Let’s talk about the giant elephant in the room.
Paypal is banning accounts left and right and crippling people’s businesses.
“It’s not a new problem,” says Kathe Lucas, one of the first successful women in our industry in a recent interview with JVZoo. “I had my account shut down in 2007. PayPal has always been around closing accounts down.”
Things shift and change in business and life. Change is the only constant. Giant changes happen to the biggest, best, and brightest. Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, worth an estimated $136.2 Billion, just announced that he and his wife are getting a divorce after 25 years of marriage. 25 YEARS of doing things one way, and now things are getting turned completely upside down. Even for a guy like Bezos. Despite the fact that it might be a “friendly” breakup, it’s still going to cost him big.
We all have to be ready to adjust to what’s happening now, so we can continue to move forward. As the industry grows and more and more people are comfortable buying online, business practices are being put under the microscope.
So then, what CAN you do to protect your business from situations like the current one affecting so many people right now?
With all the uproar about PayPal in our industry right now, no one can say for sure if the folks at PayPal are adhering strictly to their own set of government rules and making decisions by them. There are a LOT of questions as to why this is suddenly happening on such a large scale. But, it’s safe to say it’s a good idea to play by the FTC rules or you might not get to play at all.
One of the best ways to stay out of trouble is to practice truth in advertising and truth in selling.
Have YOU ever been the victim of a false ad or a deceptive marketing scheme? Perhaps there was a time when a very compelling ad convinced you to buy a product or service, only to find out later that you had been misled by the marketing?
It sucks, doesn’t it?
According to TruthinAdvertising.org, billions of dollars are lost each year to consumers who are being misled by deceptive marketing and false ads. “Not only do these tactics impact us as consumers, but a mind-boggling amount of money is misdirected in our economy as a result of deceptive marketing. All too often, companies with quality goods and services lose out to businesses premised on false marketing campaigns.”
At JVZoo, we have a worldwide reputation for integrity in business and strict adherence to compliance with FTC rules and laws
Our compliance department is rigorous when it comes to reviewing sales pages. The reason we are so tough on compliance is to keep things fair to consumers, keep things legal, and keep business flowing.
Keep your sales pages FTC compliant, and our compliance Team will stay off your back.
And even more compelling…keeping your sales page compliant gets your product one step closer to being selected as Product of the Day!
So…what exactly does it mean to be FTC compliant?
First, let’s define what the FTC actually is…
The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) is a federal agency with a unique dual mission to protect consumers and promote competition. Their mission is:
“Protecting consumers and competition by preventing anticompetitive, deceptive, and unfair business practices through law enforcement, advocacy, and education without unduly burdening legitimate business activity.”
With a focus on actions that:
- Protect consumers from unfair and deceptive practices in the marketplace
- Maintain competition to promote a marketplace free from anticompetitive mergers, business practices, or public policy outcomes
- Advance the FTC’s performance through excellence in managing resources, human capital, and information technology
Everything the FTC does is to prevent unfair methods of competition in commerce. So, they are watching for spammy and scammy sounding sales copy.
The FTC rules and statues can be quite confusing as they are written in complicated legal terms. You can check out the details of every rule at www.ftc.gov
But, we want to break it down into simpler terms on the items that apply to YOU and Your Business with JVZoo…
What kinds of things are violations of FTC rules?
Overpromising and hype – This is a big one and one we see a great deal in our industry. Promising specific amounts of income with the purchase of a product, number of leads generated, rapid weight loss, and similar claims that seem “too good to be true” generally fall under violation of FTC Rule 16 CFR Part 255 and Part 437. Claims made on any sales page need to be realistic. Best practice for sellers is to use specific figures to prove that the claim is actually what an “average customer” will experience when they purchase a product. Sellers should never guarantee that users will obtain a certain level of earnings or income.
Note that most recently, payment processors are cracking down even on screenshots of income earned if it is being used to show the results a product can produce. The theory is that it is impossible to prove if a screenshot of an account is actually reliable information. Unfortunately, there have been cases of fake and doctored screenshots of income. Screenshots like this have become one reason people’s sales pages and accounts associated with them are getting flagged as fraudulent.
Fake Testimonials – FTC rules get very specific on how testimonials can be used to endorse a product or service in 16 CFR 255.2. You cannot pay someone to write a testimonial for you. You can’t even give free product or compensate in any way. You cannot create testimonials that are not from real actual people. If a testimonial makes a specific claim about a product, the FTC recognizes that as a claim made by the company, so beware of overly hyped-up testimonials as well.
“Free” Stuff – FTC Rule 16 CFR Part 251 says that if you use the word “Free” in your sales copy without further explanation, the product or service must be just that…FREE. If there are any other terms or conditions, such as paying shipping or handling, or a recurring charge that will begin at a later date, it must be clearly disclosed. See details on listing a free product on JVZoo HERE.
100% Satisfaction Guaranteed or Lifetime – These two phrases make promises that the seller must keep according to FTC Rule 16 CFR Part 239. If Satisfaction is 100% Guaranteed, the seller must be willing to refund the customer 100% if they are unsatisfied unless other limitations are disclosed. Similarly, if the word “lifetime” is used, then the “life” or duration of the product must be clearly defined. You are best served to leave these two phrases off your sales page! If fact, if JVZoo’s compliance department finds the word lifetime, they will ask you to remove it.
Business Opportunities – According to FTC Rule 16 CFR Part 437, anything that leads a customer to believe that they will make a certain level of income or buy into a business is a violation. Phrases like “business in a box,” “passive income,” “profits on autopilot,” or “make money while you sleep” should not be used in your sales copy. Rule 437 also includes the requirement for a Disclaimer to be included on your sales page. Compliance will call you out if you are missing a disclaimer on your sales page.
Fake Timer – We see it all too often…the fake timer that runs down to zero and resets…with no change in price as promised in the sales copy. Not only is this false advertising and in violation of FTC Rules, it is also the fastest way to create distrust with your customers. Do yourself, JVZoo’s Compliance Team, and the integrity of our entire industry a favor and don’t use fake timers!
Need an example of a sales page that is doing it RIGHT?
Go HERE to Check out Interactr, the latest interactive video software technology.
On the Interactr sales page, you will find no overly hyped claims and no screenshots of income. There is a video testimonial of one user’s results, but there is also a disclaimer at the bottom of the page that goes into detail on how “There is no guarantee you will duplicate the results stated here.” The sellers present the product and what it can do for you with no overpromising and offer a 14-Day, no-questions-asked, money back guarantee.
Making an effort to follow the rules of the FTC is only scratching the surface of all the different ways you’ve got to jump through hoops to keep your business running safely and smoothly online. When it all comes down to how you are promoting your product or service online, ask yourself this one simple question: Is it true?
If you practice 100% truth, transparency, and integrity in all your sales copy and advertising, you’re that much closer to keeping your business out of harm’s way.