Witchdoctors go online and get Social Media-tastic

If there’s one thing scamsters love, it’s a new way to hawk their tawdry wares. While it’s not nearly as ancient and powerful as black magic and voodoo, the internet has a powerful juju. And Google AdWords. Welcome to online witchdocters.

If you live in a developing country (and who knows, maybe even in some neighbourhoods in the developed world) you occasionally find flyers stuffed under your windscreen wipers offering the services of “traditional healers”, witchdoctors and suchlike. They’re normally cheesy design-wise, but promise an astonishing range of cures: for marital problems, HIV and cancer, erectile dysfunction and a host of other maladies; physical, spiritual and social. Now, because that’s why Al Gore invented the internet, they’ve moved online.

“Love Specialist” says www.mamasarah.co.za (hope Coca Cola Corp is not too upset about the font appropriation), where you can get breast augmentation for only US$175, a bargain. “Need A Miracle? Let Go Of Your Past & Start Living A Happy, Successful Life — Quick & Easy. Fortune Teller and Spell Casting,” offered by Professor Deen at the cunningly SEO-friendly fortunetellerandspellcasting.co.za. “My WITCHCRAFT SPELLS have worked wonders all over the world. I cast powerful witchcraft spells on a daily basis to help people with any situation. Whatever hopes, dreams, wishes or desires you have I am here to make them a reality.” Prof Deen is no slouch in the social media space — he’s even hooked up to Facebook so you can like him. Unlike him, and you’ll get boils. UPDATE: Just noticed, you can pay him via PayFast – although the account seems to have been deactivated. Black Magic from the convenience of your iPad and your couch.

Dr M Zaid, “King of Healers” at www.africandoctor.co.za is “a real witch and I’ve been casting magic spells for more than 30 years”. He’s also no slouch in the marketing techniques department: “I am offering a very special witchcraft love spell. This powerful spell will give fast result and everlasting results! If you order it before the end of this week, you will get a 30% discount. NOTE: Offer ONLY available to the next TWO clients who order it! Don’t take any chances, contact me now for a free consultation.”

Excellent use of calls to action, manufactured scarcity and false deadlines, along with promotional discounts for maximum inspiration to trial the service. Nice. Could do with a “Like” and “Tweet” button, though.

Note to the credulous: witchdoctery, black magic and curses are as effective as copper bracelets for rheumatism, homeopathy, aura balancing. It does work as well as Power Balance bracelets. It’s your money, burn it if you want to. In fact rather burn it, at least that would keep you warm in winter.



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