The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently sued some website owners for deceptive trade practices. What the government has claimed is a lesson about what not to do with your website – unless you enjoy getting sued.
Internet marketing tactics that lead to government investigations and lawsuits.
Here are some highlights of what the website owners allegedly did that got the FTC’s attention.
- Set up websites to look like news websites even though they were really product sales pages.
- Made false and deceptive claims about what their product could do for clients.
- Gave free samples to clients who provided testimonials but did not disclose that fact.
- Paid clients for video testimonials but didn’t disclose that either.
- Misused a celebrity’s photo to imply the celebrity had endorsed their product.
- Ran banner and text ads with deceptive product claims.
“[The defendants] compounded the deception by advertising on pretend news sites, making it impossible for people to know whether they were seeing news or an ad.” – Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
How do you avoid website-related lawsuits?
People can sue anyone for anything these days regardless of the merits. However, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of legitimate lawsuits by unhappy clients or the government.
This includes making sure your website is both factually correct and contains all of the information a prospective client needs in order to make an informed decision whether or not your product or service should be purchased. Honesty and transparency are mandatory.
This is particularly important if you’re selling products and services in high risk niches such as health or how to make money online.
Get a Professional Website Legal Diagnostic
If you value your time and hate lawsuits, a good place to start is to get a site legal checkup by having a Professional Website Legal Diagnostic performed by an experienced Internet lawyer. That way you’ll know what needs to be changed on your site in order to reduce your risk of getting taken to the cleaners in a lawsuit.