Sunday, June 14, 2015

Scam Tactic: Redefine Common Words / Doublespeak

The term doublespeak was introduced to the world by George Orwell's book "Nineteen Eighty-Four", where it was defined as "using language to introduce ambiguity and confusion to block out facts and aims that does not fit in the program." (slightly paraphrased)  It is no surprise that it is among the arsenal of the scammers.

One such example of doublespeak is the appropriation of the term "sharing" to mean promoting / selling, and "selling" as buying.

According to the Vemma promotional material updated in late 2013, members are no longer representing the brand as "brand ambassadors". Members are instead, "affiliates" in affiliate marketing where member affiliates refer customers to the company, and earn some commission for sales they brought in. And affiliates are encouraged to buy some products as "some to enjoy and some to share". There are special bonuses for those who buy large starter packs.  The following screencap is how it was explained on most Vemma affiliate sites:
Screen cap from a Vemma "affiliate" website explaining what you need to do to get paid: BUY STUFF FIRST!

Did you see the problem yet?

HINT: Your upline (who recruited you) gets commission for the stuff YOU buy, both the starter pack, and the monthly autoship.

Let that sink in for a moment.

5 Reasons Pyramid Schemes Are Worse Than You Thought (

Cracked can be relied on for controversial and irreverent take on some topics, and their supposed "5 Reasons Pyramid Schemes Are Even Worse than You Thought" was no exception.

Let's just say they gloss over a lot of the details, like calling MLM Pyramid Schemes without noting the legal distinctions, then backpedal and claim everything is just shy of illegal. However, the other points are quite salient and worth a read, if just for the style.