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Fear of accidents… Scams and Anti-scams 20, February 2008

Posted by babychaos in Adult Content, General Wittering, Grumpy Old Bag, handy hints, Humour, Life and living, Light Fluff, Play.
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I have SPD. Basically not all the muscles round my pelvis are working hard enough so as it gets looser in preparation for Muffin’s birth, it also chafes itself and gets painful. Apparently it’s giving too much because my back is stiff so first we must strengthen the muscles with exercises and then we can loosen the back to stop it reoccurring.

Annoying. I run around quite a bit normally, mainly because if I stop my back seizes up. I stopped exercising regularly at about week 9 because I was getting too morning sick. Surprise, surprise, my back’s seized up, something has to give and I’ve got SPD. Bugger.

They’ve given me a huge tubi-grip tube to wear to support the muscles. This is ace but is causing me fear. You see I’m pregnant, right? That means I’m very vague, I’m very vague anyway at the best of times. So… my worry is that I seem to have established a dangerous routine. It’s this.

I go to the loo. I pull down my trousers, then I pull down the tubi-grip and then I sit down.

One of those little “this-isn’t-quite-right” lights comes on at the back of my brain.

Ah yes. That’s it.

I’ve forgotten to pull down my pants.

Luckily, so far, I have always noticed before I’ve got comfortable and started my pee. However, I fear that if I don’t train myself into an automatic three tier removal system soon the inevitable is going to happen.

Second up something I found on the net this morning made me chuckle.

There’s a certain type of marketing where you get a whole page of information which, when you’ve read it and digested it, usually tells you very little more than how much money the person running “the business” is earning, the enormous amount by which it is increasing every month and an invitation to imagine what you could do with the same kind of earnings. The implication is that if you pay the joining fee and sign up to the scheme you, too could be rolling in the clover with them – or at least it is until you read their legal disclaimer page, always a good idea to read that first, I reckon but then, I’m cynical.

As I understand it, the important thing, for them, is to concentrate on what you want from the business rather than what’s involved, until you’ve paid anything from about $5 to $45 for information “worth thousands” or a set up pack which will allow you to set up a branch of the “business” of your own.

Looking at it from the outside, it seems to me that rather than any concrete sales, the making money part is often about rewards for your referrals, another percentage for any of their referrals and so on.

This means you are very likely to make a lot of money if you are at the top of the chain but the later you join the less you are likely to make. Usually only a handful of people make meaningful money out of ideas like this and everyone else makes a few pence or nothing at all.

Pitch the price for the information, set up pack etc at a reasonably small amount of money and the people who end up out of pocket will just shrug and think it didn’t work out. Even if they do feel cheated or that it wasn’t worth the money their mentality is most likely to be to let it go, that it’s not worth bothering over a few quid etc… Of course, for the people running the enterprise, everyone’s few quid soon adds up. It does for people who sign up for more than one of these schemes, too.

I am chuckling about this page here… Mainly because it looks like the exact same scam and the exact same technique only it’s selling something called; “Stop Being A Victim.” For $5 you too can learn the psychology behind this kind of recruiting and selling… and then you can put it into practise scamming public spiritedly selling an explanation of how the scam works to other people to ensure they don’t get scammed either.

Simple question. Isn’t anyone putting information like this out to STOP people getting scammed going to do it for free – or give you the basics and ask for a donation of few quid to cover their site admin expenses?

I’m thinking computer programmes like AVG free edition virus checker or Spybot Search and Destroy and the like. Ok these are computer tools but they are free – you can upgrade one to a paid version, the other asks for a donation towards running costs.

The thing is, both are updated regularly. Write a book about how scammers scam and yes, it’s hard work but when it’s done, it’s done. Write and distribute a free virus or spyware checker and you will have to keep it updated on an ongoing basis. A similar amount of work to writing a book but without an end. Yet, both these high maintenance applications – and many similar – are provided without charge.

Yet on the Stop Being a Victim page, the Online Business Alliance (who wrote the content or at least it’s copyrighted to them) use exactly the same techniques as the scammers use, ostensibly while offering to “help” you learn how not to be scammed by this particular marketing scam. That is, they spend about 500 words telling you how much money your public spiritedness is going to make you if you pay them $5. Because obviously, you don’t just buy the information, right? No! You sign up and sell it on, yourself, under your own affiliate scheme.

Obviously you’re not doing this to earn money although…

“this industry is one of the few where one can write their own check in terms of earnings, “

(Don’t forget people, they’re not scamming you or trying to raise your expectations, this is a quote from the earnings disclaimer page which clearly states that they’re not responsible if you earn bugger all!)

No! You’re not going to be doing this to “write your own check”! You’re doing it to help people.

Yeh right.

Smell a rat? I reckon you should.

The best bit is the aforementioned legal disclaimers page which takes five paragraphs all written in capitals – ie shouted – to say, essentially, “we’re earning stacks of money doing this but don’t think that means you will.” Any site with one page of content to three legal has got to raise a few questions among the sane. Apart from the one page hard sell you can find a disclaimer, earnings disclaimer, child protection law compliance statement, privacy notice, anti spam policy and terms of use… hmm you might even be able to class that as one page hard sell to six legal…

They give you a preview – it’s a pdf so give it a minute or two to load. This is a short summary of the things which will be covered in detail when you pay your $5 to sign up. It also happens to be comprehensive summary of what you will need to know to set up a scam of your own and looking at it you can’t help thinking that the marketing material you are reading follows it to the letter.

In other words, it looks like a how to scam school disguised as a how not to be scammed school for legal reasons. Obviously this is my view the people behind this may have the best of intentions.

However, if they do, why do they choose to present themselves in exactly the same way as the people they claim to be helping us to avoid? Might it be that they feel the only way to help the suckers is to market to them in a language they understand? My US friends, you can tell me whether that’s just how marketing is done over the pond. Here in the UK the usual consensus is that anything requiring a sell that desperate and that hard has got to be flawed.

The whole thing is a bit like a tabloid kiss and tell which describes some torrid celebrity affair in intimate detail for the titillation and pleasure of the readers but is disguised as a condemnation of the protagonists so the paper can print and you can read with a clear social conscience.

A scam disguised as a crusade against itself? Another cheap trick to rip off the monumentally stupid? Elegant. If a little unethical.

Then again via my ferreting about with their links, I have stumbled upon something called lulu.com – a self publishing site, kind of like zazzle perhaps, only for writers. Now that might actually turn out be worth five dollars!

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Comments»

1. womantowomancbe - 20, February 2008

I just recently wrote a post about SPDs on my blog, with some tips about what to do and links to another website with more tips. Sorry I don’t know how to make this be a link, but you can just cut and paste this into your browser: http://womantowomancbe.wordpress.com/2008/02/12/pain-in-pregnancy/

Kathy
womantowomancbe.wordpress.com

2. Mrs. Nicklebee - 20, February 2008

My US friends, you can tell me whether that’s just how marketing is done over the pond. Here in the UK the usual consensus is that anything requiring a sell that desperate and that hard has got to be flawed.

The consensus is the same here. At first I thought you were talking about Amway, but it sounds more like Amway-gone-Nigerian. Dot com.

I hope you get the accessory challenge figured out before something awful happens in public. 😉

3. Kat - 21, February 2008

I used to worry that I’d go to the toilet and then realise I’d been sitting on it with the lid down. Hehe. I loved those elastic tube things. Got me through pregnancy and postnatal muscle weakness. When I carried the twins, I could barely lift my left leg at all.

4. Noble Savage - 21, February 2008

I had SPD too and it was horrible. I could barely walk in the end! Here’s hoping that the tube and the exercises help you. If they don’t, don’t be afraid to tell your GP or midwife that you need more than that. They can prescribe painkillers that are safe during pregnancy.

5. babychaos - 21, February 2008

WomanToWoman, thanks for some useful info,

Mrs N, Amway did spring to mind but they’re definitely more legit than this lot sound! Thank you, too, for reassuring me of the marketing-proof nature of the average American in the street!

Kat that’s exactly the kind of thing I do.

Noble Savage, yeh, I’ll be pestering them for painkillers well quick if need be, although I think I have some industrial strength mum-to-be-friendly paracetamol left over from when I had reconstructive knee surgery – they may tide me over.

Cheers

BC

6. Joe Drinker - 23, February 2008

Hehe…pyramid schemes. They’re all the same.

7. Anti Scams - 22, June 2008

you mean Pyramid Scams. wouldn’t recommend getting into this.


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