I just got back from the TESOL convention in Boston. Nice trip. Even better, I got to see some “Don’t step in the Poop” fans while I was there. It’s nice to see your readers in person for a change.
In case you don’t know, TESOL is the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. As I am in publishing, I went there. Now, in the exhibitions I saw a lot of publishers. But there was an unexpected booth at the convention.
There. Right in front of me. For those who teach English. Was a booth. For the Federal Trade Commission.
The Federal Trade Commission Rocks!
Huh? The FTC? What were they doing there?
But what was cool is that they were there to help spread the word about all these scams. Especially those mortgage scams. And those scams are worse for people whose first language is not English.
I had a great time talking to the FTC people. And I think they will now be loyal readers of Don’t Step in the Poop. We talked a lot about our favorite scammers and said some un-flattering words about Kevin True-dough.
Most of These So-called Critique or Guru Watch Sites are Crap
But what got me irked was how hard the FTC tries to educate people, but most people have no clue. Instead, they go to these “Program critique” “Guru Watch” sites to find out about the scammers.
Don’t know what I’m talking about?
Well, there’s the famous Rip-off Report that lets people post whatever they want about any business and then allows businesses the pay the owner of the site money to investigate the claim and remove it. Of course, if they don’t pay, the claim stays there…regardless of truth. Hmmm..
Or how about this? A site gives you some information about a guru (many times negative) only to say at the end:
”We’ve critiques thousand of opportunities but only one made us money..click here to find out.”
It’s followed by a long-ass sales letter telling you to plunk down money in a “real” opportunity.
Now, here’s the thing. I don’t give a damn if their critique was spot on. Pretending to educate when you’re just selling the same old crap is despicable. I asked the FTC if they would crack down on these kinds of sites, but no luck.
If you’ve ever been to these sites, I say exit as fast as you can. Because they’re promising the same old “opportunities” to waste your money on a bunch of junk that the scammers are. Here’s a clue: they ARE the scammers.
There are good sites out there. I particularly enjoy the Salty Droid’s fabulously hilarious writing on internet marketing scammers, as well as his never-ending assaults on a certain sweat-lodge guru.
If you want some great information about scamming techniques, go to the FTC site for a while. I especially enjoyed the article about those “free trials” that end up costing you a ton of money. My only complaint is that the FTC’s site doesn’t provide you with the humor of Don’t Step in the Poop. But I promise that any new stuff I learn from them, I’ll pass on to you.
I also recommend this page from the FTC site. The page on dietary supplements is definitely worth your time.