We’ve seen websites advertising all types of supplements – from ones that promise thicker, fuller hair to more boost in the bedroom. But no matter what they are claiming their product will do, they all follow a very similar formula to get you to give them your cashola. We’re going to expose these features for you NOW.

#1 – Pictures of Beautiful/Sexy/Perfect People

The first thing that may catch your eye is the pictures on the supplement site. Usually, they are photos of ripped men and/or beautiful models to get you to associate positive results with the product. 

Photos of ripped men and/or beautiful models

Or maybe they’ll have a picture of a brain

A picture of a brain

or a doctor.

Picture of a doctor

“Trust me, I’m a doctor!”

What you should know: These are just stock images of actors or people that have no real association with the product, other than a paycheck.

#2 – The “Trial Offer”

Then, the next thing you’ll probably see “14-day Trial” or “Trial Offer” sometimes even “Free Trial.” And a CTA (which is sales parlance for “call-to-action” imploring you to RUSH your order).  It may say there is a “limited number” of orders per day to further hype you up. 

The “Trial Offer” form

Sometimes they’ll have a few meaningless certificates saying Made in USA or Clinically Proven.

A picture of certificates saying Made in USA or Clinically Proven

Below the ORDER button, they’ll probably have a couple security logos, reassuring you that everything is safe.

A picture of security logos

What you should know: First of all, in the world of supplements, there is nothing that is completely “free” – there are almost always conditions in the fine print (which we’ll get to in a moment). You might even take a double-look: usually you are just imagining the word “free” is even there just by associating it with the word “trial.”

Also, those logos, verifications, etc. have no actual standards behind them. (We’ll tell you the one to look out for at the end.) And while the transaction may be “secure” that just means your money will securely be transferred to their bank account.

Finally: notice how they still haven’t shown you a very important thing: the price. They’ll get to that on the next screen, but by making you fill out the top half of the form first, they will still have all your personal information even if you decide to abandon your purchase.

#3 The Multiple Offer Page

Finally, you make it to the product page! More likely than not, they will give you several different options that offer bonuses and discounts. They’ll offer one bottle, usually at a very expensive price, plus shipping. Then they’ll have something they call “Extreme Value” or “Special Double Super Value” at a mid-price and then a “Super Special Preferred Package” or “Extra Super Double Maxi-Value” with even greater “savings” per bottle. 

A picture of the Multiple Offer Page

These other offers may include free shipping to further tempt you as well as have language that says “Buy Three Get One Free” or the like. 

What you should know: Read these offers carefully. A lot of times they’ll put in big letters Just $X Per Bottle and then the total in much smaller print. They also are very likely to be signing you up for a sneaky auto-ship program, where you are giving them the right to ship you and bill you for more products every 30, 60, or 90 days.

A picture of sneaky pricing

With all these choices right in front of you, they may be hoping you’ll suffer from what’s know as decision fatigue, choosing the easiest (i.e. the offer that is pre-selected for you) option.

#4 – The Fine Print

You may miss this feature of the site, but it’s usually there! Be sure to scroll ALL the way down and/or zoom in with your browser! The Fine Print is sometimes in a much smaller font than the rest of the page, and sometimes it’s a light grey on black to make it even harder to read.

A picture of the fine print

What you should know: This may be the most IMPORTANT part to read! This usually contains statements like “Actual results may vary” or “Participants have been compensated for their endorsement” (aka they were paid off) or “you will be billed $87.47 every month until forever.”

In order to comply with the law, all supplements must include the following language, or something very similar. “This product has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.” 

This is because the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate supplements and only steps in if there’s a problem. Generally speaking, supplements are considered safe, but because they have not gone through a testing process similar to pharmaceutical drugs, their benefits are not backed by established testing procedures or modern medicine.

What Can You Do

Now that you have this handy little “cheat sheet,” we hope you can look at these supplement sites a little differently. Ask yourself:

  • Do I really need this supplement? If so, is this the only place I can get it?
  • What is the evidence they are using to support their claims? 
  • If there is a study, is it done by an unbiased lab with a large group of patients in a controlled, double blind method that is reviewed by their peers? (Odds are, the answer is no.)
  • You can look up the supplement ingredients on WebMD and see recommended uses and side effects.
  • Read ALL the fine print, terms and conditions, AND privacy policy

If you’re STILL interested after all that, look for one more thing: the US Pharmacopeia (USP) Seal. They are an independent laboratory that tests supplements to ensure they actually contain what they say, and not powdered drywall. Currently, less than 1% of supplements carry this seal.

US Pharmacopeia (USP) Seal

You can find a list of companies that use it here or watch a video on how to choose a quality dietary supplement

Also read our series on The Seven Deadly Sins of ASOTV Products and The Science of Infomercials.