For several years now, the Azoogle Network (AZN) has prided itself on being an industry leader in online marketing compliance, often taking a far more conservative approach than most in our overall marketing standards and investing millions of dollars into compliance tools and resources, both human and technical. The events of the last 48 hours, highlighted below, underscore the reasons why we have taken this approach and been so steadfast in how we advise you, our valued affiliates, each and every day.
The Illinois State Attorney General's Office, Oprah Winfrey, and Dr. Oz have filed a number of suits in the past day which may affect your business. The lawsuits send a clear message that using deceptive ad content, e.g., fake celebrity endorsements, not disclosing the price and re-bill terms, using fake blogs, etc., will not be tolerated. Please read the following for more information:
The Illinois State AG has filed actions against three parties for deceptive advertising practices in the marketing of **** berry products and other dietary supplements. Please keep in mind that the regulators are choosing to directly pursue affiliate marketers for their marketing practices. The full text of the press release can be found here: Illinois Attorney General - MADIGAN FILES LAWSUITS AGAINST **** BERRY COMPANIES.
Dr. Oz and Oprah Winfrey have also filed a lawsuit in New York for copyright and trademark infringement against approximately 50 companies, including advertisers, suppliers, ad networks, and affiliates. To put it bluntly, they are very unhappy of their celebrity status being used to market dietary supplements and cosmetics, without their permission. They have specifically listed hundreds of affiliate sites they want discontinued immediately, because the URLs use their name or the sites claim endorsements from Oprah/Dr. Oz. The full story can be found here: Oprah, Dr. Oz sue over false endorsements - Celebrities- msnbc.com
Finally, keep our guidelines in mind when you are creating your ad content. An advertisement or affiliate:
Must not use falsified consumer testimonials or postings.
If any testimonials/photos/first person accounts/etc. are used, appropriate documentation must be submitted to AZN. Talk to your network manager for more information.
Must not use photos of celebrities or falsified endorsements.
Must not use altered pictures and represent that those pictures are of actual consumers.
Must not use fake blogs or fake news sites to promote content.
Must not use of the word "FREE" on anything that is not completely free. 'Free', 'Try it Free', 'Free Sample', etc. are not acceptable.
Must not have a "comments" section without a "reply" or "post" option.
We hope that this information has been helpful to you. Should you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to your Affiliate Manager, or me, directly.
Senior Vice President of Distribution