Mail (May, 1998)

Trial Volunteers Wanted
from Judith B.D.

Ed's Preface: Judith's first e-mail to me said she was a long-time P sufferer who had discovered remarkable improvement from a nutritional supplement regimen. She didn't say what the supplement was but asked that those interested in learning more contact her directly through her e-mail in Australia. Both the tone of the e-mail and the e-mail address ([email protected]) made me immediately suspicious that this was a direct-marketing campaign thinly veiled. Normally, I would discard these things straight away and you would never hear about them at FLAKE HQ. This time, though, I restrained my knee-jerk reaction. It was obvious in Judith's e-mail that she knew something about P. Her language managed to convince me that she really WAS a flaker, and that she really had experienced something good from whatever it was she was selling.

So, I wrote back a too-terse e-mail saying directly that her message sounded like direct marketing and I wouldn't post it unless she fully disclosed what the supplement/regimen was ... etc. I also said that if, as I suspected, she was the source of the product (a sales person), testimonials as to its efficacy palliating P should come from a satisfied customer.

Much to my surprise (and delight), Judith wrote back....

*****

Dear Ed: Thank you for your comments. I was trying to avoid sounding like network marketing via e-mail. The difficulty is that it is a network marketing company, based in the States. The company makes no claims for cures ... I am only speaking from my own experience.

My story is this: I started with the nutritional products for general health and well being. And, a secret hope that the nutritionals would do something for the psoriasis. I did not change anything else in my lifestyle or diet. I began using a hand and body lotion also produced by the same company, taking the basic regimen of nutritional supplements and bathing with a shower gel, also produced by the company. No other changes. No chemicals, no medicine, no tar ... no special diet. The change was dramatic and almost immediate.

Given the vested interest I have in the company, I recognize that I could be seen to be "selling." And I guess I am, it's a paradox that's hard to get around. I am genuinely just looking for a couple of people who will take the nutritional products to see if they get the same results.

If the results are similar for others, you can bet your bottle of pine tar that I'll be out on a soap box. So help me out here. I'm open to your advice. How do I go about this with a degree of integrity and respect for psoriasis sufferers and still provide information about a product which is only available through independent distributors? -Judith

*****

(Ed, continued:) I was impressed with Judith's candor. She didn't just "disappear" like so many snake-oil salespeople who have learned from experience they have only one chance to get you to part with your money, and if you don't go for it right away the sales opportunity is lost. I wrote back to Judith right away and tested her commitment even further. I wrote...

"... I'll tell you what would make my publishing your last e-mail a snap: Ask for two or three volunteers and supply them the supplements FREE in exchange for an in-depth report back to you on how it worked, plus their promise of releasing those reports to you, for marketing purposes, if the supplements really do help them. To me, that's legitimate research. The worst that can happen is you give away a little product and send a lot of e-mails saying ‘thanks, but no thanks, I have all the guinea pigs I can use right now!' The best that can happen is your two or three trial users report back results as good as your own.... -Ed"

Again, I would not have bet on hearing from Judith anymore. But again, she surprised me....

*****

Ed: Great! Three people, a one month's supply of nutritionals, hand and body lotion and shower gel. I need people who will stick with this for a month. But I will pay for the products. A one month trial and we will go from there. Thanks for your help. Full details on the pharmaceutical-grade products we are talking about are available at http://www.usana.com. Now, how do you suggest I present the proposal? Judith D.

*****

(Ed continued:) In another e-mail exchange, Judith agreed that it would be a good idea to ask for three volunteers who will use the products faithfully during the month of June, 1998. Also, Judith will probably ask her volunteers for some details about their psoriasis and what they've done to treat it so far. After the month-long trial, she will ask for a report.

Folks, as I see all this, Judith is putting her money where her mouth is. Based on her own case, she believes the USANA products have merit in alleviating P. She sincerely wants other flakers to try it and she is willing to pay for it. The fact that Judith is not a huge pharmaceutical conglomerate staging "blind experiments" in accordance with FDA procedures is, as far as I'm concerned, irrelevant. This is a much better opportunity than we get from most over-the-counter manufacturers. If you are interested in participating in Judith's trial, e-mail her, Judith Bihl Dimitrov, [email protected].

One word of caution: After Judith provides product details, you should check with your doctor. Certain conditions (e.g., diabetes) might preclude you from participating. Also, you want to make sure you are not allergic to any ingredients in the supplements and that they won't interact negatively with any other medications you may be taking.

Good luck! And do let me know how things work out! -Ed

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