The legal threat to affiliate marketers in the US

48 replies
Before I go into this let me say that I am not a lawyer nor do I play on on TV. You should consult with your own appropriate and licensed legal professional familiar with your specific situation. HOWEVER, I am not an affiliate for the company I am about to talk about and have no direct financial stake, but I do see a threat to affiliate marketing itself. As someone that does sell as an affiliate in multiple markets I do have an indirect financial stake in the outcome.

Disclaimers out of the way ... Birch Group and American Bullion are at it again with yet another lawsuit aimed at suing Regal Assets out of business. You know what they say, "if you can't beat 'em, sue 'em out of existence." And that seems to be what Birch and American are trying to do to Regal.
Birch Gold Group v. Regal Assets Et Al
American Bullion v. Regal Assets Et Al

The lastest lawsuits however are important because they go to the very core of affiliate marketing: your ability to promote only the company you're an affiliate for. If you read the complaint that Birch and American are making against Regal ... they are making multiple assertions that affiliate marketing itself often constitutes unfair and fraudulent business practice. Birch and American are both asking for "disgorgement of profits" from the affiliates themselves. (basically asking the court to order affiliates to pay to Birch all past profits earned from promoting Regal)

My lawyer knows of several companies that are watching the lawsuit closely. If Birch and American win it is expected that there will be many more of these suits and it will dramatically alter the landscape for affiliate marketers.

My lawyer recommended the following to me (again, consult with your own lawyers for your specific situation):
1) Contact Regal and ask if you can donate to their legal defense. I know Regal has buckets of money; but Birch and American are trying to sue them out of business. We affiliate marketers can't allow that to happen or it will be done again to other affiliate program owners. If we can show that we will not allow companies to sue affiliate owners out of business, simply because they use affiliates to help sell their products we can stop this nonsense. I have contacted Regal about a legal defense fund and will post an update in this thread.

2) On your websites DO NOT say anything negative about any competing company unless it is very well referenced. It might be better still to just not say anything negative about anyone at all.

3) YOU MUST disclose that you are an affiliate of any company you are promoting. This is actually an FTC rule anyway. This disclosure can NOT be buried inside a TOS page or a disclaimer page. It should be a fairly prominent disclosure. One of Birch's arguments is that many people believed the affiliate sites to be "objective" and made purchasing decisions not knowing they were actually at a site with a financial incentive in the outcome.

Like I said, #3 above is an actual FTC rule anyway so you need to do that one no matter how the lawsuit itself comes out.

If you disclose that you're an affiliate, then not talking about another company won't be a problem. If you're going to say anything negative about another company (again, probably better not to) then it should be exceedingly well backed up with proof that can't be refuted.

One more time, I am not an affiliate of Regal. But I do think any of us that can afford it really need to contribute to Regal's defense as it has wide ranging implications for most if not every single member of the forum.
#affiliate #legal #marketers #threat
  • Profile picture of the author Alex Blades
    Nothing you can do about it. The big companies pay politicians to create loopholes in the laws. Unless you're willing to donate to some campaign fund, then you are powerless to do anything.
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    • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
      Kelly Felix aka The Rick Jerk aka Bring the Fresh doesn't need your donations.

      The White Horse suit probably isn't going anywhere. The American Bullion case in federal court is more serious. It pulls alleged comments from Felix' site about creating fraudulent affiliate websites and helping others create similar sites to make Felix more money.

      I think you're missing the boat claiming a big threat to affiliate marketing.

      The claim is Felix is creating fraudulent content for others to use to promote his site and/or he actually owns the so-called affiliate sites.

      Reminds me of a suit a few years ago where Microsoft sued another IM guru for showing others how to commit fraud and misappropriate its trademark.

      The real lessons are not to make fraudulent claims as an affiliate, and as a product seller to be careful about creating your own "affiliate" feeder sites. There is another current thread complaining about ClickBank affiliates spewing out false "review" sites to make commissions. Its a common and longstanding problem and a primary reason I don't sell on ClickBank anymore.

      The general rule is a seller is not going to be liable for representations made by affiliates who are independent contractors. That is why the suit goes to great lengths to assert Felix owns the affiliate sites, or is creating the affiliate sites, or giving the claimed false content to the affiliates to use.

      Full Disclosure: Felix is a Warrior and has been a substantial advertiser on the forum. I purchased both the The Rich and Bring the Fresh programs.

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

        Kelly Felix aka The Rick Jerk aka Bring the Fresh doesn't need your donations.
        Unless I'm missing something, Kelly Felix isn't behind Regal Assets. It's owned by Tyler Gallager so I don't understand why Kelly is being mentioned in this context at all.

        And simply saying, "the suit isn't going anywhere" doesn't mean that time, money and effort aren't being expended fighting it. I know quite a few people that are Regal Affiliates and not one single one of them has said that Regal in any way condones misrepresenting anything said about Regal or about a competitor. Two have told me that if Regal catches you lying AT ALL on a website that promotes their products that they're known to dump the affiliate.

        Sounds like a turf war, not Armaggedon
        I know that a few of you are brushing this off as nothing, but like I said, I know of two companies that are watching these suits. If either of them wins there is no question that there are going to be more lawsuits coming in other industries and using the Regal cases as case law.

        Nothing you can do about it. The big companies pay politicians to create loopholes in the laws. Unless you're willing to donate to some campaign fund, then you are powerless to do anything.
        These are legal cases in a court room. This isn't the realm of politics and trying to pass law and getting some special loophole for you. This is a lawsuit that is dealing with existing law and NONE of the companies party to the suit are so huge they're getting favorable treatment from legislators or the court.
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        • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
          Originally Posted by StanHyeck View Post

          Unless I'm missing something, Kelly Felix isn't behind Regal Assets. It's owned by Tyler Gallager so I don't understand why Kelly is being mentioned in this context at all.
          What does the lawsuit claim?

          Such as paragraph 1 of the federal lawsuit where it is alleged Gallagher and Felix are both owners of Regal Assets.

          Paragraph 11 - Felix is an owner of Regal and also owns other sites such as Bring the Fresh that are being used to solicit affiliates for Regal.

          Paragraph 12 - Regal is a sham business used by Felix.

          Paragraph 26 (with a copy of portions of The Bring the Fresh website) - alleging Felix personally brags about owning Regal and using his own affiliate sites through which traffic is funneled.

          and on and on.

          Keep in mind these are just allegations and not proven facts. But it should answer your question.

          Unless you have personally seen company documents, contracts, and the flow of money, you don't know who owns or is behind what. Neither do I. It will be the subject of discovery in the lawsuit to find this out.

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

        There is another current thread complaining about ClickBank affiliates spewing out false "review" sites to make commissions. Its a common and longstanding problem and a primary reason I don't sell on ClickBank anymore.

        What do you use for Affiliate Promotion of your products now if any?

        Why?


        I was thinking of using Clickbank only because they would be the legal responsible party as the actual seller. Or did they change the way they set themselves up in the buying selling process?
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        • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
          Originally Posted by Terry Crim View Post

          What do you use for Affiliate Promotion of your products now if any?

          Why?

          I was thinking of using Clickbank only because they would be the legal responsible party as the actual seller. Or did they change the way they set themselves up in the buying selling process?
          ClickBank still has the wholesale / retail setup, and the legal issues (liability, not having to make payments, not having to send 1099s, etc.) are good reasons to use the service.

          Another option I still use for some sites is really "old" - Mal's ecommerce. You are definitely on your own for recruiting affiliates, unlike PayGear which has a marketplace so affiliates can find a lot of products to promote. But depending on your needs, especially for physical products, good ole Mal's can be hard to beat - and its free.

          .
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    • Originally Posted by Alex Blades View Post

      Nothing you can do about it. The big companies pay politicians to create loopholes in the laws. Unless you're willing to donate to some campaign fund, then you are powerless to do anything.
      Looks like you understand. My big shock was when I realized democracy is just a mask for the the people to think they make the laws which they don't. The laws never apply to the rulers they make people think they are the rulers. In any case when we wake up we break at least a dozen of the thousands regulations they force on us, that is why America was a republic not democracy.

      My accountant said this was the worst year for his company with all the new "rules" to comply with, every years is like the worst year. I predict in 20 years half of what we do will be illegal.
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    • Profile picture of the author talfighel
      Originally Posted by Alex Blades View Post

      Nothing you can do about it. The big companies pay politicians to create loopholes in the laws.
      Alex,

      That is totally right yet most people don't even realize that.
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by StanHyeck View Post

    My lawyer recommended the following to me (again, consult with your own lawyers for your specific situation):
    1) Contact Regal and ask if you can donate to their legal defense. I know Regal has buckets of money; but Birch and American are trying to sue them out of business. We affiliate marketers can't allow that to happen or it will be done again to other affiliate program owners. If we can show that we will not allow companies to sue affiliate owners out of business, simply because they use affiliates to help sell their products we can stop this nonsense. I have contacted Regal about a legal defense fund and will post an update in this thread.
    Not going to happen. Sounds like a turf war, not Armageddon.

    Originally Posted by StanHyeck View Post

    2) On your websites DO NOT say anything negative about any competing company unless it is very well referenced. It might be better still to just not say anything negative about anyone at all.
    This is common sense. Especially when you leave the realm of mass consumer goods. By tearing down a competing product, you raise awareness in some and give more weight for others. 'If you're so good and they're so bad, why are you even talking about them?'
    Originally Posted by StanHyeck View Post

    3) YOU MUST disclose that you are an affiliate of any company you are promoting. This is actually an FTC rule anyway. This disclosure can NOT be buried inside a TOS page or a disclaimer page. It should be a fairly prominent disclosure. One of Birch's arguments is that many people believed the affiliate sites to be "objective" and made purchasing decisions not knowing they were actually at a site with a financial incentive in the outcome.
    I'd be a lot more concerned with the FTC than some competitor suing me over the actions of an affiliate, by definition a free agent. And if there is evidence of skullduggery, as alleged in the Kelly Felix example Brian cited, then there is a bigger threat to cheaters than to all affiliate marketers. Commission sales as a concept isn't going anywhere.
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Tai
    It seems like I'm talking to a tape, sometimes...

    >>> They're not making you more money <<<

    >>> They're trying to land JUST before the sale is made so they get a commission <<<

    >>> zero effort to generate traffic for you, or convince the prospect to buy <<<

    >>> they ALL look alike, and ALL look VERY VERY FAKE <<<

    >>> stop defending Clickbank automatically <<<

    Cheers!
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    • Profile picture of the author StanHyeck
      Originally Posted by Paul Tai View Post

      >>> They're not making you more money <<<
      Who's not making me more money? I can tell you absolutely that selling a few things as an affiliate makes me more (I also have my own products but affiliate products add a nice supplement)

      >>> They're trying to land JUST before the sale is made so they get a commission <<<
      Don't know what you're talking about here at all.

      >>> zero effort to generate traffic for you, or convince the prospect to buy <<<
      Again, what are you talking about.

      >>> they ALL look alike, and ALL look VERY VERY FAKE <<<
      This is total nonsense. Not every single affiliate has a site that looks the same as every other affiliate. In fact the best affiliates pretty much always have unique sites that pull people into an email list where the affiliate actually has their own products. The promotion of affiliate products is simply to promote other things their audience might also be interested.

      >>> stop defending Clickbank automatically <<<
      Except that this isn't a defense of clickbank ... once again, no idea what you're talking about.
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  • Profile picture of the author Terry Crim
    I read through both those lawsuits filed against Kelly Felix, Tyler Gallager and Regal Assets.

    I am not a lawyer either and the following is my personal opinion which means NOTHING from a legal stand point.

    It seems these two companies are also looking to go after anyone that is an Affiliate for Regal which would be many of the BringTheFresh members. If BTF members are using the content provided by Kelly and are promoting Regal then they could be / might be sued as well. That is what I understand from reading both lawsuits.

    This may not just end up being a civil suit either but criminal charges could be filed here as well.

    Bring The Fresh members that are using the tactics detailed in both lawsuits linked in the OP may be in a HUGE pot of hot water. Makes me glad I don't use many of the tactics Kelly teaches. This is just ONE industry too, what if other companies do the samething?

    They are going after Kelly personally as well as the company and his partner AND if I am reading it right BringTheFresh is a target point for the affiliate recruitment and activity.
    If you are a Regal affiliate you should be concerned right now.

    If this goes further as I have seen in other similar type of cases over the years the bank accounts are frozen which means they can't payout commissions. If the affiliate is using these same tactics then they could get your contact, address, business, paypal and bank account information via an court order to hand over these details of EVERY single affiliate.

    This could become a potentially financially devastating outcome not just for Kelly but those that follow his tactics specific at the moment to promoting Regal Assets.

    Nice when you signup to a how to make money program and one of the tactics and methods promoted got you sued and put in prison. Nice!

    Early days on this but could go down that path... We shall wait and see what happens but right now Kelly has at least two lawsuits brought against him for using tactics he teaches in Bring The Fresh.

    Krikey!
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    • Profile picture of the author DubDubDubDot
      Originally Posted by Terry Crim View Post

      It seems these two companies are also looking to go after anyone that is an Affiliate for Regal which would be many of the BringTheFresh members. If BTF members are using the content provided by Kelly and are promoting Regal then they could be / might be sued as well.
      I would also be concerned with potential Federal Trade Commission action. This lawsuit may have put the activity on their radar.
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      • Profile picture of the author gearmex
        i wonder how it works for international companies (like mine) who promote clickbank stuff, still need FTC?
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        • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
          Originally Posted by gearmex View Post

          i wonder how it works for international companies (like mine) who promote clickbank stuff, still need FTC?
          Layman's opinion?

          Inclusion in a lawsuit or criminal case likely depends on any agreements between your country and the US government. Generally, if you are doing business in a country, you need to comply with that country's laws.

          If you become a potential threat to Clickbank (i.e., land them on the FTC's radar), the best you can hope for is to be banned as a CB affiliate (forfeiting commissions).

          If accounts are frozen, you're as at risk for losing commission payments as any affiliate in the USA.
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          • Profile picture of the author gearmex
            Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

            Layman's opinion?

            Inclusion in a lawsuit or criminal case likely depends on any agreements between your country and the US government. Generally, if you are doing business in a country, you need to comply with that country's laws.

            If you become a potential threat to Clickbank (i.e., land them on the FTC's radar), the best you can hope for is to be banned as a CB affiliate (forfeiting commissions).

            If accounts are frozen, you're as at risk for losing commission payments as any affiliate in the USA.
            I see few successful IMers like Matthew Woodward no have anything FTC related, which makes me think its for US Citizens only, why would Law inside USA affect another country citizens though, it would not make any sense if it did.
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            • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
              Originally Posted by gearmex View Post

              I see few successful IMers like Matthew Woodward no have anything FTC related, which makes me think its for US Citizens only, why would Law inside USA affect another country citizens though, it would not make any sense if it did.
              Why would US law affect citizens of another country?

              If they are doing business in the USA, their business activities fall under US law, for the most part.

              As I said in the post you quoted, the only consequences might be loss of affiliate privileges and forfeiture of commissions, but they do have risk.

              Like I said, I'm not a lawyer. But I do know that there are a variety of trade agreements, much like copyright laws, which do apply internationally.

              I know Woodward is in the UK. I don't know much about their law, either, but the little I've seen tells me they may be even stricter than the US when it comes to advertising claims.
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  • Profile picture of the author GuruMarketer2
    Banned
    I'm not sure this company needs money from their affiliates or any other group of persons for that matter. Moreover, no matter how hard you may try, you cannot help them out.

    This is the law.
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    • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
      I didn't check out the BTF forum, but I did just read the updated Bring the Fresh Guide for 2014. Good info.

      Setting aside the allegation false claims were made to make commissions at the expense of a competitor, the lawsuits reflect the power a top marketer and a boatload of affiliates can have on the market.

      Instead of whining about Regal having a ton of affiliates bringing it sales, one would think American Bullion would start its own, better affiliate program.

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

        Instead of whining about Regal having a ton of affiliates bringing it sales, one would think American Bullion would start its own, better affiliate program.
        I'm sure their position would be "we would never go into unethical business practices. We are simply trying to expose ill companies for the better of society!" tsk tsk.
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        • Profile picture of the author Walter Parrish
          I'm no lawyer, but I will say this much you better get a good lawyer to write your affiliate agreements for you if you don't know what you are doing.

          As far as the little I did read on this case I would say they have a case but against who?
          It all depends on the affiliate agreements.

          The problem with how most affiliates do things is that they haven't actually used the products/services etc. but figure one is better than the other based on the compensation they receive.
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          • Profile picture of the author Terry Crim
            Originally Posted by Walter Parrish View Post

            It all depends on the affiliate agreements.
            From what I have read on the FTC.gov website about these type of issues, the affiliate agreement is NOT really brought into the decision as to who is sued and who isn't.

            It primarily comes down to the actions of those involved and whether they know or should of known what they were doing was wrong. You can have any kind of agreement that says anything you want it to but that does not mean you won't be on the losing end of lawsuit(s) or governmental crack down using you as the poster child to make a point.

            The interesting thing besides the allegations in both suits is that Kelly's other program BringTheFresh was specifically named as a key part of the dastardly deed allegations. Will members themselves be investigated and if you happen to be an affiliate for Regal will you be sucked into this now too?

            It's something I would want to know.

            It has already been made clear at least by the FTC that both parties, parent company and affiliate can both be held liable independent of each other. I did a lot of reading not too long ago and basically scoured the FTC.gov website and reading what they had to say about all marketing related rules. Which so you know is very confusing because newer regulations and rules take precedence over the older rules even from 2010. What is confusing on FTC.gov is they have reports from 2004 and earlier that say one thing but the rules that came into effect later basically make those reports obsolete which makes me wonder why they keep them up on their site.

            I think the best solution as mentioned earlier in this or another similar thread is to not do anything that would harm others and not allow anyone that participates in your affiliate program to do that either. FTC goes further into that and says you have to keep records of everything from first becoming aware all the way through any action taken against the affiliate and continual checking on and enforcement. Their really pretty specific about actions you need to take.

            These are specifically about endorsement advertising but also ties into affiliate marketing which is really what you are doing, endorsing the product you are promoting.


            Endorsements | BCP Business Center

            This is their business center

            BCP Business Center

            Here is where you can find their enforcement actions against businesses

            Enforcement | Federal Trade Commission


            This is the FTC's Online Advertising and Marketing rules

            Online Advertising and Marketing | BCP Business Center

            If you read through all that you will have a pretty good view of what they watch for and expect you to follow in respect to business practice.

            They like to say "what a reasonable person" would think of.. know about.. should know... would do... when giving examples of behavior such as what Kelly Felix is being accused of.

            Most of it is stuff your mom taught you or should of taught you when growing up. Some of these reports are interesting reading others are boring as hell.

            I am not saying you need to go read anything on FTC.gov site but they put a lot of these type of things into context for you with LOTS of examples for the good and bad.

            I am not a lawyer and you don't really need to be one to investigate for yourself what is and isn't something the government focuses on with business and online marketing.

            On the Online Advertising section somewhere in there they give an example that mirrors the circumstances somewhat with the Regal lawsuits.

            Happy reading...
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            • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
              Terry,

              The FTC has for years made some assertions that merchants should always be liable for the actions of their affiliates. I have yet to see the FTC win that argument in court. Other than making feel good, self-serving public statements I have yet to see the FTC even pursue the legal issue in a contested matter.

              The reason the issue has not been pursued is probably because there are a couple hundred years of cases ruling that is not the law.

              General rule of law - one is not liable for the actions of an independent contractor. By definition, independent means you do not control their activities, as one does an employee.

              That is a bit of a broad statement, and pesky things called facts in specific situations can change that - such as if the merchant told an affiliate to commit an illegal act, or was actually aware of the illegal activity and did not disapprove of it.

              This is why I said the one case is probably not going anywhere, but the other is more significant since it alleges Regal owns the affiliate sites, or is creating them, etc.

              As a product seller with affiliates, you can protect yourself from being liable for affiliate actions by:

              - Not giving affiliates a script, template, website, etc. to use. If you do, it should be something where you can control the content. Example, Amazon allows its product descriptions and images to be used by affiliates, but the coding pulls the information from Amazon so Amazon can change it if a problem arises.

              - Not allowing affiliates to promote "on behalf of" or for your business. For instance, the required Amazon disclosure to be used by affiliates reflects they are an affiliate of Amazon and not actually Amazon.

              - Not disapproving of illegal tactics if you become aware of them. Example, if a customer brings to your attention that an affiliate is fraudulently claiming your eBook will make someone $10,000 per hour from pay per click programs, then the affiliate either has to change their promotion or be terminated

              .
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              • Profile picture of the author Kurt
                Originally Posted by Methow View Post


                Now Second, re Kelly:

                As far as I know this advice is given in the context of buying aged domains. I'll leave it to lawyers to determine whether buying a domain entitles you to it's history, but going to the WayBack Machine is simply a way of reconstructing a site that has been abandoned. The most important is the URL structure, but using old content is a good way to start.
                My question was posed to a lawyer. But as a non-lawyer, you felt a need to respond.

                No, the most important part is if this is legal. The URL structure can be recreated using original, legal content.

                But, it would be an interesting legal discussion if the actual compilation of URLs would be a type of copyright infringement as well.

                From my perspective that is hardly "stealing" content, when you are simply reconstructing the site from it's original content. Assuming, of course, that the content was legit in the first place.
                And from my perspective, using content that isn't your's and you have no legal right to use, is stealing content. The burdon of proof shouldn't be on me to prove copyright infringement, it should be on the person using the content of others and advising customers to do the same. What's the legal theory to say it's OK to use the content of others without their permission?

                Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

                Kurt, I said the Bring the Fresh guide has good info. Not that I approve of every paragraph in the lengthy guide. To clarify, overall it is good information.

                Copying info from the Way Back Machine is of course, a potential copyright issue. As a practical matter, who is going to sue and presuming the content was not registered with the copyright office, what are their actual damages? The answers are usually no one and zero. Naturally, Murphy's Law means if someone does this they will pick the one site where copyright was registered and the former domain owner is upset his content is being re-used.

                .
                But Brian, isn't the core principal is dependent on using the content of others? Take out using content from the Way Back machine and the whole technique becomes much, much harder.

                I'd guess the actual damages would vary from case to case, as well as from judge and jury to judge and jury for the same case. But since this would likely be a case of plagiarism, since I didn't see any mention of giving credit for the content, and not a simple case of coyyright infringement, the fines and punishments could be severe, regardless of damages.

                There's also a big difference between stealing content yourself and advising others to do it, especially without any kind of warning that this strategy could get someone into legal trouble or the moral issue of using someone else's work without their permission.

                Not to mention, some of us feel that just because you can get away with something, doesn't make it the right thing to do and also have a problem with his advice to steal images using a Google search, which are NOT taken from sites that no longer exist.

                These ideas are hardly original to Bring The Fresh. Some of us have simply not used them because IMO they are likely illegal and uncool.
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                • Profile picture of the author KellyFelix
                  Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

                  My question was posed to a lawyer. But as a non-lawyer, you felt a need to respond.

                  No, the most important part is if this is legal. The URL structure can be recreated using original, legal content.

                  But, it would be an interesting legal discussion if the actual compilation of URLs would be a type of copyright infringement as well.

                  These ideas are hardly original to Bring The Fresh. Some of us have simply not used them because IMO they are likely illegal and uncool.
                  Kurt it is clear that you have not looked at the case study site inside of BTF, otherwise you would see that the content that is "re-printed" gives credit to the original author. The site as it existed prior to expiring also did that - gave credit to the original author, as many of the articles are from financial magazines and sites from the 1990's. But this is off topic from the Original Post, so I'll leave it alone. I just wanted to make sure you have your facts straight.

                  Regardless it is clear that you are not a fan of BTF, and given that I am a solutions guy too, I am happy to cancel your membership. I put in a request for customer service to locate your account and do so. Unfortunately they cannot find you in the system.

                  Ok back to our regularly scheduled program.
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                  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
                    Originally Posted by KellyFelix View Post

                    Kurt it is clear that you have not looked at the case study site inside of BTF, otherwise you would see that the content that is "re-printed" gives credit to the original author. The site as it existed prior to expiring also did that - gave credit to the original author, as many of the articles are from financial magazines and sites from the 1990's. But this is off topic from the Original Post, so I'll leave it alone. I just wanted to make sure you have your facts straight.

                    Regardless it is clear that you are not a fan of BTF, and given that I am a solutions guy too, I am happy to cancel your membership. I put in a request for customer service to locate your account and do so. Unfortunately they cannot find you in the system.

                    Ok back to our regularly scheduled program.
                    I didn't purchase or read Bring the Fresh, so I can't comment on the methods. Brian says it's good, and I'll respect his opinion. However, I was asked about these techniques from an old friend. So yes, I am relying on heresay. But I trust this person and see no reason why he/she would deceive me.

                    But since you are interested in me having the facts, does Bring The Fresh suggest that people use Google's search engine to find images? And does it suggest, and even give instructions to use other peoples' content via The Way Back Machine?

                    If these aren't accurate, I apologize. But, you mentioned that you do this in your post I quoted above. If accurate, don't you think you owe it to your customers to at least mention the potential legal hazzards?

                    Here's what a lawyer said on the subject:

                    Copying info from the Way Back Machine is of course, a potential copyright issue. As a practical matter, who is going to sue and presuming the content was not registered with the copyright office, what are their actual damages? The answers are usually no one and zero. Naturally, Murphy's Law means if someone does this they will pick the one site where copyright was registered and the former domain owner is upset his content is being re-used.
                    If accurate, can't you come up with a better means to build out these types of sites than taking content you very likely don't have a right to use? Giving credit is only a defense for plagiarism, not copyright violations. Or come up with some legit free and cheap resources for images? It really isn't that hard to do.
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                    • Profile picture of the author KellyFelix
                      Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

                      I didn't purchase or read Bring the Fresh, so I can't comment on the methods. Brian says it's good, and I'll respect his opinion. However, I was asked about these techniques from an old friend. So yes, I am relying on heresay. But I trust this person and see no reason why he/she would deceive me.

                      But since you are interested in me having the facts, does Bring The Fresh suggest that people use Google's search engine to find images? And does it suggest, and even give instructions to use other peoples' content via The Way Back Machine?

                      If these aren't accurate, I apologize. But, you mentioned that you do this in your post I quoted above. If accurate, don't you think you owe it to your customers to at least mention the potential legal hazzards?

                      Here's what a lawyer said on the subject:



                      If accurate, can't you come up with a better means to build out these types of sites than taking content you very likely don't have a right to use? Giving credit is only a defense for plagiarism, not copyright violations. Or come up with some legit free and cheap resources for images? It really isn't that hard to do.
                      Kurt, yes inside BTF I do recommend Google images for finding images, with the stipulation that you should not use any photos that have a watermark, or a claim of copyright on them. Certainly most images of a piece of fruit or something random would have a copyright notice on them if there was a claimed copyright, at least in my opinion. I see Shutterstock and others in Google images, with clear claims. Of course I could be wrong, and I'm happy to include your royalty free sources above in my next update - I actually think that is probably a smart decision, and I appreciate the suggestion. I'm always eager to make BTF better for everyone.

                      Regarding plagarism, I see curated or duplicate content every day on news sites. They give credit to the original author, just like I do. I think Huffington Post, PRweb, etc. would face lots of issues if doing so was illegal.

                      If you really want to nit pick, Google could potentially sue you for your explanation above about how to exploit their search algorithm to your advantage. It would likely never happen, but again the potential is there. It all comes down to what each individual is comfortable with. At the end of the day, everyone has to be responsible for their own sites, and as a teacher I try my best to teach what works for me, according to a level of ethics I feel comfortable with. I've been told I'm one of the "good" ones, but I'm sure I have my fair share of naysayers as well. It comes with the territory and I accept that.

                      But again, SEO in itself could be considered unethical by many, including Google - especially as it relates to expired domains via the method you shared above, or even buying links.
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                      • Profile picture of the author Kurt
                        Originally Posted by KellyFelix View Post

                        Kurt, yes inside BTF I do recommend Google images for finding images, with the stipulation that you should not use any photos that have a watermark, or a claim of copyright on them. Certainly most images of a piece of fruit or something random would have a copyright notice on them if there was a claimed copyright, at least in my opinion. I see Shutterstock and others in Google images, with clear claims. Of course I could be wrong, and I'm happy to include your royalty free sources above in my next update - I actually think that is probably a smart decision, and I appreciate the suggestion. I'm always eager to make BTF better for everyone.
                        Let me say I'm not being as judgemental on what you personally do as it probably seems. My problem would be instructing others to do it, especially without letting them know about the potential problems.

                        You can use my suggestions for finding content without attribution to me, if you wish. I'm only trying to help those that aren't experienced enough to make good decisions.

                        If you really want to nit pick, Google could potentially sue you for your explanation above about how to exploit their search algorithm to your advantage. It would likely never happen, but again the potential is there. It all comes down to what each individual is comfortable with. At the end of the day, everyone has to be responsible for their own sites, and as a teacher I try my best to teach what works for me, according to a level of ethics I feel comfortable with.
                        Of course they could sue me for anything, but not likely. What I do on my sites with my own content is none of Google's business. They don't have to follow my rules and I don't have to follow their's.

                        I do need to add that when applying "Hilltop friendly" strategies, to make sure you follow ICANN regulations regarding whois info, as you could lose your domains for using fake info in your whois.

                        However, my using multiple domain name registars, unrelated hosting, keeping my affiliate IDs (other than Adsense) to protect my privacy etc, is none of Google's business. If they don't want to rank my content or give value to links on my properties, they have every right to do so.


                        But again, SEO in itself could be considered unethical by many, including Google - especially as it relates to expired domains via the method you shared above, or even buying links.
                        There's a big difference between what Google wants and what the actual laws are. Google doesn't own the Internet and they buy and sell links through Adwords and Adsense a bunch. If links somehow influence Google's rankings, that's their problem, not the rest of the Net's.

                        Just tell people and let them make up their own mind. If you are using content that isn't your's, the burdon of proof is on you. And if you are teaching other people to do the same, at least point out the potential problems and let them make up their own minds.

                        For ethics, let's say I own a domain/site and forget to renew. A few months later, I find out I let the domain lapse. I buy a new domain and upload my content to it.

                        Now, my own site looks like a mirror of the original domain and may never get indexed, let alone rank, since it looks like just a duplicate of the older domain. Maybe I never even realize this is the problem. But it is a problem, even if I don't know about it.

                        And yet again, I am only commenting on these two issues brought to my attention by a friend. And Brian Kindsvater gives the rest of BTF a good review, and I respect his opinion. As a lawyer, I wanted his opinion on using content from the Wayback Machine and Google images. Using Wayback content is a topic I haven't read about on the Warrior forum and is something that should probably be discussed, either as being illegal/unethical, or as a valid resource of content. I believe it's the former.
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                  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
                    Originally Posted by KellyFelix View Post

                    the content that is "re-printed" gives credit to the original author.
                    Quick law stuff ....

                    If you copy something, but give the author credit, that is not a defense or excuse for copyright infringement. Example: I copy the Rich Jerk ebook and sell it under my name with a couple updates, but give credit to Kelly. That's obviously not gonna fly.

                    Ironically, giving credit can be used against you to show intentional infringement because you know who the content belongs to.

                    Curated content is a gray area and can mean different things. For instance, the Drudge Report is often considered pure curated content. It is interesting created headlines, that can tell a story when read together, with links to the original source.

                    Others take "snippets" of the original material and post it on their site, with a link to the original source and rest of the article. How much of a "snippet" can one take and be safe with fair use? How much is too much and constitutes infringement? There is no bright line rule. A rule of thumb is if you take so much that no one ever clicks to read the original source it is too much.

                    Ironically, the Way Back Machine is obviously engaged in massive copying. Unlike Google with snippets of content used in search results, it is showing the full page in html format with images. Calling it a useful public archive for scholarly purposes sounds nice, but may be a questionable defense.

                    One could argue if someone knowingly allows their material to be displayed on the Internet Archive there is an implied license for others to also copy the content for a similar purpose, or perhaps copy from the Archive.

                    Copyright issues can get complicated fast.

                    .
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                    • Profile picture of the author tyronne78
                      You make some valid points kindsvater,thanks.
                      Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

                      Quick law stuff ....

                      If you copy something, but give the author credit, that is not a defense or excuse for copyright infringement. Example: I copy the Rich Jerk ebook and sell it under my name with a couple updates, but give credit to Kelly. That's obviously not gonna fly.

                      Ironically, giving credit can be used against you to show intentional infringement because you know who the content belongs to.

                      Curated content is a gray area and can mean different things. For instance, the Drudge Report is often considered pure curated content. It is interesting created headlines, that can tell a story when read together, with links to the original source.

                      Others take "snippets" of the original material and post it on their site, with a link to the original source and rest of the article. How much of a "snippet" can one take and be safe with fair use? How much is too much and constitutes infringement? There is no bright line rule. A rule of thumb is if you take so much that no one ever clicks to read the original source it is too much.

                      Ironically, the Way Back Machine is obviously engaged in massive copying. Unlike Google with snippets of content used in search results, it is showing the full page in html format with images. Calling it a useful public archive for scholarly purposes sounds nice, but may be a questionable defense.

                      One could argue if someone knowingly allows their material to be displayed on the Internet Archive there is an implied license for others to also copy the content for a similar purpose, or perhaps copy from the Archive.

                      Copyright issues can get complicated fast.

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

                      Quick law stuff ....

                      If you copy something, but give the author credit, that is not a defense or excuse for copyright infringement. Example: I copy the Rich Jerk ebook and sell it under my name with a couple updates, but give credit to Kelly. That's obviously not gonna fly.

                      Ironically, giving credit can be used against you to show intentional infringement because you know who the content belongs to.

                      Curated content is a gray area and can mean different things. For instance, the Drudge Report is often considered pure curated content. It is interesting created headlines, that can tell a story when read together, with links to the original source.

                      Others take "snippets" of the original material and post it on their site, with a link to the original source and rest of the article. How much of a "snippet" can one take and be safe with fair use? How much is too much and constitutes infringement? There is no bright line rule. A rule of thumb is if you take so much that no one ever clicks to read the original source it is too much.

                      Ironically, the Way Back Machine is obviously engaged in massive copying. Unlike Google with snippets of content used in search results, it is showing the full page in html format with images. Calling it a useful public archive for scholarly purposes sounds nice, but may be a questionable defense.

                      One could argue if someone knowingly allows their material to be displayed on the Internet Archive there is an implied license for others to also copy the content for a similar purpose, or perhaps copy from the Archive.

                      Copyright issues can get complicated fast.

                      .
                      Archive.org retrospectively obeys robots.txt - you can tell them not to archive your site, or keep copies of old versions.

                      They use this both as a legal defense (I dont know whether it's legally water tight), and as a practical defense (it's cheaper to add 2 lines of text to your site than it is to sue them to remove content).

                      Also, just because you grant one entity a license to copy and redisplay your content, I'm not sure that means you've granted everybody that same license (somebody should try that argument on Getty and see how far it gets them).

                      Also, the Internet archive tries to maintain an unaltered copy - whereas the usual purpose of cloners is to create a derivative work for the purposes of diverting profits and attention to them, rather than the website owner.
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      • Profile picture of the author Kurt
        Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

        I didn't check out the BTF forum, but I did just read the updated Bring the Fresh Guide for 2014. Good info.


        .
        Brian, I'm kind of surprised you would have this opinion. What is your legal opinion about copy/pasting info from The Way Back Machine to use as your own? Why isn't this content protected by copyright laws? Not to mention, the method recommended for getting images...
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        • Profile picture of the author Methow
          I don't post in the Warrior Forum often, but I wanted to Chime in here, both because I know Kelly Felix personally and because there seems to be assumptions being made.

          In full disclosure I should say that I work as an Admin on Kelly's Bring The Fresh Forum.

          First - The lawsuits against Regal are being brought by competitors, competitors who are being trounced by Regal. Nothing was been determined as to the validity of the claims. The whole thing could be just an attempt by competitors to to get Regal embroiled in bad news.

          It may be that some of Regal's affiliates stepped over a line, I don't know. I do know that Regal is constantly reminding affiliates to never make statements that they can't back up with fact.

          If you look at the actual records of the companies involved, Regal is the only one that hasn't received complaints via the BBB. It has rated highest with sites like TrustLink. As far as I can see, they have the cleanest record of the lot.

          But Regal has brilliant minds behind it and maybe the competitors are desperate about someone who is growing so fast.


          Now Second, re Kelly:

          Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

          What is your legal opinion about copy/pasting info from The Way Back Machine to use as your own? Why isn't this content protected by copyright laws?
          As far as I know this advice is given in the context of buying aged domains. I'll leave it to lawyers to determine whether buying a domain entitles you to it's history, but going to the WayBack Machine is simply a way of reconstructing a site that has been abandoned. The most important is the URL structure, but using old content is a good way to start.

          From my perspective that is hardly "stealing" content, when you are simply reconstructing the site from it's original content. Assuming, of course, that the content was legit in the first place.

          I know nothing I say will change the minds who are convinced they are right, but I know that Kelly is not out to scam people. Some make disparaging remarks about "the Rich Jerk" but I'm not sure why. Yes, the Rich Jerk had an over the top, offensive personality . . . that was the marketing brand and it's still seen as one of the most successful ever. It was meant to be taken with humor. The program itself launched many who are now earning healthy ethical sustainable incomes online.

          I'll confess, I didn't know Kelly was a part owner of Regal (. . . IF that is true). He was brought into the business because Kelly is a friggin' genius at marketing. Regal's amazing success and rise is a testimony to that.

          I personally don't believe that these lawsuits will go anywhere. Anyone can file a lawsuit . . . what better way to raise muck on a competitor?
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          • Profile picture of the author gearmex
            Originally Posted by Methow View Post

            From my perspective that is hardly "stealing" content, when it was originally posted on the site anyway.
            Well if it was moved elsewhere but from that domain and even if not, it should be protected by copyright law whoever wrote those articles...
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            • Profile picture of the author KellyFelix
              All affiliate review sites in the world, for all products in the world, should be taken down, effective immediately.
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              • Profile picture of the author JKD2012
                The truth is... all affiliate programs have good guys and bad guys.

                Some affiliates will run legit websites that state real facts and fully comply with FTC guidelines.

                Others will run pure blackhat shit with false negative information in order to ruin the competitors' reputation and improve their conversions.

                If I was in charge of Regal Assets' affiliate program, I would:

                1) Send a mass email to all my affiliates to tell them to make sure their websites are SQUEEKY CLEAN.

                2) Hire 1-2 summer interns to go through each affiliate site to make sure they are all complying by the rules.

                I've seen many companies ruined by these types of lawsuits before simply because they didn't take the time to monitor their affiliates' activities.
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              • Profile picture of the author dbong
                Originally Posted by KellyFelix View Post

                And someone should come out with an "Affiliate Marketing is Dead" product. I will co-create it with you.

                Headline: Who Else Wants to Make a Bazillion Dollars by Not Being An Affiliate of Any Company Ever?

                </sarcasm>
                Alright, I'm in. I buy the domain, you cover the rest? Split it 50:50?
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        • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
          Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

          Brian, I'm kind of surprised you would have this opinion. What is your legal opinion about copy/pasting info from The Way Back Machine to use as your own? Why isn't this content protected by copyright laws? Not to mention, the method recommended for getting images...
          Kurt, I said the Bring the Fresh guide has good info. Not that I approve of every paragraph in the lengthy guide. To clarify, overall it is good information.

          Copying info from the Way Back Machine is of course, a potential copyright issue. As a practical matter, who is going to sue and presuming the content was not registered with the copyright office, what are their actual damages? The answers are usually no one and zero. Naturally, Murphy's Law means if someone does this they will pick the one site where copyright was registered and the former domain owner is upset his content is being re-used.

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

            Kurt, I said the Bring the Fresh guide has good info. Not that I approve of every paragraph in the lengthy guide. To clarify, overall it is good information.

            Copying info from the Way Back Machine is of course, a potential copyright issue. As a practical matter, who is going to sue and presuming the content was not registered with the copyright office, what are their actual damages? The answers are usually no one and zero. Naturally, Murphy's Law means if someone does this they will pick the one site where copyright was registered and the former domain owner is upset his content is being re-used.

            .
            Actually, I think you're missing a common case.

            Most websites contain a mixture of original content and licensed content.

            Let's say I build a website. I would write some of my own articles. I might also license some material - say, some stock photos from Getty, some news from AP, and some other articles from XYZ affiliate program.

            Then I let my website die.

            Six months later, somebody uses archive.org to build a clone of my former website to promote some other business.

            You're probably right that I don't care - after all, I gave up on my site months or years ago.

            However you can bet Getty, AP, and XYZ will care. They licensed me, they didn't license the copycat (in the case of XYZ, the copycat is likely using their content to promote a competitor too!). And what's more, these guys may well have registered their copyrights too.
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      • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
        I've been considering promoting BTF as an affiliate.

        I think now is the time. (;
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  • Profile picture of the author cypherslock
    Frankly, I've used Kelly's techniques to rank sites and make money. Not once have I ever read or watched anything done by him and gone "gee that seems shady" He's not that type of marketer and not that type of coach. I've said this before: He's one of the very few that actually care about teaching the right stuff and doing right by those that follow him. As far as other good, honest teachers go, for me, there's also Sean Donahoe.

    People really need to lay off the good ones, because there's far too many of the bad ones out there. And I cannot for the life of me understand this weird culture of "you can only be SO successful and then if you're even better, you must be doing something illegal."

    Just my$.02. And for me, I'll never write, promote or do a video giving a positive review of a product that I've not used.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    As a solutions kind of guy, here's what I believe is the proper technique for using old domains:

    Create similiar, but original content for the home page and up to 10 interrior pages that have PageRank of 1 or higher. Use 301 redirects for all the other pages, pointing the 301s at the home page and the selected interrior pages.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kurt
      Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

      As a solutions kind of guy, here's what I believe is the proper technique for using old domains:

      Create similiar, but original content for the home page and up to 10 interrior pages that have PageRank of 1 or higher. Use 301 redirects for all the other pages, pointing the 301s at the home page and the selected interrior pages.
      To help out those that want to make sure they are legal, I posted this above for recreating the site in a way that respects copyrights as well as preserves the PageRank and authority of an expired domain and it's most important pages. You can write original content, outsource it cheaply, or use PLR. Use an autospinner on the PLR for the most important 6-10 pages or so and correct the errors if needed.

      Another technique would be to buy a number of PR1 or higher domains, create a unique homepage, 301 redirect all other URLs to this hompepage. Then use incontext links on the homepage. IMO, homepage, relevant incontext links are the most powerful links we can easily get.

      Simply repeat with more PR1 domains, removing all fingerprints with respect to Google's Hilltop algorithm, the most under-discussed Google algo of all time.

      Getting images you can legally use for content is easy. There are plenty of public domain sites such as Morguefile.com that allow for commercial use.

      You can use Allposters' affiiate program that not only add images to a page, they offer an additional revenue stream.

      Youtube's TOS allows us to embed videos on our sites.

      There's a number of cheap image resources, such as Kozzi.com.

      Flicker has a wide assortment of images that can be used for commercial use, and only need attribution.

      There are other images sites that offer a free 7 day trial where you can download their images.

      It really isn't that hard to try to be legal and ethical. But at least tell customers the potential problems, give them better options, and let them make up their own minds.
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  • Profile picture of the author amalgam
    Are You Responsible for Your Affiliates?

    Unless I am missing something, it doesn't get much clearer than this:

    In 2011 the FTC charged that Legacy Learning and Smith disseminated deceptive advertisements by representing that online endorsements written by affiliates reflected the views of ordinary consumers or "independent" reviewers, without clearly disclosing that the affiliates were paid for every sale they generated.

    Under the proposed administrative settlement, Legacy Learning and Smith will pay $250,000. In addition, they have to monitor and submit monthly reports about their top 50 revenue-generating affiliate marketers, and make sure that they are disclosing that they earn commissions for sales and are not misrepresenting themselves as independent users or ordinary consumers. Legacy Learning and Smith also must monitor a random sampling of another 50 of their affiliate marketers, and submit monthly reports to the FTC about the same criteria.

    Whether they advertise directly or through affiliates, companies have an obligation to ensure that the advertising for their products is not deceptive," said David Vladeck, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "Advertisers using affiliate marketers to promote their products would be wise to put in place a reasonable monitoring program to verify that those affiliates follow the principles of truth in advertising."

    In the last 3 years at least 8 different legal cases have been taken against advertisers

    Here are the details of the case


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    • Profile picture of the author KellyFelix
      Originally Posted by amalgam View Post

      Are You Responsible for Your Affiliates?

      Unless I am missing something, it doesn’t get much clearer than this:

      In 2011 the FTC charged that Legacy Learning and Smith disseminated deceptive advertisements by representing that online endorsements written by affiliates reflected the views of ordinary consumers or “independent” reviewers, without clearly disclosing that the affiliates were paid for every sale they generated.

      Under the proposed administrative settlement, Legacy Learning and Smith will pay $250,000. In addition, they have to monitor and submit monthly reports about their top 50 revenue-generating affiliate marketers, and make sure that they are disclosing that they earn commissions for sales and are not misrepresenting themselves as independent users or ordinary consumers. Legacy Learning and Smith also must monitor a random sampling of another 50 of their affiliate marketers, and submit monthly reports to the FTC about the same criteria.

      Whether they advertise directly or through affiliates, companies have an obligation to ensure that the advertising for their products is not deceptive,” said David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Advertisers using affiliate marketers to promote their products would be wise to put in place a reasonable monitoring program to verify that those affiliates follow the principles of truth in advertising.”

      In the last 3 years at least 8 different legal cases have been taken against advertisers

      Here are the details of the case


      Yes, great point - that is a famous case.

      Regal has attorneys on permanent retainer and they made sure the rules were followed from day 1. That is why Regal forces affiliates to put disclosures on their sites that reflect the relationship, above the fold and in a different font color than the main site.

      They remove any affiliate that does not comply. Although Regal obviously has no power to take their sites down because Regal does not own any of the affiliate sites. There are A LOT of affiliates and Regal does their best to make sure everyone is playing fair. There are reminders when they login and they cannot proceed without agreeing, etc. All lead capture forms are hard-coded with a disclosure as well.

      Anyone running an affiliate program should familiarize themselves with the cases you mentioned and the FTC rules regarding affiliate reviews. I am certainly glad Regal paid attention to detail when they started the program.
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    • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
      Originally Posted by amalgam View Post

      Are You Responsible for Your Affiliates?

      Unless I am missing something ....
      What you are missing is that the FTC had been investigating the seller and as a result the seller negotiated the terms of the "complaint" and final order.

      This is common.

      It would be one thing if the FTC filed a lawsuit claiming a seller was responsible for advertising by its affiliates, and then at trial obtained a court order ruling this was the law. None of that happened.

      What often happens with government claims is an investigation is occurring and numerous issues are involved. Whether or not there is liability a company agrees to settle some issues and enter into a consent decree - otherwise known as a settlement. The government then files a "complaint" so a judge can approve the settlement making it judicially enforceable.

      Even if there were a "charge" by the FTC a seller is liable for merchants, it is a mistake to confuse a charge with the law.

      For example: do you assume the charges in the lawsuits against Regal Assets are true? Of course not.

      If there was a real threat to sellers based solely on affiliate acts the affiliate sales model would have been sued into oblivion years ago. There would be massive class action lawsuits against Amazon, Walmart, Sears, Target ... literally every major business. ClickBank would have filed for bankruptcy before shutting down.

      That is what you are missing.

      On the other hand, if a seller has 1000 affiliates and two of them are generating 98% of the sales, it would be prudent for the seller to see why this is happening. That is my impression of what this case is really about. The seller had a couple affiliates sending millions in sales. How where they doing it? By making clearly fraudulent claims. The seller had a red flag and either approved of the fraud, or failed to follow prudent business practices by investigating what is happening.

      Does that make sense? The FTC did not litigate and obtain a ruling the law is the seller is always liable for affiliate ads. Rather, there was a negotiated settlement and the "complaint" you see was drafted to fit the settlement. That is why you see consent decrees filed at the same time, or having dates preceding a complaint.

      .
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  • Profile picture of the author aks000
    1) Contact Regal and ask if you can donate to their legal defense. I know Regal has buckets of money; but Birch and American are trying to sue them out of business. We affiliate marketers can't allow that to happen or it will be done again to other affiliate program owners. If we can show that we will not allow companies to sue affiliate owners out of business, simply because they use affiliates to help sell their products we can stop this nonsense. I have contacted Regal about a legal defense fund and will post an update in this thread.

    2) On your websites DO NOT say anything negative about any competing company unless it is very well referenced. It might be better still to just not say anything negative about anyone at all.

    3) YOU MUST disclose that you are an affiliate of any company you are promoting. This is actually an FTC rule anyway. This disclosure can NOT be buried inside a TOS page or a disclaimer page. It should be a fairly prominent disclosure. One of Birch's arguments is that many people believed the affiliate sites to be "objective" and made purchasing decisions not knowing they were actually at a site with a financial incentive in the outcome.

    Like I said, #3 above is an actual FTC rule anyway so you need to do that one no matter how the lawsuit itself comes out.

    If you disclose that you're an affiliate, then not talking about another company won't be a problem. If you're going to say anything negative about another company (again, probably better not to) then it should be exceedingly well backed up with proof that can't be refuted.

    One more time, I am not an affiliate of Regal. But I do think any of us that can afford it really need to contribute to Regal's defense as it has wide ranging implications for most if not every single member of the forum.

    THANX FOR INFORMATION
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