Illuminutty: the secret brotherhood of the chronically gullible
"I have free rein. I can sell whatever I want because I'm protected by the First Amendment. I can sell a book that says the moon is made of cheese, and it should be protected by the First Amendment."
~Kevin Trudeau, quoted on Mitch Lipka's WalletPop blog
Note: I have modified part of this post slightly since I first published it on December 4. In this piece I quote from the sales pages for Kevin Trudeau's "Your Wish Is Your Command" CD set, but some of the copy on the pages has changed in the two weeks since I first wrote the piece. Some of the items I quoted are no longer on the pages. But trust me, I didn't make them up. Just to make things easier, I'll write my annotations about the changing ad copy in this pretty color. And I might as well add this little disclaimer now: All of the sales copy I quote in this piece is subject to change, as is everything on the Interwebs. I cannot guarantee that it will still be there as I quoted it by the time you follow the links, should you choose to do so.
~CC, 18 December 2009
Kevin Trudeau's stories just keep getting better and better. So you thought that Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale's various versions of his success story were entertaining? Well, Joe has nothing on True-dough, who recently revealed to Mr. Fire and friends at a private dinner in Wimberley, Texas, that the real secret to True-dough's success is his membership in... are you ready for this?....a secret society called The Brotherhood. (This may or may not be The Brotherhood Kevin is talking about. I'm too lazy to really research it. But that's not the main point of this piece anyway.)
I have to wonder what True-dough will come up with next: perhaps the revelation that he has been receiving coded messages from the Pleiades since he was a child? Or that he discovered a lost tribe of sparkly blue people during his world travels, and they are the ones who truly possess the wisdom of the ages, which they taught to him and him alone? (He can always accuse James Cameron of stealing his idea.) Or maybe the startling confession that when he was in prison in the 1990s, someone slipped him some ancient secret scrolls from the Lemurians who dwell beneath Mount Shasta? (Actually, when he was in prison he did meet a guy, a former cocaine dealer named Jules Lieb, who became a joint-venture partner with him after the two men got out of da joint. Said JV was a company called Nutrition for Life, for which he and Jules were later sued by the State of Illinois for operating an illegal pyramid scheme.)
Actually, True-dough has been telling some form of the "secret society" tale for a few years now, at least since 2006 if not before, as evidenced on this piece on Dr. Stephen Barrett's Quackwatch site. But it was only recently that True-dough revealed his secret society connections to Mr. Fire, who then eagerly shared it with his mailing list.
Anyway, I digress. The story True-dough tells really doesn't matter any more. He clearly believes that from a First-Amendment standpoint it doesn't matter if he tells the truth or not, and from a marketing standpoint "truth" is apparently even less important. It appears that no matter how outrageous his tales become, people will still line up to give him their money. And he knows it.
Increasingly, lesser but endlessly ambitious hustledorks are grabbing on to his coattails as well, hoping to get a huge piece of a half-baked but nevertheless heartily substantial pie. Regarding True-dough's present big scheme, well, don't say you didn't see this one coming. I know I did, as far back as January of this year, and then again in July. And by late November, the signs were unmistakable (okay, on those last two links you'll have to scroll down a little to get to the truly relevant part). Then just yesterday, the aforementioned Joe Vitale sent a breathlessly excited message to his email list.*
From: Joe VitaleNow, if you've been reading Joe's stuff for any length of time, you know that he's quite often wide-eyed, astonished, riveted, hypnotized, floored, or similarly overwrought, and on more than one occasion has gotten so excited over a product or a person that his hands shake. He's a pretty excitable guy overall, almost pathologically so, and his livelihood depends upon his infecting his followers with that pathology as well.
Date: Thu, Dec 3, 2009
Subject: Learn the Law of Attraction secrets "they" don't want you to know
Over the past few months, I've been getting to know bestselling author and marketing legend Kevin Trudeau.
You've probably seen his famous infomercials for his books, including Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You To Know About, More Natural Cures Revealed, Debt Cures, and The Weight Loss Cure. He is also a multimillionaire who started from scratch.
Recently we got together for dinner here in Wimberley, TX at my private club, and I asked him how he became so wealthy and successful at such a young age - in such a short amount of time. (I was not going to let this opportunity pass me by without draining him of every bit of knowledge I could get out of him.)
What he said next almost floored me. He said, and I quote, "I follow a set of success secrets I learned at a young age while I was in a secret society called 'The Brotherhood.' Once I learned these success secrets, the law of attraction started working for me. These are secrets that are not available to the general public."
I was wide-eyed at hearing this.
But this time...wow. This. Is. Beyond. Exciting.
What is truly exciting about it from Joe's perspective (and interesting from my own perspective) is that it represents a further fusion of the New-Wage/McSpirituality bidness and traditional hucksterism. True-dough really seems to be attempting to bring Joe into his schemes, and Joe is only too glad to be a part of it all. Using one of his favorite copywriting tools, the bulleted list, he explains the allure of Kevin's secrets.
Kevin said these secrets are so powerful, that he used them to attract:
And much more!Well, I can create bulleted lists too, and here are some items Joe forgot to add to the list of things Kevin has attracted:
But never mind all that. I'm sure Kevin himself would say that it's all good for business, especially that last item. And indeed, he has long used his battles with the government as a marketing tool, as I've noted here before.
- Convictions and a Federal prison sentence for larceny and credit card fraud
- Millions and millions of dollars in fines for deceptive trade practices and violation of court orders
- Hundreds upon hundreds of consumer complaints for his dodgy business practices (this being just one of many links)
- A ban on his TV infomercials (except for selling his books, as long as he doesn't misrepresent the material therein) through 2011
- The wrath of numerous participants who didn't get paid after his 2006 International Pool Tour event, which, according to a piece in the New York Times, had a crushing effect on the pool community as a whole
- Thousands of adoring fans who apparently possess the IQ of a pool cue but have valid credit cards
Excitedly, Joe continues in his email message:
[Kevin] then told me that he recently started doing something he's never done before ---- teaching a select few people the money attracting and success secrets he learned from "The Brotherhood" and other secret societies.Ha, ha, just kidding about those reusable laxative pills. That's another story. What True-dough really gave Mr. Fire was...
These are the exact same secrets only known by world leaders, celebrities, business leaders, royal families and other secret society members.
These are money attracting secrets that have never been told before - until now.
Next he reached into his briefcase and gave me a gift - a bottle of reusable laxative pills.
...a set of his 14-CD program new called -"Your Wish Is Your Command". [link provided]
The program comes in two parts.
1. Your Wish Is Your Command/How To Manifest Your Desires
2. How Anyone Can Make Millions/The Money Making Secrets "They" Don't Want You To Know About
Kevin told me that "Your Wish Is Your Command" contains a 2-day weekend lecture he gave a few months ago to an invitation-only audience. Each attendee paid over $11,000 to attend and hear these secrets. (!)
I took the program home and listened to all 14 CDs over the next few days. I took pages and pages of notes and learned money making technique after money making technique. Techniques I never heard before or even knew existed. And the beauty is that not only do you learn the secrets - you will also hear Kevin's amazing rags to riches story - AND you will learn ALL of his money attracting secrets (which he will walk you through step-by-step). Secrets never released before to the general public.
Once you know these closely guarded secrets, you too can learn to become a millionaire, improve your health, experience quality business & personal relationships, influence others, and live the life you've only dreamed of.
I don't want to give away too much here as it is better that you hear all about "Your Wish Is Your Command" directly from Kevin.
To learn more about "Your Wish Is Your Command" and get it for a ridiculously low price, go here -- [link provided again]
Oh, my, yes, you can just feel the love from Joe. But Kevin is full of love too, and in case you have any doubt whatsoever about his altruistic motives, here's Joe again:
PS - Kevin is making these money attracting secrets available to you for next to nothing compared to what they're worth. I mean seriously next to nothing! He's also only releasing a limited amount of Your Wish Is Your Command programs. So see below to learn more -- [link provided yet again]
PPS - Kevin will also give you a personal invitation to join him in a "member only" wealth club that could allow you to personally meet and be mentored by some of the most successful people in the world. Don't miss this once in a lifetime oppourtunity [sic].[link provided once again (in keeping with Mr. Fire's hypnotic formula of repeating a link several times within a message)]So what's in it for Joe? Rest assured that he has no interest in the scheme whatsoever.
Note: I'm not in business with Kevin and I'm not an affiliate for his program, but I *do* personally endorse his audio cds. Get them.Not in business with True-dough? Uh-huh.
I don't know much about Internet affiliate schemes, but each of those links Joe provided in his email contain an extension that I'm guessing is an identifier telling Kevin that the person was referred by Joe. If you leave off the extension entirely, you'll get to a similar but not identical page [I previously wrote that you will get to the same page, but that was incorrect.] So it's not beyond the realm of possibility that Joe is getting some sort of consideration for driving traffic to Kevin's site. Moreover, if I know anything about Joe's M.O., he doesn't do a mass mailing unless there is something in it for him. Maybe his working relationship with Kevin is structured in such a way that Joe can truthfully say that he's not technically "in business" with Kevin, but how stupid does he think we are? Perhaps he's telling the truth about not being a direct affiliate in the CD scheme, but I'm willing to bet that Joe does have a pretty big stake in the scheme for which the CD set is an upsell (more on that momentarily).
Or at the very least, Kevin has led Joe to believe he's going to reap a multitude of benefits from said scheme. I have the strong sense that Kevin is going to make even more money on this one than he already has, and Joe...well, not so much.
Even in the short term, it appears that Kevin made money merely from attending that dinner at Joe's "private club" (that would be the Vitale Cigar Bar) in Wimberley. (I can imagine Kevin paraphrasing Joe's email: "I was not going to let this opportunity go by without draining these gullible tools of every bit of scratch I could get out of them.") Here's Joe's buddy Pat O'Bryan, waxing enthusiastic on his blog about that historic session with True-dough (Pat shot a video of the momentous occasion):
In this video, Kevin talks about what he’s learned. Some of it is pretty mind-bending. Some of it I flat out don’t believe. Some… well, I’ve made a couple of purchases since this dinner. Everybody I’ve talked to who was there has changed something about their lives -- either added supplements, changed diet, or ordered an e-pendant. I did all three.An e-pendant to go with your Russian Wish Dolly, Pat... that's great.**
Okay, so what is this "Your Wish Is Your Command" program, and how much is it going to cost you, since you're not Joe Vitale and probably will not be able to get it for free? Well, let's discuss cost first. You can get it for one payment of only $299.00, or ten easy payments of $39.95 each. [Note: The price was later changed to one payment of only $297.00 or ten easy payments of $39.70 each. Why the difference? Simply because prices ending in "7" are widely considered to be more attractive to online consumers, according to the Hype-notic Marketing Playbook.]
That's a heck of a deal, especially when you consider what "Your Wish Is Your Command" really is at its core: an elaborate upsell scheme that will give you an unprecedented opportunity to spend even more money by joining True-dough's Global Information Network (GIN) scheme, as previously discussed here on this very Whirled. See, Joe isn't the only one who can repeat links.
Just for good measure, here's that Whirled link again. Hypnotic, yes?
As for whether or not Joe is in business with Kevin (which, as you recall, he claimed he isn't), take a look at this June 2009 blog post:
Back in America. Just had a wonderful dinner with my friend Joe Vitale and a few other mutual friends. Joe is a star from the movie and book “The Secret”. He’s an amazing guy and one of the “insiders” in the Global Information Network. Associating with people who think the right way, possessing secret knowledge, and having the results to prove it works rubs off. Joe is genuine, a giver, fun, and can help you achieve your dreams. Would you like to meet him? Join the Global Information Network and be able to meet Joe and winners like him! To sign up, you MUST type in this affiliate code: ‘KTRN’.But I've teased you long enough, and that's not very hypnotic. Here is the link that will lead you to the CD set revealing the secrets that Kevin himself learned in The Brotherhood. That is the link to the main sales page. (There's an affiliate version as well; type in /010 or /012 at the end of the previous link and you'll get to it.)
On both pages Kevin mentions an exclusive workshop he held in the Swiss Alps, an event for which he says 100 folks paid upwards of $10,000 apiece to attend. On one page he describes it as an event "that changed the entire landscape of success and how to achieve literally anything in life."
When the fireworks were over and the dust had settled just 2 days later, every person agreed that it was the most epic two days of their lives.
Rabid? Well, that explains a lot.
They all agreed that what they paid to attend the event paled in comparison to what the information they gleaned during those two days would do in their lives. (You can read their rabid testimonials further down on this page.)
Okay, now, that whole "rabid" bit is one example of what I mentioned in my little prelude above. It's no longer on either version of the sales page, as far as I can see.
Anyway, so far on that page there are only a few testimonials, and as far as I can tell these are from people who listened to the CD set, not folks who supposedly attended that exclusive summit in the Alps.
The above is another item that has apparently changed. On the main sales page (the one without the affiliate extension), there are now quite a few "testimonials" in a section under the header, "Here's what some of the attendees said." As there is no mention of the CD set in this section, these testimonials are all presumably from people who attended that exclusive $10,000 or $11,000 (or however much it was) event in the Alps. The testimonials (which have no attributions) mention such things as, “I used the technique taught and put REAL cash in my pocket in 24 hours!!” and “I would have paid 1 million dollars for this knowledge! I own a business and with this information my profits will go up 100 fold this year! In the first week I have already increased my profits over $50,000!”
Is it just me, or does that sound kind of small-time for people who can afford to attend an exclusive event in the Swiss Alps, taught by Kevin and a few big international tycoons and such?
But the important point is that Kevin does indeed go on a bit about secret societies, 'splainin':
For more than 30 years, I’ve been lucky enough to be a member of one such secret society. The ultra-secretive “Brotherhood” society. It’s [sic] members include some of the most successful people on the planet. They’re all mega-millionaires…billionaires…high-level government officials…heads of entire countries…33rd degree Freemasons (the highest ranking of all masons)…captains of industry (Andrew Carnegie and Aristotle Onassis were members of The Brotherhood)…and believe it or not, even members of Royal families.
Frankly, I am having a little trouble keeping his stories straight, and so, apparently, is he. Or maybe he just has some copywriting challenges. As I noted above, however, the story really doesn't seem to matter. What matters is his sheer genius, which became apparent to him soon after he joined The Brotherhood, and which he modestly describes for us:
I studied and learned the secrets (ONLY available to members) with more passion than anyone ever had in their history! It turned out I was gifted with the unique ability, much like Einstein, at “crunching” or simplifying complex concepts and making them easy to understand and apply. I totally integrated the “secrets” into my whole being and life! I APPLIED and USED this powerful, never before published, knowledge in my own REAL LIFE!By the way, on the main sales page Kevin now promises that he will explain why he was chosen for The Brotherhood, and why he chose to leave the 'Hood.
Remember, I WAS a member of the “Brotherhood” secret society! I am NO LONGER a member! I LEFT! NOBODY has EVER left the society! NO ONE has EVER shared their secrets! Many powerful people are FURIOUS that I am exposing and revealing the SECRETS of one of the most powerful secret societies of all time! (Again, I’ll tell you why I left later.)
Well, I sure was interested in hearing that story. But I scanned the copy and couldn't find either an explanation of why he was invited in the first place or an explanation of why he left. In all fairness, he didn't specify how much later he would 'splain. Perhaps his copywriters are still working on that part of the tale.
Of note, Kevin also throws the majority of New-Wage/selfish-help authors under the bus, referring to the classics and bestsellers in the genre as "the Amazon.com list of shame":
You may have even heard about bestselling books like The Secret, Think and Grow Rich, Ask and It is Given, Rich Dad Poor Dad and others that promise to teach you how to make millions, be happy, and manifest all your desires. They have been talked about on Oprah, CNN, NBC, The Today Show, and written about in Time Magazine, The New York Times and hundreds of other publications. Major celebrities, famous billionaires, and members of Royal Families (all members of secret societies) have admitted to using the information in these books to achieve riches and fame. Please!
These books are good, but all of them miss the most important secret key ingredient that makes the information REALLY work FAST. This is why people never get the results they seek.
All of these books miss one thing that has been PURPOSELY OMITTED – and this key ingredient makes all the difference.
To prove my point, just type “personal success” into Amazon.com and you’ll find thousands of books written on how to make/attract more money or how to be a success in every area of your life. 99.9% of these people are usually copying other people’s information or writing useless theories. Most of these author’s lives are in shambles and they have no money to speak of. And I know this is a fact because I know many of them!
THESE SO-CALLED GURUS ARE RIPPING PEOPLE OFF – perhaps it even happened to you. They are crushing the hopes, dreams and goals of millions of people. I know this is true because I’ve been there. I read all the popular success and money making books – I attended all the latest and greatest get-rich-quick seminars. And you know what? None of them did me any good. Why? Because I was being taught the wrong information by the wrong people. Information gathered by people from other people with bad information. I’ve never seen two wrongs make a right and I’m sure you haven’t either.
Once I finally learned the right information from the Brotherhood, billionaires, the politically elite, captains of industry and the members of the Illuminati, Freemasons, The Skull and Bones and other secret societies, I cracked the success code.
And now I live an exciting, fun and free life filled with financial wealth and happiness.In case you are still not convinced and are prepared to dismiss the copy as mere hype, Kevin begs you, for your own good, to reconsider.
Please do not discount what I’m saying here. The strategies I revealed at this groundbreaking event are absolutely not theory. They’ve worked unfailingly for the thousands of lucky members in these secret societies. They’ve worked unfailingly in my life.
I went from a defeated, unsuccessful, high school dropout with more than $100,000 in credit card debts to living in some of the most affluent communities in the world. I’ve driven expensive cars like Rolls Royce‘s, Bentley’s and Ferrari‘s. I own a number of different, wildly successful businesses that routinely make tens of millions of dollars for me year in and year out.
These strategies worked for me…they’ve worked for the billionaire friends I brought along to teach their words of wisdom at the event…they’ve worked for untold thousands of members who huddle together in secret societies like the Skull and Bones…The Brotherhood…The Freemasons…and others. And they will work unfailingly for you, too.The PS on the page will sound pretty familiar to anyone who has read Joe Vitale's sales copy:
PS -- What if I’m right? What if this time next year your dreams of wealth, health, success, and personal happiness and bliss have come true? Getting your hands on this breakthrough material will have been the smartest move you’ve ever made, right?Shades of "What if it works?" Geez, all of these hypnotic copywriters sure do write hypnotically, don't they? I guess that's why they make the big bucks.
I could even begin seeing the future and started predicting events with uncanny accuracy!I also felt he [sic] could “read minds” and felt totally in control of all situations and people.My confidence was at an all time high and I had no fear in my life!I have since made MILLIONS and have enjoyed a lifestyle that most people could not even imagine.
The major theme running through the "Your Wish Is Your Command" gimmick, and for that matter all of Kevin's body of work over the past fifteen years or so, is that there is a wealth of information out there, but "the elite" (or big government or big Pharma or Western medicine or what have you) are all deliberately withholding this info from the masses in order to keep them in a subservient role. As we know, this marketing strategy worked for Rhonda Byrne, having formed the bedrock of the promotions for The Secret, but Kevin's mastery of the forbidden-information angle puts Rhonda's puny little efforts to shame.
The forbidden-info theme has been embraced not only in the New-Wage bidness that Kevin reviles on one hand but exploits on the other, but on various wingnutty forums as well, such as that of radio host Alex Jones, another one of True-dough's b.f.f.'s. The following is from an article not written by Jones, but appearing on his web site:
Billionaire entrepreneur Kevin Trudeau, who has been constantly harassed and sued by the FTC for promoting alternative health treatments, told The Alex Jones Show yesterday that elitists and Bilderberg members who he had personally conversed with spoke of their desire to see “two thirds of the dumb people” wiped off the planet...
...Trudeau shockingly detailed conversations with elitists during which they brazenly admitted their desire for massive global population reduction.
“I’ve been sitting on the boats off the coast of Barbados with the guys who basically said we need to get two-thirds of the dumb people off the planet – I’ve been in the meetings,” said Trudeau, adding that such words were not spoken in an evil manner, but in a “matter of fact” way under the pretext that such a thing would be for the good of planet earth.
Revealingly, Trudeau said that elitists see Alex Jones as an annoyance but tolerate him because they believe Jones as well as Trudeau himself are, “desensitizing people to these realities,” – which in a way works to their benefit.
Kevin, of course, is fiercely fighting the elitists' plans to eliminate dumb people, knowing that he has to protect and preserve his customer base. I imagine this is mighty reassuring to the dumb or the merely gullible, but even more compelling is Kevin's reassurance that despite the claims of the naysayers (Duff McDuffee, for example), anyone can "have it all":“I’ve been told that’s why I still get invited on the yachts,” added Trudeau.
Well, here’s good news. You can have it all. You can live in a beautiful home in an affluent community. You can drive the car of your dreams. You can wear expensive, stylish clothes. You can be tearfully happy. You can be the rich and successful person God intended you to be. In short, you can live your life…on your terms! You can have, be, or do whatever your heart desires.Now, even assuming that Kevin's motives are altruistic (stop snickering and work with me here for a moment, okay?), let's take a look at what he says on the site for his really BIG scheme, the Global Information Network, or GIN. If you didn't follow the links to that site in my previous post about this scheme, do so now. On the "Who We Are" page, Trudeau notes:
How? By getting your hands on the recordings of the blockbusting event I held in Switzerland…
The Creed of the Global Information Network is:And then there's this...
- Every person on earth has the right to know all the knowledge available on planet earth
- Every person on earth has the right to pursue happiness
- Every person on earth has the right to be free to pursue his own dreams, goals, and desires
- Every person on earth has the right to know ALL the methods of curing and preventing disease and have dynamic vibrant health.
- Every person on earth has the right to know how to use their mind to create and manifest in their lives whatever they choose
- Every person on earth has the right to privacy from all governments and corporate entities
- Every person on earth has the right to be happy, secure, safe, and fulfilled as a human being
- Every person on earth has the same importance as every other person
- Every person on earth can have, be or do anything they desire
- The privileged elite class has NO right to hide the truth from the masses and keep them as virtual slaves
- Freedom of speech, freedom to express ideas, opinions, and what individuals believe to be statements of fact even if it is against worldwide consensus should never be impeded.
The Global Information Network’s goal is to be the worldwide communication center that will spread previously secret and hidden knowledge that has been used by the ruling classes to keep the world uninformed, full of fear, impoverished and enslaved.I have one question: If everyone on the planet has the right to this information, and every person on earth has the same importance as every other person...well, since it's clear that not everyone can afford to join GIN and climb the ranks of membership, why doesn't Kevin just make all of the information freely available to everyone, with no membership levels, no fees, no sign-ups? Why doesn't he simply publish all of that information on an easily accessible web site? Why create an "elite" group at all? After all, he's said himself that he doesn't need any more money because he already has plenty.
By educating the world with this secret data, The Global Information Network hopes to empower people to have, be or do everything and anything they desire. By doing so, happiness will increase, fear will fall away, people will become more prosperous than ever before, poverty, slavery, and despair will begin to vanish from the planet and violence and wars will cease to exist on planet earth.
While you're pondering that question, here's another: Just how much does it cost to be a member of Kevin's exclusive group? That one I can answer ...well, sort of. Check out the "Levels of Membership" page, if you've not done so already. There are twelve levels of membership, starting with Level 1. To be a Level 1 member requires a $1,000 "initiation fee," with $150 monthly dues. For that you get "Access to Membership Level 1 sections of the GIN web site." Other benefits are "classified." As for the remaining eleven levels, both the costs and benefits are listed as "classified."
How do you make money as a GIN member, possibly enabling you to live the life of luxury Kevin himself brags about? I quoted and linked to this page on my previous GIN post, but here 'tis again.
For everyone you get to join GIN as a member, or another way of saying it, for everyone you get to buy a membership in GIN, you are paid $200 commission. If you get just 5 people to join GIN as a member, you make $1000. That covers your initial membership dues. If you get 10 people to join GIN as a member, you make $2000. If you get 100 people to join GIN as a member you make $20,000. Anytime and every time you get someone to become a member in GIN you earn $200 commission. Because of the experts that are behind the GIN opportunity and their unparalleled successful track record generating over 100 Billion dollars in sales worldwide, we have insider marketing secrets using the internet and mass media marketing that can help you to potentially get many people to join as new GIN members. WE will provide you with all the secrets that can teach you how some members have signed up as many as 1000 new GIN members in just 60 days earning over $400,000 in just 60 days!
With the power of our specialized and proprietary marketing techniques, you could be earning thousands of dollars a month on this single bonus!
But that is just the beginning. Every person you sign up or “sponsor” is “tagged” to you, and has the same commission plan as you and all the same incentives and money making opportunities. The people you sign up or sponsor want to make money too! They will be taught how THEY can go and sell memberships, sponsor, or sign people up as members in GIN. When they sign up a new member or sell a membership they of course make their $200 commission just as you did when you signed up a new GIN member, but YOU ALSO get $200 on all the new members THEY get to join GIN!Is this a pyramid scheme? Well, if it looks like a duck... The point is probably moot anyway, since GIN is a company based on the West Indies isle of Nevis, presumably beyond the bounds of US law. (And do follow that link in the previous sentence; it will give you much more insight about Nevis as a business paradise than I am providing here.) More importantly for Kevin, there are probably boatloads of folks whose eyes will be on the imagined prize, and they won't care about those picky little details.
To sweeten the GIN mix even more for the chronically gullible, True-dough has cooked up a tale of a "GIN Council," a group of 29 other ultra-successful, ultra-elite billionaires who co-founded GIN with him and are on the advisory board. The clear implication is that if you advance far enough in GIN (i.e., if you give put enough money into this seekrit klub), you may even be able to hang around some of these elites yourself.
"And educated grownups actually believe this drivel?!?" some of you may be asking.
But fear not: there's still hope for the human race. When it comes to True-dough, there are plenty of doubters (I know, I know, he welcomes the controversy). Look at some of the comments on this discussion that took place in March 2009 on one of his own forums, apparently in relation to a mail-out advertising that famous "new" CD set he Joe Vitale is now pushing. (If it's not the same set, it nonetheless makes use of the "Secret Brotherhood" motif and apparently costs the same as that set.)
And, of course, scads of bloggers are doubters as well, such as Stupid Evil Bastard.
These are all well and good, but I'm thinking that maybe it's time for a parody of that dinner in Wimberley, on the order of this small classic, which I've also linked to previously but loved it so much that I am linking to it again: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UT5tIfJPFS0
I don't know about you, but while True-dough wrings every bit of profit he can from the Secret Brotherhood/GIN Council theme, I am eagerly awaiting his next tall tale. Maybe he can hire me to make something up for him. I am pretty creative, and the same rich mines of inspiration that nourish this blog could certainly enrich Kevin's ad copy. Meanwhile, you'll have to excuse me. It's time for me to prepare for a private meeting of the Secret Society of Snarky Bloggers and Knowledgeable Informants. There's a lot brewing, more than I could possibly tell you in one post... but I'm going to make you wait for it.
PS ~ While you're waiting, if you want to kill some time on a blog written by someone who knows a lot more about Internet marketing and Internet marketers than I do, pay a visit to Salty Droid's blog. The language is not for those with delicate sensibilities, but if you don't have a problem with that, you'll have a good time with SD, who is on a mission to expose the scams and the scammers.
PPS ~ And on a related note, here's a great article about Internet "gurus" and the law, as well as an article from the same site that illuminates "pig sty marketing." My only complaint re the latter is that it sort of insults the pig, an animal I've grown rather fond of since I've been living out in the sticks. (Thanks to Burned By Fire for the Tweets leading me to these).
PPPS ~ Okay, I see the GoogleAd at the top of this post. Not my doing; blame the Adbots.
PPPPS ~ Speaking of entertaining tales, a friend reminded me of some information about Kevin True-dough that I had linked to in a previous post but that I think bears linking to again. First, here's a 2005 article about how True-dough got started on a path of crime (I mean, "mistakes"). Good golly, it seems that it all had to do with his being adopted and his adoptive parents not being completely forthright with him about it. Second, there is a 12-page "Smoking Gun" piece entitled, "Would You Buy A Used Cure From This Man?" It's quite revealing. What I found most interesting: A three-page April 1991 letter from a psychiatrist pleading True-dough's case to the authorities (here's the link to page 1; each page has its own link). The letter features classic shrink-rap rationalizations such as: "Mr. Trudeau's drive to succeed has been so intense that it has on numerous occasions impaired his judgment," and "His offenses have stemmed from an inappropriate urgency to succeed..." Another classic: a six-page missive from Mama, pleading leniency (and again, here's the link to the first page of that letter).
Am I the only one in the room who has an urge to break out singing, "Gee, Officer Krupke" from West Side Story? (Lyrics here, if you don't want to watch the vid.) That last line in particular seems to mirror True-dough's own attitude towards the authorities that have tried to squelch his ambitions.
PPPPPS ~ This December 14 post on the AlterNet blog does a good job of 'splainin' our perennial fascination with "secret societies."
Update, 19 February 2010 ~ As you may know, there's more trouble in True-dough Paradise, and once again he's fighting to stay out of jail. He was found in contempt of court earlier this month after urging his followers to send supportive emails to a judge, Robert Gettleman, who was hearing his FTC case (you know, the one where the FTC fined him $37 million, which True-dough has declared he is "never going to pay"). Judge Gettleman's computer and BlackBerry were shut down as a result of being deluged with emails from indignant True-dough fans, and some of the sharper tools in the shed actually sent threats to the judge. Oops! Following the contempt charge, True-dough issued an apology, saying the email campaign was "a mistake," and urging his followers not to email the judge after all. Still, he had to surrender his passport and may be facing a month in the slammer.
But the unstoppable True-dough sent this email out to his supporters on February 18, a mere week after all of that contempt nonsense:
Thank you for listening and supporting the Kevin Trudeau Radio show. As a supporter of my radio show, I think you are special.
I'm writing to you today, to share some information about an opportunity that could change your life dramatically within the next 90 days.
If you are lucky, maybe once in your lifetime, a day will come where you will have the chance to get in on the ground floor of a moneymaking opportunity that can almost guarantee your success!
Today is that day.
In 1996, I launched a multi-level marketing business opportunity.
The company was publicly traded on NASDAQ with a stock price of just 50 cents. In about 18 months, an estimated 200,000 people joined me in this MLM program. Gross sales exceeded $250,000,000. The stock price went to $35.
Many people that joined with me in the beginning made millions. I bet you wish you were one of the lucky people I invited to join me at the very beginning of that amazing launch.
I am writing to you now to announce that I'm doing it again!
This time, myself and over 30 of my very wealthy friends from around the world, are launching a brand new ground floor opportunity of a lifetime...The Global Information Network (GIN).
The Global Information Network is a private exclusive club. It is a members-only organization. It is by invitation only. It helps its members create wealth and financial freedom.
I'm personally inviting you to join and become a member of The Global Information Network.
This private member-only organization can help you achieve wealth and have, be or do everything and anything you've ever desired....
...For the first time in history, an opportunity of this type is being launched all over the world at the same time. This is totally ground floor. This is brand new. You are among the very first people to be hearing about this. Already in just the last few months, people have joined as members of the Global Information Network in over 100 countries. Those who get in on the ground floor of these types of opportunities are said to have the chance to make the most money...
...90 days from today you could be making more money than you ever imagined.
This is the most revolutionary membership organization and moneymaking opportunity I've ever seen. Nothing like this has ever been done before. It has a multi-level marketing twist that could make this the fastest growing organization of its kind, of all time.
The most amazing part of this system is that you never have to bug friends, relatives, neighbors or coworkers. In fact, you virtually never have to talk to anyone. You could potentially make hundreds of thousands of dollars in your underwear, without ever leaving your house.
Remember, this just started a few months ago. I have met with members all around the world. This is the real deal. You can get in at the beginning of the beginning. This is a totally ground floor once in a lifetime opportunity. I believe millionaires will come out of the GIN membership faster than any other organization of its kind...ever.
In just the last few months, people are already making huge money. One member made over $148,200 his first month and $288,600 in his second...
...You could be potentially developing a permanent monthly residual income. You could achieve financial freedom and independence. Imagine making $5000, $10,000, $20,000 or even $50,000 per month, without ever leaving your home.
This is not a get rich quick scheme and there are no guarantees. Review all the information for yourself. ...
...The membership benefits of the Global Information Network are something that up until now have been reserved for the privileged elite class.
The moneymaking component of the Global Information Network is simple, powerful and works.
...Submit your membership application today. You must use affiliate code... and you must sign up by Friday, February 19th, 2010.
Once you sign up as a member, I will show you exactly how one member made over $400,000 in 90 days. What he did was simple. I will show you how he did it.
Plus, because I really want you to achieve all of your dreams, I will be teaching a one-day seminar on May 8th in Chicago entitled "How Anyone Can Make Millions: The Moneymaking Secrets They Don't Want You to Know About." I will tell you exactly what I did to generate over 3 billion dollars in sales worldwide. These are moneymaking secrets I have never revealed before. The tickets for this event will be $5000 each. If you become a member of the Global Information Network by Friday, February 19th, 2010, you will get a ticket to this event absolutely free. If for some reason you cannot go to the event live, I will send you the audio recording of the event, so you can still get all the information presented.
Become a member of the Global Information Network today and start making all your dreams come true.
You can do it! I believe in you! Remember, don't let anyone steal your dreams and I will see you on the beaches of the world.
Meanwhile, True-dough's legions of fans continue to indignantly defend him, claiming that the real bad guys in this situation are the government, Big Pharma, the medical profession, the mainstream media, the critics, and so forth. Same song, different verse.Presumably, Nutrition for Life International Inc. (NFLI) knew about Trudeau's past when it took him on as a business partner. NFLI, an MLM outfit specializing in such things as shark cartilage capsules and other equally beneficial nutritional supplies went into bankruptcy in 2003,* but not before making Trudeau and some other investors very rich.In less than 10 months, Kevin Trudeau and his marketing organization have persuaded some 15,000 people to plunk down more than $1,000 apiece for a highly touted opportunity to sell products.
The 32-year-old recruiter's delighted business partner, has already granted Mr. Trudeau so many stock options that he has a paper profit of more than $11 million. (Emshwiller 1996)NFLI, which at one time traded on the NASDAQ for $35 a share, had sales of over $32 million in 1995. Then trouble hit:On Aug. 23, 1996, a class action lawsuit was filed in the District Court of Harris County, Texas, on behalf of purchasers of the common stock and common stock purchase warrants of Nutrition for Life International, Inc. (NFLI) during the period July 11, 1995 through July 16, 1996, inclusive (the Class Period). The complaint charges NFLI, certain of its officers and directors, the lead underwriters of its July 11, 1995 offering of stock and warrants, and a major marketer/distributor Kevin Trudeau and the Trudeau Marketing Group Inc. (collectively Trudeau) with violations of Texas statutory and common law, by, among other things, misrepresenting and/or omitting material information concerning NFLI's business, marketing efforts, sales and earnings during the Class Period (07/11/1995 through 07/11/1996). In August 1997, the case settled. The company agreed to pay $2,000,000 in cash to individuals who purchased common stock and warrants during the class period. The company also agreed to pay the plaintiffs attorney fees up to $600,000.00.*Even so, some people are still recruiting for NFLI. And Trudeau is still going strong...
Another update, 2 March 2010: I finally got a chance to watch True-dough's latest infomercial for his "Your Wish Is Your Command" CD set a couple of nights ago. Here's a link to a scathing review of the infomercial, with embedded vids so you can watch it yourself.
Among the highlights I'd noticed while watching the infomercial in my half-asleep state, and later confirmed by visiting the site I inked to in the paragraph above:
- KT repeatedly says he is now offering the CD set for 70 % off the regular price, but he never mentions what the regular price is. Folks watching the infomercial who don't have Internet access or don't feel like going online can only find out the price by calling the toll-free number (be sure you have your credit card handy!). And as you know if you've done any research at all on KT, people are constantly complaining about calling those numbers to order one KT product and getting signed up for some forced-continuity deal from which it is nearly impossible to extract themselves. It remains to be seen if the new (as of December 2009) FTC regs will slow this down at all.
- KT says more than once that there are two types of people: those who are happy like he is, and "losers." He says that if you're unhappy with your own life and you don't buy his CD set, that means you're a loser. (Shades of that radio interview he had with Mr. Fire last July.)
- He mentions that The Secret was inspired by Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich, but Rhonda Byrne has most often credited Wallace Wattles' The Science of Getting Rich. As he did in the copy on the web pages, though, in the infomercial True-dough pretty much throws all self-help authors under the bus. And why shouldn't he? After all, True-dough alone has the missing secret to real and lasting success.
- Although he'd previously been a bit cagey about exactly when he was a member of the "secret society" that supposedly formed some of the basis of the info in the CD set, in this infomercial he says he was a member from 1975 to 1999. Well, he was born in 1963, which means he was only twelve when he joined the Brotherhood. Wow, what a prodigy! In addition, he was in prison a couple of years for fraud in the early 1990s (a fact that I think he forgot to mention on the infomercial), so, clearly, being a member of that secret society didn't keep him out of the joint.
As far as "losers" are concerned, I think that blogger Paul Lucas, who wrote the infomercial review I linked to above, was spot-on in his comments about the patently absurd promo video for True-dough's big product, the Global Information Network (this vid is also available on the infomercial review page):
Mr. Trudeau, I would like to humbly suggest an alternative definition for a “loser” than the one you have offered. A loser is someone who listens to the above pitch for the Global Information network and imagines he’s going to be some sort of James Bond, hobnobbing with Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Auric Goldfinger over martinis inside some subterranean lair deep beneath the Swiss Alps.
Please tell me that people aren't really stupid enough to fall for those outlandish promises delivered in a phony accent. Or...wait...maybe it's all just a joke and Kevin is merely waiting for the rest of us to "get it." Yeah, that has to be it.
By the way, a tip of the tinfoil hat to Paul Lucas, who was way ahead of me on the Kevin True-dough/secret society connections (I just "discovered" him yesterday, March 1, while looking for links to True-dough's latest infomercial). Here's a link to a June 2009 post of his, "Kevin Trudeau Becomes a Colonel in the Tin-foil Hat Brigade." At the end of his posts are links to others on the same topic. Happy reading!
Yet another update, 19 August 2010: The delightful Smoking Gun blog ("serving the best stupid news and 5 fresh dumb criminals each week!") posted a piece on August 16 about True-dough. Not that True-dough is dumb by any means, but some of the things he writes most assuredly are. While the author mentions that Kevin has yet to pay a penny of his eight-figure fine to the FTC,*** the piece mainly focuses on some of the quirky internal memoranda that Kevin has distributed to his employees over the years. Most notable, IMO: His emphatic endorsement of Scientology (click on pic for enlargement).
* Thank you to several alert readers who sent me the heads-up on Mr. Fire's latest True-dough email. By the way, Joe also published a blog post entitled "Kevin Trudeau's Secret Wish" on the same day he sent the email. And as it happens, Joe kind of answers the question I asked above, regarding why Kevin is charging for the Secret Information that everyone supposedly has an inborn right to possess, instead of just making it freely accessible on the Internet. Joe 'splains it thusly: "He's committed to making a difference in the world. He wants to make a profit while doing so, but that's the entrepreneurial mindset." Okey-dokey, now I understand. By the way, the meta-tag title on Joe's blog post (the title that appears at the top of the screen) is, "The Kevin Trudeau They Don't Want You To Know." Of course, this is a play on several of True-dough's book titles, but more than that, it is also an implication that the big bad "They" don't want you to know that in truth Kevin True-dough is a passionate, sincere man who only wants to help make this old world a better place.
** Okay, I don't know for certain if Kevin benefited directly from sales of the E-pendant or, for that matter, any of the supplements that the attendees at the private dinner felt inspired to begin taking. I just suspect that because Kevin is involved in numerous companies, and seems to have very specific recommendations for just about anything that ails you, it's highly plausible that he would indeed benefit in some way when people follow his recommendations. It appears to me that, like Joe Vitale, he rarely does anything unless there's something in it for him.
*** Apparently Kevin has no intention of paying his fines, instead electing to play the role of freedom-of-speech martyr to the hilt. He even devotes major space on his main web site to begging his followers to send him money to help pay his legal bills.