OK, I admit – I clicked on it…

…so you don’t have to. What was it? Not internet porn, not online gambling…it was those damned annoying flashing ads that pop up everywhere with “Mother discovers $4 tip to reduce wrinkles – Doctors HATE her”.

I knew it was going to be a load of old tosh, and of course it was, but I was interested to see how they might try to convince me it wasn’t. They made a reasonably good go of it, at least in terms of the look of the website you get taken to.

One click and you’re whisked to a site that at first glance, or possibly second or third glance to the uninitiated, might look like a genuine news site. It has a fake news bar at the top of the page with headings like World News, Business, Politics etc, but if you click on them nothing happens. Of course, it could be a really slow news day, but…

They also unashamedly use logos from genuine news sources including BBC, ABC, Sydney Morning Herald etc. One thing that perturbed me a bit – the “story” about the amazing wrinkle discovery was customised to my home town; how did they know where I was? And, will I be getting junk mail for the rest of my life? Are they already on their way to my house? However, as I’d already arrived at the site, I decided to plough on.

They’ve managed to mimic a newspaper story with  lines like “we receive countless submissions from readers, but we just had to share this”. However, once they start writing along the lines of “Dermatologists are afraid you will learn this secret” you have to wonder if there are really are doctors and dermatologists in plush offices weeping and gnashing their teeth.

Then they start tapping into the current recession fears, including a so-called personal story from a woman who was afraid she wouldn’t get hired because she looked too old.  OMG! Sign me up now!

Or not. The pretend report continues (if you can be bothered…see, now you don’t have to, because I clicked) and finally mentions the name of the product, or rather two names – the pseudo-serious clinical sounding name and its brand name.

Then there are the ludicrous before and after photos. This was what first caught my attention – how could they possibly justify these shots? As it turns out they can’t. I could do a better job in Photoshop – if these results were real, there’d be more headlines than when the Global Financial Meltdown occurred (remember that old thing?)

There actually is a product you can sign up for, but naturally You Have To Be Quick – these free trails won’t last forever, there are only a few left, our lines are now open, blah blah blah. This is followed by fakely, horribly enthusiastic comments from people who have allegedly used the product – no doubt written by some intern in the marketing department.

Having got this far, I found, in minuscule print at the bottom of the site a rather long list of disclaimers along the lines of:

  • not being affiliated with the name of the newspapers or TV programs they have listed
  • some products having terms about continued billing after trial period ends (a trap for young players)
  • this site and its comments are “illustrative examples” of what some people have achieved

and finally, and somewhat hilariously

  • any content on this website is based loosely off a true story, but has been modified in multiple ways including but not limited to the story, the photos and the comments

In other words, a complete load of old tosh.

So why did I click? Is it possible that there was a faint yearning that just perhaps there might be something helpful there? What is it about humans and eternally seeking some sort of elixir – eternal life, eternal youth, and for some of the masculine kind, eternal rumpy-pumpy, aided by little blue pills. The ad-men know this all too well, and it gets us every time.

I think part of it is also a childish desire to learn a secret – remember the playground tune of “I know something you don’t know, nya na na na nya na” We never really grow out of this – it’s a sweet thing to think that you know something that other people don’t; hence the whole “discovered secret” marketing ploy for this undoubtedly rubbish product.

Anyway, there you have it – I’ve clicked and given you the inside scoop, which is that there is no inside scoop. However if you would really rather believe that just maybe it might be true – go ahead, just don’t sign up for anything that is an illustrative example of something that has been modified in multiple ways.

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