The company allegedly ran sites with names such as "News 6 News Alerts," "Health News Health Alerts," and "Health 6 Beat Health News." The sites feature purportedly objective investigative reports of acai products by reporters, who supposedly tried the stuff "and experienced dramatic and positive results."
But the FTC says in its complaint:
In fact, Defendants' news reports are fake. Reporters or commentators pictured on the sites are fictional and never conducted the tests or experienced the results described in the reports. The 'responses' and 'comments' following the reports are simply additional advertising content, not independent statements from ordinary consumers.
Beony International couldn't be immediately reached for comment.
But David Vladeck, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, had plenty to say in a statement:
Almost everything about these sites is fake. The weight loss results, the so-called investigations, the reporters, the consumer testimonials, and the attempt to portray an objective, journalistic endeavor.
So the FTC is going after the companies with charges they're making false and unsubstantiated product claims, making misrepresentations that constitute deceptive advertising and failing to disclose the relationship between the news sites and the websites where the products are sold.