If you promote shady CPA offers that lie to consumers, include fake testimonials or misrepresent products to try to make a sale, you could PERSONALLY BE SUED. Not only that, but the network you promote could have assets frozen and not be able to pay you any of your commissions.
In yet another case involving unethical CPA affiliates, the FTC has filed suit against companies that use fake news sites to promote products like Acai. One of the companies being sued is a popular affiliate network most affiliates know. NOTE: if you work with this network, you may not get paid because the FTC is trying to freeze their assets. (Story and links below.)
But 1st I wanted to point out that it’s not just the networks that are getting busted, but affiliates are too. The Chicago Attorney General just directly sued an affiliate marketer as part of this FTC crackdown.
Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today sued a Chicago area man for fraudulently marketing acai berry dieting schemes online, as part of a national crackdown with the Federal Trade Commission against affiliate marketers that con consumers into purchasing weight loss products through phony news websites.
The FTC just had a news conference – here is the latest press release.
The FTC complaints allege that typical fake news sites have titles such as “News 6 News Alerts,” “Health News Health Alerts,” or “Health 5 Beat Health News.” The sites often include the names and logos of major media outlets – such as ABC, Fox News, CBS, CNN, USA Today, and Consumer Reports – and falsely represent that the reports on the sites have been seen on these networks. An investigative-sounding headline on one such site proclaims “Acai Berry Diet Exposed: Miracle Diet or Scam?” The sub-headline reads, “As part of a new series: ‘Diet Trends: A look at America’s Top Diets’ we examine consumer tips for dieting during a recession.” The article that follows purports to document a reporter’s first-hand experience with acai berry supplements – typically claiming to have lost 25 pounds in four weeks.
“Almost everything about these sites is fake,” said David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The weight loss results, the so-called investigations, the reporters, the consumer testimonials, and the attempt to portray an objective, journalistic endeavor.”
The following companies were named in the FTC lawsuits:
- Intermark Communications, Inc. DBA Copeac, and IMM Interactive
- Beony International LLC; Ambervine Marketing LLC, and Encastle Inc.
- TL Advertising; Circa Direct LLC; Coulomb Media, Inc.; DLXM, LLC; Lead Expose, Inc., and Uptown Media, Inc.
The only name I recognize is Intermark Media AKA Copeac, a very well known affiliate network.
According to the FTC press release above “The FTC seeks to permanently stop this misleading practice and has asked courts to freeze the operations’ assets pending trial.” So I wonder if they will be able to pay out affiliate commissions owed???
Like I always say “Market with Integrity and Everyone Wins!” If you are marketing spammy scammy offers and a merchant gets busted and can’t pay you, then you’ve gotten what you deserve. Not only that, but you could get in trouble yourself. It’s just not worth it!!!*Advertising Disclosure Policy*