Tuesday, 27 April 2010
*Global Information Network - a pyramid scheme?
I don't normally do complaints about pyramid schemes, but since an advert for this opportunity - which certainly resembles one - has appeared in Nexus Magazine, I'll make an exception.
UPDATE, 11 Aug: The ASA has written to confirm that the advertiser, who they call a "GIN affiliate who is based in the USA", has agreed not to repeat the advert. During their enquiries, the ASA did not establish whether or not GIN operates a pyramid scheme.
The website for this business opportunity makes all kinds of bizarre claims, and to find out if any of them are justified, it'll cost you a £1000 sign-up fee and US$150 monthly thereafter.
ASA complaints follows.
"I write to complain about an advert in "Nexus" magazine (April-May 2010, Vol 17, No 3, p76, top-left corner).
The advert, promoting the "Global Information Network", is entitled "Highest Level Secret Society members are teaching their secrets".
I suspect that the advert may be in breach of three sections of the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP) code. I can provide an original copy of the advert by post, if required.
1. The CAP Code, Section 7.1, states "No marketing communication should mislead, or be likely to mislead, by inaccuracy, ambiguity, exaggeration, omission or otherwise".
2. Under Section 7.1, I challenge whether the advert, which promotes a multi-level marketing scheme, misleadingly implies that it is promoting membership of a secret society.
3. The CAP Code, Section 52.5, states "...the initial marketing communication should normally state if an investment is required".
4. Under Section 52.5, I challenge whether the advert omits the fact that an investment of £1,000, plus US$150 per month, is required.
5. The CAP Code, Section 52.8, states "Marketing communications should not offer schemes under which consumers pay or give other consideration for the opportunity to receive compensation that is derived primarily from the introduction of other consumers into the scheme and not from the sale or consumption of products ('pyramid schemes')".
6. Under Section 52.8, I challenge whether the advert is promoting a "pyramid scheme".
7. I confirm that I have no connections with the advertiser, the magazine or with the MLM industry in general. I confirm that I am not involved in legal proceedings with the advertiser or the magazine.
(In particular, see the section marked "Referral, network, or multi-level marketing is powerful and explosive")