You have probably already noticed how similar the ME/CFS recovery programs are marketed. From the owner who supposedly had ME/CFS years ago to the smiling people on the testimonials. You have seen Youtube videos with recovered patients, Facebook Groups for sharing successes and bloggers praising their program. In this post, we will explain ME/CFS programs’ online presence and how they utilise affiliate marketing to promote themselves.
All the ME/CFS recovery programs have an official website and they are always built the same way. They use the same elements; some vague description of the science behind the program, a sign-up option, success stories and testimonials. In addition to the site, they will have a variety of Social Media. They will use Youtube for the usual “Claire recovered miraculously after 17 years of illness with this program”-stories and Facebook for groups where people can “help and support each other” while doing the program.
On these platforms – website, Youtube, Facebook etc., they can control what info is there and also (and more importantly) what info is not there. As mentioned in our analysis of the different programs, their comment sections or feedback sections are always under strict censorship. Negative comments are removed and the user is blocked instantly. Therefore, the comment sections only feature those dodgy looking positive reviews that you have probably seen many times.
Also, you will notice that if any program is getting praise online it is rarely from newspapers or trustworthy news sites. It is most often from influencers often via affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is such a big give away that something that you are dealing with a business. It is a marketing term and phenomena. Here is the definition of the word:
Affiliate marketing is an advertising model in which a firm pays third-party publishers to promote leads to the company’s products 1
So, people can get paid for saying things about these programs. It can only be positive things, though. Do you think that’s the way health care should be rated? You can check it out on the program’s website. They have a small section called “affiliates” where people or other small businesses can contact them.
Do you remember when your favourite “ME/CFS recovery Youtuber” suddenly made 1-2 videos about The Lightning Process? Or maybe he invited a guest who supposedly recovered from ME/CFS and now is an LP-instructor? Or when he or she suddenly reviewed DNRS? Do you remember that one blogger who made a “5 things I learned from ANS Rewire“-post? And then the week after she/he did some other program review? Well, now you know why.
Recovery programs always use affiliate marketing in some shape or form. Why? It’s efficient. You’ll only pay the promoters based on how they perform and customers will find the information from third parties more trustworthy than from the company itself. It is similar to influencers willing to promote any random crappy hair product as long as they get paid for it.
A word of advice
In general, if any psychological program cured ME/CFS you would know. The company would not need an actual marketing department to make you enrol in their program. There would not be millions of ME/CFS-patients worldwide and there would not be an increasing amount of proper research being published.
Marketing material (testimonials and success stories) coming from a curative program is worth nothing. As mentioned on this site, testimonials can easily be faked. Furthermore, when you see some blogger/Youtuber/Influencer whatever talking about some ME/CFS-program use your common sense. Ask yourself, why are they doing that review?