BBB National Programs Archive

ERSP Refers Advertising For To FTC

New York, NY – Oct.. 1, 2009 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP), will refer direct-response advertising disseminated by – marketers and affiliated Websites – to the Federal Trade Commission for further review, after the marketer declined to participate in an ERSP inquiry. The truth and accuracy of the marketer’s claims came to the attention of ERSP through its monitoring program.

Among the representative express and implied claims that were the subject of ERSP’s inquiry included:
•The marketer presents itself as an unbiased and independent resource (news paper) for consumers when in fact there may be a material connection between the marketer and the product being advertised: e.g. “Miami
GAZETTE NEWS”; “As part of our ongoing series: ‘Jobs and the Recession: What you need to know’ we examine an industry that, despite the recession, seems to be booming.”; ”By John B. Guiseman – Published: Monday May 18 2009”’
•The marketer purports to inform customers of the factually based success of the product independent of any conflict of interest connection to the marketer: e.g. “While researching the online-job phenomenon for this article I found countless stories of every day people making between $250 – $1,000 a day from their homes.”; “It’s called Easy Google profit and it’s taking the internet and business communities alike by storm.”; “Many websites highlight people making up to $500 per day working online from home on their computer.”; “Most users share stories of moderate but steady incomes of between $50,000 – $90,000 a year.”; “Below is an excerpt from one site: ‘Basically I actually make around $5,500 to $7,000 a month from Google.’ – Kevin H.”; “To cut to the chase within a month I had generated over $4,800 in income at home. –Steve”
•The marketer features a purportedly unbiased comment section which mimics a newspaper’s which includes consumer testimonials: e.g. “Mikey says: I’ve gotten 2 checks for a total of $1,900, pretty cooll (sic)”; “Omar says: My first week I made a whopping $288 and the second week I doubled that then it
kinda snowballed to $300+ a day! I’m gonna grow this puppy as big as I can. Here’s a screen shot of my Google stats, my wife is in shock. [illustration shows Today’s Earnings: $306.98]”
•“You could be making $150-$180 a day working from home!” [Google Fast Cash]

The marketer failed to provide a substantive response to ERSP’s original inquiry. Pursuant to ERSP Policies and Procedures, the advertising at issue has been referred to the FTC for further review.