A Strategy Guide to Help You Avoid Being Tricked, Scammed, or Swindled By Clever Marketers and Be Able to Spot a Phony Fitness or Weight Loss Product From a Mile Away to Save You Time, Money, and Endless Frustration
Not too long ago, I had a FIRST in my career. I actually wrote and published a negative product review online. And this wasn’t just any ‘ol negative product review either. I literally tore this program to pieces, and there wasn’t much left of it when I was finally done. You might be thinking, “big deal, there’s a ton of junk out there.” But here’s the thing. This program is currently a number ONE best-seller in the online health and fitness market, and has been a best-seller for years. This company does millions in sales each month – millions.
If you’ve spent any time on the internet, you’ve probably seen the ads because they’re everywhere. And yet, after an extensive product review where I looked at everything, I only rated it at 2 out of 5 stars (and even that was a stretch). And if you’re one of my long-time readers, you know that my reviews are not just thorough, they’re brutally honest. I don’t beat around the bush, and I always tell the truth.
So, how is it that a number one best-selling program that does millions in sales each month can turn out to be such a bunch of garbage?
The answer to that question is contained in just one word: marketing.
You see, the evolution of marketing has enabled even the companies that sell complete garbage to succeed. And the internet has made this oh-so-much harder for honest people to tell the good apples from the bad ones.
Case in point, when I first decided to review that particular product, I decided to do a little research first. I always do. This product was in the weight loss market, which is chock-full of outright scams. So, naturally, I’m accustomed (ie conditioned) to taking everything with a grain of salt and just accepting that most weight loss products/services will raise some red flags no matter what they are. It just comes with the territory. So, I wasn’t too offset by the larger-than-life claims and over-the-top promises – that bordered on the outrageous – that I found in the sales presentation.
Then I went online to check out what other people have said about this program. To my surprise, there was absolutely no negative criticism that I could find via a Google search. Quite the opposite, in fact. I found dozens of articles and videos that all spoke very highly of this particular program. In fact, most of them were praising it with gusto. So, after my interest was piqued and my expectations raised, I got the product for myself to take a look.
And what I found utterly shocked me. It wasn’t so much that this particular program was a downright scam. It was just that the product was so poorly put together, that I was almost embarrassed to even take a serious look at it.
It’s true. I, John Sifferman, who has written and published dozens of product reviews for a variety of fitness and weight loss products and services, had been officially duped.
Nevertheless, I had made a commitment beforehand that I would fully and completely review this product – so help me God. And that’s just what I did. It was painful, yes. Truth be told, I didn’t even want to do it. But needless to say, I’ve learned a few things from this whole experience – and from being a fitness product reviewer, in general – that I wanted to pass on to you to (hopefully) help you avoid the same fate.
Top 5 Strategies to Avoid Being Duped By Clever Fitness Marketers
I think the first step to avoid being tricked or scammed in the first place is that we all need to remember that we’re on the internet. It’s a (mostly) free international market – and most organizations, especially non-mainstream ones – can get away with saying practically anything they want (at least for long enough to fool everybody – but they never last). And this is where you run into the myths, half-truths, and lies that are so rampant in fitness marketing. These marketers have been doing this type of work for long enough that they know exactly how to push our buttons and influence our behavior, whether we realize it or not.
So, we need to be skeptical. This should be our default when buying anything online (or off), and especially anything health, fitness, or weight loss related. Denis Diderot was onto something when he said that “skepticism is the first step toward truth,” and I think we all need to keep this in mind when evaluating any product online or off. So, make skepticism your status quo. Suspicion, your new norm. Which leads into the next point.
We need to look for the proof. And not just look for it, but demand proof. And not just proof that the product does what it claims (that should be a given), but proof that it works for people like you. And when no proof is available, simply look elsewhere. Seriously, if I had a nickel for every time I ran across a product/service online that presented absolutely zero proof that it could even fulfill what it claimed, I’d have a whole lotta nickels. It’s absolutely rampant in this industry!
In the same breath, if there are big claims, which is oh-so-common in the weight loss market (e.g. lose 30 lbs in 30 days), then there’d better be big proof. And if it’s a best-seller, then there’d better be lots of proof to be found – and it shouldn’t be hard to find.
“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” ― Carl Sagan
We need to listen to our gut instincts. There’s no better indication of a problem than an uneasy feeling. If you’ve “got a bad feeling about this,” then just hold off. You’ve got a gut for a reason (hopefully, not that kind of gut!). So, deny it at your peril. Speaking of holding off…
And when all else fails, we need to be patient. That’s another way of yelling “WAIT!” If you’re looking to buy anything at all fitness or weight loss related, then don’t go out and buy something the first time you’ve heard of it. You NEED to do research, and check up on it – even if it appears to be mainstream, is a best-seller, and especially if it sounds too good to be true. Do your own due diligence. Research the company and owners background. Contact them with a question and see what kind of response you get (and response time). Seek out authentic reviews and testimonials.
The bottom line is that you need to find out if it’s legitimate and will work for you BEFORE you spend your money because once you’ve spent it – even with a 100% money-back guarantee – it’s usually much harder to get it back.
If you’re one of my long-time readers, then you know that I’ve reviewed a lot of products over the years. Combine that with a background in marketing and you’d think that I’d be impervious to all the scams and hoaxes out there, but that’s not entirely true. I still do get fooled from time to time. Suffice to say, something needs to be done about the all the deception that is overwhelming this industry. If you think about it, it really is maddening, and I’m getting pretty sick of it. And that’s exactly why I went forward and published that negative review anyways – even if it was for a number-one best-selling weight loss program that has received dozens, if not hundreds, of highly-positive, rave reviews already.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if my critique is the only negative product review of this program online. I certainly couldn’t find another one. It feels a little funny being an outcast, in that regard, but I’m not going to lose sleep over it. So, if you’re a sucker for pain and want to witness the absolute destruction of a highly-acclaimed weight loss program, check out my Truth About Abs Review. That’s exactly the type of the hold-nothing-back ANARCHY that happens when John Sifferman becomes unplugged for too long, which fortunately doesn’t happen very often.
And if you click that link RIGHT NOW, you’ll be entered into a random drawing for an all-expenses paid trip to Hawaii – complete with a personal chef named Guido.
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P.P.S. Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/amrosario/
P.P.P.S. That last part about the free trip was a joke. I’m not really sending anyone to Hawaii. I know. You were really excited.