Probably the most shocking part of this story is that it took so long to reveal what seems to be kind of a given: Those ubiquitous “1 Tip for a Tiny Belly” ads are a scam, says the Federal Trade Commission.
The Washington Post (via Jezebel) reports on the FTC’s case against the ads, which feature a woman with an ever shrinking and then increasing stomach. Turns out, when you click on those “weird old tips” to get a flatter tummy, a promoter gets some money for directing you to various weight-loss products and a “free” sample.
Often, those free samples of acai berry and African potions customers go for automatically renew themselves for $79.99 a month. Consumers are led further astray into believing they’re buying something awesome as the follow-up ads cite fake reporters from real news agencies like CNN with fake stories about the success of the tips.
Even if you’ve never bought into those concoctions, enough consumers have, to the tune of $1 billion and millions of duped customers, claims the FTC. The sites go by names such as Consumeronlinetips.com and Weeklyhealthnews.com.
The sites typically feature an article in which an attractive young TV reporter “investigates” the benefits of a diet involving a series of products. Sometimes the products are made from mangoes or acai berries, a fruit grown in South and Central America. In other cases, the products come from human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone produced by developing embryos and the pituitary gland.
Here’s a tip to a smaller belly — eat veggies and do some sit-ups, lazybones!
Ubiquitous ‘tiny belly’ online ad part of scheme, government says [The Washington Post]