"Enrique Martinez didn't like chocolate, but he was eating as many as 10 pieces a day, drinking chocolate protein shakes and rubbing a chocolate-based skin cream on his face. It was expensive chocolate, too. Martinez and his wife, Michelle, were going through $2,000 in chocolate a month."
Start a home business, get rich quick, win financial freedom! If you watch late-night TV, you've heard it all before. But what's the story behind these slick pitchmen and their dubious schemes? Enter The Salty Droid, your ornery metal guide to the corrupt underworld of scam-marketing scum. This charmingly acerbic bot (owned and operated by mild-mannered Chicago dog-lover Jason Michael Jones [inter-view, long talk + transcript]) is a valiant crusader against the vile con-men who bankrupt the elderly and the desperate with beautiful lies. Exposed so far: A shadowy "Syndicate" of frauduct-pushing personality cults polluting the media with blogspam and woo-woo talking points. Boiler rooms in the Utah desert where telemarketers farm credit from easy targets with cunning, probing scripts [PDF]. Powerful politicians bought wholesale. Believers left to die in fraudulent new-age vision quests. It's a soul-crushing beat, enough to make one feel like a regular catcher-bot in the digital rye. But somebody's got to do it -- preferably someone with plasma nunchucks and titanium skin.
Hilariously sleazy network marketing videos for Yoli. The "Yoli's Hybrid Comp Plan" video specifically is quite ridiculous, as are all the ones from the company founders. Yoli is a network marketing product, a health drink specifically, with some terribly creepy videos over-promising their get rich quick product to suckers worldwide.
It's the latest buzz to sweep the internet--free iPods for signing up and referring five of your friend. There was plenty of skepticism at first, but when positive reports started coming in, the popularity of the site took off. But like any pyramid scheme, the people who are only signing up now are getting burned. And of course, won't someone think of the children?
"Women Empowering Women". This pyramid scheme is spreading like wildfire in the UK, with huge amounts of money involved. Basically you get a lot of people to put up say £100. The more people you attract to add money to the pyramid, the better chance you have of moving up and becoming entitled to many times your initial outlay. However, no investment occurs; this is simple cashflow juggling. Someone I work with gained £12000 on it in under a month - now everyone wants in the act. But (and I've pleaded with these people) the participants don't seem to appreciate the sheer idiocy of such schemes. Their attitude is "my husband goes to the betting shop, it's just my bit of fun". In the end, if you gain money, you're taking it directly from another participant. This is exploitation of people (normally hard-up, heavily mortgaged parents, it seems), is morally wrong and should be illegal - but it isn't in the UK. Here's a link to a BBC feature on pyramid schemes (aka trading schemes). This really boils my piss, but it carries on because individual participants can benefit from the fraud themselves. I understand women are targeted in this case as men are more likely to get in fights when they realise they've lost large amounts of cash.
A pyramid scheme for web traffic? ExitBlaze apparently sends traffic from one member's site to another's (or, no doubt, to other sites they must sell hits to): Bob doesn't know it but a pop-underwindow displaying an ExitBlaze member's site has just shown up underneath the main browser window. And Bob owes it all to you!