$30 Million Judgment - FTC v. Google Money Tree

by kindsvater 12 replies
Today the FTC resolved a case against Google Money Tree and numerous other "Google" product defendants with a $30 million stipulated judgment and order.

A couple issues that got the defendants in trouble and which are part of the order:

(If you have a WSO or other product representing certain amounts of money can be made, pay attention to this issue )

- Misrepresenting the amount of income a person could make working from home, and not having "competent and reliable" evidence proving how much could be made.

Then there is the "Google" aspect of their marketing:

- Misrepresenting an affiliation, endorsement or sponsorship with Google. Not only was the Google name used in their product, but Google's logo was on their sales page.

(Let me add that buying ads on Google and its network and then using their trademarks, logos, and claiming "as seen in ..." may not be a wise marketing move.)

They also did not properly disclose a negative option monthly payment program, which of course led to consumer complaints.

If you're wondering, the many defendants do not have 30 million dollars. Not even close to it.

The final judgment can be found here:

http://ftc.gov/os/caselist/0923060/1...oogleorder.pdf

Note they had to make a full disclosure of their assets to the government. Then there is a list of what they are giving, including many references to "all funds". Essentially, they are giving up about everything they own. Total collective amount: $3 million. Any falsities in the income representation will make the $30M payable.

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#main internet marketing discussion forum #$30 #ftc #google #judgment #million #money #tree
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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    By "negative option" I assume you mean a prechecked option that the user must uncheck?

    I ask because SOME say that is legal, and I DOUBT it. I guess I was right:

    11. “Negative Option Feature” means, in an offer or agreement to sell
    25
    Case 2:09-cv-01 11 2-GMN-LRL Document 74 Filed 10104110 Page 6 of 42
    1 or provide any goods or services, a provision under which the customer’s silence or
    2 failure to take an affirmative action to reject goods or services or to cancel the agreement
    3 is interpreted by the seller or provider as acceptance of the offer.
    BTW I LOVE section 4! The ONLY other time I have seen such a section was on LA County's specifications for an ad for a DBA application. The lack of such an understanding clearly, in my book, violates the spirit of a contract as a mutual acceptance and understanding.

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author RNMKR
    It is about TIME!!!!... I really have noticed a drop in those misleading ads...

    Freakin larnbarggers (just made that up, not meant to be a complement )
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  • Profile picture of the author Dwight Anthony
    Makes sense, too many people using the power of Google's branding and slapping up fake testimonials without sufficient evidence of claims. Online is possibly the worst i've seen in trademark breaches next to pirating offline.
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    • Profile picture of the author Crew Chief
      Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

      Today the FTC resolved a case against Google Money Tree and numerous other "Google" product defendants with a $30 million stipulated judgment and order.
      Brian, I'm not a betting man but if I was I'd be willing to bet that one or more of the defendants are not through with IM in spite of the FTC order. Did you catch the name of one of their LLCs? TWO WARNINGS LLC.

      So was this their first warning or the second?

      Kinda reminds of when the hammer finally got dropped on Christopher William Smith, the impetus behind the 2003 CAN-Spam law. This dude was given a number of chances to cease and desist but he was so brash, arrogant and apparently narcissistic that he thought he was the epitome of impunity. Now he's serving 30-years. Christopher William Smith - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      I'm making a mental note of these guys because I don't believe this will be the last time we hear their names in the media or the legal system.

      Knowing their modus operandi, I now know what to look for.

      Giles, the Crew Chief
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      • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
        If they're not done with IM they had better be super 'White Hat'. Injunctive orders are not to be messed around with. Disobey a judge's order and plan on packing your toothbrush.
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      • Profile picture of the author J Bold
        Originally Posted by Crew Chief View Post

        Brian, I'm not a betting man but if I was I'd be willing to bet that one or more of the defendants are not through with IM in spite of the FTC order. Did you catch the name of one of their LLCs? TWO WARNINGS LLC.

        So was this their first warning or the second?

        Kinda reminds of when the hammer finally got dropped on Christopher William Smith, the impetus behind the 2003 CAN-Spam law. This dude was given a number of chances to cease and desist but he was so brash, arrogant and apparently narcissistic that he thought he was the epitome of impunity. Now he's serving 30-years. Christopher William Smith - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

        I'm making a mental note of these guys because I don't believe this will be the last time we hear their names in the media or the legal system.

        Knowing their modus operandi, I now know what to look for.

        Giles, the Crew Chief


        Not saying you aren't right about the whole situation, but I wondered if you could really go to jail for 30 years for spamming.

        Then I discovered he got 30 years because he was selling legal drugs illegally online and also kind of tried to have one of the witnesses against him killed. Speechless...

        Anyway, thanks for that link, very interesting, and even more so that his "prolific" spamming influenced the introduction of the CAN-Spam law.
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        • Profile picture of the author Alan Petersen
          Originally Posted by redicelander View Post

          Not saying you aren't right about the whole situation, but I wondered if you could really go to jail for 30 years for spamming.

          Then I discovered he got 30 years because he was selling legal drugs illegally online and also kind of tried to have one of the witnesses against him killed. Speechless...

          Anyway, thanks for that link, very interesting, and even more so that his "prolific" spamming influenced the introduction of the CAN-Spam law.
          Yea, he's a local guy here in MN where he ran his illegal online RX. It was big news here. He was 25 years old and was chauffeured around in a 400K Mercedes Maybach, nothing like keeping a low profile.

          They'll probably be back. They made millions, lived the high life, had to give back everything they have to the gov but no jail time. Unless I read the PDF wrong, they didn't even admit wrong doing just settled.
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          • Profile picture of the author ZaraK
            Whatever kind of millionaire runs around in a 2004 truck, I want to be the other kind of millionaire.
            Signature
            I will ignore the shiny stuff. I will ignore the shiny stuff. I am ignoring the shiny stu....what's that? Hey! Didn't I say I was ignoring the shiny stuff?
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            • Profile picture of the author Tsnyder
              Originally Posted by ZaraK View Post

              Whatever kind of millionaire runs around in a 2004 truck, I want to be the other kind of millionaire.
              Sam Walton (Wal Mart) drove an old pickup truck
              until the day he died. That's the kind of billionaire
              I want to be

              Tsnyder
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              If you knew what I know you'd be doing what I do...
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          • Profile picture of the author ShaunAllen
            And you can see why Google is so anal with adwords now. They don't have to put up with crap like this with people making false claims whether it be weight loss or making money online. We could all learn a thing or two about the no-hype machine.
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            • Profile picture of the author Crew Chief
              Originally Posted by Alan Petersen View Post

              Yea, he's a local guy here in MN where he ran his illegal online RX. It was big news here. He was 25 years old and was chauffeured around in a 400K Mercedes Maybach, nothing like keeping a low profile.

              They'll probably be back. They made millions, lived the high life, had to give back everything they have to the gov but no jail time. Unless I read the PDF wrong, they didn't even admit wrong doing just settled.
              You read it right Alan! And being that they faced no jail time makes it more probable that they will resurface with a revamped program.

              Giles, the Crew Chief
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  • Profile picture of the author Thomas Michal
    Whats with these Imer's getting such huge fines some facebook spammer was just sued for like a billion dollars I mean come on...let's be real
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