The FTC May Have a Say in Who You Promote Via Word of Mouth

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Did anyone else read the Fox News article today about the FTC starting to crack down on how and who you're linking to in a promotional way in your blog, on Facebook and other social media outlets?

Link: FOXNews.com - Report: FTC to Crack Down on Blog Endorsements - Science News | Science & Technology | Technology News

An interesting quote from the article: "Word-of-mouth marketing is not exempt from the laws of truthful advertising."

Here's the full source link: FT.com / Companies / Media - Advertisers brace for online viral marketing curbs

Quote: "The guidelines would also hold bloggers liable for the statements they make about products." (in addition to the companies getting them to say it)

I wonder how this will affect people who create a persona and a storyline to go with it. How will it affect info products, if at all?

Tiff
#blogging #ftc #mouth #promote #viral promotions #word #word of mouth
  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    If I have a stone in my shoe, my foot hurts. I change to a new pair of shoes and the pain goes away. Do I then tell others about this brand name shoe as "cures foot pain?" What do you mean it's not true? Worked for me. Some would include a disclaimer "may not work for everyone" and be shocked to find that isn't enough.

    We see it in social media and on forums, too. "This funny video by {latest guru name}" is a promotion. "I found this great site", "try this script", blah blah blah - all promotions. Some have affiliate links - some are from people who work for (or with) the marketer. The FTC will probably be running in circles trying to track these down.

    kay
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  • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
    So if I tell my neighbor that Chevrolet builds crappy cars because mine was junk, does it mean I am liable for defamation? Or is it simply my opinion?

    rofl... good luck with this one... government run amok
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    • Profile picture of the author edlewis
      Originally Posted by MichaelHiles View Post

      So if I tell my neighbor that Chevrolet builds crappy cars because mine was junk, does it mean I am liable for defamation? Or is it simply my opinion?

      rofl... good luck with this one... government run amok
      So....you're the reason Chevrolet needed that billion dollar bailout from Uncle Sam!

      Watch out the FTC is going to come find you for unleashing such a wicked marketing VIRUS on the US auto industry.

      LOL...
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    • Profile picture of the author Keith Kogane
      Originally Posted by MichaelHiles View Post

      So if I tell my neighbor that Chevrolet builds crappy cars because mine was junk, does it mean I am liable for defamation? Or is it simply my opinion?

      rofl... good luck with this one... government run amok
      I think that's a little bit of a fallacy there. This is more about wanting to make sure consumers understand the true nature of recommendations or endorsements.

      All the fake **** blogs and "chedda gets cheddar" blogs that some people like are a good example of *successful* marketing, but not necessarily *good* marketing. It's certainly not ethical, and most likely actually destructive and damaging to its marketplace.

      If you need to veil the nature of your recommendation, should you even be making it? If you profit from a recommendation, is it really all that bad to disclose it?

      I don't know - I used to have a different opinion in my youth. Then I started reading stuff from Paul Myers and changed my mind. You can be 100% honest, up front, and still retain your integrity, and look COOL doing it.

      It seems to me all the FTC wants to do is protect consumers from predatory practices. It make make our wallets skinnier, but it also fosters BETTER products and practices, and prevents the kind of predatory marketing that causes markets to crumble.

      In the example you gave, you're giving an honest, accurate review of the vehicle. That's the kind of thing the FTC wants word-of-mouth to adhere to. Vs. made up stories.
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      • Profile picture of the author ptone
        Originally Posted by Keith Kogane View Post

        It seems to me all the FTC wants to do is protect consumers from predatory practices.
        If you believe this, then you are still in your youth. The long arm of the Government is expanding faster now than ever in history. What makes you think this is ALL the FTC wants to do? There is lots and lots and lots and lots of evidence that would contradict your belief.
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        • Profile picture of the author Magic Johnson
          Originally Posted by ptone View Post

          If you believe this, then you are still in your youth. The long arm of the Government is expanding faster now than ever in history. What makes you think this is ALL the FTC wants to do? There is lots and lots and lots and lots of evidence that would contradict your belief.
          So you feel people will start feel a lot better and make better decision,

          Today there are already a lot of lies in marketing and every schmuck can jump on the train, especially online.

          Marketers and advertising have envolved a lot in the last 50 years. Humans have not. We are bombarded with ads and promises of all kinds. When did being up front about things and clear, become a bad thing.?..

          Teh bad advertising are just one way to bend our logical mental decisions and views on the world and make us feel more horrible in the end.

          I think cleaning up is a good thing...

          "There is lots and lots and lots and lots of evidence that would contradict your belief."

          And yet you can't mention one thing. :rolleyes:
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          • Profile picture of the author Magic Johnson
            So many lost hearts in this thread.

            This is not the bankers, Why dont we just get rid of the FTC and see where it all leads, we can all run like wild hogs then, it's devastation what this world have come to become.

            FTC are not the BANKERS. You can specualate for millions of minutes and for how long you ever want, but if you can't compare apples and oranges you have already lost your battle.

            And also, One thing dont always lead to another....Oh well the sky is falling. They will shut down the internet...

            Come on!!
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      • Profile picture of the author newsecrets
        Originally Posted by Keith Kogane View Post

        All the fake **** blogs and "chedda gets cheddar" blogs that some people like are a good example of *successful* marketing, but not necessarily *good* marketing. It's certainly not ethical, and most likely actually destructive and damaging to its marketplace.

        If you need to veil the nature of your recommendation, should you even be making it? If you profit from a recommendation, is it really all that bad to disclose it?

        I don't know - I used to have a different opinion in my youth. Then I started reading stuff from Paul Myers and changed my mind. You can be 100% honest, up front, and still retain your integrity, and look COOL doing it.

        It seems to me all the FTC wants to do is protect consumers from predatory practices. It make make our wallets skinnier, but it also fosters BETTER products and practices, and prevents the kind of predatory marketing that causes markets to crumble.

        In the example you gave, you're giving an honest, accurate review of the vehicle. That's the kind of thing the FTC wants word-of-mouth to adhere to. Vs. made up stories.
        Keith,

        1. Of course the government is going to say "oh, we're doing this because we're going after the people who make "incorrect" reviews. Honest!"

        But think about it: IF they were going after people who post fake reviews, they DON'T need this new law. Under existing laws, they can already go after the people who make fraudulent reviews and fake testimonials just to make a quick buck. They don't need this new law.

        So this new law is NOT about going after fraudulent reviews and testimonials. It's about giving the FTC the authority to go after REAL testimonials from REAL customers, if somehow the FTC deems the testimonial to be "incorrect".

        (In other words, if the FTC somehow doesn't "like" the testimonial, for whatever reason. E.g. the customer says he was "cured" by this product, or "made $12,000" with this product, and the FTC doesn't like that. I'm talking REAL testimonials here, not fake ones.)

        2. Do you really think it's a good thing that the FTC can sue a merchant for something the merchant has zero control over? (The merchant has zero control over what his customers post on their personal blogs!)

        3. I agree with you that certain things are in the "gray area" of ethics. But do you really think the government should step in to regulate "ethics" and dictate right and wrong? (Consider that many people think selling "information" in ebooks, which costs nothing, is "unethical"! Many people think using PPC "spy tools" to uncover your competitors' keywords is "unethical"! And so on.)

        The market usually takes care of these things themselves anyway. Government intervention is unnecessary. For example, the fake **** blogs worked great for a few months, but the market has caught on and they're not working so well anymore. And many sites (including Google) have voluntarily removed those kinds of ads due to complaints. In general, the "tricksters" never achieve long-term success anyway - the market catches on to their shady tactics, so they keep having to jump from one trick to the next to the next.

        I made a post in the other thread, so I won't repeat it here. Here's the link:
        warriorforum.com/main-internet-marketing-discussion-forum/71451-could-change-im-forever-youre-sued.html#post665013

        In that post, I explain why this law is an example of government bureaucracy gone horribly wrong. And why this law is so absurd, it actually PUNISHES honest merchants that sell QUALITY products that REALLY work. And why it is a dangerous precedent for all internet marketers. And why it's even a dangerous precedent for anyone (marketer or not) who cares about their civil liberties and constitutional rights.
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        • Profile picture of the author Keith Kogane
          Originally Posted by newsecrets View Post

          Keith,

          1. Of course the government is going to say "oh, we're doing this because we're going after the people who make "incorrect" reviews. Honest!"

          But think about it: IF they were going after people who post fake reviews, they DON'T need this new law. Under existing laws, they can already go after the people who make fraudulent reviews and fake testimonials just to make a quick buck. They don't need this new law.

          So this new law is NOT about going after fraudulent reviews and testimonials. It's about giving the FTC the authority to go after REAL testimonials from REAL customers, if somehow the FTC deems the testimonial to be "incorrect".

          (In other words, if the FTC somehow doesn't "like" the testimonial, for whatever reason. E.g. the customer says he was "cured" by this product, or "made $12,000" with this product, and the FTC doesn't like that. I'm talking REAL testimonials here, not fake ones.)

          2. Do you really think it's a good thing that the FTC can sue a merchant for something the merchant has zero control over? (The merchant has zero control over what his customers post on their personal blogs!)

          3. I agree with you that certain things are in the "gray area" of ethics. But do you really think the government should step in to regulate "ethics" and dictate right and wrong? (Consider that many people think selling "information" in ebooks, which costs nothing, is "unethical"! Many people think using PPC "spy tools" to uncover your competitors' keywords is "unethical"! And so on.)

          The market usually takes care of these things themselves anyway. Government intervention is unnecessary. For example, the fake **** blogs worked great for a few months, but the market has caught on and they're not working so well anymore. And many sites (including Google) have voluntarily removed those kinds of ads due to complaints. In general, the "tricksters" never achieve long-term success anyway - the market catches on to their shady tactics, so they keep having to jump from one trick to the next to the next.

          I made a post in the other thread, so I won't repeat it here. Here's the link:
          warriorforum.com/main-internet-marketing-discussion-forum/71451-could-change-im-forever-youre-sued.html#post665013

          In that post, I explain why this law is an example of government bureaucracy gone horribly wrong. And why this law is so absurd, it actually PUNISHES honest merchants that sell QUALITY products that REALLY work. And why it is a dangerous precedent for all internet marketers. And why it's even a dangerous precedent for anyone (marketer or not) who cares about their civil liberties and constitutional rights.
          I suppose that's another way to look at it, but I don't believe the "government" can operate as an entity with the kind of evil motives you apply to it. I believe it's stepping in where people are asking for it to, and the people asking for it are the naive who repeatedly get ripped off. The reason those people complain is because they're getting preyed upon by a minority of unethical marketers, etc. It's a self-fulfilling cycle.

          So how do we break it? The government is going to try to protect the stupid from their own stupidity. That usually doesn't work. I'm not really interested in starting any kind of consumer advocacy non profit, so I can't help that way. What I can do is try to run a 100% transparent and honest business, even as an affiliate marketer. Disclosure of relationships, no fake testimonials, etc.

          If more marketers operated on the up and up, there wouldn't be ANY perceived need for this to happen.

          It's a problem caused by a variety of things, and all I see is at least an attempt to fix what I think it sees as an abuse of the public trust. With the economy the way it is, I don't think anyone wants to hinder business. I think because times are dire, you're going to see more and more swindlers prey on desperation, or perhaps even see desperation make swindlers of otherwise honest people (see increased fraudulent chargebacks anyone?)

          And of course, the great illusion is that this is anything new. I made a reference in another thread about the Ouroboros. It's an appropriate symbol in this circumstance. The irony is that a lot of the old-school marketing tricks we use today were developed by ad men who were trying to get money from extremely tight budgets.

          I tend to agree with you that more regulation tends to be bad. But there's a reason it's being called for, and maybe if we as marketers would do a better job of watchdogging ourselves, we wouldn't have the government stepping in.

          I mean, I have to think that if the economy that a lot of predators thrive on were to dry up, we wouldn't see the abuses there are. For example, if companies who use affiliate sales forces would not reward affiliates who use coercive or misleading practices.

          I don't have a good solution in mind, but I'd rather self-police, and I start by trying to police myself, and encourage good practices from other marketers. Whenever threads pop up with people praising questionable strategies, I like to think I try to temper newbie enthusiasm that might get them in trouble.

          I think we all should at least try to do stuff like that.

          Anyway, don't know if that adds anything to the discussion or not, but I'm tired of typing so,
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  • Profile picture of the author alexander13
    It's going to be interesting to see how the implementation of this happens. It's easy for government to get out of hand and throw the baby out with the bath water.

    As long as there are disclaimers like "worked for me but may not for everyone" like you see in regular ads you're probably covered.
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    • Profile picture of the author David
      Originally Posted by alexander13 View Post

      It's going to be interesting to see how the implementation of this happens. It's easy for government to get out of hand and throw the baby out with the bath water.

      As long as there are disclaimers like "worked for me but may not for everyone" like you see in regular ads you're probably covered.

      "Some pigs are MORE equal than others"
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      • Profile picture of the author Sean Donahoe
        Originally Posted by David View Post

        "Some pigs are MORE equal than others"
        "4 Legs Good, 2 Legs Better" - Gotta go read that book again...

        Seriously though, doesn't the FTC have better things to do. If you go after bloggers for this then they had better go after Tiger Woods and Nike, Michal Jordon and every other celebrity that has some sort of product endorsement.

        I am not going to jump on a political bandwagon here, its not the place for that type of thing really, but this is definitely a concern in terms of freedom of speech and personal freedoms.

        Regards

        Sean Donahoe
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Riddle
    Once my marketing attorney told me that if you sell a product you have to tell the truth about it.

    If you don't sell a product or a competitive product you can lie through your teeth, its a first amendment right in the US of A ~!

    Overstated but a good generalization of the concept.


    Mark Riddle
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    Today isn't Yesterday, - Products are everywhere if your eyes are Tuned!
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  • Profile picture of the author cougarstylie
    Wouldn't it be the FCC and not the FTC?
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    • Profile picture of the author ptone
      Originally Posted by cougarstylie View Post

      Wouldn't it be the FCC and not the FTC?
      The FCC is the Federal Communications Commission.
      The FTC is the Federal Trade Commission.

      The FTC is the agency that handles consumer complaints. So, it is the FTC.
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  • Profile picture of the author mmurtha
    Hey Tiff,

    Good find kid and thanks!

    I happen to agree with Keith on this one. The truth is, many marketers whether they sell or advertise their products or services, or someone elses will do anything to make a sale. This includes making over exagerated claims, and paying people to make them for them. We've seen it far too many times in IM, in the health niches, etc ... We've seen it especially in testimonials, and product review pages and sites.

    The FTC is trying to do its job by cracking down so consumers don't get scammed. Personally, I think this type of action on their part might help out online marketing more than people realise by cutting the cancer out.

    Think about it, how many times do we come in here and see threads about fraudulant marketing? Right now there's a "rant" thread going where someone is sick and tired of the IM circle fleecing consumers. We see in the papers where offline companies are being sued for fraud as well. I so Dr Phil on TV not long ago with people who claim they've been had because some company bills them each month for $xxx because of fourced continutity ... and so on. Consimers are rebeling whether we want to believe that or not.

    Can we honestly say that we want these types of marketers kept in business?

    I know I don't want them to continue - not just for me, but for my family and firends.

    And yes, this may put people out of business, but look on the bright side. It may also make them better marketers who do things a little more honestly.


    Mary
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  • Profile picture of the author iplusgold
    The worst thing about this, other than the fact that it will damage honest merchants, is that no matter how much or how hard the government legislates you cant teach commonsense.

    I mean seriously, you get these consumers that go and "invest" in dodgy ponzi schemes that offer 10% return per day or they go and buy an ebook that promises "Earn 1million in 30 days!" and think that its their ticket to freedom. The commonsense principle just doesnt apply to these people and no amount of legislation will stop them being taken in by these tricksters.

    Obviously, dodgy marketing practices/scams have to be cracked down on but ultimately shouldnt the consumers be taking some responsibility for their actions when they are getting duped by what is clearly a scam using basic commonsense.

    I doubt the FTC will ever be able to cure this...but what they can do is "window dress" and at the same time squeeze all us honest peeps.

    /End Rant
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  • Profile picture of the author mmurtha
    The worst thing about this, other than the fact that it will damage honest merchants
    And just how will it damage honest merchants?

    I don't see this happening if merchants/marketers are honest and up fornt with their consumers!

    Some of them are doing no better than the people running those Ponzi schemes you are mentioning.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
      Okay, here is what I don't get. And granted, I'm not the brightest bulb on the
      Christmas tree.

      To illustrate my total confusion over this whole mess, let me use an actual
      example.

      I just recently promoted Authority Blueprint X. I got a review copy, read it,
      liked it and wrote a review of it where I recommended the product. I then
      put the review up on a blog.

      Now, somebody buys the product on my recommendation, doesn't like it and
      reports me to whoever.

      What happens?

      Do I get sued, thrown in jail, fined, what?

      And based on what?

      One person who doesn't agree with my review?

      How much money is going to be wasted on lawsuits and, dare I say,
      criminal trials?

      How are all these people going to even be rounded up.

      What's going to be the criteria for a case being "valid enough" to even
      prosecute?

      Am I the only one who sees that this is totally unenforceable without
      sending this country, and others, into even more debt?

      And what about fraud from one country (US) to another (North Korea)
      as examples?

      How's that going to work?

      Look, I agree that people need to be held accountable but what's going
      to be the criteria for determining a bogus review from a legit one?

      This has nightmare written all over it if those in "charge" seriously think
      they're going to be able to pull this off.

      Or am I really 5 cans short of a six pack?
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      • Profile picture of the author Floyd Fisher
        Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

        Okay, here is what I don't get. And granted, I'm not the brightest bulb on the
        Christmas tree.

        To illustrate my total confusion over this whole mess, let me use an actual
        example.

        I just recently promoted Authority Blueprint X. I got a review copy, read it,
        liked it and wrote a review of it where I recommended the product. I then
        put the review up on a blog.

        Now, somebody buys the product on my recommendation, doesn't like it and
        reports me to whoever.

        What happens?

        Do I get sued, thrown in jail, fined, what?

        And based on what?

        One person who doesn't agree with my review?

        How much money is going to be wasted on lawsuits and, dare I say,
        criminal trials?

        How are all these people going to even be rounded up.

        What's going to be the criteria for a case being "valid enough" to even
        prosecute?

        Am I the only one who sees that this is totally unenforceable without
        sending this country, and others, into even more debt?

        And what about fraud from one country (US) to another (North Korea)
        as examples?

        How's that going to work?

        Look, I agree that people need to be held accountable but what's going
        to be the criteria for determining a bogus review from a legit one?

        This has nightmare written all over it if those in "charge" seriously think
        they're going to be able to pull this off.

        Or am I really 5 cans short of a six pack?
        It's the federal government. One complaint won't do much.

        Now, if you told bald faced lies.....and generated thousands of complaints...then you might be in for some trouble.

        Honestly, this is old news. When I was pitching Amway in the 1990's, I had to watch what I said in regards to their nutrient products...same rule. You make claims about a supplement that can't be substantiated with hard evidence, and you and the company are in trouble.

        For example, I couldn't tell people Nutrilife vitamins cured cancer, even if I had cancer, and took the vitamins and it went into remission.

        Now, if I have FDA reviewed clinical trials proving the vitamins cured cancer, I could shout it from the rooftops.

        Just don't say things you can't prove is all.
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  • Profile picture of the author lnardi01
    Personally, I can see where intervention by the government into this idea is obscene and ridiculous. A good disclaimer should protect the marketer, but am I going to have to put a disclaimer on every one of my posts that discusses or recommends a product. If I do, then half my blog will be bogged down with legalese.

    I do not want the government in my face for making a recommendation about a product. Just because I like it, doesn't mean it's going to be good for you, or help you and all the pie in the sky marketers out there who sell the ebooks that promise millions in 5 days have usually collected their money and shut down their websites long before the FTC could take action, but us little guys who continue to write our blogs and hang out on the web will be charged and attacked.

    Less government is better people, don't give them all the power, they haven't earned it and don't know how to manage it's use.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Thanks for letting me rant.
    /rant
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  • Profile picture of the author Terry Crim
    After reading the original story at the Financial Times site, linked to from the story in the OP, they talk about claims being made by "shills" of the manufacturer / product owner.

    Manufacture of widget-A gives sample product to blogger B in exchange for good feedback on blogs and Twitter, Facebook other social sites, review sites etc...

    There may or may not be specific statements to blogger B to post feedback but that is what the manufacture wants and is banking on I expect.

    In that circumstance I understand why the FTC is looking into this. Though as we know this is not a new thing, you see it in the WSO section all the time. Posting WSO's JUST to get testimonials and many require it. That is the samething as what the articles at the two sites are talking about.

    Basically comes down to shills talking up products and influencing potential buyers decision to purchase with misleading info. This is not a new thing.

    EDIT: The main thing in these situations is MISLEADING and FALSE information. Exagerations...
    If product X gave you specific results and you detail this, just provide the evidence. Don't make umbrella statements in a way that makes people assume they will get the same results you experienced. I think that is the main issue with this. Though I could be wrong.


    - Terry
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  • Profile picture of the author webpromotions
    There have been a lot of posts on this forum that indirectly support this FTC decision, but every time they are made they are opposed with the usual 'another marketer who hates being marketed to' argument.

    I don't know why responsibility and integrity in marketing is always viewed as such a bad thing, but it seems to be the latest trend.
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    • Profile picture of the author Terry Crim
      Originally Posted by Doug English View Post

      I don't know why responsibility and integrity in marketing is always viewed as such a bad thing, but it seems to be the latest trend.


      When you say "seems to be the latest trend" do you mean here in WF or in general over all marketers on the internet or just people you know..? Just curious where the trend seems to be located.

      Thanks,

      - Terry
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  • Profile picture of the author Magic Johnson
    Originally Posted by lnardi01 View Post

    but letting this soon to be socialistic government have at marketers is silly. As I said, by the time they move to attack an actual thief, liar, or ponzy schemer, the said thief is gone...

    The ones of us who actually work hard to make sure that we give good guarantees and play by the rules are the ones who will suffer.
    You are truly negative, I cant believe people are so good at building up scenarios and use fantasy.

    You assume that FTC will come after you, even if you follow the rules, How why and what for?

    This is silly folks. I'm getting depresed, rules are just what we need to get on the right track again. This is one of the good rules...to get the thief, liar, or ponzy schemer, out of the window.

    Does this make sense to anyone here,
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  • Profile picture of the author lnardi01
    I am not afraid that they will come after me. If there are rules to be followed, send them to me and I will be sure to do so. I do have integrity. I am honest and I don't promote or recommend things that I think or know will cause problems for others. I just don't like more government. That's all.

    We need help as small business owners. Rules are fine, just don't make life so restrictive that I am worried that if I do promote some product that turns out to be less than what was advertised, that the product owner be held responsible, not me the affiliate. But I rarely promote stuff on my blog, I use PPC.

    But yes rules make sense. And I hope that they will protect everyone.

    Don't Worry, Be Happy!
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    • Profile picture of the author Magic Johnson
      Originally Posted by lnardi01 View Post

      I am not afraid that they will come after me. If there are rules to be followed, send them to me and I will be sure to do so. I do have integrity. I am honest and I don't promote or recommend things that I think or know will cause problems for others. I just don't like more government. That's all.

      We need help as small business owners. Rules are fine, just don't make life so restrictive that I am worried that if I do promote some product that turns out to be less than what was advertised, that the product owner be held responsible, not me the affiliate. But I rarely promote stuff on my blog, I use PPC.

      But yes rules make sense. And I hope that they will protect everyone.

      Don't Worry, Be Happy!
      FTC are they the government?(Im in europe), did you know that there are different kind of people then in varying of the departments field and goals?

      In sweden the gov rule over, school, health care, roads, airways, spirits and alchool, and there's also only gov managed gambling here, everything outside are banned.

      So I dont tend to say that everything Gov is bad, just because something did happen here in sweden recently in one of the departments.

      Both bad and good of course, some departments do have more bad things happening for them than others I guess. Like the bankers, there a lot of trust there that have been thrown down in the drain. in my country.

      But I know what you mean, people are afraid now days, even to open our mouths.

      I have seen and know things you cant even Imagine, and I dont know how to let the right people know about it. People are just too busy too care or listen to other people now days.

      Those who scream teh most get noticed the most. So, it's not longer what you say, it's how you say it.

      And that's a big issue in european countries and america today.

      I'm also sick and tired of all Medial coverages of things taht put my brain to sleep.The mainstream news channels and newpapers are nothing but negative and more extreme than ever.

      I think there are bad and good parts of the Gov, could you agree with me on that?
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  • Profile picture of the author LB
    Wow, I guess this will work just like the CAN-SPAM act stopped spam.

    -_-
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    • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
      How many years did Bernie Madoff run his illegal Ponzi scheme while no one did anything about it, despite warnings as far back as 1999?

      Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were said to be just fine, as their governmental overseers looked the other way as long as plush jobs and campaign contributions came their way.

      Some of the biggest frauds and cases of extreme mismanagement happened right under the governments' noses, and they looked the other way.

      And, people think that they can trust the government to only go after the "bad" people?

      Look at AIG and the bonuses for the executives. Many of those executives were replacements for the executives that had screwed up. Those bonuses were specifically granted by government officials. Then, when it becomes public, they make the execs look like the bad guys. The politicians feed the public and media frenzy. The executives get death threats, threats against their families, and children! And, who is instigating the public? Some of the very same politicians who pushed for those bonuses to be given to begin with!!!

      Government officials, for the most part, aren't fighting for you. They're not fighting for consumers. They're looking out for themselves. So, when the FTC, or whatever government agency, comes out and says they want to protect the public against such and such, very likely it is an attempt to justify and protect their own jobs.

      And, yes, rules and regulations designed to "protect" the public often hurt legitimate businesses and honest people more so than the scammers and con artists. Honest people are, well, honest. But, the dishonest ones, the unscrupulous ones, they either don't care about the laws (because they'll probably have run their scam and vanished before they get caught) or they know all the loopholes so they can find ways around it. They know how to appeal to the public for sympathy. They know how to manipulate the media. And so on.

      You know who scams more people than shady marketers selling hand lotion as pimple cream? You know who hurts more people and with long-lasting consequences than those shady marketers?

      Politicians!

      If marketers ran marketing campaigns like politicians run political campaigns, and if marketers delivered on their promises like politicians deliver on theirs, those marketers would probably all be in prison for deceiving, misleading and lying to the public.

      If someone is on the Do Not Call list, marketers aren't permitted to call them. But, politicians exempted themselves from that requirement. We can't call people to try to sell them on a legitimate product, even with full truthfulness and openness. But, it's just fine and dandy for politicians to call people, and sell them a pack of lies and distort the truth in ways that would land a marketer in trouble.

      And, you're going to tell me that you trust these kinds of people to just go after the "bad" people?

      Abuse of power happens all the time. People allegedly get audited or checked on or investigated, not because they did anything wrong, but because they gave money to the "other" guy, or they were vocal about supporting the "other" guy. The "other" guy being the opponent of the candidate who won an election.

      The more power you give to government and politicians, the more that power will be abused.

      Don't get me wrong. I don't support misleading marketing practices. And, there should be protections against dangerous products.

      But, here, the FTC appears to be crossing a line. If an affiliate or reviewer says things that aren't true, the seller should not be responsible for those things, unless, of course, the seller provided such information to the affiliate or reviewer. If a seller sells a hand lotion and says this lotion will make your skin soft, and the lotion does make your skin soft, and their marketing materials say it makes your skin soft, and the materials or samples they provide to affiliates or reviewer say it makes your skin soft, and a blogger says, "Hey, this lotion cures skin cancer!" then how is that the seller's fault? Unless you can show that the seller gave the blogger materials that indicated the lotion cured skin cancer, how is the seller responsible? And, what's to stop competitors from secretively encouraging people to make false claims in order to land their competition in trouble? Or, what's to stop someone with a vendetta against the company from doing the same?

      If I sell an info-product, and I make no promises that it will earn you any amount of money, then an affiliate turns around and says "I made $10,000 a month using this system," how is that my fault? If I'm being open and honest about my product, but an affiliate is not, that's my fault?

      And, how do you know the FTC will just go after the people with the highest number of complaints against them? Maybe they'll go after someone they view as high profile, to make an example out of them. Maybe they'll just round up a bunch and pursue them all, so they can make a case that, hey, we shut down 10,000 people selling shady products!

      As was the motto of The United States Magazine and Democratic Review: "The best government is that which governs least." Or, as Lord Acton wrote: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or certainty of corruption by full authority. There is no worse heresy than the fact that the office sanctifies the holder of it."

      Another problem is that of putting too much responsibility into the government's hands, which tends not to protect people but to instead insulate them from accepting the responsibility of making their own decisions. Made a bad decision? It's not your fault; it's because the marketer convinced you to buy. (Which is the marketer's job, but never mind that little fact.) While there is no doubt that there are unethical and shady marketers selling unreliable or even dangerous products or telling intentional mistruths about them, there is also no doubt that a great many (though, of course, not all) people that are scammed were scammed because of their own decisions. Those decisions were usually made based on poor thinking, bad decision making or even greed. That, of course, is not to justify unethical marketing tactics.

      Look at 491 scams, for example. Those are illegal, yet I still get such eMails on a regular basis. Government hasn't stopped these. The only thing that would stop them is for people to stop falling for them! And, the only way to do that is for people to be more knowledgeable about such things. And, the sad fact is that many people don't even try to become knowledgeable about things, because they expect the government to do that for them.

      And, really, the FTC isn't catching up with the online world at all. We don't talk with our neighbors at the fence anymore. We leave comments on blogs. We tweet messages to each other. Our face-to-face contact has been replaced with electron-to-electron contact. But, government doesn't realize this. It views online content like it would a newspaper. It wants to regulate what is said or written, supposedly to "protect" us. But, they aren't understanding how we are using the Internet and social media. They don't realize how our social networks have become our virtual cocktail parties.

      For example, consider Michael Hiles' comment earlier in this thread: "So if I tell my neighbor that Chevrolet builds crappy cars because mine was junk, does it mean I am liable for defamation? Or is it simply my opinion?"

      Now, if you're his neighbor, you know whether or not you can trust him. You know whether he's relating something honestly, or if he's just a crackpot that complains about everything. So, you can make your judgment accordingly.

      On top of that, even if he is being completely honest, you know that just because his car was a piece of junk, that doesn't mean all Chevrolet automobiles are. Maybe he bought it used, and it was the previous owner that messed it up. Maybe it was a problem with that model. Maybe it was a problem that had since been resolved and isn't an issue on newer models. And so on.

      Now, if someone is walking down the street when you're talking to Michael, and he hears the conversation, and decides he's not going to buy a Chevrolet because of it, is that a good decision? Is it a good idea to take advice from someone you don't know? Plus, once again, it's just one example, and that's not much of a statistical sample from which to make a decision. It may mean that you check into it a little more carefully, but you wouldn't make such a decision based on something you overheard from someone you don't know, would you?

      The Internet isn't much different, since we've moved that type of "over the fence" conversation to the online world. When we read a blog or whatever, we have some knowledge of that person. We have an idea whether or not they can be trusted. And, still, we just factor that in to our decision and don't rely on it as the sole source. We don't just blindly accept everything we read.

      Granted, some people do. Some people believe anything they read on the Internet. Other people won't believe anything they read on the Internet. In both cases, such people are rushing to judgment and aren't clearly thinking about things. Maybe someone should slap them and tell them to wake up and start thinking for themselves!

      You know what is the most dangerous thing for a scammer? A person who can think for him or herself! Scammers don't like to be questioned. Break their script, and they are often lost. They get defensive. They run off, looking for an easier mark.

      Instead of the government trying to micromanage every area of our lives, if instead we just accepted more responsibility for our lives and our decisions and put more thought and effort into the purchases we make (or decide not to make!), you would see a dramatic decrease in the number of scammers. You would see a dramatic decrease in the number of unethical and dishonest marketing practices. And, with fewer scammers, there's a better chance they might actually get caught, without hurting or inconveniencing honest sellers.

      Of course, you won't see that happen. You won't see government or politicians encouraging people to think for themselves, because you know what is the most dangerous thing for a politician? A voter who can think for him or herself!
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      • Profile picture of the author ptone
        Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

        Of course, you won't see that happen. You won't see government or politicians encouraging people to think for themselves, because you know what is the most dangerous thing for a politician? A voter who can think for him or herself!
        Oh how I wish more people really understood the depth of truthfulness of this one paragraph.

        Kudos to you, Dan.
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  • Profile picture of the author RB
    simply put, buyer beware is becoming beware of government
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  • Profile picture of the author artwebster
    I know a man who decided to buy a burglar alarm.

    His friend, when he found out, laughed at him and said that burglar alarms were no good because nobody took any notice of them.

    Maybe this (old) new rule is a governmental burglar alarm. It might ring but nobody will take any notice.

    At least, if you do have a burglar alarm and you get burgled and the alarm goes off, there is a slightly better chance that the burglars will be discouraged?

    If your burglar alarm never goes off because you never get burgled, does that make having one a waste of time and money?
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  • Profile picture of the author BigRedNotebook
    I know that it's easier to decry anything coming out of Washington as part of some socialist conspiracy (when Bush was still in the oval office, the gripes were directed toward the fascist conspiracy), but I'm not sure how productive--or accurate--that really is in this case.

    Here's why I don't think we're going to see federal agents dragging Steve Wagenheim from his bedroom at 3:00 a.m. any time soon...

    The proposed FTC changes aren't the frightening if you're an honest, transparent marketer. The FTC wants PAID endorsers to disclose their relationships with the brands they're endorsing. If I'm giving you free Big Red Notebook t-shirts and other assorted pieces of swag in exchange for a blog post proclaiming that I'm the cat's pajamas, you're supposed to mention the fact that I'm giving the hook up. That doesn't seem unreasonable to me.

    The FTC also wants paid endorsers to refrain from making bullshit claims. Again, that sounds pretty reasonable. Rich Cleland at the FTC expressed their position clearly: "Word-of-mouth marketing is not exempt from the laws of truthful advertising."

    If you're big plan was to claim that the methods revealed in the acne cure ebook you're selling will also cure pancreatic cancer overnight, I guess you'd be in trouble.

    If you were planning on becoming the fictional "Bambi Curves" to tout the effectiveness of breast enlargement pills, claiming they moved you from an A to a D cup in 7 days while using a stock photo of a busty model for proof, you'll need to come up with something else.

    So, if you're getting paid to blog, to Tweet or to post Facebook miscellany, 'fess up. If you're planning on lying, don't. That'll keep you in the clear for the most part.

    The problematic part of the proposed changes is the extension of liability to the product manufacturer/owner/vendor for comments made by paid bloggers, et al. We all know that the level of control one can exert over affiliates, for instance, is minimal. We also know that if you're buying buzz with something like PayPerPost that you're putting a lot of faith in their network of bloggers to do things the right way.

    If there's a worry in the proposed reg changes, I think that's probably it. The remedy, if you're a product owner, may end up involving an explicit agreement with affiliates and those who manage WOM campaigns to disclaim liability for acts taken outside of the scope of expected behavior, which could be outlined in a manner consistent with the law.

    That sounds a little more onerous than it would probably end up being, but I'm just guessing re: the effectiveness. I won't play lawyer on the WF. In the meantime, if the regs change, I'd certainly expect brands/product owners to take a look at the things their affiliates and paid buzz sources are writing and to drop the hammer on those who are playing outside of the rules.

    That may force people to change some of the things their doing, but I'd hope that both publishers and affiliates would prefer to operate in a "cleaner" environment anyway.

    If you're interested in reading some comments on the proposed guideline changes from people who have actually studied them in some detail, the FTC makes reviews of 16 CFR 255 readily available. It's good reading if you're interested in this topic and the comments on the proposed changes come both from those who like them and those who don't.

    # 273; 16 C.F.R. Part 255; FTC File No.: P034520; Review of the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising

    I personally found WOMMA's comments helpful because they break down the material changes in the regulations clearly. Their contribution explains why they feel ethical (by their definition) participants in social media should be able to function in the proposed environment.

    If you're a hardcore libertarian or have an undying belief that all markets should operate completely unfettered by government oversight, I can understand not liking the changes. If you're against them on principle, that makes sense. I might not agree with you, but you have a decent argument.

    If you're worried that these regs would somehow crush innocent, "good guy/gal" marketers who are completely on the up-and-up, however, I think that's an over-reaction. To me, they appear to be little more than holding people responsible for the foreseeable consequences of unethical (or at least ethically questionable) pronouncements.

    I'd also remind people that there is such a thing as prosecutorial discretion. The FTC is unlikely to beat the living daylights out of those who somehow find themselves "accidentally" out of compliance with the regs ever so slightly. It seems like it's primary intent is to prevent companies from astro-turfing like crazy.

    If that's your business model, or if that's the particular well from which you draw as a blogger, it could be an issue. For most transparent and honest marketers, I don't perceive a great deal of risk.

    Personally, I hope it scares the ever-living cr*p out of the bad apples and cleans up the ugly periphery of IM and social media. I think we could end up with a more vibrant and lucrative market if the snake oil peddlers and liars were forced to clean up their acts.
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    • Profile picture of the author ptone
      Originally Posted by BigRedNotebook View Post

      If you're worried that these regs would somehow crush innocent, "good guy/gal" marketers who are completely on the up-and-up, however, I think that's an over-reaction. To me, they appear to be little more than holding people responsible for the foreseeable consequences of unethical (or at least ethically questionable) pronouncements.
      Your discussion is very reasonable and intelligent. But, you are assuming that this bill is where the FTC stops.

      My argument is that, while this particular bill may "seem" innocent enough, what's next? Then, what's after that? Soon, vendors and affiliate marketers alike are so strapped down in Government bureaucracy, that they can barely survive.

      As has already been mentioned and as I mentioned in a related thread, there is absolutely no need for this legislation. We are talking about sales transactions made on the Internet. The Internet is the one tool that finally puts control in the hands of the consumer. Prior to making a purchase, one can easily perform further research on Google (or elsewhere) to find out if your purchase is right for you or not. And it can be done in a very fast timeframe.

      We don't need the Government holding our hands all through life. Let the market handle the issue. The Government isn't needed in this case. It really isn't.
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      • Profile picture of the author BigRedNotebook
        I can appreciate the "slippery slope" argument. However, the regs in question haven't been updated for nearly 30 years. To me, this appears to be more of an attempt to address new and previously-unforeseen technology and practices in a manner consistent with existing regs than a setup for some eventual squeeze.

        I appreciate a healthy distrust of government hand-holding as much as the next guy. Personally, I usually lean toward market-based solutions, too. That being said, I think there is room for reasonable intervention when it comes to commercial messaging and consumer protection.

        It's a question of line-drawing. I doubt that you'd be thrilled at the prospect of completely unregulated advertising and marketing after consuming inaccurately labeled products that aggravated a severe allergy or when you found that the "completely safe" high chair you bought for your baby collapsed and crushed her skull. Then again, you might be willing to suck up scenarios like those as a trigger for market correction. I wouldn't. Regs in areas like that seem like a decent idea to me.

        I don't know if these marketing regulations changes are necessary. They may not be. They could easily fall on the wrong side of the line in terms of higher principles. My point was that they're not evidence that the sky is soon to fall. They're not draconian.

        I'm probably more comfortable with them than some (we all have our biases), but I'm perfectly willing to admit that there are strong arguments to be made against them--even if they're only immediate targets are those who occupy the underbelly of the industry.
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        • Profile picture of the author ptone
          Originally Posted by BigRedNotebook View Post

          It's a question of line-drawing. I doubt that you'd be thrilled at the prospect of completely unregulated advertising and marketing after consuming inaccurately labeled products that aggravated a severe allergy or when you found that the "completely safe" high chair you bought for your baby collapsed and crushed her skull. Then again, you might be willing to suck up scenarios like those as a trigger for market correction. I wouldn't. Regs in areas like that seem like a decent idea to me.
          My guess is that multi-million dollar lawsuits have contributed to rectifying these situations more than any regulations on the books. You can visit the FTC website right now and find lists and lists of recalled products that endanger the lives of children. Children die everyday due to faulty products despite current regulations. I don't like it, but the laws are there and it still happens.

          If this discussion were taking place in isolation, I would probably see this just how you do. But, I am taking the viewpoint with respect to what's been happening in this country for the last 8 years and has only gotten worse the last three months.

          Our banks are now nationalized, our Government is now firing CEO's, and now they are even controlling the salaries of employees. Those things are pretty draconian in my book. So, when a report comes out that says the Government will now start regulating businesses on the Internet, then I become very skeptical and concerned.
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  • Profile picture of the author Elliott
    I too think, as some others have posted, that this is nothing "new" - they are just trying to catch up to the marketing that is going on online, with the same rules that have already been applied to selling and advertising in print, radio, or on TV, for example.

    The MLM industry went through it all 10-20 years ago, and MLM companies had to crack down on distributors making wild claims. Now any company like that has company approved advertising, and if you want to create your own ads, you have to run them by the company for permission to use them.

    It is just a step in the same direction - the "taming" of the "wild frontier" of internet marketing. It has already happened with the restrictions on "spam" in email marketing. Spam was widely used by some of the established internet giants, who now are all pious about what a terrible thing spam is....

    I do think they will have an uphill climb in bringing any kind of order to the situation, however.

    Elliott
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  • Profile picture of the author Elliott
    ptone, I must say that the internet has not put control in the hands of the consumer, any more than printing presses, radio, or TV did.

    Deception is deception, no matter the medium used to convey it.

    Elliott
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    • Profile picture of the author ptone
      Originally Posted by Elliott View Post

      ptone, I must say that the internet has not put control in the hands of the consumer, any more than printing presses, radio, or TV did.

      Deception is deception, no matter the medium used to convey it.

      Elliott
      Prior to the Internet, it could be quite tedious to research a company, much less a single product. You had the Better Business Bureau and that was about it...I suppose word-of-mouth also.

      Printing presses, radio, TV, magazines, newspapers and others do not have the interactivity provided by the Internet.

      For example, when you are ready to buy a new TV, no longer does the consumer need to go store to store looking for the best model or price. Now, by using the Internet, one can search for hundreds of models and prices without ever leaving home...this is more power to the consumer.

      And back on topic, if you are about to buy the next "miracle cream" and would like to know if your first source if practicing deception or not, start searching for answers. Don't stop at your first result, keep searching until you find all the answers you need to make your decision. If a certain product is bad, or if a certain marketer is practicing deception, you will find that info.

      The power is most certainly in the hands of the consumer and the medium does matter. By using the Internet, it is easier than ever to find out if you are being deceived.
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  • Profile picture of the author Elliott
    ptone, i agree with just about everything you said in your last post. We can do all that research through the internet.

    But, that does not address the kind of issues the BigRedNotebook just raised. They are not what Tiffany initially posted about, but they are part of the "whole big ball of wax" we're talking about.

    Why should we be always forced to spend our time defending ourselves from liars? I have better things to do with my time!

    Any agency that tries to promote "truth in advertsing" would tend to have some support from me, as long as that was honestly what it was doing. I don't see that objecting to marketers failing to disclose their vested interest in what they are promoting is such a bad thing.

    I have spent much of my life driving for a living, and I am not crazy about cops, but would you like to live in a world that had no cops at all, and anyone could come along and rob you anytime at all, or break into your home with no consequences to them?

    We try to delegate some of the things we don't want to spend our time doing, to others. I would just as soon "outsource" the identification and control of deceptive advertising practices out to the FTC, so I can spend my time doing other things.

    On the other hand, it is true that many people do fail to take enough responsibility for what goes on. Our system of government worrks, to the extent that it does work, because there are checks and balances, but it is necessary for citizens to be alert, or government can fail to do it's job properly, as it did with the financial sector.

    Well, this is long-winded enough, but I think you get my drift.

    Elliott
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  • Profile picture of the author Elliott
    "Children die every day due to faulty products despite current regulations."

    Do you really think fewer children would die if their were no regulations at all???

    Do you recall those baby formula manufacturers in China, or the pet foods from China, that poisoned babies and pets? They have regulations about that kind of thing in China too, but it was the enforcement that was lacking, and some people in the government there turning a blind eye to some of those practices. If their versions of the FTC/FDA etc had really been doing the job, don't you think lives would have been saved?

    Points go to BigRedNotebook here....

    Elliott
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    • Profile picture of the author ptone
      Originally Posted by Elliott View Post

      "Children die every day due to faulty products despite current regulations."

      Do you really think fewer children would die if their were no regulations at all???
      I do not know the quantitative results from the regulations themselves. I will stand by my assertion that the civil lawsuits brought by the consumers probably have a bigger impact than do the regulations.

      Once again, in isolation, I would probably agree with you, but for the reasons mentioned above, I am quite skeptical right now. Bigger Government does that to me.
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  • Profile picture of the author Elliott
    You don't feel the banks brought that upon themselves? I would have preferred they were simply allowed to fail, but if they are to be bailed out, then someone needs to exert some control over them, and it seems entirely reasonable that the entity providing the money to bail them out insist on having the righ to inspect how they are conducting their business and what they are doing with the money they are being given.

    It's not necessary to use ideological buzzwords like "nationalized" to describe the situation. That's your money they are being bailed out with - aren't you glad someone in government is at least trying to keep those thieving bankers accountable?

    Or would you prefer the government just gave them your money and said "Here! Go have fun, we need highcaliber people like you running our banks! Buy yourselves a new jet plane, and book yourselves a week or 2 at a high-end spa resort with the best hookers!" ?

    Elliott
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    • Profile picture of the author ptone
      Originally Posted by Elliott View Post

      You don't feel the banks brought that upon themselves?
      Sure they did, but not by themselves. It was the Government that colluded with the banks to make bad loans to those that could not afford them that started this meltdown.
      I would have preferred they were simply allowed to fail
      Me, too. But the Government did not allow that and the banks did not want that.

      but if they are to be bailed out, then someone needs to exert some control over them, and it seems entirely reasonable that the entity providing the money to bail them out insist on having the righ to inspect how they are conducting their business and what they are doing with the money they are being given.
      So, the same Government that helped cause this should be the one that ensures the banks "do the right thing?" Who's running the insane asylum?

      It's not necessary to use ideological buzzwords like "nationalized" to describe the situation. That's your money they are being bailed out with - aren't you glad someone in government is at least trying to keep those thieving bankers accountable?
      The Government is now telling the banks how to run their business. "Nationalized" is not an ideological buzzword...its an accurate description.


      Simply follow the money trail. Which banks gave donations to which members of Congress? When were those donations given? Who was running Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac when this began and where are they now? How much did they receive in bonuses?

      These are not the people I want telling me how to run my Internet business. I can do it much better without them.
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      • Profile picture of the author Magic Johnson
        Originally Posted by ptone View Post

        Sure they did, but not by themselves. It was the Government that colluded with the banks to make bad loans to those that could not afford them that started this meltdown.
        Me, too. But the Government did not allow that and the banks did not want that.

        So, the same Government that helped cause this should be the one that ensures the banks "do the right thing?" Who's running the insane asylum?

        The Government is now telling the banks how to run their business. "Nationalized" is not an ideological buzzword...its an accurate description.


        Simply follow the money trail. Which banks gave donations to which members of Congress? When were those donations given? Who was running Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac when this began and where are they now? How much did they receive in bonuses?

        These are not the people I want telling me how to run my Internet business. I can do it much better without them.
        Dude, you cant turn the clock back, hopefully some good people can get rid of the blind and the greedy?

        How do we tackle this sort of problem, who should be in charge of a country, what is your and other peoples Government alternative.

        Just kick the bad seeds in their cruches and get new better ones in charge, new seeds who can follow a plan and work for the people. I think that's a better solution.

        The system have worked for hundreds of years, its the people in the system that have to change, anyone agrees?

        I get kind of upset when people say "Gov are against us", it's really too
        general talk. for my taste

        I'm not even in the Us, so why do I care, yes- I do care. That's why
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        • Profile picture of the author Magic Johnson
          Elliott your last post was amazing, I wish I could write and sum it up half as well as you do, without going in to an emotional mindset. Even in my native langauge.

          We think much a like. I'm just very afraid how everything is going to turn out
          in the end. When people start to put their wrath to Gov as tehy feel all fault is to put in a sum instead of parts, and loop in good men and women in the same bad loop, I actually get really shaken by how a lot of people are reacting, in the US an European countries.

          And I really worry
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  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    Americans crack me up. So many work to be done in their health system and they chase bloggers.

    Shameful, maybe thats the word.
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  • Profile picture of the author Elliott
    The governmaent has always told banks how to run their business, just as "government" has always told other types of business how to run also. Where have you been?

    You are basically overgeneralizing. "Government" is not a single monolithic entity. It is, like any organization, composed of individuals of varying integrity and motivations.

    If you want to know how bad "government" can really get, you might read the book in my sig, at "Gulagescape".

    When government goes awry, it is because folks don't keep a good eye on it and let it go awry - that's why ours was designed with "checks and balances". And when folks speak up, we are heard. it's not always easy, but the reason you weren't drafted to be cannon-fodder (actually today it's roadside bomb-fodder) by the US Army, is because my generation spoke up to such an extent that we made the draft go away.

    Today folks are less inclined to activism because the threats are not so clear-cut and immediate, like the Vietnam era draft was. But the threats are quite real, and you have partially identified some of them, but you overgeneralize about them instead of identifying specific individuals and activiities.

    Back then it was Joe mcCarthy the witchhunter and HUAC, Vietnam, and related issues. Today it's AIG and that jerk who was with Lehman Bros, that kind.

    But the banks were encouraged by some people in government because of grassroots pressure - it was pressure that led to policies that went awry. But where were you when that was happening? I actually wasn't aware of it myself, were you? many of the bills and laws that are passed that have great-sounding names, can be very destructive in their real results.

    People need to be awake, but railing against "government" in general accomplishes nothing. People need to get down to cases, if they want to stem the tide of bad government. The better policies need to be identified, and the folks working in government who are trying to get decent things done need to be supported. They don't need to be lumped in with the greedy, selfserving ones, or with "politicians". The majority of people in government are not "politicians". They are working folks. And not all politicians are alike, either.

    To overgeneralize about "government" is no different than saying "all IMers are deceiving crooks", or the application of any other racial or group stereotype.

    Government goes bad when the governed are to self-absorbed to keep an eye on it. And it is true that there is an old formula being used today, that the Romans used long ago, to misdirect the attention of the governed - it's called "Bread and Circuses".

    Do you like to watch your football games, with a belly full of ribs and a beer in your hand? You might be better off spending more of your time watching your government's day-to-day activities. But that makes for boring watching, if you've ever watched C-Span or the like.....

    the Internet should be a strong tool for us in this area of government watching. Let's hope. The Chinese are certainly afraid of it, as are other governments.

    Well it's way past my bedtime, so g'nite all.

    Elliott
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  • Profile picture of the author Adaptive
    In general, the "tricksters" never achieve long-term success anyway - the market catches on to their shady tactics,
    Sometimes the market doesn't catch on.

    Bernie Madoff's scam victims didn't catch on to his shady tactics. The Wall Street Journal declined to run the 17 page, 29 point analysis that would have exposed him years ago.

    If literate, sophisticated people running significant charities fell for Madoff's lies about "sophisticated investing" - and they did - then how is the "little guy" supposed to able to tell if a $17 ebook, a $497 book and disk package, a $1995 software and training package, a $58 per month coaching program about "sophisticated online marketing" is a scam?

    Madoff was caught by his sons challenging the bonus payments, not by the market.

    Regards,
    Allen
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    Success only requires four words. http://www.warriorforum.com/blogs/ad...our-words.html

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    • Profile picture of the author thezone
      Originally Posted by Adaptive View Post

      Sometimes the market doesn't catch on.

      Bernie Madoff's scam victims didn't catch on to his shady tactics. The Wall Street Journal declined to run the 17 page, 29 point analysis that would have exposed him years ago.

      If literate, sophisticated people running significant charities fell for Madoff's lies about "sophisticated investing" - and they did - then how is the "little guy" supposed to able to tell if a $17 ebook, a $497 book and disk package, a $1995 software and training package, a $58 per month coaching program about "sophisticated online marketing" is a scam?

      Madoff was caught by his sons challenging the bonus payments, not by the market.

      Regards,
      Allen
      While I have no proof, I would bet money on the fact that Madoff told his sons to turn him in, since he knew he was fried even before they mysteriously came forward. If nothing else, it would place them in a good light, and protect "their" ASSets.

      You make a good point, and it's curious why anyone would be worried about this, unless they are bloggers and get paid commission for recommending products, or they setup blogs to recommend their own programs...hmmm....udder then that...what's the issue.

      I make 13 digits a second utilizing youtube and social media sites like twitter, and for $19.95 you can learn the same thing to...I just want to help 1 trillion people become millionaires....

      I answered some of the more frequent questions, after reading them you can send money to my paypal account. Thanks Kindly.


      FAQ's
      1)if you make 13 digits a month, why you charging me.
      Umm...cuz if I don't, you won't use my material i'm eliminating the tire people. I'm giving you the keys to the kingdom. Use them!

      2)Do you have a money back guarantee.
      Yes I do, I guarantee you that if you ask for your money back within 60 days, you ain't getting it back, guaranteed!

      3)I tried your program and it doesn't work.
      I hear this all the time. I presented you documented metrics, and the only reason you would fail, is your own inability to succeed. There are people who rob banks and make money, and their are people who rob banks who don't make money. The only difference is your ability to succeed, and technique.

      4)Are you certified in your field?
      Yes, I am accredited in the field I have expertise. This is not to infer that I have any further accreditation then that mentioned previously and/or comes with any other guarantee then that already disclosed in prior communications.



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      The testimonials and examples used are exceptional results, and will not necessarily apply to the average purchaser, or the individual making the claim, and are not intended to represent or guarantee, that anyone will achieve the same, or similar results. We are not responsible for your actions, or guarantee anything we state on our page. If you act on our statements and/or testimonials, you do so at your own risk. We crossed our fingers when we created this page, and therefore is not legally binding, based on the na na na na law.
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      • Profile picture of the author Karen Blundell
        when are people ever going to start taking responsibility for their own actions?
        you don't need the government to protect you from shady marketers...you just need to do your own due diligence...you didn't do your research?
        and you got burned? that's your fault, not anyone else's and certainly nothing that the government needs to get involved with.
        Do Americans really want nanny-state government? because that's what is happening...and through it all more of your rights and freedoms are taken away from you...just wait...it's already happening...slowly...while they keep you distracted with the lastest celebrity scandal or drama, your rights are being slowly stripped away...

        who is John Galt?
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  • Profile picture of the author jgand
    The FTC can control everything. The web is vast and difficult to control as the music business has found out. Don't know if it is truly realistic. We don't need more regulation on the web.
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  • Profile picture of the author zapseo
    Dang, Marc -- I thought it HAD already hit the fan.

    An agency of the government comes out with a regulation and hysteria reigns.

    It's an interesting discussion, but I'm not sure how much how it will affect us as marketers has been discussed. Which would seem to be much more germaine.

    At this point, though, I think this poor thread is hopelessly lost.
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  • Profile picture of the author davidomni
    Banned
    There are more website's than there are people.

    The FTC, even if they had a full-time department just for this,
    wouldn't really get to far in stopping this from happening.

    I'm guessing any sites with direct complaints, would get flagged
    and investigated.

    Which if thats the case, they have a lot of work to do!

    Cheers.
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