FTC Nabs Fake News Affiliate Marketers
As part of its ongoing crackdown on fake news sites to promote acai berry and other products (see exhibit left), the FTC entered into a consent decree with Intermark Communications (d/b/a Copeac) for using fake news sites to promote its products. According to the FTC Press Release:
Copeac not only operated its own fake news sites, it also recruited an entire network of affiliates that used fake news sites to promote products with allegedly deceptive claims. Under the settlement, the Copeac defendants will pay more than $1.3 million, which represents revenues they received from deceptive fake news site ads for acai berries, colon cleansers, and other supposed weight-loss dietary supplements; and revenues they received for other products marketed on fake news sites. The settlement also requires Copeac to monitor all its affiliate marketers when selling any good or service, obtain adequate information about the affiliate marketers it hires, approve their advertisements, and immediately stop processing payments generated by any affiliate marketer using deceptive advertisements.
The FTC also entered into a consent decree with Coulomb Media, Inc. With these two settlements, eight of the 10 fake news site cases the FTC brought in 2010 have been resolved, and all the fake news sites affiliated with the eight operations have been permanently shut down.