But first:  The RSPP suggested here earlier this month at $40 just got a buy-out offer at $45.  There’s reason to think that’s too low, so for now I’m holding on.  What sometimes happens in a situation like this is that the deal gets sweetened.  We’ll see.

And now:  You’re probably not going to see a movie a day, but MoviePass lets you — for $7 a month (“billed annually”).  Here’s a Business Insider FAQ that explains the whole deal.  And here’s the outfit’s own FAQ, along with different ways to sign up. [2019 UPDATE: It was too good to be true and went bust.  Oops.]

And now and now: what if Facebook could help you find the right suckers for your lousy product (if you had a lousy product, which you do not; this is by way of cautionary illustration).

What if?

Here’s what, from Bloomberg (thanks, Brian!):

Affiliates once had to guess what kind of person might fall for their unsophisticated cons, targeting ads by age, geography, or interests. Now Facebook does that work for them. The social network tracks who clicks on the ad and who buys the pills, then starts targeting others whom its algorithm thinks are likely to buy. Affiliates describe watching their ad campaigns lose money for a few days as Facebook gathers data through trial and error, then seeing the sales take off exponentially. “They go out and find the morons for me,” I was told by an affiliate who sells deceptively priced skin-care creams with fake endorsements from Chelsea Clinton.

Chapter 4 of my book is called “Trust No One,” because a key part of successful personal finance — and now, successful citizenship — is simply filtering out the baloney.  Not being the moron.  (Which I can say with some authority, having been the moron more than once myself.)

Who you gonna believe?

The annuity salesman heavily incentivized to sell what’s best for him?  Or the advice from a book you can get from the library for free?

The Tobacco Institute?  Or the Surgeon General?

The Washington Post?  Or the National Enquirer?

Donald Trump?  Or the FBI?

Donald Trump?  Or the two dozen women he claims are lying?

Donald Trump?  Or — on a different day — Donald Trump?  (Watch!)

The amazing story?  (Trump’s older sister says he was called “Donnie Dimwit” as a kid!)  Or Snopes? (No, actually, she did not.  The report was a spoof — yet a well-meaning bio-tech CEO passed it on to me thinking it was real.)

One of the reasons we need an FTC and an FDA and a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and an SEC — and an EPA and an OSHA — and a Snopes — and respect for science — is that not everyone trying to get your money (or your vote) is on the up and up.



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