Ab Gizmos and Other Assorted Snake Oils
© 2002 Elena Fawkner
Big news this week. The FTC's going after companies behind ab gizmos. You know ones - develop six-pack abs in 6 weeks without doing a single situp. All you do is strap on this belt gizmo and it sends hundreds of electrical charges to abdominal muscles causing them to contract. Voila! All benefits of hundreds of crunches without any effort.
The FTC's claiming millions of dollars from these companies. This is just to disgorge money these companies received from customers.
Why? The ab gizmos don't work. It's all a big fat lie.
Well ... duh.
So why, then, have these companies made hundreds of millions of dollars?
Because there are an awful lot of people who want something for nothing. They don't want to have to wait, they don't want to have to expend effort. They desperately want to believe it's possible to get something now and without working for it.
So, they'll fork over $99 in 3 easy instalments for a gizmo that will give them rock-hard abs in six weeks while in meantime they sit around pool doing nothing but sipping Margueritas. No matter that it won't work. Hope is alive and well and that's what they've paid for.
And that's what these marketers are selling, after all. They're not selling an ab gizmo. They KNOW they don't work. But that's OK because what they're selling is hope. The hope that maybe, with this doodad, you won't have to get in shape way all those other poor schleps have to. You won't have to go on a diet to lose fat and exercise to build muscle. Nosiree, not you. We're going to give YOU a magic wand!
Sound familiar? What was in your inbox this morning after you finally downloaded all your mail? How many emails did you receive telling you that you can make $3,000 a week doing nothing? Or you can earn a full-time income with part- time work? Or, how about this, "We'll do all work!"? (After you pay us $60 for your place in matrix, that is.)
Or maybe you've written ads like these yourself. Smart marketer that you are, you know that best way to sell your product is to market it as something that will take away pain. You know that for your target market, working in a J.O.B. (just over broke) day after day is painful. You offer a way to escape that pain.
But take a closer look at your ad. If you're pushing a matrix program, you know, deep down where it counts, that you probably got in too late yourself and anyone who comes in under you is even further down pyramid (er, matrix). You're not only engaging in an illegal activity - a pyramid scheme (and no, sticking a matrix label on it doesn't change what it is) - if you're advertising it as a way for someone to invest $30 and take away $30,000 in 30 days (or ANY time period for that matter), you're doing exactly same thing as ab gizmo companies. You're selling snake oil. Think FTC won't come after you? Think again.