Use this “one weird trick” to rob consumers blind!

When I’m using my home computers, I never see ads. Ever. Browser add-ons Ad Block Plus and F.B. Purity (available for both Firefox and Chrome)  ensure that affiliate ads are a thing of the past. My Droid is not so fortunate, and this morning I happened across this one:

I smiled wryly because despite its overwhelming appearance everywhere, the “weird trick” (in this case, “sneaky linguistic secret”) meme is still generating millions of dollars from uneducated and unwary consumers.

  1. Check out this article at the Daily Kos about “one weird trick discovered by a mom.”
  2. For more about how affiliate marketing scams work, an excellent read is found at the Washington Post’s “Ubiquitous ‘tiny belly’ online ad” article; I have discussed the Açaí berry scam in detail as well.

Now that that’s out of the way, the “Pimsleur Approach” is a scam. Plain and simple, no ifs, ands, or buts.

  • Be aware: This is NOT the Pimsleur Method, (a legitimate language-learning concern) but rather a marketing scam run by a network of affiliates, some of them known criminals,  who are promoting Pimsleur products.

We’re talking about rampant spamming and deceptive marketing practices; before Comcast filtered them out, I used to get several of their spam mails each week, and the complaints boards are full of unhappy people – just have a look at the WOT (Web of Trust) feedback site for, or Ripoff Report’s complaint board.

  • Look at the phony endorsements: PBS, Forbes, and the Daily News. I’d bet each of these concerns have mentioned the Pimsleur Method at one point or another, but not this particular company.
  • “Doctor’s Discovery” refers to Paul M. Pimsleur, PhD, whose research focused on understanding the learning process of children, who acquire languages without understanding its formal structure. Pimsleur developed an audio language course method that is actually quite effective in acquiring a basic level of proficiency in a language, but “learn a language in 10 days” would have Dr. Pimsleur spinning in his grave.
  • Have a look at their website:


Most people sign up for the $9.95 offer without reading the (†) box, which states:

† Pimsleur Rapid Fluency Purchase Program:
One month after you receive your Quick & Simple you’ll begin receiving 30 day trial copies of advanced Pimsleur courses in the language you selected. Each course is yours to try for 30 days. You’ll receive a new course once every 60 days. For each course you keep we’ll bill you in four monthly payments of $64. Remember, there’s never an immediate obligation to buy any course because of the 30-day trial period provided with each shipment. And you may cancel future shipments at any time by calling 1-877-802-5283. See Key Details.

The “Key Details” spell out in greater detail your obligation to receive and be charged $256.00 for each additional course they send you, the first 30 days after you place your initial order, and every 60 days thereafter.

Yes, it’s all there on the website, but cleverly hidden in small, gray type which most people won’t read. The complaints boards are rampant with people being charged recurring fees, difficulty obtaining refunds, rude customer support agents (a hallmark of shady operators who bully unhappy customers), and of course, the unbridled spamming.

Stay far away from this company. I’ll be writing more about the actual Pimsleur Method later, but if you want to check it out, just head for your local library. It’s a good bet they have several of the beginner courses there for you to check out for free and see if you like the method. If you can’t find anything at your branch, go directly to Pimsleur’s site (they are now a subsidiary of Simon and Schuster); they offer a free lesson with each language so you can see how it works. If you decide you like the method, head over to Amazon where you can usually find the courses at a significant discount.

Just don’t have anything to do with this sleazy “Pimsleur Approach” outfit.

This has been a public service announcement from The Old Wolf.

4 responses to “Use this “one weird trick” to rob consumers blind!

  1. I have long marveled that otherwise respectable news sites carry these “one wierd trick …” and similar ads with obscurely revealed recurring charges. I would expect some sites to be too embarrassed to carry them.

    • My suspicion is that these ads get placed automatically without the website owner’s explicit approval as a result of signing up with some AdSense-like revenue generating service. That’s all I can figure. Thanks for commenting.

      • That was my default guess, too, but surely some site owners visit their own sites as we do, and discover just what these ad companies have placed. Any remarks on those clickbait ads that say “we recommend” or “around the web,” etc?

  2. Pingback: There is no “weird trick.” | Playing in the World Game

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