Beware Phony Weight Loss Blogs

January 14, 2009 · 24 comments

I was very careful when I wrote my post on new weight loss bloggers to include only “real” people with interesting stories to tell about their weight loss or fitness journey. That’s because, in case you have not noticed, there has been a plethora of blogs (or more correctly websites purporting to be blogs) being created lately to take advantage of people looking to weight loss bloggers for their input into what made them a success. And for most of these phony blogs you can bet what made them a success this year was Colon Cleansing and Acai Berries!

Steve from Weight Loss Weapons noticed this trend and has put up a page called Weight Loss Scam Sites where he keeps a running list of all the scammers.

Here is an example of his research:

Nicole’s Weight Loss Blog Scam

Site Url:
www.nicolesweightlossblog.com
Promotes:
Acai Berry – Free Trials
Colon Cleanse – Free Trials
Scam:
Fake Blog
Signs of the Scam:
The comments are fake, enter your comment and it will not be approved. The “post” is dated November 1st, 2008 but the site wasn’t created until November 14th, 2008. This is the same “Nicole” from www.nicolesweightloss.com where she claims to have lost the same amount of weight using 2 different products. The site is registered using DomainsByProxy.com which hides the persons identity.

How can you help?

If you are someone struggling with your weight don’t look for the quick and easy solutions that taking a pill or eating a berry offer. If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is. Need to know what to do to be a success? Read stories about real people like Matt Keeling or Tony Posnanski, each of whom has lost over 100 pounds the hard way, the real way – through hard work, sweat, and tears.

If you have a weight loss blog yourself then I’d suggest doing a couple of things:

  • Get the word out to your readers about these phony weight loss blogs
  • If you utilize ads make sure you aren’t supporting these people

I don’t run Adsense on this blog anymore but if you do you are probably hosting up ads pointing your readers to these fake blogs. The good news is that Google lets you filter out results. So go to Steve’s page and grab all the URLs and enter them into your Adsense account so that those ads will not be presented to your readers.

Another thing that I am doing is removing much of the ads I had on my site that promoted some of these questionable products. I actually have been trying out Colon Cleanse Pro and as you’ll read in my review IT DOESN’T WORK. I am going to try to remove all ads for products I know don’t work.

The marketers publishing these fake weight loss blogs are preying on people like you and me. Let’s work together to hit them where it hurts – their pocketbooks.

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{ 22 comments }

Levi January 14, 2009 at 2:45 pm

I see these sites way too often. One day this winter I just clicked a bunch of Google ads when doing some research on diet products and 99% were these fake blogs with fake comments. It gets funny after a while 🙂

(unless people fall for it)

Joe S. January 14, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Thanks for the heads up, I’m gonna have to take a look at some of these.

Theantijared January 14, 2009 at 7:43 pm

I agree with you! Truth is though, so many people want a quick fix. I just wish more people were honest that money, health, and relationships take work.

Dan - Home Calisthenics January 14, 2009 at 8:16 pm

Hey John,
I’ve noticed these fake blogs are becoming more prevalent. It’s a shame because they detract from the great work that genuine bloggers (like yourself) post.

Regards,

Dan.

Greg Hayes January 14, 2009 at 8:37 pm

This is a great piece of information to have. As you may have discovered, I’m new to blogging, and while it comes as no surprise that sites like this exist, I hadn’t considered their advertising presence. As you’ve probably noticed, I’m more into slow, sustainable changes, rather than trying for the quick fix.

Also good to know about the Colon Cleanse. My wife and I have discussed this product a few times, and I don’t understand how such a thing could work. Thanks for the good info.

Israel January 14, 2009 at 9:38 pm

Yeah, I grabbed the list and added it to prevent these types. And update it often when I find a new one.

Andrew is getting fit January 14, 2009 at 10:01 pm

There are a lot of dodgy folks out there I’m afraid.

steve@weightlossweapons.com January 14, 2009 at 10:16 pm

Great post John 🙂

Thanks for getting the word out. These sites are in all the major advertising networks, MSN, YPN, Adsense and more are popping up everyday.

I know a lot of people say that the people getting scammed get what they deserve, but I don’t think of it that way.

We’ve all had our weak moments when your weight loss isn’t coming as quickly as you want and you think there has got to be a better/easier way?

These fake blogs and sites prey on that weakness with their lies. If we show people that these claims are just not true and how fake they really are, maybe we can get them back on the right track before they make a huge mistake.

Steve

GeorgieGirl January 14, 2009 at 11:12 pm

John, thanks for the warning. I have run into a bunch of the bogus blogs lately. It’s too bad there isn’t a better filtering system out there to stop the phony blogs.

One of my friends has started using the acai berry juice and she swears it makes her feel better. I have been leery of trying it.

Back to the bogus blogs. It makes sense the google ads on the weight loss blogs would lead to fake blogs… they pay for the ad space. I won’t pay to advertise my personal weight loss blog. LOL It was hard enough to get real to my fellow weight loss bloggers. Am I making any sense at all here? Anyway… thanks for the phony blog alert. I appreciate the warning!

jason January 15, 2009 at 8:54 am

I am so sick and tired of those crap sites. They just take up useful space and put crap into it. Thanks for exposing them. I hope that mine is real and inspirational, I am pretty sure it is though. Those dang, acai berries. USELESS.

Charlie Hills January 15, 2009 at 11:34 am

They’ll come and go, but will just be replaced by whatever the next bottle of snake oil is. The only thing that doesn’t change is, “If it sounds too good to be true…”

This was my take on it last November:

http://www.backtothefridge.com/blog/something-fishy/

Charlie Hills January 15, 2009 at 11:36 am

Oh, and I liked Crabby’s take on it too:

http://www.crankyfitness.com/2009/01/one-rule-for-flat-stomach.html

Let’s get this crap taken care of!

Sadie January 15, 2009 at 2:25 pm

That’s so true. I’ve noticed a lot of them lately. There are even some on Entrecard that are iffy. The scary thing is that people listen to these blogs and take advice that they shouldn’t – and waste money on products that don’t work!

Merry Mary January 15, 2009 at 3:51 pm

I see these often and they drive me crazy. I hate that people looking for a life change get sucked into them and waste their time and money on products that don’t work and just leave them worse off than when they started.

The funny thing is since I wrote that I have seen an increase in spammers trying to leave comments here. Are they trying to show me up or something? No doubt some have snuck through but the majority get sent to Akismet.

Muata January 17, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Good post, and my fat loss blog has been getting a lot more spam from pretty creative hackers. It’s really getting so bad that I had to give a “How to identify fake sites 101” to my 70 year-old mother just yesterday!

Sounds like that would make a good post!

Steve v4.7 January 17, 2009 at 6:23 pm

I’ve been getting quite a few of these lately. Most are acai berry supplements but other products are sneaking in too. The male enhancement fake sites are getting way too creative and all of it is becoming a real nuisance.

It’s been worse for me since I wrote that post – the spammers are coming out of the woodwork now!

Rob - Former Fat Guy January 17, 2009 at 8:16 pm

Yep, no shit eh John? They do a good job of adding in crap comments too.

I run a wordpress blog and a blogger blog and I get a kick out of it when I get the exact same comment message on both commenting systems.

bastards!

The ones I like are where I make a comment on a blog and then some spam script copies it and makes the same comment on my own blog!

Melkor January 26, 2009 at 11:23 pm

Guys, try this google search: http://www.google.com/search?q=%22I+eventually+gave+up.+I+stopped+going+out+with+friends.%22&num=50&hl=en&safe=off&filter=0

Who’s going to drop the dime on them to the FTC? This is deceptive marketing and something people have been locked up for before.

Great find, that sure does find a bunch of them. What a scam!

Simply Mojo February 4, 2009 at 11:45 am

I found that so many of these blogs about the real life people trying to lose the weight were just noting but very little real content and tons of ads. I was looking for stories about real people I could relate to and had a harder time finding it than I thought I would. So I started my own.

GeorgieGirl February 15, 2009 at 2:51 am

Hey there John! Well… I’ve been hit up again by a bogus blog comment. I didn’t delete it yet. If I recall someone said something… (maybe it is in one of your posts?) about a place to turn these people in as spammers. It’s late and I’m tired. I can’t find the info I’m looking for. If you know what I’m talking about, I’d appreciate the info. If not, then I’ll just delete the comment in the next few days.

Thanks in advance for the help!

Your site is hosted on Wordpress.com, I am assuming you have their Akismet spam filtering plugin in place? If so the best thing to do is simply to mark the comment as spam, Akismet will then use that data to help improve their spam detection system.

Lincoln February 28, 2009 at 12:13 am

I’m glad you’re exposing the scams behind these fake blogs, but the problem is the ads that lead to these blogs are showing up here as well. I counted no less than 4 ads from Chitika and Infolinks that all lead to the very same fake blogs you’re trying to expose. Blocking them by domain is a futile exercise, as the scammer registered literally hundreds to thousands of domains making any attempts to filter them by domain alone a lost cause.

You’ll need to consider whether you can be comfortable displaying ads to these scam sites even while you try to expose them at the same time. In the end I gave up and now only use those networks that allow me to preview ads and allow only those ads I evaluate beforehand to show on my blog. It’s resulted in a dramatic cut in my revenue stream, but I’m not going to give these bastards the satisfaction of being able to advertise their crap within my content.

Maxine Munroe April 20, 2009 at 11:33 pm

Aha! I knew that Annie’s Weight Loss blog was phony. You’re quite right, they did not accept my comment suggesting it was an advertisement for those thingy berries and colon cleansers.

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