Sales Page Self-Defense: How to Avoid Marketing Scams

Anyone who has been using the internet has probably come across them at some point: long sales pages, filled with highlighted texts, attractive graphics, videos, and counters which say you have just a few minutes left before an “exclusive offer” is going to expire and that you will miss out on the deal of the century. These flashy sales pages are used to promote a wide range of products, like teeth whitening solutions, weight loss products, guides on how to earn money online and many more.

Now why do online marketers use such gimmicks in order to try to push over hyped products to web surfers? Anyone involved in internet marketing in some way will tell you: “Because they work!” Sales pages look the way they are because they are designed to attract and captivate the reader, in order to entice them into buying whatever product they are selling.

Some of you may be thinking that all products which are sold that way are scams. While this may truly be the case for certain sites, many sites do deliver products that customers found useful for their needs and did not feel taken advantage of in any way.

In any case, there are certain things you need to watch out for when reading an online sales page. The first thing to do would be to thoroughly read the sales letter and any claims made on it. Examine them with a logical and rational mindset. Do they sound plausible to you? Also, notice the wording that is used to make certain grandiose claims, such as “Many people have doubled their income after buying my guide! You might be the next one!” or “Super Weight Loss pills may help you lose up to 15 lbs in just one week!”. Take a closer look at the phrasing “many people”, “you might be”, “may help you”, “up to”. All of these are weasel words which essentially mean that the product *might* let you achieve what was claimed, but there is no certainty that it will. Also, take a look at the disclaimers which are usually found on the bottom of the page, written in gray and in small type to make it almost invisible. Chances are, it will say that the results aren’t guaranteed and will vary from individual to individual.

Beware of “free trial” offers. Many products marketed online will entice you by offering the product in question for free, minus a small charge for shipping and handling of a few dollars. While this will be emphasized many times throughout the site there you should know that the “trial offer” could end up costing you a lot more than the dollar or two which you paid for shipping and handling. Written in small and hard-to-read print are terms and conditions which state that you must cancel the trial within a certain number of days if you do not want to be billed a rather large amount on your credit card every month for monthly shipments of the product or for a membership fee.

If you do decide to take part in a trial offer, make sure that you have fully read the terms and conditions and understand how it works. There will often be a phone number provided for you to call in order to cancel. It is recommended that you try calling the number before you buy to check whether it actually works.

If you are unsure as to whether a certain vendor is honest, you can always research their name on Google. Simply type in “product name” +scam to see if there are some rather unflattering pieces of information about it. You can also check out consumer advocacy sites like the Better Business Bureau or Rip Off Report and look if any complaints have been posted about the company or its products. Very often, “scammy” sites will have dozens of complaints posted from angry customers.