by Paul Alan Levy
Last December, I blogged about deceptive practices used by Lifestyle Lift to mislead consumers using Google’s search to come to supposed complaint sites that were actually its own sites praising its services, and to create sites that were supposedly independent praise from consumers but actually seemed to be authored by Lifestyle Lift and its publicists.
Turns out that the examples I cited just scratched the surface of Lifestyle Lifts's abuses. Jennifer Peltz reports today on a settlement announed by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo of his own investigation into these practices, which included both having employees posed as satisfied consumers, and efforts to bully legitimate message board posters who criticized Lifestyle Lift and trying to get those posts removed from message board. The release features such juicy quotes from Lifestyle’s internal communications as “One e-mail to employees said: ‘Friday is going to be a slow day - I need you to devote the day to doing more postings on the web as a satisfied client.’ Another internal email directed a Lifestyle Lift employee to ‘Put your wig and skirt on and tell them about the great experience you had.’”
My recently former colleague Brian Wolfman recently blogged here about an FTC enforcement initiative on the related issue of bloggers who promote products without revealing a sponsorship relationship.