You’ve all seen or heard the advertisements, promising the one weird spice that will help you lose weight or reverse your type 2 diabetes.

The advertisements are intriguing, and surprisingly, one of the companies providing customers with natural remedies to whatever ails them is based in Brandon.

Home Cures That Work for Back PainBarton Publishing has created about 30 remedy reports on everything from depression to arthritis, bad breath and sinus infections since its start in 2004. The company also posts a monthly Home Cures magazine that delves into ailments on a smaller scale in addition to providing other tips and recipes.

With about 20,000 subscribers, owner Joe Barton said the mission of the company is to help people get healthy naturally. He does that with a team of about 12, including physicians, who help research effective remedies.

While such products often generate skepticism among the general public, either that online videos will be filled with computer viruses or that the information included in books is simply too good to be true, Barton and his team say that’s not the case.

Dr. Scott Saunders, an adviser for the company who helps research and compile the publications, said he’s focused on making the information widely available to the people who do want to read it.

“I know that half the people who read it are going to say, ‘no, I’m not going to try that.’ … People come into my office and say, ‘I’m not going to do that,’ and they pay me,” said Saunders, who is director of The Interactive Medicine Center of Santa Barbara in California. “Being able to disseminate that information to a large population, that’s really where the benefit lies. If they’re not interested, they can take the medicine.”

The company’s goal is to present alternatives to modern medicine, but they say natural remedies should be taken in consultation with a physician.

“We’re a firm believer that everything we need on this earth is available for us,” without having to use medications, Barton said.

Saunders said much the same, estimating that in about 90 percent of cases people could use natural remedies without medications, whether it’s by improved diet, herbal supplements or other changes.

“The way I look at it is medications are a last resort because they all have side-effects,” Saunders said.

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Barton, who has an accounting background, started the business when he realized how effective it is to market e-books online with low-overhead and easy access to customers. He handles the business side and relies on his experts to handle the research, which can take up to six months for a remedy report. The company also employs a split test guru who works to maximize online traffic and marketing effectiveness.

The diabetes and acid reflux products are the most popular. Barton said the reports’ success stems in part from providing information on a subject in one convenient place. The diabetes solution kit, for instance, includes seven reports including various natural remedies to lower blood sugar, nutrition guides, a cookbook and factual information about Type 2 diabetes.

Saunders also pointed to the fact that the reports provide a number of ways to help with health issues, not just one.

“I have hundreds of patients with diabetes and not all of them require the same treatment,” he said. “Most other publishers, you go on the Internet for acid reflux and they have one treatment that may work for a lot of people but may not work for your specific case … whereas we try to make it comprehensive.”

Barton doesn’t rely on web banner ads to market its product; instead, it rents email lists from other websites to send messages directing potential customers to videos, which provide a detailed and lengthy sales pitch. The company recently was featured in a Slate article discussing the advertising tactics that Barton and other similar companies use to market their products. The article described Barton Publishing as surprisingly sincere.

Jim Mathis, founder of the local firm AdWerks, said the tactics Barton Publishing uses — inviting readers to discover “one weird trick,” for example — are tried and true strategies within the advertising industry.

“It’s kind of one of those things: If it didn’t work, people wouldn’t continue doing it, so it must be somewhat effective,” Mathis said.

The videos are effective in that they not only provide personal stories but also provide a host of reasons why you can’t and shouldn’t pass up the offer, Mathis said.

joe-barton Barton Publishing“It looks like an economical way to tell the story. The narrator is not a real slick polished Hollywood actor, it’s just a guy that’s reading from the script — if we were a scam and going to take advantage of you, we’d have done this a whole lot prettier, I think,” he said.

Barton points to the company’s return policy, effective for 365 days for any reason, as a sign the company is legitimate, and said the effectiveness of their products rests partly on the consumer following through with the recommendations.

“What’s interesting is what one person calls a scam another person will call the best purchase they ever made,” he said.

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