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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Soldiersâ presence underlines Moscowâs role as power broker after evacuation of US personnel
Russian units have begun patrolling territory separating Turkish-backed Syrian rebels from the Syrian army around the flashpoint town of Manbij in north-east Syria, in a clear sign that Moscow has become the de facto power broker in the region after the evacuation of US troops.
Oleg Blokhin, a Russian journalist usually attached to mercenaries in Syria, posted a video on social media on Tuesday from a deserted US military base in the village of al-Saadiya, near Manbij.
Six adults removed from house and man, 58, arrested
A group described by local media as a man and his adult children have been found after spending several years living in the cellar of remote farmhouse in the north-eastern Dutch province of Drenthe âwaiting for the end of timeâ.
The group of six were discovered after the oldest son, 25, visited a local bar, the Kastelein cafe. On the first occasion, 10 days ago, he âordered and drank five beers on his ownâ, the owner, Chris Westerbeek, told broadcaster RTV Drenthe. When the man reappeared last Sunday, he âlooked confusedâ, Westerbeek said. âHe was unkempt, with long tangled hair. We got talking. He said he had run away and needed help, and that he had never been to school. Then we called the police.â
Police and protesters clash in city centre, as well as other Catalonia towns
Clashes between protesters and police erupted in Barcelona late on Tuesday after peaceful demonstrations over the jailing of nine Catalan separatist leaders descended into running battles.
Protesters lit fires and erected makeshift barricades in the centre of the city before the crowd was dispersed by baton charges by Spanish and Catalan police, as far as Passeig de GrĂ cia, the elegant boulevard that is home to many of the cityâs most exclusive shops and hotels.
NBA star said freedom of speech can carry âa lot of negativeâ
Relationship between NBA and China is under strain
Protestors in Hong Kong have burned LeBron James jerseys after the NBA star said that freedom of speech can lead to âa lot of negativeâ.
James made his comments after the fallout between the NBA and China over the anti-government protests in Hong Kong. The lucrative relationship between the league and China has been damaged since the Houston Rockets general manager, Daryl Morey, tweeted in support of the protestors earlier this month. Morey subsequently deleted the tweet but China has threatened to cut ties with the NBA, and some Chinese companies have backed out of broadcasts and sponsorship deals.
Farrowâs book Catch and Kill describes Harvey Weinsteinâs efforts to silence alleged victims and put Farrow himself off the story
The combination of rage, threats, professional promises and vulnerability that Harvey Weinstein used to secure the silence of women he allegedly sexually attacked is described in a newly disclosed interview between one of his accusers and Ronan Farrow, the journalist who exposed the Hollywood mogul.
In his new book Catch and Kill chronicling his investigation into Weinstein, Farrow relates for the first time details of his conversation with a longtime former employee of the movie producer, Alexandra Canosa.
Long-time foes North and South Korea played a World Cup qualifier on Tuesday, their first football match in the North in 30 years, but no fans were allowed in the stands and Pyongyang refused to broadcast the game live. There were also no goals.
The last time the two sides met in a World Cup qualifier was in Seoul 10 years ago, when the North lost 1-0 before accusing South Korea of poisoning their playersâ food ahead of the match.
Green growth and âhedonistic sustainabilityâ have helped keep the public on board as the Danish capital seeks to reach its goal by 2025 â and so far itâs all going according to plan
âWe call it hedonistic sustainability,â says Jacob Simonsen of the decision to put an artificial ski slope on the roof of the ÂŁ485m Amager Resource Centre (Arc), Copenhagenâs cutting-edge new waste-to-energy power plant. âItâs not just good for the environment, itâs good for life.â
Skiing is just one of the activities that Simonsen, Arcâs chief executive, and Bjarke Ingels, its lead architect, hope will enhance the latest jewel in Copenhagenâs sustainability crown. The incinerator building also incorporates hiking and running trails, a street fitness gym and the worldâs highest outdoor climbing wall, an 85-metre ânatural mountainâ complete with overhangs that rises the full height of the main structure.
âIf cities are invited to be at the table, I believe they will help accelerate the work that needs to be doneâ said LA mayor Eric Garcetti
US mayors are seeking to go over President Trumpâs head and negotiate directly at next monthâs UN climate change conference in Santiago, they said as they met in Copenhagen for the C40 World Mayors Summit.
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, who rallied US mayors to commit to the Paris climate agreement after Trump announced his intention to withdraw the country in 2017, said he would ask the UN secretary general, AntĂłnio Guterres, on Thursday to give American cities a new role in UN climate talks.
âIâm going to bring it up with the UN secretary general,â Garcetti said. âIf cities are invited to be at the table, I believe they will help accelerate the work that needs to be done. Hopefully, we can do it in concert with our national governments, but [we can do it] even where there is conflict.â
Garcetti, who was announced on Wednesday as the next chair of the C40 group of global cities, said he would use his position to seek âa more formal role in the deliberationsâ at the conference.
âThe United Nations works directly with cities all the time ... so they shouldnât feel feel scared about jumping down to that local level,â he said.
She has barely ever been in a car, and never eaten meat or flown. Now 31, she lives on the 15th floor of a city centre tower from where she can just see the ocean 500 yards away on one side and the suburbs and informal settlements sprawling as far as the eye can see on the other.
Life is OK in this megacity. She earns the exact median income and is as green as she feels she can be: she has no children yet, her carbon footprint is negligible, and her apartment, built in the early 2000s, has been retrofitted for climate change with deep insulation, its own solar air-con and heating systems.
As developers aim to turn Franceâs busiest train station into a gargantuan airport-style mall, Parisians fear for the local neighbourhood â and the stationâs soul
âWhen you tell people in Paris you live near the Gare du Nord, they usually grimace,â sighed Sarah, a French academic in her 50s who has lived on a narrow, traffic-choked street next to Europeâs busiest station for 30 years.
âArchitecturally, the station building is superb. But neighbourhoods around stations are never easy, wherever they are in the world.â
Ambush the latest in string of brazen attacks by Mexicoâs drug cartels, as President Amlo defends strategy to halt the violence
With an AR-15 assault rifle in his hand and six spare magazines across his chest, the burly policemen looked nothing if not intimidating as he prepared to attend a memorial service for 13 fellow officers who were killed in an ambush in western Mexico on Monday.
Business and city leaders warn of economic damage of cancellation and call for 2012 Olympics-style authority
A review of HS2 by northern business and city leaders has called for control of construction of the high-speed railway to be devolved to the north and Midlands â and warned that its possible cancellation would leave no viable alternatives for transforming their economies.
The Northern Powerhouse Independent Review (NPIR), established to inform or pre-empt the governmentâs own review of HS2, recommended a new body, HS2 North, be established to integrate HS2 with proposed Northern Powerhouse Rail links.
Charges laid in regards to racist chanting during England win
Prime Minister describes events in Sofia as âstain on footballâ
Boris Johnson has joined demands by anti-racism campaigners for Uefa to take strong action after the racist chanting that marred Englandâs Euro 2020 qualifier against Bulgaria on Monday night.
European footballâs governing body has opened disciplinary proceedings against the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) for racist behaviour of its supporters after the incidents at the Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia, in which some home fans made monkey noises at Tyrone Mings, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford in the 6-0 victory for Gareth Southgateâs side.
The Republican senator Lindsey Graham and Democrat Chris van Hollen are expected to launch a bipartisan bill on Tuesday aimed at forcing the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip ErdoÄan, to halt his military campaign in north-eastern Turkey, amid reports of widespread human rights abuses and the release of Isis militants who had been detained there.
Vinzent Tarantino has pleaded not guilty to murdering the Sydney 12-year-old who vanished on her way to school in 1998
A man accused of murdering a girl as she walked to school 21 years ago has told a Sydney jury he had no involvement âwhatsoeverâ in her death.
Vinzent Tarantino has pleaded not guilty in the New South Wales supreme court to murdering 12-year-old Quanne Diec, who vanished on 27 July 1998 after leaving her Granville home to walk to the train station on her way to school.
Unicef report finds poorest children at greatest risk, while price of healthy food in rich nations drives food poverty
At least one in three children under five are either undernourished or overweight, and one in two lack essential vitamins and nutrients, the UN childrenâs agency has warned.
The Unicef report laid bare the alarming rate at which poor diets and a âfailingâ food system are damaging children, saying that âmillions are eating too little of what they need and millions are eating too much of what they donât need: poor diets are now the main risk factor for the global burden of diseaseâ.
A third of workers in study experienced dangerously high body temperatures, despite working ban during hottest periods
Migrant labourers working outdoors in Qatar face âhighâ or âextremeâ risk of heat stress for more than half the working day during the four hottest months of the year, according to a UN report.
The findings come just weeks after the Guardian revealed that hundreds of workers may be dying due to exposure to Qatarâs intense summer heat.
Global hunger index finds countries affected by drought and conflict in sub-Saharan Africa have seen biggest increases in undernourished people
The climate crisis is driving alarming levels of hunger in the world, undermining food security in the worldâs most vulnerable regions, according to this yearâs global hunger index.
The annual report, a rankingof 117 countries measuring hunger rates and trends, shows progress since 2000 but warns that the world still has a long way to go to reach the zero hunger target agreed by world leaders by 2030.
Children taken to safety in Raqqa after hundreds of people fled camp holding Islamic State affiliates in northern Syria
Three orphans believed to be British citizens have been evacuated from an area in northern Syria that was the focus of recent attacks by Turkish troops and their allies.
The Guardian understands that the three children, Amira, 10, her sister, Hiba, eight, and their brother, Hamza, were evacuated from a camp for people associated with Islamic State in Ain Issa on Sunday. They were part of a group of 24 children taken to safety by the UN refugee organisation.
Exclusive: Upmarket brand, which has just launched UN partnership, opens investigation as female labourers in Bangladesh factory say they suffer regular abuse
Lululemon, an athleisure brand whose ÂŁ88 leggings are worn by celebrities and Instagram influencers, are sourcing clothing from a factory where Bangladeshi female factory workers claim they are beaten and physically assaulted.
The Canadian brand recently launched a partnership with the United Nations to reduce stress levels and promote the mental health of aid workers.
Twelve Democratic 2020 presidential candidates will share the stage in the perpetual swing state on Tuesday
The Democratic 2020 presidential candidates will gather once again on Tuesday night to face off in their fourth debate, this time in the perpetual swing state of Ohio.
Twelve of the candidates have qualified to participate, and they will all share one stage â marking the most crowded debate stage of this election cycle so far. But the dynamics of the race have changed since the candidates last met in September, and some of the contenders face the prospect of this being their last debate.
UK lawyers say more women are coming forward, but are police and prosecutors ready?
The clearest impact of the #MeToo movement on the British justice system has been a sharp rise in the number of complaints made to police of rape and sexual assault over the past two years.
That surge, however, has coincided with a chaotic response by police and prosecutors, who have been engulfed in problems over disclosure and allegations they have refined their approach to the crime in order to improve conviction rates, although this has been denied by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Analysts say tactic of cooperation against nationalist parties appears to be working
A narrower-than-expected win for Polandâs ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) and a serious setback for Hungaryâs governing Fidesz show eastern Europeâs illiberal nationalist parties are not entirely invincible, analysts and commentators have said.
âIt looks like this may be a small step in the right direction â but itâs clear the opposition still has an awful lot of work to do,â said Agata GostyĹska-Jakubowska, a senior research fellow at the Centre for European Reform.
A close ally is abandoned, and Isis is regrouping. The speed of the unravelling is breathtaking
In the week since Donald Trumpâs fateful phone conversation with Recep Tayyip ErdoÄan, the US has entirely abandoned the Kurds, its most effective allies in the Middle East, and with them a Syria strategy that was five years in the making.
The Islamic State flag has been raised once more and the last vestige of US credibility as a reliable partner lies crushed under Turkish tank tracks. It has arguably been the worst seven days for US foreign policy since the invasion of Iraq.
Residents of Drenthe, a province in the north-east Netherlands, reacted to the discovery of a group of people believed to have spent years living in the cellar of a remote farmhouse 'waiting for the end of time'.
Six adults were removed and being taken care of, police confirmed, while a 58-year-old-man who was renting the farmhouse was arrested after refusing to cooperate with their inquiry.
Native American tribes from up and down the west coast came together in San Francisco Bay to celebrate Indigenous Peoplesâ Day on 14 October. Starting at dawn people paddled traditional tribal canoes around Alcatraz Island â the famous former prison site which was occupied by Native Americans from 1969-71. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the historic act of resistance that launched the modern era of indigenous rights
Protesters took to the streets of Barcelona and other parts of Spain after the supreme court jailed nine Catalan separatist leaders for sedition over their role in a failed independence bid in 2017. Three main streets in Barcelona were blocked, as was train and metro access to Barcelona airport
Japanâs Typhoon Hagibis made landfall south of Tokyo on Saturday evening with heavy rain, which flooded the city and surrounding areas. The death toll has reached 36 and many people are still missing. Emergency workers swung into action, with helicopters plucking people from flooded buildings and police swimming through waters looking for missing people
Rescue efforts have begun in Japan following Typhoon Hagibis, which flooded Tokyo and surrounding areas and left at least 25 dead and 15 missing.
Hagibis, one of the strongest storms to hit Japan in decades, made landfall south of Tokyo on Saturday evening and moved northward. It brought torrential rain and ferocious winds, causing widespread damage
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