The Office of Fair Trading has investigated concerns that "reviews and product endorsements running on some affiliates' websites were presented as independent consumer reviews when they were actually commercial promotions".
Monday, 14 May 2012
I have expressed concern previously about the quality of evidence used to support statements made about the products sold by MoreNiche affiliates and written about a number of products (see below). Ironically this means that I now get some of the keyword traffic although I'm not selling anything.
The Office of Fair Trading recently concluded an investigation into MoreNiche and determined that more needed to be done to make it clear to visitors to the affiliates' sites that affiliates will receive payment when someone clicks on the 'buy now' link. MoreNiche have already addressed this by providing guidance to their affiliates and the OFT noted that they engaged with the investigation and were keen to be transparent which is good.
What surprises me is that OFT didn't question the evidence (or irrelevant testimonials) used to sell products.
As an example, one capsule-based product contains a number of plant-based ingredients but instead of providing trial evidence of the complete product the marketing content talked only about evidence relating to the ingredients when investigated individually. This seems to be a fairly common technique, and it isn't good evidence unfortunately.
Some of my blog posts about MoreNiche products
• Phen375 weight loss pills "reviewed" (14 January 2012)
• Capsiplex Plus - yet more magic beans advertised in newspapers (31 December 2011)
• Polite suggestion to people writing about diet pills, patches or other supplements (26 December 2011)
• Watch out for some PR about "Nuratrim" - wonder where the evidence is (21 December 2011)
I'm hoping there'll be more to come on this later, but probably not from the OFT.
MoreNiche must come clean about online plugs by Andrew Penman in Mail Online (25 April 2012), amusingly this was tagged as 'online scams'.
Investigation into inadequate disclosures in respect of Affiliate Marketing businesses OFT website (April 2012)
MoreNiche discusses OFT's quest for transparency in affiliate marketing - Q&A by Simon Holland on Affiliates4U (April 2012) - interview with Andrew Slack, MoreNiche's Managing Director.