Advertising Law Newsletter - April 27, 2011

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In this issue: FTC Targets Acai Berry Affiliate Marketers; Senate, House Get Privacy Bills; MMA Releases Guidelines for Mobile Coupons; Free Kids’ Games Costing Parents Lots of Money? There’s an App for That; Suit Filed Against Fiji Water Over Carbon Claims; and 4As Releases Guidance on Patent Risk and Apps.

Excerpt from 'FTC Targets Acai Berry Affiliate Marketers':

The Federal Trade Commission has announced a law enforcement sweep against affiliate marketers of acai berry weight-loss products by simultaneously filing 10 lawsuits against marketers who operated fake news Web sites with domain names like “BreakingNewsAt6.com” and featured investigative reports with headlines like “Acai Berry Diet Exposed: Miracle Diet or Scam?”

These sites typically presented an initially skeptical reporter who purported to be objective before concluding that the use of the product will result in a 25-pound weight loss in four weeks without changing diet or exercise, according to the FTC. “We are alleging that nearly everything about these Web sites is false and deceptive,” said Charles Harwood, Deputy Director in the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, at a press conference announcing the suits. “There never was any sort of test conducted by any independent reporter and the weight loss results reported on the site are impossible to achieve.” According to Harwood, the defendants spent millions of dollars on “attentiongrabbing” ads appearing on high-volume Web sites that were viewed by consumers millions of times.

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