ERSP is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. The marketer’s advertising came to the attention of ERSP through ERSP’s ongoing monitoring program.
ERSP reviewed online advertising claims for the lead-generation, wealth-creation product, including:
- “Whether You're Looking For ‘Quick Easy Ways To Get Money’, Or ‘Extra Ways To Make Money From Home’, Check Out Our Affiliate Program Because You Can Earn Big While You Learn!”
- “If you are a total beginner to internet marketing, we will take you through our Massive Action Marketing Program that is designed to get you to a 6 figure earning level in 90 to 120 days.”
- “Do You Want To Earn Up to $7,500 A Week? and “Want To Make Money In Your First 30 Days?”
- “It's hard to believe that in January, 2008 I lost my business and had trouble putting food on the table for my family - and since then, because of the marketing knowledge I have gained, I've not only had 5 figure months, but also 5 figure weeks - - and just last week you honored me on a company webinar for having a $10,000 day!” [Steve Jankowski, Plymouth, Minnesota]
ERSP determined that the performance claims at issue, in conjunction with the message communicated on the iMMACC.com webpage, communicate to prospective purchasers that earning significant amounts of money may be reasonably expected from using the product and that the disclosure (i.e., “Disclaimer Notice”) did not adequately qualify the net impression that the stated results are typical for product purchasers. ERSP also remained concerned with representations regarding the implication that product users will be able to achieve the success communicated in the advertising easily and with little or no skill.
ERSP noted that the marketer did not provide any evidence regarding the amount of money that purchasers of iMMACC have earned using the product. Although the marketer pointed to statements of success by past iMMACC users, ERSP determined that these representations are considered anecdotal and are no substitute for substantive, documented past earnings data which is necessary to support the express earnings claims that were communicated in the advertising
ERSP noted that the website contained disclosure language on the “Income Disclaimer” page. As has been noted in a number of previous regulatory and self-regulatory matters, a “Results may vary” disclosure does not adequately satisfy an advertiser’s burden to disclose the results that may be typically expected by consumers.
ERSP therefore recommended that iMMACC discontinue any earnings claims until it can support income statements with reliable consumer data.
The company, in its marketer’s statement, said that it would follow ERSP’s recommendations and that it “…welcome[s] the opportunity to make the changes and modifications that your organization has recommended we take action on.”