A recent shock and awe campaign conducted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has put affiliate marketers on notice. It appears the FTC is taking a bottom-up approach by litigating against acai berry affiliate marketers before going after product manufacturers.
FTC Slams 10 Acai Affiliate Marketers With A Claim
The FTC has filed complaints in US District Court against ten affiliate marketers for allegedly using deceptive marketing practices to advertise the effects of acai berry products for rapid weight loss. The FTC has sought – and in some cases succeeded – to freeze the assets of the affiliate marketers who have been named as defendants in the series of lawsuits.
“False and Unsubstantiated Claims” At The Root Of Acai Weight Loss Claims
In each of the complaints, the FTC alleges that the defendants made false and unsubstantiated claims, and misrepresented the effects of acai berry weight loss products by using fake news sites and trumped up claims of success to induce the consumer to participate in a free trial of the products or to purchase the products outright.
The deception, according to the FTC, originates in online ads placed on websites with a high volume of traffic in order to pique the curiosity of potential consumers. With phrases like, “Acai Berry EXPOSED – Health Reporter Discovers the Shocking Truth,” a person’s natural desire to find out more kicks in about what acai berry weight loss products can do. Once the consumer clicks on the ad, the web browser is redirected to a fake news site that proclaim the wonders that acai berry weight loss and colon cleansing products can perform. To make the website look like a legitimate news outlet, the site owners (affiliate marketers) use the names and logos of several well-known news organizations from cable and broadcast television in order to make the claims of rapid weight loss and colon cleansing believable.
However, neither the FTC nor the Food and Drug Administration have found anything to substantiate weight loss and colon cleansing products made from acai berries that claim to produce fast results. If you want to lose a few pounds and want to have your colon cleansed – and fast – tell your doctor you want him to perform a colonoscopy on you. That means you’ll have to sit on the throne while chugging a gallon of GoLytely.
What do the FTC’s recent actions mean for Acai affiliate marketers?
If you operate an affiliate marketing company, make sure you fully understand the features and benefits of the product you are selling on the Internet. It goes without saying that making false and unsubstantiated claims will get you in trouble with the FTC. The FTC has made it clear that the Commission will file “a complaint when it has ‘reason to believe’ that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest.”
Translation: If the FTC finds out your affiliate marketing company has been gorging itself on the spoils made as a result of deceptive marketing practices, they will seek to disgorge your company of its ill-gotten gain.
Don’t be willing to bet your assets on puffery. They FTC just might freeze them if you do.