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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 12-Mar-10


Friday 12-March-10

Get rich quick?

You may have noticed that there are a whole bunch of sites out there which are trying to persuade you of something, from getting rich quick to becoming an irresistible Lothario. Of course you can't acquire fame and fortune this cheaply, but it seems many fall into the trap of buying disappointment.

Seeing as they are trying to persuade you, albeit of a rather tenuous value proposition, I thought I'd take a closer look at one of these sites. As I'm interested in changing minds, I chose one which offers great skill in persuasion for remarkably little cost and effort.

The wonderful title is 'How to be an expert persuader in 20 days or less'. The key words here are 'expert persuader' (which is emphasized) and '20 days or less'. The promise of expertise implies you will be superior to the very large majority of other people and consequently be able to persuade pretty much anyone of anything you want. The '20 days or less' implies this will be easy. In other words you'll be getting something for pretty much nothing (and consequently the price is not that important).

Note the use of red font titles. Red is a hue to which the eye is particularly sensitive and so grabs attention. Oddly, many of these pages use Verdana font, which make me wonder if they are all filling in the gaps of a standard template.

The subtitle is 'If You Can Easily and Quickly Persuade Anyone to Eagerly Do Anything You Want, How Will You Use This Power?' Note the use of a question here as they want you to envisage yourself as all-powerful. This implies the advert is targeted at people who at the moment do not feel powerful. The 'eagerly' is interested and amplifies the implied power you will have.

Then there's a video, starting oddly with a squirrel but then quickly showing fast cars, big houses, helicopters and other symbols of power and fortune. Drooling yet? You are supposed to be.

The text then uses Courier, which used to be used by typewriters, implying that this is a personal letter to you. And indeed, it is framed in the text like a memo.

Some of the devices that follow include:

  • A fake questionnaire is presented with lots of desirable and amplified things it is implied you will be able to achieve.
  • A 'free gift' (which costs you an email address) that seeks to create an exchange dynamic.
  • Requests for action in a 'dotted-line' box like a 'cut here' box in a paper magazine.
  • Bullet point lists with check-mark 'ticks' that imply you will get all of these items.
  • Text highlighted with a yellow background (as if it was done with a highlighter pen).
  • Lots of 'testimonials' that stress how wonderful the product is that invite you to get what they have got and feel as they are feeling.
  • A personal 'rags-to-riches' story of  incompetence-to-competence from the seller that seeks to convince you of his credibility in the subject matter.
  • A few tips to show that the seller is an expert (nothing you won't find on, though).
  • A photo of the seller with his 'beautiful wife'.
  • Interspersed videos taken directly from YouTube.
  • Endless persuasive language.
  • Bonus 'gifts' (especially for those who buy now).
  • A 'VIP' direct email to the seller who will of course answer every question for the rest of your life.
  • A 96.5% discount. Worth $1346 but yours for only $47!
  • Upselling to 'Elite edition' for $57.
  • 100% money-back guarantee where you still keep the products (most people won't bother, and those that do may have a long wait).

The page is very long with much repetition, presumably working on the principle of investment: that people who stay the course, having spent so much time reading will feel they need to justify this time by buying the product.

It seems too good to be true, which always makes me highly sceptical and head off to more realistic lands. As they say in Yorkshire, 'you don't get owt for nowt'. The only people likely to get rich quick from such sites are the people who set them up (and of course that is the main idea).

I do a lot of trawling for information on persuasion and don't want to waste time in such sites, so I'm grateful for the originator of the template that has been used, as when I see the red titles and other patterns I can quickly hit the 'back' button.

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