Using Pseudo-Scientific Surveys as Linkbait and Marketing

Pseudo-science is the linkbait of the future. In order to gain nationwide publicity for your brand, all you need is a survey, a 'scientist' and a 'formula'. The good people at Fuse Optimisation have compiled a list of their favourite experiments in social gullibility. Squirm at the inane formulas, from the perfect wiggle of the hips to how sexy someone looks when you're drunk. These wouldn't even qualify for the Ig Nobel Prize as they are merely puff pieces with a scientific cherry on top.

This has, of course, been going on for a long time - just take a close look at cosmetics adverts. Even real science is often held hostage by corporate interests as the bottom line over-rides the truth. So just sit back and enjoy these rather harmless ventures in the science of selling. Or not...

Ben Goldacre took a dim view of the "Jessica Alba has the perfect wiggle" research. He was initially asked to prostitute himself as the expert scientist for the study. Although he declined he kept a perverse interest in seeing who would swallow the bait. The story of how the PR company cobbled together the final story is a good example of how scientists should stay clear of lending their name to anything over which they do not have final editorial control. Salvaging one's shattered reputation can take more energy than the consultancy fee could ever cover.
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