pyramids, of course.*
*the following is just my opinion, lest anyone get litigious. i don't know if cprime is a pyramid scheme or not. all i'm saying is that it resembles one, in my opinion. the first amendment covers my opinion and the few facts i've included (conversations with the NASM and lider chan) are true, and therefore cannot be libel. cprime might be a wonderful product. read and decide for yourself.
around my neck of the woods over the last nine months or so, i've been seeing a lot of this new product called the cprime bracelet. it's a magnetic bracelet that is supposed to increase your strength, balance, and flexibility. the guys who sell it (and call themselves "distributors") have tests they'll perform on you to prove that the product works.
here's the wording from their site:
"...every biochemical event in the human body is preceded by an exchange of electrons occuring at the microscopic level. Peak performance relies on a adept sequence of those events."
the marketing materials state that their products act as a bio-antennae, altering the way the wearer’s body interacts with its electromagnetic environment, via a patent-pending technology that may help to balance and optimize the body's biological responses.
it's like they took a bunch of scientific words out of a grab bag and jumbled them together. thanks for telling me that electrons are at "the microscopic level". and a bio-antennae! shit yeah, give me two. maybe i can pick up some satellite radio in my bones.
so i posted a status update on facebook a while back, saying that i believed that cprime bracelets are a hoax and nothing more than a pyramid scheme. i received exactly six private messages and one public comment in response. all of these except one agreed with me, with the general idea being that it's silly to think wearing a magnet on your wrist will help you with balance, flexibility, and strength.
however, one message was angry. the sender accused me of "talking shit" about something i knew nothing about. he used as his proof the fact that a large number of athletes and celebrities (all of whom he had met) are satisfied customers and he implied that they are far too lofty a group to ever fall victim to a scam. he claimed that the bracelets had been tested in clinical trials and used fancy lingo like "double blind" etc., as well as offering up that the national academy of sports medicine fully endorsed the product.
what he did not know is that when i take a position against something in a public way, i have usually researched it. for example, i know a fair bit about christianity so that i can engage intelligently in conversations where my atheism is challenged.
so in this post, i'm going to share my research with you. make up your own mind if this is a medical miracle product or just overpriced junk that is being used to stoke the fires of a potential pyramid scheme and fool the weak-minded.
the national academy of sports medicine (NASM) endorses it, so it must be legit
simply put, bull. shit. i talked to bill staples, director of marketing and communications at the NASM, and tyler wallace, vp of strategic development, and they do not endorse it. bill said it is possible that an NASM certified trainer may endorse it somewhere, but the organization does not back it in any way. bill actually seemed angry and asked who gave me that information, which i didn't tell him, as i don't want to get anyone in trouble here.
the studies were double blind and showed results
of the three medical personnel connected with the studies on the cprime site, i've only been able to actually get one on the phone after two weeks of trying. good luck trying to reach dr. t. eric yokoo. however, i did speak to lider chan (masters in biokenesiology), who told me that they did clinical trials of forty people that were not double blind, but showed improvements in strength. without it being double blind, or in this case even single blind, it leaves open the potential placebo effect. it is possible other studies were double blind, but i cannot find any evidence of this so far.
is it a pyramid scheme?
well, look at this chart, taken from the cprime website.
does that appear to take on any particular shape? by definition, pyramid schemes are non-sustainable business models in which members are paid by signing others up into the program, as opposed to actually selling the product. obviously in this case there is a real (albeit hoax, in my opinion) product, but the money is made when you trick others into joining under you.
go ahead and look the company up online and you'll see that it is in "prelaunch". i first heard of this thing last december. how long is prelaunch? maybe long enough for the bottom to drop out after the top guys have been paid? curiously enough, if you do google cprime, you'll see that "cprime bracelet scam" is the 3rd or 4th most commonly searched variation. also rather curious is the fact that many cprime distributors tag their positive reviews with "cprime scam" just so you'll see their glowing remarks about the product when you're trying to find out if it's a scam.
lots of high profile athletes wear them, so they must work
do you know any athletes? were you an athlete? athletes are one of the most superstitious groups on the planet. they will try anything and everything to give them an edge. if you told a star nfl wide receiver that he could increase his 40 time by a hundredth of a second by wearing a riding crop up his ass, you would see players looking like the kentucky derby on sundays. anyone remember breathe right strips?
additionally, many athletes are gullible. how many times do you hear about some athlete getting bilked out of millions by being a sucker? happens all the time. now factor in the off chance that these bracelets might help them, that $100 is nothing to these guys, if they're even paying for them, and that they're gullible, and it's not surprising in the least that they'd try the bracelets. let's see if they're wearing them in six months.
rob deboer is involved
i don't know at what level, but a guy named rob deboer is a big player with cprime. previously, he was involved with a charming little endeavor called burnlounge. if you don't feel like clicking through, burnlounge was an alleged pyramid scheme that was sued by the FTC. it's certaily an odd coincidence that a new company that appears to be pyramid-like is linked with a guy who was previously sued for that very thing. he may have seen the error of his ways with burnlounge, but it's still a connection worth noting.
listen, shit talker, the tests really work!
ok, first watch this vid (which i did not make)
pretty obvious right? another thing to consider, and this is something i figured out when a guy did the "tests" on me, is the common sense involved. they'll have you do some stretching move, either touching your toes or twisting your trunk around while keeping your feet still. then you put the bracelet on, and voila!, you can stretch farther. well no fucking shit. you're telling me that the magic bracelet did that and not the fact that the first stretch warmed me up for the second one?
then they do one where you hold your index finger and thumb together in the OK sign. they then pry your fingers apart. put on the bracelet and try again and it's magic again. the second time you're able to resist more. again, it's your body warming up. the blood rushes to the muscles in your hand the first time and is stronger the second. exactly like doing a warm-up set with weights at the gym. use your head, people.
to close, i'm giving you a few other links to check out at your leisure.
basically the same product is out there - and at 1/5 the price.
listen, as i told the guy that got pissed at me; i'm 100% sure that people at the top of the structure can make a killing. if you want to get into that business and think the compensation plan still has room to grow, then go start snapping necks and cashing checks. but don't tell me the product actually works.
i know that by posting this, i'm opening myself up to attacks by cprimers. all that i ask is that you keep the attacks on a non personal level. i'm not attacking, or even naming, any individual distributors other than rob deboer, whose involvement is already public info. it's not personal for me. please keep it likewise.
finally, pt barnum was right.
***Nov 2010 update***
****Apr 20, 2011 update****
a friend of a friend sent me the following facebook exchange that he had with a former colleague who is now heavily involved with cprime. i've blacked out the cprime dude's name, but left everything else. fyi, the cprime guy is the one that sent me the angry note that started this whole post.
the whole thread started when this guy (mark) put something up that said, "where in the world is iprime" and then had a picture of an iphone on somebody's wrist. it was mocking the other guy's constant updates of "where in the world is cprime" that always show all the places people have taken pics of the bracelet.
long story short; the cprime dude gets his ass handed to him. i love how repeated requests for real, tangible information are met with the ever-present lists of celebs who wear them and how many snake oil salesmen sell them. what's that? you haven't even applied for a patent? well i guess that's ok since dwight howard wears one. that's practically science. and the coup de grace? it's been well over the 30 day time limit he established and we have yet to hear the study results.
this was posted on a public forum with zero expectation of privacy, hence my willingness to show it. enjoy.
funny that he's saying double blinds have just now been done, considering that when he first reached out to me last august, he said double blind tests were already done at that time. maybe cprime's magic beans cause temporary memory loss.
the lack of a patent application is proof all by itself. i'm positive that a revolutionary new technology that can heal the sick, part the red sea, and help you find your car keys would be patented right? right? or at least applied for? ok, maybe not so much. it's tough to fill out a patent application with "fucking magic" as your proprietary design.
anyway, cprime has already failed an independent double blind study, but i'm curious to see the results of the new one. cprime - changing lives at the speed of placebo based mental retardation.
oh, and by the way, burnlounge DID NOT win their lawsuit. unless by "winning" you mean having to write a check for a large sum of money to the government.