Thursday, April 16, 2009

Starting a Pseudoscience Business

There's a lot to pseudoscience, time to cover the most important one: good honest fraud. I am speaking of course about the pseudoscience scam business.

Let's be clear, this is not where you believe in the pseudoscience, everyone else does and gives you money for the pleasure. Seems sacrilegious, but it is perfectly fine as it still fits with the science of the lack of real science. Pseudoscience is for evil and profit too! And it is profitable pseudoscience!

Nothing wrong with a little cash, so let's play pseudoscience entrepreneur with an evil bent. You just need to be willing to cheat your grandmother out of her life savings. The road to wealth is paved with lies and the gullible. 

Before I go to far, let me point out that there are a lot of folks making money on pseudoscience. Not all are crooks. Well, maybe crooks, but not all of them are stealing just to be stealing. I have said it before and I will say it again: Never assume malice when simple stupidity will suffice. Don't let the crooks give pseudoscience a bad name. In fact, where the crooks succeed in promoting a non-supportable science, they help all pseudoscientists.

Not going too deep, just want to start the conversation on great scams via pseudoscience. Here are some pointers. You have seen some of these ideas before, but these are qualified with a bit of evil on the back side to help with cash flow. 


I love secrets. Secret formulas, secret process, secret ingredients, etc. Any secret is good when you are hiding from reality. The keys to really good pseudoscience is removing reality, ignoring the facts, and generally putting your head in the sand. But hiding the reality is just as good. 

The Rube Employee

The next thing you need is a rube. Not the rube like the mark, also known as the victim, we mean an employee that believes deep in their heart that your snake oil is milked by hand from the best snakes fed the best organic ingredients.

You might say, "I am a psychopathic lier and have no problem convincing marks. Why do I need employees that believe this drivel?" Well, that's great, you can lie. But you are only one person, you can't be everywhere. You need to take a vacation with all that money, right? 

You don't want do all the work, do you? 

There is also a problem training people to lie. It is much easier to teach people to ignore facts. Why teach people to lie when you can simply convince them that it is real and let them sell with a straight face and a skip in their step!

There is also a liability of having employee lie. They get used to it. It starts small, with the coffee money and pens disappearing and suddenly the corporate bank account is empty and so is the chair of your best lier.

Expert Rube

An expert rube is also quite nice to have. If you want to make some quick cash, get into an established market of pseudoscientific belief. There is a lot of pseudoscience that is already primed to make you money. The added benefit is that people already believe in this garbage and that is less work for you! 

Where do you find established markets? A trip to Sedona, Arizona will be a simple one stop shop. Their are many mom and pop pseudoscientists living in that town. But a simple place to start is just your local book store or if you dare, the community library. Look for New Age and you will find hundreds of books that can be the seed of a million dollar business.

The New Ideas

The new idea is related to what we were talking about with the expert rubes. Pseudoscience is a very fertile field. Just take an idea and give it a little twist to get a whole new market. 

You could take anything from magnets, crystals, charms, homeopathy, chiropractic, and others. 

An easy example of this is health magnets. There is not much proof that magnets can make you smarter, but their are a lot of people that believe it reduces pain or disease. Find one of these pseudoscience experts and either work the same angle or you can put an idea in their head to create a new one. 

My favorite example is the gluing of tiny magnets onto you ears at the same points as acupuncture(look it up, its real). This mixing of two pseudoscientific ideas is a marketing gold mine! Better yet, it is a conversation starter when you see your buddy's ear stuck to a metal wall or an SUV in the parking lot. The product can sell its self!

Not to say that tiny magnets on your ears won't cause people to lose weight. I can't say no or yes to that according to my lawyer. Acupuncture is also not quite a full blown pseudoscience because their are indeed things that happen to your body when you poke it in the right places. But mixing these acupuncture and magnets is still an incredible leap and could have been started with a list of pseudoscience disciplines and a dartboard. 

For your convenience I will supply a pseudoscience dart board in the book. Am I a great guy or what?

Business Lifetime

A pseudoscience based business, for profit or for self delusion, is usually a long term business. This isn't like a regular scam where you have to keep a bag packed and your profits in large denominations next to your tickets for a country without extradition treaties with the USA.

Look at homeopathy. It is pure pseudoscience, right? Anybody go to prison for homeopathy? No! 

Homeopathy proves the longevity of the hokum-based business. It has been around since 1796. How come their isn't a homeopathy  practitioner being perp walked into court every day? 

You need to follow the rules. The legal system is rigged by people that believe in pseudoscience to allow pseudoscience business to operate. Why? Either the lawmakers fell for it or their wife swears by it. That's my this is such a great business because we are so easily duped. 

What are the rules? Never guarantee a cure. You can only guarantee the buyer will be satisfied with their purchase. Even offer their money back! Nobody has ever returned a thigh master, or a crystal that 'might' cure cancer. You also get less complaints from the Better Business cops.

Let's add one very important idea for success, the sugar pill affect. If what you are trying to do will can occur based on either chance, change of habits,passing of time, low or high probability of an event, or a positive mental attitude, you have a great product on your hands. What this means simply is that you can point to your product working based on these other factors. 

Let's take those little pills that are supposed to help you keep from getting sick when you fly. Basically they are vitamins and minerals. They might help boost immunity because many of us don't get proper nutrition, but can they stop getting a cold or the flu? Of course not. They are not anti viral.  But why do a lot of people buy them? Simply  your chances of flying and getting sick at the same time is extremely low. 

Let me say that a bit differently. According to the CDC (the real scientists that track sickness), the odds of you catching the flu is 5 to 20 percent per year. Less if you have been vaccinated and even less if you open doors with your elbows. 

So, if you are on an airplane with 100 people, a max of 20 will get the flu, right? Wrong! The CDC odds are for whole cities, and many months. Say it is four months, odds of anyone even having the flu before before you get on the plane is mind numbingly low. But say there is just one guy, you are even less likely to sit next to that guy unless your last name is Murphy. 

When we add all this up, the end result is that you won't catch a virus when you are on an airplane. So, if you sell vitamins that are targeted at the airplane market and fears of cold and flu, you are really selling alligator repellent to Eskimos. In other words it isn't really an effective measure, but it seems to work! 

The Oops Fraud Business

Sometimes you start a pseudoscience business and you figure out it is all self-delusion. That's ok. Really, if you are still making money, why turn off the money machine? 

But how do you live with yourself? That's easy. You can still rest assured that the placebo affect is going to continue to make happy customers. Your soul is safe and your bank account is full. 

If you have an anti-gravity device that just does not work, you may have some problems. There isn't a placebo for gravity. Things are not hopeless. You can still roll in the cash for a while. The key is that investors will stay until things fail. The key is to never fail. Delay, have problems, have ideas waiting in the wings. Just never have a live test that you guarantee will be successful. 

Your soul should be clear with a failed anti-gravity device too. Look at it as educating your investors on how stupid it is to believe in anti-gravity.

Make Money

Well, that's enough for now. Feel free to comment or contact me directly about your new business. 

FYI, I have already invested in an anti-gravity device, so not looking for new opportunities. 

One more thing. Another great money maker, consulting! My rates are reasonable.