Even though here at Waffles, we’ve largely moved on from the days of exposing anti-Acai fake blogs and related advertising, every now and then the urge to revisit those glory days bubbles up. Like today. While perusing a political website, the following ad caught my eye:
The New “Skinny” Fruit
How this strange 62-cent African fruit is making Americans skinny.
Clicking the ad, which unfortunately is powered by Adsonar (who is notorious for pushing such low-end websites), we are taken to HLifestyles.com and immediately warning start popping up.
- Before/after pictures with outrageous claims (21 pounds in 14 days)
- Quotes of Dr. Oz (Slimming sites love to quote – and misquote – him).
- Free trial offer (HUGE red flag for weight loss sites)
- The word “Amazing” in the headline (cliche hype)
- The date. The article is dated today, which means if I visit tomorrow, it will probably be dated tomorrow’s date. They think it appears more “immediate” if they always have the current date as the date of the article.
It just has “fake” written all over it.
The site quotes an article by Dr. Tanya Edwards on the Dr. Oz website, but mischaracterizes the sentiment of the article. Yes, she uses the phrase “magic pill” but only in the context of wondering if this product qualified as one. HLifestyles.com failed to mention that in the same article Dr. Edwards wrote, “The results have been slightly underwhelming,” and “…it has not been the magic bullet I had hoped for.”
Perhaps they don’t expect most readers to look at their sources?
On the right side of the HLifestyles.com, we see the headline for a letter that reads: Mom Sheds 33.5 Pounds Without Diet or Exercise Using African Mango. It reads much like the fake Acai blogs of 2009, both in headline and in content. It also features a before and after photo. A little Googling will allow us to find virtually the same letter on activelifestylejournal.com, which also sells African mango products. In this one we read: Mom Sheds 38 Pounds Without Dieting or Exercise Using African Mango. Different name, different picture – same letter.
Would you trust a website with fake testimonials that are re-used elsewhere?
So at this point, because they’ve obviously posted fake “reader letters,” we can reliably discount any of their testimonials to be fake or exaggerated. And we’ve already seen that they mischaracterize professional reviews of African mango.
Toward the bottom of the site, they try to convince us that their mango product isn’t one of the hundreds of “watered down” products available, which is why we should purchase only theirs. They cite an article on Health24.com from July 2011 as proof. Yet if we read that article, we’ll find that, just as they did with the Dr. Oz article, they failed to mention the negative commentary on the product.
Also keep in mind that we don’t know yet if African mango or Irvingia gabonensis is really safe, if it produces sustainable weight loss, if the high fibre content does not interfere with the absorption of vital minerals and other nutrients, and if taking such high doses of fibre won’t damage your normal peristalsis (the movement of food along the digestive tract).
Perhaps most damning is the statement, “Irvingia gabonensis cannot be recommended at this time.”
Should you decide to order the product, you’ll be taken to pureafricanmango.com for a free trial. We all know how free trials usually turn out, and if you don’t know, you’ll regret throwing caution to the wind by taking a chance. The typical “free trial” for such weight loss fad sites begins the moment you order, and your credit card may be hit with untold fees as soon as 7 days from the moment you hang up the phone. I’ve spoken to many people who were charged at the end of the “trial” period before their free sample ever arrived. Nice, huh?
Consider this before you order: A website with fake testimonials and which uses gross misquoting as a means to get you to to “try” their product probably isn’t going to be the most professional place with which you’ll want to do business. And if you spend some time on Google looking to see if African Mango is a scam, unfortunately you’ll find a lot of phony review websites that pretend to investigate, only to conclude that it’s not a scam.
African mango is the new acai. It may have benefits, but the “slimming” industry has latched onto it, exaggerated claims of its benefits, and produced the same bait-and-switch “free trial” techniques as their acai brethren.
And don’t trust any “review” or “investigation” about African mango that proclaims it’s real and then sends you to a link for a free trial of the product being reviewed. That’s nothing more than an affiliate’s fake review, and such “reviews’ have infiltrated Google and Yahoo, such as this Yahoo answer that sends the reader to nothing more than an affiliate page posing as a blog.
Don’t do it.
If you absolutely must try African mango, go to a local health store and get it there. At least they won’t try to set you up with a trial offer that will end up costing you a fortune.
Filed under: Scams & Deception