Herpes Treatment Scams, Herpes Cure Scams, and Herpes Spam
Unfortunately, there are many dishonest people and companies out there who prey upon people with genital herpes and other STD’s. Many people are desperate to find anything that might reduce or eliminate herpes symptoms – and fall for herpes treatment scams and herpes cure scams. Since most people’s herpes symptoms will go away within a few days or a few weeks even without ANY treatment, patients may erroneously assume that it’s because of one of these bogus herpes products.
There are herpes cure scams, herpes treatment scams, herpes dating scams, and other herpes scams. Some of these scams are cleverly disguised as “truth” backed up by “research” or “personal testimony” such as message board posts, links and comments from people who are posing as if they are “regular people” who just want to pass on their positive experience with a particular product or service. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to tell the difference between scammers and real people, or to discern online charlatans from real doctors or experts. Also, some people and some sites – post both good information and bad information or sponsored information that is not identified as such. Don’t be fooled! Here are some of the most common Herpes Scams
FDA issues Warnings re: STD treatment Scams
Dynamiclear & Global Herbal Supplies
[*Note: This company is recently in the process of improving their websites and marketing materials in response to criticisms and complaints about deceptive and misleading marketing practices. We hope that they eventually remove their false and misleading marketing claims and present their product more honestly so that they can be removed from this page on scams. They have a long way to go. But if you read the following description of some of their past/current marketing practices, you will learn why you always need to know the true source and biases of the information you are reading and make sure that “impartial” sites and product reviews are *really* impartial. You will also learn why all product claims of being “clinically proven” need to be taken with a large grain of salt.]
Prior to introducing Dynamiclear, Global Herbal Supplies, an Australia-based company that makes and markets herbal remedies, manufactured and marketed a single-application topical herpes treatment called “Choraphor.”
At the time that this warning letter was written, Global Herbal Supplies was the main worldwide marketer and distributor of Choraphor. Unfortunately, since Global Herbal Supplies is based in Australia, not the US, it is hard for the FDA to enforce its warnings against non-US companies who make misleading or deceptive marketing claims. NOTE: The Bellevue, WA address that the FDA used to send the official warning letter to Choraphor (Choraphor.com) was that of a Domain Name Privacy Service that “cloaks” the name and contact information of the real owners of domain names. It is the same Domain Name Privacy Service and address currently used by Herpes-Coldsores.com, a related site which was started by and still owned by Global Herbal Supplies.
In July 2007, a year after the FDA warning letter was sent, Global Herbal Supplies stopped marketing Choraphor and introduced a new product called Dynamiclear, another single-application topical herpes treatment which is very similar to Choraphor in use and application, except for a few different ingredients. One thing they didn’t change very quickly was their use of exaggerated and misleading marketing claims to promote Dynamiclear, the same marketing techniques they used previously to promote Choraphor.
Dynamiclear is a topical solution that – until August 2012 – incorrectly claimed to be clinically proven in “Phase III clinical trials” to reduce the severity and duration of genital herpes and cold sore outbreaks. The makers of Dynamiclear, Global Herbal Supplies – commissioned a clinical research study that was (either intentionally or erroneously) mislabeled as a “Phase III clinical trial” – but this study never met the recognized standards of a “Phase III” clinical trial, with only 149 subjects and no double-blind testing. If such a research study was submitted for official review as a “Phase III” clinical trial, it would be dismissed by any respected medical establishment. In this study, they compared a one-time application of Dynamiclear (a liquid) to an a comparator product – a 5 times per day application of a cream containing Acyclovir – which is NOT the “standard of care” treatment for genital herpes. No medical professionals in the US recommend applying topical treatments for genital herpes – and certainly nobody recommends applying acyclovir cream 5 times a day to one’s genitals. The most common product used to treat cold sores is Abreva (docosanol), an FDA-approved topical antiviral product. Abreva has been around for many years. Why didn’t they choose to use Docosanol as a comparator product in the study? In a research “summary” posted on Dynamiclear’s site, they claim that the option of testing Dynamiclear against a Placebo (i.e. water or an inert cream) was discarded because it would have had a “soothing” effect vs. Dynamiclear. This is just a convenient excuse not to test Dynamiclear against a Placebo or a true “standard of care” comparator product. Instead, they chose a product that was not widely used and needed to be applied 5 times a day for 7 days. That’s like comparing apples to oranges. IF this had been a well-done, double-blind clinical study comparing Dynamiclear to a Control Group or a Placebo – then if might have shown whether or not using Dynamiclear would be better or worse than using nothing at all. Basically, the design of this study was seriously flawed and was not a “Phase III” clinical study and due to the poor design of the study – the results did NOT *prove* efficacy, as claimed. Click here for more info why Dynamiclear’s commissioned research study did not meet the widely recognized standards for a legitmate “Phase III” clinical trial as was previously claimed. In August 2012, after receiving criticism and complaints from the Herpes Support Community, Global Herbal Supplies made corrections to their web-pages, removing the claim that their clinical trials were “Phase III”. However, previously downloaded copies of Dynamiclear’s own summary of their research show that they had been mislabeling this as a “Phase III” clinical trial from 2006 until August 2012.
The “clinical trials” commissioned by Global Herbal Supplies in 2006 and performed in India were extremely poorly conceived and designed, with only 149 subjects, 120 of whom completed the study; only 30% of subjects were female, and only 34% of the subjects had genital herpes. The study lasted only 14 days, did NOT include a control group, was NOT double-blind, did NOT record time of onset NOR the recurrency rate, and did NOT distinguish between primary or secondary infections. So basically, a clinical study that has such major flaws cannot be trusted to prove much of anything.
Interestingly, even though this clinical trial was done in 2006, it was not until February 2012 that an abstract of the results were published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. Although this article claims that “the authors have no financial interest in the product or sponsoring company,” the authors of the article were actually compensated by Global Herbal Supplies to take their 6-year old clinical study and clean it up so that it might be considered for publication. And one of the authors worked for the company that performed the research. All references to the study being a “Phase III” clinical trial were finally removed, and some of the flaws in the study’s methodology were cited, but underplayed. However, they still managed too sneak in some “marketing jargon” into their conclusions, such as “remarkably, the effects seen from the product came from a single application.” We had to laugh when we read that line in a medical journal, since the word “remarkably” was clearly marketing hype. Yes, the product uses a single application – but that doesn’t mean it works. There is nothing “remarkable” or “surprising” about the results, if the study was intentionally designed to compare a single-application product to a comparator product that needed to be applied 5 times per day. That’s another indication that the study was very poorly designed. Because of the extremely flawed design and methodology of the study, the findings cannot stand up to scrutiny and do NOT prove that Dynamiclear is significantly more effective than what most people commonly use to treat oral or genital herpes. As mentioned previously, topical treatments are NOT considered the “standard of care” for genital herpes. Other products like Abreva, NOT Acyclovir cream, might be considered the “standard of care” for oral herpes (cold sores).
To NOT design a double-blind study or use a CONTROL group or placebo – were extremely poor decisions – likely made by the sponsoring company (Global Herbal Supplies) who paid for the study and had a vested interest in designing a study that would make their product “look better” than it might have otherwise – than had the study been designed properly and conducted by an independent third party with no financial interest in the product.
In 2010, several official complaints about Dynamiclear’s use of false and misleading marketing claims were made against the company and presented to the Complaint Resolution Panel of Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code Council. This panel, which consists of representatives from industry, consumers, advertising agencies, healthcare professionals and government, who are highly qualified to judge such matters, examined all the claims and response from the company, and judged that Dynamiclear was indeed in violation of numerous sections of their advertising code. In particular, the panel found that Dynamiclear’s 2006 clinical trials were so flawed that the company could not use those clinical trials to justify any claims that their product was “Clinically Proven.” To quote the 2010 report: “the Panel was not satisfied that [the study] was of sufficient scope, or was sufficiently robust in design, to constitute clinical proof for such claims. Moreover, the Panel noted that the claim of “clinical proof” was made in a context where “instant relief” and “immediate” or “faster” results were also claimed, and that the study did not support such claims at all.” Furthermore, “the Panel was not satisfied that the study upon which this claim relied was adequate to support the claim. The Panel noted that the study was not placebo-controlled, and that both the Dynamiclear and acyclovir treatments appeared to have commenced when, for most of the participants in the study, their cold sores had already proceeded to the stages of blistering, scabbing, or crusting, rather than being applied at the first onset of symptoms.”
In 2010 The Complaint Resolution Panel ordered Dynamiclear to immediately remove a variety of false and exaggerated marketing claims from all of their marketing and advertising materials, including but not limited to their websites and packaging. These are the statements that Dynamiclear was ordered to remove:
i) the advertised product is clinically proven;ii) the advertised product provides instant relief or results which start immediately;iii) the advertised product is proven to make a significant difference to the healing time and management of cold sore symptoms;iv) the advertised product is endorsed by the TGA;v) the advertised product offers faster, easier, or more convenient results than other cold sore products;vi) the advertised product offers freedom from cold sore symptoms;vii) the advertised product has benefits in all cases of cold sores;viii) the advertised product significantly improves cold sore symptoms within 24 hours or can completely eliminate symptoms within 72 hours;ix) the advertised product is 70% more effective than other cold sore products;x) the advertised product has been clinically proven to be significantly more effective in clearing the redness, burning, stinging, itching, and blisters associated with cold sores than other products;xi) the advertised product is safe or free of side-effects; and,xii) the advertised product can cause complete healing of cold sores in 72 hours.
Dynamiclear is officially *listed* as a medicine in Australia, which has different safety and medical review standards than the USA. It should be noted that in Australia, to be “listed” as a medicine only means that a product has been deemed to be “safe.” But “listed” does NOT mean that the product is “effective.” In Australia, only “Registered” products are officially recognized as being effective. “Listed” only means that a product is approved as being “safe.” Dynamiclear is “listed” but not “registered” in Australia.
The ingredients of Dynamiclear may be not be harmful to most people, but none of the ingredients in their product have actually been “clinically proven”, as claimed, to actually do anything to reduce the occurrence or speed the healing of herpes or cold sores. Most people’s sores will go away without ANY treatment within a few days to a few weeks. Therefore, many people may incorrectly attribute their healing to Dynamiclear. People are spending a lot of money on Dynamiclear – and really want to believe that it works. At best, it does no harm – except to your pocketbook.
Dynamiclear also recommends that you take their expensive “Combined Lysine Formula” as part of their recommended treatment regimen. Lysine can be purchased for much cheaper from many other sources. Lysine is NOT an ingredient in Dynamiclear. But they recommend taking Lysine in addition to using Dynamiclear. Lysine is the only substance in their recommended protocol that has been shown in studies to reduce herpes symptoms in some patients. Combining other treatments like Lysine with Dynamiclear further “muddies” any results you may have – you won’t know which substance was responsible for your results, or if doing nothing at all would have the same result. Most of us are not scientists, so it’s easy to misinterpret the scientific-sounding language that you will find on Dynamiclear’s website.
Herpes Expert Terri Warren, RN, owner of the Westover Heights Clinic and Expert Contributor to WebMD is one of the many herpes experts who knows that Dynamiclear has not completed a legitimate “Phase 3” clinical trial. On WebMD she writes:
“Everyone is entitled to use treatments that work for them. However, before anyone goes out to buy [Dynamiclear or Herpanacine] based on a single person’s experience, it should be made clear that neither has demonstrated effectiveness in a well done clinical trial. If they would submit to clinical trial evaluation, it would reinforce positive comments from professionals. Both Valtrex (which is now generic as valacyclovir) and acyclovir have demonstrated effectiveness against oral and genital herpes. Acyclovir can be taken daily to reduce the frequency of recurrences and transmission for about $16 per month. Again, everyone should use what works for them, but when it comes to reducing transmission to someone else, I certainly would recommend ONLY those things that have demonstrated effectiveness. Terri”
To read Teri Warren’s post on WebMD go to: http://forums.webmd.com/3/sexual-conditions-and-stds-exchange/forum/7888
Herpes-Coldsores.com is a website that was created by Global Herbal Supplies @ 2001, at that time for the purpose of marketing Choraphor, the predecessor of Dynamiclear. For several years, it was a product marketing site only and did not (yet) have any Herpes Support Forums.. In 2003, they redesigned the site to look more like an independently-run Herpes Support and Information Site – so that they could promote their own topical herpes treatment as if they were an objective third party – not the manufacturer. The site did not clearly disclose that it was actually OWNED by the company that manufactured and marketed the herpes treatments that they were recommending as if they were an objective third-party. Beginning in May 2007, Herpes-Coldsores.com started promoting Dynamiclear instead of Choraphor. (As noted above, the FDA had issued a warning letter about Choraphor in July 2006). Around the same time, the H-C Support Forums started which is now a very popular feature of the site, with many unpaid volunteer support members who give good support and good information to the many people who need help dealing with their herpes diagnosis. The H-C Support Forums and their many volunteers and participants are NOT involved and not responsible for the content that the owners of this website post OUTSIDE of the H-C Support Forums.
For many years, Herpes-Coldsores.com did not clearly disclose that Global Herbal Supplies, makers of Dynamiclear, owned the site. That is, not until recently. In August 2012, after hearing criticism and complaints, Global Herbal Supplies finally updated their site and made it easier for people to see that they actually OWN and control the site. Before this, the seemingly objective web-pages recommending Dynamiclear on Herpes-Coldsores.com – were NOT clearly identified as sponsored “advertising” for Dynamiclear. Unfortunately, many people read the old web pages and mistakenly thought that Dynamiclear is being recommended by people who did not have a financial interest in the product. Please Note: These criticisms of Herpes-Coldsores.com are only about the information that the site owners presented about Dynamiclear on their webpages outside of the H-C Support Forums, and this does not involve any of the volunteers who provide support to others in the forums. .
Dynamiclear also has an “affiliate marketing program” that pays websites a commission if they recommend and post links to Dynamiclear.com, and if those links result in sales. Many herpes website owners appreciate the extra income of such affiliate programs. Some sites openly disclose these affiliations while others do not. Some website owners who accept advertising are not aware that Dynamiclear uses false and misleading marketing techniques. Other website owners turn a blind-eye to Dynamiclear’s misleading marketing claims because they earn money from their advertising and links.
People need to “consider the source” of the information they are reading, especially from people and “so-called” experts claiming that a particular herpes treatment gives good results. If a company’s product or treatment is reputable and effective, then the company should not have to stoop to making false and misleading claims such as: a) creating websites that look official or objective that give positive product reviews without disclaiming that the website is owned by the company whose products are recommended; b) claiming that product research qualifies as a “Phase III” clinical trial – when it clearly does not, c) putting their product on a list of real “clinically proven” herpes treatment options such as Acyclovir and Valacyclovir, as if the legitimacy of these treatments can somehow be confered to their own product. How can anyone trust a company that uses such misleading techniques to market their products?
“Fake” Herpes Treatment Reviews on the Web
There are a lot of other phony “reviews” of Dynamiclear and Medavir on the web – in which people claim that they were at first skeptical and now they are believers – and of course they link to Dynamiclear or Medavir so that you can buy their product! Both Dynamiclear and Medavir make misleading claims – and each has numerous herpes-related websites which have “fake” positive reviews of their own product – and warnings against the other product. Websites that are affiliated with Medavir often post positive reviews and links for Medavir and negative reviews of Dynamiclear. Websites that are affiliated with Dynamiclear often post positive reviews and links for Dynamiclear and negative reviews for Medavir. The funny thing is – the negative reviews of each product contain more kernels of truth than any of the positive reviews. If you know what you’re looking for, this is an easy way to spot one of these fake herpes treatment review sites, Dynamiclear and Medavir are directly competing with each other to get money from herpes sufferers. Save your money and don’t buy either of these products.
Here is a partial list of sites that try to “look” independent and objective, but are really affiliated with either Dynamiclear/Global Herbal Supplies or Medavir/Tag Healthcare. We hope that people with herpes stop falling for the misleading marketing tactics of these and other companies.
Dynamiclear owned or affiliated sites:
Medavir owned or affiliated sites:
Herpes Dating Scams
There are many legitimate online dating services for people with herpes and/or other STD’s. Some have been around for a long time. Others are newer and trying to provide a different set of services. Some are run by large companies while others are small businesses or sole proprietorships. Most are free to join for a basic membership, but if you want upgraded privileges, you have to pay something. Some of these sites have affiliate marketing programs, which basically pays website owners a commission for new visitors or paid members that result from their links. This is all pretty normal for online dating services. Unfortunately, some services have problematic or deceptive marketing practices or other problems which landed them a place on this page.
PositiveSingles Private Label Affiliate Sites Spam
PositiveSingles.com (PS), has been a popular dating service for people with Herpes, HPV, and other STD’s, and is definitely the largest STD-related dating service. PositiveSingles is a division of Successful Match, a large Canadian company with a large number of specialty online dating sites. PositiveSingles has a regular affiliate program that gives website owners a commission for visitors or new members who result from links to PositiveSingles on their sites. This site, DatingWithHerpes.org, publicly discloses that it has belonged to PositiveSingles‘ regular affiliate program and has occasionally earned commissions from PositiveSingles when visitors clicked or joined via our links. This has helped to support the expenses of running our site.
Unfortunately, and Successful Match have a “Private Label Affiliate Program” that allows anyone with a domain name that sounds like an STD dating site to use the profiles and content from PositiveSingles – appearing as if it were their own. This has created serious questions related to privacy, confidentiality and misrepresentation, in addition to spam.
A Class Action Suit was filed against PositiveSingles and Successful Match in January 2012. For details go to:
Basically, anyone can purchase a domain name that sounds like it could be an STD dating site – such as “STDloving.com” or “HerpesPal.com” and then they can apply to become a “Private Label Affiliate” of PositiveSingles. PositiveSingles provides customizable front page templates and takes care of all the registration and profiles and back-end. So all of these sites are just the same as PositiveSingles with nothing different except for the front landing page. If a private label affiliate site gets people to visit their site or register as a paid member, they receive a commission from PositiveSingles. So they have a financial incentive to get people to visit their sites.
Many of these PS Private Label Affiliate site owners often use deception to join regional and national herpes social groups and support groups and other herpes-related sites, pretending to be normal people seeking friendship and support. The next thing they do is to post messages or a “success story” about how they found love online, and recommend a particular herpes dating site, without mentioning that 1) the site is a part of PositiveSingles and 2) they will receive a commission if you join through their link. A number of these folks may also try to illegally collect private email addresses from herpes groups and message boards they join, and may then send Spam emails to people they don’t know, trying to give personal testimony recommending a herpes/STD dating site, which is really just the same as PositiveSingles. Below is a list of the PositiveSingles Private Label Affiliate websites that have been known to use deceptive practices to attract new members. Please don’t even click on their links – you are just putting money into their pockets and encouraging them to continue to use deception and spam.
Stay Away From:
You can often tell that these are PositiveSingles affiliates because at the bottom of the page, it often says “Powered by PositiveSingles/Successful Match”. Some clever private label affiliates change the bottom of the page to remove the “Powered by PositiveSingles” language. But they all connect on the back end to PositiveSingles.com. All of the member profiles are exactly the same. All of the personal testimonials and other content is also the same.
PositiveSingles claims that they do not encourage spamming and will take action against any of their Private Label affiliates who Spam. Unfortunately, not enough people know when they are receiving Spam from a PS private label affiliate or what to do about it.
Here’s what you can do about it. If you receive any spam emails, or if you see any Spam message board posts or comments about any of these or other PositiveSingles private label affiliate members posing to be regular folks recommending an STD dating site (which 99% of the time is an affiiate of PositiveSingles), forward the spam marked “Spam from PS affiliate specific-site-name.com” to the below email addresses and say that you want them to stop these people from spamming you:
STDCommunity.com is a free dating and community site for people with STD’s – or is it? At first we were curious about this site – hoping that it was truly started to provide a new free service to the STD community. But then we figured out that they were just using their “free to join” website as a *hook* to attract new visitors who might click on their ads and links for PositiveSingles (PS) and 2 PS private label affiliate sites – HerpesandYouDating.com and STDDateline.com. These 2 PS affiliate sites sites have cleverly replaced the bottom of the page copyright line with their own website name. But all of the content and profiles on the back-end of these sites is exactly the same as PositiveSingles. Since the owner of STDCommunity.com runs a real ad for PositiveSingles on his site’s front page, for which he is compensated as a regular affiliate, he is certainly aware that the other 2 STD dating sites that he lists are PS private label affiliates, but he does not disclose this – which is very deceptive. We suspect that the guy behind STDCommunity also owns these 2 private label affiliate sites and hopes that he can make some money by referring his visitors to them. So his site visitors are tricked into clicking on the links and checking out these “new and different” STD dating sites, which are one and the same as PositiveSingles. We were very disappointed to find out that STDCommunity.com would try to send their visitors to 2 PS private label affiliate sites. If STDCommunity removes these deceptive links to PS private label affiliate sites, we’ll consider removing them from this page on Scams.