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Google Sniping - FTC Compliant?

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by SRLee, Dec 20, 2009.

  1. SRLee

    SRLee Junior Member

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    Is Google Sniping FTC compliant?

    This is what I currently do:

    1. Find keyword.
    2. Create virtual character.
    3. Create results.
    4. Sell a particular product.

    On the website, I have a Privacy Policy pages.

    On that page, I have a disclaimer that states that I receive commissions whenever a sale is made, but in a very small font size. The privacy policy was generated from free online services.

    Is this FTC compliant? I live in the 3rd World, and the last thing I want is a USD10,000 fine which is MORE than the price of a new small car(USD4,000).

    Does the FTC only come to you when somebody reports that particular website?

    Thanks for all help!
     
  2. aReJay

    aReJay Power Member

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    Errr. The FTC is a US federal body and unable to touch you if you are not a resident or citizen of the US.
     
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  3. Yukinari84

    Yukinari84 Elite Member

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    To be on the safe side, you should make your disclaimer more obvious. The fact that you have it in very small text may be seen as an attempt for you to hide the fact that you are getting a commission if the FTC does happen to check out your sites. You really should put something next next to the links that shows that it is an affiliate link and you will get a commission from the sale. The FTC looks down upon putting this information in a website's TOS pages already, but doing in WITH very small text could be putting your site at risk if the FTC happens to come knocking.

    As far as whether or not they will is unknown. The FTC's new regulations were really made in attempt to stop the large scales scams that are happening online. But they can still check your site, so it's better to be on the safer side.

    Also, I see you say you "create results". That is another area to be careful in. If you are saying you got good results, make sure that you make it clear that it is your own personal results and that they may not be typical for anyone else.


    A lot of people think that the new regulations don't affect them since they are not a US citizen, but apparently this is not the case. If you are doing business in the US, then you fall under the FTCs regulations.

    If your sites are hosted on a US, being served to USA customers, showing up in US based search engines, etc, then technically the FTC can go after you if they decide to. The FTC also has many countries that have signed on and support the new regulation of online marketing, so everyone that is doing business online should be paying attention since it affects pretty much everyone.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
  4. SRLee

    SRLee Junior Member

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    Thanks aReJay and Yukinari84 for the replies!

    Well, should I just put the text to normal size on the Privacy Policy page? Less than 10% of the visitors go there, so it really shouldn't affect anything.

    Yes, I literally "create results". But I do mention that the result is typical, and it may not work for the visitor.

    Yeah. I heard of an Australian spammer that got caught by the FTC. Scares shit out of me. @.@
     
  5. Yukinari84

    Yukinari84 Elite Member

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    The FTC clearly states in the new guidelines that you must disclose your affiliation with a product/network if you have one. And they do not want disclosures on a website's TOS pages. So Privacy Policy, TOS, etc are frowned upon by the FTC. So basically if you have a link in your text that is an aff link, you should say that the link is an affiliate link and you will get a commission from the sale if the reader chooses to buy or something like that.

    Speaking of disclaimers, here's mine. None of what I say is legal advice in way, shape, or form. You should contact a professional lawyer if you are seeking real advice.
     
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  6. Tom__

    Tom__ Junior Member

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    If you aren't from the USA, just don't bother...
     
  7. SRLee

    SRLee Junior Member

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    Wow. That would seriously hurt commissions. Do you disclose openly(anywhere near the link) that you get commissions if they buy something through the link?

    I'm not doing good already, and I don't want things to get worse lol. I'm just 2 sales short of my first check. @.@
     
  8. penaakul

    penaakul Regular Member

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    this is the only thing that made me stop doing affiliate marketing for a while. the affiliate link disclosure surely kills the purpose of affiliate system. right now, i don't have any idea how to encounter the disclosure rule without affecting interest that has been created from my landing page. if anyone have better knowledge regarding this new FTC regulation, share it so that you can help other members here that doing affiliate marketing. after all, that's why BHW has existed in the first place. :p
     
  9. DeuceP

    DeuceP Newbie

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    If you have to lie to someone about how great a product is then you shouldn't market that product. If the product is great and the copy is sincere the FTC disclaimer while it sucks is better than getting a 3 letter acronym affiliate of the US gov after you. Plus I would really like to see how much it does in fact affect conversions.
     
  10. SRLee

    SRLee Junior Member

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    DeuceP, I understand faking results aren't nice, but without faking results Google Sniping wouldn't exist.

    Sure there will be some true people that used and personally like the product. But that amount is just a handful, in my opinion.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
  11. JohnG

    JohnG Junior Member

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    FTC guidelines are only a concern for those of us in the United States or other western countrys (Canada, UK, ect).
     
  12. SRLee

    SRLee Junior Member

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    An Australian spammer was fined by the FTC recently for a huge sum. Just do a Google search for "Australian spammer" and it should come up.

    That is why I believe everyone in any country is at risk, if you market to the US and serve the US people.
     
  13. penaakul

    penaakul Regular Member

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    from your post, it looks like you've mistaken me as a product creator. no, i'm not. the landing page that i've mentioned above is not product landing page since i'm an affiliate but rather my blog. the only thing that matters right now is how do we supposed to disclose the affiliate link and at the same time the disclosure doesn't lower/kill the interest of visitors? that's the main point.

    honestly, for me right now, affiliate marketing for information products (ebooks) is pretty much dead unless you have your own product and promoting it with jv (split the revenue at the back - not using any payment processor system like clickbank but create your own tracking system). it doesn't affect physical products too much because people have high trust for amazon, shopping, ebay. that's it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
  14. SRLee

    SRLee Junior Member

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    So basically, Google Sniping doesn't work anymore?

    What else could we do to make money online. X.x

    I think the FTC comes knocking on the door when someone complains, right?
     
  15. penaakul

    penaakul Regular Member

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    it's not about what works and what doesn't. the google sniping methodology can be applied with other monetization models such as adsense.. it's all about the new FTC regulation which brings the death of affiliate system. that's all. and do you know how big is affiliate businesses? even you do blackhat or whatsoever tricks to hide from being ruled by FTC, you can't run away because the affiliate network has your details unless you create a fake identity. i can see a new business model here. 'fake identity to run from FTC'. LOL..:D
     
  16. wowhaxor

    wowhaxor Executive VIP Premium Member

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    screw the FTC, they can come prosecute me if they like but I doubt it will ever happen.
     
  17. SRLee

    SRLee Junior Member

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    @Guerilla, well I'm really worried. Because where I live, USD1 = MYR3.5. One Big Mac set in the US equals to 3 Big Mac sets in my country. And I mean it. 3 sets. So it's something for me to think about.

    @wowhaxor, why are you so sure? I would love to hear what you think.
     
  18. GeoffreyF67

    GeoffreyF67 Guest

    I'm not terribly worried about it hurting conversions. You can see what I've done here:

    hxxp://www.gmansthougts.com

    As I get more categories and what not, that message will be pushed off the fold...and, honestly, even if it did not - these are people who want to read a review. So I give them a review of the product and it's up to them to buy or not.

    If I do a decent job on tthe review then I doubt they'll be affected much by the affiliate disclosure.

    Another thing to note....Some of the 'big' marketers are using disclosures like the one I have and they have products they promote. If it works for them, why would it not work for me?

    G-Man

    P.S. Mmmmmm....Big Mac...mmmmm
     
  19. SRLee

    SRLee Junior Member

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    Geoffrey, I cannot access the link that you have given. Mistake? I can't see what you have done.

    Lol Big Mac. McDonald's is everywhere. :D
     
  20. blackhaze

    blackhaze Power Member

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    I am not (anymore :) ) resident of the US..but this i BS...you are saying that even a DISCLAIMER is not enough??? I would need to mark the links?? WTF...