The Rise Of The Digital “Snake Oil” Salesman
Or, How Social Media Is The Perfect Medium For the Marketing Charlatan!
Needless to say, if you’ve been reading my stuff over the years, you know I can get a bit jaded when it comes to how reasonable, seemingly intelligent, folks can get sucked into BS online.
Especially, in the deep nether nether regions of the inter-web called Social Media — that cesspool of the wretched human condition.
Sure, it’s not always a place festering-up lies, deceit, false claims, treachery and sloppy promises.
Yet, for the most part it IS (absolutely) a breeding ground for people’s most screwy levels of character.
Whether it’s the rise of #SelfieNation, #EmpowermentPorn (eh, a head-spinning treatise I’m still working on), or #VaporWare (i.e., products that are created out of thin air to justify a “business opportunity is “legal”)…
…the end result is the same:
Distraction from quid-pro-quo values.
You know… those kind of ideals and social norms that have made this country GREAT — Responsibility, earning honest income, proving our worth (not feeling entitled), self-sacrifice and demanding a level of transparency and ethics around WHO we are… in all forms (warts, beauty and everything in between).
I’ve seen people hide behind a digital curtain that is their equivalent of the Wizard masquerading behind “the black curtain.” They use it to create the illusion they’re more polished, more mighty, more wise than they really are.
And, holy sh*t… put that kind of magic-tool in the hands of a duplicitous soul who only identifies with being a “marketer” (especially one that looks for any and every way to “sell you” irrespective of value)…
… And, you’ve got a recipe for an industry that is ripe for shady and shallow characters!
It’s why, ever since we started M4 Research, we’ve taken a very unconventional road (from the point of view of a Publisher) in the financial publishing space.
We asked ourselves: “If we’re going to offer up esoteric ‘money’ resources and mostly unconventional avenues of wealth-building, how can we do this in a way that keeps us accountable AND congruent?”
In other words, we never had any interest whatsoever to mingle with the typical “biz opp’ promoters, the fly-by-night traders, or armchair investors (especially the chicken-little investment analysts and doom-n-gloom prognosticators) that dominate this industry.
So, we had to START where anybody learning any craft or trade starts:
In the trenches. Which meant learning from successes and failures as investors and speculators with our own money; our own pursuits into whatever it is we’re sharing with our friends, family and paid-up M4 Insider members.
As we eat our own cooking with many of the ideas and programs we endorse as viable, we also occasionally have to taste things that aren’t so palatable along the way.
For instance, recently a Platinum member inadvertently bit (hook, line and sinker) into a fraudulent online review of one of our longest endorsed vendors we’ve had a working relationship with).
The majority of our M4 Insider (M4i) members — whether Gold (subscription) or Platinum (Lifetime) — have the good sense to ask us about and cross-check with us items of question they see online.
It’s a big value component of their membership anyway; to be able to ask Brad and I anything they find in their own due-diligence of our endorsed listings.
But, what about those who don’t? Those who are too shy? Those who simply feel what they SEE online (irrespective of our take) must be legit and true?
Well, I suppose in many ways, it’s why we have a Member Mailbag section inside M4i, as well as a place where we give our assessment on UNLISTED investments and programs (i.e., those that members have brought to our attention; 90% of which have already been on our chopping block and previously discarded).
So, on that note… here’s an excerpt of Brad’s reply to our well-meaning (and self-reliant detective) Platinum member:
“People like____ or ____ (names intentionally omitted), or whomever is REALLY behind the site, have their own agenda they’re pushing.
They prey on people’s natural tendency to focus on negative information and news.
“This kind of tactic will continue to work as long as there are gullible people out there that don’t understand the marketing psychology that’s going on behind the scenes.
“To the unsophisticated these reviewers come across as do-gooders. But because of our years of in-the-trenches experience we can see right through their charade.
“The way it works is very simple: They find a company or vendor that can be exploited. Then they write an article with a tantalizing title such as ‘Is XYZ Company a Scam?’
“Often times they do little to no due-diligence, yet claim something’s a scam without giving a balanced/objective review. It’s manipulation, plain and simple.
“Moral of the story, just because you read something on the internet doesn’t make it true.”
So, where do YOU go from here?
If you’re in the mix of receiving near-daily pitches and promises of pleasure and profits — whether it’s lotions and potions… or… direct sales deals… or… money-growing programs that seem too good to be true, how’s a busy cracker like you supposed to filter through it all?
Well, one way is to go get really good at being discerning; at having the time and resources to investigate, to test, to keep asking questions as you sift and sort through the hundreds of opportunities at your disposal.
In the process, you may accidentally become an anti-scam zealot, thereby throwing out any and all babies (legit opps and investments) with the dirty bathwater.
That, of course, defeats the entire purpose of being a smart speculator of life, of your assets; where you’re willing to take calculated risks for better returns.
The other way would be to learn from the experience, and focused-commitment, of others in the mix of it all.
Either way, we’re here to serve and assist.