Set forth below is the text of a comment that I put to the SuckersBuyIt.com forum:
I totally agree with Ditchit. Most, if not all, of the gurus specialize in selling the “sizzle” and not the steak.
I agree with this as well. But I see an encouraging side to the story.
The reason why it has become the norm to sell the sizzle rather than the steak is that in pre-internet times there was no way for the “experts” selling the sizzle to be challenged. Most of their marketing was done by direct mail or perhaps through articles placed in magazines and that sort of thing. The environment in which the marketing message was pushed was a controlled environment. The person being conned had a hard time seeing the flaws in the pitch because there was no way in which those who knew the flaws could speak up.
The internet is not set up that way. On the internet, it IS possible for those who see the con to share what they know with others. This site is an obvious example. This site does not convince everyone who sees it. But it DOES help a good number of people to gradually come to see the con. Those who are totally convinced of the merit of the con will not listen. But those who have been experiencing doubts can be brought around. Not by one post. People are brought around gradually. So you have to have an ongoing discussion to clear the fog in people’s brains.
The internet is a powerful communications medium. It is different that the other mediums. The best thing about it is that it can help those hearing about a con to see through it. But the internet can also be put to bad uses. The perception that the internet can be used to see through a con can make a con pitch 10 times more powerful than it would be in another medium. The SiteSell discussion boards APPEAR to permit challenges to any con message. That causes a lot of people to have more confidence in those messages for so long as no one has the courage to speak up and reveal the con.
They tell themselves “hey, if there were problems with this, someone would surely speak up and no one is doing so, so this must be the real thing!” That message is more powerful than any message of reassurance that could be advanced by the person pushing the con because the words are coming from the mouth of a person with no financial incentive to trick people. Those sorts of comments (when not countered by comments pointing to the con element of the pitch) are super-powerful and super-harmful to the targets of the con.
Many people think it is rude to expose cons. So they keep their mouths shut. For the internet to realize its potential, that needs to change. People need to see that they have a responsibility to their fellow community members to expose cons when they see them. If people did this, those working cons would be put at a great disadvantage on the internet and those promoting legitimate services would be given a great edge in the marketing wars.
Someone who genuinely permits challenges to his claims on the internet is real, that’s the sort of “expert” you want to listen to. Now that we have a communications medium that permits cons either to be exposed (when challenges are permitted) or to do more harm than ever before (when the appearance but not the reality of open discussion is provided), we need to educate the people to whom cons are directed (95 percent of the readers of internet materials) how to take advantage of the great power to do good that has been placed in their hands by the introduction of this new communications medium.