Lose No Weight and Lots of Money with Acai Berries

15 08 2009

acaiforcemax 2For those you who have a Facebook account, you may have noticed the advertisements that regularly pop up on the right side of the screen. Now I understand that Facebook is a business and that an important way of making money for the company is through advertising. However some of the ads that regularly feature are not just lame, but have the elements of a scam.

Specifically there are those ads that entice you in with the prospect of turning that keg into a six pack with minimal effort and a short timeframe. Such ads I have encountered have included are Dave’s Personal Blog and Getting Your Six Pack. While at a glance they appear to be different from each other, there are a large number of similarities between the two sites including in the layout and language used. In particular the endorsements received from members of the public are identical – right down the usernames and dates that the comments were posted. On the face of it looks like these guys who run these sites have been sucked into a multi-level marketing scam, until you click any one of the links and they lead to one website – acaiforcemax.com. I suspect that these websites are actually sockpuppets for acaiforcemax.com.

The websites provide the typical anecdote of the Joe Bloggs who obtains an incredible physique through the consumption of Acai berry fruit juice – the most recent fad in pseudo-nutritional supplements. There is no evidence for its efficacy as assisting with weight loss – nor for the range of other claims made for it such as cleansing colons (which is a scam in itself) and enhancing ones sexual prowess. Check out the Skeptic Doc’s blog entry on acai berries and what is interesting is that there is a range of other exotic items such as blueberry juice, grape juice, and red wine that have more anti-oxidants than acai juice.

However, if a person wants to part with their hard earned money for another useless supplement then go ahead – knock yourself out. What is more concerning is the deceptive techniques that many of these online companies use to trick people into subscribing for expensive products – and what you will find is that by signing up to one of the free trials of acai berries will mean that you will lose a lot more than a few kilos.

Lets take acaiforcemax.com, a website where whoever has registered the domain has gone to some lengths to protect themselves from identification. The free trial is aggressively pushed in the website and hey – if they are giving it away is there any harm in trying? As they make it clear that there are only limited supplies one better quickly work their way through the process to get their free trial. The first step is to take their test to see if you qualify. I decided to misrepresent myself as a 137cm tall, 72 year old Munchkin whose goal was to move from being 115kg to 160kg and strangely enough I qualified for a free trial!

acaiforcemax 7You then need to provide them with a range of personal information including an e-mail address (bring on the acai berry spam) and the only cost involved is a US$4.95 postage fee for the free acai berries and guess what? You also are entitled to become a member of their Elite Customer Club.

The membership of this club means that you are also billed US$79.95 for the acai berry supply (that you have not asked for) and you also obtain access to their World Club Fitness and Weight Loss Resources for a meagre US$6.95 and US$8.95 per month. So in total this “free trial” will set you back US$100.80 (NZ$148) per month. You only need to Google the terms ‘acai berry scam’ to see the number of people who have fallen for this scam and find themselves jumping through numerous hoops to get the payments stopped.

My advice is that if something is marketed as free on the Internet it will be too good to be true.


UK Roundup 6/08/09

6 08 2009

London homeopathy purveyors Ainsworths have incurred the wrath of the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for selling a remedy known as ‘Swine Flu Formula’. The company claims their pills ‘override the symptoms’ of Swine Flu. This is compounded by the fact that the company has a royal warrant, which means it apparently sells its goods to members of the royal family – no prizes for guessing which ones. The MHRA is investigating the company and I could find no mention of the product on their website, which is well worth looking at. What did disturb me was that you can quite happily order whichever remedy you want on their site without any sort of check, which would seem incredibly dangerous (presuming that they actually contained something other than water of course).

In light of the recent furore over the research by the Food Standards Agency stating that organic food has no better nutritional content than ‘normal’ food (see article below) the head of the Whole Foods chain here has said indeed the shops sell ‘ a bunch of junk’ (he’s American). What effect this has on sales remains to be seen.

A Degree - Why earn one when you can just make your own?

A Degree - Why earn one when you can just make your own?

And in a shock revelation that will surprise pretty much no-one, it has been revealed that L Ron Hubbard’s claim to have been awarded a PhD was a complete fabrication. The British consulate investigated Hubbard in the 1970’s because they were concerned about the possibility of a libel case after they banned Scientologists from entering the country in 1968. Subsequent investigations found Hubbard and his cronies had created a fake entity, Sequoia University, and promptly awarded each other degrees. The ‘university’ had never been accredited by the state and it fact didn’t even have any premises. The story has made the papers now as the Times have managed to obtain classified Health Department documents under the Freedom of Information Act. No response from Tom Cruise as yet.