I have some good news and I have some bad news. First the good news. The number of infomercials on television is decreasing.
Some might say that is great news. But, before you yell hurray, here's the bad news. They are reincarnating as web sites. Changes the whole picture, doesn't it?
For those who've never seen an infomercial, it is a program-length TV commercial touting easy ways to make money in a variety of ways.
Real estate is probably the most often run program. Others include low-interest government loans or grants to start a new business or go to college.
Then there are the old standby classified advertisement sections in newspapers or magazines promising "big money" business opportunities and/or work-at-home schemes. The companies behind these infomercials and print ads claim that by using their products and services, you can learn how to increase your wealth or start a business from the comfort of your home.
These infomercials and advertisements make it very clear you can make the big bucks only by purchasing their books, audio and video tapes, or computer hardware and software. The materials range in price from less than $100 to several thousand dollars.
To clinch the sale, some promoters include a toll-free telephone consulting service with your purchase and offer a money-back guarantee. The fine print in the guarantee is what gets most people.
Web sites promoting these same type of "opportunities" look like an infomercial. Hype, glitz and promises of big money adorn the screen. On the other hand, contact details, other than ordering information, is scant if existent at all.
On television, these infomercials are designed to look, feel, and sound like real TV programs. The FTC says "they often imitate the format of genuine talk shows or investigative consumer news programs."
Because they imitate real programs, "the products being sold often are discussed as part of the program and touted by paid "experts," "moderators," or "reporters", according to the FTC. The programs may last for 30 minutes, interrupted by advertisements for the shows products with ordering information.
As in the offline world, online promoters of wealth-building schemes claim that if you follow their methods, you can make substantial sums of money. The means to easy wealth have shifted from real estate and government auctions to web site sales and development, autoresponder sales, gift clubs and bulk email programs. † The offline world uses the infomercials and advertisements to invite you to attend seminars where you can learn more about their program. You can rest assured the seminar is a slick sales pitch.
The smooth-talking salespeople tout the programs, materials, and services and use testimonials of the people in the back of the room selling the materials to illustrate what easy money you can make. The truth is these people are paid to give testimony. They are on the payroll as salespeople and that's it.
At these seminars the pitch is feverish and it is easy to be lured by promises of success into parting with your money. They are designed to work off the herd mentality. Don't fall for the nonsense.
On the Internet, the herd mentality is engaged through testimonials and a rush to action. You are encouraged every step of the way to BUY NOW! There are only so many days left and this opportunity will be gone forever or some other such nonsense.
The FTC, and everybody else who has studied these programs, gives the following advice:
1.† Be skeptical about "get-rich-quick" advertising claims.
2.† Ask companies for written substantiation for claims in their presentations, especially those about success rates.
3.† Be aware that "experts" who endorse a product often are paid by the advertiser.
4.† Be cautious about "testimonials." They may be paid for and probably owrse, do not reflect the experience of most consumers.
5.† Be wary of purchasing a program if company representatives give you evasive answers or aren't willing to answer your questions at all.
6.† Before you buy, decide whether the price reflects a fair market value.
7.† Be wary of promises of free money or low-interest government loans. As a rule, these are available only in limited circumstances.
8.† Dont be pressured to purchase immediately. Good opportunities are not sold through high pressure tactics.
9.† Before you buy, ask about the companys qualifying requirements and refund policy.
10. Check out the company with your local consumer protection agency, Better Business Bureau, and state Attorney General's office. They should be able to tell you if any unresolved consumer complaints are on file. † Additional consumer protection resources are available at your local library. Check out materials on personal finance and those geared toward the small business owner.
Your local community college may have a marketing department. Call and ask to speak with one of the professors. Explain the program and ask his/her advice/opinion.
The Small Business Administration and your state and local government have publications and programs for new and potential business owners. Write or call and ask for a list of available publications.
Tap into the Internet. That's right, search engines could turn out to be your best friend. A host of scam busting sites exist and expose scams online and offline.
As always, common sense is your best weapon in the fight against this garbage. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. However, if you have more than a passing interest, do your homework. Getting too much information is not a crime or a hazard to your wealth.
2000(c) All rights reserved. No one may reproduce this article without permission of the author (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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A group of 24 senior diplomats and defence officials, including four former Nato secretary generals, have urged Donald Trump to save ‚Äúpotentially hundreds of thousands of lives‚ÄĚ across the Middle East by easing medical and humanitarian sanctions on Iran.
In lawsuit, Michael Sanchez has accused AMI of plot to ‚Äėscapegoat‚Äô him, and has cast doubt on claim that he was the ‚Äėsole source‚Äô
A top executive at the tabloid publisher behind the National Enquirer said in a private email that he was ‚Äúsaving for my tombstone‚ÄĚ the untold story of how the tabloid uncovered a 2019 exclusive about Jeff Bezos‚Äôs extramarital relationship, according to a lawsuit against the publisher.
The claim raises new questions about how American Media Inc (AMI) discovered the Amazon CEO‚Äôs relationship, and how it obtained knowledge of explicit sexual photographs that Bezos, one of the world‚Äôs richest men, has alleged were used against him by the publisher for ‚Äúextortion and blackmail‚ÄĚ.
Watchdog to release first report blaming president for attacks during the conflict
The UN‚Äôs chemical weapons watchdog is expected to release its first report explicitly blaming Bashar al-Assad for sarin and chlorine gas attacks on civilians in Syria as efforts to establish accountability for the use of chemical agents in the nine-year-old conflict gain momentum.
Observers anticipate that the report by a new unit at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will be published on Wednesday, the second anniversary of a major chlorine attack on the then rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma that killed at least 85 people. The report focuses on the Douma incident as well as sarin attacks on the villages of al-Lataminah and Khan Sheikhun in 2017, the latter of which also caused dozens of casualties.
The dramatic quietening of towns and cities in lockdown Britain has changed the way the Earth moves beneath our feet, scientists say.
Seismologists at the British Geological Survey have found that their sensors are twitching less now that human activity has been curtailed, leading to a drop in the anthropogenic din that vibrates through the planet.
At least 20 mobile phone masts across the UK are believed to have been torched or otherwise vandalised since Thursday, according to government and industry sources who are increasingly concerned about the impact of baseless theories linking coronavirus to 5G networks.
There have been noticeable clusters of attacks on masts around Liverpool and the West Midlands. Owing to the slow rollout of 5G in the UK, many of the masts that have been vandalised did not contain the technology and the attacks merely damaged 3G and 4G equipment.
Most new electricity globally was green and coronavirus bailouts must boost this further, says agency
Almost three-quarters of new electricity generation capacity built in 2019 uses renewable energy, representing an all-time record. New data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) shows solar, wind and other green technologies now provide more than one-third of the world‚Äôs power, marking another record.
Fossil fuel power plants are in decline in Europe and the US, with more decommissioned than built in 2019. But the number of coal and gas plants grew in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. In the Middle East, which owns half the world‚Äôs oil reserves, just 26% of new electricity generation capacity built in 2019 was renewable.
System of sensors and cameras would turn loo into ‚Äėdaily clinic‚Äô and detect problems early
A smart toilet boasting pressure sensors, artificial intelligence and a camera has been unveiled by researchers who say it could provide a valuable way to keep tabs on our health.
The model is the latest version of an idea that has been around for several years: a system that examines our daily movements in an effort to spot the emergence of diseases. Such an approach, experts say, has an advantage over wearable devices, since individuals do not need to remember to use the system.
The Senakw development aims to ease the city‚Äôs chronic housing crisis ‚Äď and to challenge the mindset that indigeneity and urbanity are incompatible
The scrubby, vacant patch beneath the Burrard Street Bridge in Vancouver looks at first glance like a typical example of the type of derelict nook common to all cities: 11.7 acres of former railway lands, over which tens of thousands of people drive every day.
This is not any old swath of underused space, however. It‚Äôs one of Canada‚Äôs smallest First Nations reserves, where dozens of Squamish families once lived. The village was destroyed by provincial authorities more than a century ago.
Amazon have arrived in force in rapidly expanding Hyderabad, with designs on the currently almost non-existent Indian e-commence market
The futuristic lobby of the new Amazon building in Hyderabad feels as though it should have a permanent orchestra blasting out Also Sprach Zarathustra. The scale is intended to awe. A large slogan on a wall suggests the company is ‚ÄúDelivering smiles‚ÄĚ. The only sound that rises above the hush is a synthesised beep, coming from a giant screen playing a video of the campus at various stages of its construction.
Built on nine acres in this Indian city‚Äôs financial district, it is Amazon‚Äôs single largest building globally and the only Amazon-owned campus outside the US. It can house over 15,000 employees, but its size is its main architectural feature: it resembles the same cube of glass steel and chrome seen in corporate offices across Hyderabad, though a flash of magenta reflected in one of the top floor windows, from a billowing sari across the road, is a nice Indian touch.
Minibuses that run on Friday evenings and Saturdays buck state‚Äôs religious restrictions
Tel Aviv is one of Israel‚Äôs most dynamic cities, but the latest local craze could appear fairly humdrum to outsiders ‚Äď a bus service that runs at weekends.
Packed 19-seat minibuses fill up fast with passengers, who excitedly gossip about the new routes. People patiently queue at bus stops, knowing they might have to wait for two or three buses to pass before there is a space. Still, they are upbeat. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a pleasure,‚ÄĚ said Ben Uzan, a 30-year-old electronic engineer. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a blessed initiative.‚ÄĚ
The Garbage Cafe in Ambikapur, India, is helping to tackle the country‚Äôs plastic waste problem ‚Äď and their novel idea is catching on
On bad days, when his employer made some excuse for not paying him his paltry daily wage, Ram Yadav‚Äôs main meal used to be dry chapatis, with salt and raw onion for flavour. Sometimes he just went hungry. For a ragpicker like him, one of the thousands of Indians who make a living bringing in plastic waste for recycling, eating in a cafe or restaurant was the stuff of fairytales.
But last week, Yadav was sitting at a table at the Garbage Cafe in Ambikapur, in the state of Chhattisgarh, over a piping hot meal of dal, aloo gobi, poppadoms and rice. He earned the food in exchange for bringing in 1kg of plastic waste. ‚ÄúThe hot meal I get here lasts me all day. And it feels good to sit at a table like everyone else,‚ÄĚ he said.
On lockdown and feeling the urge to bake, but missing something apparently vital? Then pinch some ideas from great bakers past and present
Cake has taken on a new significance now that most of us are stuck at home all day, every day. We‚Äôre comfort-eating and baking like there‚Äôs no tomorrow. But what do you do when you fancy a sponge, but can‚Äôt find eggs or your oven is broken and no one will fix it? Here are some recipes to get you through every ingredient shortfall.
If we suggest you replace one missing ingredient with another that you don‚Äôt have, or that you would normally never dream of buying, bear in mind that no two kitchen cupboards are the same and you may find that grocers can still supply ‚Äúfancy‚ÄĚ alternatives such as ricotta or flaxseeds while the staples are but a memory.
Scottish care worker pleads for them to be treated as key workers as she shopped for elderly woman
Aldi has apologised after a care worker in Scotland was turned away from priority access at the supermarket when trying to buy food for an elderly client.
Marion Kilmurray posted a plea on Facebook for care workers to be treated as frontline workers after the incident on Sunday in Wishaw, North Lanarkshire, which quickly went viral and has been shared over 100,000 times.
‚ÄėCoronabond‚Äô proposal for debt sharing threatens to derail meeting of countries still haunted by fallout from 2008
Eurozone countries will on Tuesday battle over how to rescue their economies from the deepening recession the coronavirus pandemic is triggering across the continent.
The 19 finance ministers of countries that use the single currency will hold a teleconference, where the issue of common debt ‚Äď so-called ‚Äúcoronabonds‚ÄĚ or ‚Äúeurobonds‚ÄĚ - could overshadow the emerging consensus on other ideas, such as emergency credit lines from the eurozone‚Äôs bailout fund and a ‚ā¨100bn job support programme.
‚ÄėThe virus does not discriminate,‚ÄĚ suggested Michael Gove after both Boris Johnson and the health secretary, Matt Hancock, were struck down by Covid-19. But societies do. And in so doing, they ensure that the devastation wreaked by the virus is not equally shared.
We can see this in the way that the low paid both disproportionately have to continue to work and are more likely to be laid off; in the sacking of an Amazon worker for leading a protest against unsafe conditions; in the rich having access to coronavirus tests denied to even most NHS workers.
Support the Guardian‚Äôs independent journalism. Make a contribution
Acting navy secretary Thomas Modly defended his attack on Captain Brett Crozier, the former commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt who was removed from his post after his letter warning about coronavirus was made public.
NEW: Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly says, ‚ÄúI stand by every word,‚ÄĚ after reportedly calling Captain Crozier "too naive or too stupid‚ÄĚ to be in command. pic.twitter.com/Qcbf3JQKqb
A Democratic senator criticized the acting Navy secretary for lashing out against Captain Brett Crozier in a speech to the captain‚Äôs former crew.
Secretary Modly delivering a speech on board a U.S. aircraft carrier suggesting Captain Crozier might be ‚Äústupid‚ÄĚ and bashing the media for trying to report the truth is completely inappropriate. Our dedicated sailors deserve better from their leadership. https://t.co/EKYUI6onZu
Up to 100,000 women could be left unable to support families as brothels are closed amid fears of Covid-19 outbreak
The government of Bangladesh has started sending emergency food and aid to the tens of thousands of women working in the country‚Äôs commercial sex industry as brothels across the country close.
To try to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus, the authorities have ordered the lockdown of the sex industry, closing the country‚Äôs biggest brothel in Goalanda in the Rajbari District of Dhaka until 5 April along with many others across the country.
Home Office urged to ‚Äėact urgently‚Äô to rescue vulnerable minors and reunite them with family while flights still available
After seven months of waiting, Ahmed* had everything ready for his younger brother. Finally, 18-year-old Wahid was due to arrive from the Greek island of Samos under family reunion laws.
But on 19 March, as Covid-19 took hold across Europe, the Greek authorities called to tell him the transfer had been cancelled because of the growing restrictions on flights. Greece had suspended direct flights to the UK but indirect routes are still available.
Brazil is bracing for a surge in coronavirus cases as doctors and researchers warn that underreporting and a lack of testing mean nobody knows the real scale of Covid-19‚Äôs spread.
‚ÄúWhat‚Äôs happening is enormous underreporting,‚ÄĚ said Isabella R√™llo, a doctor working in emergency and intensive care in Rio de Janeiro hospitals, in a widely shared Facebook post challenging official numbers. ‚ÄúThere are MANY more,‚ÄĚ she wrote.
After a two-month break, the Alan Kurdi migrant rescue boat is heading back out into the central Mediterranean, as asylum seekers continue to attempt the desperate journey to reach Europe despite coronavirus fears.
The boat, operated by the German NGO Sea-Eye, left the Spanish port of Castell√≥n de la Plana on Tuesday and is expected to reach waters off the coast of Libya this weekend.
Lombardy is one of the richest and most productive regions in Italy and Bergamo is its beating heart. It is also my home town: the city where I spent my childhood and adolescence. The province‚Äôs million inhabitants are characterised by a strong sense of belonging: to region and to family. They take pride too in a no-nonsense, practical approach to life and a powerful work ethic.
Today, Bergamo holds the European record that no town wants: it is the place where the coronavirus pandemic has cast its darkest shadow. Bergamo is a lazaretto of pain, where the priority of hospital managers is to select only the patients they think will survive. Its undertakers are so overwhelmed they have to ask neighbouring communes to take their corpses for cremation.
Most people recover from Covid-19 within a week and cannot even be certain they had it, as they probably won‚Äôt be tested. The advice is to stay home, rest and take paracetamol. In 80% of cases, that is the end of it.
But NHS advice is that if the symptoms ‚Äď mainly the dry cough, temperature and fatigue ‚Äď have not gone by the end of a week, or they get worse, people should seek medical help.
In his role as first secretary of state, the prime minister‚Äôs de facto deputy, Dominic Raab will be expected to stand in for Boris Johnson if he is unable to work because of coronavirus.
While other ministers, including the health secretary Matt Hancock and the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, have been more visible during the Covid-19 outbreak, that position means he takes up the prime minister‚Äôs responsibilities if Johnson were unable to perform them himself.
A care worker has vented her anger after being turned away from priority access at an Aldi supermarket while trying to buy food for an elderly client.'We're frontline workers just as much as the NHS, the police, the fire brigade,' said Marion Kilmurray in a video posted to Facebook. 'Who's going to do our job if we don't?' Aldi has apologised for the incident
The Queen has praised Britain‚Äôs 'national spirit' in facing the challenge of coronavirus as she evoked wartime memories to reassure those 'feeling a painful sense of separation from their loved ones' to take comfort in the fact: 'We will meet again.'
Scotland‚Äôs chief medical officer, Catherine Calderwood, has apologised after she visited her second home in Fife in breach of her own advice to avoid travel. Calderwood was pictured on Saturday with her family taking a walk with their dog in the East Neuk, a picturesque area on the Firth of Forth about 45 miles from her main home in Edinburgh
Donald Trump has warned Americans that the toll from coronavirus in the US will be 'the toughest' during the next two weeks, saying there will be 'a lot of death'. According to the Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, by Saturday evening more than 305,000 cases of Covid-19 had been confirmed in the US, resulting in more than 8,000 deaths
The health secretary has said people should not go outside to sunbathe, even if they practise social distancing.
Speaking to Sophy Ridge on Sky News, Matt Hancock said: 'We are absolutely clear that you should not leave your home unless it is for one of four reasons: for medical reasons, to buy food, to go to work if you can't work at home, or for exercise. We're crystal in the guidance on what people should do ‚Äď that guidance is backed up by law. It is not a request, it is a requirement in law'
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