Anti-Science

Power Balance-esque Scammer Gets Mocked

Poor Ryan Naylor. He probably believes in the scammy bullshit he brought to ABC’s Shark Tank, which is a show for inventors to show their stuff to potential investors.

The scammer’s background isn’t medical or scientific (GASP), it’s “search engine optimization,” which, if you’ve ever worked in marketing or been on Twitter, should have made you vomit in your mouth a little. But that doesn’t stop him from talking about positive and negative ions and how they hurt us and how his little rubbery watches help our balance.

My favorite part is when the camera shows his “science”:

My second favorite part is when the baldy guy tries to trick Naylor into admitting he’s peddling a scam. Sadly, it doesn’t work. All the investors seem to hate him for different reasons – first Mark Cuban got on him about it being an obvious scam, then one of the other guys said he ripped off the watch design from Rumba Time. I looked it up, and he has a case.

At the end Naylor whines into the camera, ““It frustrates me that Mark Cuban clouded the water for the other sharks. It’s too bad that they weren’t able to focus on me and my product rather than being scared off by Mark Cuban.”

I guess he did “cloud the water,” by taking the first succulent bite out of Naylor, to keep with their shark metaphor.

This all reminded me of an earlier event on Dragon’s Den, which is the British show that Shark Tank appears to be based on. I remembered seeing them tear apart a miracle cure scammer so I was searching for the clip when I stumbled across another clip of the Canadian version of the show ripping a snake oil salesman to shreds. The original clip was removed from YouTube but I did eventually find it on snotr:

This guy says his water will cure swine flu, cuts, a “bad tooth”, indigestion, pink eye, “viruses of every kind,” and he rightfully gets his ass handed to him. Watch for the part around 3:30 where he says it’ll cure cancer.

“Bruce, does it bother you that you’re telling people water cures cancer?”

“I do not prescribe and I do not diagnose. All I do is inform and supply people.”

“I don’t think you’re crazy, but you disgust me. Sometimes stuff is fun, and sometimes there’s guys like you who’ll do anything to make a buck.”

It’s awesome to see people like Bruce and Ryan Naylor get taken to task on reality television, and it’s particularly great that each country’s version of the show apparently stocks it with savvy skeptics.

Oh hey, this just occurred to me: do you think Ryan Naylor’s search engine results are going to take a turn for the worse now that everyone online is talking about what an apparent scammer he is? Huh.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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23 Comments

  1. It may have been Cuban who first used the word ‘scam,’ but the sharks were on to him from the start. O’Leary compared his product to a “coffee enema” right away. Agreed, it’s great to see reason and rationality in these programs.

  2. One of the few episodes of Dragon’s Den I’ve ever tuned in to featured a vet claiming he went around to a bunch of centenarians and other long-lived people around the world and used their diets to create a new cat food. You guys on SGU talk a lot about how lab rat trials don’t translate easily into human efficacy, but that might be the first time I’ve seen human data being translated into animal treatment.

    As with these, the one guy (I don’t know their names) shot him down with something along the lines of “you realize eventually you’re going to have to back this up scientifically or you’re gonna get your ass sued.” I’d have preferred to hear “… or you’re gonna give a lot of people false hope that their puppies will live to be 30,” but I guess they gotta keep with the nature of the show.

    1. “…but I guess they gotta keep with the nature of the show.”

      Ha ha, exactly . . . I think it’s okay that they don’t really get too much into the compassionate angle so long as they make a really good economic argument against fraud. Usually we only hear the opposite, like about Kevin Trudeau making billions of dollars or whatever.

  3. Sigh.. Sadly, the “economic” argument isn’t all that useful either. This same stupid thing keeps coming up, and generally what happens is that some new nut, or the same nut, under a different company name, buys the same knockoffs from the same Chinese company, and rebrands them, while adding in some lame assed new nonsense too it. There are at least two other variations, one claiming that the “hologram” on the thing is producing the magic juju, and another claiming that its a magnet in the thing doing it. This guys thing is just a copycat of an existing product, which a lot of idiots, including one of the people I work with, fell for. But, apparently its OK, because it only cost them $10, not the original like $50, or something, they charged really stupid celebrities, when “creating” the brand.

    What irritates me about the whole thing is that this crap gets attacked, and ends, in China, but here… you get shit like the whole Airborne trial, where they are found guilty, told they have to change the labeling, but don’t get a) closed down, or b) charged with any real fraud. This is just more of the same crap.

  4. Search engine optimization is actually a valid subset of the web development field. It’s a valuable skill to have. All it is, is basically being able to optimize a web site’s code so that it is easier for search engines to index, may show up slightly higher in search results, etc.

  5. Wow that was sickening, gah, what horrible existance these people must live peddeling horrible lies all day long. It really underlines the importance of just a basic Science educations, it is like being coated in anti-bullshit teflon.

      1. Not just that. It’s an ‘industry’ that’s rife with scams, get-rich-quick shysters and snake oil salesmen. Sadly, IMO, the majority of SEO is now snake oil. The legitimate contingent, which does exist, has largely been pushed to the rear to make way for the brash smiling bullshit artists.

        1. Well fact of the matter is companies do have to make a conscious effort to ensure their sites are being accurately crawled by Google, which has a habit of updating their algorithm. Not everyone who does this uses black hat or scams. I do SEO at a Fortune 500 co. and its just a regular part of our business

  6. I’m glad to learn that positive ions are molecules. Can someone explain where their electrons went?

    And can someone explain how I managed to let the clip run for a whole minute before stopping it?

    Regards, Bob

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