FTC Drops The Hammer On Fake News Websites Ran By Affiliates To Promote Acai Berry

Post image for FTC Drops The Hammer On Fake News Websites Ran By Affiliates To Promote Acai Berry

by Pawel Reszka

Well here we go ladies and gentlemen :) FTC cracks down on the fake news sites that are being used to sell all kinds of health products such as Acai Berry, Colon Cleanses, Wrinkle Removers, and the list goes on.

FTC did this with fake blogs (flogs) a couple of years ago too. Not only affiliates used those landing pages but also the vendors that owned the products. The truth is a lot of CPA networks encouraged affiliates to use this type of promotion. I am not going to name specific networks but it did happen.

CPA networks are already making quick adjustments. I have received an email from COPEAC, which is a great network by the way, about their new upcoming changes.

Here is the email:

COPEAC is working hand in hand with all advertisers in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the FTC to ensure all creative, copy, accurately depicts truthful results experienced by real individuals. We are in the process of testing new creative material that will comply with the FTC guidelines as well as yield the results our publishers have come to expect on all campaigns. This includes but is not exclusive to all pages that mention or present themselves as news affiliates. This policy will impact all sectors.

We are prepared to work side by side with the FTC and our advertisers to ensure approved marketing practices are being used at all times. A new standard will be set at COPEAC as well as the industry as a whole regarding what can and cannot be used when promoting a campaign. COPEAC intends on leading the way throughout this transition. Like we’re doing with the FTC and our respective advertisers, we will work hand in hand with all publishers to ensure they have all the information and materials needed to be compliant.

We thank you in advance for being proactive and working with us through this transition.

The COPEAC Team

So after I got this email I knew something was up LOL and I did a little search on Google about this topic and there it was, new article on FTC website titled “FTC Cracks Down on Fake News Websites Used to Advertise Acai Berry Weight-Loss Pills”

It was published on the 18th (yesterday)

Here it is:

Lawsuits Filed Across the United States
Millions of consumers are being lured to websites that imitate those of reputable news organizations.  The “reporters” on these sites supposedly have done independent evaluations of acai berry supplements, and claim that the products cause major weight loss in a short period of time with no diet or exercise.  In reality the websites are deceptive advertisements placed by third-party or “affiliate” marketers.  The websites are aimed at enticing consumers to buy the featured acai berry weight-loss products.  These fake news operations are the subject of a nationwide law enforcement initiative.  Come and learn what the FTC is doing to stop the deception.

Link to the article

So it looks like it’s over.

Anyway, those sites were all over the web and if you wonder why it’s because they worked like crazy! The conversions on these sites were insane. I mean you could drive 100 visitors to that landing page and convert a good 7-10 people if not more.  If you are getting paid $36-$40 per every trial then the ROI is quite impressive don’t you think?

Affiliates spent fortunes on advertising with all the major ad networks and even Google Adwords.  The fake news sites appeared on some of the most reputable and high traffic portals like Fox News, CNN, Yahoo, and more.

I knew this was going to happen sooner or later. But here is the problem, some of the networks even provided affiliates with ready to go fake news sites so they can go out there and promote it. So who is really to blame here?

Here is a typical scenario:

A brand new affiliate who doesn’t know the laws wants to make some money online and joins one of those networks. Then they give him a landing page that is a fake news site and tell him where to go and advertise. The affiliate makes money and thinks everything is great so he increases his advertising budget and scales the whole campaign. The whole thing was perpetuating itself because affiliates would copy each other. When an affiliate sees an ad that makes another affiliate a lot of money they will copy it. It’s just a smart affiliate strategy to copy what is already working.

I am not saying that all CPA networks do it but I know a few that did.

Anyway, FTC is filing all kinds of lawsuits now and some people are going to get into trouble.

I think FTC should also look into the Ad Networks that are approving these kinds of ads. They are in fact responsible for all these ads appearing all over the web. What’s funny is that the traffic networks thought that by having a simple disclaimer it’s an advertisement on the landing page was safe enough.

The fake news sites are worse than flogs because they try to appear as a credible source of information and they use templates that look like legitimate news networks.



Sign up for free updates
I'll try to keep it interesting :)

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

cpaninja

Bro! I stopped running these ads like last summer. The conversions weren’t even that great anymore because everyone and their grandma was running them all over the place. I knew they are gonna crack down on this train. You are right though in 2009 the conversions were insane when the flogs came out. I guess it’s time to find something else lol

Reply

Pawel Reszka

:) You should feel lucky for not being one of those getting sued. It looks like FTC is not even going after the biggest offenders. They are suing medium size affiliates and only a few networks. I think they are just trying to make an example out of some people and move on. I bet a lot of people already stopped running these ads because I haven’t seen any since yesterday heh! I think there are better ways to convert visitors than fake news websites. Video is the game changer and you should use that with health offers now while building a list at the same time.

Reply

Chikara

I expect a lot more action like this going forward. The types of ‘sites’ were pretty scummy, even by affiliate marketing standards. Of course the conversion rates were high. Lying about everything improves sales. That said, this type of crap makes it harder for legit people to sell online.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: