Thursday, November 09, 2006

Clearly syntax is PageThree. (Is $$ PageOne?)

"Those looking for self-help—relief, support and control over their lives—find the step-by-step methodology of PageTwo Systems, Inc. an attractive, workable option," begins a press release put out on PR Newswire in late October. We're told that PageTwo is a "privately owned Web-based company" offering "a viable alternative to traditional recovery, behavior modification or personal development programs to correct and change negative habits that have plagued them for years." That's exactly how the line appears in the release, which suggests that maybe the first thing PageTwo should've done is hire somebody to write its press releases. This one continues as follows: "An on-line course, members move to re-shape the switches that influence habits. Step-by-step, users develop their own personalized 28-day programs guaranteed to transform harmful behavior. The self-help program offers anyone who has access to the Internet and a sincere desire to do, to turn their lives around."

Not that we need to fall back on taking cheap shots at grammar. Though the presumptive author of the piece—listed contact person Steve Beyer—is achingly vague about the specifics of his step-by-step program, I assume this is yet another child in the family of interactive, desktop-based inspirational regimens that are all the rage these days, despite the utter absurdity of the collective premise; for a good synopsis of the genre, consider our look at one such product, MindMaker, back in January. In any event, Beyer does make at least one semi-coherent statement that I agree with: "The statistics of the currently, most widely-known recovery programs available for addictions and other harmful behaviors reveal those are just not getting the job done," he writes. "The reason why these programs continue to proliferate is a lack of options."

But here's where it gets interesting. Beyer adds that "[a]long with this Web-based service, PageTwo extends its self-help and personal development and recovery program to the public through participation in its affiliate program. An aggressive commission structure and a range of links and banners can be placed within affiliate sites.* When users looking for self-help or recovery programs click through to Page Two, its affiliate software will track that activity. Affiliates receive 24-hour access to tracking personal sales, account balances and performance of individual banners...." Hmmm. Why am I suddenly reminded of RevRon's comment the other day about similarities between so much of self-help and MLM, or multilevel marketing?

For a roll-out of a new "behavioral modification" system that one presumes is sincere, there seems to be an awful lot of emphasis on the subsidiary marketing potential.

* emphasis added throughout.

AND, in the category of "pathetic footnotes from a whining author".... Did somebody of high station put out a memo decreeing that henceforth, anyone who purchases SHAM will be subject to immediate "interrogation" under Bush's latest anti-terrorism protocols? Talk about sales figures being in free fall....


Cosmic Connie said...

You're right, Steve, and so is the Rev -- the marketing potential of these amazing products/techniques seems to receive even more emphasis than their actual effectiveness. MLM is king in SHAMland.

And it's gaining ground in New Age land too (Of course, the borders between New Age and SHAM have become increasingly fuzzy, as certain Larry King shows have demonstrated.) The new-age spam service that thoughtfully provides me with much of the material for my own blog is always offering me wonderful opportunities to make some money of my own from the products they promote. In an effort to distance themselves from the more mundane breed of capitalist, they tend to refer to money as "energy" that can be used for the good of humanity or the Universe. Despite the lofty language, it's pretty clear where their priorities are.

I honestly can't imagine anyone trying to recover from ANYTHING by investing in Page Two Systems or any other Web-based program. But then, there was a time when I honestly couldn't imagine most of the self-help/spiritual stuff that's out there now. So I guess nothing should surprise me any more...

Trish Ryan said...

So sorry to hear about the free fall - not fun! There should be some solice (solace?) however, in knowing that your landing will be cushioned by the integrity bubble (mine will be cushioned by the spell check bubble).

You've resisted the urge to turn SHAM into it's own MLM program. Surely you see the potential for an online franchise organization selling the "business opportunity" for a 45-step self-help recovery program??? The video, the monthly magazine, the "What would Steve Do" rubber bracelets to remind people they are in recovery from recovery? The opportunities are limitless, but you've resisted the urge. So you won't land on your millions, but at least you won't land on your @*&


a/good/lysstener said...

More importantly, what's going on with the blog? I had one heck of a time trying to navigate to it! Anybody else experiencing these problems? And Steve, are you posting things we're not seeing? Then again, how could you know that? ;)