There are these radio commercials that local station WARK plays incessantly for a program run by a guy named Ty Coughlin, who introduces himself as “the beach bum from Hawaii who made a pile’a cash off the internet.” The ads are obnoxiously phony, with Coughlin affecting a casual, off-the-cuff tone of voice and pretending that the prerecorded commercial, which is repeated ad nauseum throughout the day, is a charmingly awkward live spot. For the first few weeks I heard it, I focused mostly on what an irritating airhead Ty Coughlin is. Then, the other day they started airing a new ad from Coughlin, and it occurred to me . . . this is a get-rich-quick scheme he’s pitching, right? It must be a total scam. Why is WARK facilitating him?
Of course, Coughlin’s Reverse Funnel System is a scam. And, judging from a few things I’ve read about it online, it’s not even a particularly well built scam. The system is designed to sell people memberships in a travel club, but fails to teach its students how to market the product. This website (which is skeptical of Coughlin’s system, then pitches its own version at the bottom) estimates that Coughlin’s system is missing out on 300,000,000 search engine hits per month merely by not using the right keywords.
I mean, come on. If you’re going to rip people off, at least do it efficiently.
The reason WARK and other radio stations all over the country are running Ty Coughlin’s ads is because he’s paying them for the service, but it still bothers me. It’s not just a standard ad — there’s a drop-in where WARK announcer Matthew Steel (I bet that’s his real name) gives the address for a website designed to funnel customers to Coughlin from Maryland. That’s not just running a paid advertisement — that’s complicity in fraud.
I sent a message to WARK’s owner, Nassau Broadcasting, but I doubt anything will come of it. I’m stuck with Ty Coughlin’s annoying phony pitch on my radio, it seems. I can always entertain myself wondering how such an obvious con artist managed to make himself a fortune and inspire Mark Paul Gosselaar’s look for the new Steven Bochco series, Raising the Bar. That’s impressive.