The Internet is a breeding ground for dubious people ready to rip you off at every turn. If you don’t like to be scammed, you’d be wise to watch out for these three deceptive online marketing tricks.
Even if a product or e-book appears to be heavily praised with a massive number of testimonials, there is no guarantee that the product is any good. I call these testimonials, “testiphonials,” because most of them are as fraudulent as it gets. Below is a simplified but accurate description of where these testiphonials come from:
Put simply: it is unlikely that the testimonials on product pages actually come from real people like you, and it is far more likely they come from friends of the marketer who sell similar products or (even worse) are totally fabricated.
“Unbiased” reviews on the Internet cannot be trusted, because it’s awfully easy for deceptive marketers to manipulate search engine rankings in their favor. There are a couple of ways marketers can do this:
I should say that affiliate marketing is not a “bad” thing in itself, because there’s nothing wrong with receiving a small cut for recommending relevant products and services that add value to your readers. A lot of marketers, however, will recommend anything (regardless of whether its truly valuable or helpful) as long as they think it will make a buck. In other words, you should be very careful about who you trust.
If you’d like to see an example of point #2, you’re welcome to open these four links:
Notice that those reviews are word-for-word replicas of each other, despite the fact that they appear to be written by different authors on different websites. I can’t say for sure (because I’m not a psychic), but I am willing to wager the creator of that product paid an SEO expert to spread those duplicates all over the Internet, creating the illusion of a critically acclaimed product… but it’s nothing but smoke and mirrors.
Wikipedia defines artificial scarcity as “the scarcity of items even though the technology and production capacity exists to create an abundance.” ”If you’d like to see a familiar example of artificial scarcity, look no further than the McRib sandwich at your local McDonald’s. Even though this sandwich is available all year long in countries like Germany, it is ONLY AVAILABLE FOR A LIMITED TIME in America. Why would McDonald’s limit this offering in such a way? Because everything is better when you have to wait for it. Also, it becomes much more tempting to buy something if it is in (artificially) limited supply. This same trick is played by many online marketers. If you’ve ever seen a graphic like this plastered on an Internet sales page, this is what artificial scarcity looks like online:
There are more deceptive online marketing tricks that I intended to discuss here, but I decided they were beyond the scope of this article. If you want to be an informed buyer, I recommend checking out any of these articles that might be relevant to you.
Scamworld: Get Rich Quick Schemes Mutate into an Online Monster (via the Verge)
Herbalife: A Pyramid Scheme Disguised as a Business Opportunity (via the Huffington Post)
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