Judge Orders $16M Payment from Fake News Site Marketers

A Connecticut U.S. District court has issued a $16 million summary judgment against LeadClick ($12 million) and Corelogic ($12 million), affiliate marketers that drove traffic to fake news sites that hawked LeanSpa acai berry and "colon cleansing" weight-loss products.

The sites — channel8health.com, dailyhealth6.com and online6health.com — often included the logos of news outlets, including CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, to lend weight to their claims about weight loss.

The Federal Trade Commission had sought the judgment, which the two companies are challenging in a federal appeals court. The money is not a fine, but disgorgement of the marketers' "ill-gotten gains" from driving traffic to the websites, where consumers bought the product through a "free trial" offer that morphed into a monthly $79.99 payment that was tough to cancel.

For the full story go to Multichannel.com.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.