Wherever you look on the internet, whether it’s on dedicated sites, blogs or the social sites like Facebook, you are likely to run into so-called AstroTurf marketing. It’s a simple enough idea. Manufacturers, distributors and retailers seed the internet with glowing grassroots testimonials, endorsements, reviews and comments. It’s amazing to read the claims of the magical powers of some herbal remedies. It seems conventional medicine has lost its way and now the fringe scientists have found the cures for every conceivable modern ailment (and then some you might not have thought of). In one sense, this is history repeating itself. Back in Victorian times when newspapers and magazines were growing into mass market circulations, they carried similar adverts promoting the idea that electricity or magnetism could be harnessed to treat every disease from the common cold to cancer. There were pills for everything and lotions to rub on to all the affected areas. This was the time when the shills were in high demand and grew rich on their sales puffs.
But now, you say, people are more wise. They know when claims are not real. They are never deceived. As if. The Federal Trade Commission is just changing its rules to require everyone who writes on the internet to declare their interests if paid to write advertising copy for another. No more fake endorsements. So, if this was a blog, the writer would have to say whether he or she was an employee of Merck, the company that manufacturers and promotes propecia. For the record, the writer is not employed or paid by Merck. He sits in front of his PC, admiring the reflection of his hairline preserved by a remarkable drug, and writes the truth about that prescription drug. He has science on his side. There are clinical trials submitted to the FDA to get approval for the drug to be sold. It’s all true. But go to the majority of other sites and you are likely to find fiction. Sadly, almost every recent survey of consumer behavior finds people are manipulated by these sites and postings. Some 84% of consumers recently said that reading testimonials influenced their buying behavior. In fact, it’s probably the other way round, i.e. about 84% of online recommendations are fake. Most of the book and product reviews on sites like Amazon are planted. Similarly, the recommendations and reviews on hotel and leisure sites like TripAdvisor are unreal.
Get wise, people. The internet is unregulated and, although the FTC and individuals like New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo actively try to police marketing content, it’s out of control. You should read almost all internet copy as being fundamentally deceptive.
Except, of course, sites like this. Here you read about propecia which is the product of modern science and not the pipe dreams of someone mixing a few ingredients together and pressing out pills in a backroom. There were full clinical trials to prove its safety and effectiveness. Its use is continuously monitored in the marketplace and there’s a wealth of real information to prove that it works. This site is open and honest. Do not be taken in by all the other sites promoting pills, lotions and electrical current as cures for male pattern baldness. They are all fakes.