FTC's Smackdown on Affiliate Marketing

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Just days after ad:tech San Francisco, digital marketers that were riding high with justified optimism are now faced with a jolting reminder of the importance of legal compliance. On April 19, 2011, the Federal Trade Commission (the "FTC") moved to stop operators of websites from making allegedly deceptive claims about acai berry weight loss products. The enforcement actions announced by the FTC in their press conference target affiliate marketers who made allegedly deceptive advertising claims by posting online fake news stories about the weight loss benefits of acai berry. The FTC filed 10 federal cases in a total of 6 courts. Also, the Illinois Attorney General has filed one suit in Illinois.

FTC Targets Allegedly Deceptive Websites

The FTC says the sites used logos of legitimate news websites, but were in actuality advertisements aimed at consumers to entice them to buy weight loss products from other merchants. The FTC will ask the courts to permanently bar the allegedly deceptive claims, and to require the companies to provide money for refunds to consumers who purchased the supplements and other products.

The FTC charges that the defendants....

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