New FTC Biz Op Rule - Effective March 1st, 2012 - Is it a Game Changer?

by ShayB
180 replies
First off, I am not a lawyer - and I don't play one on Twitter - so I'm not really sure about how this is going to affect everyone.

FTC New Business Opportunity Rule | Parallel Solutions

Is this going to make the WSO section a ghost town?

Or will vendors simply adapt?

Edited to add: I did a search and didn't see a thread for this yet. If there is one, I apologize.
#1st #2012 #biz #changer #effective #ftc #game #march #rule
  • Hi, Shay !

    Holy **** !

    This sounds utterly ridiculous !

    Not just here and WSOs... what about membership sites where digital products are provided... and ClickBank, too and all those wild income claims some marketers/scammers use ?!?!?!

    I think this needs to be addressed to this site's legal (b)eagle - I forget his name right now, but if you could bring this to the attention of Allen Says, so he can forward this site's legal counsel to it, he might be better able to explain how this will impact on all of us.

    Your friend in Christ,

    Hal Humphries
    Signature

    Your friend in Christ on the net,
    Hal Humphries
    http://www.iwanttogetmore.info (info portal)
    http://www.i-m-discounter (store and membership site)

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    • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
      Originally Posted by YourFriendInChrist View Post

      I think this needs to be addressed to this site's legal (b)eagle - I forget his name right now, but if you could bring this to the attention of Allen Says, so he can forward this site's legal counsel to it, he might be better able to explain how this will impact on all of us.
      Hal, we've been on top of this and Allen is well aware of the new FTC Rules.

      Third party services popular on the forum identified to likely be impacted have also already been contacted.

      This thread likely resulted from a message and report I sent to some of my Warrior friends about the new rule.

      You can read the report here:

      http://internetmarketinglawcenter.co...bizopprule.pdf


      There are 2 primary takeaways from the report:

      1. Understanding what is a "Biz Opp" and seeing that it includes assisting a buyer in getting customers for their new business.

      It does not include general training.

      The FTC is essentially seeking to eliminate Business Opportunities. It cannot directly outlaw them, so it is indirectly making disclosure and other requirements so onerous that it effectively eliminates them.

      You will not want to meet the definition of a Business Opportunity.

      Keep in mind that a product or service at first blush may not seem to be a Biz Opp, but if you apply the criteria it might be.


      2. The Earnings Claim Disclosure Requirements

      If you have a Biz Opp then strict earnings claim disclosures are triggered.

      If you do NOT have a Biz Opp you must still pay attention to these disclosures. They are a road map for what the FTC will likely be mandating down the road for earnings claims in any context.

      If you are contacted by the FTC today, this tells you what they are looking for.

      Remember all earnings claims must be truthful and substantiated under current law.

      If - now - you cannot meet the proof requirements being laid out by the FTC you probably should not be making the earnings claim.


      Is this going to make the WSO section a ghost town?
      No.

      Very few WSOs will likely meet the legal definition of a Business Opportunity.

      Keep in mind all WSOs are required to be legal and that is the seller's responsibility. Initial approval of a WSO does not mean approval cannot be rescinded.


      Most WSOs aren't selling business opportunities. They are selling information or products designed to help the buyers own business.
      Be careful. There may be a difference between what you think a business opportunity is and what the legal definition is.

      What matters is the legal definition.

      If you sell a package of PLR products for someone be in the business of selling, and "help the buyers" by recommending lead generating companies where the PLR can be sold, you may have a Biz Opp.


      Regardless of the new law, it still has to be enforced, which is certainly not happening with the old laws now or it surely wouldn't still be as out of control as it is currently.
      I agree and disagree. I agree enforcement by the FTC against individual sellers may be limited to some high publicity cases, or where quite a few complaints have been received. As we see today.

      On the other hand, there is clearly "top level" general enforcement via pressure being put on Mastercard, Visa, PayPal, etc., which filters down to services like Plimus, AlertPay, ClickBank, etc.

      This last year you have already seen major policy changes on a broad scale as a result.

      IMHO that will continue. You may see PayPal banning more accounts, Adwords restricting advertising further, etc.

      .
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      • Profile picture of the author JasonParker
        Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

        Hal, we've been on top of this and Allen is well aware of the new FTC Rules.

        Third party services popular on the forum identified to likely be impacted have also already been contacted.

        This thread likely resulted from a message and report I sent to some of my Warrior friends about the new rule.

        You can read the report here:

        http://internetmarketinglawcenter.co...bizopprule.pdf


        There are 2 primary takeaways from the report:

        1. Understanding what is a "Biz Opp" and seeing that it includes assisting a buyer in getting customers for their new business.

        It does not include general training.

        The FTC is essentially seeking to eliminate Business Opportunities. It cannot directly outlaw them, so it is indirectly making disclosure and other requirements so onerous that it effectively eliminates them.

        You will not want to meet the definition of a Business Opportunity.

        Keep in mind that a product or service at first blush may not seem to be a Biz Opp, but if you apply the criteria it might be.


        2. The Earnings Claim Disclosure Requirements

        If you have a Biz Opp then strict earnings claim disclosures are triggered.

        If you do NOT have a Biz Opp you must still pay attention to these disclosures. They are a road map for what the FTC will likely be mandating down the road for earnings claims in any context.

        If you are contacted by the FTC today, this tells you what they are looking for.

        Remember all earnings claims must be truthful and substantiated under current law.

        If - now - you cannot meet the proof requirements being laid out by the FTC you probably should not be making the earnings claim.




        No.

        Very few WSOs will likely meet the legal definition of a Business Opportunity.

        Keep in mind all WSOs are required to be legal and that is the seller's responsibility. Initial approval of a WSO does not mean approval cannot be rescinded.




        Be careful. There may be a difference between what you think a business opportunity is and what the legal definition is.

        What matters is the legal definition.

        If you sell a package of PLR products for someone be in the business of selling, and "help the buyers" by recommending lead generating companies where the PLR can be sold, you may have a Biz Opp.




        I agree and disagree. I agree enforcement by the FTC against individual sellers may be limited to some high publicity cases, or where quite a few complaints have been received. As we see today.

        On the other hand, there is clearly "top level" general enforcement via pressure being put on Mastercard, Visa, PayPal, etc., which filters down to services like Plimus, AlertPay, ClickBank, etc.

        This last year you have already seen major policy changes on a broad scale as a result.

        IMHO that will continue. You may see PayPal banning more accounts, Adwords restricting advertising further, etc.

        .
        After reading the report and the post linked to in this thread, I'm guessing the FTC doesn't like income claims at all.

        I feel like the line between IM products and biz opps is getting blurred.

        For example, it seems like they could throw any ClickBank offer or WSO that talks about income claims into the same mix?
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        • Profile picture of the author HeySal
          Originally Posted by JasonParker View Post

          After reading the report and the post linked to in this thread, I'm guessing the FTC doesn't like income claims at all.

          I feel like the line between IM products and biz opps is getting blurred.

          For example, it seems like they could throw any ClickBank offer or WSO that talks about income claims into the same mix?

          I don't see that being necessarily true - but just because you aren't selling a business op doesn't mean you shouldn't have to be truthful about what you are selling. How many products have you seen that seem to be offering a product that almost everyone gets good results from yet if you looked closer and followed up with some research, you'd find that the whole ad campaign is centered around making very untypical results that were achieved by only a few sound like they apply to almost anyone and everyone that uses the product? I'm seeing the end of a lot of benzyol peroxide ads that make that toxic crap seem like the be-all and end-all of skin products when in actuality close to 50% of the people who use it have almost immediate adverse reactions to it. Stuff like that NEEDS a lid put on it.

          If these laws have an overwhelming effect on WSO's -- all that it really does is show how absolutely lame some people's marketing techniques or business opportunities have become. If you can't shoot straight from the hip when you advertise, then you need to be creating better products anyway. Tough love.
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          Sal
          When the Roads and Paths end, learn to guide yourself through the wilderness
          Beyond the Path

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      • Profile picture of the author robd1302
        Thanks, Brian.

        So would coaching or mentoring fall under this definition? It seems like it would, since I would be helping people get clients. When I take on a student, I help them build their website, I give them a list of businesses in their area, and teach them how to determine which businesses to promote to, and how to close the sale.

        Even if I were to stop giving them a list of businesses in their area, I'm stilling helping them get clients. So does this law basically stop people from providing coaching?

        If I understand correctly, even if I don't make income claims, all of the other rules still apply, right? They still need to wait a week, and fill out a form, and give up their right to privacy?
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        • Profile picture of the author Rob Howard
          Originally Posted by robd1302 View Post

          Thanks, Brian.

          So would coaching or mentoring fall under this definition? It seems like it would, since I would be helping people get clients. When I take on a student, I help them build their website, I give them a list of businesses in their area, and teach them how to determine which businesses to promote to, and how to close the sale.

          Even if I were to stop giving them a list of businesses in their area, I'm stilling helping them get clients. So does this law basically stop people from providing coaching?

          If I understand correctly, even if I don't make income claims, all of the other rules still apply, right? They still need to wait a week, and fill out a form, and give up their right to privacy?
          The easiest solution would be to instead have them create a list of clients (show them how to do it) and then have them submit it to you.

          You can then verify whether or not their selection is good.

          Now, I'm not a lawyer, so I could be completely wrong.

          Also, it would probably be a good idea to teach them how to get prospects anyway.

          Rob
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          • Profile picture of the author robd1302
            Originally Posted by ccmusicman View Post

            The easiest solution would be to instead have them create a list of clients (show them how to do it) and then have them submit it to you.

            You can then verify whether or not their selection is good.

            Now, I'm not a lawyer, so I could be completely wrong.

            Also, it would probably be a good idea to teach them how to get prospects anyway.

            Rob
            Thanks! I usually just use the resources I have to build a list of businesses in their area, just so they don't have to go to the trouble (or spend the money on resources themselves) to do it on their own.

            I can drop that - it's no big deal - but from Brian's report, it looks like I would still have a BizOp simply because I am helping them find clients.
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            • Profile picture of the author Rob Howard
              Originally Posted by robd1302 View Post

              Thanks! I usually just use the resources I have to build a list of businesses in their area, just so they don't have to go to the trouble (or spend the money on resources themselves) to do it on their own.

              I can drop that - it's no big deal - but from Brian's report, it looks like I would still have a BizOp simply because I am helping them find clients.
              No...I don't think so.

              If that were the case, then you could say teaching how to send traffic was a biz op, because that's helping them find clients.

              I've asked Brian to clarify the traffic question and he thinks that wouldn't classify.

              So I doubt your coaching would classify either. There is a difference between teaching them how to do something and doing it for them.

              Rob
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              • Profile picture of the author MrBenny
                It literally means nothing in so far as WSO methods IMO. A bit of the technical wording will change to CYA, instead of You Will Become a Gazillionaire, it will be Follow Our Blueprint and You Can Do It Too! Plus nobody cares. Business will go on. But what concerns me is the whole movement towards trying to shut down independent income earners. The internet is for most of us the last chance to escape cubicle prison, and those *&^%$# don't like it one bit. The workers have to work, so the cronies pass laws to frighten people.

                However it is good to clean out the trash, and this will help me and people like me. I roll about $200 per day out of my efforts, which I think is worth teaching, but it does not impress everybody. But that is my $200, and I am proud of my work. That is $75k or so annually, beats Wal-Mart, right? I mean if I could teach you legitimate ways to earn a full time income that is success. But everyone wants to sit on their butt playing X Box while some magical internet process makes them a fortune, and if you build up your sites that can work, but realistically it takes more than 10 min to set up. (Turnkey business is da suck, you know the ones, dup webbys and junk content and products. Build build build, and be very patient. Can you do that? Is $200 per day worth the effort? Because it took me four years to get there. But maybe I am not all that bright, just dogged. End of rant.

                Short version, this is about MLMS not warriors teaching ppc traffic techniques. You are cool. Not a lawyer but this is not aimed at the Craig Mako's of the world, unless he was doing an MLM but safelists I do wonder about. Not a lawyer, but I doubt they would get it either.
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                • Profile picture of the author specialized
                  Originally Posted by MrBenny View Post

                  I roll about $200 per day out of my efforts, which I think is worth teaching, but it does not impress everybody. But that is my $200, and I am proud of my work. That is $75k or so annually, beats Wal-Mart, right?
                  IF you are telling the truth about this (and I believe you are), I for one am very impressed and would love to learn about it. I'm sure I'm not alone in this.
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                  • Profile picture of the author MrBenny
                    It is just list building. I mean I can charge people to learn this stuff, and I may offer such service on my site at some point but I doubt it. I built my list and built some feeder sites or squeezies as I call them, posted on forums, used safelists, facebook, SEO as best I could, offline, whatever. Basically I scrap. And not ashamed to admit that I pay for extras like Mavs tix with some CashCrate here or there. Thing is I am not nearly as good as some of the people here and I know it. But I try. It just is not so polished to present it in beautiful fantasia camtasia video. The fantasy of 10 minutes and done is what is sold. The reality is I put in easily 8-10 hrs a day every day even at this point. I can't quite figure out how to make it more passive. That is why I am here. Thank you for your kind words.
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                • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
                  Originally Posted by MrBenny View Post

                  Short version, this is about MLMS....
                  The MLM industry raised a huge stink about an earlier draft of the Biz Opp Rule and requested an exemption.

                  They did not get it.

                  On the other hand, the requirement of providing existing or potential "outlets, accounts, or customers" for the buyer's goods or services was intended to move most MLMs outside the scope of the rule.

                  .
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                  • Profile picture of the author LIndaB
                    Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

                    On the other hand, the requirement of providing existing or potential "outlets, accounts, or customers" for the buyer's goods or services was intended to move most MLMs outside the scope of the rule.

                    .
                    That would seem to be outside the scope of the vast majority of biz opps I come across, not just MLMs. I seldom see any providing potential or actual customers. Most MLMs simply offer up some training on how to find customers, they don't provide them. Same with other biz opps. So I wonder who the FTC is actually targeting with this.
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        • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
          Originally Posted by robd1302 View Post

          Thanks, Brian.

          So would coaching or mentoring fall under this definition? It seems like it would, since I would be helping people get clients. When I take on a student, I help them build their website, I give them a list of businesses in their area, and teach them how to determine which businesses to promote to, and how to close the sale.

          Even if I were to stop giving them a list of businesses in their area, I'm stilling helping them get clients. So does this law basically stop people from providing coaching?

          If I understand correctly, even if I don't make income claims, all of the other rules still apply, right? They still need to wait a week, and fill out a form, and give up their right to privacy?
          Good questions.

          It might depend on what the coaching is for.

          I would not generally consider "coaching" to be a solicitation to enter into a new business.

          I view coaching to be teaching. It is not an offer for someone to be in business, but an offer to help them succeed in a business they already selected.

          But I see where it could be an issue depending on the offer.

          "Coaching" which is helping someone make money online generally does not seem to be the same as what the FTC is concerned about, which could be 'coaching' someone to make money as an SEO expert (a specific business).

          The first is general and the latter is specific.

          The FTC could disagree and say making money online as general concept is a business, but that is not how I read the rule and many pages of dense commentary.

          Since the Biz Opp Rule only applies to new business opportunities, as part of your offer you may want to consider being clear you are not seeking (and accepting) people new to your industry, but only those already in a particular line of business who need help and coaching to take their game to a new level.


          As far as general help getting clients, that is different than providing a list of businesses. Again, one is general and the other is specific.


          For the last question, yes, even if there are no income claims the other rules apply.

          If you meet the definition of a Business Opportunity then numerous requirements are triggered, one of which is the special disclosures IF any income claims are made.

          Making income claims does not trigger the Biz Opp Rule.

          .
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          • Profile picture of the author robd1302
            Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

            I would not generally consider "coaching" to be a solicitation to enter into a new business.

            I view coaching to be teaching. It is not an offer for someone to be in business, but an offer to help them succeed in a business they already selected.

            But I see where it could be an issue depending on the offer.
            Thanks again! I generally coach people through building a web design and development business from scratch. Though my target market is people who are just getting started and need help (I don't try to convince random people to start a design/development business), I do often help people build their business from the very beginning.

            If I understand you correctly, you think coaching will generally meet criteria #3, but not necessarily #1, is that right? Or does coaching people through closing sales and getting clients not necessarily meet criteria #3 either?

            Thanks again!
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            • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
              Originally Posted by robd1302 View Post

              If I understand you correctly, you think coaching will generally meet criteria #3, but not necessarily #1, is that right? Or does coaching people through closing sales and getting clients not necessarily meet criteria #3 either?
              #3 is not necessarily met. It depends on the offer. The "and getting clients" is the key.

              #3 is met when the seller does any one of the following:

              - Recommends someone providing the location where something paid for by the buyer is used.

              For instance, buyer pays for vending machines and the seller is recommending locations where they can be installed.


              - Recommends someone who buys back products or services from the buyer.

              For instance, you pay to become an envelope stuffer and as part of the package the seller tells you who will buy your stuffed envelopes. Or the seller promises to buy them back. (Supposedly, which is why this is a scam.)


              - Finally, a big category of recommending existing or potential outlets, accounts, or customers for the buyer's goods or services.

              The FTC specifically mentions the Internet and says this includes things like recommending lead generating companies or assisting the buyer in getting customers.

              If you are promising to assist your buyers in getting specific customers then yes, #3 is met.

              "General" business advice and training is not included.

              Here is an example from the FTC - some companies sell medical billing programs and typically also offer to assist buyers in finding customers for their medical billing service.

              This counts as a business opportunity.

              This is specific assistance in getting medical billing customers. Not general training on how to prepare a request for a quote.

              The Department of Justice weighed in and said it was strenuously against anything that could be exploited as a loophole.

              So while "general business advice and training" is not included, the FTC said "Providing the prospective purchaser with assistance in obtaining customers is a feature common to many business opportunities...."

              .
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              • Profile picture of the author ShayB
                Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

                So while "general business advice and training" is not included, the FTC said "Providing the prospective purchaser with assistance in obtaining customers is a feature common to many business opportunities...."
                .
                So a coaching program that provides information about product creation, then offers to mail to his/her list with the products created by students in order to help the student get sales would qualify as a "business opportunity" under this rule?

                Or would it depend on the target market? If they only accept experienced people versus new people looking to get started with product creation, etc?
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                • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
                  Originally Posted by ShayRockhold View Post

                  If they only accept experienced people versus new people looking to get started with product creation, etc?
                  Kindsvater has already somewhat covered this - "experienced" in business might still leave them "new" to product creation, but "experienced" in product creation is a different matter.

                  Similar to this, I've been positioning most of my recent stuff as being for people who are already trying to do something but have had little success. So the business I'm training them in is not a new business; it's a business I assume they are already doing, albeit unsuccessfully, and with which they would like some assistance.

                  I am, unfortunately, now going to have to speak with an attorney about my membership site plans. There are some subtleties to the plan which might need to be massaged a little to keep it out of the bizopp category.
                  Signature
                  "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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                  • Profile picture of the author ShayB
                    Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                    Kindsvater has already somewhat covered this - "experienced" in business might still leave them "new" to product creation, but "experienced" in product creation is a different matter.
                    Kind of what I thought, but I wanted to get some more clarification.
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      • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
        Brian,

        There's an established and popular sales management software product that offers free listing in a dedicated directory which promotes products created using the software. This benefit is listed in the sales copy and included in the price of the package, albeit as a bonus.

        It's an attractive offer, but I'm wondering if, under the definitions listed in your PDF report, that would now qualify as a Biz Opp.

        And, on a related but more general note, although you mention that affiliate marketing is exempt from the ruling, could it be that affiliates who promote a Biz Opp product that didn't comply with the stipulations, whether wilfully or unwittingly, might still be held accountable?


        Frank
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        • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
          Originally Posted by Frank Donovan View Post

          There's an established and popular sales management software product that offers free listing in a dedicated directory which promotes products created using the software. This benefit is listed in the sales copy and included in the price of the package, albeit as a bonus.

          It's an attractive offer, but I'm wondering if, under the definitions listed in your PDF report, that would now qualify as a Biz Opp.

          And, on a related but more general note, although you mention that affiliate marketing is exempt from the ruling, could it be that affiliates who promote a Biz Opp product that didn't comply with the stipulations, whether wilfully or unwittingly, might still be held accountable?
          I don't think the FTC is concerned about sales management software. That is something which assists your business. It is not a business.

          Regarding affiliates, the real question is whether an affiliate has liability for promoting something that is illegal? That's a whole other topic for another thread.

          But a couple general questions ...

          - What is the affiliate saying when the promote the product?

          - Should it be obvious to the affiliate the product is illegal?

          .
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      • Profile picture of the author CyberAlien
        Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

        Hal, we've been on top of this and Allen is well aware of the new FTC Rules.

        Third party services popular on the forum identified to likely be impacted have also already been contacted.

        This thread likely resulted from a message and report I sent to some of my Warrior friends about the new rule.

        You can read the report here:

        http://internetmarketinglawcenter.co...bizopprule.pdf


        There are 2 primary takeaways from the report:

        1. Understanding what is a "Biz Opp" and seeing that it includes assisting a buyer in getting customers for their new business.

        It does not include general training.

        The FTC is essentially seeking to eliminate Business Opportunities. It cannot directly outlaw them, so it is indirectly making disclosure and other requirements so onerous that it effectively eliminates them.

        You will not want to meet the definition of a Business Opportunity.

        Keep in mind that a product or service at first blush may not seem to be a Biz Opp, but if you apply the criteria it might be.


        2. The Earnings Claim Disclosure Requirements

        If you have a Biz Opp then strict earnings claim disclosures are triggered.

        If you do NOT have a Biz Opp you must still pay attention to these disclosures. They are a road map for what the FTC will likely be mandating down the road for earnings claims in any context.

        If you are contacted by the FTC today, this tells you what they are looking for.

        Remember all earnings claims must be truthful and substantiated under current law.

        If - now - you cannot meet the proof requirements being laid out by the FTC you probably should not be making the earnings claim.




        No.

        Very few WSOs will likely meet the legal definition of a Business Opportunity.

        Keep in mind all WSOs are required to be legal and that is the seller's responsibility. Initial approval of a WSO does not mean approval cannot be rescinded.




        Be careful. There may be a difference between what you think a business opportunity is and what the legal definition is.

        What matters is the legal definition.

        If you sell a package of PLR products for someone be in the business of selling, and "help the buyers" by recommending lead generating companies where the PLR can be sold, you may have a Biz Opp.




        I agree and disagree. I agree enforcement by the FTC against individual sellers may be limited to some high publicity cases, or where quite a few complaints have been received. As we see today.

        On the other hand, there is clearly "top level" general enforcement via pressure being put on Mastercard, Visa, PayPal, etc., which filters down to services like Plimus, AlertPay, ClickBank, etc.

        This last year you have already seen major policy changes on a broad scale as a result.

        IMHO that will continue. You may see PayPal banning more accounts, Adwords restricting advertising further, etc.

        .
        I was reading the PDF (which was great) about the biz opp rule and just wanted to add in something that I think some people may not be aware of, myself included.

        Take a company like Mary Kay for example, they charge $100 to join and get your starter kit. If they were to make it free to join and free to get your starter kit, would they still fall under this rule?

        The only reason I was thinking that they would is because all Mary Kay Consultants are basically resellers of the company so they would be ordering future products from the company. Would ordering those future products make them fall under the rule as well?

        According to the FTC rule it says "A prospect makes a required payment." My understanding is that is a required payment to join the program, but that future orders for products wouldn't fall under it...
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        • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
          I don't know how Mary Kay works. My assumption is people can order Mary Kay products to sell, like a retailer buys from a wholesaler, and then they are on their own for getting customers.

          If the company is just offering general business help and not locating customer opportunities, it may not matter where is an initial payment.

          I would assume needing to buy the products to have your own 'Mary Kay business" - with or without an initiation fee, is enough to meet the payment requirement of the rule.

          .
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    • Profile picture of the author Raydal
      Originally Posted by YourFriendInChrist View Post

      Hi, Shay !

      Holy **** !

      Your friend in Christ
      ,

      Hal Humphries
      Oxymoron?

      -Ray Edwards
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      The most powerful and concentrated copywriting training online today bar none! Autoresponder Writing Email SECRETS
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  • Profile picture of the author Kierkegaard
    Most WSOs aren't selling business opportunities. They are selling information or products designed to help the buyers own business.
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    • Profile picture of the author Rob Howard
      Originally Posted by Kierkegaard View Post

      Most WSOs aren't selling business opportunities. They are selling information or products designed to help the buyers own business.
      That's exactly it.

      #3 - You have to also provide the leads (or provide the person who provides the leads) to make it a business opp.

      If not (and most WSO's/products don't), it's all good.

      So, for example, you can say:

      "To get traffic, go to Directory of Ezines and place ads in relevant niche related ezines".

      You CAN'T say:

      "Go to Directory of Ezines and contact Joe Smith, who owns this list. He'll set you up with leads"

      Rob

      EDIT: I got this information from Brian Kindsvater, when I asked for confirmation about the new rule and what it meant.
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    • Profile picture of the author ShayB
      Originally Posted by YourFriendInChrist View Post

      Hi, Shay !

      Holy **** !

      This sounds utterly ridiculous !

      Not just here and WSOs... what about membership sites where digital products are provided... and ClickBank, too and all those wild income claims some marketers/scammers use ?!?!?!

      I think this needs to be addressed to this site's legal (b)eagle - I forget his name right now, but if you could bring this to the attention of Allen Says, so he can forward this site's legal counsel to it, he might be better able to explain how this will impact on all of us.

      Your friend in Christ,

      Hal Humphries
      I'm sure Brian Kindsvater (sp?) will weigh in on this when he sees it. (At least, I hope he does!)

      Originally Posted by Kierkegaard View Post

      Most WSOs aren't selling business opportunities. They are selling information or products designed to help the buyers own business.
      Really?

      While I know that is the case for some, I also see a lot of "try my system and make a bazillion dollars while you sit on your sofa in your underwear eating captain crunch" types of WSOs, too.
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      • Profile picture of the author Tsnyder
        Originally Posted by ShayRockhold View Post

        While I know that is the case for some, I also see a lot of "try my system and make a bazillion dollars while you sit on your sofa in your underwear eating captain crunch" types of WSOs, too.
        Honestly... with or without the FTC rule those people need to go.
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        • Profile picture of the author PaulyC
          Originally Posted by Tsnyder View Post

          Honestly... with or without the FTC rule those people need to go.
          Exactly! I don't really notice a ton of 'biz pops' these days, but maybe I'm just oblivious because they're all bogus anyway.

          Won't affect most of us who are selling high-quality information, good thing!
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        • Profile picture of the author Challendge
          Originally Posted by Tsnyder View Post

          Honestly... with or without the FTC rule those people need to go.

          I don't know who's worse....the people posting those types of WSOs or the people buying them?!
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    • Profile picture of the author Cataclysm1987
      Originally Posted by Kierkegaard View Post

      Most WSOs aren't selling business opportunities. They are selling information or products designed to help the buyers own business.
      Exactly.

      And most of them don't have to exaggerate or make ridiculous claims of income because, well, they have other selling methods such as review copies or warriors providing real testimonials.

      This just means less scamming. I love it.
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      • Profile picture of the author cjreynolds
        OK, as with most such sweeping rule changes, no matter how well-intentioned, there will always be casualties - people who, for one reason or another, happen to fall within the "new guidelines" and will suffer unfairly. It's the way of the world. People aren't perfect, and you can't expect our laws to be perfect.

        But all in all, I see this as an overall positive move - most of those affected will be those who need to be affected. If there are casualties amongst those of us who are doin it right, well that's hard to avoid in any situation. My sympathies to anyone who is wrongly targeted by this, but overall I see it as a good thing
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    • Profile picture of the author bitriot
      Originally Posted by Kierkegaard View Post

      Most WSOs aren't selling business opportunities. They are selling information or products designed to help the buyers own business.
      I was at a presentation last night where a lawyer whose practice is defending spammers and class actions in that realm and he basically said the same thing I quoted above.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Originally Posted by ShayRockhold View Post

    Is this going to make the WSO section a ghost town?
    I wouldn't think so ... I'm also not a lawyer (though available to play one, if the fee's suitable), but looking through the three criteria listed there under the definition of "business opportunity", I can't really see them applying to many WSO's?

    Maybe one of our Warrior lawyers will comment ...
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    • Profile picture of the author ShayB
      Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

      I wouldn't think so ... I'm also not a lawyer (though available to play one, if the fee's suitable), but looking through the three criteria listed there under the definition of "business opportunity", I can't really see them applying to many WSO's?

      Maybe one of our Warrior lawyers will comment ...
      I'm not sure, either.

      There is some language in there about "(ii) providing outlets, accounts or customers to the purchaser" - so the first thing that came to my mind was product creation coaching programs where part of the program is where they mail out the created products to their lists.

      A few other sections make me pause, too.

      Maybe "ghost town" is too strong a word, but I could see some changes happening.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rob Howard
    Shay, I contacted Brian about that and if you see my response above, I got that information from him.

    Also, he said that income claims does not necessarily make it a biz opp.

    Rob
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    • Profile picture of the author ShayB
      Originally Posted by ccmusicman View Post

      Shay, I contacted Brian about that and if you see my response above, I got that information from him.

      Also, he said that income claims does not necessarily make it a biz opp.

      Rob
      Have I mentioned lately that you are made of awesome?

      Thank you.
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  • Profile picture of the author GoSHOP
    Regardless of the new law, it still has to be enforced, which is certainly not happening with the old laws now or it surely wouldn't still be as out of control as it is currently.

    I'm really not referring to WSO's, but in general there are dozens of existing Federal truth in advertising laws and rules that prohibit false advertising and fake claims of instant riches and wealth (most of which, for only $47., HA!) and we all see them in almost every "opt-in" email we receive every day.

    Do you think any of these people would be around if they were putting these same ads out in the newspaper or on billboards in brick & mortar land? NO WAY!

    So these are just more laws for internet marketers of dubious distinction and reputation will continue to ignore until there's some enforcement happening and someone gets in big public trouble for their unethical online business and marketing practices.
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  • Profile picture of the author tpw
    It is a game changer, if you are a sleezy marketer instead of an honest marketer.

    Income claims -- out. Good.

    Selling people false hope -- out. Good.

    Deceiving people -- out. Good.

    Selling the opp rather than the education -- out. Good.
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    • Profile picture of the author ShayB
      Originally Posted by tpw View Post

      It is a game changer, if you are a sleezy marketer instead of an honest marketer.

      Income claims -- out. Good.

      Selling people false hope -- out. Good.

      Deceiving people -- out. Good.

      Selling the opp rather than the education -- out. Good.


      I couldn't agree more.
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    • Profile picture of the author yasser
      Originally Posted by tpw View Post

      It is a game changer, if you are a sleezy marketer instead of an honest marketer.

      Income claims -- out. Good.

      Selling people false hope -- out. Good.

      Deceiving people -- out. Good.

      Selling the opp rather than the education -- out. Good.
      I agree with every word
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    • Profile picture of the author anthony2
      Originally Posted by tpw View Post

      It is a game changer, if you are a sleezy marketer instead of an honest marketer.

      Income claims -- out. Good.

      Selling people false hope -- out. Good.

      Deceiving people -- out. Good.

      Selling the opp rather than the education -- out. Good.

      Great way of putting it....100% agree.
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      • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
        For those of us who have coaching programs, we need to go over our instructions
        to students to see if anything we are teaching them can cause them to do things
        that the FTC might find objectionable.

        My point for saying this is simple. If you tell somebody to do something that is
        deemed inappropriate even if you didn't do it yourself, you can be held libel as
        an accessory.

        All the student has to do is tell the feds, "Hey, he told me to do this. Here it is
        in writing."

        Also, students...get everything you're told to do from coaches IN writing. And
        question everything as to its legality.

        Don't let somebody steer you down a path of no return.
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    • Profile picture of the author Andy Hart
      Originally Posted by tpw View Post

      It is a game changer, if you are a sleezy marketer instead of an honest marketer.

      Income claims -- out. Good.

      Selling people false hope -- out. Good.

      Deceiving people -- out. Good.

      Selling the opp rather than the education -- out. Good.
      ^^^ 99% of the WSO's --out. Good
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      • Profile picture of the author JOSourcing
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Andy Hart View Post

        ^^^ 99% of the WSO's --out. Good
        Mmm... nope. They're still in there. Lol
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        • Profile picture of the author value added
          A big thanks to Kindsvater and all the other warriors contributing to this thread!
          I wonder if selling PLRBlogs could be seen as a Biz Opp? Often, newbies buy these blogs in an attempt to make money online. Could s.o. get in trouble just by selling these blogs?
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    • Profile picture of the author RichBeck
      Originally Posted by tpw View Post

      It is a game changer, if you are a sleezy marketer instead of an honest marketer.

      Income claims -- out. Good.

      Selling people false hope -- out. Good.

      Deceiving people -- out. Good.

      Selling the opp rather than the education -- out. Good.
      tpw,

      I couldn't agree with you more.... I am interested to see what new "tricks" the shady marketers try out..... :rolleyes:

      God Bless,

      Rich
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      • Profile picture of the author ronr
        As with many government regulations, this paints with such a broad brush that it will stifle and hurt many legitimate people, hurt innovation and entrepreneurship, while the scammers they are really after will find ways around it.
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    • Profile picture of the author want2knowhow
      Originally Posted by tpw View Post

      It is a game changer, if you are a sleezy marketer instead of an honest marketer.

      Income claims -- out. Good.

      Selling people false hope -- out. Good.

      Deceiving people -- out. Good.

      Selling the opp rather than the education -- out. Good.
      Pardon my personal ignorance...but....doesn't the state lotteries already do this? You know, when they say someone has won 1 million dollars holding a huge check...when in fact, they only won maybe $700,000--after taxes?!? Isn't their 'goal' to get your mouth watering and geared up to play (for the first time) or excited enough to part with your money to play...again?

      Isn't it funny how *gambling* is only illegal...when the state ain't gettin' their cut?

      Why is it alright for the lottery to show people's *wins* and they can write about their situations...but nobody else in business can conduct their business in the same way? Isn't that, too, deceptive marketing? Making you believe that you have just as much a chance to hit that big number, too?

      This to me, smacks of..."Do as we SAY...not as we DO!"
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    • Profile picture of the author Glenda from OZ
      Originally Posted by tpw View Post

      It is a game changer, if you are a sleezy marketer instead of an honest marketer.

      Income claims -- out. Good.

      Selling people false hope -- out. Good.

      Deceiving people -- out. Good.

      Selling the opp rather than the education -- out. Good.
      YEP Getting rid of this type of WSO is like the cavalry coming to save innocent newbies from parting from hard earned money and giving dream dashing in replace for it.
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    • Profile picture of the author cijenterprises
      Originally Posted by tpw View Post

      It is a game changer, if you are a sleezy marketer instead of an honest marketer.

      Income claims -- out. Good.

      Selling people false hope -- out. Good.

      Deceiving people -- out. Good.

      Selling the opp rather than the education -- out. Good.
      I definitely agree.
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    • Profile picture of the author RJ McLearen
      Amen Brother!! Honesty......what a great concept!
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  • Profile picture of the author E. Brian Rose
    Selling a course on how to get more traffic or close sales is not a biz op. It is a course. Selling a wordpress plugin that gets more Likes to your fan page is not a biz op. Very rarely have I seen an actual biz op in the WSO section.
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  • Profile picture of the author specialized
    One thought that I have consistently about this is that a lot of it comes down to phrasing. I'm talking about the language you use to present the profit potential of a business model in a WSO or other offer.

    Here's an example headline I picked at random from the WSO forum:

    Go from $0 to $3237 in 5 days or less!

    The way I would present this instead, and the way I would wager will also keep you out of the FTC's field of fire, would be to say:

    I went from $0 to $3237 in 5 days!

    You can see that the difference is that instead of framing it as something the WSO seller is representing will happen for the prospective WSO buyer (the missing words "You will" are implied, as in "You will go from $0 to $3237 in 5 days or less!"), my version reports a certain earning event that happened for the WSO seller, and the implication is that maybe the information can help the WSO buyer earn similar money, but it doesn't make an exhortation that sounds like it is predicting that.

    The way I see it, you want your advertising to suggest that maybe it could happen for the buyer too, without ever stating overtly that it will. Let the buyer's hope and imagination fill in that blank, rather than stuffing it down their throat---which I believe is part of the line that the FTC doesn't want people crossing.
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  • Profile picture of the author JasonParker
    All this seems like a hassle, but I bet you anything SOME biz opp marketers are licking their chops right now thinking about how all the good ad inventory may be freed up by this... Or they're generally seeing opportunity instead of the hassles.
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  • Profile picture of the author RichardDean
    Business Opportunity

    Ongoing opportunity to generate income as an independent representative of a network marketing company.

    A business opportunity (or bizopp) involves the sale or lease of any product, service, equipment, etc. that will enable the purchaser-licensee to begin a business.

    The sale or lease of products, equipment, supplies or services to enable a person to start his or her own business. A business opportunity exists where the seller makes certain representations to the purchaser:

    I think that most WSO are Business Opportunities.

    If you sell me a plugin for WP that will increase my business then to me that is a Business Opportunity... to increase my business.

    If you tell me how to get 2400 subscribers to my list in 24 hours to me this is a Business Opportunity... to increase my business.

    If you tell me how to legally steal WP sites under the GPL and use them or sell them as my own to me this is a Business Opportunity.

    To me anything that tells me a strategy, theory, aid in, or a tool, that could possibility use for a business is a Business Opportunity.

    Richard
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    • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
      Fortunately, Richard - with all due respect - it doesn't matter what you think a business opportunity is. Or what I think it is.

      All that matters is the FTC's legal definition.

      Increasing a conversion rate, generating more website traffic, or any "strategy, theory, aid in, or a tool" is not a business opportunity.

      But if you want to self-impose a 7-day waiting period, pony up your litigation history, figure out how to disclose the name and address of the 10 closest buyers to whoever is inquiring of your services, subject yourself to the earnings claims requirements - go for it!

      Shall we presume on March 1st you will be shutting down your Fiverr services?

      .
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  • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
    So what about teaching someone how to run a WSO?

    First, running a WSO is something many people would consider a "new" business because they've never done this - and it's represented as being a distinct kind of thing, not just a product for sale on a forum.

    Second, you'd undoubtedly charge someone for the training.

    And third, by the very nature of a WSO, you're recommending the place to get the customers. Similarly, a lot of people give specific guidance on how to position your product so people will promote it as affiliates (e.g. listing it on WSO Pro), which might be seen as recommending a source of leads.

    It seems like this might fall under the bizopp definition.
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    • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
      Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

      So what about teaching someone how to run a WSO?
      My view is this is too general and not a business opportunity. Maybe the FTC will differ, but I doubt it.

      How to run a Warrior Special Offer?
      How to run ads in the local newspaper?
      How to get on the radio?
      How to list a product on Amazon?

      This is general advice and training.

      There really is no such thing as a "WSO." What you have is a product or service and making a "special offer" on the forum that is not available to the general public.

      Amazon is similar in that the price of your product there must also be lower than what you offer it elsewhere.

      While there is an underlying product or service that is being offered which could be the subject of a biz opp, my read of the law is that general advice about how to market that product or service is not itself a biz opp.

      Edit:

      But every offer needs to be looked at on its own merits.

      I suppose a cookie-cutter "WSO system" where the product didn't really matter because it was the "system" that was being sold and which was generating the sales might deserve a closer review.

      .
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      • Profile picture of the author HansM
        Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

        I suppose a cookie-cutter "WSO system" where the product didn't really matter because it was the "system" that was being sold and which was generating the sales might deserve a closer review.
        .
        This brings to mind the (many) threads about a) the 'how to create a successful WSO' methods, and b) people who haven't sold a single product yet, but are seduced by the 'how to create a successful WSO' methods .
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  • Profile picture of the author lowridertj
    Wonder if it will actually make a change in some sites though. I know the rules will be followed as best as possible here, but places like DP (god willing) will help cut down on the crap.
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  • Profile picture of the author RichardDean
    kindsvater

    Fortunately, Richard - with all due respect - it doesn't matter what you think a business opportunity is. Or what I think it is.

    All that matters is the FTC's legal definition.
    That is what sucks because when it comes down to how good your attorney explains it to the jury, and if I'm on that jury you know what I think it is.

    Question:
    So what about someone that offers a solo ad to their customers and say 200 clicks?

    CDarklock makes some good points, if you make a report about facebook and your telling them go to facebook to make 2494.43 cents in 10 minutes of work.

    A lot of new people come here because it is a Business Opportunity

    WF it's self is portrayed as a place you can get leads at / Business Opportunity.

    Richard
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    • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
      Originally Posted by RichardDean View Post

      if I'm on that jury you know what I think it is.
      I'm making a note to kick you off any jury trial I have in Michigan.


      Originally Posted by RichardDean View Post

      Question:
      So what about someone that offers a solo ad to their customers and say 200 clicks?
      That is not an offer to enter into a business. That is an offer to provide advertising, like TV, radio, magazine, etc.

      But, if your offer is something like: Buy my product to get everything you need to cash-in on being a SEO guru, and to help kick off your new business I'll let you run a free ad to my list and guarantee you 200 clicks - then you may have a Biz Opp.

      .
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    • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
      Originally Posted by RichardDean View Post

      That is what sucks because when it comes down to how good your attorney explains it to the jury, and if I'm on that jury you know what I think it is.
      No, because the legal definition is a question of fact.

      Question 1. Did you entice someone to enter a new line of business, in which they were not already engaged?

      Question 2. Did you require payment or other consideration for entering this line of business?

      Question 3. Did you represent that you or someone recommended by you would provide payment, actual or potential sources of payment, or locations likely to result in payment?

      (Question 3 is significantly reworded and paraphrased for brevity.)

      So what about someone that offers a solo ad to their customers and say 200 clicks?
      Question 1. Did you entice someone to enter a new line of business, in which they were not already engaged?

      No. They were to advertise their existing line of business.

      Done. A solo ad is not a business opportunity.

      A lot of new people come here because it is a Business Opportunity
      Again, the legal definition of a business opportunity is what matters. Walking down the street is a business opportunity to me, because I may at any time meet someone or even overhear a conversation that leads me to take on a new client, student, or partner.

      But it is simply stupid to suggest that if I tell someone "walk down the street" I have somehow offered them a business opportunity.

      What I am concerned about is this:

      Question 3. Did you represent that you or someone recommended by you would provide payment, actual or potential sources of payment, or locations likely to result in payment?

      If I represent that the Warrior Forum contains a great many people who like to buy particular kinds of products, and recommend that you create one of those kinds of products so you can sell it on the Warrior Forum (which may or may not constitute a "location"), does this satisfy question 3?

      If not, does it suddenly satisfy question 3 with the reasonably simple and apparently-harmless addition that the Warrior Forum is owned by Allen Says?

      What if I recommend that you use WSO Pro for your WSO because Mike Lantz may select you as WSO of the Day and mail for you? That's a potential source of payment. Statistically, if you're WSO of the Day, you're going to sell a buttload of product... so the potential to be WSO of the Day may qualify.

      I'm really very unclear on where the line is here, and I'd love it if Bryan could stop in and draw a somewhat clearer one. But it's a complex question, and in the end I'm going to have to speak to an attorney about my plans this summer anyway.
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  • Profile picture of the author Damz
    So what will happen to all Clickbank Biz op products? Online Writing,Start SEO biz guides, Freelancing Guides, & all other biz op ebooks/ products?
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  • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
    I've seen a lot of this kind of stuff come and go over the past 15 years. Ethical people remain largely unaffected by it, unethical people usually find a way around it. I doubt this will be different.
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    • Profile picture of the author RichardDean
      Originally Posted by sethczerepak View Post

      I've seen a lot of this kind of stuff come and go over the past 15 years. Ethical people remain largely unaffected by it, unethical people usually find a way around it. I doubt this will be different.
      That reminds me I have seen it also.

      You put locks on your doors to keep the honest people honest.

      The crook picks up the football left in the yard and breaks the window no lock with keep them out.

      Richard
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    • Profile picture of the author MrBenny
      Ridiculous. The problem is not biz opps, the problem is slimeball marketers. And a WSO is not any more a biz opp than me coaching a kid with the idea of getting him to the NBA. It is a product. Take the definition too seriously and I will be able to sue the tire manufacturer for not being able to win Daytona. But maybe I will. Maybe that is the thing, find someone to sue. The new business opportunity, but wait, can you or the lawyer you recommend guarantee I will win?
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      • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
        Attention all Internet Marketers and home business owners.

        The sky is NOT falling.

        1. Be up front. Tell people what they're getting. Spell it out.

        2. Don't make promises that you can't possibly keep

        3. Read # 1 and # 2 again.

        That is all.

        We now return you to your regularly scheduled "The Day The Earth Stood Still (
        as Internet marketing died)" special feature.

        Popcorn is available at the concession stand.
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        • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
          Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

          1. Be up front. Tell people what they're getting. Spell it out.
          It's a little more complex than this, Steven.

          If you are selling a "business opportunity," you can't take the customer's money for seven days and you have to provide contact information for ten of your other customers so he can contact them to verify your claims. Furthermore, you have to maintain a detailed history of every customer you get and every earnings result you use in your marketing for five years.

          While you should still certainly tell people what they're getting, there's a certain category of "what they're getting" which means your entire business model has to change.

          Most people aren't in that category and don't have to worry, however.
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          • Profile picture of the author David Keith
            Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post


            Most people aren't in that category and don't have to worry, however.
            As a few have already mentioned though, most people are not in this category YET. YET being the keyword. Basically the FTC is making it very clear that intends to regulate things like income claims and testimonials.

            So while many "how to internet marketing" products don't currently fall under the new biz op regulations, they better keep their eyes open and recognize that the FTC is very likely going to continue to reach further and further to stop the income claims that are fake or that take extreme liberties with the truth.
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            • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
              Originally Posted by David Keith View Post

              As a few have already mentioned though, most people are not in this category YET.
              That's like saying we already have laws against killing people and pets, so it's only a matter of time before it's illegal to step on bugs.
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              • Profile picture of the author David Keith
                Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                That's like saying we already have laws against killing people and pets, so it's only a matter of time before it's illegal to step on bugs.
                There are several issues where you analogy is flawed, but if thats how you see it thats up to you.

                The FTC in fact already has laws regulating income claims that many IMers are currently violating. These new rules just solidify the fact that the FTC does indeed intend to continue to further its reach and do what it can to make sure income claims are all valid.

                And lets be honest, the FTC is not going to be enforcing these laws themselves most of the time anyway. They are going to apply pressure to payment processors and such to do much of the enforcing.

                And do you really think paypal, clickbank, and others are going to error on the side of a small merchant? Of course not, its their a$$ on the line. These guys are going to push the line to make sure they don't end up in a fight they can't win with the FTC.

                Thus the little merchants with shady income claims on their sites are going to be fighting an uphill battle against the merchant account providers even if they don't officially fall under the new biz op guidelines.
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                • Profile picture of the author Amber Jalink
                  Like Shay - I have a quick question (or 2)...

                  so if I was to release a WSO....

                  and in that WSO I stated that "I made $xxx just by doing this..."

                  and the offer is that I show people how to do the same (aka: get clients offline)....

                  I don't tell them specifically WHO to go after, but I DO give examples of niches they could try, and how to do their research....

                  would that mean its a biz opp, or I'm just coaching people on how to properly reach companies that could use their services, and some ideas of what to offer?

                  (in other words, I'm not supplying leads, just showing examples of niches and an example on video of a walk thru)
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                  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
                    Amber,

                    1. That sounds like general training and advice. But I obviously cannot give legal advise on the forum for specific situations, especially where a product is unknown.

                    2. For reasons I am not at liberty to discuss at this time, I do not want to comment about income claims and if saying "this is what I made" is (or will) be approved for a WSO.

                    3. Being in Canada you raise an interesting question. Typically, the FTC applies its rules worldwide if one is selling to US residents. But as you may have read in my report, some parts of the Biz Opp Rule are specific to US residents, and compliance may not be legal in other countries.

                    Getting caught between that rock and hard place is one more reason to avoid being considered a Biz Opp.

                    .
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                    • Profile picture of the author Amber Jalink
                      Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

                      Amber,

                      1. That sounds like general training and advice. But I obviously cannot give legal advise on the forum for specific situations, especially where a product is unknown.

                      2. For reasons I am not at liberty to discuss at this time, I do not want to comment about income claims and if saying "this is what I made" is (or will) be approved for a WSO.

                      3. Being in Canada you raise an interesting question. Typically, the FTC applies its rules worldwide if one is selling to US residents. But as you may have read in my report, some parts of the Biz Opp Rule are specific to US residents, and compliance may not be legal in other countries.

                      Getting caught between that rock and hard place is one more reason to avoid being considered a Biz Opp.

                      .

                      Hi Kindsvater,

                      For #1, yeah it really is training - but I might just be contacting you before I put my WSO out to be safe (if you offer that type of service to ensure I'm within the legal ok)

                      As for #3, that's why I came back, (didn't get your reply in my email yet) but I was thinking about that fact, and I was actually going to ask about the fact that I'm Canadian.

                      Canada is *huge* about privacy and yes, I've been reading the PDF and from my knowledge of Canadian law / privacy rights, this would definitely violate it.

                      I'm not a lawyer (but I did take law in school...almost went to become a lawyer LOL) - and yes, Canada is really picky about disclosing private info.

                      I really wonder though how it will affect the WSO's because when you read probably 90% of them, they talk about how much money a person can make by following "this wso". And typically that's right in the subject.

                      And, of course, that's what compels people to buy - vs "a course" on how to do something. While yes they want the "how to", they want the "how to make $xxxx money with mobile websites" for example.... it won't maybe spur them the same to buy a "how to make a mobile website you can sell"

                      ....note to self... consider giving up the domain "howtomakefastmoney.com"... lol

                      Amber
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                • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
                  Originally Posted by David Keith View Post

                  There are several issues where you analogy is flawed
                  That is the nature of analogy: it is an approximation, not an exact parallel.

                  Most IMers are honest and ethical people. The FTC can make whatever rules they want, and the overwhelming majority of IMers will not need to change anything.

                  Income claims, for example, are pretty worthless when you're selling yoga mats or tips for avoiding yeast infections. Nobody says "My yoga mat brings me $50 a day in passive income!" or "I made $32,480 by not getting a yeast infection!"

                  The MMO/bizopp niche is tiny. Most people aren't in it. Even among those in the IM niche, the majority of us don't touch MMO/bizopp simply because we don't have to.
                  Signature
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              • Profile picture of the author want2knowhow
                Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                That's like saying we already have laws against killing people and pets, so it's only a matter of time before it's illegal to step on bugs.
                I'm sorry...but that was just too !
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        • Profile picture of the author Gaz Cooper
          Just keep your nose clean the best you can be honest and up front follow the rules as best you can but the reality is this

          If somehow you get onto the radar of the FTC even if you are doing as much as you can right you are royally F#@$ed because the reality is they will find some rule you are breaking and nail you to the wall.

          Kickin it on Amazon

          Gaz Cooper
          Amz Training Academy
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        • Profile picture of the author googlepage1
          I have bought into my share of Business Opportunities, and they generally run several thousands of dollars and up. Some typical wording would be:
          • "Turnkey Opportunity"
          • "Turnkey Operation"
          • "Complete Turnkey Business"
          • "Work from Home" Complete Package
          • "Start Your Own Business"
          • "Carlton Sheets Real Estate Wealth System"
          • "Invest $5,000 and Get a 1000% Return"
          • "Be a Real Estate Tycoon Buying Foreclosure System"

          These Business opportunities, as well as Ponzi schemes, make Tens of Millions of dollars each year, and rack up thousands of complaints. Those are the real targets of the FTC, not the WSO's on this board.

          Sure, be prudent, but I don't see the FTC investing their limited resources and coming after you or me for a $7 Dime Sale.
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        • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
          Originally Posted by sethczerepak View Post

          I've seen a lot of this kind of stuff come and go over the past 15 years. Ethical people remain largely unaffected by it, unethical people usually find a way around it. I doubt this will be different.
          Says the person with this in their signature:

          Want to get 35,000 subscribers in less than one year and earn $8,750 a month.
          Sounds like a business opportunity to me if I ever heard one.
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          • Profile picture of the author J Bold
            Originally Posted by Jill Carpenter View Post

            Says the person with this in their signature:



            Sounds like a business opportunity to me if I ever heard one.
            But the point is not that it sounds like a business opportunity to you, the point is what the FTC says is a business opportunity and what guidelines a business opportunity as defined by the FTC has to do to be compliant.

            From what I read in this thread, just that title alone doesn't constitute a business opportunity with the meaning we are talking about in this thread.
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        • Profile picture of the author lindafulkerson
          Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

          Attention all Internet Marketers and home business owners.

          The sky is NOT falling.

          1. Be up front. Tell people what they're getting. Spell it out.

          2. Don't make promises that you can't possibly keep

          3. Read # 1 and # 2 again.

          That is all.

          We now return you to your regularly scheduled "The Day The Earth Stood Still (
          as Internet marketing died)" special feature.

          Popcorn is available at the concession stand.
          That pretty much sums it up!
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        • Profile picture of the author NACAdam
          Man I'll tell ya I'm not worried about it because I have been buying and selling" Biz Opps" for a while all of the stuff I promote is tested and reviewed all stuff I use in my own business ..So I will keep on keepin on with no worries until they come cuff me. After all I run an honest operation and only promote ethical products ( all of which have money back guarantees ) so there ya have it thats what I'm going to do
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      • Profile picture of the author Bill Farnham
        Originally Posted by MrBenny View Post

        Ridiculous. The problem is not biz opps, the problem is slimeball marketers.
        Half truth.

        The other half of the problem is unrealistic expectations by Biz-Op seekers.

        Slimeball marketers have a hungry market to ply because of rampant laziness by people who believe anything they're told that matches their desire to get something for next to nothing.

        If there wasn't a market for that kind of garbage...

        ~Bill
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  • Profile picture of the author paul_1
    The FTC or the government can make laws all they want, but the sturdy and creative IMer will always adapt and adapt...
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Hill
    This is getting ridiculous... The United States Government is trying to kill Free Enterprise and impose it's will around the world.

    What about franchises? Under this new definition isn't that considered a Business Opportunity?

    So now I guess Small Business Opportunities Magazine will all be out of business...
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    • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
      Originally Posted by Mike Hill View Post

      What about franchises? Under this new definition isn't that considered a Business Opportunity?
      The new rules have been largely derived from the existing rules for franchises, so chances are SBO Magazine is already mostly compliant with them.
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  • Profile picture of the author anthonyrude
    This totally blows!

    I had a great opportunity that ran on autopilot because the company actually gave me customers (I paid very little for) that automatically qualified me for daily commissions.

    Now that program has been discontinued and I think it may ruin it for many people.

    Unless I come up with a solution I may be out the best thing I ever found.

    And I'm not saying that as a pitch...

    I'm saying that because I made money the first day and everyday since with less than 5 minutes work online. NOTHING has ever come close to it.

    I really hope I figure out how to use this to my advantage some how.
    Signature
    Sorry No Shameless Self-promotion... yet.

    I'll wait 'till I've proven myself as an asset... not just looking to make a quick buck off you with some bs product!
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  • Profile picture of the author anthonyrude
    @Mike Hill

    I saw in your sig the listbuilding thing...

    PM me when it's up and running.
    Signature
    Sorry No Shameless Self-promotion... yet.

    I'll wait 'till I've proven myself as an asset... not just looking to make a quick buck off you with some bs product!
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  • Profile picture of the author goldliger
    Question...

    Wouldn't something like Google Adwords or Facebook Ads meet the biz op criteria by their wide open standards?

    1. They accept newcomers into a "business" (marketing online).
    2. The buyer makes a required payment.
    3. They help get customers.

    And wouldn't the above be true of most ANY online service that offers a current - or would-be - online marketer assistance in getting leads, traffic, and sales?

    Just curious, thanks.
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    • Profile picture of the author Cadet
      Hurray, our kids will die hungry in the name of justice!
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    • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
      Originally Posted by goldliger View Post

      Wouldn't something like Google Adwords or Facebook Ads meet the biz op criteria by their wide open standards?
      No. This is the purchase of advertising. Not the purchase of a business. But the advertising could be used to promote a business.

      Otherwise, all advertising media (TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, Internet) would grind to a halt.

      .
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      • Profile picture of the author goldliger
        Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

        No. This is the purchase of advertising. Not the purchase of a business. But the advertising could be used to promote a business.

        Otherwise, all advertising media (TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, Internet) would grind to a halt.

        .
        I agree. But still it seems that the mentioned criteria for a biz opp are met by Adwords, etc. Or another way of looking at it... Why couldn't a biz opp simply call themselves an advertising platform to "skirt" the rules. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

        Also, what do you predict will become of the entire Clickbank Internet Business Opportunities category and the thousands of sites listed in that category?

        Thanks
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        • Profile picture of the author affhelper
          Originally Posted by goldliger View Post

          Why couldn't a biz opp simply call themselves an advertising platform to "skirt" the rules. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.
          I think someone tried it a few years ago. It was called ASD Cash Generator lol ...research it and see how they ended up
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  • Profile picture of the author ChadOath
    Quick question, but wouldn't the rule about disclosing the closest 10 customers violate all types of privacy guidelines? Who would want to join a business opportunity with the possibility of having their contact information given away to lord knows who. Add to that the fact that these people can actually CONTACT you. You could have all kinds of shady people and lead collectors who join just to get the required contact information of people near them. And they now know that you are definitely interested in this type of business, which makes their efforts even more targeted. Did the FTC actually think this through?
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    • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
      Originally Posted by ChadOath View Post

      Quick question, but wouldn't the rule about disclosing the closest 10 customers violate all types of privacy guidelines? Who would want to join a business opportunity with the possibility of having their contact information given away to lord knows who. Add to that the fact that these people can actually CONTACT you. You could have all kinds of shady people and lead collectors who join just to get the required contact information of people near them. And they now know that you are definitely interested in this type of business, which makes their efforts even more targeted. Did the FTC actually think this through?
      The FTC does discuss the privacy issue. The government's position is that privacy can be waived, so if a Biz Opp seller is forced to notify a buyer they are waiving their privacy rights then there is no privacy violation.

      Of course, this is still government coerced.

      I would be greatly surprised if lawsuits were not filed over this issue.

      The government's desire to kill-off "business opportunities" trumps any minimal concern it has about your privacy.

      The FTC called it "consent" when explaining why there is not a violation of California's constitutional privacy rights. Personally, I don't call government coercion "consent."

      .
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      • Profile picture of the author ChadOath
        Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

        The FTC does discuss the privacy issue. The government's position is that privacy can be waived, so if a Biz Opp seller is forced to notify a buyer they are waiving their privacy rights then there is no privacy violation.

        Of course, this is still government coerced.

        I would be greatly surprised if lawsuits were not filed over this issue.

        The government's desire to kill-off "business opportunities" trumps any minimal concern it has about your privacy.

        The FTC called it "consent" when explaining why there is not a violation of California's constitutional privacy rights. Personally, I don't call government coercion "consent."

        .
        Ah, gotcha. That seems awfully irresponsible on their part.
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      • Profile picture of the author Rich Mann
        Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

        The government's desire to kill-off "business opportunities" trumps any minimal concern it has about your privacy.

        The FTC called it "consent" when explaining why there is not a violation of California's constitutional privacy rights. Personally, I don't call government coercion "consent."
        Exactly kindsvater.

        This will set the decades of privacy rights litigation back to the stone ages through the coercion of government.

        Since when does the government have the right to decide "for me" (disclosures), whether my private information is to be released publicly if I choose to enter into a private business transaction "Biz Op" with a private party?

        That is tantamount to opening the door (release of personal information publicly) to any number of threats (identity thieves, unscrupulous marketing agencies, thieves in general, fraudsters, spammers, etc).

        I fully agree there needs to be some house cleaning done to prevent unscrupulous scammers from taking advantage of consumers, but enacting broad brush draconian legislation under the guise of "protecting the public" isn't the answer.

        Especially when that legislation undermines a population of under/unemployed people that are looking for a means to close the gaps in their finances. Who would want to their personal information released into the public by a third party by means of coerced consent just to be able to take action on a "potential" revenue stream?

        I suggest it has nothing to do with whether the government gives a rats a$$ about consumers getting ripped off. I opine, follow the money.

        Since there are so many of these type of offers (biz ops) popping up everywhere, the government can't effectively ensure a guaranteed tax revenue stream from those operating these types of offers.

        Therefore, it's much more profitable to put them out of business (less money spent trying to chase them down to collect the stipend) or collect large fines and fees through litigation (paid for by taxpayers). Result: Closer to guaranteed revenue.

        And, isn't this the same government, through the FCC, that allows 10's of millions of consumers to be ripped off for 100's of billions of dollars annually by allowing the proliferation of spamercials on the television sets that those same consumers pay astounding monthly fees for the luxury of receiving broadcasting from their cable/dish providers?

        [Ensuing RANT]
        Seriously... think about that for a minute. A couple of years ago, analog TV broadcasting was decommissioned by the FCC forcing everyone wanting to watch broadcast TV to buy either a digital converter box or trash their analog TV for a new digital TV. Again... follow the money. Think of guaranteed tax revenue streams from TV sales and subscriber services.

        Since many of the broadcasters opted out of continuing to broadcast analog signals, consumers were forced to pay for a subscriber service Cable/Dish. So the subscriber services made a killing on the new customers. But wait... the subscriber services also knew that they could rake in even more from the broadcast advertisers on the back end. Billions more annually.

        The net effect: somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 minutes per hour (~30-35%) of your subscriber dollars are spent starring at spamercials that YOU are paying to watch and the subscriber service is also paid handsomely by the broadcast advertisers to put that in your face.
        [/RANT]

        So, while I do see this (FTC ruling) as a potential step in the right direction toward relieving the market of unsavory and unethical individuals by putting a few more teeth in the already existing laws, I don't believe that these regulations will have nearly the dampening effect on those same individuates as it will have on the market in general. The unethical and unscrupulous will always find a way to operate.

        IMHO, ethical marketers and purveyors of products and services, will be the ones most affected by these regulations as they attempt to navigate the minefield of applicability of these rulings as they apply to the specific product/service being offered and how that product/service is to be marketed. Thereby, hastening the effort to bring new products and services into the marketplace by having to scrutinize every aspect of their endeavor.

        Disclaimer: The foregoing is a matter of opinion by the poster and should not be construed as fact. Due diligence is recommended before taking any actions or formulating any opinions based on the above commentary. It's my understanding that we are still operating under a limited license version of "Free Speech"
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        • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
          Originally Posted by Rich Mann View Post

          IMHO, ethical marketers and purveyors of products and services, will be the ones most affected by these regulations
          ...because the unethical ones will just break this law along with all the ones they were already breaking, secure in the knowledge that fleeing from the government when charged with fifty crimes is no more difficult than fleeing when charged with forty-nine.

          Of course, fleeing from the government when charged with one crime is significantly more difficult then just plain not being charged with anything.

          It's crossing the line that counts. Once you're over, hey, you may as well keep going.
          Signature
          "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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          • Profile picture of the author Rich Mann
            Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

            ...because the unethical ones will just break this law along with all the ones they were already breaking, secure in the knowledge that fleeing from the government when charged with fifty crimes is no more difficult than fleeing when charged with forty-nine.

            Of course, fleeing from the government when charged with one crime is significantly more difficult then just plain not being charged with anything.

            It's crossing the line that counts. Once you're over, hey, you may as well keep going.
            Ain't it the truth CD. The government can't effectively enforce the existing laws let alone creating new and even more broad-based regulations that only an attorney can interpret.
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  • Profile picture of the author ChadOath
    Also, have their been any casualties to this new change yet? Have any popular sites shut down or been heavily modified?
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  • Profile picture of the author Alminc
    @kindsvater:

    Is this correct:

    Teaching someone strategies, techniques, procedures etc. on how to build any kind of business or how to make money is NOT a business opportunity, as long as you don't:
    - make income claims
    - provide or recommend location where the buyer could conduct that business
    - provide leads or recommend someone who provides leads

    Almin
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    • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
      Originally Posted by Alminc View Post

      @kindsvater:

      Is this correct:

      Teaching someone strategies, techniques, procedures etc. on how to build any kind of business or how to make money is NOT a business opportunity, as long as you don't:
      - make income claims
      - provide or recommend location where the buyer could conduct that business
      - provide leads or recommend someone who provides leads

      Almin
      Almin, the requirements in a nutshell are:

      1. A solicitation for someone to enter into a business.

      2. Payment by the buyer.

      3. Assisting the buyer in getting locations, outlets, accounts, or customers.

      Making an income is not a requirement to have a Biz Opp. But if you have a Biz Opp and make an income claim then numerous disclosure requirements are triggered about the income claim.

      Providing leads or recommending someone who provides leads is considered to be buyer assistance in getting customers.

      .
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      • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
        Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

        3. Assisting the buyer in getting locations, outlets, accounts, or customers.
        One thing I'm not clear on is what constitutes assisting. That's the part that makes me nervous. If, for example, the owners of "JVDigiMooshBank Pro" were to set up a monthly coaching program about how to make your own product and list it on JVDigiMooshBank Pro, does that cross the line?
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        • Profile picture of the author Rob Howard
          Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

          One thing I'm not clear on is what constitutes assisting. That's the part that makes me nervous. If, for example, the owners of "JVDigiMooshBank Pro" were to set up a monthly coaching program about how to make your own product and list it on JVDigiMooshBank Pro, does that cross the line?
          I'm guessing Caliban, but I would say no.

          My theory is that JVDigiMooshBank Pro is basically just a payment processor and affiliate manager. They don't provide the customers - you still have to go find the customers.

          Even if you say "list on JVDigi... to attract affiliates and customers", you really aren't because it's all general.

          Now maybe if you were to say...

          "Contact John Smith on JVDigi..., he has a list suited for these type of products and he can mail for you, which will bring you customers."

          That's different because it's specific.

          Same thing with telling people to advertise on Google/Bing/Facebook...all that is general. Those are just advertising outlets. Same with getting ranked in Google, or using article syndication.

          None of those locations actually store leads. They have traffic, and that traffic is directed to your site...but until they opt-in for business communication with you, they aren't leads.

          That's my take, anyway.

          Rob
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        • Profile picture of the author wizzard74
          Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

          One thing I'm not clear on is what constitutes assisting. That's the part that makes me nervous. If, for example, the owners of "JVDigiMooshBank Pro" were to set up a monthly coaching program about how to make your own product and list it on JVDigiMooshBank Pro, does that cross the line?
          The way I'm interpreting this is, you can tell people where to look, but you cannot tell people a specific person to go to.
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      • Profile picture of the author supsx
        Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

        Almin, the requirements in a nutshell are:

        1. A solicitation for someone to enter into a business.

        2. Payment by the buyer.

        3. Assisting the buyer in getting locations, outlets, accounts, or customers.

        Making an income is not a requirement to have a Biz Opp. But if you have a Biz Opp and make an income claim then numerous disclosure requirements are triggered about the income claim.

        Providing leads or recommending someone who provides leads is considered to be buyer assistance in getting customers.

        .
        I am not a lawyer but I think your post summarizes it nicely for people living in the states. This is what I got from it.

        1. If you are selling an ebook, you aren't soliciting for someone to enter into a business, you are only selling the information. If the buyer wants to start a new business with the information, that is completely their doing. Colleges that sell education are not soliciting new business opportunities even though they may be teaching you about ways to advertise and do marketing and where to get mailing lists for direct mail. They are only offering the education. The get rich quick scammers and mail enveloping stuffing schemes are the opportunities that your government is going after.

        2. Payment by the buyer refers to paying to get a work at home job or paying to start a business and so forth. Not paying for an ebook with information. These things are completely separate, you just need to make sure you make it clear what you are selling, you are selling an ebook with information, not an opportunity or money you can make. If anything this will stop guys in the states from doing this crap but hopefully they don't decide to move to an offshore company to do their scams.

        3. As for Assisting the buyer in getting locations, outlets, accounts, or customers. This is related to selling a business opportunity that gives you a physical location or website, merchant account and sends you their customers. An ebook only sells you the information on where to go look for a retail location or how to make a website, how to get a paypal account and which website to go to.

        Now from what I see if a scammer only does 1 or 2 of these things but not all 3, the scammers can get around the law easily. Which is still kind of sad.

        PS. I am not a lawyer, nor am I American. Maybe an American lawyer can tell you if what I said is right.
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  • Profile picture of the author ChadOath
    I wonder why Clickbank hasn't sent out a major update about this. Is it safe to assume that this isn't a "big deal" in regards to their sites?
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  • Profile picture of the author kevinw1
    My, I'm glad I read this. On my PLR site I recommend ways to monetize each niche I provide articles in - which seems to be to come under the rather broad "providing leads" definition ie telling people where to get customers.

    I think I'll go remove that verbiage right now...
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  • Profile picture of the author David Keith
    @kindsvater

    1. how do you see this affecting all the get xx# of subscribers using this tool / system claims. In your opinion is this going to fall under the "helping them get leads" category.

    Personally, I don't really see the FTC doing much with this regarding "the little" guys. Obviously if you break the law there is a chance you will get nailed, but practically speaking, it is going to be much like enforcing the music pirating stuff. There is no way the FTC is going to prosecute more than a handful of small guys.

    I see this policy change putting pressure on the paypal's, clickbanks, and even awebers of the world that "enable" these small time guys to operate. Having owned businesses for many years, regulations like this usually just end up "leaning" on those who enable the people who break the laws.

    I think that is where most "smaller time" business people should be equally if not more concerned. Guys like paypal and clickbank don't want to fight the FTC, so they are going to change their TOS to be damn sure they are not enabling people to violate the new FTC rules.

    That probably means they are likely to change their TOS to be several steps to the conservative side of these new regulations.
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    • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
      Originally Posted by David Keith View Post

      how do you see this affecting all the get xx# of subscribers using this tool / system claims. In your opinion is this going to fall under the "helping them get leads" category.
      By itself, a tool (system, technique, idea, etc.) is not going to be impacted by the new rule.

      For instance: Double your subscribers using my new pop-up script for WordPress blogs that is not blocked by pop-up blockers.

      The business assistance, or helping someone get customers, is not the only requirement needed to be a "Biz Opp." The buyer also needs to be getting a new business for themselves. Typically, someone is already in business if they are looking for more subscribers for that business.

      .
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      • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
        Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

        The business assistance, or helping someone get customers, is not the only requirement needed to be a "Biz Opp." The buyer also needs to be getting a new business for themselves. Typically, someone is already in business if they are looking for more subscribers for that business.
        I'm altering my own plans as follows, pending consultation with an attorney of my own (Brian may be a lawyer, but he's not MY lawyer, and can't give guidance specific to my own situation):

        - All of my marketing materials will be altered to clarify that everything I sell is to improve an existing business, not to create a new one.

        - Anything directly targeted at starting a new line of business will be migrated into free products.

        This should drag everything I do out of the bizopp category no matter how the third rule on leads and customers is interpreted. Even if I'm technically offering to help find leads or locations or accounts, I'm either not promoting a new line of business, or I'm not charging any fee. So the part of the law that worries me is no longer an issue.

        Of course, as mentioned, still talking to a lawyer about it. And if you're concerned, you should too.
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        • Profile picture of the author Jeannie Crabtree
          Brian,
          I am still trying to fully understand this, so had a couple questions.

          What about those who work with other businesses and offline businesses? Is there anything we might do that would be considered leading someone to buy a business and then assist them to get leads?

          Would an individually owned site put up to capture leads for a type of business and then the person contacts businesses to sell the leads to be considered a Biz Op?
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          • Profile picture of the author Amber Jalink
            Originally Posted by dazkat View Post

            At the end of the day if you are an honest marketer then this should not concern you at all.

            Its only going to affect those marketers that know they are doing the wrong things just to make a quick buck that will be worried.

            I personally think it is a good thing. Its only going to help to bring more trust into the online marketplace.
            I know Kindsvater answered this, but I wanted to add my 2cents:

            not everyone was just looking to make a quick buck.

            I think it was Frank Kern - legitimate marketer - who went through complete **ll...

            The bad ones are the ones who will be much more likely to get around it, that's all.
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            • Profile picture of the author Cadet
              Lot of folks here say this is great for Internet Marketing and will bring more trust but in reality new rules will bring nothing more than fear and frustration to a lot of honest marketers.

              Here is an eye opener:

              The "Legacy Learning and Smith" was required to pay $250,000 to settle charges of deceptive advertising practices only because their affiliates portrayed themselves as every day users of "The Learn and Master Guitar" program.

              This is a real masterpiece in guitar playing learning and there was no hype from Legacy's side. Even affiliates made no harm to anyone, claiming that they used guitar course personally.

              I want to ask all happy supporters- what would you say if you were required to pay $250,000 just for selling a great product, loved by thousands only because you couldn't control every word of your affiliates?

              BTW , Legacy was required to to submit earning reports to the FTC for their top 50 revenue generating affiliate marketers.

              If you want to learn more about this case here is the link
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              • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
                Originally Posted by Cadet View Post

                The "Legacy Learning and Smith" was required to pay $250,000
                After "...such endorsements generated more than $5 million in sales of Legacy's courses."

                Firm to Pay FTC $250,000 to Settle Charges That It Used Misleading Online "Consumer" and "Independent" Reviews

                So let's sum up. The company used deceptive marketing to sell $5 million worth of courses, then settled with the FTC for $250k.

                That's about 5% of sales.

                You may also find some useful guidance here:

                "In addition, they have to monitor and submit monthly reports about their top 50 revenue-generating affiliate marketers, and make sure that they are disclosing that they earn commissions for sales and are not misrepresenting themselves as independent users or ordinary consumers. Legacy Learning and Smith also must monitor a random sampling of another 50 of their affiliate marketers, and submit monthly reports to the FTC about the same criteria."

                Legacy was not liable because their affiliates did this, but because they did not verify that the marketing materials in use by affiliates were compliant. The FTC apparently finds monitoring a hundred of your affiliates - the top fifty, and fifty more at random - to be sufficient.

                If you actually care about being compliant with legal and ethical boundaries, all the information you need is publicly available. You just have to pay attention. Cadet reads this and sees a six-figure fine and being forced to submit reports. I read it and see a 5% fine with clear guidelines of what the FTC considers "enough" when monitoring affiliates.
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                • Profile picture of the author RichBeck
                  Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                  So let's sum up. The company used deceptive marketing to sell $5 million worth of courses, then settled with the FTC for $250k.
                  CDarklock,

                  The ironic aspect is this is done frequently....... Instead of doing the "right thing" i.e. recall a car...... They calculate the cost of lawsuits due to injury and death....... Make a "business" decision based on which is less costly....

                  It sounds like the scammers' "business model" will continue to work with such minimal fines.... :rolleyes:

                  God Bless,

                  Rich
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                  • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
                    Originally Posted by RichBeck View Post

                    The ironic aspect is this is done frequently
                    It's not "ironic" at all. It's the natural result of a culture which has given the corporation all the same rights as an individual, then excused it from any and all responsibility beyond making a profit for shareholders. We made that decision about 150 years ago, and we've been complaining about how stupid it was ever since.
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                    • Profile picture of the author RichBeck
                      Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                      It's not "ironic" at all. It's the natural result of a culture which has given the corporation all the same rights as an individual, then excused it from any and all responsibility beyond making a profit for shareholders. We made that decision about 150 years ago, and we've been complaining about how stupid it was ever since.
                      CDarklock,

                      When I mentioned "ironic," it was not in reference to individuals versus corporations as legal entities..... Rather, money being more important than people's health and life.... I would like to think there are still a few companies out there who would do the "right thing"... Caring more about people than money.....

                      God Bless,

                      Rich
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                      • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
                        Originally Posted by RichBeck View Post

                        Rather, money being more important than people's health and life....
                        ...to a corporation.

                        Or are you suggesting that normal workaday people are commonly faced with the question of whether to do a recall or risk lawsuits?
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                        "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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                        • Profile picture of the author RichBeck
                          Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                          ...to a corporation.

                          Or are you suggesting that normal workaday people are commonly faced with the question of whether to do a recall or risk lawsuits?
                          CDarklock,

                          Certainly! "Workaday people" are faced with doing the "right thing" or not....... Not just seven figure CEOs....... Do I hang out, walk around... or do some work....

                          I was not commenting on the organization collectively making decisions or being involving in litigation... Rather, the people in the organization... i.e. Toyota ignoring several warnings about issues... and choosing to put their heads in the sand...... Would the Toyota CEO want his children riding in a Toyota with known defects?

                          My point was... High level executives just see profit and loss not lost health or life... Very sad, my friend!!! It is what it is!

                          God Bless,

                          Rich
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                          • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
                            Originally Posted by RichBeck View Post

                            I was not commenting on the organization collectively making decisions or being involving in litigation... Rather, the people in the organization...
                            Which they do because they are not acting as themselves, but as the corporation - just like the people in the Milgram experiment. The corporate name on the letterhead absolves the individual of responsibility, precisely as the direction of a superior would.

                            Small business owners on Main street do not need to make these decisions. The question of "doing the right thing" is not what I'm discussing, but the question of weighing the cost of litigation/prosecution against the profits of unethical/dishonest business activity. Small business owners don't ask these questions, because the costs are astronomically higher than the profit from any single business activity.
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                            "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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                            • Profile picture of the author RichBeck
                              Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                              Which they do because they are not acting as themselves, but as the corporation - just like the people in the Milgram experiment. The corporate name on the letterhead absolves the individual of responsibility, precisely as the direction of a superior would.

                              Small business owners on Main street do not need to make these decisions. The question of "doing the right thing" is not what I'm discussing, but the question of weighing the cost of litigation/prosecution against the profits of unethical/dishonest business activity. Small business owners don't ask these questions, because the costs are astronomically higher than the profit from any single business activity.
                              CDarklock,

                              You are right, my friend! Small business owners can be easily cleaned out... While huge corporations can payout millions and it is pocket change to them.....

                              God Bless,

                              Rich
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                              • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
                                An example of a "Business Opportunity" just happens to be the subject of another thread:

                                http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...ml#post5738179

                                The website linked in that thread is offering data entry jobs (the business) and sending every day the emails to be "processed" (the business assistance obtaining accounts / customers).

                                And along the way committing fraud, engaging in trademark infringement, copyright violations, use of fake trust logos and well, if there is a law to be broken this site is making a good run at it!

                                .
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                                • Profile picture of the author Cadet
                                  Yes, that is an obvious scam. Only housewives, students and older folks become their victims I think.

                                  Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

                                  An example of a "Business Opportunity" just happens to be the subject of another thread:

                                  http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...ml#post5738179

                                  The website linked in that thread is offering data entry jobs (the business) and sending every day the emails to be "processed" (the business assistance obtaining accounts / customers).

                                  And along the way committing fraud, engaging in trademark infringement, copyright violations, use of fake trust logos and well, if there is a law to be broken this site is making a good run at it!

                                  .
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                              • Profile picture of the author gordonmartin2013
                                It's chewing gum money, Rich lol

                                Originally Posted by RichBeck View Post

                                CDarklock,

                                You are right, my friend! Small business owners can be easily cleaned out... While huge corporations can payout millions and it is pocket change to them.....

                                God Bless,

                                Rich
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          • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
            Originally Posted by Jeannie Crabtree View Post

            What about those who work with other businesses and offline businesses? Is there anything we might do that would be considered leading someone to buy a business and then assist them to get leads?
            Yes. I think a primary focus of the FTC is on offline businesses. Vending machines, envelope stuffing, and medical billing come quickly to mind.


            Originally Posted by Jeannie Crabtree View Post

            Would an individually owned site put up to capture leads for a type of business and then the person contacts businesses to sell the leads to be considered a Biz Op?
            No. Assume you have a website that collects leads for people looking for exterminators. You then contact exterminators to see if they want to buy your leads.

            - You are not selling the availability of having an exterminator business.

            - The exterminators you are contacting are already in the business, so this is not new to them.

            So this would not be a Biz Opp.

            .
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    I'm not so sure that there won't be a motion to stop the "little guy" at least at first. What better way to send out a message? Remember the last rulings and how people said "can't effect me, I'm not in the US." The first thing they did was go after a guy in Australia - and next a new string of "can't do" laws and they take down a college in in the UK.

    How many places to you see biz ops, that you only see one biz op? Usually you will see many in one place. Use the WSO forum and Digital Point forums for an example. Little guys, sure -- but lots and lots and lots of little guys. The FTC could come down and grab hundreds in one fell swoop and send the message out loud and clear for all to fear the US Government. They will always go after little guys in one way or another. Not only can they manufacture jobs by creating offices that deal only with the little guys (then stomp their feet and wave flags about creating jobs) - but at 11,000 dollars a pop for infractions (the last FTC rules published last year), it only takes popping about 10 or 15 little guys to make a nice income for the director of that office - three or four more to fund each employee. Then around 2 a month to fund a lavish office. I'm thinking with the gov so dead set on expanding powers, to think they won't go after little guys is really unrealistic. They are doing so in other areas of business. Why not this one? People keep expecting our rulers to act according to traditional law, when each day we witness them doing no such thing. After some of the actions we've seen going on lately just online, it's time to wake up and pay attention.

    CD - what constitutes "assisting" may remain vague. There is purpose to laws that remain vague. When they are free to "interpret" a law in their own manor, they are also free to prosecute at will. That was one of the main concerns with SOPA, if you remember correctly.
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    • Profile picture of the author David Keith
      Originally Posted by HeySal View Post

      I'm not so sure that there won't be a motion to stop the "little guy" at least at first. What better way to send out a message? Remember the last rulings and how people said "can't effect me, I'm not in the US." The first thing they did was go after a guy in Australia - and next a new string of "can't do" laws and they take down a college in in the UK.

      How many places to you see biz ops, that you only see one biz op? Usually you will see many in one place. Use the WSO forum and Digital Point forums for an example. Little guys, sure -- but lots and lots and lots of little guys. The FTC could come down and grab hundreds in one fell swoop and send the message out loud and clear for all to fear the US Government. They will always go after little guys in one way or another. Not only can they manufacture jobs by creating offices that deal only with the little guys (then stomp their feet and wave flags about creating jobs) - but at 11,000 dollars a pop for infractions (the last FTC rules published last year), it only takes popping about 10 or 15 little guys to make a nice income for the director of that office - three or four more to fund each employee. Then around 2 a month to fund a lavish office. I'm thinking with the gov so dead set on expanding powers, to think they won't go after little guys is really unrealistic. They are doing so in other areas of business. Why not this one? People keep expecting our rulers to act according to traditional law, when each day we witness them doing no such thing. After some of the actions we've seen going on lately just online, it's time to wake up and pay attention.

      CD - what constitutes "assisting" may remain vague. There is purpose to laws that remain vague. When they are free to "interpret" a law in their own manor, they are also free to prosecute at will. That was one of the main concerns with SOPA, if you remember correctly.
      I Pretty much agree with you. I won't be surprised at all to see the FTC take some actions against the "little guys"

      But I see the bigger picture being those payment processors and such wanting to be sure to keep the FTC out of their business, so they will be making TOS changes that are more broad.

      Not saying this is coming, but it won't matter if its legal for your business to still have income claims on your site if no one will take on the payment processor risk.

      In my opinion these secondary changes are likely to affect a much larger group of IMers than the current Biz OP rules changes actually legally affect.

      If paypal starts to get the idea that the FTC is going to scrutinize people making income claims, I don't think its unreasonable at all to think that paypal might decide to not take payments from vendors making income claims.

      They are in the risk management business, and the government may just make any vendors making income claims to risky to deal with even if they do not violate the letter of law.

      I was just talking to a high school friend of mine who has a really good job at Paypal. He was basically saying that these rules are going to be a game changer for almost anyone in the "how to IM business". Not as much due to the letters of the law, but due to the secondary affects that will happen as a result of this.

      Another concern paypal has is this privacy stuff. Basically they are going to run away from any business that may be forced to reveal their lists of customers and such.

      I also just got a call from a major company I do some internet business consulting work for. I was asked to sit in on a meeting they are having next week with the FTC involving some of these changes.

      For obvious reasons I can't reveal the name of the company, but I can say that it would not surprise me to know that 50% or more of WF members do or have done business with this internet company.

      Its going to be interesting to see how that meeting goes. This company is one of those that the government might vary well "lean" on to do much of the enforcement.
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      • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
        Originally Posted by David Keith View Post

        it would not surprise me to know that 50% or more of WF members do or have done business with this internet company.
        If it's AWeber, kick someone in the balls for me. Doesn't matter who.
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      • Profile picture of the author nellterry
        @kindsvater:

        I'm sorry, I read through this whole thread and I think I fit the definition, but I'm not sure. I'm starting a PLR site, and I sell PLR article packs (just the packs, no advice or anything with them, but a blog about marketing is in the site), and I'm giving away an ebook as an opt-in incentive, and it's about how you can use the PLR for your site. Will any of this get me in trouble?

        Second, I have been putting together notes for a WSO about how to use the WF to get writing clients like I did. It's for existing writers that are having trouble finding clients and how I did it, with income claims. Will this get me in trouble? It's all true and exactly how I did it step by step, but if it's a no-no, of course I won't run it.

        Thanks in advance for your time.

        Nell
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        • Profile picture of the author Rob Howard
          Originally Posted by nellterry View Post

          @kindsvater:

          I'm sorry, I read through this whole thread and I think I fit the definition, but I'm not sure. I'm starting a PLR site, and I sell PLR article packs (just the packs, no advice or anything with them, but a blog about marketing is in the site), and I'm giving away an ebook as an opt-in incentive, and it's about how you can use the PLR for your site. Will any of this get me in trouble?

          Second, I have been putting together notes for a WSO about how to use the WF to get writing clients like I did. It's for existing writers that are having trouble finding clients and how I did it, with income claims. Will this get me in trouble? It's all true and exactly how I did it step by step, but if it's a no-no, of course I won't run it.

          Thanks in advance for your time.

          Nell
          I'm not Brian, so he'll have to clarify if I'm wrong, but you are probably fine.

          The first example - you aren't helping anyone get clients. You are just providing them with PLR. If you were to say "now rewrite these and so-and-so will purchase them" that would get you in trouble.

          If you just provide general marketing/traffic advice, you're probably ok.

          In the second example, you're selling to people (writers) who are already in business. This exempts you from #1 (offering a NEW business model).

          Rob
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        • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
          Originally Posted by nellterry View Post

          I'm sorry, I read through this whole thread and I think I fit the definition, but I'm not sure. I'm starting a PLR site, and I sell PLR article packs (just the packs, no advice or anything with them, but a blog about marketing is in the site), and I'm giving away an ebook as an opt-in incentive, and it's about how you can use the PLR for your site. Will any of this get me in trouble?

          Second, I have been putting together notes for a WSO about how to use the WF to get writing clients like I did. It's for existing writers that are having trouble finding clients and how I did it, with income claims. Will this get me in trouble? It's all true and exactly how I did it step by step, but if it's a no-no, of course I won't run it.
          Nell, I can't give advice on the forum for specific situations.

          But just selling PLR article packs with general marketing tips should not be a Biz Opp.

          The FTC rule also only applies to someone getting into a new business. So long as your prospective buyers are "existing ______" there should not be an issue.

          edit: Just saw Rob already covered this on this page of the thread. Hopefully the forum access issues are over with.

          .
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  • Profile picture of the author dazkat
    At the end of the day if you are an honest marketer then this should not concern you at all.

    Its only going to affect those marketers that know they are doing the wrong things just to make a quick buck that will be worried.

    I personally think it is a good thing. Its only going to help to bring more trust into the online marketplace.
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    • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
      Originally Posted by dazkat View Post

      At the end of the day if you are an honest marketer then this should not concern you at all.

      Its only going to affect those marketers that know they are doing the wrong things just to make a quick buck that will be worried.

      I personally think it is a good thing. Its only going to help to bring more trust into the online marketplace.
      You obviously have not read my report. You will find it in my post on the 1st page of this thread.

      The problem is the requirements if you have a Business Opportunity.

      What will likely happen is scammers will simply delete the portion of their offer about helping buyers get customers.

      If someone wants that type of assistance it will be a separate product to buy.

      You just split the Biz Opp into two different products. Maybe make the second one an upsell. Probably charge more overall and the scammer makes even more money.


      Wasn't that easy to circumvent the rule?


      Here's what the FTC says about the required payment issue:

      "Required payment means all consideration that the purchaser must pay to the seller or an affiliate, either by contract or by practical necessity, as a condition of obtaining or commencing operation of the business opportunity."
      ("Affiliate" means a related business owned by the seller.)

      The only question is whether the split 2nd product is a "practical necessity" with the 1st product to get going.

      .
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  • Profile picture of the author AllanWM
    Unfortunately, these rules are a reality and we have to 'deal' with them. The vague 'lawyer-speak' verbiage is the frustrating part - at least the open for interpretation part is frustrating.

    So are the BIAB, business in a box, PLR offerings now considered a biz-opp under the new criteria?

    How about offering anything in the IM niche to a 'newbie'? Are all of these products now considered a biz-opp and fall under the new requirements? A newbie is not an existing customer...

    Thanks to all for sharing and helping decipher the FTC guidelines.

    Take Care,
    Allan
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    • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
      Originally Posted by AllanWM View Post

      So are the BIAB, business in a box, PLR offerings now considered a biz-opp under the new criteria?

      How about offering anything in the IM niche to a 'newbie'? Are all of these products now considered a biz-opp and fall under the new requirements? A newbie is not an existing customer...
      Allan, it all depends (I know you like the vague lawyer speak!)

      But it really does depend on what is being offered.

      No one could say a "business in a box" is a Biz Opp just by that name.

      The key issue is not whether a business is offered, but whether the offer also includes the assistance in getting the business up and running by obtaining customers or accounts.

      You need to have the offer for someone to pay to get a business AND the business assistance.

      Most offers in the IM niche are not going to be Biz Opps because they are educational or training material and do not also include the additional assistance in getting customers.

      .
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      • Profile picture of the author AllanWM
        Hi Brian,

        Thanks for the information and your time, I appreciate it.

        Ok, I will change to 'legal-speak.'

        Thanks again and have a terrific day.

        Take Care,
        Allan

        Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

        Allan, it all depends (I know you like the vague lawyer speak!)

        But it really does depend on what is being offered.

        No one could say a "business in a box" is a Biz Opp just by that name.

        The key issue is not whether a business is offered, but whether the offer also includes the assistance in getting the business up and running by obtaining customers or accounts.

        You need to have the offer for someone to pay to get a business AND the business assistance.

        Most offers in the IM niche are not going to be Biz Opps because they are educational or training material and do not also include the additional assistance in getting customers.

        .
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  • Profile picture of the author RichBeck
    Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

    I'm altering my own plans as follows, pending consultation with an attorney of my own (Brian may be a lawyer, but he's not MY lawyer, and can't give guidance specific to my own situation):

    - All of my marketing materials will be altered to clarify that everything I sell is to improve an existing business, not to create a new one.

    - Anything directly targeted at starting a new line of business will be migrated into free products.

    This should drag everything I do out of the bizopp category no matter how the third rule on leads and customers is interpreted. Even if I'm technically offering to help find leads or locations or accounts, I'm either not promoting a new line of business, or I'm not charging any fee. So the part of the law that worries me is no longer an issue.

    Of course, as mentioned, still talking to a lawyer about it. And if you're concerned, you should too.


    Fellow Warriors,

    I would get your OWN attorney as CDarklock pointed out.....

    I am going to have my attorneys review my web sites.... I have Attorneys on hand for less than the cost of my daily latte..... Additional cost? $0

    God Bless,

    Rich
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    • Profile picture of the author ShayB
      Originally Posted by RichBeck View Post

      I am going to have my attorneys review my web sites.... I have Attorneys on hand for less than the cost of my daily latte..... Additional cost? $0
      Same here - handy thing to have, eh?

      ----------------
      In general -

      Reading through this thread, it seems to me that what Brian keeps repeating is the best way to work things.

      "Don't get yourself classified as a Business Opportunity."

      Coupled by some advice I was given by someone many moons ago:

      "When in doubt, don't."

      If you aren't sure if what you're doing is a biz opp or not, it's best to err on the side of caution.

      JMHO and YMMV
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      • Profile picture of the author RichBeck
        Originally Posted by ShayRockhold View Post

        Same here - handy thing to have, eh?

        ----------------
        In general -

        Reading through this thread, it seems to me that what Brian keeps repeating is the best way to work things.

        "Don't get yourself classified as a Business Opportunity."

        Coupled by some advice I was given by someone many moons ago:

        "When in doubt, don't."

        If you aren't sure if what you're doing is a biz opp or not, it's best to err on the side of caution.

        JMHO and YMMV
        Shay,

        It is VERY handy...

        I have to admit.... I was skeptical to EVEN waste time looking into it.... It seemed "too good to be true"... After using the Attorneys a few times... I was sold on the value......

        God Bless,

        Rich Beck
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  • Profile picture of the author Mary Wilhite
    Whereas Government is there to protect the innocent and make society a decent place to live, sometimes I feel regulators go overboard. However, we have to live with it.
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    • Profile picture of the author RichBeck
      Originally Posted by Mary Wilhite View Post

      Whereas Government is there to protect the innocent and make society a decent place to live, sometimes I feel regulators go overboard. However, we have to live with it.
      Mary,

      I am a Conservative, so I naturally prefer less regulation and interference with business....

      But, I feel this is something they should have dealt with over a decade ago.... It is a step in the right direction..... Maybe not the perfect step... But, a step...

      God Bless,

      Rich
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    • Profile picture of the author gabbydeb
      I agree with you Mary. Overbearing rules and regulations only succeed in stifling legit business enterprises, while disreputable individuals and companies do business as usual. The internet was a place in the not too distant past that gave someone who had no money, an equal playing field with big companies, in terms of being able to start a little home business, and still be able to compete.

      What this is going to do, like someone else said, is scare people who don't have attorneys at the ready, and can't afford lawyers, to keep them legally out of trouble, which means many people who wouldn't dream of doing anything to scam others, won't chance trying to start anything in terms of a little business, on the internet, where it concern home businesses, home biz ideas. My main website, that I have had for over 12 years, and was a place in my opinion, to share home biz ideas, products, articles, and the like, looks like something I will now have to overhaul, even though there isn't anything on there that could be construed as activities to scam or defraud anyone.

      My domain name I just bought profitideas4udotcom, looks like it will be a domain that is dead in the water, because the domain name implies content that will talk about ways to make money, so I am bummed, to say the least.

      Originally Posted by Mary Wilhite View Post

      Whereas Government is there to protect the innocent and make society a decent place to live, sometimes I feel regulators go overboard. However, we have to live with it.
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  • Profile picture of the author SamuraiKat
    This is completely confusing. I do a fair amount of consulting with people involved in MLM. I am very curious to know how this is going to unfold in the next few months.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brenden Clerget
    I think a few things make this a lot simpler to process:

    1. If you're new to the forum, see the WSO section as an opportunity to cash in, and start rehashing old WSOs and content to try to make a buck... don't.

    2. If you can't back up income claims, don't make them.

    3. If you really shouldn't be involved in selling WSOs or info products, don't.

    4. Go back and learn, make some money doing it, then substantiate it all.

    Problems solved?

    PS: I had to edit my sales copy for my coaching to make it specific that I'm not accepting anybody who isn't in the "offline marketing" industry already. I want people who are already in that industry. Simple solution. I don't meet that first criteria anymore, and must meet all three to be considered a bizopp.

    If you're worried, you're probably doing something wrong. So my advice: Stop doing it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bizzoom
    After having read the whole document it appears to me this is in reaction to online franchise (Biz Ops) sales promising big returns and delivering nothing more than the paper it is not even written on. WSO are biz -as usual. Forge ahead.
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  • Profile picture of the author wymetto
    what scares me is "business opportunity" might be to help drive traffic to a site - and they get paid for it - is that not 'business opportunity' ?
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  • Profile picture of the author pupplesan
    This is what they like to call "de-regulation". Anyone notice that we're in an economic depression? That's because of de-regulation too.
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  • Profile picture of the author MichaelSJohn
    While I don't like being scammed, I find such wording very dangerous because of how broad it is and how easily it can be expanded. Trust me, they want to go after the small guy because he is the hardest to control.

    Am I advocating hypey WSOs that are a bunch of baloney? Of course not, but I don't like the unintended consequences of the expansion of gov't against the small guy. We have fraud laws and if someone feels compelled to turn someone in for fraud let them do so, but please stop squeezing everyone as a potential criminal.

    Don't just think "well I'm not guilty of anything" that is enough. Look at what's happening to ordinary people right now and the stories of over-reaching gov't.
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  • Profile picture of the author Suraj Muralee
    Well, Someone should show this to those BS ClicKBank merchants
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  • Profile picture of the author Halcyon
    I hate to beat this dead horse with more bellyaching but I don't like the fact that the biz opp seller has to provide new buyers with a list of prior buyers.

    From a buyer's viewpoint, contact Name, state and phone number is a lot of information to be offered to people I don't know.

    If I read the rule correctly, if you buy a biz opp you're automatically consenting to being placed on a list that will be passed on to strangers?
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    • Profile picture of the author ShayB
      Originally Posted by Halcyon View Post

      I hate to beat this dead horse with more bellyaching but I don't like the fact that the biz opp seller has to provide new buyers with a list of prior buyers.

      From a buyer's viewpoint, contact Name, state and phone number is a lot of information to be offered to people I don't know.

      If I read the rule correctly, if you buy a biz opp you're automatically consenting to being placed on a list that will be passed on to strangers?
      That's the way I read it.

      Not thrilled with having my info handed over to strangers.

      Maybe it's intended as an additional deterrent? Maybe others will be hesitant about purchasing if they know their info can/will be available to others?
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  • Profile picture of the author MBDirect
    Kindsvater,

    You wrote in your 1st post here, "There are 2 primary takeaways from the report:

    1. Understanding what is a "Biz Opp" and seeing that it includes assisting a buyer in getting customers for their new business."

    I've read your pdf, plus the reference provided by Shay at top of this thread, and more. But not sure I understand whether or not affiliate marketers are considered "operating a business opportunity," because it seems to me that reselling a seller's stuff indirectly assists sellers, their affiliates, and buyers in getting customers for their businesses. In particular, reselling a listbuilding system or a how to build a list, but still, I mean reselling anything at all.


    Throughout all this material I've seen some references to affiliate marketers that I find hard to interpret. Can you kindly provide your opinion of the definition of an affiliate who resells other people's stuff, and whether or not affiliate sales designate affiliates as engaging in a biz op, in the context of the laws?

    Many thanks,
    MBDirect
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  • Profile picture of the author Sardent
    Will WSO threads now be deluged by finger pointing posts?
    Where every amateur internet lawyer wants to tell you that in their opinion you've violated the rules? That your WSO does not comply and should be closed until you fix it.

    Or will a new a rule that such a charge must go to a mod be put in place?
    Or simply outlaw such posts?
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    • Profile picture of the author Tonester
      Questions, questions and more questions I read here.

      The bottom line is, like many other business laws passed (which I can name but won't), it's a gray area. NO ONE has the answers. Not even an attorney. Oh yes, they can make educated guesses which PROBABLY, MIGHT be the case. Is this a Biz Op, is that?

      The only way questionable laws are settled are through a court cases. You really never know if you're violating the law until your sued, have to put out huge sums of money, and found not-guilty.

      So any and all questions will not be decided here. They'll be decided in court.

      Oh, I just spent 100K and I'm so glad to know I'm not guilty! Right!

      Tony
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      • Profile picture of the author LloydC
        Maybe the monday-friday clockwork launches of the same crappy rebranded software will slow down a little. I'm sick of these people giving IM a bad name.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Guzman
    As business owners, we must adapt to this, there is no way that we can just quit because of this. It is Important to adapt. No matter what.
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    • Originally Posted by Alex Guzman View Post

      As business owners, we must adapt to this, there is no way that we can just quit because of this. It is Important to adapt. No matter what.
      we must adapt is flawed thinking, the reason to pass millions of regulations to stop competition it's simple as that keep adapting but less and less will. The hole premise is wrong but nobody cares or questions the premise they just keep trying to fit in the shrinking area they are allowed to operate.

      FTC is not a friend of small business or consumers or anyone, not that is matters or will change for the better, just my 2 cents.
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      soon people... Relax...
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  • Profile picture of the author towhidzaman
    Thanks for opening this thread.I love you guys when its about activity.Got few ideas how I should prepare myself for my first WSO.So what about the foreign warrior members?. Is there anything specific to follow for them?
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  • Profile picture of the author vegaskev
    Here is my two cents on all of this.

    If you sell **** to people you are about to end up in some deep **** yourself. And for that I say "Hahaha" you DESERVE IT. On the other hand if you aren't lying to people about earnings by yourself and others using your system then you will be fine. It's that simple....seriously.

    If you have a bunch of clients and you can prove to the FTC that you have clients making the type of money you are claiming can be made you will be fine. If you are lying your ass off to take money from people and giving them a bunch of crap that is completely worthless I can't wait to hear about your prison sentence.

    If you aren't selling lies, I wouldn't worry. If you are selling lies, change your M.O. and find something legitimate that you can offer. The world of IM isn't for everyone and making money without ripping and tearing isn't easy, but IT CAN BE DONE. Throw away your garbage and sell quality products and services. Take it from me....skating around the laws while selling crap means that you are selling something you shouldn't be selling anyhow.
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  • Profile picture of the author timfleagle
    The more the govenment regulates the more our freedoms go out the door! Big brother is at our footsteps .....
    tim fleagle
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    Would You Like To Earn $1000's Weekly? Would You Like To Get Paid Instantly And 100% Every Time You Gave Away Our Product? If Your Answer Is YES, My Company Has The Right Work From Home Opportunity For You Sign Up For My Free Newsletter And Get All The Details: http://homebizenterprise.com

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  • Profile picture of the author sammib01
    I have spoken to my lawyer and asked him to check on this for me. He read some of this here and laughed at the reactions and comments but also said many lawyers have less idea what is going on than some people here. He also said CD could make a good lawyer himself "but he is probably to honest". :-)

    I think it will be very interesting and the payment systems will force us to do what the FTC (F§"%&ing Technical Cu*+ts) wants. Probably should not say that. I for one am not worried anymore. It is not aimed at us it is aimed at others who as stated here will base their decisions on profit and loss and not on ethics, honesty and morals. I do hope and believe most people here will act differently and I am sure their budgets will force them to.

    I do think it is important to understand how this could effect some peoples offers and how the wording and presentation of the goods and services are displayed to the public. As soon as I have the facts regarding me and my business I will let you know although it will be base solely on me and my business practices and what I do it could help others here.

    I do business primarily in Europe but do plan to do business in the US in the near future. The Internet Marketing world is new to me as I am a International Business Negotiations Expert. There are so many laws and regulations in different countries it is impossible to keep up with them all and that is why I always seek legal advice from the experts before entering into any agreements or ventures.

    I read this from beginning to end and it was informative and entertaining.

    Thank you all for the great comments and info.
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  • Profile picture of the author warrior2008
    This could be an issue here >>

    -----Begin------

    "5. List of Purchasers. A list of the 10 purchasers of the business opportunity closest to the prospective purchaser’s home, or in the alternative, a list of all purchasers during the last 3 years. The list must include only the prior purchasers’ name, state (not address) and telephone number."

    -------end------

    I would not be willing to give my name and phone number as a purchaser and take in loads of phone calls especially since I am on the DO NOT call list. I am not sure where that is going but would love to hear from others. One could be sued for adding their name to a list on a disclosure if one was the seller.

    I have already contacted some friends in the DOJ - Dept of Justice and they have CLEARLY stated they are doing their time and then retiring and disagree with lots of this kind of stuff. Not ALL of it just in part. Behind the curtain they have heard that the DOJ and entities wants to get rid of affiliate marketing, biz opps and the work at home types. This should not be any new news to some of you.

    Cheers,

    Warrior2008
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  • Profile picture of the author sammib01
    OK that was quick.
    The entire NEW Rule: 437—BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY RULE is here:
    http://www.ftc.gov/os/fedreg/2011/11...2bizoppfrn.pdf

    It is 50 pages but the good news is the only interesting part starts on page 45. Everything before that is history of old laws and rules and how and why they made these decisions.

    It is basically concerned with the Old franchise laws and the busines oportunities for vending machines and the like. As far as the BIG worry about location of the buyer or seller they are refering to the location of vending machines primarilly. As far as everything else is concerned the only problem my lawyer and I see are with the claimes of profits and or earning... but this is a no go anyway.

    PS: Click this button and get all of Steve Jobs money in 60 seconds and have all of Victorias Secrets models come by to party with you tonight while you THING grows 10 inches longer.

    The other thing is writing in English and Spanish you ust provide the English language. It is very straight forward and not that difficult... especially if your lawyer is sitting beside you.. ha ha
    This is what they are targeting and I for one think it is about time.

    Please DO take the time to read page 45 - 50 it is worth your time and will do away with speculations and guessing.

    Hope this helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author sammib01
    Sorry forgot something this on page 19 bottom middle to top right corner is also impotant to me anyway:
    10. Section 437.1(j): New Business The term ‘‘new business’’ appears in the first of three definitional elements of the term ‘‘business opportunity.’’ 200 Section 437.1(j) of the final Rule defines ‘‘new business’’ as a ‘‘business in which the prospective purchaser is not currently engaged, or a new line or type of business.’’ Because it is reasonable to assume that a veteran businessperson may need the final Rule’s protections as much as a novice,201 the latter language of the definition covers the sale of business opportunities to persons who may already be involved in some type of business other than that which is being offered by the seller.202 The proposed definition of ‘‘new business’’ received no comment. Accordingly, the Commission adopts the definition of ‘‘new business,’’ as proposed in the RNPR and recommended in the Staff Report.
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    • Profile picture of the author tommo25
      Is there anything like this on its way to the uk?
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      • Profile picture of the author sammib01
        Originally Posted by tommo25 View Post

        Is there anything like this on its way to the uk?
        not that I know of. The big thing in the UK is the new cookie laws
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  • Profile picture of the author ckerne054
    First off, want to say thanks to ShayRockhold for bringing this to my attention. 2nd want to thank sammib01 for posting the latest law in that pdf. 3rd thank everyone for this long 4 page discussion!

    Can someone please answer my question, I hope it's an easy answer. I'm currently creating my first product, and would just like some re-assurance.

    ---Does this rule/law apply to INFORMATION products that are NOT business opportunities AKA (products with no earnings claim)? I'm creating an information product "how-to" guide for using a piece of commercial software. Basically my selling point is "buy my guide, you will learn how to use this product very fast and become very efficient"...in a nutshell.

    Also, reaching out on a limb here... Would I be safe/legal using part of the "commercial software" in my domain name? For example: www.softwarename-guide.com ?

    Appreciate any help!
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  • Profile picture of the author TheSalesBooster
    The FTC doesn't care about small fries. Small fries would be people who sell WSO's on here. So if your a small fry you don't have to worry. They aren't going to go after your 50-100k a year business. They go after people who spend millions advertising crappy biz op re-bills that are basically one big scam.
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  • Profile picture of the author dlman1999
    OK let's dump the buying club dump truck. There are ~12 states that require registration of Buying club

    Here is the quick reference on Business Opportunity aka MLM:
    No payments for recruiting aka known in the MLM industry as headhunting
    Affiliate Programs = One Payout Level
    MLM = More than one payout level (Which I think is total garbage when you consider that corporate America is setup as a pyramid. Think about it the sales manager makes an override on the salesperson's efforts, the district sales manager makes an override on the sales person's efforts the VP of sales and on and on and on and this is exactly what a unilevel comp plan looks like.

    IMO one huge grey area is becoming a software provider with self replicated websites with the corporate site disabled for ordering. In the event someone elects to utilize your software they setup their website and they offer their website/ware to their clients. You are not offering anything besides the software.

    The bottom line is there are enough laws on the books to take down anyone look at Capone.

    Run a reputable clean business and forget about it!
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    • Originally Posted by dlman1999 View Post

      OK let's dump the buying club dump truck. There are ~12 states that require registration of Buying club

      Here is the quick reference on Business Opportunity aka MLM:
      No payments for recruiting aka known in the MLM industry as headhunting
      Affiliate Programs = One Payout Level
      MLM = More than one payout level (Which I think is total garbage when you consider that corporate America is setup as a pyramid. Think about it the sales manager makes an override on the salesperson's efforts, the district sales manager makes an override on the sales person's efforts the VP of sales and on and on and on and this is exactly what a unilevel comp plan looks like.

      IMO one huge grey area is becoming a software provider with self replicated websites with the corporate site disabled for ordering. In the event someone elects to utilize your software they setup their website and they offer their website/ware to their clients. You are not offering anything besides the software.

      The bottom line is there are enough laws on the books to take down anyone look at Capone.

      Run a reputable clean business and forget about it!

      Agreed, if you are on the up and up you have nothing to worry about. I feel that most WSO's are offering business ideas, business guides, how-to guides, they are pieces of a business, it is up to the buyer to create the business.
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  • Profile picture of the author kevinmartinjr
    ...wow no comment
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  • Profile picture of the author gordonmartin2013
    I have read through all of this thread with great interest. I had been in the buz opp arena, but lately have started to develop a site based on video tutorials in a membership site format with an affiliate program. The video tutorials are not biz opp related, but rather focused on helping people with various subject matter on a variety of topics. I do not feel having read all that I fall foul in this area.

    However, I still have some biz opp stuff on the site from a while back. Would I be better removing that? I know my silver partner level on the site, I was goig to use some material that I have related to setting up a business. not biz opp as such but helping with what needs to be done, setting up your domain, web space, products etc. I had called this the cash generator program, and am feeling that needs looked at, probably better offering it as part of the membership tutorial site, but just name it after the membership level.

    My general feelings are to promote video tutorials, and have the affiliate program still in there, but my focus is not to promote the actual membership area, but rather the tutorials Antone any thoughts?

    Warmest Regards,

    Gordon
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Blades
    the New Biz Op Rule does not apply to sales made outside of the United States or its Territories.
    Ummm, maybe it's time to form a business outside of the U.S? This is nothing more than big companies like Google sending in their lobbyist to stick it to Imer's, they want to make all the money online. Internet marketing is a muilti-billion dollar business, and they can't stand it.

    These new rules weren't made for WSO's, they were made for the Mike Filsaime's of the world.
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  • Profile picture of the author hotlinkz
    Leave it to the government to totally obfuscate and confuse issues that should be straightforward and easy to decipher with a little common sense! Practice honesty and integrity. Sell real solutions as opposed to "snake oil" and things should go smoothly for the most part.
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