Online Marketers Beware!
The above mentioned statement is only applicable to those online marketers who use the names or photographs of celebrities, to endorse their products without having taken the consent of the celebrities concerned.
While this has been a very common practice for a long time now, talk show host Oprah Winfrey has decided not to take this practise lying down anymore.
Mashable reports that Oprah, along with Dr. Mehmet Oz and The Illinois Attorney General’s office, has filed a lawsuit against over 50 marketers for using her name to promote their products without her consent.
The lawsuit filed by Attorney General Lisa Madigan, charges 3 suppliers and a local affiliate marketer of acai berry products, for misleading consumers, by offering free trials and then charging them through their credit cards, even before the trial product reaches them. The scammers also makes it very difficult to cancel the order or to stop payment.
The suppliers named in a press release by the Illinois Attorney General are Advanced Wellness Research, its successor Netalab and its former President Nicholas Molina, Crush LLC and its owner TMP Nevada Inc and Amirouche and Norton LLC and Larby Amirouche.
Reuters reports that a lawsuit has also been filed in New York for copyright and trademark infringement against about 50 companies for misusing names, pictures, voices or trademarks and leading consumers to believe that their products have been tested and recommended by Oprah and Dr. Oz, which is not the case at all.
Following the filing of the lawsuit, an online affiliate ad network Azoogle, sent an email to its members, warning them about the possible consequences of using celebrity names without permission.
These lawsuits might have the desired effect, in the short run, but unscrupulous marketers will always find ways to exploit the law unless more celebrities decide to take action against such marketers and bring more of them to justice for brand abuse.