Guitar Anti-Hero

Steve Krenz is an accomplished guitarist and guitar teacher, and he can help you not just learn but master rock guitar. At least, that's what Steve Krenz says. Has he really played with the greats of American rock, does he know his A-Sus-4 from his E-Aug-7, could he teach a penguin to waddle? I've no idea.

A quick google search produces a wealth of hits - most of them suspiciously similar. At the top there's three sites with sponsored placement.

One's called "Steve Krenz Guitar Scam?" and asks "Is Steve Krenz A Liar?". The answer comes back, "I think Learn and Master Guitar is a great course" and "I would recommend Learn and Master Guitar to you any day".

Hmmm. The second advises "Before Buy Steve Krenz's L&M Guitar Make Sure You've Read This First!", before telling us...

"Steve Krenz is the creator of Learn & Master Guitar. He has taught thousands of guitar lessons to guitar players of all ages and skill levels helping them go from where they are to where they want to be."

Are you starting to see a pattern? The third asks ""Steve Krenz" a Scam?", even managing to suggest with the scare quotes that this scammer uses a fake name. On the site we find the banner "Read My Independent Review and Discover the Truth of Learn & Master Guitar Now!"...followed by...

The DVDs are the best I've seen from any program...The instructor, Steve Krenz (world famous guitar player, teacher and professional)...provides the information to the promote more effective learning.

Yes. It looks like a purveyor of dubious product is anticipating his own exposure, and muddying the waters with fake exposes, with a series of pretend-critical "independent reviews" - all looking like they're written by the same person.

But they're all so sycophantic, so overflowing with effusive praise that tells us nothing specific about the course, so obviously fake, overdone and badly done, that I can't imagine anyone being taken in.

A few of the sites try to adopt a more realistic tone - somewhat marred by the fact that the ever-so-slightly "critical" article is duplicated around the net, and attributed to different writers.

Other sources - seemingly genuinely independent - don't praise the product to the hilt. But neither do they slam it. Steve Krenz's 10 DVD guitar course probably can teach you to play the guitar, and probably isn't a scam or waste of money if you're a serious student.

The marketing just makes it look that way. It seems we've now reached the stage when "viral" marketing and planted reviews actually work against the product - at least for those who aren't terminally gullible.

Advertisers have always lied to consumers, consumers have always disbelieved them, advertisers have found new ways to lie, and after a few months consumers caught on and disbelieved them too. Now advertisers are pretending to be consumers debunking advertisers - and consumers don't believe that anymore.

I don't know what the next stage is, but I somehow doubt it'll be a return to slightly less dishonest advertising.

1 comment:

  1. I was browsing on Amazon and found a book that looked interesting so I read some of the reviews. Turns out the sole 5-star was written by... the author. I decided to pass.

    I don't mind self-promotion, but at least be subtle about it.