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Thoughts For Thursday: How Do People Live With Themselves?

September 8, 2011 · 24 comments

in Thoughts For Thursday

Do you ever watch a commercial and wonder “oh my gosh, how can a company get away with marketing a product like that”?  Well, I certainly have, and I have also come across other things that people do that make me wonder how they sleep at night.  Here are two examples of ‘products’ that I think are marketed in a way that makes me want to scream:

Christian Dating Service (I don’t want to name the particular company)

I have no problem with a service that wants to intoduce Christian people to each other in hopes they will find a “soul mate”.  What I do have a problem with is a commercial where the narrator quotes God.  (From the commerical:  “Sometimes we wait for God to make the next move,  when God is saying “it is your time to act, the next move is yours”.)   I had no idea that this Christian dating service knew what God wants us all to do!  Not only that, but the narrator tells us that if we go to their website, we will find God’s match for us!   I tell you what, if I had the inside line to what God wanted, then I would be doing other things with that knowledge than trying to get people to pay me money to arrange a date for them. Not only that, but God is pretty darn powerful.  If God wanted me to meet a certain someone, wouldn’t he just make it happen instead of hoping I will sign up with a Christian dating service?   I just really hope that there aren’t many desperate people out there that are signing up immediately with the website because they want to do God’s will.

Health eBooks

I think eBooks definitely have their place in the market.  However, I do not like when I am looking for information on a particular illness, and it turns out I can only have that info I want if I buy a particular eBook.  I think websites that bait people with some health information, but in the end of the article state “if you want to learn how to cure *insert here*, then buy this eBook” should think twice about how they are offering their product.  I just could not imagine profiting off of someone else’s illness.  For instance, I wrote a post about Clostridium Difficile (cdiff) that I could probably restructure and turn into an eBook.  I could never imagine doing that though.  I want as many people to read that post as possible in hopes it helps them or their loved one.  If someone spent a lot of time compiling information and such, then they could always put a ‘donate’ button up on their website and readers could make a donation if they felt inspired.  I know the authors of these eBooks are not doing anything illegal.  However, I personally could not trade money for information when it comes to health-related topics.

I could go on and on discussing all the people out there that try to scam the elderly and profit from those less fortunate, but I don’t have specific examples.   However, the two items mentioned above have really been getting on my nerves, and I have been wondering if these people even think twice about how they promote their products.  In the case of the Christian dating service, they just blatantly imply that they know what God wants, and their website will let you know what that is.  It is just cruel because there are a lot of lonely people out there that really do have a lot of faith.  I am sure there are many people that signed up with the hope and belief that God was doing the matchmaking for them and they would be all set once they signed up.

Regarding the eBooks, I just feel bad for anyone that is afflicted with a difficult illness and are just trying to get some information.  It is bad enough when people are sick, but then when they are led down a road that sounds hopeful and then are suddenly told ‘give us some money and we will tell you more’, it just seems unethical to me.

Do you wonder how some people sleep at night?

 

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

The Biz of Life September 8, 2011 at 9:07 am

The Christian Dating Service thing almost sounds like affinity fraud.

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Kris September 9, 2011 at 8:31 am

I totally agree. But I guess God can’t file a lawsuit…

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20's Finances September 8, 2011 at 9:08 am

I absolutely agree. People use the ‘God-trump-card’ way too often and it is sickening! I guess it is just like many marketing schemes, but still. I think that the entire health care system operates in a similar fashion to those ebooks. Everyone is trying to make a huge profit off of other people’s misfortune.

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Kris September 9, 2011 at 8:30 am

It is like ‘misfortune’ is a marketing niche now days. In a way, I guess it is the same thing as casinos. Many low income people go there in hopes of striking it rich, but they rarely do. I look at how much money the casinos in Detroit have made, and from what I saw when I went once, it was definitely not wealthy looking people doing the gambling.

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Jacq September 8, 2011 at 11:01 am

I don’t like anyone profiting off of someone else’s misfortune, confusion or desperation. These people are in a position where they are desperate for solutions and I’m too marshmallowy to take advantage of that (and I never want to change that because I’m not that greedy). For instance, to me – even Dave Ramsey making as much as he does off his get out of debt programs is a little iffy. I’m not saying that it should be a profit-less endeavour, but I would just find a hard time justifying it to myself. Having said that, a price of a couple hundred bucks probably saves people thousands in interest, so that’s well worth it. Yet these things are readily available for free on the net and through different, non-profit sources.
Same thing with the zenhabits Habit course for $500. Really? $500 to build a meditation habit or to start exercising? Give me a one on one course that’s in my face for that – and guarantee me that it will be a life long habit and not one that fizzles out after the 30 day course.
Maybe I’m too much of a socialist / idealist.

Anything that doesn’t provide clear cut solutions and a step by step path instead of something like the 4HWW modus operandi of:
1. Have muse business
2. ???
3. Profit!!!
annoys me.

But that’s part of why financial independence was so important to me too. By being financially independent, I’m not swayed by avarice or greed and don’t have the personality to really want power or influence (except for helping other people be happier) – because I don’t need the money and wouldn’t even know what to do with much more if I did get it.

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Kris September 9, 2011 at 8:29 am

But you are not the target market! They wouldn’t make a dime off you or I. It is the desperate and lonely that will be swayed by such marketing techniques.

I do agree with your points about organizations charges a large amount of money for their financial solutions, when many of these people are probably just trying to put food on the table. It is part of why people say the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Like it or not, the rich have much greater access to different programs and products that can save them money in the long run. The poor people may not have had good financial education in the first place, and will just struggle to stay above water for a long time. It is sad.

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Jacq September 9, 2011 at 9:03 am

Actually, I’ve thought about it further – and I DO think the Dave Ramsey course for $100 is well worth it since they have a full 12 week (I think?) intensive and personal how-to course. That’s not a whole lot of money for what you get and many, many people have reported success with it. Not only that, but I think it might be enough of a price point that you won’t quit when the going gets tough because you’ve spent the money, whereas if it was offered as a non-profit / no cost option, maybe more people would drop out.

Now if GRS’s world domination thingy was more like that, I would think it was a great deal. As it is, I doubt it.

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Kris September 12, 2011 at 4:35 pm

I didn’t know the Dave Ramsey course was only a hundred dollars, that is definitely worth it.

I don’t know what the GRS program is though. Get Rich Slowly I assume, but I will have to look into his world domination product!

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First Gen American September 8, 2011 at 11:01 am

Interesting examples. I had someone tell me recently that a christian dating service just seems like a bad idea all around and would be the perfect place for certain unsavory men to troll for virgins.

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Kris September 9, 2011 at 8:26 am

I didn’t even think about how men would troll for virgins, that is a very interesting point. I can also see where it would be a great place for people to try and put up a great Christian front because they think people might trust them more because they are ‘Christian’, and then exploit away.

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Squirrelers September 8, 2011 at 11:55 am

The marketing for that website sounds over the top, and invokes some strong statements to support the viability of their product. Frankly, it seems totally manipulative and high handed. Who ordained them to be in such a position?

In terms of healthcare, I have some mixed feelings. I mean, pharmaceutical companies sell products for profit, not for philanthropy. They profit off the medical needs of other people, by solving their problems in some (but not all) cases. I accept that, as without financial incentive, there would be less innovation and discovery of solutions to help people.

Maybe the Ebooks are different? I don’t know, I’d have to explore my thoughts on this one. Really, the for-profit notion of health care is one that goes too far when people have trouble getting care because they have no job or money. Health care is a big issue in general.

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Kris September 9, 2011 at 8:25 am

At least with pharma, the companies invest a LOT of money in research in development, and only a small percentage of drugs they create actually make it to market. With an eBook, any old hack can write something, make it sound important, and then entice people to buy it. I am sure pharmaceutical companies over charge for their drugs, but they do have large expenses too.

Every time I see that Christian Dating commercial, I want to scream. I really, really hope that people don’t really think that God will set them up with the perfect match through the website.

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Kevin@OutOfYourRut September 8, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Honestly, I have no trouble with someone wanting/needing to make money (we all do) but the lengths people are going are getting farther out there. I think that a lot of this stuff is coming out because of the unholy “marriage” between an age when the media dominate the culture, making it easy to create convincing marketing pitches, and an economy that’s struggling to keep people working in real jobs.

So much of the economy seems based on products and services that come closer to fluff and let’s pretend than anything real. My favorite is bottled water. Why would anyone pay for a bottle of something they can get out of a drinking fountain for free????????????????? But it illustrates that there are people out there who will fall for anything.

If you try to sell milk on the street corners you’ll starve, but people will line up to pay for miracle cures, “Christian” dating services and bottle water–so that’s how so many people have to make a living!

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Kris September 9, 2011 at 8:22 am

We have created industries that people think we can’t function without anymore, like all the dating sites. How in the world did people meet in the past? Especially with all the women in the workforce now days, you would think it would be easier to meet someone than it used to be. However, I don’t have experience in that area as I met my husband in college and we got married a week after graduation.

I do buy the occasional bottled water, especially when we are going on trips. I freeze the bottles for the cooler and use them later. Plus, sometimes I hate the taste of the water where we visit. For some reason, tap water in Florida tastes awful to me.

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Kevin@OutOfYourRut September 9, 2011 at 9:34 am

Excellent point on bottled water for travel Kris–I partially retract my criticism of bottled water!

I’m like that with water in New Jersey–it tastes like it came out of a swamp and I can’t even drink it. Haven’t noticed that about Florida though–tastes pretty normal to me. But then I live in Georgia, so it would.

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Kris September 12, 2011 at 4:34 pm

I am sure the water in the south is extra chlorinated or something. I have never had New Jersey water, but now I am scared to!

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Rob Bennett September 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Lots of people don’t believe things you tell them for free, even if what you are telling them is common sense. But put a price tag on it and the advice becomes “special.”

It’s not that people are dumb. It’s that companies have figured out how to exploit human weaknesses.

People are often not persuaded by logic but by image. Those out to make a buck are willing to push all sorts of buttons that they used to not dare push because they would have become pariahs in their communities if they did so.

Rob

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Kris September 9, 2011 at 8:14 am

Rob, I have often thought about how paying money (or more money) seems to make certain items more legitimate. Not sure why though.

Companies really have gotten good at exploiting others, and seem to have no problem doing so. Unfortunately, some people are just desperate, or quite honestly, not smart enough to know a scam when they see one.

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Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager September 8, 2011 at 4:13 pm

I wonder if the Christian Dating Service has any success stories yet.

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Kris September 9, 2011 at 8:13 am

Jenna, I am sure they have. They probably set up the Obamas, George Burns and Gracie Allen, etc. It was probably those non-Christian dating service that set up Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley, Liz Taylor and her husbands, and others.

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Money Reasons September 8, 2011 at 10:55 pm

It does make you wonder sometimes huh! Religion especially, I hate to read stores about people that are taken advantage of because some crook that claims they are speaking for God comes along and rips them off. Who know what kind of people sign up for the christian dating service either…

Say, instead of an ebook, have you ever thought about building a few niche sites about Clostridium Difficile (cdiff) and other similar helpful medical knowledge that you have? They might not be big money makers, but a site entirely dedicated to those ailments might be beneficial to those people that have those problems… Just thinking aloud.

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Kris September 9, 2011 at 8:09 am

MR, I actually have thought about creating a niche site. When life settles down, I might just sequester myself for a couple days and put it all together. I just keep thinking of this one cdiff site that gave me some info, and then when it got to some info that I thought I really needed, it required paying for an ebook to get it. Of course I didn’t buy it, but I did get really angry. When your kids are sick (or you), it is such an upsetting time, and it just makes me so mad that people exploit that.

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Ralph September 9, 2011 at 9:16 pm

I think people have to be careful where they get their health advice. A free ebook on the subject may not be the most reliable source. Not that there isn’t value it them, but I think the information should be taken with a grain of salt.

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Kris September 12, 2011 at 4:27 pm

I think some paid eBooks are pretty darn worthless too. When it comes to medicine, I have become a cynic and I don’t know who to trust anymore.

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