Digital Media Insights for Business Owners

Online Marketing or just plain Manipulation and deceit

So I am browsing the web and found a banner that advertised Abby’s DIet Journal. It had the logos of NBC and CNN so I decided to check it out. The first line of the site, said the following: Dear fellow weight-struggler, Hi, I’m Abby. I’m 25 and I’m from Apex, NC.

This sounded pretty interesting to me, because I am not located on Apex, however I am aware that my IP appears as APEX to the browser detection engines. So that automatically made me suspicious. Then I decided to use a proxy to visit the page and see what it would say. Just to confirm that my suspicions where right.

Now, the first line said:

Dear fellow-struggler weight,Hi, I’m Abby. I’m 25 and I’m from Mountain View, CA.


Technically what is happening is a simple string replace depending on the location detected by a browser script. Pretty simple.

The problem that I have with the site is not the technical implementation. The problem with is the deceit it is using. In fact is lying about the identity of this so called Abbey in order to manipulate potential customers into buying their product.

Do the pills work to lose weight?

Do I need to check the product to see if it works? Of course not. It obviously doesn’t work. How do I know? Because if they are willing to lie about the location, they are willing to lie about anything in order to get money. They are willing to put together a product that perhaps damages your health in exchange for your money.

Of course, the regular internet user wouldn’t necessarily understand that there is something weird about the fact that this girl in the testimonial lives close. So she feels closer in terms of needs and rapport.

Moral of the Story

As an online marketer I am always exposed to many techniques to gain an advantage online. Some are great techniques. Some, in my opinion, are not marketing techniques, they are deception.

Somebody ends up buying this product, they obviously experience no result, and then they lose trust not only on that site, they give up hope on all the web. Do I have a problem with that? Well, I make my living creating and marketing web properties. Yes, I do have a problem with people trying to take that away.

Anyways. I am not sure that this post is useful at all, but the main moral I can give to our readers is this:

Do not trust all you read on the web, as in the offline world, there are people out there that don’t have the best intentions at heart. However, don’t stop trusting the ones that you have tested. There is plenty of people and ideas that are very worth it.

Until next time…


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