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Spammin’ and Jammin’

Powersupplements is P.O.’ed.  It seems they’ve noticed a huge increase in spam e-mails about Acai (pronounced a-sigh-ee) Berry supplements in recent weeks – I’ve noticed it too, I get about 6 Acai spams per day - and they’re concerned.  Because all those spammers are trying to horn in Powersupplements’ own flagship product, Acai Berry supplements, and those bad, bad spammers are making unsupported claims that these things will make you just shed the weight.  And they’re overcharging and trying to scam you with fake ‘free trials.’  Tsk, tsk spam people.  Don’t step on the powerpeople’s toes.  Don’t fuck with another man’s livelihood, Joel.

Jay blogged about the Monavie MLM scam back in July, and somewhere in the podcast I’m pretty sure the Rogues have talked about Acai berry juice.  These things grow on palm trees in Brazil, they’ve probably got a decent level of antioxidants, and for an outrageous sum of money you can get them in juice or powedered supplement form.

That’s where Powersupplements comes in.  They point out, correctly, that the spammers are advertising ‘free trials’ in which you sign up for a regular monthly hit, at about $90 a pop, unless you unsubscribe within 14 days.  Not so free.  They also point out that the spammers are making unsupported health claims about weight loss, and “Acai is such an incredible fruit, with so many health benefits, it is really unfortunate and unnecessary to make these incredible claims of weight loss. Why take something like Acai that is so positive and has helped so many people and misrepresent it as a weight loss product?”  Slyly, their press release – picked up by news carriers and printed verbatim as a news story – says that “some people do end up losing some weight while using a quality Acai supplement.”  So the spammers are lying, but uh, hey, you might lose some weight with our quality supplement.

And what are the real health claims?  From the powersupplemets.com website:

The nutrients in Acai can help:

 

  • Maintain the healthy function of bodily systems and organs
  • Increase energy, libido and stamina
  • Promote healthy, glowing skin and hair
  • Promotes healthy sleep
  • Support immune system
  • Act as a powerful anti-inflammatory
  • Help reduce pain and soreness
  • Help rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit

Based on scientific studies right?  Well, actually a couple of studies on anti-oxidants. Is that or is that not a pretty good primer on pseudo-scientific health claims?  They’re all there, except for the weight loss (but remember, you might get that too!).   Personally, I want my skin to glow as much as possible.  Yes, I want to support as many subjectively evaluated aspects of my health as possible, and it looks like Acai is the place to go.  Can you give us one thing, just one thing, we can actually measure?  Didn’t think so.

And how much does Powersupplements charge for their wonderful freeze-dried powder?  Let’s see: $39.95 for 120 pills, and you take 2-8 pills a day, so a monthly supply might only cost about $20, if you take 2 a day, but if you charge up to 8 a day, it’s $80. Hmmm.  And if you’re buying that much, you can get the even lower price of $29.95 per bottle.  What a deal! And Shipping is free for orders over $100. 

How kind of them to help us all out with the spammers, and direct us to their legitimate website, with its quality supplements.  And a special shout out to Oprah and all the other daytime TV chatters who’ve been crowing about this overpriced crap.  Are they getting a cut?  I guess in a way they are, as gullible idiots continue to tune into their shows for medical ‘advice.’  How can I get a cut?  Maybe Powersupplements.com will me give me a taste for all this free advertising I just gave them.  You never know…

7 comments to Spammin’ and Jammin’

  • rgiskard

    Interestingly, açaí is big with the weightlifting and jiu-jitsu crowds here in Brazil for its high protein content. No idea if that’s proven, but it’s ironic to see it’s being promoted as a weight loss suplement in the US.

    There was a big fad with açaí about 7 or 8 year ago, it has faded but there are lots of places that still serve açaí. Now its regarded as a nutritious fruit, the same way bananas as popularly known.

  • Jim Shaver

    Jon:

    I think all those claimed Acai benefits can also be obtained from on-line porn, for about the same monthly cost (purportedly).

    Also, isn’t it a bit ironical quoting from a Tom Cruise movie in a skeptical context? Well, I guess Risky Business was pre-freakishness, so we can pretend we still don’t know what we didn’t know back then. If you know what I mean.

  • If my skin and hair start to glow after drinking this stuff, I’d be kind of worried.

  • Ragnarok

    The word is actually açaí. It makes a difference – acai is pronounced a-ca-ee (or something like that). It’s weird, being Brazilian myself, to see a ordinary fruit here being used in a scam in the US.

  • Jon Blumenfeld

    Jim:

    Risky Business came out in August, 1983 – I was 18 years old, just about the perfect age. I didn’t care if Tom Cruise WAS Xenu (who I’d never heard of back then, and I suspect neither had he) – and that movie remains one of the ALL TIME classic teen flicks. I also wanted to see if the reference would get picked up or if I was really as old as I thought. Thank goodness the first comment mentioned it…

  • Traveler

    “I think all those claimed Acai benefits can also be obtained from on-line porn”

    Maybe not the anti-inflammatory effects.

  • Jim Shaver

    Traveler: It all depends on the dosage.

    Jon: Agreed, about the movie. I can’t get Bob Seger and Tangerine Dream out of my head all afternoon.

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