Following on the 2009 FTC guidelines for bloggers to disclose commercial relationships when writing product reviews, the FTC has fined Legacy Learning Systems $250,000 for deceptive advertising practices. Legacy Learning Systems, publishers of the "Learn & Master" Guitar course has been accused of planting phony reviews for years.
According to the FTC:
The FTC charged that Legacy Learning and Smith disseminated deceptive advertisements by representing that online endorsements written by affiliates reflected the views of ordinary consumers or ‘independent’ reviewers, without clearly disclosing that the affiliates were paid for every sale they generated.”
"Whether they advertise directly or through affiliates, companies have an obligation to ensure that the advertising for their products is not deceptive," says David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
While the FTC settlement is a good sign, it's still a slap-on-the-wrist for Legacy Learning Systems. The company generated more than $5 million in revenue through it's affiliate program.
So if you want high quality guitar courses without scam reviews, my recommendation is Metal Method. Doug Marks, the developer of this series, has always played it straight. It's a great product and one that doesn't need scam reviews to promote it.
This is definitely a win for the little guy!