New FTC Regs Claim Mr. Filsaime’s IM Guru Career?

(IM=Internet Marketing)

Ready to earn $537,897 on the Internet like Joe did? Want to make $250,000 in your first year of MLM like I did?

As of Dec 1, you can’t do that anymore. Wow. No more ‘dramatic’ testimonials says FTC

No more big income statements unless you ALSO report the results that the typical persons who follows the program got.

Who in the how-to-make money business wants to do that??

Within a few days, my pal Frank Kern announced on his blog (bottom) that he would no longer be using big income stories. And Mike Filsaime, one of the most active Internet marketers of all, announced around then (on Twitter) that he was becoming a software developer. Yesterday, Mr. Filsaime confirmed that “I am excited to close out 2009. Time for me to pass the GURU baton on to others.” (A “tweet” on Twitter 11_2_09)

I suspect he’s concluded that the new FTC regs will bind him too much. Either no more income stories, or else he (and everyone else) has to disclose how everyone else has done with the programs. That is, compared to the income numbers that were advertised.

UPDATE 11_08_09: John Reese, another of the big names in make-money Internet programs, just announced he’s gone offshore, to the Philippines, to market his incomedotcom business.

The buyers of these programs, lured in by the big money, have no way of knowing just how atypical those big income numbers are.

On December 1, 2009, that will change. Big income claims will no longer be allowed. Not without admitting to the audience what typical results were. (Same for weight loss, etc. see below.) From the FTC site:

“Under the revised Guides, advertisements that feature a consumer and convey his or her experience with a product or service as typical when that is not the case will be required to clearly disclose the results that consumers can generally expect. In contrast to the 1980 version of the Guides – which allowed advertisers to describe unusual results in a testimonial as long as they included a disclaimer such as “results not typical” – the revised Guides no longer contain this safe harbor.” From the new FTC Guidelines here.

I think this is a good thing. Not because big income is not or cannot be earned. But because the numbers bandied about are earned by almost no one else, despite good and honest efforts.

No amount of sweet talk – it’s really easy, look at us, we’re just like you – can change the results most people have gotten, even with honest effort.

I think there are better ways to entice good people to join your program. Coming soon.

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • Thanks for sharing the link to the new FTC guidelines. It is only fair that accurate numbers be posted. There are too many people out there being misled.

  • Kim;

    There is a bit of subtlety to what the FTC did.

    They removed the safe harbor for disclaimers.

    So now you cannot say: "X", but your mileage may vary" unless you have and publish typical results.

    Most marketers won't have the typical results, and so the disclaimer will not be effective, and the claim "X" will be misleading on its face.

    The FTC has essentially gotten in through the back door mandatory earnings claims.

  • Michael…

    Yes, now it's clear. If you use the big results, you have to give the typical results as well. Tell what they are. I know of no income promising marketers who want to do that because the real results most everyone gets are just pathetic.

    That's why some of the big guys are either no longer using the income testimonials at all, or like Filsaime, are quitting the 'how to make money online' business altogether.

  • So this ruling applies to all advertising? Online and more traditional? Can we expect to see TV ads start to disclose typical results?

  • jfordhill:

    I'll wait for the final rules, but I can't imagine they'd exclude TV ads with big testimonials. Er, does anyone still watch TV? 🙂

  • Sadly, the regs only affect marketers within the US, so if you see new "opporunities" and other stuff being promoted by the use of earnings claims that look outrageous, you can either assume the "home office" is offshore or that the company itself is incompetent and just asking for an FTC investigation (Frank Kern knows exactly how much fun that is).

    It will be some time before we hear about any serious crackdowns, however – the FTC states in the new rules that they will continue the policy of acting only upon sufficient numbers of complaints (as well as the nature of the complaints submitted). In other words, the FTC is not going to start hunting down violators of the new rules.

    And as usual, there will no doubt be some people who will devote a great deal of energy and resources to trying to find a way around the new regs (often referred to "gaming the system"), and some will even try to lure some suckers into buying a "cheat" that only ends up getting them busted!

    After all, there's still a market for "black hat" SEO tactics, even though most of those tactics are ineffective by the time an "info-product" is ever created around them. By the time the buyers figure things out, the "warranty" has expired!

    We regularly talk about the little "games marketers play," and how to succeed by being you.

    We'd love to hear from YOU, and so would our listeners!

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