Now We're Going To See Who Can REALLY Write Copy?

94 replies
I looked to see if there were any other posts in this forum about this subject
and haven't seen any...which shocks me.

With the new FTC ruling, here is what, as copywriters, we are left with.

1. No more testimonials that show personal results unless we can show
what the average results are, which we know we can't because we have
no way of knowing.

2. No more personal stories talking about our own results unless, again, we
can show what the average results are.

Okay copywriters. Now we're going to get to see who can write compelling
copy without showing any benefits that you can't substantiate in a way
that will appease the FTC.

Personally, I don't have a clue how to deal with this. I'm no million dollar
copywriter, that's for sure.

So here's a chance for the big boys to share how it's going to have to be
done.

My opinion, for what it's worth, is that there is no way. You can't make
something out of nothing. We all know that features don't sell, only
benefits. But if a benefit (money earned, time saved, leads generated)
involves giving numbers, facts, figures, or anything that violates the FTC
ruling, then the only way we can give them is by showing average results.

Stumped?

I'm beyond stumped.

So let's have it you million dollar copywriters. How do we get around this
problem? And please don't say "pre sell the prospect by building your list
first" and stuff like that. I'm talking about actually making your copy as
effective as it was before this new ruling.

I'm interested to see what you guys come up with.
#copy #write
  • Profile picture of the author ghyphena
    Play up the disclaimer :

    WARNING: RESULTS NOT TYPICAL.
    Here are typical results:

    Disclaimer: These numbers do not represent the results you are likely to experience. The average user will file this e-book away in a remote corner of his or her hard drive after giving it only a cursory glance. As a result the average user is likely to make no money with this e-book. Only buy this e-book if you are prepared to make no money at all.

    If nothing else, there's great potential for embedded commands. *jk*

    That's my take on it... Not that I'm a million-dollar copywriter.
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  • Profile picture of the author Matt James
    Hi Steven,

    Personally I'm waiting for the dust to settle on this. It still confuses the heck out of me.

    But it's the big boys who will suffer first, surely - the FTC will go after the money.

    I think I read John Carlton himself saying this kind of hysteria shows up every few years or so... for now just pray that your competition stop using testimonials.

    (Disclaimer: this may all seem hopelessly naive when the FTC bi*ch-slap my sales pages.)
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  • Profile picture of the author ghyphena
    In all seriousness: the Wall Street Journal's "two young men" letter never openly states that the successful one read the Journal. I think I will invest some considerable resources into mastering the dark art of implication. Not only does it render you immune from liability, but the effect tends to be stronger.

    Gary Halbert said something along the lines of: "the audience doesn't care for your pathetic subtleties" (not sure if those are the exact words; I'm sure Metronicity can set me right).

    But, on the other hand, Harlan Kilstein shows that you can get dramatic results by finely honing subtleties of language. In any case, I'm sure Halbert was talking about style, i.e. "English Class" writing - not presuppositions and deep structure.
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  • Profile picture of the author Johnny12345
    Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

    1. No more testimonials that show personal results unless we can show
    what the average results are, which we know we can't because we have
    no way of knowing.

    2. No more personal stories talking about our own results unless, again, we
    can show what the average results are.

    Okay copywriters. Now we're going to get to see who can write compelling
    copy without showing any benefits that you can't substantiate in a way
    that will appease the FTC.

    Steven,

    I am a copywriter, but I'm not a lawyer. However, here's my own take on the situation, based on what I've read...

    Yes, it appears that if your testimonials give a specific result, you must also cite the "typical" result a consumer should expect. Note that I said "typical" -- not "average." They're two different things.

    But I'm not sure that your point #2 is accurate. As far as I know, the rule says:

    "... advertisements that feature a consumer and convey his or her experience with a product or service as typical when that is not the case will be required to clearly disclose the results that consumers can generally expect."

    So, my question is... is the creator of a product also "a consumer"?

    I don't think so.

    If the FTC considered the creator to also be a consumer, wouldn't they have worded it in a more general way? For example, "If the claims made for a product are not typical..."

    Furthermore, as the creator of a product, if you have to know "the typical result" at the time the product is released, it could mean long delays in releasing products to the market while research and surveying is done. That would deeply hurt new product development in all sectors -- not just IM.

    The U.S. economy is already in shambles. So making things more difficult could create even more economic devastation.

    But, in any case, the real problem is that the rules are vague. They may have purposely been made that way to allow the FTC the ability to interpret and twist them in any way they desire. I don't know. We'll have to wait for the FTC to clarify its position or go after the first few scapegoats to find out.

    Hold on to your seats, friends, 'cause it's probably gonna be a bumpy ride...

    Johnny
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      [DELETED]
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      • Profile picture of the author Johnny12345
        Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

        The problem (typically) is: you may have a long wait, and the first few scapegoats may turn out to be such "gross cases" that you can't really learn too much from them.
        Where in my post did I say that it would be a quick process?


        In reality, it may depend on how many complaints are made, and things like this. It can be difficult even to learn anything completely clearly from "subsequent events", in other words.
        Many of the "alphabet agencies" are complaint driven. So what happens is that some companies complain as a form of "attack" on their competitors. I know someone who experienced this sort of thing with the FCC.


        My own suspicion, given the little I know about the FTC's "history of trading", is actually that it may all turn out to be less "bumpy" than many expect.
        OK... let's test your theory. Give us one of your URLs and we'll all complain about it and see what happens.

        I prefer to hope for the best, but plan for the worst. If you prepare for the worst and it doesn't materialize -- no harm done. The converse is not true. At this point, no one knows how this will all play out.

        But, if you decide to ignore the rules, know this... the alphabet gangs don't play fair and they have unlimited resources. They are also fond of making "an example" out of people. Ask Frank Kern about the FTC. Ask Howard Stern about the FCC. Ask the doctor that got his office raided -- with guns drawn -- for dispensing vitamins about the FDA.

        Johnny
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        • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
          I think I will invest some considerable resources into mastering the dark art of implication. Not only does it render you immune from liability, but the effect tends to be stronger.
          From my reading of the rules, this may not be a safe response. The reason I say that is that the FTC often talks about the conclusion that the average person takes away from an ad. They give the example that the average person thinks they will get the same results as the person whose story is told in the ad even though the ad never explicitly said anyone else would, and there is an asterisk at the bottom of the ad saying "Results not typical." That's a driving force behind the new rules.

          So if you master "the dark art of implication" so well that everyone thinks you are claiming X even though you never say X, then by the FTC's standard, isn't that deceptive?

          After all, celebrity ads don't usually promise anything. They don't have to. We get the message without being beaten over the head with it.

          Marcia Yudkin
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          • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
            Is it honestly, really feasible to expect
            that all of these websites will have to
            have their content adjusted to fit in
            with this new ruling? It's just not
            possible and what's more, it's going to
            be absolutely impossible by any stretch
            of the imagination, to police.

            As I said, just another qango. Load of
            hot air about nothing.
            Would you really want to take the chance of being reported to the FTC by a disgruntled customer?

            And would you want to be visibly, egregiously out of compliance with the rules if most conscientious marketers are following them?

            I don't think so.

            And what in the world is a "qango"?

            Marcia Yudkin
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            • Profile picture of the author Lance K
              Originally Posted by marciayudkin View Post

              Would you really want to take the chance of being reported to the FTC by a disgruntled customer?

              I understand what you're saying, Marcia, but thought that I would mention...

              I wouldn't want to take that chance even if the rules hadn't changed.

              Honor thy refund requests quickly and courteously.
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          • Profile picture of the author J. Barry Mandel
            Once the first person gets nailed this sets precedent.

            The ABC agencies work by complaints. All that needs to happen is that someone complains about a site and then the FTC will have reason to go after that marketer

            If you are the copywriter on British soil perhaps you are protected, but where is your client? If he is on this side of the pond then he becomes very touchable

            So IMO you are vastly underestimating things.

            Don't forget our famous guru who already got nabbed once and was prosecuted - Frank Kern. Something tells me he learned his lesson, hence the email he sent out the other day

            Originally Posted by MarkAndrews IMCopywriting View Post


            I strongly suspect that near everyone
            has absolutely nothing to fear whatsoever
            from this FTC ruling concerning in our
            case, testimonial boxes etc.
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            • Profile picture of the author Lance K
              Originally Posted by Justin Mandel View Post

              The ABC agencies work by complaints.
              Agreed.

              Originally Posted by Justin Mandel View Post

              All that needs to happen is that someone complains about a site and then the FTC will have reason to go after that marketer
              A single complaint may or may not get you on their radar. But I doubt you'll make the top of their priority list without multiple complaints. And if you have multiple complaints, there's a good chance you should be high on their list.
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              • Profile picture of the author Lance K
                Testimonials are only one element of copy. And showcasing extreme results simply to increase sales isn't all that ethical anyway.

                How do you deal with not being able to use the specifics of extreme results?

                • Get Their Attention

                • Construct Your Offer Around Something That They Want

                • Explain How Your Solution Is Unique

                • Describe benefits

                • Offer proof

                • Build Trust

                • Demonstrate Value

                • Reverse Risk

                You can even use the lack of testimonials to boost the value of your guarantee...

                "Now, I could plaster testimonials from satisfied users of XYZ all over the page in an effort to prove the value of my system to you. But that doesn't change the fact that these people are strangers to you. So I'd rather you prove it to yourself. And with my 100% Satisfaction guarantee I take ALL of the risk"

                INSERT KICK ASS GUARANTEE HERE.
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                • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
                  And with my 100% Satisfaction guarantee I take ALL of the risk
                  This may not be true in all niches, but several of my customers have told me that they feel it's wrong to request refunds and therefore do not order if the marketing copy depends too much on the guarantee to try to get the order.

                  This surprised me so much I didn't know what to say, and it wasn't just one weird person. It was several.

                  Marcia Yudkin
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                  • Profile picture of the author learnmore
                    Hi Marcia,
                    This could be explained by a common notion in some cultures where the person who claims to be truthful in an excessive manner is considered to be the opposite (liar or hiding something or stands to gain something from others believing him). Imagine the traveling sales person who gives you one guarantee after the other and (implicitly or explicitly) pushes to buy, the prospect may just run away.

                    As you said this may apply in cases where sales letter relies too much on the guarantee. If the trust or rapport has been build prior to that, then guarantee becomes less important. Let say I already have a following, if I sell something to them, I don't have to overly rely on guarantee but may be a mere passing mention of it will suffice.

                    Originally Posted by marciayudkin View Post

                    This may not be true in all niches, but several of my customers have told me that they feel it's wrong to request refunds and therefore do not order if the marketing copy depends too much on the guarantee to try to get the order.

                    This surprised me so much I didn't know what to say, and it wasn't just one weird person. It was several.

                    Marcia Yudkin
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                  • Profile picture of the author lionpuncher
                    I think this rule is to encourage rigorous testing before a product is released.

                    I could see why they did it to "help" the customer find the best product, based on actual results. But its taking a lot of the little guys out of the game and handing the advantage to the bigger firms who can afford the product testing.

                    Still, there are ways around this like the disclaimer. Plus, testimonials are great but I find that with REALLY GOOD COPY they tend to distract more than anything else (unless its from an authority, not your uncle).

                    my two cents!
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          • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
            Banned
            Originally Posted by MarkAndrews IMCopywriting View Post

            To be perfectly honest, I can't for the
            life of me see how the FTC are going
            to police this.
            Voila. That's it in a nutshell.
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          • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
            Banned
            Originally Posted by MarkAndrews IMCopywriting View Post

            Perhaps I am wrong but since when did
            the FTC have any legal clout on British
            soil or any other foreign soil for that
            matter?
            That's an interesting point. I think you'll find if you're selling or "targeting" the American market they do indeed have some "legal clout". I'll ask Bob Silber - the Attorney to the internet stars - to come on the thread and comment.
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    • Profile picture of the author Collette
      Originally Posted by Johnny12345 View Post

      Steven,

      I am a copywriter, but I'm not a lawyer. However, here's my own take on the situation, based on what I've read...

      Yes, it appears that if your testimonials give a specific result, you must also cite the "typical" result a consumer should expect. Note that I said "typical" -- not "average." They're two different things.

      But I'm not sure that your point #2 is accurate. As far as I know, the rule says:

      "... advertisements that feature a consumer and convey his or her experience with a product or service as typical when that is not the case will be required to clearly disclose the results that consumers can generally expect."

      So, my question is... is the creator of a product also "a consumer"?

      I don't think so.

      If the FTC considered the creator to also be a consumer, wouldn't they have worded it in a more general way? For example, "If the claims made for a product are not typical..."

      Furthermore, as the creator of a product, if you have to know "the typical result" at the time the product is released, it could mean long delays in releasing products to the market while research and surveying is done. That would deeply hurt new product development in all sectors -- not just IM.

      ...But, in any case, the real problem is that the rules are vague. They may have purposely been made that way to allow the FTC the ability to interpret and twist them in any way they desire.

      Johnny
      The issue is NOT whether all consumers will experience the same results and/or whether you are able to define, with accuracy, "average" or "typical" results.

      Nor does it prevent you from using testimonials.

      Overblown Hype does not = Testimonial.

      The ruling states that IF you feature a consumer claiming certain, specific results, and IF you present this consumer in such a way as to imply or convey the idea that this consumer's individual results will be the results experienced by the average consumer of your product, THEN you will have to be able to produce verifiable proof that the average consumer who buys your product will experience the exact same results as the consumer featured in your testimonial.

      If you CAN'T verify that the average consumer who buys your product will experience the same results, you MUST reveal that fact.

      So, say you want to use a testimonial from Joe. Joe says in his testimonial that he made a gazillion bucks in his sleep because he used your product.

      You must:

      - Verify Joe's claim to have made a gazillion bucks in his sleep using your product. And have that proof in YOUR files.

      - Reveal in your advertising that Joe's results are not typical of the average user of your product. (financial and health markets have been doing this for years).

      - Or, if you wish to convey the impression to consumers that Joe's results are typical of the average product user, you must have the PROOF that this is so. (That would mean getting confirmed results from every one of your buyers that they, too, made a gazillion bucks in their sleep using your product.)

      - If you do not have such confirmed proof, you can not imply, suggest, convey, hint, or give the impression that every buyer of your product will have Joe's results.

      So all the FTC ruling is saying is:

      Don't make claims in your marketing that you can't prove.

      Really. That's all there is to it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Russell Hall
      Originally Posted by Johnny12345 View Post

      Steven,

      I am a copywriter, but I'm not a lawyer. However, here's my own take on the situation, based on what I've read...


      But, in any case, the real problem is that the rules are vague. They may have purposely been made that way to allow the FTC the ability to interpret and twist them in any way they desire. I don't know. We'll have to wait for the FTC to clarify its position or go after the first few scapegoats to find out.


      Johnny
      I'm not a lawyer either but I did study law for a couple of years and have had direct experience working with several lawyers in the area of litigation in Australia where the legal system is very similar to that of the US.

      The thing about any rule, law or statute and any contractually binding clauses in any contract or agreement is this... that they are always subject to interpretation. Our entire western system of civil law is that of an adversarial one. Meaning that the lawyers for both plaintiff and defendant are opposing each others arguments in order to have their own interpretation and claims be the ones that are validated and carried by the court.
      As far as the FTC are concerned, I agree that they had to do something to create caution and concern (fear if you like) amongst marketers that have been rorting the wide open landscape for too long. Having said that, the fact that they have deliberately set loose clauses within the bill or law can work for them but it can equally work against them. I doubt that any savvy and financially capable marketer would have too much difficulty making a solid defense based on a well crafted argument by an expert attorney team. However,.. not all marketers are that wealthy that they would wish to enter into litigation that in itself could run into tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to win their cases. The FTC knows this and would be relying on it as a major deterrent to any marketer to act recklessly or with a measure of disregard for the new loosely worded and broadly interpretable law now enacted. Prior to this if the FTC had commenced action against any marketer, that marketer could have made an application to the court to have its costs awarded in the case of a win,.. but now the new law means that the FTC have full legal right to commence proceedings against anyone that they feel should be served a lesson and therefore there would be virtually no case of being able to claim against the FTC for costs for filing a case that they were fully legally entitled to pursue.
      Conclusion: Be careful and be responsible but don't get too paranoid about it. Sooner or later some fool is going to push the parameters too far and then the FTC will make an example of them so that then the interpretation will become all the more clear!
      That's my view,
      Russ
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  • Profile picture of the author ghyphena
    Quango = Quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation.

    And, to paraphrase the UK tv ad series: you know when you've been quango'ed*

    @Mark: My fear is that whether you're in the US, UK or even Vanuatu probably won't matter much if you use Clickbank, 2CO or any other platform based in the US. FTC will adjudge you to be within their jurisdiction.

    @Marcia: If you're right about the FTC adopting an objective standard (i.e. "what would the average person think") - and I'm sure you are - then yes, implication isn't a bulletproof solution. The difference is, it now become a matter of degree rather than black and white.

    *Apologies for obscure UK cultural reference. The ads are for Tango soft drinks, with the slogan: You know when you've been Tango'ed
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeHumphreys
      Steven,

      Good quality testimonials are always helpful but I've written plenty of sales letters for brand new products with zero testimonials and still gotten strong conversion rates.

      I think you'll see less hypey copy and shift to more "proveable" copy instead. I think you'll see more stories being brought into the copy. Case in point... I'm writing copy for a client right now that has a great story... he started his business after showing up for his job one day to find out that the owner's drug problem had caused the company to go belly-up. He would have never gone out on his own if he hadn't lost his job.

      Use what you can prove to sell the benefits of owning the product or service. Use testimonials that were given by actual customers and keep the records on file.

      Hope that helps,

      Mike
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      • Profile picture of the author graham41
        I am definately not a copywriter but would this ruling only serve to boost the earning power of established copywriters?

        my reason is, that marketers will increasingly hone in on tecnically gifted copy to keep them safe

        My totally offline consultancy is finally taking off due to networking based on great service/results but also on a lot of over the top BS from me.

        By the time I am finished the client has already paid a deposit on account in adv, then they are physclogically commited to me and I can tone the promises down to create a more realistic environment which they are more than happy with.

        G
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  • Profile picture of the author bobsilber
    The FTC does cross boarder (international) enforcement. You have to follow the laws of the country you do business in. If you think about it, it makes sense. I can't market to a U.K. audience and violate all the U.K. rules that are in place to protect them, just because I'm from the U.S..

    .
    .
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    • Profile picture of the author TristanPerry
      Originally Posted by bobsilber View Post

      The FTC does cross boarder (international) enforcement. You have to follow the laws of the country you do business in. If you think about it, it makes sense. I can't market to a U.K. audience and violate all the U.K. rules that are in place to protect them, just because I'm from the U.S..

      .
      .
      I mainly disagree with this.

      As I posted earlier, I used to own a large website/forums aimed at teenagers and young adults.

      Hence I had to comply with the COPPA law (the law stating that no 13 year olds can register/give personal information at all to websites, and those between 13 and 18 needed parental consent)

      However as a British citizen, with a British-owned site, which wasn't marketed to Americans (it was for everyone), I wasn't too worried about the law (in the sense that I know it's important, but I wasn't going to massively inconvenience all my visitors for its sake). In my user agreement I just put:

      "If you are an American citizen, you must comply with the COPPA Law. That is, if you are an American citizen, you must be over 18 years old to register, or be between 13 and 18 and with parental consent to register"

      To me, that was enough. If an American agency wanted to take action, it'd be a bit of a joke. If America wants to protect its citizens then great. But as a British citizen with a British-owned site which wasn't aimed at Americans, I certainly wasn't going to do anything more than put a couple of sentences up.

      As for the FTC law - any products I release won't be marketed specifically to Americans, plus I'm British and will (from now on) host all my websites relating to IM products in the UK, thus I'm not too worried about this law.

      There are various consumer laws in all countries. But America (its law makers, that is) is the only country I've seen who seem to think that these sorts of laws can apply outside of America too. In my eyes it's just bully tactics, hence I'm not too worried about this FTC law.

      I'm British, I'll (now) be hosting all my IM-related products/sales pages outside of America, and I won't be marketing exclusively to American citizens. If the FTC bullies think their jurisdiction covers me, they've got to be pretty daft.
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  • Profile picture of the author KenThompson
    I believe some of you hit the salient points.

    1. Complaint driven govt processes.

    2. Vague wording. This is intentional IMO because it accomplishes
    several things. First it provides lattitude which, admittedly, can
    work for or against you, or them. Secondly it seems to be a natural
    result when regulations are applied to a broad area with a myriad of
    possibilities and situations. So it's a convenience, if you will.

    Additional thoughts:

    I would just think that a determining factor in the decision to
    pursue prosecution would be a question of cost/benefit for them, the
    FTC.

    They're govt and therefore to a certain extent political. So they would
    not want to look like a 1000 pd gorilla who totally annihilated some person
    trying to make 100/month in affiliate revenue.

    They have an image to protect just like all the rest in DC.

    If there was a disgruntled customer who had an axe to grind, I believe
    there would be a question regarding numbers of complaints. Then it
    could either be black/white or gray in interpretation.

    If we communicate with such customers in a professional manner, and
    attempt to resolve the situation in a fair manner, then save those emails.
    They'll become evidence and useful for supporting (and defending) your
    self.

    If the customer does not contact you and fires a complaint to the FTC,
    then that will only work against the customer. This presumes it's an
    isolated case from a difficult customer.

    Edit: More thoughts and an idea.

    If someone is sufficiently concerned about this, then the following could
    be executed and perhaps be useful.

    Create a results poll and send it to customers. Obviously, not all will reply
    for reasons we all know. Then the average results will be known, and that
    info can be posted somewhere in the copy.

    The poll copy can be fairly worded in a way that reflects positively on the
    product, etc. I'm not suggesting deceptively worded copy, but fairly and
    accurately worded copy.

    But it seems to me it all boils down to being a straight marketer who's selling
    a good product that works as advertised. If everything's upfront, there's really
    no reason to worry, IMO.
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    I don't see how the new laws would affect "copywriting". That's for the
    legal department to work out not copywriters. Every company has to make
    sure that their marketing materials comply with the law before using them,
    but that's not the copywriter's job.

    -Ray Edwards
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
      Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

      I don't see how the new laws would affect "copywriting". That's for the
      legal department to work out not copywriters. Every company has to make
      sure that their marketing materials comply with the law before using them,
      but that's not the copywriter's job.

      -Ray Edwards
      Ray, it doesn't affect the copywriters as far as their liability, but it does
      limit them to what they can say in their copy.

      I mean if it was only just about the companies marketing materials, we
      wouldn't need copywriters at all.

      They do word things in ways that make the product more desirable to
      purchase. Now, they have to be more careful about how they do that.
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      • Profile picture of the author TimCastleman
        I'm not changing crap. Seriously, I am still going to tell my story and have plenty of testiomonials. If the FTC has a problem, they'll let me know but I have zero plans on changing.
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      • Profile picture of the author Raydal
        Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

        Ray, it doesn't affect the copywriters as far as their liability, but it does
        limit them to what they can say in their copy.

        I mean if it was only just about the companies marketing materials, we
        wouldn't need copywriters at all.

        They do word things in ways that make the product more desirable to
        purchase. Now, they have to be more careful about how they do that.

        Well, I guess that was my way of saying that I have nothing to change.
        I won't lose sleep over this ... not one minute.

        They know who they are after. And it's not my kind of copy.

        -Ray Edwards
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    • Profile picture of the author Kyle Tully
      Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

      I don't see how the new laws would affect "copywriting". That's for the
      legal department to work out not copywriters. Every company has to make
      sure that their marketing materials comply with the law before using them,
      but that's not the copywriter's job.

      -Ray Edwards
      In the cases I've heard of where people were prosecuted it's BOTH the company and the copywriter that get done. Doesn't matter what your agreement says, if you write it then you back it.
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  • Profile picture of the author ThomasW
    Sam read the Bible and says it changed his life for the better. Are these results typical?

    Jeff Paul has an infomercial showing women with large amounts of boobage interviewing clients making 10,000 - 100,000 a month with an unreadable disclaimer at the bottom of the screen. Drug companies advertise their miracle pills while claiming certain side effects such as your foot falling off and possible coma induced by taking their pill, and on and on. Will all of this stop?

    Maybe telling the truth will work. Buy my package of 5 niches, 3 articles, and a pdf file, use it as I describe and results will be pleased with the results. If not , send it back for a full refund. For best results, USE AS DIRECTED.
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    • Profile picture of the author janet444
      Originally Posted by ThomasW View Post

      Jeff Paul has an infomercial showing women with large amounts of boobage interviewing clients making 10,000 - 100,000 a month with an unreadable disclaimer at the bottom of the screen. Will this stop?
      Dear Lord, I hope so!

      After seeing that infomercial (which was EXACTLY as you describe it here) I Googled Paul. Just as scammy as it sounds. I'd love to see the FTC put him out of business and make him give every single customer his/her money back.

      Janet
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
    Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

    So let's have it you million dollar copywriters. How do we get around this
    problem?
    Steve the answer isn't impossible. You use truisms and questions and some soft implications. You can get anywhere you would before but your copy will be more sophisticated. I'm looking forward to it. Chompin at the bits!

    P.S. You can go under the radar if your copy doesn't result in ton loads of sales but we all know the government goes after the large money cases. They don't need to police every piece of copy. They just need to look at the very successful ones (they are going to have more complaints even if the product is good) and they'll be looking to go after IM products in particular.

    Good converion rates are what copywriters sell and the make money and IM fields are one industry the FTC is after so they are in the bullseye.
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    • Profile picture of the author markpocock
      Testimonials are just one way of offering proof.

      There are plenty more proof methods you can use
      in a letter.

      cheers

      Mark
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  • Profile picture of the author Scott Murdaugh
    There are quite a few ways to deal with the new regs...

    Mainly being open and transparent. I've written a little more on the subject in my sig.

    -Scott
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  • Profile picture of the author David Maschke
    I'm no expert copywriter, but I'll tell you what I'd like to read...



    "I've received 50,000 hits and made 523 sales using just these simple joint venture techniques alone.

    "That's 523 sales x $47 a pop = $24,581 in my pocket. (I think I'll surprise my wife with a trip to Hawaii.)

    "Can I guarantee you'll receive the same exact results?

    "Of course not. I don't know who you are nor do I know the caliber of joint venture partners you'll find. But if you're willing to put my step by step plan into action, you will see concrete results..."

    Testimonials - I never read them. But that's just me.

    Dave
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    I

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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
      Originally Posted by David Maschke View Post

      "Of course not. I don't know who you are nor do I know the caliber of joint venture partners you'll find. But if you're willing to put my step by step plan into action, you will see concrete results..."

      Dave
      Almost but your last sentence possibly trips off the FTC alarm. You are implying in your concrete results an average of sorts (and a guarantee) and you could be liable to give the FTC a basis for that statement. So I would drop it. Reinforce that it worked for me and that I'm not special

      " but when I put this step by step plan into action I saw results even though my wife tells me I'm not even close to being the brightest person that she knows. "

      Its a variation of a technique they tell us to use in TV/Film scripts. Show don't tell. I just showed them who I was and they measured themselves favorably against my picture. I made no guarantees and just told my story.
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  • Profile picture of the author graham41
    clever and concise yet honest
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  • Profile picture of the author maximus242
    The panic over this is rediculous. Its just a small change from saying *results not typical to *typical results are bla bla bla

    Big deal.
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    For our overseas friends who see this as no big deal, think again. Our government is in a serious transitional period at the moment. Every day we see more and more evidence of capitalism under attack. The president openly speaks about redistributing wealth. I never thought I'd see such a thing here but when Michael Moore's anti-capitalism schlock garners the high praise it's been getting, you can be sure there's trouble on the horizon.

    I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the FTC implement a 'drop-a-dime' program similar to what the IRS does to catch tax cheats. I'm talking about a hotline where people can anonymously call the feds and report tax cheats and then receive a 'bounty' or percentage of any money the IRS collects.

    With America losing an average of 500,000 jobs per month over the past year, this program has been very popular lately. People that have been laid off are ratting out their ex-bosses in record numbers. Maybe it's a stretch to think the FTC will do this, but for my money, anything is possible.

    And if the FTC decides to move only on complaints, what's to stop jealous and wicked marketers from complaining about competitors? Think about it. What better way to tie up a competitor than forcing them to spend time and money defending his or her actions? You may think I'm paranoid but there is a very anti-business sentiment brewing in the US right now.

    Okay, with all of that out of the way, I think the way to deal with the testimonial issue will be with an increase in the use of social proof. For example, say you're selling a hypnosis program. Rather than have individual testimonials of how well the program works, you'll be looking to quote magazine articles, universities and other credible sources where respected individuals have documented progress using it.

    This won't carry the appeal that a personal endorsement does (many of which are bogus in the first place) but it just might appease the regulators.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      Steven -

      It doesn't matter what marketers think about the FTC rules - we have to follow them and when the steps are clarified (as they will be) that's what we'll do. I think the new rules may be designed to bring online ads and claims in line with what is required of offline advertisers and sellers.

      Truth in Advertising | Business.gov

      If non-US marketers feel this doesn't apply to them - why are they so busy posting their opinions about US law in all of these threads? For those so confident the FTC will not be able to enforce these rules - good luck with that.

      If sellers are at risk with the rules, they will require affiliates to toe the line (no matter where the affiliate lives) and will not hire copywriters who don't adhere to the US laws.

      kay
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    • Profile picture of the author TristanPerry
      Originally Posted by travlinguy View Post

      For our overseas friends who see this as no big deal, think again.
      As I mentioned above - I'm a UK citizen, NOT sellling/marketing solely to Americans and will be hosting any IM-related websites in the UK. Hence I can't see how the FTC could possibly see that as in their jurisdiction.

      I could understand it if, say, I was selling a product marketed to Americans. Or if I hosted in America.

      But considering the above, I can't imagine I'd need to worry too much about this.

      Just as UK consumer laws on the internet don't magically apply to Americans..

      But if you can find a piece of international law that states that American laws apply to non-American citizens marketing non-American products and hosting them thousands of miles away from America, then I'm all ears
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      • Profile picture of the author Ashley Gable
        Couldnt you kind of getaway with the testimonial part by putting ALL the feedback you receive on your site? One whole page that has the good, bad and the middle.

        Of course you would position the testimonials in a way that the bad, which you would put underneath how you fixed the problem or addressed their concerns, were seen as good, because you made it all better, or at least tried to.

        I am not a copywriter, in fact I only have one site and only have two testimonials, both are praise.

        Just my thoughts.

        Ashley
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        • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
          Couldnt you kind of getaway with the testimonial part by putting ALL the feedback you receive on your site? One whole page that has the good, bad and the middle.
          Ashley, that might be one solution, except for the fact that you need their permission to use people's feedback and my experience is that many people won't give their permission. Therefore, it might be hard to have a "complete set."

          On the other hand, I am thinking of one course I taught that had 12 people in it, and I received permission to post the testimonials from 11 of the 12 people. I can say that and let people see that the praise and the results are very representative.

          The larger the data set, of course, the harder it is to do that.

          Marcia Yudkin
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  • Profile picture of the author Loren Woirhaye
    I've often written salesletters without testimonials and got
    good results. In that case, I shift the emphasis of the writing
    to showing how the mechanism of the product works, what
    makes it new and exciting.

    I used to write a lot of "make money" copy and was fairly
    hypey, but I seldom used testimonials because the truth was
    money making systems require dedication and work to make
    a lot of money with them. It's the "new" angle that gets
    "the guy" (my term for the buyer) to start thinking it's
    the best idea he's seen lately and take the risk of trying
    it out.

    That may sound a little simplistic, but there have been a
    lot of very successful letters out there which were not
    predicated on testimonials. Instead, use risk-reversal,
    an innovative product, a price/value appeal, and so forth.

    I think maybe the FTC thing is meant to target people selling
    wee-wee pills, diet pills, Jeff Paul infomercial type stuff.
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  • Profile picture of the author tomw
    I don't get the panicking either. Especially by copywriters.

    Those that work for advertising and marketing agencies or directly for corporate clients have nothing at all to worry about. All copy goes through compliance. Copywriters working for clients of their own also have nothing to fear as presumably the responsibility for complying with the FTC belongs to those who commission them.

    It's only the "writers" that create their own products and market them that are potentially at risk. Those that work within the guidelines should be fine. As for the rest...well surely they're part of the reason why the guidelines have been amended.

    Tom
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  • Profile picture of the author Mobosorous
    Banned
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    • Profile picture of the author mattlloyd
      i dont have to worry about that i live in Australia anyway
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      • Profile picture of the author TristanPerry
        Originally Posted by mattlloyd View Post

        i dont have to worry about that i live in Australia anyway
        Exactly Just be sure to not host your product in America (i.e. host it in Australia or Europe, etc) and I think you'll be set.

        That's what I'll be doing.
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        • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
          Originally Posted by TristanPerry View Post

          Exactly Just be sure to not host your product in America (i.e. host it in Australia or Europe, etc) and I think you'll be set.

          That's what I'll be doing.
          Sorry Matt and Tristan. Paypal is US based. If you are found to be violating US law Paypal can and will eventually shut you down if you come under the radar.. Anyone thinking that they don't have to comply if they are not US based has a point but they must be preapared to forget about the US market as well.
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          • Profile picture of the author TristanPerry
            Originally Posted by Mike Anthony View Post

            Sorry Matt and Tristan. Paypal is US based. If you are found to be violating US law Paypal can and will eventually shut you down if you come under the radar.. Anyone thinking that they don't have to comply if they are not US based has a point but they must be preapared to forget about the US market as well.
            So now USA law can be enforced on UK citizens doing business in the UK... if some Americans pay via an American payment system?

            Sorry but... that sounds a bit of a joke?

            What's next... I then change things and use a UK payment system, but since I once went to America on holiday I now have to follow all the American laws??

            I honestly can't seem to believe the mentality that USA law covers everyone in the World over the most trivial of 'links'?
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          • Profile picture of the author digidoodles
            If you don't live in the US, but you sell to US customers, I wholeheartedly believe you should have to comply with US laws. After all, that's the "price you pay" for getting into the pockets of Americans.

            Are people actually suggesting that they can profit from Americans, yet run willy-nilly and think they must only conform to the country their business is established in? Please say this isn't the case.

            Furthermore, if you tell the truth... this whole FTC thing doesn't mean bupkas to you. My partner and I have a sales page selling our services... where we .. wait for it.. TELL THE TRUTH. *gasp* Novel concept, eh?

            If I have to lie or exaggerate to sell you something, I'd rather not sell you something, be broke and live in a van down by the river. Seriously.

            You can't put a price tag on integrity. At least, I won't put a price tag on MY integrity.

            Brandi
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    • Profile picture of the author markpocock
      I think Michel Fortin has a great solution on his Blog.

      Write your testimonials as case studies.

      Simple!

      regards

      Mark
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  • Profile picture of the author Ronak Shah
    As Bob Silber wrote that the FTC can extradite people across borders through international treaties, I believe they can't even touch an Australian citizen or an Iranian or a Japanese or any other citizen of external nationality unless and until the person is proven to have done any "forgery" in the home courts from where the business is operational. The US can only enforce its laws on Afghanistan and Iraq, and other places where it has bases such as Pakistan. Even Pakistan does not give real importance to the US (no offence) who gives aid to it so getting a person extradited is really a task unless it goes to interpol and lodges a case in violation of a criminal offence.

    I, for one reason, won't even give a damn to the FTC if I have my own product as I am from India. I firstly find the rules very unclear, vague and astonishingly one sided.

    Secondly, I as an affiliate marketer will have to be cautious while promoting the products of American companies to potential customers. The only thing I will have to do is put a disclaimer stating:

    "My blog makes money from promoting products through banner ads or text link ads of other people where I get a commission if someone buys it. Thus, the ads or text links may point to a product or service where I could be getting financial benefits from the same. Any recommendation stated within the content published on my blog is a personal choice of my own and each person must justify to themselves whether they must make a purchase of recommended product / service before making it. I or the content on my blog is not at all responsible for any decisions you take and they are your personal choices so please make your choices wisely."

    My friend Bob Silber (yeah.. I'd call you my newly found friend ) ..

    Would you be able to say whether ezinearticles.com will have to shut down its backlinking policy or disallow people to stop linking back to potential affiliate marketing urls from their ezinearticles.com articles?

    That way, ezinearticles.com is set to shut down if FTC has to speak... ain't it? Not only ezinearticles.com but all article directories will have to shut down provided they keep a disclaimer on each page stating the backlinks are kept to generate financial revenues.

    What about comments in blogs and posts in forums which already have affiliate marketing urls in signatures and so on so forth...? What about content that has already been posted on twitter before the ruling comes into effect and cannot be changed where you've no control over it?

    I love this forum. This is a beautiful forum. I'm loving it. Wow Allen! Lovely!
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    • Profile picture of the author TristanPerry
      Originally Posted by ronakshah View Post

      As Bob Silber wrote that the FTC can extradite people across borders through international treaties, I believe they can't even touch an Australian citizen or an Iranian or a Japanese or any other citizen of external nationality unless and until the person is proven to have done any "forgery" in the home courts from where the business is operational. The US can only enforce its laws on Afghanistan and Iraq, and other places where it has bases such as Pakistan. Even Pakistan does not give real importance to the US (no offence) who gives aid to it so getting a person extradited is really a task unless it goes to interpol and lodges a case in violation of a criminal offence.
      I wouldn't worry too much about it. I'm not. As I asked elsewhere, if someone can show me the piece of international law that says:

      "American laws apply to non-American citizens selling products to non-Americans and hosting the products thousands of miles away from America"

      then I'll agree with Bob et al. But at the moment it just sounds like a joke. Certainly, I don't think the FTC's silly rules apply to me since I won't be doing business in America or anything. That doesn't mean I won't sell to Americans (or course, I would), but my selling wouldn't be 'based' in America nor marketed solely to Americans.

      In the future I might set-up an offline business or two in the UK. I'll be a British citizen doing business with British citizens and basing my business in the UK. Will I have to follow American consumer laws if an American comes here on holiday and buys one of my products?

      No?

      Then I don't have to follow the FTC rules either, surely?

      As I say, that's my interpretation of things and I can't find any piece of international law that states anything different
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      • Profile picture of the author Martin Luxton
        Originally Posted by TristanPerry View Post

        I wouldn't worry too much about it. I'm not. As I asked elsewhere, if someone can show me the piece of international law that says:

        "American laws apply to non-American citizens selling products to non-Americans and hosting the products thousands of miles away from America"
        Ooops!

        BBC NEWS | UK | NatWest 'fraud' trio arrive in US

        America can extradite British citizens but for some reason this agreement is not reciprocal.

        Don't worry about the FTC. All you need is friends in high places and you can market, for example, a flu vaccine which hasn't been tested and whose predecessors' "typical" results included brain damage and absolutely no protection against flu.

        Just sayin'.

        Martin
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  • Profile picture of the author robinana
    Subversive marketing and indirect endorsements will still rule, as usual. Get a well known face to place alongside the product and people put the two together, even if it not directly spoken. The marketers with less money to spend will continue to use large breasted, scantily dressed women, images of grandeur and the like. Who needs great copy when you can put one small image in a potential client's mind and let them run wild with it.
    They end up advertising to themselves.
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    • Profile picture of the author cerava
      Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim

      1. No more testimonials that show personal results unless we can show what the average results are, which we know we can't because we have no way of knowing.

      2. No more personal stories talking about our own results unless, again, we
      can show what the average results are.
      Thanks, Steven, for bringing the regulations up to our attention. I'm certain that as copywriters, all of us were caught of guard. My views are based on an incomplete legal training for over 3 years, from which I dropped out off last year. Again, it does not cover American jurisprudence, but only Malaysian. Commonwealth countries may find it relevant, but it does not replace the advice from a competant legal practitioner:-

      As many of you have stated, this two - if the regulation appears as it is here - are poorly worded and ambiguous.

      Chances are copywriters will be spared by this. This is because copywriters have in their terms of services, contained in their website or invoice, that exempts them the liability. How? By stating that it shall be the clients' responsibilities to obtain legal advice on the advertising and marketing pieces which they send out; not the copywriter. By further adding that copywriters are not liable for the way clients use their marketing and advertising materials, you add another layer of defense.

      Even if this is a blanket ban, are there any other techniques?

      I'm confident that there are more ways to write copy than the one prohibited by this ruling, i.e. use of testimonials.

      How?

      Just demonstrate how to use it.

      Deception, 'fraud' or 'misrepresentation', only arises when the seller knowingly gives false information on the product or service. It also covers when the seller or advertiser fails to do things made compulsory by law. For example the disclosure of a prospectus for shares and mutul funds.

      Whatever idea which the prospects or customers conceive is beyond the control of the seller or copywriter. Neither you nor I can expect what they may conceive. Again, there are many copywriting principles and tactics which exist out there to address this.


      What I can foresee is this:
      • Use a different copywriting tactic;
      • Protect yourself with a terms of service which specifically mentions the waiver of liability and onus of legal counsel on the Client.
      • For the purpose of website, use country specific domain country-level names. A .com.my is governed by the laws of Malaysia, a .co.uk is governed by the laws of the UK. A .com, however is governed by the law of where it is accessed.
      For better advice, I urge you to refer to a legal professional in your country.




      Best regards,


      Aldric
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      • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
        I'm confident that there are more ways to write copy than the one prohibited by this ruling, i.e. use of testimonials.
        The new rules do NOT ban testimonials. Many testimonials will still be fine. Only a certain type of testimonial - touting results that may not be typical - require different treatment.

        That's why all copywriters who write for clients in the U.S. need to familiarize themselves with the new guidelines - so they don't toss out perfectly fine techniques that the ruling says nothing about.

        Marcia Yudkin
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  • Profile picture of the author cgallagher93
    From what I can fathom, there's a lot of misconception regarding this. No-one REALLY knows what the heck is goin on...

    In this post, I'm gonna break down the ruling and do my best to work out that it really means! Before I do so, let me state that I'm no English graduate or billion-dollar copywriter, so please don't rip me to shreds if you disagree :-)

    "Under the revised Guides, advertisements that feature a consumer and convey his or her experience with a product or service as typical when that is not the case will be required to clearly disclose the results that consumers can generally expect. In contrast to the 1980 version of the Guides - which allowed advertisers to describe unusual results in a testimonial as long as they included a disclaimer such as "results not typical" - the revised Guides no longer contain this safe harbor."

    Firstly, a product creator/publisher is not a consumer. Taken from the good ol' dictionary.com, a conusmer is one that acquires goods and services for direct use rather than for resale or production in manufacturing.

    The person who creates the product is the vendor. In response to Steven's initial post, I have to say I strongly disagree with point #2. I don't see anywhere that the ruling implies product owners cannot convey their own experience with their own product - meaning that including personal stories in your copy should be perfectly fine.

    What these new guidelines do imply, however, is that the use of testimonials from beta testers or previous consumers whereby clear statements of financial/physical results are made are strictly illegal IF you fail to include some sort of diclaimer stating the typical results consumers are likely to experience for themselves.

    I think people are looking into this too much. Don't get me wrong, I think it's wise to always be cautious but in this case I think what the FTC are saying is that they'll be coming down heavily on liars, conmen and fraudsters.

    In the main, this should affect only those outrageous CPA landing pages that are never backed up with proof. It's as simple as this...

    If you're going to use testimonials, don't use fake ones. If you're going to use testimonials, make sure you include LOTS of them! This way, you can include some sort of disclaimer stating typical results that users can expect to achieve:

    "Results NOT Typical - Based upon the testimonials included from previous consumers and beta testers, we have taken an average of each person's earnings and concluded that the typical results users will achieve is X. However, there are also a number of users who did not return positive testimonials or indeed failed to include any form of feedback whatsoever. Therefore, we can only conclude that typical users IF taking the action steps stated within the manual will achieve X. If however, as a product owner you fail to take action and follow our step-by-step instructions to the letter and in the order they are advised, we can only suggest that you will achieve NOTHING."

    The FTC are looking for honesty and integrity and people making false claims will inevitably suffer the consequences (getting their asses sued in court for millions of dollars as a way of paying them back for being assholes!).

    A disclaimer such as the one above is just about as honest as you can be without guessing what users will achieve and states clearly that not everyone will achieve those results.

    To be honest, not many people read the disclaimer anyway. So surely including a link at the bottom of the sales page to an earnings disclaimer stating something along the lines of the above would be fine. Therefore, I see no reason why your copy can't be just as effective as it used to be!

    That's what I propose anyway. But hey, I'm 16. I ain't no lawyer! I suggest you leave it a couple of months and run it past some legal advisor who knows what he/she is talking about

    Thanks,

    Connor
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  • Profile picture of the author Dainis
    MarkAndrews

    To be perfectly honest, I can't for the life of me see how the FTC are going to police this.
    ...the thing that makes people afraid is being in the 2% used as an example. And then everyone else just complies on their own.


    So all the FTC ruling is saying is:

    Don't make claims in your marketing that you can't prove.

    Really. That's all there is to it.
    ...and WE, the FTC, we OWN what PROOF is. No matter how backwards our "science" is...we OWN proof, and you can't do anything about it. So shut down anything that does not serve us, our purpose, or the people we report to. Or go to jail. Court proceedings? Rights? Excuse me? Just shut down your operation NOW or go to jail, you'll get a letter in a few months.

    Lance K
    Offer proof
    ...what if proof is illegal...

    I dunno, I'm getting close to 40 years old. I was raised in Chicago as a Latvian in exile, because the Soviet Union had occupied Latvia. Russia STILL refuses to acknowledge the forceful occupation of Latvia, and turns a blind eye to the 100's of thousands of Latvian lives lost. It IS possible to overthrow great nations. It IS possible to silence populations. And it IS possible to profit from that.

    That, I think is the big FEAR everyone is feeling. And, under no circumstances, are we to underestimate the idiocy of the masses, the cruelty of governments, or the willingness of individuals to comply with EVIL policies.

    Especially people who provide natural products and alternative therapies feel threatened. Because they feel like big pharma is out to kill you and them.

    I do, however, have a lot of faith in America and the American People. If there is a nation and population that can handle this with savvy, grace, and honor, it's America and Americans.

    Ummm...BTW...anyone think I might need to move the business address of this site overseas?

    Cure Tinnitus Member Community
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    • Profile picture of the author Collette
      Originally Posted by Dainis View Post

      ...the thing that makes people afraid is being in the 2% used as an example.
      The guidelines are not obscure. If you're in the percentage that insists on blatantly ignoring them, then you have reason to be afraid. You seem to have a number of misconceptions about the ruling. I suggest you take a copy of the FTC doc to a qualified lawyer and follow his/her guidance. If nothing else, it will give you clarity.

      Originally Posted by Dainis View Post

      ...and WE, the FTC, we OWN what PROOF is. No matter how backwards our "science" is...we OWN proof, and you can't do anything about it. So shut down anything that does not serve us, our purpose, or the people we report to. Or go to jail. Court proceedings? Rights? Excuse me? Just shut down your operation NOW or go to jail, you'll get a letter in a few months.
      With all due respect, Danis, this is unsubstantiated paranoia. Ethical marketers have been making a substantial profits for years by producing proof that their products and services have the benefits they claim in their marketing. The FTC ruling does not change what these marketers have been doing - profitably - for years.

      All this ruling does is to shut down the hucksters and flim-flam merchants. It's not the first time this has been done, you know. Travelling carnival salesmen were once allowed to sell arsenic in fancy brown bottles while claiming that their "patented formula" cures everything from croup to cancer. The government shut down those operations, too.

      Originally Posted by Dainis View Post


      ...what if proof is illegal...
      Then you can't use it as "proof". And why would you even want to consider using something deceptive or untrue as "proof"?

      Originally Posted by Dainis View Post

      I dunno, I'm getting close to 40 years old. I was raised in Chicago as a Latvian in exile, because the Soviet Union had occupied Latvia. Russia STILL refuses to acknowledge the forceful occupation of Latvia, and turns a blind eye to the 100's of thousands of Latvian lives lost. It IS possible to overthrow great nations. It IS possible to silence populations. And it IS possible to profit from that.
      I understand how your perception could be influenced by this. But the FTC is not trying to "silence" anyone except the rip-off artists. Those people whose business is built on empty promises and over-priced mediocrity.

      THOSE people should - quite rightly - be breaking a sweat. But you know what? I'd bet they're not. I'd bet that they - the ones who should be most concerned with providing legitimate products and proof - are paying high-priced lawyers to find the loopholes in the ruling. So that they can continue to do business as usual.

      Originally Posted by Dainis View Post

      That, I think is the big FEAR everyone is feeling. And, under no circumstances, are we to underestimate the idiocy of the masses, the cruelty of governments, or the willingness of individuals to comply with EVIL policies.
      If people were that concerned with their personal rights we wouldn't have the Patriot Act. And that's all I'm gonna say about that.

      This hysteria is being fanned by shysters panicking about their personal profits being damaged. There is no higher motive here.

      Originally Posted by Dainis View Post

      Especially people who provide natural products and alternative therapies feel threatened. Because they feel like big pharma is out to kill you and them.
      People who provide LEGITIMATE natural products and alternative therapies have always been careful to have the proof to back their claims. And Big Pharma has been trying to shut down the alternative health market for decades - without success. In fact, Big Pharma has now decided "If we can't beat 'em, we'll join 'em!" For the last few years, Big Pharma is producing their own line of "alternative therapies".

      I just saw an ad on tv last night for a Big Pharma product for joint therapy. It contains Hyaluronic Acid, derived from cock's comb. Big Pharma has been trying to shut down HA for at least a decade now.

      But they couldn't. Because the studies had been done and the proof of HA's efficacy was there.

      I know this, because I've written for two products containing HA. And the client had a file drawer of proof that would pass the FTC any day.

      Plus, we never made any claims that could not be substantiated. HA helps alleviate joint pain, but it doesn't cure arthritis or any other joint disease. Nor is there 'proof' that it prevents the progression of any joint disease. (There are theories that it does, and some evidence that it may. But no proof that it does.) So we simply never made those claims - much as we would have liked to.

      And, BTW: These HA products were among their best-sellers.

      Originally Posted by Dainis View Post

      Ummm...BTW...anyone think I might need to move the business address of this site overseas?

      Cure Tinnitus Member Community
      Really, if you're concerned, you should ask a competent lawyer, not a bunch of random people on a forum.
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  • Profile picture of the author erinwrites
    I think that all that is happening is that the FTC is trying to prevent people on both sides of a sale from getting screwed. Seriously--these are government drones, do you really think they want to create more work for themselves? And think of just how much federal funding and work it would take to check every single website for compliance.

    What you guys seem to be overlooking is that this ruling protects merchants and copywriters too. Think about it. If, somehow, you are forced to incorporate information about the "typical" result of a product or service then some jerk won't have a leg to stand on if he wants to sue you because he bought the product but didn't make a billion dollars overnight just by taking the product out of the box.

    It looks to me like this ruling's goal is not so much to crack down on liars but to prevent a bunch of unnecessary lawsuits--lawsuits that somehow always make it to the FTC. These guys want to cut down on their work, not create more for themselves.

    And, just my two cents, but if all that you have in your copywriting bag of tricks is a stack of (mostly faked) glowing testimonials then you probably need to go back to school And thank god, because I am getting REALLY tired of seeing pages that offer nothing but blinking headlines and five miles worth of testimonials with little to no text that references the actual product.

    Come on, people: we're copywriters! We're the people who look at concrete bricks and say "now how can I make this interesting so people will buy more of them?" Aren't you up for a little bit of a challenge?

    /nauseating cheerleading
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  • Profile picture of the author TristanPerry
    Hi Martin,
    Thanks for that link. Isn't that a case of a US-based business, though? As in, Enron was a US based company with some UK citizens working at the top of it?

    It's worrying nonetheless, but I still can't seem to find anything which says that the FTC has jurisdiction over UK businesses not specifically doing business with US citizens?

    As I say, it does seem like a silly case though. Some of the US law-making/enforcing bodies do seem to believe that they have Worldwide jurisction.
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  • Profile picture of the author Profit-smart
    So?

    Stick to features, and emphasize them.

    And add this rule to your playbook;

    Give away a KILLER sample of the product.

    Whatever it is!

    I'm a big fan of letting a products quality sell its self.

    If your doing aff/cpa offers, just duplicate the numbers from the owners site. Then they should be liable, not you.

    If its a report, or a piece of software; offer a limited trial or a free chapter. Dont try to force them to opt-in to get it, just give it to them!

    This is what I've been doing since all this FCC hoopla started up anyways. My numbers havent changed much, So I must be doing something right.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
      Originally Posted by Profit-smart View Post

      So?

      Stick to features, and emphasize them.
      Exactly. I really don't know what the commotion is about. You can write good effective copy even under the new rules. IM and mail order get rich quick schemes have ensured that no one outside our industry is going to care to ever change the new rules. So might as well live with it.

      BTW - Excellent piece of writing in that last post Collette. I Will look out for your posts more often.
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  • Profile picture of the author mattlloyd
    Regardless of what will happen, the idea that you can only use the average results of customers is a joke. The fact is, 95% of people are lazy don't take action. Just look at the stats for how many people diets... are the diets labelled as a scam? No.

    But in industry's like Network Marketing, it's OK to label a company as a scam if you don't get results with it. It just doesn't make sense to me.
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  • Profile picture of the author rconejr
    Yeah, I don't see how they will enforce this. Are they really going to devote staff to look for sales pages that violate this policy? I think they will go after the companies that are already on their radars for other scams and complaints.
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  • Profile picture of the author Damien Roche
    Anybody have any input on Google paid advertising? I'm constantly seeing textual ads which give very exact results. I'd hope cracks start to show there first, considering they're at the forefront of these ads.

    I'm by no mean a copywriter in any respect, or a lawyer.

    BY the way, how would this affect people outside the US?
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
    Tristan don't be ridiculous. Paypal is US based. Forget the US mentality hate rant (didn't expect that from a UK brother). Just as your business has to comply with UK laws so does Paypal with US law. You are fine as I said selling to people outside the US but if what you are doing is illegal in the US the FTC has the right to lean on US based companies to cut off service to you.

    Sorry, some of you have your head in the sand on this one. You will get no sympathy from the overwhelming majority of people who see this for what it is. I am with Collette on this one. Its simply a policy to cut down on the scam or near scam offers that have been run.

    This is a copyWRITERS forum. If you can't write good copy under these guidelines then you really aren't a writer of any kind at all so just hire someone who can. If you can't or won't then be content with being mediocre because if you ever have a breakout product or offer you'll find yourself under the radar.
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    • Profile picture of the author TristanPerry
      Originally Posted by Mike Anthony View Post

      Forget the US mentality hate rant (didn't expect that from a UK brother)..
      Erm.. what? I love America, have been there on holiday lots, and the people there are great.

      Nothing against America, I just can't understand the logic.

      UK laws aren't enforced randomly on US citizens (or citizens in other countries), hence I can't understand the logic here.

      That's all, nothing "hate" related thank you very much. Just am confused and bemused by what seems to be *one* country's laws apparently applying to everyone in the entire World.

      Edit: So yeah, I am just confused by the logic that a 100% British operation could somehow be 100% liable to American law. Although your second post seems to say that this isn't the case, merely that PayPal could close my account (etc) if I had a product (which I wouldn't) which was breaking the FTC's rules. That's fair, and something I entirely agree with. I resent that "race hate" implication though. If you knew me you'd know that's a silly thing to accuse me of
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  • Profile picture of the author cgallagher93
    Tristan, unfortunately US copyright laws apply to copywriters and product vendors no matter where they are in the world. You could live in a straw hut in the middle of a tiny island off the coast of Hawaii, and you still can't avoid the FTC rules.

    I have to say that I fully agree with Mike. It pays to be cautious in all areas of marketing, but at the end of the day you have absolutely nothing to worry about unless you're doing something illegal. As far as I'm concerned, anyone operating illegally should be eligible for punishment no matter where they live. The FTC are simply trying to aid the consumer in avoiding scams and conmen alike.
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    • Profile picture of the author TristanPerry
      Originally Posted by cgallagher93 View Post

      As far as I'm concerned, anyone operating illegally should be eligible for punishment no matter where they live.
      Of course, I fully agree

      I'd never write scammy-type half promises on sales pages, nor create a "Make $1m with 2 hours of work!" product.

      I'm just trying to understand how a 100% non-American company suddenly would have to follow American laws.

      But Mike's second post seems to make sense to me. It's not like the FTC could ruin a UK business (per se), but just that PayPal could (for example) close one of their accounts if it was used to receive money via a product that breaks the FTC's rules. That, to me, is fair.
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      • Profile picture of the author rickstooker
        I think some fear is justified - as one previous poster noted, they'll make
        an example of a few to scare the rest of us. And there is some reason for
        even honest direct marketers to fear.

        I don't understand the belief that these new regulations apply only to
        scammers. There're plenty of laws and regulations already on the books to
        shut them down. Why issue new ones?

        Yes, some of them imply more than the average customer can expect, but if
        the testimonial is truthful, forbidding it is a deliberate limit to free speech.

        And if they're applied online, why not to all advertising?

        So -- why should Coke be allowed to hire actors to portray happy young
        people enjoying their products at a beach party?

        Are they typical Coke drinkers? The actors may not drink soda at all.

        Or McDonalds to hire actors to portray happy families? Are they typical
        customers? Maybe it's the overweight nerd in the corner that you won't
        see in any commercials.

        Should the Wall Street Journal be allowed to continue to send out the current
        version of the two young men letter? That's an example that is clearly
        misleading, since we know that the typical WJS reader does NOT become
        a company president -- there aren't enough companies in the world!

        The St Louis Post Dispatch once published my mother's picture under a
        fake name and implied that since she was a web surfer, you could be
        too if you signed up for their ISP service. At that time, my mother had
        never gone online or, I believe, even turned on a PC. Does anybody
        believe the FTC will target a major newspaper?

        As for you non-US residents -- I think it's clear that many governments
        throughout the world are imposing transnational laws, and cooperating
        to catch criminals across borders.

        I don't blame you for being upset about having to comply with US
        regulations. Americans feel the same when we read about how
        European supplements regulations have to be applied to us become of
        some treaty. And global warming regulations. And worldwide income
        taxes that the UN wants to impose. Or when our Supreme Court issues
        decisions citing as precedents the laws of other countries, when it's
        supposed to enforce ONLY the US constitution.

        Rick
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        • Profile picture of the author Collette
          The new ruling closes a loophole which is being exploited by unscrupulous marketers.

          - You can no longer cherry pick testimonials or results to give an overall impression that is misleading. So, you can no longer pull an extraordinary result enjoyed by 1 person - without having to mention that the other 99 buyers didn't get the same result.

          - You can no longer use only a 'best case scenario' and get by with the vague disclaimer "results may vary" in teeny-tiny print. You must provide a more detailed explanation of "results may vary". And that disclaimer can't be buried.

          - If you use specific result claims in your copy (e.g. "Make $3,465,729.00 In Three Days Using My Whoopdedoo Miracle System") you have to be able to prove that ALL users of your product can expect that result. Or provide a disclosure of the typical results a typical purchaser can expect.

          - General testimonials ("I thought this was the most helpful e-book I've ever read on autoresponders") are not required to carry a disclaimer.

          - Anything that may affect the credence given to testimonials or endorsements, or which may affect the outcome of results must be clearly revealed. For example, JLo endorses CranAppleEssence Weight Melt-a-Way as a product that helped her lose 25 pounds in just 3 days.

          The advertiser must now reveal that, during those 3 days, JLo also ate and drank nothing but CranAppleEssence Weight Melt-a-Way, while working out with her personal trainer for 10 hours a day, and sat in a sauna for 4 hours encased in a two-inch thick aluminum foil bodysuit.

          - Expert endorsers should be experts in the field(s) related to the product. In other words, you can't hawk a nutritional supplement using the "expert" endorsement of a podiatrist, and using the generic "Dr."

          - Unsolicited reviews are not endorsements. For example, you get a review or endorsement for which the giver of the review has not been, or will not be, compensated in any way. Affiliates would need to disclose that they will be compensated for sales made through their affiliate links. Paid bloggers would need to do the same for products they endorse.

          - The marketer may be held responsible for claims made by subordinates (i.e affiliates).

          This is the one that should most concern the IM industry, in general. It means keeping a very tight watch on what affiliates are claiming about your product. If you're running an affiliate program for a product that may come under the FTC radar, it might be well worth a chunk of dinero to consult with a really good contract attorney.

          The ruling does not affect advertising where the average consumer will assume paid endorsement.

          So, using your example, most people viewing a Coke commercial assume they're watching actors. Therefore, no disclosure is necessary.

          People reading the Wall St Journal letter are aware that not everyone who reads a financial newspaper will become, or want to become, a CEO someday as a direct result of reading the newspaper. Therefore, no disclosure is necessary.

          And so on...

          BTW: the St. Louis Dispatch is damn lucky your mother didn't sue them for using her unauthorized likeness in their advertisng. Because there IS a law prohibiting that.
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          • Profile picture of the author rickstooker
            Originally Posted by Collette View Post


            BTW: the St. Louis Dispatch is damn lucky your mother didn't sue them for using her unauthorized likeness in their advertising. Because there IS a law prohibiting that.
            Glad you mentioned this. My mother was a PAID model. Just like Coke actors
            (only not paid as much, I'm sure ). So it was perfectly legal.

            And while their ad with her picture over a fake name and claim was running,
            she had zillions of friends come up to her to ask her about it -- and saying
            they'd never trust advertising again.

            And my mother's friends are generally well-educated and well-off - NOT
            dumb hicks.

            And she was once in a local casino commercial -- even though
            she's never gone to any casinos. I can't say that any particular person
            was persuaded to board The Alton Belle just because they saw her
            happiness at going to the Belle in the commercial -- but the Alton Belle
            obviously thought it would help bring in business from the older
            generations.

            Nobody really knows just how much -- or how little -- "everybody" knows.

            I'm sure you've read INFLUENCE by Robert Cialdini. Remember that things
            like social proof work EVEN WHEN THE PERSUADEE KNOWS THEY'RE
            BEING PERSUADED.

            And it's funny -- in many ways I agree with you about how testimonials
            can be misleading. I try not to let them influence me (though I'm sure they
            do anyway -- see above paragraph). I've been in MLM and heard people
            stand up in a meeting and swear that a product later proven to be a scam
            worked for them.

            And I believe that every nutritional product in the world works for
            SOMEBODY -- even if it's only a placebo (which work about about
            33% of the time anyway. And it's amazing how many experimental
            drugs perform WORSE than a placebo when they're tested.)

            If the FTC enforces these regs as reasonably as you believe they will, then all
            right -- no disagreement.

            I wish I could have your faith that the FTC really had only the best wishes
            for the consumer in mind but, let's just say -- without veering off
            into politics -- I can't.

            best, Rick
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            • Profile picture of the author Collette
              Originally Posted by rickstooker View Post

              ...Remember that things
              like social proof work EVEN WHEN THE PERSUADEE KNOWS THEY'RE
              BEING PERSUADED.

              And it's funny -- in many ways I agree with you about how testimonials
              can be misleading. I try not to let them influence me (though I'm sure they do anyway -- see above paragraph).

              Rick
              LOL, Rick... Even though I know exactly what they're doing, I have trouble resisting the 3 a.m. infomercials just like every other person who's ever wished she had flawless skin, a perfect figure, a spotless house, and could wake up each morning to a bank account fattened by millions while she slept.

              And, I have to admit - I love a good advertisment more when I can admire the mechanics.

              I guess I'm just shallow that way...
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      • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
        Originally Posted by TristanPerry View Post

        But Mike's second post seems to make sense to me. It's not like the FTC could ruin a UK business (per se), but just that PayPal could (for example) close one of their accounts if it was used to receive money via a product that breaks the FTC's rules. That, to me, is fair.
        Sorry you didn't understand me Tristan. Thats all I meant. I said it before

        Anyone thinking that they don't have to comply if they are not US based has a point but they must be preapared to forget about the US market as well.
        Hey whats the racism bit about? I never accused anyone of racism. The US mentality thing did sound a little Anti - US though - not racist.
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  • Profile picture of the author Josh Bartlett
    Can I just clarify my understanding?

    The issue is when you are stating results in a way which may be misleading.

    For example, quoting exceptional results regularly which makes them seem like average results when people cannot realistically expect them?

    (Lets leave the whole, thinking for other people issue and the, 90% of people just file something and never open it so why the hell should we go with "average results"! arguments aside for now)

    My view is, shouldnt the switch be from specific results based quotes to quotes along the lines of:

    "This is quite possibly the best product of this nature I have ever bought. Thank you for such eye opening information. This is going to be a MASSIVE help to my business"

    etc

    rather than:

    "This report made me $8,000,000 in about 3.5 minutes!"

    I am probably being a little nieve but I wanted to see what everyone else thought?

    If this is basically it then surely a shift from written quotes is coming...

    We have all seen the blog based launches where social proof and user posts make up part of the proof of the product etc

    I guess alot more of this will happen and alot more "love this product its amazing" type quotes will be used.
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    • Profile picture of the author Collette
      Originally Posted by Josh Bartlett View Post

      Can I just clarify my understanding?

      The issue is when you are stating results in a way which may be misleading.

      For example, quoting exceptional results regularly which makes them seem like average results when people cannot realistically expect them?

      (Lets leave the whole, thinking for other people issue and the, 90% of people just file something and never open it so why the hell should we go with "average results"! arguments aside for now)

      My view is, shouldnt the switch be from specific results based quotes to quotes along the lines of:

      "This is quite possibly the best product of this nature I have ever bought. Thank you for such eye opening information. This is going to be a MASSIVE help to my business"

      etc

      rather than:

      "This report made me $8,000,000 in about 3.5 minutes!"

      ...
      Josh, you could still use the latter quote IF you had proof in your files that Joe Wunderkind did, in fact, make $8,000,000 in about 3.5 minutes.

      You would also need to add copy something to the effect of: "Joe's result is extraordinary. But many people who use my report tell me they make at least $3,000 in the first year."

      And, of course, you'd need to have the testimonials in your files to back THAT up.

      And the first quote could be used even if it said, "This is quite possibly the best product of this nature I have ever bought. Thank you for such eye opening information. This [has been] a MASSIVE help to my business" Joe Wunderkind, Chicago, IL".

      In this case, Joe Wunderkind is giving his personal opinion of the value of the report to him. He is not saying (and therefore, neither are you) that the product will have the same value, or produce the same results, for anyone else.

      Of course, we're assuming that Joe Wunderkind is not being compensated for this glowing testimonial...
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  • Profile picture of the author Dainis
    I don't understand the belief that these new regulations apply only to
    scammers. There're plenty of laws and regulations already on the books to
    shut them down. Why issue new ones?

    Yes, some of them imply more than the average customer can expect, but if
    the testimonial is truthful, forbidding it is a deliberate limit to free speech.
    ...Thank you...and is it not interesting that there is already some "flight" away from the US? That is what happens when free speech is limited, and it has happened before. Now some of the "flight" may be by unscrupulous folks, but some of it may be people like me (and cultivating integrity is a significant part of my life).

    - The marketer may be held responsible for claims made by subordinates (i.e affiliates).
    That, honestly is scary as sh**. So, I become responsible for something someone else said online, because I have a business relationship with them? Excuse me?

    This is a very "rosy" concept:
    most people viewing a Coke commercial assume they're watching actors. Therefore, no disclosure is necessary.
    Oh, so Coke and the WSJ are exempt from this ruling because "everybody knows" some vague something. OK, writers, get your government approved list of "common knowledge" out and start writing. Because everyone knows that Coke really is bad for you and is used as a pesticide, it's OK for Coke to advertise using happy healthy actors...how many millions per year does a company need to make to be above these regulations?

    I'm just thinking of creating an online survey of members of CureTinnitus.org. It could be numeric and update live. That would be pretty cool. I have to think it through. Let's see McDonald's or Coke have the balls to post their "common results," or the med industry. Hey, the med industry has their copy ready...they just need to take their list of "side effects" and title them "common results." Tadaa! Done! :-)
    (I'm kinda kidding there, I mean it's just so sad to see the valuable contribution the pharma industry could make to civilization lost due to their demonization of themselves through gunpoint medicine)

    Don't worry about the FTC. All you need is friends in high places and you can market, for example, a flu vaccine which hasn't been tested and whose predecessors' "typical" results included brain damage and absolutely no protection against flu.
    ...and if you don't give that vaccine to your kids you'll go to jail for child abuse.

    With all due respect, Danis, this is unsubstantiated paranoia....All this ruling does is to shut down the hucksters and flim-flam merchants
    Collette, I now live in Vienna, Austria, and I am a 1st generation American (raised in Chicago). As beautiful as the city is where I live, there is a very palpable guilt and an informed fiery soulful passion here regarding what happened here during WWII...and how to live differently, more fairly, and what "warning signs" to look out for in a governmental system, if and when it slides down the slippery slope of oppression. There is also a healthy amount of cynicism here, and hey, if the US slips, whatever, it's their turn this time around...let's go have coffee.

    I also told you about my experience with the Soviet Union.

    I will squarely state, that among the people you find to be hucksters or flim-flam merchants, there very well may be real, honest, caring individuals with real help for the sick, the needy, the dying and the hurting.

    I run Cure Tinnitus Member Community and, of all things Urine Therapy Community, so it will make sense that when you or a government gets to decide what is "flim flam," and what is not, and when American media is saturated with mind control techniques, hypnotic techniques, verbal abuse, projection, and sorely lacking in solid thought and true application of the scientific method, then allowing government control over stated "results of a product" comes off as, well, control.

    I have a lot of faith in the American people, the American "Masses," and the Individual American Mind, and basic principles need to be honored, in order for a free system to work.

    Interestingly, I am not discussing "profits," as a matter of fact "profits" aren't really on my agenda. What is on my agenda is being allowed to communicate truth and living in a society where others can do the same.

    And I very much hope, Collette, that every single aspect that you find paranoid about my thinking or my argumentation will turn out to be nothing but passing, unsubstantiated fear -- soon to be forgotten as our civilization progresses towards sustainable bliss.

    ...you know...I have to let this stew a bit...but there may be some exciting opportunities as a result of this ruling...
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    • Profile picture of the author Collette
      Originally Posted by Dainis View Post

      Collette, ... ...so it will make sense that when you or a government gets to decide what is "flim flam," and what is not,...
      ...
      Your perception of my influence is flattering, if overblown.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
    Dainis.

    Comparing a FTC ruling made in part to stop people from "propaganda" with Nazi germany (although not mentioned by name) is quite a stretch.
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  • Profile picture of the author David McKee
    In answer to the original posting question:

    The "Million Dollar Copywriters" should use their prodigious skills to get people elected who will overturn the idiotic, non-capitalistic, non-free-enterprise rulings of the un-constitutional FTC. That should be first and foremost. And then, if there are any copywriters out there that are in any way like (in spirit or in ability) the late Gary Halbert - they should be willing to perform test case copy against the FTC rulings.

    By the way, if you just read this post, you WILL make a over ten thousand dollars today, guaranteed! (Individual results may vary, this result may not be typical, or it might, colors depend on lot number, your millage may also vary by as little as 0 or as much as a billion, You may have rights enumerated under other applicable federal, state of local laws - which could contradict each other. Please consult a lawyer, or tar and feather your local politician, if you read this far you may think I am kidding, am I?)



    -DTM
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  • Profile picture of the author David McKee
    My Friends all Laughed when I said I was running for FTC chairman, but when I won and then began to dismantle the agency from the inside...


    Who Else Wants to Take on City Hall and Win Big?
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  • Profile picture of the author jasondinner
    "I can sell water to a WHALE. FTC got nothing on me."

    Now, say that to yourself out loud 25 times today and you'll never have to worry about them again.

    Jason
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    • Profile picture of the author Ronak Shah
      Originally Posted by jasondinner View Post

      "I can sell water to a WHALE. FTC got nothing on me."

      Now, say that to yourself out loud 25 times today and you'll never have to worry about them again.

      Jason
      Oh so you didn't read Frank Kern's blog post on his blog about FTC..? did you?

      He says "don't MESS with FTC" like a stern warning... they took all his money away from his bank a/c's though he wasn't at fault. He did make blunders and he is responsible for what happened. Though that was in 2003, Frank writes "COMPLY, BY GOD".

      http://masscontrolsite.com/blog/?p=59

      Jason, you can sell water to a whale but you can't sell laws to FTC! Indeed.
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  • Profile picture of the author sherry_d
    I bet our IM friends across the pond are wishing they were based somewhere. LOL

    Come to sunny London and deal with the Trading Standards instead...and brussels rules here....as as long as you dont mind living under the rules of some EU autocrats
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  • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
    It will be interesting to see if Amazon makes changes to their buyer feedback.

    Somehow I don't think so.

    Amazon may well be the model to follow as it is very transparant...including negative feedback.

    How many internet marketers would have the guts to include ALL negative feedback?

    Ewen
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    • Profile picture of the author sanjid112
      Actually, I get confused reading this thread. What is the point of all of this?
      Do I missed something here? Why we talked about US-law vs non US-law? And some racism issue, and some more about Amazon changing and blah...blah....

      Do I need calling Law-expert in here? And giving lecture about international law? Please back to the topic.

      -Malik
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  • Profile picture of the author Money on the Side
    If you're a copywriter, you really have nothing to worry about with the FTC, as it will be the company selling the product that needs to support their claims. The copywriter is given the information and running with it. On the other hand, if you're writing your own sales copy (for your own product/service), you are responsible for the claims you make.

    I'm a government employee and I can tell you that the Feds are not going to be targeting small-time niche players. They just do not have the manpower for that and they never will. Obviously, these new rules are a result of unscrupulous bigger companies that are ripping people off. I'm sure a lot of the MLM companies will come under scrutiny, as well those "unknown-forced" continuity programs (like the recent Google Cash debacle).

    I'd think it also comes down to base reality. When you sell an ebook, you have no way of knowing what the average customer makes 9in the case of an IM ebook). All you have is your testimonials. On the flip side, MLM companies track everyone's sales. The know exactly how many people you have in a downline and they know your product volume, etc. From this information, they can legitimately produce an "average" customer. Those of us that sell ebooks have no way of tracking results--it's impossible! And besides ebooks, what about books? How about a Dr. Phil "self help" book. I'm sure the back of the book cover makes all kinds of promises about how your life will improve when you buy his book, but there would be no possible way for Dr. Phil to give the FTC an average of what's going on when they buy his book.

    Sure, we will have to wait and see. But we all know who the culprits are and if you really take a look at the new rules, you know the ones that are (or at least should be) worried about them. Personally, I think the latest move is a result of the countless complaints/investigations/lawsuits of the Google Cash B.S.
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  • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
    One man band outfits DO get shut down by the authorities.

    An Australian selling an ebook on cancer therapy into the USA market
    hit mainstream media in Australia about the shutdown.

    Ewen
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  • Profile picture of the author tchashow
    Banned
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    • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
      Im guessing that most of you in here dont really care about this but I would like to know how in the world are affiliates supposed to "conspiculously" state that they are an affiliate and still have the customers trust.
      There are tons of people who were doing this way before the new FTC rules.

      They say something along the lines of... "Here are some services I recommend because they have worked for me. If you check them out and decide to buy, I receive a small commission from the sale."

      Some people who habitually did that were my highest-earning affiliates in previous years.

      Pretty simple.

      Marcia Yudkin
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