Guest post by Osagie Edebiri
Marketing and sales tactics have long past entered the shadow realm, but the masters of this art constantly seek to outdo themselves. There are many ways to get a product into the hands of paying consumers, but the level of facetiousness at play in this decade is at an all time high.
There is a marketing technique (read: scam) proliferating wherein an expensive product is “given away for free” with the only consumer cost being shipping and handling. The crux of this technique is to leverage the virality of the organic shares of a too good to be true offer that seems verifiable.
The catch to the entire gimmick lies within the most basic premise that the product offered is expensive. This ploy is done with products that have a large spectrum of prices and quality levels. Companies go heavy on the branding and then offer some reason for giving away their inventory: clearance, benevolence, mistakes, etc. The products end up being drop-shipped directly from a foreign country (usually China) and they mask the crazy shipping times by positing aggressive traffic slowdowns or back-orders or some such thing.
Contemporarily the notorious products have been watches & headphones.
You can order a fancy looking watch direct from China for $3 whole dollars delivered. The moment you pay even $15 for “shipping & handling,” you’re a mark.
There is currently a “high-end” audio “manufacturer,” Tunes Audio, that is tapping directly into the culture to proliferate. I remembered that two years ago, rapper Soulja Boy, in all of his benevolence decided to buy all of his fans (anyone with the code) a pair of headphones from them Vlad TV article (archive). Oh my god! Wow! Thanks Soulja. He made them available to the people for free. Just pay shipping.
Recently, Tunes Audio inked a deal for 4.9 million dollar with, billboard charting rapper and social media superstar Takashi 6ix9ine. Great misfortune, Takashi became a person of interest in a shooting at Barclays Center in New York. They had to drop the deal with him, but they had already begun manufacture of his exclusive colorway of headphones. Without the deal they’re worthless; they have no choice but to, you guessed it, give them away for free. Just pay shipping.
It’s one thing seeing music blogs of unknown scruples and social media influencers propagating these things (because they’re paid), but you’ll occasionally see acquaintances of yours attempt to spread the good deals with good intention.
As an aside, social media starlet Blac Chyna has a coupon code offering with Tunes Audio as well. Take from that what you will.
_ Speaker scams as they are called are no new thing. They are easy to do when selling a product where the value is internal and difficult to immediately verify or where the end-user is not discerning. The way to protect oneself is to be vigilant when things are offered for significantly below market value. Of course, if one doesn’t care to be vigilant or wants to feel good about getting a deal, I’ve got this dope watch, but I broke my wrist, I’ll send it to you free. Just pay shipping.