s_allard wrote:And we also know that the vast majority of people who buy these products never use them to the end and fail miserably at learning the language. The plain truth is that learning to speak a language well at an adult age when there is no compelling reason and when you are outside the country of the language is very difficult.
There are two sides of the equation here : the product and the user. There all kinds of products out there with lots of marketing. I really don’t see a big problem of misleading or dishonest claims. Nobody says « You are guaranteed to learn language X ». It’s more like « We believe our method or product, when used properly, is the best way to get great results ».
Is this any different from how tooth paste or perfume is sold ? The real question is what works for you. What we have to do is cut through the hype and see if the products resonates with us. It’s like choosing a tutor on Italki. Every tutor makes great claims. Which one is right for you ? There’s only one way to find out : do the leg work.
No, it isn't different and that's the core problem. Lying liars and their continuous streams of psychologically manipulative lies masquerading as 'marketing' and blaming the consumer for not knuckling-down to the full-time job of being on top of every slick campaign conceived and delivered to them by a team of professional salespeople. For which they pat themselves on the back and call themselves 'entrepreneurs' and pretend to be socially useful. In a society, if you are not socially useful and actually providing a fair service, you are a pariah.
So yes, toothpaste, perfume, clothes, computers and finally language courses. Though this website is only concerned with the latter, even though the general principle is the same for all products/services. Culturally (and perhaps psychologically) there is indeed a part played by the consumer which works against them: the deliberately nurtured desire for short-cuts, ease (even Assimil uses that word), minimum effort to acquire knowledge/skills. It is the job of any decent educational professional who isn't just functioning as a salesman, to tell you the truth about it. So that you don't waste your time and can go and find something else to do if you don't really want to expend that much energy or waste money. 'Caveat emptor' is the maxim of the scumbag and mere salesman who thinks its fair game to swindle less critical, fairly gullible, unknowing people rather than impart factual knowledge; including realistic time-frames for acquiring skills.
Since the culture of 'in 7 days/while you sleep/with no effort' and 'order before 11pm receive it tomorrow!' has been ground into public expectations, I don't think it's likely that even telling some people the facts will dissuade them, but it doesn't mean the purveyors of misleading sales pitches are thereby exonerated.