyze too much! It's analysis paralysis! Just do it!
This is a red herring variant as the argument neither proves the counter-premise or disproves the premise. It is a corollary to the "I get paid" fallacy, in that as long as they person gets paid, any thoughts about it being possibly illegal, to this person, is irrelevant.