You can spot a scam website if you know what to look for. In this article I will show you false advertising examples to look for in video and printed offers.
Though there is no why possible for me to be able to show you all the dirty marketing tricks in the book, I can show you a very common model that is used widespread across the Internet today. This is NOT an article on spoof websites, just those sites that contain hype, over-exaggerated figures – those shiny objects that compel so many unwary opportunity-seekers.
Have you ever had the experience of following an ad to a “free” video and went to watch it? You missed something and wanted rewind it back just a bit – only to find you couldn’t? Well, you had one of two options:
- Forget about it and just keep going.
- Start the video from the beginning.
I’m not quite sure yet why this tactic is used, but something I’m looking into. There’s a reason behind this madness and they are almost always associated with scammy websites and products.
Okay, How Do I Know if Something Is a Scam?
Today I’m going to do a run-down on a specific product that is not yet launched. I will be using a LOT of screenshots from a single video riddled with false advertisements. I won’t be declaring the name of the product. This is not important. The model I will be describing represents thousands of this type in scammy products that come out every year. If you can recognize these after I’ve shown you, you will be protected from a very large percentage of scams on the Internet.
Note that some of the tactics below are used in all advartising (or most of it) and is perfectly acceptable, however, in this case, they are used in conjunction with sleazy ones.
In this video, two testimonies were used, one at the beginning and the other near the end. In both, the acting leaves much to be desired. Look for any acting. You can tell who’s serious and who isn’t. How folks fall for things like this is a reflection of the television culture we have become, in a world where television producers, advertisers and marketers rule the world of the consumer.
Not all testimonies are bad. The best of these are customer reviews. Be well aware that some testimonies and reviews are written from the standpoint of an affiliate who upholds a product, even if it is a scam, and if it is a video, you can usually tell by the body language and how “excited” the person really is about a product or service.
An image in this section is unnecessary. The image at the top of the page is of one of the folks acting as a testifier.
In this example, the narrator introduces himself as someone who proudly isn’t a big television star doing the production. And if this is what you are supposedly looking for, to “get the hell outta here, I haven’t anything for ya!” In this way, he uses a little tough talk to gain your respect. You already know this person probably isn’t a celebrity (at least as a top star in the film industry.
He also finds a way to come within common grounds with you as you yourself probably isn’t a celebrity either. So there you have it. Someone “at your level” speaks the common language, is on the level with you and in this way, gains your trust and respect.
It is true that when you are addressing an audience, you will need to speak in a language they understand. In the video however, the acting is far too evident. This kind of thing is what to watch out for.
Giving you exact figures, whether big or small, is far more believable than to be giving rounded-off figures. You find this out very quickly if you provide the Internal Revenue Service with rounded off numbers in your earnings in too many places on your tax return. If you do this, you stand to be a much higher target for an audit.
Also note that this provides an opportunity to add the “cents” value onto the figure which makes it look larger and more impressive. Numbers can also be manipulated the other way as well. If a score, the higher it is, means a worse scenario, instead of saying “342,000”, you might say, “342K.” But when it comes to potential earnings, which one looks more believable:
Note that these exact number, though more believable, can also be fictitious, and often are!
Use of Colors to Invoke a Buying Mood
Note the first image in the section just above. Not only did the producer make this number exact, in the video, this image was actually swiveling around on an axis. It is given money colors! Now that’s three anchors in a line just on one thing! That’s pretty compelling.
In much of the video, the most provocative and hyped-up language throughout is done up in flashy, dynamically-moving graphics, including the words themselves as they move, evolve and interact with the other moving shapes. Most of these are done up in a thee-color scheme – Red, White and Blue. What the significance? They are the colors of the United States and are considered patriotic. You probably won’t notice this and most people won’t shake a stick at it, however, your subconscious mind picks it up!
Using color schemes to invoke mood is not a bad thing. However, it can be used in conjunction with bad logic and argumentation in advertising and is done all the time!
Some of the high numbers shown in this video represent the massively long hours it took the owner to have the software developed – in this case, some 5,000 hours and at an expense of 30,000. In this video, such details are given, but yet you are left at the end of a 20-minute long presentation without a clue as to what this software actually is and what it does.
You’ve been pumped up with so much hype and Rha-rha that you’ve effectively been distracted from the desire to know what it is. This is another HUGE thing to look out for! Always question what something is and what it does before you purchase into it!
High Earnings Rapidly for Little Effort
This is one of the oldest tricks in the book, yet people fall for it every single day!
You earn $$$’s per day and all you have to do is “just do what you normally do every day anyway,” as is given in this video. You also hear this in the form of just doing two or three clicks of the mouse and *PUESTO,* you have moula in the bank!
This is NO GOOD under any circumstances online! You will never truly find any situation where all you have to do is “do nothing” so to speak, and collect GO! It never works like that in the real world, it doesn’t work like that online either! Never fall for this under any circumstances.
You see it on television and you see it online. Here’s a prospective online marketer trying to build his/her campaign, but just can’t do it. They’ve tried and tried and tried again and all they continue to do is crumple up what they’ve typed out and have crumpled up paper laying on the floor, on their desk and in the rubbish can!
Showing people in distress and frustrated invokes the same kind of mood in you that you now connect with the task at hand. You also can relate to it because you HAVE had those moments! Unscrupulous marketer with bad products know this too and pull it on you.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with addressing the psychological effects of not being able to do something and then providing a solution for it – but ONLY if the solution is relevant and does what it’s cracked up to do.
This is one of my greatest pet-peeves in Internet marketing – these gurus coming up with advertising that flaunts their wealth (if they even have it or are in and around somebody else’s cars and mansions!) You’ve seen this everywhere – expensive cars, yachts, tennis courts, pools, beaches, mansions, hammocks with folks in them, a laptop and a martini in hands, sexy girls, tropical island paradises – you’ve seen them all!
It’s all a gimmick! None of it is relevant to your earning potential using the product or service. This is selling you a dream using graphical and textual representations. These are NOT real and if you see this type of stuff, back off! Let someone else get suckered into it.
Words are extremely powerful. Sticks and stones can break bones, but so can words! It’s been done many, many times! Words can cause wars, unhappiness, destruction and financial ruin! They can be your friend or they can be your enemy. They can be very deceptive so what you think is your friend is actually an enemy!
Power words are used to pump you up. They get you excited and distract you into doing something you may wish later, you’ve never done. Words can be hypnotic, covert and downright coercive! You need to read stuff very carefully because seasoned marketers can really flavour the meat up with words. They can give you a sizzle without the steak! A knowledgeable and professional salesman can sell you hot-air sandwiches! It happens all the time on the Internet. Don’t fall for this! Always look for ambiguity in words you see in advertising. You will know the difference between hype and what’s the real deal if you proceed with critical thinking.
Makes You Own It
One of the top jobs of any marketer is to get you to own something before you even purchase it. There’s nothing wrong with this in and of itself. It’s standard marketing. You try before you buy. You have evaluation periods. You get to try it out.
However, this isn’t the only way this gets done. Language and graphics do this to you as well. These have already been covered above so now you know the aim of those who have inferior products. In this case, you are continually bombarded with graphics and reading that tell you how great the product is without ever telling you what it is in the first place! That’s powerful advertising and the folks who put this rubbish out will make a killing off it! However, YOU won’t get stung! Your mission is to dig into each advertisement to see of what’s said is so.
Uses Scarcity (What I Call “Scare City”)
This video has its share of the motivator called, “scarcity.” What happens here is you are given so many days, or chances (usually the one before you now) to make a call. You’ve already been fed a LOT of anchors in “their” favour.
In order to increase the chances of you purchasing, advertisers often put a restriction down. This is in the form of supply being outweighed by demand, a time factor or some other restriction.
There is a type of script (source code) that marketers often use on their websites to greatly increase the likelihood for sales. It’s what I call the “Sliding Sense of Urgency Call.” This is a script that produces a deadline for the reduced price of a product or service being offered on a site. This deadline moves forward with the date, so it will always indicate the end of the offer as being at “midnight tonight!” Ever see these? Next time you do, don’t purchase it! Instead go back to the sales page and look again the next day or week. If you find that same line there “offer expires at midnight tonight!” this script is present on that site.
This is usually used on inferior products. If a product has any real value, it will be there today, tomorrow, next week, next year! There is no need for such tactics if a product or service is of any real value!
Tries to Entice You When You Go to Leave the Page
In the case of this video, you have a product that cost the owner a whopping $30,000 to have built! If this were so, you would not be getting it for $97, let alone $77 or $47! It won’t happen because the life of the product like the one being featured is much less than it would take to make that money back, let alone turn a profit at those selling points!
If you see one of these “Wait! Don’t Leave” things, a red flag should go up in the first place! If a product is any good, there is no need for this!
Are All the Advertising Practices Bad?
No. By no means! What’s bad about the campaign above I’ve found isn’t all of the tactics used, just some of them. It’s in combination of both the okay and the bad, on top of the deceptive way in which this advertising campaign was done, is what makes the whole thing rotten.
Tactics in advertising is just like anything else – it can be used for honourable purposes or it can be used for evil, self-centered purposes. In the poitical world, the concept of communism makes many in the capitalistic democratic world cringe, but it’s not the system that’s bad, it’s the people behind it. Some of the greatest nations that ever existed, at least at first, were communist. The issues with communism is that it is very easily corrupted.
Some systems are better than others. Multi-level marketing is inferior to other systems, but it does work, though it’s harder to do and it too, is easily corrupted. It’s what gives the modality a bad name.
Advertising is but a form of sending forth messages. We all advertise every day when we come together with others, be it with our families or marketing products. The campaign I ripped apart here was done so to help you spot the bad ones so YOU don’t get stung.
Deceptive Marketing Practices – Why Are They Are Committed?
What makes an entire industry have such bad reputation isn’t usually the system, as iterated above, but folks within it that have insidious motivations behind their marketing and advertising campaigns. Hitler used advertising to bring about the demise of millions of people. The Jim Jones cult brought an entire community to its death.
In the online business training world, what’s called “black-hat” strategies have been deployed on a widespread scale, giving the entire industry a bad name. Is the industry a bad thing? No. There are awesome platforms, communities and memberships in the online business training world. You will know them by their ethics, philosophy and advertising, not to mention the quality of the folks within these communities and the products and services they offer.
- Some are awesome
- Some are mediocre
- Some are poor
- Some are outright evil
The best ones offer the highest quality at a reasonable price. They have up-to-date training within their platforms. They are ethical, helping, caring and giving.
Others will take candy out of a baby’s hand! Their owners can sleep at night. These don’t last!
They also struggle financially. They range from the smallest products (like the one above) to sprawling memberships of folks who have been taken advantage of. Eventually all of these come to pass. The best ones last for years.
I am a happy member of the online business training community known as Wealthy Affiliate. When I first joined back in January 1, 2010, I knew right away that this was “it.” I have been very happy with WA since and have learned what I need to do in an online business about building campaigns and websites. When I joined, there was no free membership that offered two free websites, hosting included and the vast training resources found there, specializing in affiliate marketing.
Are you looking into opportunities online? Well, I hope I’ve been able to show you adequately some things that will keep you out of harm’s way and greedy hands out of your pocket. Like to see what’s in a clean, honest, ethical system? Want an online business education that will make a difference in your life? Check out my review on Wealthy Affiliate by clicking the link just below