In the wake of the Dr. Oz, Oprah, Illinois State Attorney General lawsuits being made public, it is interesting to see what if anything has changed. For those not familiar with the suit, here a few sections of the 53 page lawsuit.
With the firepower and media power behind the big "O"s, you would think people would clean up their act. You would think.
(Context) 1. Dr. Oz, a renowned doctor who regularly appeared on television on the talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show ("TOWS") and who will host the soon to premier The Dr. Oz Show, Zo-Co, the owner of the Dr. Oz family of trademarks OW the holder of the right of publicity rights of Oprah Winfrey - one of the most famous and respected individuals in the world and Harpo, the owner of the "OPRAH" and "O" family of trademarks and the copyrights in the number one rated award winning TOWS bring this action Seeking injunctive relief and damages for the Defendants' deceptive and fraudulent practices that have harmed them (Dr Oz & Oprah) and thousands of consumers who have been and are injured by Defendants' conduct.
(Meat) 6. Defendants are brazenly using Plaintiffs property and infringing upon their rights despite repeated requests that they cease and desist from such use and/or Plaintiffs other extensive efforts to put a stop to such unauthorized and unlawful use.
Check out the banner at the top of the story below.
Next, a site still being promoted. Notice the "Dr. Oz Offers". Interestingly, one of the affiliate networks behind one of the offers sent out a release a few months back saying they do "not tolerate fake blog and review sites or any other activities that mislead or deceive consumers in any way shape or form.":
Rachel Ray - Your Turn.
Not part of the Oprah / Oz suit, Rachel Ray is still being used quite actively in the same, direct fashion that underscores this issue - use of the trademark in the domain name (RachelRayBlog, RachelRayBlogging), and text written such that it implies if not an endorsement, a direct connection. If you notice a scarily similar appearance among them, it's not you. Below are a handful of the ones seen running and/or currently running.
What's being done?
As we saw last week with the announcement by AzoogleAds, some companies are reacting. Whether named in the suit or not, the cpa networks will be coming under continued scrutiny and must show compliance. Below is an example of a message that users see and must acknowledge upon login for one such network.
This is an important reminder to all of our affiliates that any landing pages, creative, websites or other advertising content used by affiliates to promote offers through <network> must comply with our Terms of Service and applicable laws, including but not limited to use of third party images, celebrity endorsements or photographs, testimonials or reviews, or other similar content used to in connection with the offers. By way of example and for illustrative purposes only, websites or landing pages that reference Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Oz, Rachael Ray or other celebrities in connection with the offers will not be tolerated and will result in non-payment for any actions generated using these non-compliant techniques that violate applicable laws, infringe upon third party rights and are deceptive in nature, in addition to risking suspension from our network and substantial liability exposure. To the extent that any affiliates in our network are employing these or similar practices, you must immediately cease such practices.
The Real Issue
Despite having waded into screen shot overload, the proliferation of these ads is at the heart of something much bigger - the continuing divide in the performance marketing world between cash and long-term liquidity. If you read blogs like ShoeMoney, especially the comments, you start to experience a different world. While "Shoe" as he has branded himself has done something quite unique - crossed from being an affiliate to one with a successful exit, those he panders to have no such ambitions. They are the online equivalent of the people duped into signing up for the pills.
As one successful offline marketer said, people always want to make money and lose weight. Individual affiliates are no different. They aren't, though, true business owners. And, that combined with the ease of entry, means a mess of fly by night businesses that are truly no different that a bunch of people hawking Amway or PrePaid Legal. This is muddling the performance marketing ecosystem and has rightly put up a big red flag for any outside investors. Would a fund invest in a company that was a MLM syndicate? Even if a big one?
Named defendants from the O/Oz suit (Emphasis added)
1. Defendant FWM Laboratories, Florida
supplier of Maximum ResV, ACAI X3, Acai Berry Detox, Resveratrol Ultra,
ResMelts, Colon Max and Resvie. websites & affiliate marketing
2. Defendant CPX Interactive LLC, New York advertising with banner ads
3. Defendant Netalab Corp, Florida supplier Pure ResV Pro, South Beach Java, Acai Energy and RezV Advance. websites and affiliate marketing
4. Defendant Gillmap Limited a/k/a Natures Perfection, Iowa & Idaho suppier of ACAI Burn, Pure ResV and Colon Revitalize.interactive websites and affiliate marketing
5. Defendant MiniRED UAB, California supplier of Acai Ultimate, Power Colon Cleanse and Vital RezV. websites and affiliate marketing
6. Defendant Nutra Lane LLC a/k/a GNS Global LLC, Nevada and Colorado. supplier of Acai Berry Elite, ACAI Edge, Res Ver XP and ResV. websites and affiliate marketing
7. Defendant Central Coast Nutraceuticals a/k/a CCN Inc, Arizona. supplier of Acai Pur, Acai Power Blast, and Acai Blast. websites and affiliate marketing.
8. Defendant Pure Nutrients, New York, supplier of Natural Cleanse. websites and affiliate marketing.
9. Defendant B67 Nutra Pure Systems a/k/a 96R Pure Nature Products a/k/a P67 Wie Natural Products LLC, (location unidentified) suppliers of ResV Pure. websites and affiliate marketing
10. Defendant SFL Nutrition, Florida, supplier of Acai Berry Supreme, Total Cleanse, Colon xR and Colon rX. websites and affiliate marketing
11. Defendant Acai Berry Breeze, Arizona, supplier of Acai Berry Breeze and UltraSlim XS. websites and affiliate marketing
12. Defendant Life Fit Labs LLC, Michigan, supplier of Colon Cleanse, Colon Cleanse Pro, Probiotic Complete and Goji Trim Pro. websites and affiliate marketing
13. Defendant Rejuvenate Worldwide, Texas, supplier of Certified Resveratrol, Colon Pro Cleanse and Miracle Resveratrol. websites and affiliate marketing
14. Defendant HealthBuy a/k/a Health Buy Ltd, California, supplier of Acai Berry Select and Resveratrol Select. websites and affiliate marketing
15. Defendant Physical Enhancement Labs, Oklahoma, supplier Acai Berry Blast and Acai Blast. websites and affiliate marketing
16. Defendant MyColonRelief, California, supplier of My Colon Relief, websites and affiliate marketing
17. Defendant XM Lab LLC a/k/a rX Labs (location unidentified) supplier of Acai Flush, ResV Ultra. websites and affiliate marketing
18. Defendant Rauscher Bekke, LLC a/k/a ResVLife LLC a/k/a Res-V-Life, Inc, Florida, supplier of Dermapril, Dermapril-SP and ResVL Life. websites and affiliate marketing
19. Defendant Body Solution, California, supplier of Body Solution and Striation. webistes and affiliate marketing
20. Defendant 456 Vital Health Systems LLC a/k/a FCM Performance Health USA a/k/a AEG Partners Ltd, Utah, supplier of ResV Pro. websites and affiliate marketing
21. Defendant JDW Media, LLC Idaho, supplier of Pure Cleanse and Acai Ultra Burn. websites and affiliate marketing
22. Defendant Pure Vitamins, New York, supplier of Phosphacore and Eternal RezV. websites and affiliate marketing
23. Defendant XLENT Health, Wisconsin, supplier of Res-V and Energai. websites and affiliate marketing
24. Defendant Organica Research LLC, Colorado, supplier of Ultimate Colon Cleanse websites and affiliate marketing
25. Defendant Incline Health Ltd, Texas, supplier of ResV Daily, Acai Fuel Extreme and Acai Fuel Cleanse. websites and affiliate marketing
26. Defendant Health Technology, California, supplier of Acai Away and Youth ResV. websites and affiliate marketing
27. Defendant Natural Source Store LLC, Florida, supplier of Cosmetyn. websites and affiliate marketing
28. Defendant 0841092 B.C. Ltd, New Jersey, supplier of Resvermax, Premium Acai Berry, Slim Berry and Procolo. websites and affiliate marketing
29. Defendant Bottom Two Investments a/k/a Nutra Foods, Delaware supplier of Acai Resolution, Acai Nutraburst, RezEX, Maqui Nutraburst and Exilatrol. websites and affiliate marketing
30. Defendant HealthRezV, LLC a/k/a HealthRezV, California, suppliers of HealthRezV websites and affiliating marketing
31. Defendant Healthy Colon, Inc a/k/a Healthy Colon LLC, (location unidentified) supplier of Body Flush websites and affiliate marketing
32. Defendant Redux-V Holdings Inc a/k/a Redux Holdings Inc a/k/a Naturade Inc, California, supplier of Redux-V websites and affiliate marketing
33. Defendant Easy White, Inc a/k/a Easy White Labs, Florida, supplier Easy White websites and affiliate marketing
34. Defendant Jet Processing, Florida, supplier of Acai Natura Burn websites and affiliate marketing
35. Defendant Monavie AS, LLC a/k/a Monavie Holdings International LLC a/k/a Monaive LLC a/k/a Monavie, Utah, supplier of Monavie ( Acai Berry ) websites and affiliate marketing
36. Defendant Brazilian Basics, Maine, supplier of Acai Energy websites and affiliate marketing
37. Defendant L-avenir, New Jersey, supplier of Cellutone websites and affiliate marekting
38. Defendant Ultra Green Products LLC a/k/a Ultra Green Products, Florida, supplier of Goji Raw and Resveratrol Lifeline. websites and affiliate marketing
39. Defendant Rez-Berries a/k/a RezActiv a/k/a Res Q, Colorado, supplier of Rez Activ websites and affiliate marketing
40. Defendant Crush LLC, Utah, supplier of Acai Berry 500 websites and affiliate marketing
41. Defendant 3V Marketing LLC, Maine, supplier of Acai Advance and Acai Advanced websites and affiliate marketing
42. Defendant James Russel, Connecticut, websites
43. Defendant Mike Johnson, California, websites
44. Defendant David Dube, Vermont, websites
45. Defendant Katherine Clements, Minnesota, websites
46. Defendant Pawel Reszka, Illinois, websites
47. Defendant Mike Koens, California, websites
48. Defendant Touvan Sughiarto, California, websites
49. Defendant Ryan Bukevicz, Pennsylvania, websites
50. Defendant Mark Swartz, New Jersey, websites
51. Defendant Matthew Kelly, New York, websites
52. Defendant Sidney Fein, New York, websites
53. Defendant John Doe & ABC Companies 1-500 (meaning 500 defendants not specifically identified) are affiliates, marketers, suppliers, manufacturers, and suppliers of said products through websites.