Is Truth About Abs and its companion Net-based publications a scam? By our definition, probably not. But it is a disturbing example of how Internet marketers are trying to wrest money from unsuspecting consumers. We offer Truth About Abs as a case study of these marketing abuses, however, some of the information it is giving to consumers is useful. Its Fat Burning Kitchen e-book has some good information — largely similar to many of the food/exercise related articles contained at SanDiegoCAN. At $10, it isn’t a rip-off. However, as we discovered, $10 Fat Burning e-book is a lure into an abyss of hard-sell that we don’t recommend.
Here’s the ad that they use to entice you into their trip. This ad is somewhat misleading. You get the e-version of the Kitchen book. One of the chapters is the “23-day Advanced Nutritional Fat Burning Blueprint”. So the added $19 value is puffery, at its worst. You also get a link to the 6-part Video Course but it takes you to a page which is essentially just hawking “Isabel’s 3-Step Beyond Diet Plan” for $47). It claims that this Video Course is a $179 value but the truth is that it is an advertisement that is available to anyone who clicks the unsecured link to this advertisement. So they are assigning an unconscionably inflated value to free information.
But the most disturbing part about the marketing tactics used by the marketers of the Truth About Abs is how it uses and abuses the “upsell”. This is marketing-speak for efforts to sell you more than you want or need. They outline their entire strategy at their affiliates page and its Clickbank “Marketplace” descriptor. It states:
“4 Offers: Fat Burning Kitchen, 101 Anti-aging Foods, Truthaboutabs Etc. Don’t Be Fooled By Low Payout Listing. We Have Insane Conversions And Higher Priced Upsells. 90% Comms Avail! Only 1.8% Refund Rate. For High Converting Landing Pages + Secrets To Do 500+ Sales/day Go To Http://truthaboutabs.com/affiliate-info.html”
Then it goes on to outline its “product” list of upsells:
-101 Sneaky Weight Loss Tricks
-A personal trainer service for a promotional price of $6.95 a week (normally $26.95 per week)
Using this marketing strategy, it has enlisted an army of “marketing affiliates” who create the fake review websites that use terms like “scam” “does it work” and “review” to rope in unsuspecting consumers who think they are actually getting objective information. Instead, they are getting fake info for which the affiliates will receive 75-90% Commissions on all FOUR of the products, including BACKEND sales. At their affiliate webpage, they claim to have sold over 1.25 Milllion copies of the 4 of our ebooks combined and “refund rates are less than 2% currently (compared to most health products at over 10% refunds)”. They promise an “easy” $30,000 per month or more if affiliates market the Truth About Abs “products”. They include the following sales pitches to these affiliates:
- Advanced PPC (pay per click) advertising strategies
- How to get tons of 4 to 8 cent clicks that actually convert!
- Secrets for running affiliate links through separate domains
- Leveraging your lists with email marketing strategies
- How to make tons of sales of health products to non-health lists
- How to understand tweight loss & diet traffic and tap into this MASSIVE market
- Potential off-line affiliate marketing opportunities that we’re testing
These are all their words….not ours. This is the blueprint they’ve created for generating sales that has led to all of the fake review sites you’ll find about the Truth About Abs ebook products. They’ve gone as far as to list the books with Amazon, even though you can only buy the books through the Truth About Abs website. The Amazon listing is just another lure, and nothing else.
It is this expensive selling scheme that the Truth About Abs marketers rely upon to find customers. If you shell out the $10 for the Fat Burning Kitchen book, you will get bombarded with an entirely different set of offers including some of the worst ones we’ve found on the Net, including “Diabetes Reversed” and “Blood Pressure Normalized“. These latter two publications are part of an Internet marketing scheme run by a serial schemer named Joe Barton. Mr. Barton floods the Net with all manner of publications — and customers report feeling ripped-off by him, both literally and figuratively. If an Internet product is produced by “Barton Publishing” we strongly recommend that you exercise great caution before shelling out any money.
While there is some useful information contained in the Truth About Abs materials, the sales-pitch is over-the-top and the exaggerated prices are so inflated as to undermine their credibility. We’ve read the Kitchen book and much of it has useful information, although most of it is available elsewhere. This website contains a large number of articles that largely parallel what is contained in the Kitchen book. However, some of their assertions are highly problematic. For example, they spend a fair amount of time touting lard over vegetable shortening and, afterwards, give a mention to coconut oil. From our perspective neither lard nor shortening should be found in a healthy kitchen; alternatives such as coconut oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil and virgin olive oil are far preferable. There is no need to use lard when coconut oil is healthier and as versatile.
We also take issue with their recommended use of peanuts (and peanut butter) which we view as problematic and inferior to almond butter. And their overemphasis upon protein smacks of a body-builder view of the world, rather than one of promoting healthfulness. But, in general, most of the Fat-Burning Kitchen book comports with generally accepted principles of healthful diets. Our greatest concern — and one that you should share — is that the Truth About Abs marketers are less interested in selling you this book and its information. They are laser focused on upselling you are much as possible and making as much money from you as possible. The Fat-Burning Kitchen e-book is the bait to ensnare you. If you must take that bait, so be it. But attempt to avoid the other traps that lay await for you by unscrupulous marketers who apparently will bombard you with offers once you enter their realm.