Snake Oil Sales on Social MediaThe notion of somebody selling a bottle of snake oil to remedy all of your ailments has been around for many decades. There are stories of men (usually) who travelled the country making a fortune selling potions to unwary suckers. When found out many were then chased out of town or hung from the nearest tree.
Modern day versions of this include Ponzi schemes, #TrumpUniversity, and Elizabeth Holmes' Theranos company to name a few.
In my youth which was long before personal smart devices or even PCs and their ancestral monster computers, there were only a few forms of media and little of it was "social". For personal entertainment you listened to radio programs, watched basic TV with limited channels and programming choice, and read real newspapers, magazines, comics, and books. Failing that you played board games and cards.
But here is the thing: even then the snake oil salespeople were alive and well!
In the back of nearly all newspapers and magazines were "want" adds - similar to today's Kijiji, Amazon, and Craig's list. There were countless ads which told you that this or that person had made a fortune. Just send $19.99 to receive the secret. Then you too would become a millionaire - a LOT of money back then.
Although I never subscribed, the "secret" was usually along the lines of this: place an ad in a magazine or paper promising to tell your secret for only "X" dollars to be sent (snail mail) in a self-addressed, stamped envelope - just like I did! It was not a lie since thousands of suckers complied and the advertiser did make money. There was no product or service. That's what made it similar to the snake oil scheme.
Today there are blogs and videos by the thousands all doing something similar. In the last week I must have been interrupted five times by ads for 5 different people all claiming to tell me a secret (some secret!) They had made $3,000 in the first week or $10,000 in a month. It was now a full time job from home and one pulled in $4 million the first year. Every one claimed to have found a loop hole or exposure in YouTube that allowed you to make this money using videos produced by others! My fist thought was that things never change. Only the medium.
One common element - these were all younger people apparently too lazy to get a real job.
It doesn't stop there. Thousands of others are going to reveal the secrets of Search Engine Optimization and how to be a "content" creator in demand by all the big companies. I guess there are still enough snakes to perpetuate this market - and suckers to fall for it.
Again these are young people who apparently appointed themselves as experts in their fields. They often look like they are still in high school. If there are some who can prove that they have big name companies as clients - more power to them. However most of their websites are constructed to keep you clicking. "Subscribe to my channel." "Sign up for my newsletter". "Buy my book or merchandise." If they are rich it is probably from all the Google ads and others constantly interrupting you if you DO click further.
At least it is not illegal; they are not pushing drugs or stealing cars; and nobody is forcing you to fork out the cash. To get a feel for what I am talking about just try to find out what "content provider" means. Be prepared to do a lot of surfing. I was going to finish by saying "Just don't get caught by the tide".
There is a good example. How long has Tide been running essentially the same commercial? How many new improved versions can they invent? Despite all the changes and pushback about the stereotyped role for females in society - there she is. The amazed and smiling home maker showing off her clean laundry.
At least Tide has real products. Now excuse me. My washer just completed the last rinse cycle using - you guessed it!