DSSRC Administrative Closure #150

The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) contacted a direct selling company (“Company”) regarding two Facebook posts and a YouTube video that came to its attention pursuant to its independent monitoring of marketing claims in the direct selling industry. In one Facebook post, the salesforce referenced earning $550 in the first month working for the Company. The second Facebook post included a photograph of a stack of $100 bills accompanied by a claim stating: “Want to earn a second source of income?” Similarly, the description of the YouTube video stated, “Online Passive Income Secret (Make Money While You Sleep)” – The video also included representations such as “Want To Earn A Second Easy Income?”

The Company immediately removed the two Facebook posts after receipt of the DSSRC inquiry. Addressing the YouTube video proved much more challenging for the Company. The Company advised DSSRC that. the individual responsible for posting the YouTube video was not, and has never been, associated with the Company. Moreover, it came to DSSRC’s attention that the same YouTube account holder had made several other identical videos using different company names.

The Company instructed its marketing department to contact YouTube and request that the video be removed from their website. The Company also provided DSSRC with a copy of the request made to YouTube. More specifically, the Company reported the user to YouTube and submitted two complaints, one for copyright infringement and the other for trademark infringement.  You Tube promptly denied both complaints and the Company’s request to have the video removed.  The Company then contacted outside counsel to prepare a cease and desist letter to YouTube.

As a result of its ongoing efforts, YouTube removed the video and the user’s account was disabled for violating YouTube’s policy against spam, deceptive practices, and misleading content.

DSSRC expressed its appreciation to the Company for its diligent and good faith actions to remove the Facebook posts and to have the YouTube video disabled. Accordingly, DSSRC administratively closed the inquiry pursuant to the DSSRC Policy & Procedures based upon the actions taken by the Company to address its concerns.

(closed on 03/22/21)