On Six

SaltyDroid-Six

SaltyDroid-Six

2013 sucked it :: like … hardcore.

“This can’t be fucking happening” … is how I’d sum up the year in fake robotic sentiment. Not exactly a fresh sentiment around here I know :: but it’s deeper now … darker … bleaker. Because :: yeah … this is fucking happening … and there’s no more me hiding from it.

For five years I’ve been waiting for my fake secretary Debbie to do something right :: while swirling down into this jack{ass}rabbithole of doom … comforted … at first … by my own ignorance.

Five years of The Salty Droid :: from Perry Belcher to Herbalife :: in watery metaphors …

— I’m going to drain this disgustingly scummy pool :: and it’s going to be easy … and awesome!

— Wait :: this pool is kinda Olympic size … but I’m sure there’s a drain plug down here somewheres.

— Jesus … this pool is a lake!

— Holy fuckstars … this lake is Lake Michigan.

— OMG … I’m in the ocean.

I. Am. Pointless.

Hear that badguy d-bags? Post it to your private facebooks … tweet it to Kevin Smith … pay $6500 to have a local “news” program run a bullshit segment about it. I’m fucking pointless :: and now … even I know it.

I can not win.

I will not win.

The year started so promisingly :: with Bill Ackman’s dazzling arrival on the scamworld ocean … feeling something like a {slightly Jewish} Christmas miracle. He made what seemed for everything like a principled stand :: giving an authoritative presentation of highly factual information :: placing a capitalist’s goldeneye popping billion dollar bet … and pledging to ride out the waves until Herbalife sank to zero.

{applause!}

Of course :: Herbalife’s stock falling to zero would do absolutely nothing for its tens of millions of victims :: and it would do equal amounts of nothing to prevent future victimization … because there are thousands of other similarly vicious scam operations waiting to instantly soak up Herbalife’s sadness marketshare. But I am adrift in an ocean of sorrow {ready to cling to anything} :: and this dude captains a huge battleship … and rides {one imagines} on all the king’s horses.

A small :: but meaningful {dare we hope tide shifting?} … moral victory was sure to follow. At the time :: I was researching and writing a feature article for The Verge {at their request} about Mike Dillard and Senen Pousa {which The Verge quite rudely failed to print … without explanation} … and had several other previous commitments sucking up my time until July-ish. I thought I’d likely miss my chance to contribute to this important win. Because how could any one scam company hope to survive that kind of focused pressure for long?

But hey :: no worries there :: cause all I missed was an epic fail.

Wall Street’s institutional elite lined up to openly support the exploitation of the already struggling. The company hired some of the country’s best lawyers :: lobbyists … and spin spinning PR firms … all of whom gladly accepted huge piles of blood money to put lipstick on the zombie pig. The government did nothing … and said nothing. The former mayor of Los Angeles :: a former U.S. Surgeon General :: and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright … sold their credentialed credibilities to help keep HLF’s latino scamming machine operating at full steam. All but a very few reporters :: remained completely fucking useless … and did NOTHING even remotely resembling reporting.

The stock price more than doubled … and Herbalife reported recording their biggest ever year. Our markets :: and our society :: have spoken in a clear voice …

“We are in favor of fraud. We need fraud. Our fraud is too big to fail.”

Herbalife expanded into its 86th country … Cambodia. Local resident Heng Sothy knows just why he :: like so many others across the impoverished developing world :: is willing to risk everything to give Herbalife a try :: as he told The Cambodia Daily

“They come from many of the good democracy countries: America, European, Australia, and they make money. Why would they lie to us?”

Why … indeed. Trust me Heng Sothy … you don’t want to know the answer to that excellent question. But maybe this Atlantic profile of affiliate marketer Jesse Willms :: The Dark Lord of the Internet … can help explain it a little.

Regardless of what you might think of Willms’s business ethics, no one could argue with his results.

So yeah :: that’s pretty much it … you’re welcome? Welcome to team democracy?

Jesse Willms is fucking bigtime :: for sure … but DarkLord? No way. As a {now long time} observer of such things :: I’ll tell you :: here’s the standout aspect of his personality :: the origin of his staggering {and continuing} unethical success …

“Yet his former employees say the carousing never impaired Willms’s focus at work. “Jesse was always there in the morning, punctual like everyone else,” one former employee told me. “He would take a jet out to Vegas on Friday after work, but then he would be back on Monday morning, not hungover.”

Boom :: respect … otherwise … he’s up to nothing too original {including the immensity}.

As the federal government’s primary consumer-protection arm, the FTC was the agency expected to do something to address the issue, yet it faced a major problem of scale: it was one Wyatt Earp among thousands of Internet swindlers, many of whom had disguised their tracks with shell corporations.

The federal government is the little guy? Yep :: and Wyatt Earp is a super-fucking-flattery descriptor … try Barney Fife.

Regulatory authorities like the FTC are undermanned; courts seem reluctant to punish offenders; and worse yet, even the sheriffs we believe are imposing order online—Google, Yahoo, Microsoft—often end up providing scammers with a platform for deception. To understand Willms’s success, then, is to understand a much larger expanse of the Internet’s seedy commercial underbelly, along with the hazards it poses to anyone who ventures online.

Dirty money owns :: and operates … our most important lands … against our interests … to the great advantage of all the worst things.

I have spent a lot of time away from this site these last two years :: trying to parlay my small successes here into bigger things … from bigger people. But it turns out that the dirty ocean makes us all the same amount of tiny :: there is no one big … so it’s back to focusing on the moob jokes.

Jason is feeling dire :: and wanted me to tell you that year six might be the last year of The Salty Droid :: because he is weak :: and wounded … and fucking brain tired from all the futility. But I refuse to allow that stupid shit. That it is so bad :: that it is fucking happening :: that we can’t possibly win … is exactly why we’re fighting.

Takin’ um down a big fat notch :: one at a time … with truth + jokes. It must be better than nothing :: which is something … and that’s enough.

If I was an Herbalifer :: I’d end this post with an encapsulating quote from the late {not great} Jim Rohn … maybe something like …

If you don’t like how things are, change it! You’re not a tree.

But I’m not an Herbalifer {or a tree} :: I’m the motherfucking SaltyDroid … so I’ll encapsulate the beginning of year six by quoting the fake baseball philosopher Kenny F’in Powers …

My story is the story of a raging Christ figure who tore himself off the cross and looked at the Romans with blood in his eyes and said “my turn now, cocksuckers.”

>> bleep bloop

52 thoughts on “On Six”

  1. Yep, things certainly seem sad and implacably cruel. Not an easy time to be a fake robot vigilante.

    But Jason should be reminded of how much he has been inspiring so many other people to stand up and keep on fighting for a better world. Maybe that’s his biggest achievement to date – to rally up other (a bit morally crazy?) individuals who will not accept the reign of greed … of manipulation … of deceit … of fraud … of fucking evil.

    “Forth, and fear no darkness! Arise! Arise, Riders of Theoden! Spears shall be shaken, shields shall be splintered! A sword day… a red day… ere the sun rises! ”

  2. Well… it sucks that Jason is feeling crushed under the weight of crushing futility…

    But I for one am glad to see the Droid is still here.

    I read that article on Jesse Willms via a link from a @Jack. I liked it sort of, but was very dismayed at how the author seemed to faun over Willms’ coldhearted, undiluted, pure sociopathic evil. My only consolation? A lot of other people in the comments seemed to be pissed off too.

    Oh and about Wyatt Earp–I’m recently given to understand that he was some sort of a shady character or possibly an outright scammer himself when he was alive. Sure it’s a given that the legend will not be the same as the person, but apparently in this case, the legend is based almost completely on nothing.

    I’ve decided to stop having illusions about the FTC’s efficacy anymore. So.. maybe the comparison between the FTC and Wyatt Earp is not so far off after all.

    I don’t think the FTC actively aids and abetts scams. I do have to wonder though if it’s real purpose is to protect the pubic or if it is merely to give the illusion that it is protecting the public. (There’s no reason why the actual members of the FTC would be aware of this of course.)

    Lying is bad. Unless you want power. In that case, apparently, lying is essential.

    I don’t want power badly enough to go through all that.


    Furry cows moo and decompress.

  3. Well, at least Kevin Trudeau is in jail. For now..

    Of course, this is after millions of government/taxpayer dollars were spent, and the government still hasn’t been able to find all of his assets and probably never will. And then there’s the fact that Trudeau’s current and former cohorts have gone forth into the world with scams of their own, some of which he no doubt still has a hand in creating.

    No neat and tidy endings, in other words. There never are, in Scamworld.

    But please don’t let there be an ending, neat and tidy or otherwise, to the Droid.

    It’s good to have ideals and big goals, but in the end perhaps the most any of us can hope to be is a fly in the ointment. Or, to continue the LOTR theme that Omri started, “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” I think that goes for small robots too.

    1. Comments are still not working :: I know … but I don’t know why.

      Please tell me about it if you try to leave a comment and it fails.

  4. Your posts always make me want to respond, dang it!

    As the Droid ponders To Be Or Not To Be, I say, whatever you decide, you’ve had a brilliant run here. Hoping the archive might still be available as a public service?

    The trouble with this whole area of morality is it is crazy-making. Witness “American Hustle” now playing at a multiplex near you. I personally found the moral relativism on display there to be quite frustrating and, well, wrong. The suggestion I picked up in it is that all humans are conning and hustling each other all the time and that social interactions are so completely, fuzzily, murkily in shades of gray manipulation that there are no real moral lines to be drawn. Oh, except where there are belatedly some kind of arbitrary, nonsense moral lines after all, in the opinion of the filmmaker, and small time con men (or women) are the most moral and ethical among us, because they are the only ones who understand how life really works. How life really works is that we’re all just f***ing each other over for our own benefit all the time. Or something like that. Also, apparently, casinos are The. Best. because they create jobs. This is our vision of America? Good grief. That’s what I got out of the film more or less, anyway, and it’s quite popular and well received, so I feel out of step with society (yet again) and it is crazy making. You get tired of being the only one to care or speak up about ethical issues and you begin to feel like a tremendous crank. ( Maybe others did not interpret the film that way. I still feel like an old crank.)

    I know the world is not black and white but it’s not all gray either. I mean, it’s starting to seem like your typical American human is like “ow ow ow, it’s hurts my brain too much to decide if this is right or wrong…is this an example of taking advantage of someone? Ow! I don’t know because ow ow thinking about it is too difficult ow”

    I am with Wyrd, lying is wrong. Controlling and taking advantage of other people is wrong. Ethics are difficult, but not that difficult. It’s just not that hard.

    It’s been frustrating for me on this journey, since being unwillingly drawn into understanding scam-world due to personal circumstances. It’s frustrating to realize how vastly differently many of my fellow humans view the world. I now find many of them to be the crazy ones. In the end I can only write my own reality. And I can continue to speak up in my own little corner of the social world when it seems like there is an opportunity to do so. Because the Asch Conformity Experiment teaches us that The Emperor’s New Clothes is absolutely the way people work and if we speak up when we see something wrong, we can help someone else also speak up who sees the same problem that we do. And eventually, big changes might come out of that kind of small start. We do all have voices, and we need to do the right thing and speak up and keep trying.

    I still think Ethics is the new Black. It looks sizzlin’ on everybody, it goes with everything and it never goes out of style. Smokin hot, baby, now and forever. Timeless killer chic. Cooler than frikkin’ Chanel. I die.

    American Hustle, The Wolf of Wall Street, MLM, all the sleaze-bags featured on this site, cult-tactic groups and intentional scammers everywhere are loud plaid suits, shiny polyester shirts, soft white bellies and of course, epically disgusting comb-overs. At leat American Hustle got that right (and yes, I am lookin’ at you, Donald Trump).

  5. Well, for what it’s worth your blog encouraged me to get the hell away from the make money online world, and now I am actually making decent money by working with real companies who sell actual stuff of value instead of participating in a huge broke-ass circle jerk.

  6. I haven’t been commenting here in a while, but I always read every article the moment they’re published.

    I think the SaltyDroid is a huge success, even if there haven’t been positive results specifically from this last year. Frankly, I think a fight against scams as big as Herbalife :: ~$5bn revenue for 2013 :-( :: will need to occur on many fronts and will require significant ongoing resources. I’m surprised Ackman hasn’t hired the SaltyDroid to launch a one-robot-crusade against what you & he (and me) agree is a fucking giant pyramid scheme.

    FWIW, Ackman calling HLF a scam is still in the news … so I wouldn’t be surprised to see this battle continue for years to come. It’s just a longer & more expensive one than icing chumps like Frank Kern, Perry Belcher, Death Ray, or Trudeau (who, as @Cosmic Connie already remarked, is thankfully locked up for now).

    But, if 2013 seemed like a slow year, and the Droid or Jason are feeling down about this site’s accomplishments… let me count the ways:

    >>> This site is still top ranking for practically any Google search for “[Guru Name] + scam” or “[Guru Name] + fraud” or probably most variations thereof … remaining a crippling “pimple on the ass” for these jerks trying to find search-savvy customers who Google before they buy.

    >>> This site pretty much single handedly ruined the reputations of a ton of gurus, who today are basically irrelevant (even if they are still trying to pitch their tired snake-oil IM / MMO wares).

    >>> This site has spawned notable 3rd party research & publishing on the topic of these types of scams … and for many specific examples was the first to break stories and get in dat ass on a bunch of Scamworld players.

    >>> Most importantly of all, I think this site has played a crucial role in the overall tide shifting away from that whole “industry” aka Scamworld … at least in a lot of online communities. Specifically, I’ve noticed a major drop in the popularity of Scamworld’s typical dark tunnel of infinitely recursive frauduct re-wording & re-selling & re-“launching” etc.

    >>> And I could go on… and on… and on…

    So, you might not have single handedly annihilated the scams you were {targeting} in 2013… but there’s always 2014. Maybe this year, you can pick a few easy battles just for fun, like pwning some Scamworld n00bs. It will be fun to read for us, and will hopefully be a morale-boosting reminder that you’re one of the few around who can still easily take out IM / MMO / MLM chumps at your convenience – even on what their frauducts would have us believe is their “home turf” (aka the interwebz).

    I always enjoy reading me some SaltyDroid pwning scammer n00bs, especially when it SEO’s them out of their career. I hope it is also rewarding for you.

    And, I do hope you can find a way to keep fighting the good fight… whether it is through this site, or through whatever else Jason decides to do with himself.

    Peace to all the SaltyDroid people!

    PS – I thought of this site when I read that Atlantic feature on Jesse Willms… which made me throw up in my mouth, and which was :: in my opinion :: just a pathetic attempt to play off the success of “Wolf of Wall Street” (about convicted felon Belfort – who himself did some flirting with the players of Scamworld and who I’m sure will go full-on IM/MMO/MLM if his movie money runs out). If it wasn’t for the SaltyDroid, when reading that Willms article I would have never realized how unremarkable or even really small-fry of an example the “Dark Lord” was. Fuck, there must be 1,000 others like him right this second doing the *exact same scam*! “Dark Lord” … more like “Typical Fraud”.

    Speaking of a person who @SD could easily destroy in organic search results via a short series of targeted articles – ahem

  7. If you shut up truth and bury it under the ground with a batch of expired Herbalife product, it will but grow, and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it bursts through it will blow up everything in its way.

  8. Mr. Droid:

    Here is a heartfelt thank-you and an “attaboy” for saving me from sending a lot of money to the scamsters. I’m sure there are thousands of others who would also join in that appreciation. If that is why you worked so hard on this site, then it has succeeded.

  9. Salty,

    Your frustration, anger, and despair is shared. Whatever you decide, you have made a lasting impact on me and I won’t forget it. Thank you for shining a light on the murky truths underlying an industry built on lies, fraud and broken dreams.

    Truth sends out ripples. It takes a long time for the water to steady again. Sometimes have you have drop boulders to command attention, but you’re right that something is better than nothing. Even a pebble. We have to keep disturbing the waters. The smooth surface hides monsters.

    If you’re in for the long haul, so are we.

    Conor

  10. also in for the long haul.
    the truth is on our side.
    this website is an oasis in a strange and dark world.

  11. I concur with Doctor Mario.

    Securing and defending a beach head for those who come behind you is a victory. It’s just not glamorous. The blocking and tackling of real battles never is. You’re winning in the ways that count.

    The Herbalife incident was a blood feud between equally despicable parties. One was able to rally more wolves to his side of the ledger. Nothing more.

    Expect no spectacular victories. It’s a war of attrition, and that is all about commitment and dedication, which you exemplify in spades… especially in contrast to how quickly the scammer operations implode upon being illuminated by your sanitizing light.

    Nonetheless, I won’t offer platitudes of “hang in there, keep up the good fight.” Salty’s human operator is a real human being, and the battle wounds, and exhausts, and wears down. The readership can only imagine the dirty trick’s Salty’s operator has been subjected to in real life.

    I hope that you do hang in there and keep up the good fight, but I would never hold you to that. You have fought valiantly, and for that, I thank you. I will support you as long as you continue the fight. And should one day you decide to walk away, for your own personal reasons, I will respect you, and forever be grateful for the education you’ve provided. It has changed my life, on many levels.

    And to Conor: “Truth sends out ripples… If you’re in for the long haul, so are we.” Indeed.

  12. Well, Salty, there is something to be said for being the unpredictable agitator that makes it harder for bastards to sleep at night. You just keep on stirring the stew, and we’ll keep beating back those lumps one at a time!

  13. You couldn’t be human and feel any other way. But what has been accomplished shouldn’t be overlooked. Like running into a burning building and rescuing a handful of people while hundreds perish. Was the effort worth it? Absolutely. Every little victory is significant in and of itself. Every person that avoids taking the long, dark ride into oblivion via the scam is grateful someone was there to warn them.

  14. And now you understand that the only answer lies in federal legislation of scams and scammers, followed up by international treaties. No amount of social awareness is going to stop these people who in some cases, thrive on the negative publicity either directly or indirectly.

    1. @Roger,

      Ok, but even if that is the case, how do you expect the legislation to come through unless there is an uprising in social awareness on the topic?

      I mean–we use to have laws that made this stuff harder to get away with. Be honest–how do you suppose those laws went away? The lawmakers are being fed by the wolves… or something… whatever.

      All us chickens are in for it is what I am saying. And while I agree laws are the way, I think it is going to forever be a titanic struggle whether the goal is different laws or increased social awareness.

      Furry cows moo and decompress.

    2. If I might borrow a tune from other places where we have some laws out the wazoo..already not enough money and intelligent people to enforce laws already in place. FTC could make a big dent in the Federal Deficit just slapping and collecting bizop violation fines all day loan…but they don’t. But they don’t. And we have miles to go before I sleep….miles to go before we sleep.

      1. @Jack,

        And at this point, me having been a regular at this site since whenever the Naomi fake-death threat thing, I have to ask myself…

        I wonder why it is that the FTC doesn’t have more money…. That would be a Congress thing, right? hrmmm….

        Furry cows moo and decompress.

  15. Mate…..If you save just one poor sap from falling into the clutches of these vampires it’s mission accomplished! One Grandmother, single Mum or Father trying to do right by his Family from walking through that door and ruining their lives…..I wager that you’ve saved far more than one already. You are a credible trusted voice and if that voice wasn’t being heard I bet there would be a lot more money in the back pockets of Frank Kern and ed Dale now

  16. The Droid has radicalized me in ways Jason doesn’t even know.

    The Droid has made me question everything and everyone. The Droid has taught me the importance of data and sources. The Droid has opened me up to the messages of Anonymous and Occupy.

    The Droid has made me ready to stand and fight for my rights. As a consumer. As a writer. As a freelancer. As a cyclist. As a woman.

    The Droid has made me see that no one else – least of all the government and its agencies – are there to protect us. We need to protect ourselves and one another.

    It’s Year Six. It’s time for real names and vigilante actions.

  17. Like the other commenters, I hope that the `Droid doesn’t go away…..I’ve never gotten involved with online scams, though I did waste a week in the early `Aughts trying to sell Larry Hahn’s Scentura scam perfumes.

    To me, Herbalife is the Scientology of Scamworld; both kinda-sorta look like the things they claim to be (a new religion or a real corporation) until you get inside and discover that the product is useless, the boss or guru is a money-obsessed freak, the hours are impossible, and that middle management is insane. Scientology is demonically strong even as it is falling apart, mainly because of the Sea Org working class, the “priests” who work in menial jobs for little to no money and are (more and more) imported workers from Russia, Africa, and Asia. Scientology’s weaknessess are those ex-Sea Org’ers, the former “public Scientologists” who bought services and products from the “church” and are angry about how they were conned, and Scientology’s history with American law and the government (Google “Kendrick Moxon” and “Operation Snow White” for more details.) It will take time, but Herbalife will implode like The Syndicate and those Utah boiler-room assholes; it takes endless discipline to keep a con going after the audience has been alerted that it’s a scam, discipline only a “religion” can keep up.

    1. So so true…I agree, mr. mike.

      In reading up on and grappling with this whole topic of cult tactic groups/undue influence/coercive control last year, I stumbled upon this essay, “The Moral Obligation to be Intelligent”. It’s almost one hundred years old, but still seems relevant, I think? I guess it’s considered a classic, anyway, I loved it:

      http://home.uchicago.edu/~ahkissel/education/erskine.html

      It talks about human progress, and intelligence winning out over superstition, to intelligence itself being inherently a highly moral thing, in most cases more moral than the alternative. I don’t think it rules out an element of intelligent, ethical, non-coercive religion/spirituality in the world. Some of religion/spirituality can be healthy as long as the focus is on universal, timeless, common sense moral teachings and concepts like forgiveness, compassion, patience, equality, freedom plus responsibility, learning from your mistakes, etc. When religion (or business or therapy or government) is focused on control, unicorns, ignorance, and superstition, it is immoral and has to eventually fail and wither away.

  18. It’s a dark time we live in to be sure. As I write, I learn some Federal judge has put a knife in Net Neutrality. Which if upheld, has dire implications for freedom fighters who are going to have to go back to samizdat manuscripts and surreptitious meetings in dodgy coffee houses to compare notes.

    1. @Jack,

      erm.. sorry, but no. This can only be a bright side in that halcyon, naive libertarian position claiming that the free market will fix everything.

      When the market is really free–when there’s boatloads of competitors trying to get your $$ that can work, sure. But when it’s just a handful or one or two big players, then instead of the free market fixing everything it is: the oligopoly fixing all the prices for their own benefit. And our only cavalry in this situation is… Google? Google with the ALEC and all the rest?

      Yeah, no sorry, it’s bad like people say.

      But if you think about it, it’s been bad for a while now. You know it is bad when you’re having to rely on the FCC of all groups to defend good things.

      If we really want net neutrality… and I think we do… then it will have to be, once again, the passing of laws to get it done.


      Furry cows moo and decompress.

      1. Where do you come up with these funny kind of ideas of Google being evil?

        “Google may have been, until now, the Obama of hip internet monopolies. No matter how many nations the President bombs, people still put Obama peace-sign stickers on their cars. No matter how many radical rightwing initiatives Google funds, people still think it’s a “progressive corporation” — How could it not be? It’s making progress!

        Google is funding Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, the Federalist Society, the American Conservative Union, and the political arm of the Heritage Foundation.

        And there’s more really bad news: Google is funding ALEC, the powerful, secretive, and destructive lobbying force from which many companies concerned with their public images are fleeing. ALEC is in the news this week, holding its 40th annual meeting. Together with allies, RootsAction.org is applying as much pressure as we can. And it might just be that the tide is turning. Google just might have to start worrying about whether its users favor plutocratic plundering or not.”

        http://www.popularresistance.org/i-googled-evil-and-it-took-me-to-google/

    1. @IntheKnow. Loved seeing that NuSkin story today! I am smiling, tho having no expectations that anything will really happen. Did you see the Citron Research coverage of NuSkin a little while ago? The People’s Daily isn’t the first expose of NuSkin lying about pushing BizOps to be published in China.

      That KChang commenter here I thought had an interesting take on China and MLM a couple of months ago….it was the day this site went down, actually, so I never got to reply to him. I had been commenting that it’s interesting/ironic that China, a country that has a history of being so far to the controlling/totalist side of the governmental spectrum seems to really clearly see the cult tactic aspect of MLM and outlaw it. Chang’s reply was: totalist governments don’t tolerate competition.

      Totalist governments don’t tolerate other groups using the same powerful psychological toolbox of secrecy, manipulation, control etc. that they themselves utilize, Thinking about this reminded me of some news coverage last year on mormon missionaries being unwelcome in Russia, with public protests about them. At the bottom of the HuffPo version of the article, there were a lot of comments on the irony of a totalist country banning a cult-tactic “religion”…..but if you think about it, it totally makes sense.

      Here in the U.S., (while I know there is concern about how free we really are, I think we are still looking decent overall in our place on the spectrum….if you can make it a spectrum, running from totalist/repressive on one end to free on the other? For example, I am not afraid to post here, I would even use my real name, I just got started using a screen name because that’s what I thought people did:) i am not afraid to criticize the prevailing institutions here, when warranted, that is some sort of evidence that we are freer than most, isn’t it?). Anyway, here in the relatively free U.S., MLM and high demand groups can get away with their lies and control for a long time, maybe because we are a relatively free society. It’s only when their coercion/harm to others becomes too obvious that their operations get shut down.

  19. Salty,

    It’s been awhile since I visited here—too long really. You might be encouraged by the reason why. I’ve been too busy, doing everything I can on my end to supplement your efforts to dismantle the big sick machine. Even though I didn’t get to your blog until last summer, your passion (can a robot be passionate or is it your human partner?) has been an inspiration to get busy . . . to do something . . . anything to influence change in my own small way. With this blog, you’ve provided a focal point for the most passionate among the warriors on our side. And in the process, you’ve built a community whose combined voice has a meaningful impact.

    I’ve only been at it for a couple of years; and I’ve already found that I have to come up for air every few months. The putrid swamp inhabited by the cogs in the big sick machine is a sinister place. It suffocates humans and corrodes the robots who immerse themselves in it in order to make a difference.

    By all means, do what you must and take the time you need to overhaul your worn out and rusted parts; and please convince Jason to take some time to catch his breath. But please don’t give up the fight for good. You don’t stand alone against the machine; and the rest of us who fight shoulder to shoulder with you appreciate you and the unique combat skills and insight you bring into battle. This growing force, which you’ve played an important part in building, will keep on keepin’ on until we—to quote a great American philosopher—“Gitter Done!”

    1. @SD,

      What @Roger Wilco said. I mean I am not claiming that I’ve done lots of activism. But I’ve done tiny bits..like I went ahead and posted anti-Herbalife things on FB even though I knew that might offend those family friends that have been a part of the, uh, “Herbalife experience”. That kinda sucked. But it’s well-documented what participation in MLMs can do to friendships.

      On a more general note, occasionally, I regale my more accommodating friends with tales of the evils of the scamminess of scamworld–or the deeply compromised nature of Google.

      Every so often, I take to a comment thread on an article, a la xkcd someone-is-wrong-on-the-Internet and go on about how evil teh scams are, how most of them operate like cults… how corrosive and destructive they are both for individuals and the community as a whole.

      I know it doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme. I’m not even going to try to argue your IAmPointless note.

      All I know is I know Important Bad Things that I didn’t know before I found your blog, and for that, I thank you, Salty Droid.

      ——————–

      Also,

      @Roger Wilco,

      I saw your posts on @Cosmic Connie’s blog expanding upon what you had previously posted here. Those things that have happened were, of course, terrible. But I liked your analysis of it.


      Furry cows moo and decompress.

  20. Salty… I was almost sucked into the scams of a couple of the self-idolizing “gurus” that you warn everyone about.

    Your site was a massive wake-up call. You saved me a ton of money, remorse and sanity.

    I’m sure there are people all over the world that you’ve helped, and most of them don’t ever comment on here.

    I REALLY hope you decide to keep your website going. The more you post, the more people will wake up and smell the shitty, poisonous coffee that the self-helping scammers relentlessly peddle.

  21. I too was circling the Scamworld drain, Salty, when I discovered your site, which yanked me back into the land of reason, and just in the nick of time, too. And I’d always considered myself to be reasonably level-headed and sceptical.

    It didn’t save me from giving several hundred dollars to a certain well-known copywriting “school” – whose name starts and ends with a certain letter of the alphabet and the founder of which is a convicted crook (mail fraud and money laundering, look it up) – for a few crummy e-books padded out with sparse, over-simplified material that you could find in just about any $20 marketing textbook – but we live and learn, and that’s nothing compared to losing a house or your marriage or your life.

    People who claim to have principles are as common as table salt. It’s the people who actually live by them, no matter the consequences, who are as rare as hens’ teeth. Even if you do decide to call it a day, know that you’ve saved a lot of people from having their lives ruined by these no-conscience dingbats.

  22. Still waiting on what the heck happened in Europe regarding that Herbalife thing…

    And how much backpedalling can Johnson do to “save” Herbalife.

    But there’s always another scam to bust… bazillion matrix schemes out there

    Vemma is staying a bit quiet, but hardly going away

    TelexFree ponzi is spreading back into the US and now into Asia and Africa…

    WCM renamed itself and was chased out of South America but may still be active elsewhere in the world…

    Plenty more to go, even if we haven’t succeeded with this one… yet.

  23. You are not pointless, nor are you without influence. I have used you as the “go to guy” on numerous occasions to dissuade net neophytes from opening their wallet to the scum suckers that fill email boxes with unicorns and pink ponies. It’s easy.
    Them: “I got a wonderful offer today about a super magic button that will give me $1987.61 a day.”
    Me: “Ohhhkay. Why can’t you make $2000 a day? That seems like a pretty odd limit to daily earnings they are giving you.”
    Them: “Well I don’t know but I”m sure there is a good reason that I”ll find out when I send them my $9997 payment for membership in their inner circle.”
    Me: “If they can make that much a day why are they selling the magic system to you?”
    Them: “Because they are wonderful people who want me to succeed in life and live the life I”ve always dreamed of!”
    Me: “Go visit Salty Droid. Search for their name. Read every article on that site about them. Then run, don’t walk, away from this fantastical deal. There is no magic button, there are no unicorns and free isn’t free.”

    Not every one of the soon-to-be-sheared marks has been saved. But most have. And it’s thanks to you. Changes don’t happen on a grand scale. They happen one life at a time.

  24. Yo SD
    Keep up the good fight! I only wish i had stumbled across you back in 2008 and wouldve saved myself another 5 years of my life wasted on mlm/ IM. BS. And $10000s of dollars.
    You have made a bigger impact than you are probably aware. For all of us who pass along and contribute in our own ways to all of those quiet voices that still find truths and answers from this site i say you can be assured that your time and efforts have not been wasted for rhe value you have given is immeasurable .

  25. Don’t you even think about quitting!

    The fact that your courageous actions are causing you to get flak only proves that you’re becoming a serious thorn in the side of these people.

  26. Quit! It’s not worth the emotional trade-off. Alternatively, build the site so users can have an input with regards warnings, experiences, anecdotes and for the victims to give case studies. It’s Ian from the UK – you’ll remember my dad was scammed out of £320,000 over a 2.5 year period. I’ve just spent the last 4 weeks flat on my back, absolutely emotionally exhausted and for what? The Police don’t care, the authorities don’t care, government don’t care – nobody cares! Even my family didn’t give a shit.

    Being an SD reader since 2009, and previously warning my dad about boiler room scams – it was a tough one to take knowing 60% of his net worth had gone. Luckily the house was paid off.

    I won’t go into the time, energy and money investment made, but it was an intense 12 months to say the least, all the while trying to make some money for myself.

    Did I say nobody cares?

  27. According to today’s L.A. Times, US Senator Ed Markey, is calling on the FTC to look into Herbalife’s business practices.

    “There is nothing nutritional about possible pyramid schemes that promise financial benefit but result in economic ruin for vulnerable families,” said Markey, a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “Herbalife may be a purveyor of health and wellness products, but some of its distributors are suffering serious economic ill-health as a result of their involvement in the company. I have serious questions about the business practices of Herbalife and their impact on my constituents, and I look forward to receiving responses to my inquiries.”

    How about that!

  28. Dear Salty:

    Things are the way they are because, as you so astutely observed, we are addicted to fraud, corruption, and deception. All of us. These things happen because we let them happen. Were it not so, every freakin’, money laundering, drug-dealing banker would be in prison with an Herbalife hotshot as his bitch.

    Sadly, the worst that happens is that they steal from their poor customers, utter fake mea culpas, pay ridiculously small fines, and build houses in the Hamptons.

    Even so, many foul entities have been brought to their knees by well-placed monkeywrenches thrown by the “little people.”

    Keep throwing those wrenches!

  29. I found your website recently and am having fun reading your archives and watching your youtube videos – the Is Herbalife a Scam video is brilliant. I keep thinking that maybe this will be the month that something happens with Herbalife… but it never seems to.

    I noticed the other night that Youtube has a new feature which automatically starts playing the next ‘featured’ video. Wouldn’t it be nice if your videos were in all Herbalife and Syndicate playlists? As it is, ads for Herbalife and Syndicate type BS are suggested when watching some of your videos.

    You have probably saved hundreds (thousands?) of people from wasting thousands of dollars on this crap. Even if you retire after this year, your website will continue to save people. What a huge accomplishment.

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