98% Of Salesletters To Become Illegal Soon? What's The Warrior Solution? :)

213 replies
Ok...

First things first:

65.2% of all statistics are made up on the spot.


So, yes, I'm pulling the 98% part out of thin air...based solely on my personal experience with salesletters...and a new law to be put in place by the FTC shortly.

Here's the new FTC rule: You can't use a testimonial or promise results that are not typical...without telling your customers what the typical results are.

That includes any portion of your advertisement...including testimonials, headlines, guarantee's, etc.

ALSO...

1. If you decide to reveal an "extreme result" for your product, you have to disclose just HOW EXTREME the result was over the typical results. (i.e. Jared lost 245 pounds eating S***** sandwiches...but 99% of people who eat at S***** actually gain 40 pounds.) <- I made this up...it's just an example.

2. All celebrities will have to reveal their monetary involvement in companies before promoting a product.

3. All Blogs have to reveal that they were given free products to review...before promoting them.

4. Doctors have to reveal the extent to which they have used the product and their understanding of the products benefits.


Now, before everyone jumps in and says "First Amendment Violation", let's face the facts...the Constitution has been attacked (trampled on in some cases) for decades...and the wind isn't changing any time too soon.


If you'd like to know more about this new law...there is a pretty good archive piece in the Chicago Tribune: Federal Trade Commission's plan to change rules on ad endorsements, testimonials worries marketers - Chicago Tribune

Want to see some of the actual laws that will be amended:
http://www.seobythesea.com/?p=1300

What's the creative solution to this problem?

I'd love to hear your input...

One company immediately came to mind...Trump University.

One of the things they do in their $10,000+ coaching class is to "fire" any customers who don't follow the steps by a certain date...which insures that they can at least get an edge with testimonials...and make some great claims about the people who actually DID the effort.

What are your thoughts...ideas...?

Eventually this is going to be on our "front porch", so we might as well "grab the gun".


- Jack

P.S. I didn't even go down the road of affiliate issues...that is another whole ball of wax. Goodbye review sites...
#98% #illegal #page not found #salesletters #solution #warrior
  • Profile picture of the author JayXtreme
    I'm safe...

    Don't make outlandish claims on sales pages.. and I'm happy with my conversion %'s... and I don't use testimonials... still happy with my conversion %'s.

    I don't review free products on my blogs, always purchasing the products I am going to review, always felt that doing it like this gives you a better feel for how the customer is going to feel when they make the purchase...

    Some people might struggle with this law, not here though

    Peace

    Jay
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    Bare Murkage.........

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    • Profile picture of the author 124711
      Originally Posted by JayXtreme View Post

      I'm safe...

      Don't make outlandish claims on sales pages.. and I'm happy with my conversion %'s... and I don't use testimonials... still happy with my conversion %'s.
      I think JayXtreme is on the right track: don't make false/hyped up promises and you should be ok.
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      • Profile picture of the author Andy Hart
        Originally Posted by 124711 View Post

        I think JayXtreme is on the right track: don't make false/hyped up promises and you should be ok.
        Damn!! read the thread!!

        Its not about telling the truth or false claims, one customer of yours could make $100,000 in a month and you then put that on your sales page, which won't be false but that's not a typical result (if it is send me a link)

        Its not about false/hyped up promises, you can be truthful with all your testimonials and still get into hot water.

        A lot of people seem to think they will be ok if they don't make false claims or hype up the product, that's not what this is about.

        If you sell 50,000 units of your home study course and 5 people who purchased all are consistently making $100,000 per month you would put that on your sales page right? and if you did it wouldn't be a false or hyped up claim but the point is that's not a typical result and you would have to disclose what the other 49,995 made on average.

        So NO its not about the people who display false claims and downright hyped up bullshi*t but the many people who choose to display the real world results of there most successful customers.

        Andy
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  • Profile picture of the author Tyrus Antas
    Isn't the earnings disclaimer enough for this?

    Tyrus
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Motley
    so basically marketers will have to be truthful in their sales letters?


    OH THE HORROR!!!
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    • Profile picture of the author TheRichJerksNet
      Originally Posted by Michael Motley View Post

      so basically marketers will have to be truthful in their sales letters?


      OH THE HORROR!!!
      -

      Well I only create and sell my own products, so no worries here as my sales letters are truthful and have no hype or madeup income statements. Testimonials are from those that actually use my sites, products, or services..

      So safe here...

      James
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      • Profile picture of the author Jack Duncan
        my sales letters are truthful and have no hype or madeup income statements. Testimonials are from those that actually use my sites, products, or services..
        But are they typical?

        For example:

        Of the last 100 people that bought your X product, did they ALL generally (on average) have the same experience as the Testimonial quote from Rhonda in Vermont?









        .
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        • Profile picture of the author TheRichJerksNet
          Originally Posted by Jack Duncan View Post

          But are they typical?

          For example:

          Of the last 100 people that bought your X product, did they ALL generally (on average) have the same experience as the Testimonial quote from Rhonda in Vermont?

          .
          That's the stickler ... We all know many fail due to not taking action and we have no control over customers that do not take action.

          James
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Michael Motley View Post

      so basically marketers will have to be truthful in their sales letters?


      OH THE HORROR!!!
      lol ... exactly. This doesn't worry me at all. I hate fake testimonials and false income- weight-results, claims.
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      • Profile picture of the author LB
        Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

        lol ... exactly. This doesn't worry me at all. I hate fake testimonials and false income- weight-results, claims.
        LOL.

        You have a link in your sig stating that people can make 3,000-5,000 per month.

        Does everyone do that? Is that typical? What's the average person make? How many have made that? Did you conduct a valid scientific study? What's the low end? Is it disclosed?
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    • Profile picture of the author SeanIM
      Originally Posted by Michael Motley View Post

      so basically marketers will have to be truthful in their sales letters?


      OH THE HORROR!!!
      exactly my thoughts....you beat me to it.....seriously...if you're not putting out good sh1t...then quit it already. Sad they had to create a law to enforce people into not being dirtbags in their pitching process...

      However, it does seem to be a very interesting topic for adcopy gurus...how artfully vague can they be...without dropping those big goofy # bombs.
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      • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
        Originally Posted by SeanIM View Post

        exactly my thoughts....you beat me to it.....seriously...if you're not putting out good sh1t...then quit it already. Sad they had to create a law to enforce people into not being dirtbags in their pitching process...

        However, it does seem to be a very interesting topic for adcopy gurus...how artfully vague can they be...without dropping those big goofy # bombs.
        You guys just aren't getting it.

        This has nothing to do with false claims.

        What it's saying is that we have to use the AVERAGE person as a testimonial.

        Instead of "I used this system for a week and made $1000", it'll be "I read the first two chapters, didn't apply anything and am still not making any cash".

        There's already a crapload of rules to stop lies. This isn't what this about.

        It's about not being able to showcase our best stuff anymore.

        The first rule of sales is you present things in their best light. If we can't do that anymore... where are we?

        -Dan
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        • Profile picture of the author anomaly
          boy, long thread to read ... some thoughts ...

          Originally Posted by Daniel Scott View Post


          Instead of "I used this system for a week and made $1000", it'll be "I read the first two chapters, didn't apply anything and am still not making any cash".
          in my mind you would simply say the testimonials are from people who read the whole book and took action ... simple!

          Originally Posted by Daniel Scott View Post

          This has nothing to do with false claims.
          it does, because let's face it, a lot of testimonials from certain marketers are "fake" ... a face downloaded from google images and a made-up testimonial ... good riddance to those ...


          Originally Posted by Daniel Scott View Post


          I'm not sure what happened with Kern, but the report I read from the FTC's website said that the numbers he used for his sales letter were unrealistic, because by the third generation of sellers it would have to be sold to 13 billion people or something. I'm not sure if this is true or not, and I have enormous respect for Frank, but to me (and I could be wrong) it sounds like he made an honest mistake and paid for it... but made a mistake nonetheless.
          seems everyone is going "poor frank", but from the sounds of it it was a pyramid scheme and which is just plain and simple illegal in most countries ... it's not that he got his numbers wrong, its that it was a pyramid scheme where the people on top make the most money and those underneath make less and less ... i have no sympathy for pyramid schemes, i've seen how people are taken in by them ...


          hmmm, sorry, didn't mean to focus on daniel, those were just the comments that caught my eye

          ********************************

          i do think all this is a lot of worrying about nothing ... have you ever seen a tv ad for eye-lash extending makeup? almost all of them say in the bottom left hand corner "eye lash extensions used in filming" ... does it stop people buying, no!

          if you are selling a product honestly and getting very few refunds then you will be fine, as that'll be some sort of proof that you are selling well ... if however you are selling something with exaggerated claims that 50% of people are refunding, that's when you need to worry ... but you should be worrying already anyways, as that's clearly bad business ...

          my 5c worth for today
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    • Profile picture of the author jamesburchill
      Originally Posted by Michael Motley View Post

      so basically marketers will have to be truthful in their sales letters?

      OH THE HORROR!!!
      In any new and open environment there is a time when the chaos and mayhem comes under scrutiny. I for one believe this change will serve us well since a fundamental piece of the sales process is TRUST... If our online world becomes synonymous with DISTRUST we may all have to go back and get real jobs!!!

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    • Profile picture of the author Colin Palfrey
      Originally Posted by Michael Motley View Post

      so basically marketers will have to be truthful in their sales letters?


      OH THE HORROR!!!
      No just the American ones:p

      Looks like someone just selected you all for a major disadvantage.

      Although I expect this will be totally unenforceable, I hope so anyway.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marian Berghes
    They need to give ALOT more details if this gets approved.

    With what it is now its just too unspecific.
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  • Profile picture of the author coreygeer
    Personally, if you have a decent product, then you won't need to make outlandish claims or use outlandish testimonials.

    Like most of the CB products that are promising hundreds of thousands of dollars in CB earnings.. yeah.. right.. it looks to me like this only pertains to the over-hyped and over saturated type of web pages. If you're running a good product, then you shouldn't have to worry =)
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  • Profile picture of the author Jack Duncan
    Jay,
    Wait a second buddy...

    Don't make outlandish claims on sales pages
    The law here isn't going to restrict "outlandish"...the law will demand "typical results" to be fully disclosed.

    Do you use headline's on your salesletters?

    "How To Get 10 Visitors To Your Site In 3 Years"

    If the average person that picks up your course and tries it only gets 2 visitors to their site in 3 years...

    Guess what?

    New Headline: How To Get 10 Visitors To Your Site In 3 Years (Results Not Typical...Average Student Gets 2.3 Visitors In Three Years)



    The good news...

    You live in the UK? (I might be coming to join you. )
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    • Profile picture of the author Jack Duncan
      @ Tyrus,
      The new law is actually a total overhaul of the whole "disclaimer" process that was put in place in the 80's.

      That's why they are going to put this in place.

      @Michael

      so basically marketers will have to be truthful in their sales letters?
      Nada.

      Jared actually DID lose 245 pounds. It's just that HIS RESULTS were not typical...

      There are already plenty of laws in place that work just fine for unlawful claims...this is a whole new level.
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      • Profile picture of the author Michael Motley
        Originally Posted by Jack Duncan View Post

        @ Tyrus,
        The new law is actually a total overhaul of the whole "disclaimer" process that was put in place in the 80's.

        That's why they are going to put this in place.

        @Michael

        Nada.

        Jared actually DID lose 245 pounds. It's just that HIS RESULTS were not typical...

        There are already plenty of laws in place that work just fine for unlawful claims...this is a whole new level.
        Yeah, but they werent truthful about it.

        he did lose 245 lbs. But it wasnt JUST by eating a diet of subway sandwiches

        The people that you see in most diet ads probably did lose the weight, but not JUST by taking the product.

        Yeah, this marketing doo-dad WILL draw traffic, but not with a singular use and with no other processes in place.

        i still dont see the problem here. marketers just have to be more truthful. technically they aren't lying, their salesletters just have 'strategic ommissions'
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        • Profile picture of the author Jack Duncan
          marketers just have to be more truthful
          Again...this isn't about truth vs. lie

          It's about typical vs. non-typical

          Problem is, we are talking about PEOPLE...and no two of them are alike.

          Honestly, based on the wording of this regulation, it looks to me that marketing in general is going to have to go the way of the drug industry.

          It means that companies will have to PAY for tests out of their own pocket...just to see how people "typically" respond to their product. Regardless of what can actually be accomplished with the product.

          So, say you write an ebook on "How To Flip Websites".

          Even if 10 of your reviewers made $1500 in the first week, before you can use that information in your salesletter, you will need to pay for a group of "average joes" to try out your product...make sure the results are statistically accurate...and then file paperwork with the FTC when the non-average-joe user doesn't make the $1500 you claim, showing them your test results.
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          • Profile picture of the author Black Hat Cat
            Banned
            Originally Posted by Jack Duncan View Post

            Again...this isn't about truth vs. lie

            It's about typical vs. non-typical
            It means that companies will have to PAY for tests out of their own pocket...just to see how people "typically" respond to their product. Regardless of what can actually be accomplished with the product.

            So, say you write an ebook on "How To Flip Websites".

            Even if 10 of your reviewers made $1500 in the first week, before you can use that information in your salesletter, you will need to pay for a group of "average joes" to try out your product...make sure the results are statistically accurate...and then file paperwork with the FTC when the non-average-joe user doesn't make the $1500 you claim, showing them your test results.
            Ummm.....yeah....it ain't never gonna happen.
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      • Profile picture of the author JD Jens
        Originally Posted by Jack Duncan View Post

        @ Tyrus,
        The new law is actually a total overhaul of the whole "disclaimer" process that was put in place in the 80's.

        That's why they are going to put this in place.

        @Michael

        Nada.

        Jared actually DID lose 245 pounds. It's just that HIS RESULTS were not typical...

        There are already plenty of laws in place that work just fine for unlawful claims...this is a whole new level.
        I think what you'll find is that people will be saying (using your example), that Jared's results are "typical" if you put in the effort like Jared did. For example, most dieters quit their diet and don't stick with it. Therefore, the "typical" results wouldn't be very impressive. But if the diet plan is solid, it's not necessarily the diet plans fault that the dieter didn't stick with it.

        So I have a feeling marketers will just cover themselves by saying in effect "if you put in the work Jared did, then the results he received are typical. If you store Cheetoh's in you belly button for later.... not so much!"
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    • Profile picture of the author jasonl70
      Originally Posted by coreygeer View Post

      Personally, if you have a decent product, then you won't need to make outlandish claims or use outlandish testimonials.

      Like most of the CB products that are promising hundreds of thousands of dollars in CB earnings.. yeah.. right.. it looks to me like this only pertains to the over-hyped and over saturated type of web pages. If you're running a good product, then you shouldn't have to worry =)
      It doesn't matter how great your product is - you will have a very hard time selling it without good sales copy. Good products do not sell themselves.
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      • Profile picture of the author webpromotions
        Originally Posted by jasonl70 View Post

        It doesn't matter how great your product is - you will have a very hard time selling it without good sales copy. Good products do not sell themselves.
        I'd have to disagree with that in some instances.

        I run a membership site for a pretty specific 'make money online' advertising niche - my sales copy is about as crappy as you can get...It's absolutely horrid, yet that kind of works to my advantage.

        This one site earns me enough to make a living from home, pretty much all from the site's reputation and word of mouth.

        My refund requests are so low I can't even calculate them, and this is because I do NOT use slick sales copy to suck people in. In fact, if they don't already know exactly what my site can do for them before they even visit, I really don't want them as a customer.

        I'm sure Billy Mays or the ShamWow guy could monetize my site much more than I do in the long run, but I'm perfectly happy dealing with virtually no complaints, refund requests, chargebacks, ftc investigations, etc...
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    • Profile picture of the author Jesus Perez
      Originally Posted by Jack Duncan View Post


      Do you use headline's on your salesletters?

      "How To Get 10 Visitors To Your Site In 3 Years"
      STOP copying my headlines, Jack!
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Hill
      Originally Posted by Jack Duncan View Post

      Jay,
      Wait a second buddy...



      The law here isn't going to restrict "outlandish"...the law will demand "typical results" to be fully disclosed.

      Do you use headline's on your salesletters?

      "How To Get 10 Visitors To Your Site In 3 Years"

      If the average person that picks up your course and tries it only gets 2 visitors to their site in 3 years...

      Guess what?

      New Headline: How To Get 10 Visitors To Your Site In 3 Years (Results Not Typical...Average Student Gets 2.3 Visitors In Three Years)



      The good news...

      You live in the UK? (I might be coming to join you. )


      Yeah but Jack they cannot tell you to put exact typical results in the headline... At the bottom of the sales page or under your screen shot earnings is sufficuent and that's no different that infomercials...

      Mike Hill

      PS. This is no big deal... unless a sales letter is flat out lying about results... If that's the case then I welcome this change with open arms
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  • Profile picture of the author Marian Berghes
    The deal is that most marketers present theyr top most results as the sales pitch and then say in the disclaimer that those are the best results.

    This is to get people to see that IT can be done and of course to attracted them to buy.

    Now, If I put my top most results in testimonials but I also put my lowest results? would that be legal then?

    What If i only tested on 10 people...and they all got TOP results...but the buyers would not get that, that means I am breaking the law?

    There are loads and loads of questions that would have to be answered about this.

    Also about headlines...just don't use specific numbers anymore...you can do just as fine without putting results in the headline.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jack Duncan
      @Marian,
      Good question.

      The way it is being presented right now according to FTC's Richard Cleland "You not only have to say that it is extreme, but exactly how extreme."

      The whole thing is going to rise and fall on the definition of extreme.

      Also, ads will have to include "generally expected results"....
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      • Profile picture of the author Jack Duncan
        Overall, I think it will be difficult for them to enforce, particularly for smaller online businesses (ie not Subway, Jenny Craig, etc). Given the trans-national nature of the Internet it's quite easy to get web hosting based in Singapore/India/etc, private domain registration outside the US and a business entity elsewhere in the world funneling money to a person or business in the US.
        I was thinking along the same line.
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        • Profile picture of the author MontelloMarketing
          I hope it's enforceable! Warriors need to understand that honest business practices are the only ones that work longterm.

          This law doesn't change a thing. Except of course it makes the better copywriters that much more needed.
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          • Profile picture of the author Jack Duncan
            HALT...wait a second.

            We are NOT talking about being dishonest. That's a NON ISSUE here.

            Under the current laws, if a customer emailed me to let me know that they just made $3,456 dollars using the ideas found in my ebook, "How To Sell Your Grandmother's Antique Shoes On Ebay"...Then I can prominently display the testimonial on my site...

            Under the new laws, I'd have to show that the TYPICAL RESULTS for someone who reads my ebook is XXXX...regardless of the fact that the above testimonial is 100% true.

            This is the section in question:

            (b) An advertisement containing an endorsement relating the experience of one or more consumers on a central or key attribute of the product or service also will likely be interpreted as representing that the endorser's experience is representative of what consumers will generally achieve with the advertised product in actual, albeit variable, conditions of use.
            Therefore, an advertiser should possess and rely upon adequate substantiation for this representation. If the advertiser does not have substantiation that the endorser's experience is representative of what consumers will generally achieve, the advertisement should clearly and conspicuously disclose the generally expected performance in the depicted circumstances, and the advertiser must possess and rely on adequate substantiation for that representation.

            See the above link in the first post to read all items in question.

            .
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            • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
              Originally Posted by Jack Duncan View Post

              Under the new laws, I'd have to show that the TYPICAL RESULTS for someone who reads my ebook is XXXX...regardless of the fact that the above testimonial is 100% true.
              So, in the IM world, that means the disclaimer would have to read something like this:

              Typical results are that buyers will stop reading around chapter 2 or 3 and buy another eBook in an effort to find a get-rich-quick-while-doing-absolutely-nothing scheme. Among readers that do read the material in its entirety, typical results are that they'll never do anything with it or, if they do, they will do so in a half-hearted manner only sparsely following the described system and will achieve no results at all. A small portion of buyers will then claim they never made the purchase, downloaded, received or read the book and file a chargeback for an unauthorized transaction on their credit card.
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              • Profile picture of the author admin
                Administrator
                Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

                So, in the IM world, that means the disclaimer would have to read something like this:

                Typical results are that buyers will stop reading around chapter 2 or 3 and buy another eBook in an effort to find a get-rich-quick-while-doing-absolutely-nothing scheme. Among readers that do read the material in its entirety, typical results are that they'll never do anything with it or, if they do, they will do so in a half-hearted manner only sparsely following the described system and will achieve no results at all. A small portion of buyers will then claim they never made the purchase, downloaded, received or read the book and file a chargeback for an unauthorized transaction on their credit card.

                That's exactly what I was thinking :-) Go overboard with it. This kind of disclosure can actually work FOR you instead of against you if done right.
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              • Profile picture of the author melanied
                Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

                So, in the IM world, that means the disclaimer would have to read something like this:

                Typical results are that buyers will stop reading around chapter 2 or 3 and buy another eBook in an effort to find a get-rich-quick-while-doing-absolutely-nothing scheme. Among readers that do read the material in its entirety, typical results are that they'll never do anything with it or, if they do, they will do so in a half-hearted manner only sparsely following the described system and will achieve no results at all. A small portion of buyers will then claim they never made the purchase, downloaded, received or read the book and file a chargeback for an unauthorized transaction on their credit card.
                That just made me laugh out loud. My dog looked at me like I was nuts.
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              • Profile picture of the author wolfshaman
                Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

                So, in the IM world, that means the disclaimer would have to read something like this:

                Typical results are that buyers will stop reading around chapter 2 or 3 and buy another eBook in an effort to find a get-rich-quick-while-doing-absolutely-nothing scheme. Among readers that do read the material in its entirety, typical results are that they'll never do anything with it or, if they do, they will do so in a half-hearted manner only sparsely following the described system and will achieve no results at all. A small portion of buyers will then claim they never made the purchase, downloaded, received or read the book and file a chargeback for an unauthorized transaction on their credit card.
                Hahahahahahaha!
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            • Profile picture of the author YellowBird
              So.. how would you find out what's typical? Out of the people who purchased your product, how many really work it as opposed to those who put it on the shelf or just thumb through it for a few minutes and then get disgruntled because they may have to put out effort...

              So... Who's doing the discovery and research of what's typical? What is the definition of "typical"? Do you count the people who visited your site and stayed longer than 5 minutes? Do you count just the people who purchased your product? Do you count the people who wrote to you vs. all the numbers who didn't?

              Just curious.. Your thoughts?
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            • Profile picture of the author Lance K
              Originally Posted by Jack Duncan View Post

              HALT...wait a second.

              We are NOT talking about being dishonest. That's a NON ISSUE here.

              Under the current laws, if a customer emailed me to let me know that they just made $3,456 dollars using the ideas found in my ebook, "How To Sell Your Grandmother's Antique Shoes On Ebay"...Then I can prominently display the testimonial on my site...

              Under the new laws, I'd have to show that the TYPICAL RESULTS for someone who reads my ebook is XXXX...regardless of the fact that the above testimonial is 100% true.

              That makes sense.

              But how do you know what's typical if you only hear from the success stories?

              If 2% tell you their success story, 3% ask for refunds, and you never hear from the other 95%...how the heck are you supposed to give an accurate description of "typical"?

              IMO, this is going to make CUSTOMER SERVICE just as important as compliance with this new law. Because it's usually a consumer complaint that lands you on the radar of the FTC in the first place.
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          • Profile picture of the author trapp120
            Originally Posted by MontelloMarketing View Post

            I hope it's enforceable! Warriors need to understand that honest business practices are the only ones that work longterm.
            Many Super Affiliates will never care about long-term profits, as you're never assured of anything when you don't control a product/service - so large short-term profits are king.

            The law as it applies online is all about weeding out the Oprah, Yellow Teeth, ****, Weight Loss ads. Short-term, these ads are cash cows (until of course the market is saturated, acquisition costs rise, and your landing pages and ads are duplicated). I've heard of a few guys doing $2,000,000/week off of **** alone in Q1, and there's no way you could tell them that using unsubstantiated and exaggerated claims didn't pay off.

            Laws only stop law-abiding citizens anyway, so much like Spammers, this isn't going to do much.
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            • Profile picture of the author zapseo
              Originally Posted by trapp120 View Post

              Many Super Affiliates will never care about long-term profits, as you're never assured of anything when you don't control a product/service - so large short-term profits are king.

              The law as it applies online is all about weeding out the Oprah, Yellow Teeth, ****, Weight Loss ads. Short-term, these ads are cash cows (until of course the market is saturated, acquisition costs rise, and your landing pages and ads are duplicated). I've heard of a few guys doing $2,000,000/week off of **** alone in Q1, and there's no way you could tell them that using unsubstantiated and exaggerated claims didn't pay off.

              Laws only stop law-abiding citizens anyway, so much like Spammers, this isn't going to do much.
              Paid off? Yes, indeed.
              I see the devil rubbing his hands.

              It's too bad that there is so little value paid to character, soul, and one's fellow man. It's the same kind of avarice the sunk the world economy and has us sweating global warming.

              "I got MIIIIIIINNNNNNEEEE!"

              Yah. Maybe.

              And your kids ?
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      • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
        As long as you don't give specific results, you're fine.

        For example, this line of copy is perfectly acceptable.

        "Want To Become A Killer Affiliate Marketer In Just 7 Days?"

        What's killer?

        Is it 2 sales, 20 sales, 200 sales?

        It's up to the person reading the sales letter to determine in his own mind
        what that means to him.

        As long as I'm not making any claims that he'll make X number of sales per
        day, week or whatever, I'm fine.

        There are many ways to write creative salescopy without having to put
        dollar or sales amounts in black and white.

        You just have to be a little creative.
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        • Profile picture of the author Trader54
          Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

          As long as you don't give specific results, you're fine.

          For example, this line of copy is perfectly acceptable.

          "Want To Become A Killer Affiliate Marketer In Just 7 Days?"
          Would "In Just 7 Days" be a extreme result or a typical one?

          Not sure how they could enforce these rules.
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          • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
            Originally Posted by Trader54 View Post

            Would "In Just 7 Days" be a extreme result or a typical one?

            Not sure how they could enforce these rules.
            But WHAT in 7 days?

            I'm not saying anything.

            What does "killer affiliate marketer" mean?

            Technically, it has no real meaning whatsoever.

            To Jane Doe who just started marketing online, it could mean she makes
            a sale a week.

            To John Doe who's making making a sale a week, it could mean maybe 2
            sales a week or 3.

            I'm not making any claims as to income or sales or anything other than
            time frame,

            But time frame for what?

            Again, "killer affiliate marketer" means absolutely nothing.

            To make a case against that headline in court would take way more
            money and manpower than our government has to waste.

            They're going to go after the totally outlandish claims like...

            "Lose 100 Pounds In 7 Days...Guaranteed."

            Not what I wrote above.
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          • Profile picture of the author Rod Cortez
            Just to clarify, this is not a new law, it is a new, updated FTC guideline that is currently under review and will most likely be updated (if you believe the article) by the "end of this year". Notice how some of the details are kept quite vague. So it will be interesting what the actual update to the guideline will be and when it will actually go into effect. I'm going to wait until it actually gets updated before I'm concerned about it and then I'll meet up with my legal counsel. The FTC is going to get a lot of pressure from a variety of industries, so I'm going to be watching this quite closely. I am incredulous that this will be the end of most sales letters though.

            RoD
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        • Profile picture of the author Greg Jacobs
          This will have to be enforced at the affiliate network level for it to be effective as profitable marketers will simply all magically appear incorporated and hosted in the BVI or other overseas location.

          Part of this would make the Affiliate networks responsible for what their affiliates do if it is going to hold weight with serious marketers.

          And then of course the next logical step is that you will see a slew of affiliate networks "relocating" overseas with just their "support" staff being "outsourced" and US based.

          Since both the drivers of the traffic and the paymasters can all effectively and virtually relocate "overseas" it will be nearly impossible to enforce for serious affiliates and just present a higher barrier of entry into the industry, which means less novices and more for the established.

          The only way it could really be enforced would be total cooperation from the search engines and PPC vendors who would then in effect be held responsible for any websites showing up in their results.

          Thinking about it more, the only way for REAL enforcement would be to establish a sort of "compulsulary licensing" for websites where they are unequivocally traced back to the real owner or they are not included in the search results. Ouch.

          But lets not get too excited. Get rid of the googlecash and berry blogs as the scapegoats this year and it will blow over till the next thing.

          I think a more reasonble way to handle it would be tighter regulation on CC Rebills. Meaning that to enact online rebills it would be required to have a one-click cancel - same like the one-click mailer opt-outs.

          That should reasonbly be able to solve the root of the problem we are currently experiencing.
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        • Profile picture of the author danhughes
          Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

          As long as you don't give specific results, you're fine.
          "Want To Become A Killer Affiliate Marketer In Just 7 Days?"
          What's killer?
          Is it 2 sales, 20 sales, 200 sales?
          You just have to be a little creative.
          Steve is exactly right.

          If ever there a product with absolutely no substance, it's Coke (I mean in it's literaly sense... sugar, water, color and only lightly flavoured). How many times have you seen an Ad for Coke that uses testimonials or %s ? I wasn't alive at the time , but I'm guessing it was a hundred years or so ago.

          In fact, Pepsi have tried time and time again to use testimonials (Pepsi Challenge) etc and are still number 2.

          While I realize that coke is clearly a Brand, and most of us are not thinking in those terms, the same techniques are still highly usable.

          "Is it time to stop living Paycheck-to-paycheck?"

          "How close are you to the life of your dreams?"

          "Let me tell you a story of how I made 30 Gazzilion Dollars In Just 10 Minutes"

          "The 7 Secrets that have made me millions"

          We are eluding as opposed to flat-out-screaming results.

          Coke doesn't make you pretty.... or popular.... or skinny.... or athletic ... but you sure as heck wouldn't think that if you watched an ad!

          McDonalds even runs keep-fit / health type commercials on PBS!!! Watch them and you are definitely left with the feeling that McDonalds is nothing like it really is.
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  • Profile picture of the author bgmacaw
    I love the irony on the Chicago Tribune page you linked to, an article about the FTC cracking down matched with an ad promising a way to get paid $213 an hour by Google.

    Overall, I think it will be difficult for them to enforce, particularly for smaller online businesses (ie not Subway, Jenny Craig, etc). Given the trans-national nature of the Internet it's quite easy to get web hosting based in Singapore/India/etc, private domain registration outside the US and a business entity elsewhere in the world funneling money to a person or business in the US.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marian Berghes
    so if im not in the US I don't have to comply to those rules? I can still carry on like now and don't get penalized, sued, etc?

    @Montello

    The law does change ALOT of things...if I put my top students as proof that doesn't mean im not honest...I just want to show them what they can achieve, IT SHOULD be logicall to ANY customer that NOTHING is the same for everyone.

    Im not lying or deceiving if i say X did 100.000$ in 1 month if HE DID IT.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marian Berghes
    yeah lol

    You don't give x sales but you do say 7 days, but normally...do people do that in 7 days or less or more?

    The FTC could ask you this way too...
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    • Profile picture of the author Jack Duncan
      This is an actual example from the bill:

      • Example 2: An advertisement disseminated by a company that sells heat pumps presents endorsements from three individuals who state that after installing the company's heat pump in their homes, their monthly utility bills went down by $100, $125, and $150, respectively.
        The ad will likely be interpreted as conveying that such savings are representative of what consumers who buy the company's heat pump can generally expect. The advertiser does not have substantiation for that representation because, in fact, less than 20% of purchasers will save $100 or more.
        A disclosure such as, "Results not typical" or, "These testimonials are based on the experiences of a few people and you are not likely to have similar results" is insufficient to prevent this ad from being deceptive because consumers will still interpret the ad as conveying that the specified savings are representative of what consumers can generally expect. The ad is less likely to be deceptive if it clearly and conspicuously discloses the generally expected savings and the advertiser has adequate substantiation that homeowners can achieve those results.
        There are multiple ways that such a disclosure could be phrased, e.g., "the average homeowner saves $35 per month," "the typical family saves $50 per month during cold months and $20 per month in warm months," or "most families save 10% on their utility bills."
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      • Profile picture of the author Jack Duncan
        @ Vin Montello
        Buddy...anyone who makes a living in copywriting is about to have "their work cut out for them..."

        No doubt you know how to make people convert...but just the first testimonial on your salesletter could end you up in the slammer if some disgruntled customer decides to complain to the FTC.

        It could be a real game changer in copywriting.
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        • Profile picture of the author Jack Duncan
          Typical results are that buyers will stop reading around chapter 2 or 3 and buy another eBook in an effort to find a get-rich-quick-while-doing-absolutely-nothing scheme. Among readers that do read the material in its entirety, typical results are that they'll never do anything with it or, if they do, they will do so in a half-hearted manner only sparsely following the described system and will achieve no results at all. A small portion of buyers will then claim they never made the purchase, downloaded, received or read the book and file a chargeback for an unauthorized transaction on their credit card.
          LOL...Brilliant
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      • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
        Originally Posted by Jack Duncan View Post

        This is an actual example from the bill:
        • A disclosure such as, "Results not typical" or, "These testimonials are based on the experiences of a few people and you are not likely to have similar results" is insufficient to prevent this ad from being deceptive because consumers will still interpret the ad as conveying that the specified savings are representative of what consumers can generally expect.
        In other words, the new law or guidelines are designed to cater to the dumbed-down members of society. What part of "results not typical" is difficult to understand? Rather than assume that results are representative when the disclaimer clearly states that results are not typical, perhaps the consumer should instead ask what typical results are? That would be the question that would pop into my mind.

        If I see "results not typical," I don't immediately think "yes they are!" Rather, I wonder what the typical results are if the testimonial results are not typical.

        Consumers are better served when they are encouraged to think things through rather than encouraged to not think at all.
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        • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
          Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

          In other words, the new law or guidelines are designed to cater to the dumbed-down members of society. What part of "results not typical" is difficult to understand? Rather than assume that results are representative when the disclaimer clearly states that results are not typical, perhaps the consumer should instead ask what typical results are? That would be the question that would pop into my mind.

          If I see "results not typical," I don't immediately think "yes they are!" Rather, I wonder what the typical results are if the testimonial results are not typical.

          Consumers are better served when they are encouraged to think things through rather than encouraged to not think at all.

          Come on Dan, you're making too much sense.

          We can't have any of that in the world of Internet marketing.
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      • Profile picture of the author stevenh512
        Originally Posted by Jack Duncan View Post

        A disclosure such as, "Results not typical" or, "These testimonials are based on the experiences of a few people and you are not likely to have similar results" is insufficient to prevent this ad from being deceptive because consumers will still interpret the ad as conveying that the specified savings are representative of what consumers can generally expect.
        I'd like to know how "Results not typical" or "These testimonials are based on the experiences of a few people and you are not likely to have similar results" can in any way be interpreted as "These are the results you can generally expect."

        I mean, honestly, if consumers really lack such basic comprehension skills (and with the exception of a few, I highly doubt that), how is any disclaimer or mention of "typical results" going to keep marketers out of trouble with the FTC under these guidelines? It's absolutely ridiculous to say that "results not typical" or "you are not likely to have similar results" conveys that these are the typical results you can expect.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
      Originally Posted by Marian Berghes View Post

      yeah lol

      You don't give x sales but you do say 7 days, but normally...do people do that in 7 days or less or more?

      The FTC could ask you this way too...
      Oh good grief man, if you don't like the 7 days, how about this one.

      "Discover How To Become A Killer Affiliate Marketer In Less Time Than It
      Takes Superman To Fly To Mars"

      There. That's about as unspecific and as off the wall as you're going to
      get and, at the same time (test it of course), get prospects to read
      what's coming next.

      Hey, you know...I should test this one out.

      Please...any copywriter worth his salt has nothing to worry about when it
      comes to this "law" IF it becomes a law.
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      • Profile picture of the author Marian Berghes
        Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

        Oh good grief man, if you don't like the 7 days, how about this one.

        "Discover How To Become A Killer Affiliate Marketer In Less Time Than It
        Takes Superman To Fly To Mars"

        There. That's about as unspecific and as off the wall as you're going to
        get and, at the same time (test it of course), get prospects to read
        what's coming next.

        Hey, you know...I should test this one out.

        Please...any copywriter worth his salt has nothing to worry about when it
        comes to this "law" IF it becomes a law.
        ) that is just awesome

        For anyone interested this is a show Shoemoney did some time ago when the guidelines were first announced
        New FTC Rules | The Shoemoney Show (no affiliate or stuff like that)

        From what I understand so far is that instead of saying "results not typical" you have to say "these are the top results achieved, typical results are X" witch X should be a concrete number of somekind.
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  • Profile picture of the author EndGame
    This seems to be a vague statement of intention. As others have said they will need to drill down to specifics, because some of what they are asking just is not going to be feesible or doable for small or large companies, like monitoring "typical" results.

    Ultimately all this is going to do is make it harder for smaller business people like us to compete.

    And if you're in the UK, this law could potentially effect you as well, especially if you are selling via clickbank.

    I don't like this one bit, but I am hopeful that it will take a while for them to enforce this, only for the sheer amount of workload and stress it is going to bring on implementation.
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  • Profile picture of the author flnz400
    So what do you think the time frame will be for the immunity factor?

    Moreover, once everyone implements something and it becomes commonplace, immunity sets in with a diminished effect.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dmitry
    I suppose that affects only US-based webmasters...
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      See "Truth in Storytelling," at Truth in Storytelling - TalkBiz News.


      Paul
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      Stop by Paul's Pub - my little hangout on Facebook.

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      • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
        Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

        See "Truth in Storytelling," at Truth in Storytelling - TalkBiz News.


        Paul
        Excellent, as expected.

        Thanks for sharing this.
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      • Profile picture of the author J smith
        Hmm, how would this apply to cpa? Would you have to disclose that you are getting paid if/when a visitor takes the required action? (Kind of similar to how a blog that got a free product to review would have to disclose it)

        "If you are looking for a reliable host for your websites, I recommend hostgator, I've used it for many years and it's a very reliable hosting company with an amazing customer support.
        Disclaimer: If you click on my link and sign up for hosting I will make 100$ Cha-Ching!"

        Oh, well, good times to relocate to a different country I suppose
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        • Profile picture of the author Loren Woirhaye
          My understanding is it doesn't prohibit outlandish claims -
          a-la classic Eugene Schwartz ads - it says that you cannot
          use testimonials in a manner that cherry-picks the best ones.

          So - if you use them, you have to use ones that reflect
          the average experience... or even the bad experience.

          A lot of get-rich product offers and weight-loss offers hinge
          on "I made $400,000 and I can't even read!" or "I lost
          200 lbs and I pigged-out nearly every night on my favorite
          foods!"

          So now such ads must also include "I did this dumb program
          and I lost $8000 buying advertising before I gave up on it!"
          or "I followed this diet program and now I'm fatter than ever!"

          It may (I hope) force offers to stand on the strength of
          communicating real value rather than short-circuiting the
          decision-process with social proof... because we all know
          outrageous testimonials mislead people into getting into
          purchases on self-deluded terms.

          ...which isn't good for business, long term.
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  • Profile picture of the author dvduval
    On the flip side of this, when there are honest businesses that are not making outlandish claims, such a bill could help them because customers will find the right product faster, and bad elements will not as easily drive down the reputation of a niche or industry.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jack Duncan
      Again...

      honest businesses that are not making outlandish claims
      The new regulation would be aimed at dishonesty...but the issue here is the use of real testimonials...from real people...who had non-typical results. (regardless of the level of energy they put into the process.)
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      • Profile picture of the author Jack Duncan
        @ Dan,

        Love the sig.

        Yeah, you (and others) have brought up a really good point.

        It's the old "Blow some my way" cigarette ad that ultimately started the women smoker's craze...

        Or the Marlboro man...
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        • Profile picture of the author Tina Golden
          [DELETED]
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          • Profile picture of the author Trader54
            Originally Posted by TMG Enterprises View Post

            Yet another example of how the government is "protecting" the terminally stupid.
            But those are the guaranteed votes. We will take care of you.
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          • Profile picture of the author Greg Jacobs
            Originally Posted by TMG Enterprises View Post

            I think it's sad that there is a need to cater to people with absolutely no common sense whatsoever. Yet another example of how the government is "protecting" the terminally stupid. We already have warnings on just about everything - love the "contents may be hot" on coffees, don't you?

            There is a big difference between deliberately lying to people and expecting them to have a modicum of intelligence and personal responsiblity.

            Tina G
            Again we need to look at the root of the problem. And that is Locked in CC Rebills that cannot be canceled.

            Fix the rebill issue and make a law for a once click cancel and this whole things will blow away with the wind.
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            • Profile picture of the author Jason Moffatt
              Just for the record, my very best converting sales page of all time didn't have a single testimonial.

              Go figure!
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            • Profile picture of the author JNFerree
              Sounds to me like the copyright guys who can 'spin' their client's sales page content (and remain compliant) even if this bill ever sees the light of day, will get to raise their rates by a factor of 3x or better.
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            • Profile picture of the author danhughes
              OK - Time for some good news!

              Clearly this is a serious issue facing any US based marketer... but after some thought, it might not be that bad...

              Concern: US based marketers are at a disadvantage.
              Well, only if we play it that way... If we collectively try to capitalise on this, it could be a *huge* advantage.

              People are automatically suspicious of sales pages... That's why we spending so much time "proving" our message.

              The answer... BUY AMERICAN!

              "Fellow Skeptic,
              You know it - I know it. The world is full of Fakes and Charlatans. Despicable people - thousands of miles away- hell-bent on stealing your hard earned money. They use fast-talk, half truths and Flat Out Lies to virtually grab the cash right out of your wallet. Make no mistake... Giving these criminals your credit card number is extremely dangerous.

              Finally! - Protection and the ultimate piece-of-mind for legitimate people like me and you.
              The Federal Trade Commission (A branch of the United States Government) is taking action. Using new and powerful laws, the FTC has mandated that all American companies ensure each and every word they use be absolutely factual. Testimonials must be iron-clad supported by Government issued photographic ID and all facts and figures must be scientifically evaluated for complete accuracy.

              Friend - I am an American.
              Not only do you have my word and bond to protect you, we now have the power of the United States Government on our side. Rest easy knowing that you are safe from financial ruin by buying from me... an American."

              OK - So maybe I hammed that up... just a little But I guessing you get the point.

              This really could be a good thing.
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            • Profile picture of the author Kevin AKA Hubcap
              What about the cereal commercials that say "part of a nutritious breakfast" when in fact they're loaded with sugars and salt

              I'm just sayin'
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            • Profile picture of the author Ian Jackson
              "That includes any portion of your advertisement...including testimonials, headlines, guarantee's, etc."

              Why is there an apostrophe in the word "guarantee's" ? :confused:

              include's
              testimonial's
              headline's
              ?!?!
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            • Profile picture of the author Kevin Riley
              My new FTC compliant sales page:


              It's a book.

              It might or might not help you do something.

              Buy it!

              Testimonial: Rod Cortez said it wasn't all bad.
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            • Profile picture of the author suaveymcsuave
              I would like to add that we have survived much as marketers. From Google Slaps and "Dances", to "duplicate content confusions", and everything in between. Now we have our slap from the FTC. We will prevail, what's the worst that will happen? We have to find a slightly different angle just like we have before. We aren't going to lose any limbs or spontaneously combust. We are just going to have to think...again this is IF all revisions are made.

              -Dave (suaveymcsuave)
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            • Profile picture of the author hyperlite
              People will find ways to get around this just like anything else on the internet
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          • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
            Banned
            Originally Posted by TMG Enterprises View Post

            There is a big difference between deliberately lying to people and expecting them to have a modicum of intelligence and personal responsiblity.
            Tina G
            Lying to people is exactly why all this is necessary. They put crucial info so hidden and in such small print regarding being billed monthly for worthless products and they make the cancellation and return process impossible to actually perform. As in the case of all these "beauty" products ... skin care and the **** berry products and weight loss products ... you name it ... just take a look at their so called before and after photos and it's obvious, especially in the case of products like IQ Derma that the so called "results" are simulated and the before pic is not an actual photo.

            In the case of your average affiliate marketer or those marketing their own products, usually ebooks promising riches beyond your wildest imagination if you only buy this ebook ... cars, estates, all heavily peppered with completely fake testimonials ... it's no wonder the FTC is taking another look at the laws.

            False advertising has been against the rules for a long time. It's just that some marketers don't get that.
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  • Profile picture of the author DavidTheMavin
    So you can't say "As heard on the Howard Stern show!" anymore? lol
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  • Profile picture of the author Scot Standke
    Great!

    All this law will do is handcuff any US based marketer and give anyone living anywhere else a huge advantage.

    This is exactly what happens when we can't police ourselves and folks think that just because others are doing it and no one has ever been busted, that I can do it too.

    Scot
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    • Profile picture of the author The Wanderer
      Originally Posted by Scot Standke View Post

      Great!

      All this law will do is handcuff any US based marketer and give anyone living anywhere else a huge advantage.

      This is exactly what happens when we can't police ourselves and folks think that just because others are doing it and no one has ever been busted, that I can do it too.

      Scot
      If, by 'anywhere else', you mean Nigeria, yes. Most European countries, however, have long had much stricter advertising laws than we do. My German friend couldn't let her site go live until she'd nailed permission for an Albert Schweitzer quote. And she had to have her entire street address listed, including postal code.

      Of course she also got a nice government start up loan for her small business plus six free months of professional marketing coaching. That's a deal I'd take.

      * Note to self: always check out marketers response to threads like this before buying anything from them.
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  • Profile picture of the author Allegro
    That only matters for US-American warriors. I couldn't care less about any laws or regulations on the other side of the pond...
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  • Profile picture of the author bminor
    My question to this would be: If I sell an ebook of some on some IM technique and maybe gave it out to some testers for review before releasing it, I can state an average result for these testers.
    But what then? Do I have to contact my customers regularly to find out what results they have to then calculate a new average result and then have to update my sales letter?
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    • Profile picture of the author Jack Duncan
      Do I have to contact my customers regularly to find out what results they have to then calculate a new average result and then have to update my sales letter?
      Yeah...that was another thought.

      They mentioned "scientific research" at some point...and I was thinking PAPERWORK.

      I think this point alone will be very difficult to manage.

      That only matters for US-American warriors.
      Almost correct...it would also matter for any warrior wishing to do business with any U.S. Company (Google, Yahoo, MSN, GoDaddy, Hostgator) as well as transactions involving U.S. customers.
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      • Profile picture of the author Dmitry
        Originally Posted by Jack Duncan View Post

        Almost correct...it would also matter for any warrior wishing to do business with any U.S. Company (Google, Yahoo, MSN, GoDaddy, Hostgator) as well as transactions involving U.S. customers.
        I don't quite get this.

        It's almost as if a US citizen came into my country made a transaction with me and then the US government would kindly ask ME to pay THEM taxes?

        That's nonsense.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tom2009
    Well, for people who weren't lying in their sales letters. this doesn t change too much, but for those who made false promises like .. with "little" investmnet you can make xxxxx$ per month..etc , not telling that ,the little investment was high xxxx$ at least , it will change a lot.. hopefully we will see less scammers in this business
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  • Profile picture of the author Trader54
    A law like this really means they could almost shut anyone down at anytime. You will always be breaking some law.

    Maybe the changing of the CEO at GM was just the beginning.
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  • Profile picture of the author LB
    Specific results and proof are what make great copy.

    "Become a great affiliate marketer in a month!" is a shitty, nonspecific headline.

    If someone purchased my product and made a million dollars should I not be able to say that?

    The reality is 90% of people don't even use products...why have to include the stats of someone who buys a book and buries it under their bed?

    The FTC does not need more power, why is everyone always looking for the government to save them and expecting they always have pure motives?

    The government LOVES ambiguous laws. The way this is written it would affect almost all advertising. Selective enforcement.
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  • Profile picture of the author ragnartm
    Since I live in Norway this won't effect me?
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  • Just like Speed limits... say the speed limit is 55mph... does that mean people drive 55? No they do not.

    It's all a matter of enforcement and proof.

    Truth in advertising benefits everyone. But the reality is this will not change much for the average guy online. The average guy is already violating a number of laws... primarily copyright.
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    • Profile picture of the author LB
      Originally Posted by internetmarketingiq View Post

      Just like Speed limits... say the speed limit is 55mph... does that mean people drive 55? No they do not.

      It's all a matter of enforcement and proof.

      Truth in advertising benefits everyone. But the reality is this will not change much for the average guy online. The average guy is already violating a number of laws... primarily copyright.
      Most people in business are not violating copyright, a select few may do so flagrantly or because they aren't educated, but it's hardly a standard.

      Most people here aren't aware of "asset forfeiture" laws in the US.

      In short, if the FTC accuses you of something they can easily claim that all of your assets were acquired due to your accused crime and they can freeze your bank accounts, and take everything you own leaving you essentially homeless.

      Then try fighting federal prosecutors without a penny in your pocket to hire a lawyer.

      The FTC is already out of control, as is most of the government...they do not need more ambiguous laws on their side.
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      • Profile picture of the author TheRichJerksNet
        Originally Posted by LB View Post

        Most people in business are not violating copyright, a select few may do so flagrantly or because they aren't educated, but it's hardly a standard.

        Most people here aren't aware of "asset forfeiture" laws in the US.

        In short, if the FTC accuses you of something they can easily claim that all of your assets were acquired due to your accused crime and they can freeze your bank accounts, and take everything you own leaving you essentially homeless.

        Then try fighting federal prosecutors without a penny in your pocket to hire a lawyer.

        The FTC is already out of control, as is most of the government...they do not need more ambiguous laws on their side.
        Bravo!!! I would agree 200% there...

        James
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        • Profile picture of the author Jack Duncan
          I don't see the problem. This is the way it should be.

          Freedom of speech is not freedom to lie and make outlandish claims.
          Where is that bang-head-on-wall smiley?

          From the proposed legislation:

          An advertisement disseminated by a company that sells heat pumps presents endorsements from three individuals who state that after installing the company's heat pump in their homes, their monthly utility bills went down by $100, $125, and $150, respectively.

          (bold emphasis mine.
          This is a TRUE testimonial from 3 actual customers who already purchased the heat pump and used it.)


          The ad will likely be interpreted as conveying that such savings are representative of what consumers who buy the company's heat pump can generally expect. The advertiser does not have substantiation for that representation because, in fact, less than 20% of purchasers will save $100 or more.

          (The company would have to already have performed testing at this point to KNOW this information as a fact.)

          If you want just a whiff of what will happen...think of Cheerios right now.

          It's advertising is under attack because it is making claims that "only a drug could make"...regardless of the fact that some individuals have indeed lowered their cholesterol X points in a month...after eating Cheerios.



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      • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
        I've seen some pitches recently, by well-respected marketers, for a software program that automates testimonials.

        Evidently, giving a testimonial is seen by some marketers as simply an opportunity to promote themselves and their own products.

        Then there are the obvious "you scratch my back.." testimonials.

        It's become that many potential customers are developing a sort of "testimonial blindness" - I know that I get turned off by a sales page stuffed with so many cookie-cutter "reviews". Much more effective is an engrossing story such as the one Paul described.

        If the proposal is to clamp down on untypical testimonials, that doesn't seem like a wholly bad idea. It surely can't outlaw honest review sites (where would Amazon be?) so affiliates shouldn't be too concerned.

        Whatever happens, creative and imaginative copywriting, which can be both honest and compelling, will always pay dividends.



        Frank
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        • Profile picture of the author LB
          If I write a book called "How to Build a Sailboat in 10 Weekends"...

          Do I have to include a disclaimer stating that some people will take longer than 10 weeks?
          Do I have to include a disclaimer stating that some people will never even try?
          Do I have to include a disclaimer stating that some people will read the book and then just buy a prefab boat?

          I mean...how far out could we extrapolate this?

          Can you imagine being on trial and having to defend the fact that you ran valid scientific studies to make your claims for a marketing product...you would get destroyed. They destroy pharmacuetical companies that spend billions on testing. (even though that is some times deserved)

          I'm going to make a new product right now:


          "How to Maybe Make Some Money Doing Some Stuff that Maybe Not Everyone Can Do"*
          Order Today and get my free bonus: "How to be Average!"


          *Not all customers will be able to maybe do stuff, some will maybe not do stuff.




          -
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  • Profile picture of the author doctorjay
    I don't see the problem. This is the way it should be.

    Freedom of speech is not freedom to lie and make outlandish claims.
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    • Profile picture of the author Trader54
      Originally Posted by doctorjay View Post

      I don't see the problem. This is the way it should be.

      Freedom of speech is not freedom to lie and make outlandish claims.
      Now wouldn't that be a hoot.

      To have the government pass a law like this based on that logic. "Freedom of speech is not freedom to lie and make outlandish claims"
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    • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
      Originally Posted by doctorjay View Post

      Freedom of speech is not freedom to lie and make outlandish claims.
      Maybe they should start enforcing the new laws on politicians first.

      If a marketer lies and makes outlandish claims, how many people will be hurt by it? A hundred? A thousand? A hundred thousand? If a marketer claims I can make a million dollars in seven days on a product with a sixty day money-back guarantee, there's no real problem so long as the seller honors the guarantee (which is a separate issue), no?

      On the other hand, if a political candidate lies and makes outlandish claims, how do I get my refund when the product (i.e., the elected candidate) doesn't deliver?

      If we want to enforce truth in advertising (which is not really what this law is about, as "results not typical" is pretty clear, or should be), how about we start with political ads? Why should politicians be allowed to get away with stuff marketers cannot?

      If marketing campaigns were run like political campaigns, our jails would probably be overflowing with marketers.

      Please note that I am in no way supporting dishonest or deceptive marketing practices. Far from it. But, I think there is a difference between saying someone made a million dollars using your product with a disclaimer that such results are not typical if that claim is true and saying someone made a million dollars using your system when it's not true. The latter is dishonest while the former is honest.

      To me, as I understand it, this new law is not about truth in advertising so much as it is about hand-holding consumers and generally treating them like young children unable to make informed decisions for themselves.

      If we've come to the point in this country where "results not typical" reads the same as "results are typical," we really need to focus on improving reading comprehension and critical thinking skills in the education system and not on developing new laws designed to protect people from needing such skills.
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    • Profile picture of the author tomw
      Originally Posted by doctorjay View Post

      I don't see the problem. This is the way it should be.

      Freedom of speech is not freedom to lie and make outlandish claims.
      yep, as the saying goes;

      so many mistake freedom for license.

      Also, am I the only (maybe paranoid) one that recognises some real, concrete and obvious steps of the long predicted corporate hegemony of the internet?

      Tom
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      • Profile picture of the author designfuschion
        Originally Posted by tomw View Post

        yep, as the saying goes;

        so many mistake freedom for license.

        Also, am I the only (maybe paranoid) one that recognises some real, concrete and obvious steps of the long predicted corporate hegemony of the internet?

        Tom
        Yep.
        This is one the major concerns i have over the sidewiki issue. Google has covered their bases(assuming they have looked at all angles already).
        sidewiki in my opinion is just a ploy to bring in laws that will see less freedoms for the small webmaster or Im'er. Only those with the $$$$,or in pockets of politicians will be able to play. I could delve deeper into my reasons,but i won't.

        If the bill does come to pass,innocent people could then be targeted through sidewiki.
        So not only will we need to worry about figuring out what's 'typical',but competition can post slander,which google could then report to FTC.
        I'm sure the NSA,CIA,FBI work in pretty closely to google.

        Not sure if american gov is thinking of a net filter,but the australian one is.
        of course at the same time they want to improve the adsl network. Problem is,people would get around it with proxies,and our broadband speed would hurtle us back to the dialup ages.

        They are saying the net filter is 'to protect the children'. So,imagine if parents start whinging about sidewiki abuse? Wow,they'll bring in the net filter pretty quick then.

        From the sounds of it,even though the law is US based,it will still affect global im'ers...it will be a matter of time before they 'claim' we need a worldwide regulated association. (as it's been mentioned here somewhere - a virtual united nations).


        edit: i posted just after E Fire. so i'll add..
        Hey, I wonder if the FTC will go after SideWiki commenters making claims that the product they promote on their website is much better?
        Will be interesting if this is the case. Would this then make google liable.?
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  • Profile picture of the author coffeyucf
    Great!!! You can always count on the government to make brilliant policy changes like this. Aren't they supposed to be trying to stimulate the economy at a time like this.

    I don't think they see the bigger picture...

    Advertisers response rates decrease which results in less money (tax to government)...

    Since advertisers can't make a healthy ROI they stop or reduce advertising spends on TV, Radio, Print, and web... Now all those business make less money (tax to government).

    Granted there are some dishonest marketers who should be put in jail but this takes it a bit far. The good thing is this seems to be effecting multi-million and billion dollar companies. So hopefully they have the money and the legal power to fight this.
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  • Profile picture of the author kckaz
    It'd be cool if they'd add language to exempt those who offer a reasonable money-back guarantee. If you don't achieve the results we claim, send it back and we'll give you your money back.
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  • Profile picture of the author Guitarnut
    Big Brother to the rescue! What would we do without em.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Riddle
    FACT: A well known internet marketer was shut down by The FTC for making claims that were reasonable to anyone who understands business.

    To be FRANK about it, that wasn't good enough for them.

    FACT:
    You can be fully submerged in a body of water with an average depth of 1 inch.

    FACT: The Average length of Coast Line in California changes up to 30 miles depending on what season and year you choose to make measurements.

    FACT: The average US Citizen spends less out of pocket for health care than for transportation.

    FACT:
    The Median price of Homes in The US is Above Average.

    Mark Riddle
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel E Taylor
    Great news! I'm tired of all the garbage claims and bullshit floating
    around in this market.

    For those of us who run legitiment operations outside the IM niche
    this shouldn't be a problem.

    Lets not forget the point of business is to HELP people while
    getting paid.

    I see alot of online businesses just wanting to get paid, nevermind
    the person.

    Daniel
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  • Profile picture of the author Steven Fullman
    Oh, you crazy Yanks, and your crazy laws.

    The whole thing sounds...silly.

    You have to protect the stupid from being...erm...stupid?

    Does the average reader really believe the headline results should in any way be considered 'typical'...?

    (...think One Legged Golfer...)

    What kind of world are we living in? Jeez!

    I might have something more coherent to say later...

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author jasonl70
    You know what shocks me?

    How many people posting here seem to think this is about honesty and false claims..
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  • Profile picture of the author jasonl70
    if you use clickbank or 2co, you are affected no matter where you live. since they are in the US (and they are technicaly the one selling the products) they would have to make sure all of their vendors/affiliates are in compliance.
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  • Profile picture of the author JonesersRX7
    It's all part of being in business - adaptability. I think the products/companies that have a good product will flourish and the pie in the sky products will just be less main stream.
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  • Profile picture of the author PrettyJenny
    That law is still too general. It needs a lot of modifications to come into practice effectively.
    And there is still a long way to identify "what is "typical"?" They need a definition for that and a method to calculate the average result figure of the customers. I don't think legit sellers with a bit hyped testimonials need to worry, only those with false promises and fake testimonials. But those always have to be worried anyway.
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  • Profile picture of the author David Cavanagh
    Hi,

    I reckon that 98.4% of the Warriors reading this thread won't take notice of this thread within 21 days from now, and the other 1.6% who do, won't take action because they will have forgotten all about it within the following 7 days.

    100% guaranteed, or I'll give you double your money back for wasting your time!

    David Cavanagh
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
      Originally Posted by David Cavanagh View Post

      Hi,

      I reckon that 98.4% of the Warriors reading this thread won't take notice of this thread within 21 days from now, and the other 1.6% who do, won't take action because they will have forgotten all about it within the following 7 days.

      100% guaranteed, or I'll give you double your money back for wasting your time!

      David Cavanagh

      David, you're right. And you know why you're right?

      That's human nature.

      We don't act on things until they become a reality. And usually by that
      time, it's too late.

      Remember the Poseidon Adventure?

      Nobody believed that the ship was going to sink other than a few. Then
      the water came pouring in and everybody began to panic. The few who
      did listen, they were the ones who survived.

      It's the same thing with people who get house alarms. Most don't do it
      until they've been robbed that first time. I should know...I was one of
      them.

      Now, I wouldn't dream of not paying for my service.

      Human nature...it will never change.
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  • Profile picture of the author SocialWiz
    Good thing none of my sales pages have any type of testimonials .
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    • Profile picture of the author Jack Duncan
      Dmitry,

      I don't quite get this.

      It's almost as if a US citizen came into my country made a transaction with me and then the US government would kindly ask ME to pay THEM taxes?

      That's nonsense.
      What I was trying to point out to the original poster was that just because he lived in Germany didn't mean he wouldn't be affected...because chances are that a lot of "services" he used were U.S. companies...so therefore they would be required to comply with the law.

      For instance, let's say someone in Singapore decides to just say "screw it with the new U.S. law" and goes ahead with business as usual.

      The FTC could very easily threaten ClickBank, PayPal, Google, or anyone else that marketer is "working" with...since those companies ARE based in the U.S.

      Make sense?

      .
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      • Profile picture of the author Jack Duncan
        David,

        I reckon that 98.4% of the Warriors reading this thread won't take notice of this thread within 21 days from now, and the other 1.6% who do, won't take action because they will have forgotten all about it within the following 7 days.
        Let's chat on day 29...
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        • Profile picture of the author Thomas
          Originally Posted by LB View Post

          If you've ever targeted an ad to someone in the US, or sold to someone in the US...you've done business in the US. The FTC has argued this.
          I don't know how other countries view it but the Irish Government (and, thus, likely most, if not all, other E.U. member states too) says that if an American buys something from my website (even if it is hosted in the U.S., or elsewhere) then, since I'm an Irish-based business, registered and established in Ireland, they (my American customer) have done business in Ireland, not the other way round, and Irish commercial law applies to the transaction, and, unless whatever aspect of U.S. law anyone tries to apply to the transaction concurs with Irish law, then it isn't going to matter what the FTC, or anyone else, thinks or says (and, even if it does concur, they're going to have to take any legal action in Ireland, in an Irish Court, under the applicable Irish laws).

          I think Clickbank is an obvious exception, as anyone using their service sells their product to Clickbank, and they sell it to the final customer. But then that carries problems too.

          Sigh... why isn't anything ever simple?

          Tommy.
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      • Profile picture of the author innocent07
        Banned
        -Is this Law just for US registered websites?
        -or usa based sales letter sites- where the Domain + hosting is registered in the us?

        -What if you are from for example France, but you use namescheap for your domain, and another US hosting company.

        -your hosting for your sales page= US , but your location = France?
        does that make your salesletter from the us?



        and lastly, would these laws have to be included in your adword campaign sentences? (as many adword ads have crazy claims too) so does-could it apply to your adwords ads? or just sales letters?
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        • Profile picture of the author innocent07
          Banned
          Originally Posted by innocent07 View Post

          -Is this Law just for US registered websites?
          -or usa based sales letter sites- where the Domain + hosting is registered in the us?

          -What if you are from for example France, but you use namescheap for your domain, and another US hosting company.

          -your hosting for your sales page= US , but your location = France?
          does that make your salesletter from the us?



          and lastly, would these laws have to be included in your adword campaign sentences? (as many adword ads have crazy claims too) so does-could it apply to your adwords ads? or just sales letters?
          can anybody shed some light on my question please
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          • Profile picture of the author Rod Cortez
            Originally Posted by innocent07 View Post

            can anybody shed some light on my question please
            It's not easy to shed some light on it....yet. Remember these are not laws, they are FTC guidelines that are currently under "review" and may or may not be updated by the "end of the year" per the article that was shared in the OP via link. So what may be written down now might change some or a lot over time. The FTC is also severely unmanned and cannot follow the thousands up on thousands of complaints that they receive. Like I stated earlier, I'm very doubtful that much is going to change, but only time will tell.

            RoD
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  • Profile picture of the author Marian Berghes
    What If I don't use any testimonials and just show my own personal results? like screenshots how I made X$ and stuff.

    What do you guys think? Would you still need to add the typical thing?
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  • Profile picture of the author Marian Berghes
    I don't expect an answer..I was just asking to see what other people think bout that

    Frank kern was sued by the FTC for not having a proper disclaimer on his website, on one of his first products online, that was years ago.

    He got sued for all he had - 600.000$+ , he then dissapeard for some time from the IM world, build an awesome niche business, then came back to IM to teach again.

    There you go
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  • Profile picture of the author Thomas
    Originally Posted by Jack Duncan View Post

    What I was trying to point out to the original poster was that just because he lived in Germany didn't mean he wouldn't be affected...because chances are that a lot of "services" he used were U.S. companies...so therefore they would be required to comply with the law.

    For instance, let's say someone in Singapore decides to just say "screw it with the new U.S. law" and goes ahead with business as usual.

    The FTC could very easily threaten ClickBank, PayPal, Google, or anyone else that marketer is "working" with...since those companies ARE based in the U.S.

    Make sense?
    Jack,

    Unless the law states that those U.S.-based businesses must impose the same requirements on their own customers, I don't see how it will affect that foreign business?

    What I mean is: that law might say that Clickbank (for example) can't claim you'll make a million dollars a day by using Clickbank's services, but does it say that Clickbank must stop it's weight-loss product vendors (for example) from claiming you'll loose 100 pounds in a week using their product? In other words, does it make U.S. companies into enforcers of U.S. law? That's not a rhetorical question; I didn't see anything that suggests the answer is yes but I may have missed it. If the answer is yes, then presumably Clickbank (in the example above) will alter it's terms and conditions accordingly.

    Also, all advice I have received to date suggests to me that the following example is true: If I register/ base my business in Ireland, and register my domain in the U.S., and host my site in Germany, and use a payment processor in Australia, and someone from Canada purchases my product, then they are purchasing from an Irish company, and the only applicable law is Irish law. They (my Canadian customer) are not doing business with anyone in the U.S., Germany, Australia, or Canada, and the laws of any of those countries will only affect me insofar as they affect the ability of those suppliers to continue providing their services to me (which leads back to my 'non-rhetorical' question above).

    Tommy.

    P.S. - Clickbank might actually be a poor example as, if I change "...a payment processor in Australia..." to "...use Clickbank as a payment processor..." then, technically, the only selling I'm doing is that of an Irish company selling directly to an American company (making Clickbank an importer?).
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    • Profile picture of the author Jack Duncan
      @ Thomas,
      I agree that this is a long stretch...but when it comes to the FTC, or any U.S. government agency, the rulebook just doesn't seem to exist.

      Case in point...I just heard today from a top copywriter, of an FTC case where not only the marketer was charged and prosecutor...but the printer who printed the piece as well.

      Yeah, that's unusual...but it's also happened.

      @JonStein
      I think the FTC issue is really a NON-ISSUE to Internet Marketers.
      I would have wholeheartedly agreed with you not very long ago...and I do hope you are 100% correct...

      But it seems like a "storm is brewing" on the horizon...and I think it all comes down to one word...CONTROL



      .
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  • Profile picture of the author David Hooper
    I wonder how this will affect personal ads.

    For one, I'm thinking, people will have to start posting recent photos...

    Then, there is the issue of "body type." If you need to lose 20 pounds, "athletic" or "slim" won't work anymore.

    Plus, the typical results of "ruined credit" and "crabs" will need to be listed.
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  • Profile picture of the author Angela V. Edwards
    Originally Posted by Jack Duncan View Post

    Ok...

    First things first:

    65.2% of all statistics are made up on the spot.


    So, yes, I'm pulling the 98% part out of thin air...based solely on my personal experience with salesletters...and a new law to be put in place by the FTC shortly.

    Here's the new FTC rule: You can't use a testimonial or promise results that are not typical...without telling your customers what the typical results are.

    That includes any portion of your advertisement...including testimonials, headlines, guarantee's, etc.
    Have you ever noticed that all those weight loss programs they sell on TV always say "Results not typical"? Why would anyone want to sink that kind of money into a program if it's not "typical" to lose a decent amount of weight? I wonder what the typical results are.
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      • Profile picture of the author Angela V. Edwards
        Originally Posted by TMG Enterprises View Post


        PS. Has anyone else ever noticed the huge, fattening meals with the diet drinks for "larger" people? I worked in restaurants too long, I think.
        Yeah, I worked in restaurants for 20 years. And you're right; many of then DO order diet. However, it's usually because of one of two reasons (NOT because they're on a diet): 1. They are diabetic, or 2. Regular, "sugared" soda pop tastes sickeningly sweet to them and they don't like it.
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    • Profile picture of the author LegitIncomes
      Originally Posted by Angela V. Edwards View Post

      Have you ever noticed that all those weight loss programs they sell on TV always say "Results not typical"? Why would anyone want to sink that kind of money into a program if it's not "typical" to lose a decent amount of weight? I wonder what the typical results are.
      Diet programs: Most of them say "Take this pill/powder, supplement, etc..."AND EXERCISE ON A REGULAR BASIS".

      If people would actually follow most any diet plan, without straying from it, they would lose weight, and a good amount of it. The problem is that most people are TOO LAZY, that's how they got FAT in the first place! Of course there is the rare medical exception, but this is the case for 99% of the population.

      So the "typical" results for any diet plan (or any legit internet marketing product) aren't going to represent the true value of the product, or reflect on the quality of the product itself. Because the truth is, they work, it just takes people getting off their butt and TAKING ACTION.

      If they want "typical" results posted, are those the typical results of a lazy person, or someone who took action and followed everything step-by-step?

      Why should any business suffer because the customer was lazy? That's the problem I have with the whole thing.
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      • Profile picture of the author Andy1750
        Originally Posted by Josh Kulp View Post

        Diet programs: Most of them say "Take this pill/powder, supplement, etc..."AND EXERCISE ON A REGULAR BASIS".

        If people would actually follow most any diet plan, without straying from it, they would lose weight, and a good amount of it. The problem is that most people are TOO LAZY, that's how they got FAT in the first place! Of course there is the rare medical exception, but this is the case for 99% of the population.

        So the "typical" results for any diet plan (or any legit internet marketing product) aren't going to represent the true value of the product, or reflect on the quality of the product itself. Because the truth is, they work, it just takes people getting off their butt and TAKING ACTION.

        If they want "typical" results posted, are those the typical results of a lazy person, or someone who took action and followed everything step-by-step?

        Why should any business suffer because the customer was lazy? That's the problem I have with the whole thing.
        Some customers are lazy, other customers won't follow the diet because it's too stringent. The whole point of any promotion is that it should be BALANCED AND TRUTHFUL. And it's the CUSTOMER and NOT THE VENDOR who should define whether a product is good or not. This is for example how serious products like medicines are registered - based on efficacy and NOT NON-EVIDENCE BASED CLAIMS!

        Thanks,

        Andy
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  • Profile picture of the author JonStein
    First things first:
    83% of Internet Marketers do not follow the law anyway!
    (Did you REALLY claim all your internet income last tax year?)


    Aside from that, the use of testimonials on websites will become extremely difficult for the FTC to regulate, especially for foreign marketers. The actual intent of the law is to go after other media advertisers in the weight loss and nutritional fields on TV and Print ads and no intention or future indication towards Internet Marketers.

    Testimonials are largely used to show your customer that 'Hey Johnny did it and you can too!", However, an educated customer is not likely to fall into this marketing trap. The use of excessive or overblown testimonials on your site merely cheapens your product and further declares your desperation.

    I think the FTC issue is really a NON-ISSUE to Internet Marketers.
    (Yeah, I am still waiting for the 'sales tax' legislation to go into effect! remember that 'scare' back in 1998?)
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    • Profile picture of the author Trader54
      Originally Posted by JonStein View Post

      (Did you REALLY claim all your internet income last tax year?)
      You bet!

      If you are ever audited they will find every cent you made, unless you figured out a way to receive cash over the internet.
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  • Profile picture of the author Andy1750
    Just tell the truth. Easy!

    Andy
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  • Profile picture of the author charlesburke
    Why is everybody so worried about the effects of greater disclosure? It's simply not much of an issue. Want proof? Go watch television for a half hour.

    The TV ads being run by the drug companies, with all the side effect warnings, sound like black humor from a commedian's routine, but people still flock to buy those products.

    Evidence suggests that most people will dismiss anything that doesn't agree with their fantasy... even clear factual statements of dire danger.

    Want a fun test? Why not put up a test site or two and write them exactly the way you would if that set of regulations goes into effect. In orther words, write them as worst-case examples.

    After all, doesn't everybody say test, test, test? Why not. At the very least you'll be getting the jump on everybody else.

    Know what I think will happen? People will still buy, but they'll also compliment you on the humor on your site.

    ---------------
    FULL DISCLOSURE:
    I have not tested these ideas. No one I know has tested these ideas. They may cause you to lose all your money and go out of business. If you actually manage to make massive profits and become a wildly successful multi-millionaire using these ideas, you are abnormal and may not boast about it to anyone except in a tiny, barely-visible testimonial on my website. Typical results include night terrors, cold sweats, hairy palms, degenerating vision, and a recurring dread of opening emails. Grave danger exists, and beyond this point be demons.
    ---------------

    Cheers from warm and smiling Thailand,
    Charles
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  • Profile picture of the author jjpmarketing
    Pharmaceuticals are going to hate this regulation. All those hypey non FDA regulated pills are going to get a big boot out the door. This is good in that regard. It will also be good to eliminate the hypey unrealistic sales pitches you see on some sales letters.

    This is just going to make advertising a little more honest. As for those that fear the laws or regulations that moderate the industry... it is either adapt and move on, or refuse to adapt and get left behind.

    Dennis
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    • Profile picture of the author LB
      Originally Posted by jjpmarketing View Post

      Pharmaceuticals are going to hate this regulation. All those hypey non FDA regulated pills are going to get a big boot out the door.
      No, pharmaceuticals will LOVE this regulation.

      It will destroy their non-pharmaceutical competition and through selective enforcement absolutely nothing will happen to the pill pushing pharmaceutical companies.

      They can kill people and the government doesn't care. They get caught falsifying studies, people die, and someone gets a slap on the wrist.

      The point is the little guy always gets stomped and the big boys do as they please...no more laws or regulations are needed for the small business.

      Fraud is already illegal and other damages can be remedied via civil suit.
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  • Profile picture of the author mailco
    Does this mean if I run Google Adwords on my site and the advertisers exaggerate their claims, I can be prosecuted?
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
    BurgerBoy, best. Link. EVER.

    I think we're all blowing this out of proportion here. Most of us will never do enough business to get on the FTC's radar, and even if we do, my guess is you'd have to step over the line fairly significantly to get them on your ass.

    I'm not sure what happened with Kern, but the report I read from the FTC's website said that the numbers he used for his sales letter were unrealistic, because by the third generation of sellers it would have to be sold to 13 billion people or something. I'm not sure if this is true or not, and I have enormous respect for Frank, but to me (and I could be wrong) it sounds like he made an honest mistake and paid for it... but made a mistake nonetheless.

    Until this law is passed we can't really be sure how it will impact us. When I write a sales letter, I find I put this kind of stuff in anyway (the results not typical bit) because I believe that's an objection going through their head at that point, and I want to "nip it in the bud".

    Let's wait til things change to see how bad (if they're bad at all) things will be. My guess is there'll be loopholes big enough to drive a truck through and honest sellers will only have to tweak things slightly in order to keep getting awesome conversion rates.

    But I guess we'll see.

    -Dan
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    • Profile picture of the author stevenh512
      Originally Posted by Daniel Scott View Post

      I put this kind of stuff in anyway (the results not typical bit) because I believe that's an objection going through their head at that point
      The "results not typical" bit isn't going to be good enough under these new rules, because apparently "results not typical" actually means "these are the typical results you can expect to get from this product" (according to the FTC's example, anyway).
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  • Profile picture of the author azlanhussain
    I dont think this will have any effect on product promoted outside US.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marian Berghes
    If it does get approved you just add an explanation under the testimonial like:
    "Those results CAN be achieved and have been by alot of people, the typical success rate is X$/X%, this is due to people not implementing the course,not taking enough action etc.."

    And with a bit of psychology in mind the prospect should think " So if I buy this I can make that kind of money, I just have to follow every step...and I will cus IM NOT LIKE THE OTHERS......"

    Most people like to consider them different/better in some way when it comes to other people...and no customer will say in theyr head "yeah im gonna totally fail cus the typical results are...."
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  • Profile picture of the author dageniusmarketer
    How about we create a petition, get signatures, and send it to Washington telling them we don't agree, nor do we want any new legislation? That I think would have more effect than just talking amongst ourselves saying "we dont like that".

    Only way to at least try to not get something that you feel is unjust not passed into law, is to let your voice be heard.

    So we can rant and rave on the issue from morning till night.... but if we're not going to rant and rave in the FTC's direction, then really and truly.....whats the point?
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    • Profile picture of the author stevenh512
      Originally Posted by dageniusmarketer View Post

      How about we create a petition, get signatures, and send it to Washington telling them we don't agree, nor do we want any new legislation? That I think would have more effect than just talking amongst ourselves saying "we dont like that".
      Not to turn this into a political discussion.. but since when does anyone in Washington care what the people think? Unless you're paying for their campaign, all your congresscritters are going to do when you send them a letter or petition is thank you for your input (if even that), disregard it and vote the way they're being paid to vote. Try it some time and tell me I'm wrong. Unfortunately as long as so many people believe in this fake two party "lesser of two evils" system the politicians have set up, that's the way things will always be.

      When you're dealing with faceless bureaucracies like the FTC, IRS, etc.. it's even worse. They don't even have to pretend to care about your input to get your vote come election time.
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      • Profile picture of the author dageniusmarketer
        Originally Posted by stevenh512 View Post

        Not to turn this into a political discussion.. but since when does anyone in Washington care what the people think? Unless you're paying for their campaign, all your congresscritters are going to do when you send them a letter or petition is thank you for your input (if even that), disregard it and vote the way they're being paid to vote. Try it some time and tell me I'm wrong. Unfortunately as long as so many people believe in this fake two party "lesser of two evils" system the politicians have set up, that's the way things will always be.

        When you're dealing with faceless bureaucracies like the FTC, IRS, etc.. it's even worse. They don't even have to pretend to care about your input to get your vote come election time.
        Well, as long as everyone has that mentality, indeed things will continue to go the way they are. An individual writing a letter, may very well have no chance. If everyone banded together however, and let these guys know how we really feel, then that would make a different story altogether.

        One only has to look at the big "We the People Stimulus Package" ad at the top of the forum to see that we cannot defeat them without letting our collective voice be heard.

        I can only imagine the fortunes that are gonna be screwed up for alot of guys in this biz, especially when the FTC is writing with their pens in broad definition. You may think it small now, but trust me, history has always shown, things always start off small. When its no longer small however, and then becomes a big problem, and then you want to complain, it will unfortunately be too late.

        If guys wanna petition or something, count me in.
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        • Profile picture of the author stevenh512
          Originally Posted by dageniusmarketer View Post

          Well, as long as everyone has that mentality, indeed things will continue to go the way they are. An individual writing a letter, may very well have no chance. If everyone banded together however, and let these guys know how we really feel, then that would make a different story altogether.
          Sadly, as long as people keep choosing "the lesser of two evils" (which are really just two sides of the same coin) when it comes time to step into the ballot box, I seriously doubt any amount of letters or petitions are going to change things. The two major political parties have too much power and too much money and they have 90% of the U.S. population "brainwashed" (for lack of a better term) into believing that they're the only two choices out of sometimes dozens of names on the ballot. Think about it, why is it always the "little guy" who gets stepped on while the big oil and pharmaceutical companies can literally kill people and get away with it? It's not because they all wrote letters and sent petitions to Congress.. it's because they've spent billions of dollars lining the right pockets, plain and simple. The political process is corrupt and as long as the same people and the same parties are in control it will remain that way. Notice how nothing ever really gets done about campaign finance reform? Notice how Congress some years ago had no problem amending the Constitution to put term limits on the President, but whenever the subject of Congressional term limits comes up they all whine and cry about how it's unconstitutional?

          One only has to look at the big "We the People Stimulus Package" ad at the top of the forum to see that we cannot defeat them without letting our collective voice be heard.
          And I believe the place to let our collective voice be heard the loudest is the ballot box, where we have the power to remove the greedy, power hungry career politicians from office and replace them with people who might (for a while anyway) actually care what we think.
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  • Profile picture of the author iwebtopia
    Originally Posted by Jack Duncan View Post


    P.S. I didn't even go down the road of affiliate issues...that is another whole ball of wax. Goodbye review sites...
    Does this mean I won't be able to have blogs/squidoo lens that review and promote affiliate products? I have not bought the products myself, but just promoting them.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alminc
      What is the difference between promissing earnings of $1000s a month
      after reading an ebook and scam?
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  • Profile picture of the author Dana_W
    Unfortunately what will probably happen is that the FTC will decide to make a VERY PUBLIC example of a few marketers who violate this, to prove their point.

    I hate deceptive advertising as much as the next person, but I completely agree with Dan here - What part of "Results Not Typical, Your Mileage May Vary, This Stunt Was Done By A Trained Driver On A Closed Course, Do Not Attempt This At Home" - are people having trouble understanding?
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  • Profile picture of the author gareth
    What about websites hosting locale ?

    Or the owner of the sites locale ?

    FTC can do squat to me in NZ. Perry Belcher -- you listening boy !?!
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    • Profile picture of the author LB
      Originally Posted by gareth View Post

      What about websites hosting locale ?

      Or the owner of the sites locale ?

      FTC can do squat to me in NZ. Perry Belcher -- you listening boy !?!
      If you've ever targeted an ad to someone in the US, or sold to someone in the US...you've done business in the US. The FTC has argued this.

      Now in reality are they more likely to go after those in the US? Probably, ya.

      Besides, in business the US sets the pace...if this passes in the US I would expect Canada, UK, NZ, etc. to follow suit. This is just overall bad, ambiguous laws help no one and lead to selective enforcement.
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  • Profile picture of the author ildarius
    Is it me or this regulation looks as enforceable as the illegal download laws where a lot of people choose to ignore it, but 1035% harder to track?

    IMO it's a good move by the FTC

    Imagine you can put something like "Those are typical FTC certified results", will look better than any BBB icon IMHO
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  • Profile picture of the author Randy Bheites
    I'll worry about this once the high-end corporate lawyers are done tearing the proposal to pieces, buying off all the key politicians, clogging up the courts with far-reaching motions, and burying the entire thing under layers of constitutional technical minuteae.
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  • Profile picture of the author petevamp
    Originally Posted by Jack Duncan View Post

    Ok...

    First things first:

    65.2% of all statistics are made up on the spot.


    So, yes, I'm pulling the 98% part out of thin air...based solely on my personal experience with salesletters...and a new law to be put in place by the FTC shortly.

    Here's the new FTC rule: You can't use a testimonial or promise results that are not typical...without telling your customers what the typical results are.

    That includes any portion of your advertisement...including testimonials, headlines, guarantee's, etc.

    ALSO...

    1. If you decide to reveal an "extreme result" for your product, you have to disclose just HOW EXTREME the result was over the typical results. (i.e. Jared lost 245 pounds eating S***** sandwiches...but 99% of people who eat at S***** actually gain 40 pounds.) <- I made this up...it's just an example.

    2. All celebrities will have to reveal their monetary involvement in companies before promoting a product.

    3. All Blogs have to reveal that they were given free products to review...before promoting them.

    4. Doctors have to reveal the extent to which they have used the product and their understanding of the products benefits.


    Now, before everyone jumps in and says "First Amendment Violation", let's face the facts...the Constitution has been attacked (trampled on in some cases) for decades...and the wind isn't changing any time too soon.


    If you'd like to know more about this new law...there is a pretty good archive piece in the Chicago Tribune: Federal Trade Commission's plan to change rules on ad endorsements, testimonials worries marketers - Chicago Tribune

    Want to see some of the actual laws that will be amended:
    Proposed FTC Endorsement and Testimonial Ad Revisions Add Blogs, Message Boards, Street Teams

    What's the creative solution to this problem?

    I'd love to hear your input...

    One company immediately came to mind...Trump University.

    One of the things they do in their $10,000+ coaching class is to "fire" any customers who don't follow the steps by a certain date...which insures that they can at least get an edge with testimonials...and make some great claims about the people who actually DID the effort.

    What are your thoughts...ideas...?

    Eventually this is going to be on our "front porch", so we might as well "grab the gun".


    - Jack

    P.S. I didn't even go down the road of affiliate issues...that is another whole ball of wax. Goodbye review sites...
    This is why people have started making sure there is a disclaimer on their sales page. This takes advantage and proposes a loophole in the laws. There is a loophole around every single law out there.
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  • Profile picture of the author Star Riley
    I would say 124% of my blog readers will become millionaires if the FCC just let me have my way.

    All jokes aside crooks will always be crooked at least 90% of the time the other 10% of the time they will be Lawyers and politicians.

    Full disclosure may not matter in the future that's coming anyway as we will have a camera on every block and a terrorist in ever house.

    We have gun control for everyone who abides by the laws, while killers are still shooting people to death in America.

    Prostitutes will soon have to get an address and a cell phone to continue to promote their "offers" on Craigslist.

    We get imprisoned when we discipline our kids, yet when they grow up to be thugs in the streets our tax money helps feed them prison food.

    Enforcing laws good or bad just feeds the system after all a billion dollars or more a month has not stopped the Drugs from being sold on XYZ street yet.

    We continue to ignore the fact that while laws are created by the actions of the lawless they mostly affect the lawful.

    Wake me up when the sequel starts.
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeGriffith
    If your product is all you claim it to be, why would the new law make any difference. I think the law is for those who are full of hype and making outlandish unsubstantiated claims.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
    Originally Posted by Jack Duncan View Post

    Here's the new FTC rule: You can't use a testimonial or promise results that are not typical...without telling your customers what the typical results are.
    Another thing I just thought of... How will they determine what is typical?

    Take weight loss, for example. Different people need to lose different weights to reach their specific goals. Jane might want to lose 10 pounds, Joan might need to lose 20 pounds and Jean might need to lose 150 pounds.

    If they all buy a certain weight loss product and lose the weight they need to lose, what are the typical results? Does the typical user lose 60 pounds, which is the average of the three? In such a case, who would want to use it? Jane and Joan are going to think that, if the typical user loses 60 pounds, that's too strong a weight loss product for them! And Jean is going to be thinking, I need to lose 150 pounds--60 pounds isn't going to cut it!

    I suppose you could say that the typical user reaches their weight loss goals, but that's sounds so vague that I don't know if people would even believe it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Johnny12345
    Some people still seem confused. It's NOT about truth in advertising -- it's about disclosing your "typical" results.

    However, that said, I do have some questions...

    1) How are marketers supposed to know what the "typical results" are? Will all purchasers be required to report back to the seller so they can compile the government-required statistics?

    2) If I start to sell a product and I am -- at that point -- the ONLY user, are my own results then considered "typical"?

    3) If my customers report back to me, how do I calculate the typical result? Can I use a weighted average if it seems that some of them tried harder than others?

    4) Let's say I offer a money-making info-product for sale. On the first day, I sell 100 units. At that point in time -- before anyone has even had a chance to put it to use -- do I have to state that my "typical result" is ZERO?

    Johnny
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  • Profile picture of the author Anomaly1974
    The thing is that ambiguous laws can be enforced arbitrarily. For example, a "reasonable" person does not open a hot cup of coffee and put it (open) in their lap while they are driving down the road. If they do and they get burned, the "reasonable" person admits they made a foolish mistake and moves on. Yet with tort reform, that one exception who thinks it is unreasonable that they purchase a hot cup of coffee and actually GOT a hot cup of coffee and were foolish enough to open it and put it in their lap now wins in court and makes it impossible for anyone else to get a hot cup of coffee.

    Take that down to the level of IM and the Internet and look at how sites are managed already. How many instances have their been of people complaining about being banned from sites like Yahoo Answers, You Tube or others due to seemingly innocuous actions taken without any malicious intentions?

    Look at all of the freelance sites where they actively buy and sell these accounts and certain "groups" are then hired to "red flag" ads on Craigslist, yahoo answers or other sites in an order to stifle the competition.

    Now each time this happens, the feds will step in, shut you down and whether you are right or wrong, your business will be completely shut down while they investigate you, preventing you from making any income during that period of time.

    You want more examples? I can show you some but this is not the right forum for it and that section of my web site is not back up yet. Still, I can show you where people have been screwed out of literally everything that they own simply because of real-good/feel-good legislation that was put into place with all good intentions ... but I heard tell about the road leading somewhere being paved with good intentions once ... I think it is now a "Hate Crime" (Where the government defines what the criminal was THINKING????) to mention that book in that regards because I may make some people nervous.

    Just my two cents
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    Copywriters refer to this as a "damaging admission" and it has proven
    to IMPROVE sales. So the disclosure should help IM instead of harm
    them. The truth never hurts.

    Don't you just love the FTC?

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

      Copywriters refer to this as a "damaging admission" and it has proven
      to IMPROVE sales. So the disclosure should help IM instead of harm
      them. The truth never hurts.

      Don't you just love the FTC?

      -Ray Edwards
      I could see why. If I saw something like "results not typcial" or something more specific that the FTC is TRYING to implement regarding testimonials I would say to myself, "I can do better than that guy" and still buy the product.
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  • Profile picture of the author mikemcmillan
    Jack, I always laugh at the weight loss commercials and pages online. There will be a woman, and sometimes a celeb, who claims they lost 30 pounds in 6 weeks with this plan. Then, they show the woman, holding a 6 month old baby in her arms saying how much better her life is for her and her family now that she's lost weight. Good gosh--she just had a baby, certainly not a 30 pound one (I hope) but a baby nonetheless.

    I think that the infomercial advertisers on late night TV are far more egregious offenders of testimonial use than many online sites.

    One thing this might do is cut down on the professional testimonial submitters you see on guru sales pages. I could give you the names of a good many people who submit testimonials to dozens and dozens of gurus in hopes of getting their name and URL included on testimonials on high traffic pages!

    I say it's no big deal. Testimonials never convinced me to buy a product anyway. And as TMG said, it's just an attempt by the government to protect the "terminally stupid". That's a great phrase TMG!
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  • Profile picture of the author JMartin
    If you don't have the manpower to actually enforce something, it doesn't matter.

    Hi, Billy Mays here with the incredible FTC Sidestep Method.

    blah blah blah

    blah blah blah

    Here's how to order.....
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  • Profile picture of the author SteveJohnson
    I am SO surprised that none of you are seeing the real reason behind this proposed rule.

    It's the economy. The recession. The stimulus. Honesty in advertising has nothing whatsoever to do with the rule

    Do y'alls have any idea how much more manpower (womanpower) will be needed to police and enforce this rule? There will have to be droves of robotical ad-readers reading ads all day long. Thousands of them! Tens of thousands! Not to mention the software that will have to be designed to keep track of what's been read and what hasn't, and what's been changed and what hasn't and when it was changed if it was and what the change actually was or wasn't. And then you'll need supervisors for those tens of thousands of readers, and also managers for the supervisors, then deputy department heads to manage the managers.

    Not to mention that this will surely put hundreds or thousands of programmers to work for at least a year.

    The sheer volume of data will necessitate a new generation of data servers, which gives Intel and Cisco a huge shot in the arm. Sun might even get some too.

    But just think - this will drop the U.S. unemployment rate by a percentage point at least, all by itself, and inject billions of dollars back into the economy from the new workers' taxpayer-paid (err...sorry, government-paid) wages and the multi-billions of fines that the FTC will generate.

    We should be happy, because it's helping the economy!
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Moore
    This just may bring more honesty and trust on the web. With all the scams out there, people are ready for the truth. Sales will definitely go up on the products that work and the under performers, aka junk products, won't last once people see the actual numbers.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    What is driving it is exactly what I said was driving it. People are filing complaints to their Attorney Generals that their credit cards are being raped by these so-called Free offers that have hidden memberships that are nearly impossible to cancel. It's widespread and Attorney Generals are taking it seriously and taking it to court.
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  • Profile picture of the author greenovni
    How about changing all your sales letters, domain names, testimonials etc to OFFSHORE servers where the FTC can't do anything about it.

    Remember people, we can do business from anywhere in the world!
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  • Profile picture of the author Rod Cortez
    Originally Posted by Nato Guajardo View Post

    This law is going to kill WSO sales.
    Again, this is not a law, it is a FTC guideline that is under review and "may" be in force by the end of the year.
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  • Profile picture of the author dageniusmarketer
    I agree with everything Anomoly said.....its a far bigger picture than just a law designed to catch liars and truth exagerrators. As there is no clear definition, they can very easily enforce the law however they feel fit, even amongst those whom were doing nothing wrong.

    You say "Yea, good law...put it in place" now, but when the FTC is shutting down your own operations though "you've done nothing wrong", then you will understand why this proposed law is such bad news. Its like gun control.........i think ill leave that for another argument.
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  • Profile picture of the author David Snape
    I doubt it will fly. Not the way you stated it. If it does, it will only be used to round up the people that are truly out of hand. They know who they are....
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  • Profile picture of the author TheRookie
    I think its probably great. People waste their money on things just because of the hype. There will be ways around it im sure though.
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  • Profile picture of the author GeorgeC
    Do you think that creating a SUPER MEGA ULTRA FANCY Disclaimer where we clarify everything without putting it in the actual sales letter would be enough?
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  • Profile picture of the author rapidscc
    This is a good thing. People have to use proven testimonials. Isn't it they way it should have been, even without the law..

    I guess some of the marketers must learn to be true now. Specially when softwares that gives automated testimonials created by professional copywriters are coming out..When I came upon one such product I almost fell from where I sat..

    rrrrrrr....I can still remember how disappointed I was...

    I guess now a lot of people will have to tell the truth...

    oMar
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  • Profile picture of the author LB
    It's really scary and sad that most people in this thread don't even understand what is happening here and are celebrating this.
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  • Profile picture of the author Christie Love
    Well, if it looks like sales letters will soon come to an end due to false advertisement, then the government should have been shut down centuries ago.

    Just my thoughts :-)
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    • Profile picture of the author Karen Blundell
      someone posted above...it's about control. This is NOT a good law.

      read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. If you've already read it, then you probably understand.

      I do believe that this won't just affect US marketers. This will affect all of us eventually.
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    • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
      Originally Posted by Christie Love View Post

      Well, if it looks like sales letters will soon come to an end due to false advertisement, then the government should have been shut down centuries ago.

      Just my thoughts :-)

      lol... I was having this very discussion with an old timer marketing guy just yesterday. His statement was that if the FTC is worried about claims in advertising, then how come they don't throw every politician in DC into prison?
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      • Profile picture of the author seasoned
        Originally Posted by MichaelHiles View Post

        lol... I was having this very discussion with an old timer marketing guy just yesterday. His statement was that if the FTC is worried about claims in advertising, then how come they don't throw every politician in DC into prison?
        The politicians that do the most lying are in CONGRESS! CONGRESS feels they have the right to make the laws. They ARE supposed to be limited, but it is the SUPREME court that enforces that. The result? They actually passed a law that said it was OK for politicians to lie on ads! Only in America, huh?

        Steve
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        • Profile picture of the author Victor Edson
          Think this is to stop scammers? Then you just got scammed!

          This is exactly the type of leadership that Obama is. More government, and making it harder on the average every day "little guy" to succeed.

          If you think for a second that this will make life easier, or taking away more of your personal freedoms is the right answer, then you're an idiot.

          Sorry to be so blunt. It's just sad that the US government walks all over it's people, and they don't care enough to do anything more than say, oh well in a week no one will notice, because hey... football is on!

          Wake up America!

          If you're worried how this small step towards Marxism will affect the US, why not stand up and do something about it?
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  • Profile picture of the author Adrian Cooper
    Originally Posted by Jack Duncan View Post

    Ok...

    What are your thoughts...ideas...?
    I say about time.

    Sales letters are often horribly misleading due to the general IM ethos of extract money from the customers at all costs, and then dump the customer.

    In the bricks and mortar world this cannot and does not happen, and therefore should not happen in IM.

    If you have a sales letter that would fail these tests, then you should not have put it up in the first place.

    A good product sells itself - everyone should be offering good products with sample chapters, try before buy etc.
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    • Profile picture of the author toomuchfunbnme
      Originally Posted by apc01 View Post

      I say about time.

      Sales letters are often horribly misleading due to the general IM ethos of extract money from the customers at all costs, and then dump the customer.

      In the bricks and mortar world this cannot and does not happen, and therefore should not happen in IM.

      If you have a sales letter that would fail these tests, then you should not have put it up in the first place.

      A good product sells itself - everyone should be offering good products with sample chapters, try before buy etc.
      Oooops, There may be a few FTC violations in the above post...

      "You" say "about time" (re: this legislation) First, can you show us acurate statistics to prove this statement? How did you scientifically come to the determination that it is "about time"? If this is not a scientific fact, but your own opinion, have you conducted a scientific survey to see what "everyone else" thinks? This statement seems to imply that your scentiments are the norm which could be misleading to some. Can you show us statistics to verify what everyone else thinks as well? Readers need to know the complete facts, not just one persons view.

      When you refer to the "general IM ethos..." can you direct us to the current scientific studies that were performed which prove this as a factual statement? Once again, if this is merely your opinion, I'm afraid that we will have to see the opinions of every other person who is alive to be able to get an accurate representation of the validity this viewpoint.

      You say "Sales letters are often horribly misleading" what exactly do you mean when you say "often" and "horribly misleading"? Can you define the terms "often" and "horribly misleading" as well as verify these statements with actual statistics?

      Also the statement "In the bricks and mortar world this cannot and does not happen..." I'm sure that you have the statistics to prove this statement. In the event that there is no actual scientific proof which would verify this statement, I'm afraid this may be another FTC violation. Should people be allowed to write statements that can not be proven?

      The statement "If you have a sales letter that would fail these tests..." can you clarify the tests that you are referring to as well as what is considered as "failing"? Who designed these "tests" and were they qualified to do so? May we see the scientific study that proves failing said tests would justify one not being allowed to "put it up"? If this is your personal opinion, I'm afraid that the readers will need to see the opinions of every other person alive so that they can make an educated choice when reading this.

      When you say "A good product sells itself..." could you clarify this statement? What exactly does "good" mean? What studies did you refer to when defining a "good" product? What do you mean when you say "sells itself"" Are you saying that if I wrote an ebook that fit your description of "good" that I could do nothing more than write it and somehow people would approach me to purchase it? The FTC may find this statement a tad misleading. No? If this is your experience, I'm afraid that the readers will need to also see every other internet marketers experience regarding products selling themselves to be able to make an educated decision regarding this statement.

      Regarding the statement "Everyone should be offering..." Are statistics available to prove this statement? Dictionarydotcom defines "everyone" as every person, everybody. Comatose people are clearly included in the term "everyone". can you show us statistics that prove comatose people should be doing this? If you make a statement referring to everyone, and knowingly are misrepresenting the facts, this is an obvious violation. I'm afraid this statement is clearly misleading and a violation of FTC regulations.

      Clearly there is a need for more and stricter laws and regulations to prevent this type of information from being published online. (j/k)
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  • Profile picture of the author jayguy
    Not given specific results is fine in a sales letter - specific results given from pure conjecture isnĀ“t great anyway.

    Not such a bad idea anyway.
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  • Profile picture of the author Regional Warrior
    So what happens if you live outside the bubble called the USA!! how does this affect my website?
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    • Profile picture of the author David_Thompson
      Originally Posted by jps2261 View Post

      So what happens if you live outside the bubble called the USA!! how does this affect my website?
      I was just wondering the samething here, IM'ers outside the little US
      does this affect our business.

      It might do if we host our businesses in US territory, then that will subject
      our businesses to US laws, I think...

      --David
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      • Profile picture of the author E. Fire
        Originally Posted by Jason

        So what happens if you live outside the bubble called the USA!! how does this affect my website?
        Originally Posted by David_Thompson View Post

        I was just wondering the samething here, IM'ers outside the little US
        does this affect our business.

        It might do if we host our businesses in US territory, then that will subject
        our businesses to US laws, I think...

        --David

        If you would be affected by your site(s) being shut down by a US based host on orders from the FTC, or by being dropped from a US-based affiliate network (or program), then yes.

        It's not a simple matter of what the FTC itself will do, but of the business polices that will be put in place by US-based businesses who will want to make sure they cover their arses and don't run afoul of the FTC themselves. The ripple effect can often be much worse than the actual regulation.


        Hey, I wonder if the FTC will go after SideWiki commenters making claims that the product they promote on their website is much better?
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  • Profile picture of the author ghyphena
    @Everyone who is "thinks this is great" - I'm not sure that good products really sell themselves without any proof, and I'm not sure that this proposed regulation will "hardly affect" marketers with high-quality products.

    The fact is, most of us are in the information business, and there is a gap between knowledge and results. That gap is action.

    When people buy our products and then stick them, shrink-wrapped, on the shelf, they're not going to get results. But this doesn't mean our product was bad or that we were misleading.

    The truth is, it's damaging to us to have to state that most people don't achieve the results they wanted because it reflects badly on the perceived quality of our product. There's only so much we can do to promote consumption and, arguably, we shouldn't be held accountable for our customers choosing not to consume and put into action the information that we provide them.

    I'm not saying that the sky is falling - I'm just pointing out that the issue here, like some fellow Warriors said, is not about outrageous or deceptive claims. It's about marketers being held accountable to factors which are beyond our control.

    I can only speculate, but I imagine that this regulation will ultimately promote "spin" as marketers search for loopholes that allow them to present proof of their products' quality. My criminal mind has come up with a couple of ideas already.

    What I'm saying is that this can make advertising less honest, not more so. Telling people that most people who try my diet stay fat isn't going to sell a lot of books.

    One more thing: read Clickbank's T&C. Then read 2CO's. Pay special attention to the bit about jurisdiction disputes. Just because you don't live in the US, or your servers aren't hosted in the US (mine are), doesn't mean you're immune from this. Anytime you work through Clickbank or 2CO or virtually any other payment processor/affiliate network, you've just drawn yourself into the web.

    Again, I'm not saying the sky is falling. I'm not saying lose all perspective. I'm just saying that this isn't nothing. It's something, and it's something we should keep our eye on.

    Gil-Ad
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  • Profile picture of the author ricarde88
    CC rebills with no cancellation is really one the most stupid and drastically evil scam ever! I just hope they deal with this soon. This is the main cause of a lot of net problems.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fabian Tan
    Marketers will come up with something to replace whatever is put to bed.

    You can be sure of that.

    Take the recent new trend of video sales letters with hardly any copy.

    We marketers have been having it good in recent years. With the better technology (videos, webinars, social networks) and refining of proven tactics, online sales have just been ballooning.

    And it's going to get better.

    Fabian
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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    This really isn't new at all! They just codified it better. False, outlandish, deceptive, purchased, testimonials/claims have been against the law for a LONG time. That is even the basis of the FTC mission statement! That so many get away with it is immaterial. Obviously though, stating an actual typical example will mitigate problems.

    And killer WOULD mean more than 2. It implies some reasonably big number. The idea is NOT what you say, but the perception that can reasonably be expected. AGAIN, their MISSION STATEMENT!

    FTC Statement "Online Profiling: Benefits and Concerns"

    The FTC's mission is to promote the efficient functioning of the marketplace by protecting consumers from unfair or deceptive acts or practices and to increase consumer choice by promoting vigorous competition. As you know, the Commission's responsibilities are far-reaching. The Commission's primary legislative mandate is to enforce the Federal Trade Commission Act ("FTCA"), which prohibits unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce.(3) With the exception of certain industries and activities, the FTCA provides the Commission with broad investigative and law enforcement authority over entities engaged in or whose business affects commerce.(4) Commerce on the Internet falls within the scope of this statutory mandate.
    FTC POLICY STATEMENT ON DECEPTION

    Certain elements undergird all deception cases. First, there must be a representation, omission or practice that is likely to mislead the consumer.4 Practices that have been found misleading or deceptive in specific cases include false oral or written representations, misleading price claims, sales of hazardous or systematically defective products or services without adequate disclosures, failure to disclose information regarding pyramid sales, use of bait and switch techniques, failure to perform promised services, and failure to meet warranty obligations.5

    Second, we examine the practice from the perspective of a consumer acting reasonably in the circumstances. If the representation or practice affects or is directed primarily to a particular group, the Commission examines reasonableness from the perspective of that group.

    Third, the representation, omission, or practice must be a "material" one. The basic question is whether the act or practice is likely to affect the consumer's conduct or decision with regard to a product or service. If so, the practice is material, and consumer injury is likely, because consumers are likely to have chosen differently but for the deception. In many instances, materiality, and hence injury, can be presumed from the nature of the practice. In other instances, evidence of materiality may be necessary.
    To put it simply, if it is reasonable to expect that the customer has been, or may be, mislead by your ad, you may be considered guilty.


    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author JonnyAndrews
    I think I solved the problem today and if you follow my
    simple program you can too

    (Any results at all are not typical. If you find yourself
    constipated, crying and/or developing a facial skin rash
    please consult a physician)

    Step #1: Fully admit EVERYTHING you do is illegal

    Step #2: Create a video about it and flat out say
    roughly 95% of people get zero results when they
    buy any sort of "self help" product...

    FYI: There's a link to something to buy (so don't) but I think
    everybody will get a kick out of it:

    Title of the post: BREAKING NEWS: Making Money Online Is Illegal??

    BREAKING NEWS: Making Money Online Is Illegal?? | Jonny Andrews Blog | Where Entrepreneurs Freak Out Like Little Girls?

    Video is like 12ish min long.

    Have fun with that

    Jonny
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  • Profile picture of the author Scott Ames
    I had a WSO on domains and one customer wrote and said he found a domain worth $50,000 . I used that in the sales letter.. but....

    What did everyone else do with the information? I have no freaking idea. It is unknown what is "typical" and what can be expected. How am I supposed to collect this information?

    The only people that contact me are those that did well, or those that want a refund. If I survey them I doubt I would get much of a response worthy of "typical" data.
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  • Profile picture of the author AllHailJeff
    Thank god.
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  • Profile picture of the author intromaster
    uh, oh..Jeff Paul better watch out now. Those late nite infomercial claims seems so unbelievable.
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  • Profile picture of the author DASHBOY
    The first question is how are they going to monitor the millions of sales pages which are on the internet.

    I agree that if your dishonest about your results then the person is more than likely not to buy from you again so honesty is always the best policy if your in this game for the long term.

    Later

    Graeme
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    • Profile picture of the author Lance K
      Originally Posted by DASHBOY View Post

      The first question is how are they going to monitor the millions of sales pages which are on the internet.
      They're going to count on consumer's to help them out. Like I said above...

      IMO, this is going to make CUSTOMER SERVICE just as important as compliance with this new law. Because it's usually a consumer complaint that lands you on the radar of the FTC in the first place.
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      • Profile picture of the author Yuds
        I'm sure they'll find some way to get around this and keep on scamming people...

        but I can't WAIT until this hits the entire CPA/Flog industry and at least halts it to some degree.

        I know that those guys make insane money but there will come a point in time where all that bad karma is going to catch up to them.

        I just hope it's sooner rather than later.
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        • Profile picture of the author gpower2
          It's like the mortgage industry. A lot of people and/or homeowners, etc. got burned, but it's a necessary evil long term to bring everything and everyone into perspective.
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  • Profile picture of the author darrin_cooper
    You all need to start listening to commercials.
    At the end, they are having disclosures of actors who portray a certain category of person & disclosing that they are an actor & they are being compensated for the commercial.
    Just watch, the Jeff Paul's in the coming weeks, at the end, those commercials will change drastically.
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  • Profile picture of the author 20092009
    Ya, the USA is looking less and less attractive for EVERYTHING.... Im thinking of moving or starting my own country.
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  • Profile picture of the author Handsome J
    Man, can we get any more P-Whipped in this country? What happened to using your head? I think natural selection and survival of the fittest have worked well up until present. I think this potential law is just more of the same BS we have come to see. Over regulation by some policy makers who have no expertise in the things they are legislating. Do I condone fraud? Absolutely not. But come on, how do you extract typical concrete results data from lets say 3,000 converted buyers on a list of 10,000? An in depth interview with everyone who purchased and the variables of their individual situations and applications of your product make trying to get a baseline on a typical result unrealistic at best. Only way I see this even being remotely possible is to do data extraction on typical results using small percentages of conversions. Basically in engineering speak, use a Military Standard. Take a small sampling of the larger pool of customers and apply the Mil Std results for advertising and disclosure on your sales page. FTC is likely just blowing off steam on us because they realized they have egg on their face with the TARP Bailout and the dropped the ball on Madoff. Shiznit rolls downhill it seems.
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  • Profile picture of the author claytons
    Mike...in my opinion, no matter how good your product is...it makes a HUGE difference.

    We think we have pretty darn good products...we fully investigate every single testimonial we use...and they are all REAL.

    BUT...we all know that a HUGE percentage of people who buy courses do nothing with them.

    So...if I have 100 people buy, and only 10 people actually do anything with the material...well...that's 90 ZERO's to factor into the "average results"

    This is just another example of the government...in a broad brush trying to handle the people who actually are scamming....hurting the good guys the most.

    The scammers will keep on scamming...heck...what they were doing before was illegal too...why should this stop them ?!

    Only hurts the ones that try to follow the rules and put out good products.
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  • Here are a few ideas off the top of my head. I only managed the time to skim this thread, so if I am giving something that has already been mentioned without due credit, I apologize.

    How to get around the new upcoming laws on presenting product results?

    1. If you cut out or downplay results from your testimonials and sales letters, deepen the bonding factors. Any good copywriter will profile his target customer before writing.

    For example, he will use people in his testimonials who are similar to his target (or what his target imagines is ideal). He will not use a punk rocker to sell mobility scooters to the elderly. On the contrary, he will use old people with long-suffering smiles. Ditto for the language. A scientist spouting geek-speak does not communicate well to a rap audience. And I would even say ditto for the backgrounds. A guy sitting in a night club will not give a very convincing testimonial to a Christian audience, no matter what he looks like or says.

    On the contrary, good marketing production will use handsome virile-looking men with attractive women fawning over them to sell erectile dysfunction tablets (just look at the TV commercials).

    These factors need to be enriched, especially during the testimonials, when the results are downplayed. In fact, when a negative point has to be made, or the competition (or even the "typical results") mentioned, a slight, but negative jolt in the language, background and/or type of person can make the underlying message not as important.

    An easy example is to use some big accounting terms in the middle of a lot of hype to mention "typical results." The background can shift from outdoor pools with fancy cars and women to a simple office. And a cool looking dude can change to a nerdy looking slightly overweight older businessman with a bald spot. I'm purposely using a sleazy example to show how it can be done at the extreme. The message at those moments falls flat.

    2. As I understand copywriting, the idea is to sell with emotion and justify with logic. Benefits are usually on the emotion side and features on the logic side. That's how I learned it. OK. That's clear enough.

    So try to write something using this framework. It's a lot tougher than it seems. In my own experience, at least, I came up with some really stilted crap at the start. It was awful.

    I always felt there was a missing piece. Then I recently read a PDF book called "Need to Know" by Paul Myers. (Strong hat tip to Paul.) He gave the missing piece and my writing got a lot easier. It is called "results."

    The causal chain goes like this:

    FEATURES cause RESULTS.
    RESULTS cause BENEFITS.

    You can run that backwards, too.

    BENEFITS need certain RESULTS.
    RESULTS need certain FEATURES.

    Man, did writing sales copy get a lot easier after I started doing it that way.

    Now look at testimonials and see where the government is sticking its big honking busybody finger: basically right into the RESULTS part.

    Knowing that, I see a very easy way to get around this problem. Eliminate the RESULTS from copy and testimonials, but imply them. Vagueness is your friend.

    Here's a good example of eliminating results but implying them: before and after shots for weight loss. Get a picture of fat dude and or a fat lady, but someone who has more recent shots of being thin. Rather than caption them as "The was me before using the product" and "This is after," show both pictures, but simply put different captions:

    Fat Picture caption: Back in 2008, I was terribly unhappy and insecure.
    Thin Picture: Now I am happier and more secure than I have ever been in my life. I absolutely love being me!

    I wonder, how is the government going to quantify the pictures? No claim was made. And how is it going to quantify the emotions? Ditto. And the person isn't saying that this was a direct result of using the product.

    If such a person says something vague like, "I take the Get-Thin-Eating-Gobs-Of-Rich-Chocolate-And-Raw-Sugar supplement and it has really worked wonders for me," I don't see how this can be "typified."

    Once again, I'm purposely using a sleazy example. But doing this kind of stuff where the results are ethical and real should be a piece of cake. (Grak! I tend to do that once in a while... )

    2. As to a disclaimer, I believe I saw something similar in this thread to what I am going to say, but I want to put it into different words: Make the claim: THIS PRODUCT IS NOT FOR EVERYBODY. That's what the drug companies do on TV. That way there are no typical results, at least not for everybody. You narrow down your target.

    Then if you add a further qualifier, it kicks it out of the ballpark of "typical," to me at least: IN FACT, THIS IS ONLY FOR THE SPECIAL FEW WHO KNOW WHAT THEY REALLY WANT IN LIFE. Or something like that.

    How on earth is the government going to demand that you find typical results from a special few who know what they really want in life? Where do you find these good folks (except in the buyer database )? And wouldn't it be fair to demand of the government that it provide some kind of typical results from competing products as a guideline? So where is it going to find those special few?

    3. Use "don't know" in both testimonials and disclaimer.

    For instance, "I DON'T KNOW WHAT OTHERS THINK ABOUT THIS PRODUCT, BUT I HAVEN'T FOUND ANYTHING BETTER."

    And the disclaimer: "WE ARE REQUIRED BY LAW TO GIVE TYPICAL RESULTS FOR THIS PRODUCT, BUT FRANKLY, WE DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE. TOO MUCH DEPENDS ON YOUR OWN MOTIVATION. IF YOU ARE AS MOTIVATED AS WE ARE AND ALL OTHER FACTORS ARE MORE-OR-LESS EQUAL, YOU SHOULD GET SIMILAR BENEFITS TO WHAT WE GET."

    4. One guy earlier in this thread went way over the top as humor. He basically bashed typical IM customers and it was quite funny. This works, too. I have seen a couple of videos of Frank Kern and he pulls this off quite well. He says things like he is not a psychologist or lawyer, so people should not take a word of what he has to say seriously. In fact, if anyone does that, they are being foolish.

    That's all I've got right now since this was off the top of my head. It was an interesting experience thinking through this thing on a post.

    btw - I am not a lawyer, so this is not legal advice and do not expect any results from what I wrote with the nanny state. The only typical results I know of is that if the government wants to screw you, it will.

    My unconditional advice is to stay out of its way as much as you can. And if you start getting real big and earning lots of money, be afraid... be very afraid...



    Michael
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    Know thyself...
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