What industry is most built on bluff and bull feathers?

When I last went to a mall in Vegas, a fetching woman in the lobby offered to sell me a facial skin care product “made out of diamonds” with free samples for a bargain price. I presume types of sand, pencils and charcoal can be kind of made out of diamonds too.

So any product that purports to eliminate wrinkles with visible differences(!) and chemicals holding a bazillion times their weight in water probably are fairly temporary.

But there are other industries which sell more sizzle than steak? Which are the most egregious?

Well, right off the bat there’s actual diamonds.

But just about anything that doesn’t have basic utility or necessity is sold this way. That facial product makes it’s customers happy, so do engagement rings, so do video games and fast cars. If it’s a luxury item it will be marketed with a lot of glitz at an inflated price.

I was going to say ‘real estate,’ but then thought to extend that to ‘sales, period.’ But then I thought about marketing. Which made me think of the use of fear in advertising, which, based entirely on my own opinions, led me to think of organized religion.

Conclusion: I can’t decide between these and likely many other choices, although I think they’re all strong contenders. Thus, I haven’t really forwarded the discussion. Oy.


Much of the time it’s creating an artificial demand for a product. They even started the phrase, “sell the sizzle, not the steak.”


The signal-to-noise ratio of the supplement industry is very low.

"(Advertising) even started the phrase, “sell the sizzle, not the steak.”

At least the steak existed and was presumably tasty.

Most financial planning, especially that offered by brokerage houses.

Poster @tripthicket has it about right. If they’re selling something, anything, it’s mostly bullfeathers; the rest is just details.

Audiophile equipment. If you cannot measure a difference, there is not a difference. Hundreds of dollars for wire cables. What a bunch of Bullshit.

Our local dollar store has secured a supply of some “Monster Cable”. How much did that used to cost?

More than the entire rest of the store’s stock…

The entire marketing industry (advertising, public relations, promotions, etc.) is based on the idea of selling the concept that they CAN sell the concept. Of course, the growth of that industry led to the rise of consultants who are selling that concept to the sellers of that concept to the companies who use it to sell actual goods and services. Marketers have no steak, only sizzle.

Premium vodkas.

Health supplements would have to be high on the list

Is that actual Monster branded cable or a Chinese ripoff almost-Monster cable?

They’re both utter piracy, just of a different sort.

…this thread on Facebook video metrics and traffic numbers, IAB numbers, App numbers, agency numbers, what is and isn’t trending, affiliate link referrals, the users, and how everything is fake, both blew my mind and made me openly weep.

Its an entire industry made up of hot-air. The “pivot to video” trend of a few years ago that decimated newsrooms happened because of this.

Lol, I was literally thinking of the same tweet thread by Aram.

My answer: Poker tournaments. :wink:

Anything labeled “probiotic.”


You spot a post somewhere, by someone who seems to have an interesting way of looking at things. It brings a wry smile to your lips or makes you think a little more deeply about something. So you start reading their blog.

Soon there are offers for one on one coaching, so that they can engage with you in a thought-provoking and creative process that will inspire you to achieve your true potential.

Then they segue to seminars where you can learn, from them, the keys that will enable you to work with others in a thought-provoking and creative process that will inspire them to achieve their true potential.

Then the coaching guru will reveal that they have given up actual one to one coaching to concentrate on working with new coaches, teaching them about the marketing skills that are often overlooked in setting up a coaching business. One much like the one that they had I suppose.

Recall the apocryphal quote: “I know half my advertising budget is wasted; the problem is, I don’t know which half.”

Updated for the modern era that turns into: “I know 90% of my online advertising budget is lost to fraud. The problem is I don’t know which 90%.”

Ain’t progress grand!

I has a sad.