Okay, so somehow I became aware of what appears to be the latest, greatest weight loss scam/MLM (Multi-Level Marketing, aka Ponzi scheme).
Let me just preface by saying that yes, this is a scam. And no, I don’t need to know what it is to make that judgement. You may be wondering, “But how do you know it’s a scam, then?”
I have not, as yet, been able to find out exactly WHAT Visalus IS. I can deduce that it is some kind of vitamin/herb/otherbullshit supplement that people are intended to pay lots of money for.
What I HAVE found, however, is at least 13 pages of Google search results (I stopped looking at them at that point) of fake websites trying to persuade me that Visalus is awesome and totally not a scam and I should definitely get involved and become a reseller.
The first search result is, unsurprisingly, the product’s homepage. What is interesting about this site is that it does not look like the website of a company selling a dietary supplement. It looks like a media site devoted to videos, public events, a “flash mob” video, and various other crap designed to make the company look new and exciting and “a big deal”.
Everything is in video form. There are no articles or text discussion of the product itself, what it is, what it does, or (perhaps most importantly), what it contains.
Instead I am asked to view videos of people telling me how great it is and that I should totally get some and become a fan.
I took a screenshot so you don’t have to give them page views.
As for the other Google search results, they fit into one of several categories:
1. Fake personal blogs
These are websites that have names that make them seem like they are the personal blogs of normal everyday folks like you. Sites like “darrenlittle.com”, “meetstaci.com”, and “andrewmurrayhq.com”.
2. Fake consumer protection sites
There are a number of reputable consumer protection and scam-exposure sites on the internet (such as Snopes, the Better Business Bureau, Ripoff Report, and others, along with various government websites concerning fraud). If you go to sites like this, you will learn that Visalus is indeed a scam run by crooks.
But if you go by Google search results, you get page after page of sites like empowernetwork, mlmbrothers, visalusscams, homebizscams, and other completely fake sites that exist for no other reason than to attract Google search and provide yet another sales pitch to the gullible public.
3. Fake financial advice sites
These are designed to look like they are legitimate, online sources of news and business information, and industry “tips” on how to manage your money and take advantage of hidden opportunities. They have names like onlinewealthpartner, the25dollarmillionaire, rebootyourmarketing, realestatearticle, and other stupid names that kinda-sorta sound like they might be comparable in reputation to, say, Forbes.com.
4. Fake health/nutrition/body building sites
5. Websites designed to look like they are about something else totally unrelated like electrical contracting and lawn furniture vendors.
6. Fake news radio/TV station sites
I think you guys get the idea by now.
What is really fascinating to me is the sheer brute effort that someone (or some company) has put into creating this fake internet presence and this “sphere” of self-referential “evidence” for a product that is not readily described.
Any company that tries this hard to make themselves look legit is not legit.
I shouldn’t even have to say that. Maybe if I get lucky, this post will get cross-linked enough to actually show up in the search results early enough for people to find it.