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Garcinia Cambogia Craze: Product Survives Two Years of Scams, Complaints, and Bad Reviews

Garcinia Cambogia Craze: Product Survives Two Years of Scams, Complaints, and Bad Reviews

Garcinia cambogia has been one of the most advertised weight loss supplements over the past two years, and the current garcinia cambogia craze can be traced to a specific date: October 28, 2012. That’s when Dr. Oz episode hailed the little-known supplement as a “holy grail” of weight loss on his popular daytime television show. 24 months later, the internet is still plastered with garcinia cambogia ads as dozens of vendors battle for top spot on Google, in hoping of selling their products. What have we learned about this product over the past year, and does it show any signs of slowing down?

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October 28, 2012

Until that infamous Dr. Oz episode aired, garcinia cambogia was virtually unknown. The Google Trends chart below shows the search history for the phrase “Garcinia Cambogia” since that October 28, 2012 episode.

garcinia-history

After Dr. Oz pronounced garcinia cambogia a “holy grail” of weight loss, internet marketers were quick to jump on his endorsement, and various brands began flooding the internet. Some garcinia websites went online hours after the episode aired.

Fake Reviews

In late 2012, we began looking into the rising garcinia cambogia craze, and the first thing that became immediately apparent was that it was much easier to find fake reviews than real ones. And these weren’t just one-off fake reviews posted on Amazon, but entire websites created to give the illusion of a third-party endorsement for garcinia cambogia. Fake blogs and fake news sites appeared in droves, often heaping the product with eternal praise – and typically ending with a link to buy the product from their store.

Having written extensively about similar fake blogs and news sites back in 2009 during the Acai Berry craze, we decided to ask our readers for their input on how well the product worked for them, and of their experience with various vendors selling it.

January 2013: Garcinia Cambogia Reviews from Wafflesatnoon Readers

In January 2013, we published an article providing information on garcinia cambogia, and asked readers who had tried it to give their input. The purpose of that article was to provide a forum to offset the avalanche of fake reviews posted by marketers selling the product. We also hoped to single out some of the more problematic vendors, such as those forcing an “auto-ship” program on unsuspecting consumers.

In the nearly two years since our original article was published, we amassed nearly 600 comments on that article alone.

See the original article: Seeking Reviews for Garcinia Cambogia

March 2013: Garcinia Cambogia Side Effects

With the popularity of our original January 2013 article, we decided to post a follow up which focused on the possible side effects of garcinia cambogia. Since publishing that article, we have received over 300 comments on the side effects of the supplement. The most common complaints from our readers are dizziness, nausea, bloating, rashes, and cramping.

Read the full article at: Garcinia Cambogia Side Effects

Tactics Used by Popular Garcinia Advertisers

Dr. Oz Name
Two of the most ubiquitous advertisers of garcinia cambogia are Miracle Garcinia Cambogia and Pure Garcinia Cambogia. Notice in the screenshot below how both shamelessly use “Oz” in their ads, even though Dr. Oz has specifically asked his viewers not to buy products from anyone using his name.

garcinia-advertisers

Garcinia ads using the name “Oz” are still common.

Fake Warnings
Another technique which has been used by several advertisers is to promote their website with the implication that it offers a negative review of garcinia. Both of the ads below, for example, use the word “warning” in their attempt at fooling users into thinking they may find some negative information on the product.

garcinia-ads

Garcinia “warnings” such as these are glowing reviews from those marketing the product.

Consumerguides.com is nothing more than a sales pitch disguised as a glowing review – with a link to buy the product at the end. There is no “warning” or “shocking” information on that page whatsoever. The other ad above, by researchverified.com, drops Dr. Oz’ name 12 times and is nothing but a rambling sales pitch for their own version of garcinia cambogia. The word “warning” as advertised does not appear on their website at all.

April 2013: Garcinia Cambogia Vendors

As complaints piled up regarding garcinia cambogia and some of the more shady vendors, we decided to take a look at some of the most visible advertisers. In April 2013, we posted an article entitled Comparing Garcinia Cambogia Vendors, in which we compared the 10 most advertised vendors at that time. Many of those websites went online only days after the Dr. Oz segment aired – and they are still online. Most of these vendors have received mixed reviews at best from our readers.

One-Trick Pony Vendors

A trend we first wrote about back in 2009 during the Acai berry craze was websites which only sell a single item. We have seen dozens of these types of websites for garcinia cambogia since October 2012. Most of the advertisers marketing the product only offer garcinia for sale. A few offer a couple of other Oz-endorsed items such as African Mango and Raspberry Ketone. These one-trick pony vendors can only exist as long as the current craze continues. It is also easy for such vendors to close up shop and re-open under a different name should they find themselves in legal trouble.

It’s best to stick with a known, trusted vendor when purchasing supplements online.

Free Trial Scams

The most common complaint we’ve received regarding garcinia cambogia vendors is that of the “free trial” scam. Many websites offer a free trial of the product for a small amount, such as $2.99 for a 2 week trial. What these websites don’t emphasize is that your trial often begins the moment you order. Thus, when you receive your product your free trial could already be half over. Once the trial period ends, the consumer’s credit card is hit with an expensive “full price” charge for a bottle of garcinia cambogia. This scam isn’t unique to this particular product, but it has been a staple for many of the shadier vendors selling it.

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Does Garcinia Cambogia Work?

After two years of discussion with hundreds of readers, the jury is still out on the effectiveness of garcinia cambogia. There are a few studies on the product, some of which show promise and others which produced no results at all. Keep in mind that we have nearly a thousand reader comments on the product, and many of these consumers were unsatisfied with either the product or the vendor from which they purchased it.

Bottom Line

Two years after Dr. Oz proclaimed garcinia cambogia a “holy grail” of weight loss, the product shows no signs of fading – despite mixed reviews, accusations of scams, and questionable marketing techniques by the shadier advertisers.

If you want to try garcinia cambogia, exercise caution – not only in taking it, but also in purchasing it. Don’t go through a vendor which only offers a free trial, and be sure you don’t inadvertently sign up for an auto-ship program.

Your Turn

Tell us of your experience with garcinia cambogia. Did you like the product, and what did you think of the vendor from which you purchased it?

Updated November 17, 2014
Originally published November 2013

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