Edited 2020: Consumer Reports “archived” the articles referenced here when they stopped publishing Consumerist in 2017. Since they didn’t bother to put in redirects for their old URLs, the links have been broken for some time. Better yet, with the latest reorganization of this site, the internal link didn’t work because I didn’t bother to put in redirects either. Sad face. Now they all work again.
Since my Skype Fraud post is one of the most popular here, I thought I’d throw in a few references to some other similar tricks. This one is particularly funny:
Bad Luck Facebook Scammer, You Picked A Target Who Reads Consumerist with the wonderful phrase “Once I deposit the funds, you can print it out of any colour printer and it’s real money!”
Then there’s the original article referenced in the one above: Nigerian Scammers Break Into Your Gmail, Ask Your Friends For Money.
We can only hope that one of these days the scammers just go out of business because everyone has enough information to spot them and waste their time. Not likely, but one can hope.
Probably everyone has seen a dozen of these by now. Usually someone has discovered some amazing way to make money, or to achieve something that makes money. He or she will tell you all about it, at great length on their seemingly one page web site.
Oh and what a page it is. Make $103,736 a month plucking chickens at home. Just keep reading and we’ll tell you how. Watch our fantastic headers show up in uppercase red text. Count the exclamation points! Look at how we make everything longer with our big borders and narrow copy area.
There’s even proof: here’s images of copies of the Big Fat Earnings.
And now testimonials. Joe the Plumber used this system and now has two houses and three vacation properties. Maybe you can even hear from Joe in a video. Regular folk who look like losers made money with this fantastic technique.
Here’s a link to get started NOW. But just in case you’re not convinced, let’s repeat the whole thing, saying the same stuff in a slightly different way.
Okay, let’s repeat that again. And again. Maybe even again.
Well if you got all the way down here you MUST be convinced, so save 50% or more in this time limited offer by clicking on this *special* link! Only a fool would pass this by!
And now you’re at the end.
Ten, twenty, thirty pages of essentially empty claims all jammed into one and dressed up in a loud suit. The only option for navigation is to the order page.
You’ve just been subjected to a Toilet Paper Pitch. If you printed it out, you’d get a long roll ready for what it’s worth.
Ever notice how these things read like those old five page double-sided direct snail mail pieces you used to have to wade through fifteen years ago? That’s because they’re direct descendants. They try to get you in a box, lead you through their pitch. I think the same cabal of old men is convincing people that this is the way to go in the web world and cranking them out at some ludicrous price.
At some point this pitch style must have worked for someone, because not a week goes by that I don’t see another variation on this theme. Style over substance, or maybe bullsh*t baffles brains, I’m not sure which.
But enough already. It’s tired. It’s lame. It’s not Web 2.0, it’s Web 0.5. It’s old. It’s done. It’s boring. Build a useful site instead… unless of course your product is crap. In which case TP is definitely the way to go.
Do something else. Anything. Please.