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Buyer Beware: 3 Deceptive Online Marketing Tricks You Need to Stop Falling for

Buyer Beware: 3 Deceptive Online Marketing Tricks You Need to Stop Falling for

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.

1. Testiphonials

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:

  • Self-proclaimed guru releases “get rich quick” or “lose weight fast” information product.
  • Said guru asks friends who release similar products to provide him or her with testimonials.
  • Those friends typically don’t bother to test the information product for themselves, meaning their testimonial is actually a testiphonial.
  • The cycle repeats itself consistently, resulting in a hilarious situation where the same few people are trading favors over and over again.

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.

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2. “Unbiased” Reviews (that are actually affiliate links)

“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:

  1. Offer an affiliate program where anyone who refers traffic (potential customers) gets paid a small chunk of the total purchase amount.
  2. Pay an SEO (search engine optimization) expert to cover the Internet in fabricated reviews that appear to be written by different people.

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:

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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.

3. THIS OFFER IS GOOD FOR 24 HOURS ONLY!!!

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:

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    Extra Credit / Additional Reading

    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.

    Tips to Avoid Deceptive Online Marketing Practices (via VISA)

    Scamworld: Get Rich Quick Schemes Mutate into an Online Monster (via the Verge)

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    Herbalife: A Pyramid Scheme Disguised as a Business Opportunity (via the Huffington Post)

    From Fat to Fit in Just 15 Minutes: Personal Trainer Reveals How Easy It Is to Fake a Transformation (via Dailymail)

    Was this list an eye-opener for you? If you know of any deceptive online marketing tricks not mentioned here, please tell us about them in the comments. Please share this with your friends on Facebook and Twitter so they can avoid getting ripped off, too.

    More by this author

    Daniel Wallen

    Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

    Less Thinking, More Doing: Develop the Action Habit Today 10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail How To Hustle: 10 Habits Of Highly Successful Hustlers 9 Things to Remember When You’re Having a Bad Day facebook addiction 5 Reasons for Your Facebook Addiction (and How to Break It)

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    Last Updated on April 19, 2021

    40 Healthy And Really Delicious Meals You Can Make Under $5

    40 Healthy And Really Delicious Meals You Can Make Under $5

    Ever had those moments where you really wanted to eat something delicious and healthy but didn’t have the financials means to do so? Whether you’re a student or parent, this compilation of 40 great, healthy, and inexpensive recipes will make every night special and help you get fit! No more meals where you have to force the food down! It’s time to make that budget your best friend and turn it into great recipes. Enjoy!

    1. Fish Tacos in Crunchy Shells ($3.56 per serving)

    Is there a better way to end the day than a Fish Taco dinner filled with protein and nutrients and is easy on the wallet? This recipe calls for a boys’ or girls’ night in front of a good movie or game.

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      2. Mini-Meatball Noodle Soup ($3.43 per serving)

      We’ve heard of the delicious spaghetti and meatballs recipes, but imagine having that same meatball goodness in a soup? It’s like Christmas in a bowl. Healthy, warm, and only $3.43 per serving.

      3069_0

        3. Spaghetti and (Vegan) Meatballs ($2.13 per serving)

        Now it’s time to look at the traditional spaghetti and meatballs recipe, but with a little twist: vegan meatballs. This way, you can enjoy the Italian tradition without adding on the extra calories. I’m sold!

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          4. Kabocha Squash and Lentils ($3.12 per serving)

          Absolutely delicious way to end the day with a Kabocha Squash and lentils dinner. The beauty of this recipe is that you can actually make many other things from the mixture, from dips to full-on meals. All under $5 per serving.

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            5. Baked Coconut Lentils ($0.91 per serving)

            Coconuts are always a good idea, but it doesn’t have to be eaten only for dessert or breakfast. With this great recipe, you can now eat a lunch or dinner filled proteins and a coconut twist. Yum!

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              6. Easy Marinated Roasted Chicken ($3.40 per serving)

              We love chicken and at less than $5 per serving, we are in heaven with this recipe. Add some vegetables and rice on the side and you’ve got yourself a full meal!

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                7. Organic Greens and Goat Cheese Gratin ($2.36 per serving)

                This is absolutely divine. You get in your healthy greens and your fat macros with this great recipe. Takes only a few minutes to make and it’s easy on the wallet. Bon Appetite!

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                  8. Beef Pot Roast ($3.22 per serving)

                  One word: perfect. This meal will warm your insides and fill you up with the high protein content.

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                    9. Fajita-Style Quesadillas ($0.43 per serving)

                    If you want to eat Mexican tonight but want to stay in your budget, this Quesadilla recipe is your best friend. It’s tasty and filled with healthy ingredients for less than a dollar per serving.

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                      10. Fish Tostadas with Chili Lime Cream ($2.82 per serving)

                      Another great lunch idea for the busy days ahead. Prep this in the morning or the night before and you’ve got yourself a healthy and cheap lunch meal!

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                        11. Beef and Black Bean Chili ($1.36 per serving)

                        Might not look like much, but this amazing chili is actually extremely healthy for you. The protein from the beef and the carbs from the black beans will fill you up in no time, and keep you full for a long period of time. Delicious and warm, just right for the winter!

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                          12. Crispy Fish and Peppers ($2.18 per serving)

                          Amazing recipe for anyone looking to change up their meals while keeping their macros in check and not going overboard on spending. Satisfies your crunch tooth (see what I did there?) and gives you all the protein you need to stay full and lean.

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                            13. Vegetarian Gumbo ($1.50 per serving)

                            You have the perfect macro mix here with the carbs, fats, and proteins. At less than $5 per serving, you’ve got yourself a meal that will last for the whole week!

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                              14. Mexican White Bean Soup ($0.99 per serving)

                              With the cold weather creeping in, it’s not a surprise that soups are coming back in style. This great Mexican White Bean Soup dish will keep you warm for winter without making a hole in your pocket.

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                                15. Black Beans with Mango & Cilantro ($0.38 per serving)

                                Mangoes make every dish a little bit sweeter, which is why we absolutely love this recipe. A normal rice and bean dish might be a little meh, but add the sugary taste of mangoes and you’ve got yourself a party!

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                                Black-Bean-Cilantro-Mango

                                  16. Bean Burritos ($0.71 per serving)

                                  If you’re having people over tonight and don’t want to spend too much time or money on food, this dish is a great option! You can even cut up the burritos into pieces and make finger foods while everyone’s watching the game or gossiping.

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                                    17. Five-Spice Beef Kabobs ($2.43 per serving)

                                    The spices in this recipes add a delicious twist to the beef kabobs, which is definitely worth trying!

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                                      18. Cornmeal Crusted Pork ($1.92 per serving)

                                      If you like the fried crunch but want to opt for a healthier alternative, cornmeal is your man. This healthy recipe will satisfy all your fried desires without making you pop open your pant’s button.

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                                        19. Chicken, Tomato & Cucumber Dinner Salad ($2.57 per serving)

                                        Easy to do, extremely healthy, and super delicious. A must-try!

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                                          20. Lentil Soup with Beef and Red Pepper ($1.90 per serving)

                                          I can’t believe how cheap this meal is, especially for all the nutrients it contains. You can make a big pot on Sunday night and divide it into small portions to last you a whole week.

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                                            21. Smoky Mushroom Stroganoff ($1.90 per serving)

                                            Craving pasta but not sure what to top it off with? How about smoky mushrooms with a twist?

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                                              22. White Bean Tuna Salad ($1.36 per serving)

                                              You can add this White Bean Tuna Salad in your sandwich or just eat it as-is for a quick lunch on a busy day.

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                                                23. Sausage Eggwiches ($0.80 per serving)

                                                Who says you have to eat fast food to get an eggwich? This delicious recipe will give you an amazingly healthy eggwich for less than a dollar per portion. Can you say Breakfast?

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                                                Sausage-Eggwiches

                                                  24. Baja-Cali Black Bean Salad ($1.17 per serving)

                                                  Great snack to add to a movie-night with friends. You don’t have to use chemically-processed salsas anymore, you can now use this homemade salad for your chip dips.

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                                                    25. Gnocchi, Sweet Corn & Arugula in Cream Sauce ($2.24 per serving)

                                                    Italians always knew how to make carbs look good! This delicious Gnocchi recipe will give your lunch a whole new meaning. Easy to make and only $2.24 per serving.

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                                                      26. Vegetable Lasagna ($1.73 per serving)

                                                      If you were looking for a healthy lasagna, you’ve just found it. At under $5 per serving, you can fill yourself up right away without putting on the extra calories.

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                                                        27. Fajita-Ranch Chicken Wraps ($2.05 per serving)

                                                        Don’t know what to make for lunch this week? How about delicious chicken wraps with a healthy ranch? This recipe will make all your lunches, even the quick ones, healthy and colorful.

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                                                          28. Quinoa with Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts ($1.24 per serving)

                                                          A dish that has quinoa and brussel sprouts can’t be unhealthy, it just can’t, which is why this dish is one to keep in the books. Easy to make, healthy, and will keep you full for a long period of time.

                                                          Quinoa-Brussels-Sprouts

                                                            29. Butternut Squash Chili ($1.04 per serving)

                                                            You don’t need meat to make chili now that you have this recipe! It’s 100% healthy, filling, and smells absolutely delicious.

                                                            Butternut-Squash-Chili

                                                              30. Fast Shrimp Bisque ($2.03 per serving)

                                                              Seafood doesn’t have to be expensive if you know how to do it right, and this fast shrimp bisque is a great recipe to try if you’re in the mood for some seafood!

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                                                                31. Chicken-Noodle Casserole ($0.98 per serving)

                                                                Looks divine doesn’t it? This super easy to make dish will satisfy all your taste buds without burning a hole in your wallet or adding a few extra numbers on the scale.

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                                                                  32. Burrito Cups ($1.18 per serving)

                                                                  Entertaining someone tonight and don’t know what to make as appetizers? These burrito cups are a great alternative to chips or other greasy finger foods. All you need to enjoy it is a spoon and a cup.

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                                                                    33. Lemon-Dill Shrimp & Pasta ($2.45 per serving)

                                                                    Another impressive shrimp recipe under $5 per serving. The lemon-dill twist adds a great taste to the dish.

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                                                                      34. Potato Frittata ($0.87 per serving)

                                                                      If you want to eat potatoes for breakfast but still want it to be healthy, this is the recipe for you. At under a dollar per serving, this potato frittata will make you see potatoes in a whole new light.

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                                                                        35. Grilled Pork and Pineapple ($2.67 per serving)

                                                                        Meat and fruits? Oh, yes. The juiciness of the pork mixed with the liquid sugar in the pineapple will make you wish you knew about it sooner.

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                                                                          36. Greek Honey-Lemon Pork Chops ($2.15 per serving)

                                                                          Another splendid recipe mixing sweet and salty for a healthy meal. Easy to make and absolutely mouthwatering.

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                                                                            37. Jamaican Pork Stir-Fry ($2 per serving)

                                                                            You can add this healthy stir-fry to any dish as a side or amply enjoy it as-is for lunch or dinner. You can even make a wrap sandwich out of it if you’re in a rush to eat.

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                                                                              38. Herbed Salmon ($2.49 per serving)

                                                                              Salmon contains a healthy dose of fats that will boost your metabolism, lower inflammation, and make you happier. At under $5 per serving, need I say more?

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                                                                                39. Five-Spice Pork Kabobs ($1.96 per serving)

                                                                                Exquisite recipe under $5 per serving that will most definitely awe everyone at your dinner party.

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                                                                                  40. Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Mango-Black Bean Salsa ($1.24 per serving)

                                                                                  You don’t have to eat sweet potatoes alone anymore with this flavorful recipe.

                                                                                  stuffed-sweet-potatoes

                                                                                    Featured photo credit: Featured Photo Credit: 5 Dollar Dinners via 5dollardinners.com

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