The curious case of the affiliate marketing woman who's really a man
A splendid tale of affiliate horseshit for you now, ladies and gentlemen. Affiliate marketing is a longstanding digital economy - micro-payments to merchants in return for leads or sales. But what do you do when people won't buy your particular brand of crapola anymore? You get desperate. You try anything to trick people into giving you their money - say, for example, conjuring up a non-existent person far better looking than you to whore your wares.
It's nothing new, of course, but good fun to dig up and expose. So today we present the tale of Anna, who we found this morning on Twitter:
According to her bio:
"I’m young('ish), confident, sexy and successful. I have the car, the house and the money. Don't try to sell to me. I'm here to share ideas and have fun."
Anna isn't one for conversation on Twitter; there's no evidence of any replies to other Twitter users, and all her tweets come from Twitterfeed, an automated forwarding service. How odd. The link on her Twitter page leads to secret-riches.co.uk, which shows more photos of a busty blonde and affiliate link porn to various bullshit-baffles-brains schemes to work less and earn more etc.
The schemes appear to be American but there's also this Australian-produced video, which teases the universal secret to unlimited wealth and happiness, and is the most overblown bollocks we've ever seen in all our born days:
Outstanding production values, all lifted from The Da Vinci Code, and all in the name of some bullshit affiliate scheme. The YouTube subscriber who posted the video is a Gary Sadler, presumably the same person who registered the Secret Riches domain name (and who clumsily hacked his own website link onto the end of the video). A Twitter search reveals Gary to look like this:
Gary also posts all his messages on Twitter using Twitterfeed, and his Twitter bio states:
"Love working at home with with my partner Anna, CREATING recession busting opportunities & resources 4 U. Get your HEALTH, WEALTH and HAPPINESS link above."
The website link leads back to the same site that Anna promotes. So Anna is Gary's wife, and together they run their affiliate marketing business from their home on the South Coast. So who's this on the cover of GQ magazine?
That's not the lovely Anna, is it Gary? To be honest, we're not convinced that's a genuine GQ cover, either. And now we come to mention it, there's a problem with the photos of Gary's wife on her Twitter page, in that she looks like two completely different people:
We eventually figured it out, though. According to Anna's Facebook page (which states she's an ex-model, too), she's the one on the right. You see, Anna has a set of professional photos that were taken for her website a year ago:
And there we were thinking that Gary Sadler was masquerading as a woman, in a cynical attempt to sucker people into bankrolling his affiliate activities, since customers are more likely to be enchanted by a half-naked blonde than a middle-aged grey-haired businessman with a website designed by a colour-blind chimpanzee with ADHD.
Hang on a moment.
There's a site called TinEye, which allows you to perform reverse searches of images; you give TinEye an image, and it'll dig up other examples of the image found elsewhere. Apparently, Gary's wife is also a model for iStockPhoto:
Still, it'll make for an entertaining trick round of spot the difference in the office this afternoon (the trick being, of course, that they're the same person):
And finally, in case you're wondering how we heard of Lisa Riches, we found her in a very special Twitter user's list of Media PR and journalists. Um.