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Dec 7, 2009

Social Media Etiquette Tip #8

This is a most fitting tip for today, related of course to the FTC guidelines and 5 Tips we've posted a couple times now.

Don’t Badmouth Others or the Competition – Making enemies on social media sites will get you nowhere fast, and may reflect poorly on you or MonaVie. Focus on what makes you unique and keep it positive. If there are antagonistic remarks made from others, getting into an argument is a no-win situation. Remember you can ignore or block certain posters that are nothing but antagonistic to you instead of providing more ammunition for them.

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Shante

MonaVie Chief Blogger

Dec 7, 2009

MonaVie Rules!

When it comes to policies and rules you say boring, we at headquarters say necessary…and boring…and necessary. In addition to the Policies and Procedures for your market, I hope you are eager to familiarize yourself with a few more important rules, like the new guidelines implemented by the FTC on December 1st, that will definitely affect anyone marketing anything on the face of this planet.

Go here to read the full FTC Guidelines on endorsements and testimonials: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm

Did you read them? Really? That was quick. Okay, we also posted 5 tips to (hopefully) help you navigate your way through any confusion regarding the new guidelines. And if there is confusion, here's the place to talk it out.

This may look like a lot of text but it’s worth your while to know the rules/laws. Now would be a good time to also re-familiarize yourself with the Policies and Procedures for your market where MonaVie clearly states product and income claims are a big no-no. I realize this is frustrating to many of you, but let's talk about that. What questions do you have that you want to ask of our compliance team, legal team, product development team, even executive team? What questions do you have for each other?

In the meantime, here are my first questions to you. What do you think about the new FTC guidelines? What are you concerns, if any? How will they influence how you do business? What are the pros and cons?

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Shante

MonaVie Chief Blogger

Note: We have some really great questions being posted to the comments which tickles me pink. If you have an answer please weigh in, however, I want to make note (made obvious by the word Note in bold) that instead of answering all of these questions myself, I will be gathering as many as possible, circulating them through our legal, product development, marketing and compliance teams and then posting the best answers sometime this week. So if you have something you want to ask, now is a great opportunity.

Dec 4, 2009

Weekly Roundup 12/04/09

MonaVie in the News

Those of us in the U.S. are recovering from the Thanksgiving holiday and looking forward now to 2010! I know our readers are very dedicated and keeping up on everything we post, but just in case you missed it (shame on you)…here are the highlights:

Did you check out the (M)mūn Teaser Video?

Top 5 Things Every MonaVie Distributor Should Know about the New FTC Guidelines (a must read!)

Holiday Gift Packs now including EMV

Register for the Anaheim Regional January 23rd

The Best of MonaVie 2009 Countdown #10 & #9

Twitter FREE Giveaway!

Just in Time for Christmas…

Maybe video games can be good for you?  No, one your kids did not put us up to this post…according to a recent study certain Active Wii sports™ video games and some Wii Fit™ activities may increase adults’ energy expenditure as much as moderately intense exercise, according to the American  Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2009. No…seriously, I’m not making this up.

Health Watch

Link between Rheumatoid Arthritis and Risk of Experiencing Heart Attack Found

According to a new study out of Sweden, there is an alarming link between rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and the risk of experiencing a heart attack.

Marie Gunnarsson, a graduate student at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, followed patients that were newly diagnosed with RA, and compared them with people without it. For ten years, she collected data on heart attacks, heart related deaths and deaths from other causes. What she found was that before their diagnosis, RA patients did not have a higher risk of heart attack, but after their diagnosis, the heart attack risk rates rose steadily. What’s more, is that over the ten year period, the RA patients suffered nearly twice as many heart attacks and heart attack deaths as the non-patients.

Sales of Juice Increase due to H1N1?

Have you been drinking your MonaVie products even more faithfully because of H1N1? You aren't alone. In fact, there are many who are drinking more juice or at least trying to be healthy!  As proof…orange juice sales have surged. Check out the story here:

http://www.nbc-2.com/Global/story.asp?S=11560461

Thanks again to all of you. We've had an overwhelming response on Blog MV, Facebook and Twitter. Stay tuned as the best is yet to come...

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Shante

MonaVie Chief Blogger

Dec 4, 2009

Best of 2009…No. 9: The Wave Magazine Calls Acai: “Superhero of the Superfruits”

We’ve got another for you this week as we count our way down the top 10 MonaVie moments of 2009. I really do sound like a radio talk show host, don’t I?

Coming in at number nine…

The Wave Magazine Calls Acai “Superhero of the Superfruits”

[The Wave Magazine] – March 2009 – The acai berry swooped in as superhero of superfruits, in The Wave Magazine’s annual Health and Beauty issue. Noting its powerful antioxidant benefits, The Wave proclaimed acai as king of the bunch. The Wave also listed MonaVie at the top of their list of favorite acai berry blends.

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Now if that isn’t cool enough, MonaVie was also touted on Rachel Ray as a “Favorite Superdrink.”

Two down, eight more to go in our Best of 2009. We’ll hit you back with a couple more next week. Until then…

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Shante

MonaVie Chief Blogger

Additional Reading

Dec 3, 2009

Be a Follower! Join us on MonaVie Twitter and Receive a FREE Gift

Be the first to hear about new MonaVie Mall items and exclusive offers by following MonaVie on Twitter. It’s easy! No really, it is easy…and once you get the hang of it, it’s super duper fun…and important. Very, very important. Go here and here to learn why.

We want you to join us as we communicate the latest and greatest about MonaVie and topics affecting us in the MonaVie community. We’re coming to you in real time so you’ll be the first to know when you follow us on Twitter. We’ll even make it worth your while. For a limited time all MonaVie Twitter followers will receive a code for a FREE MonaVie Game Cube with any MonaVie Mall purchase. We’ll post a random Tweet with the code so be on the look out.

Um, I kinda like anything with the word free attached.

Oh and to reiterate, you’ll receive many more MonaVie Mall updates through Twitter, including more exclusive promotions, the newest Mall items, items of the week, and Mall Monthly.

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Shante

MonaVie Chief Blogger

Dec 2, 2009

Best of 2009…No. 10: MV Pulse in City Living Magazine

Let the countdown begin. Coming in at number 10 (said in my best Casey Kasem voice) is…

Antioxidant Benefits of MonaVie Touted in City Living Magazine

[Salt Lake City, UT] -- February 4, 2009 -- City Living Magazine featured MonaVie Pulse in their February/March 2009 Beauty and Wellness issue, touting the antioxidant benefits of the acai berry and MonaVie in the article "Get a Boost from your Juice." City Living Magazine also noted the growing popularity of MonaVie among spa-goers.  To view the article navigate to page 45.

City Living Magazine

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Pulse is one of my all-time favorite MonaVie products so I love that this is the first in our countdown. Here’s the mention, back on January 30th on On the Move.

So, that’s stop number one on our Best of 2009 tour. Next stop is number nine. Anyone want to venture a guess at what it will be?

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Shante

MonaVie Chief Blogger

Additional Reading

Dec 1, 2009

5 Tips Every MonaVie Distributor Needs to Know About the New FTC Guidelines

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently came out with revised guidelines in regards to endorsements and testimonials effective Dec 1, 2009 (yes that’s today!).  This post is in no means a scare tactic, nor does MonaVie intend to silence its distributors, but this is to inform and to help explain the new FTC guidelines in which all of us must operate. MonaVie wants to make sure all of its distributors are aware of these changes and requires all of its distributors to comply with the new guidelines.   So here are the “5 Tips Every MonaVie Distributor Needs to Know about the New FTC Guidelines:”

1. MonaVie distributors who provide testimonials online AND offline must be truthful AND be subject to typical results.

If you are a distributor and want to share your story or testimonial anywhere, first ask yourself if the results can be typical? Thus testimonials about MonaVie products or money making opportunities must conform to MonaVie approved statements.

While distributors may not think of themselves as “advertisers” nor their individual stories as “endorsements” the new guidelines seem to explain otherwise.  An endorsement is any advertising message (written, verbal demonstrations or depictions of the name, signature likeness or other personal characteristics of an individual or the name or seal of an organization) that would imply is the opinion, experience, belief or finding of a party other than the sponsoring advertiser.

The advertiser must have adequate substantiation for any experience described by the endorser, i.e- typical results. Gone are the days of simply posting “results may vary”.

Ex. “MonaVie Pulse restored my eyesight.” - While that maybe an honest opinion, it is not a typical result, and therefore, any such opinion posted online or said offline would be in violation of the current guidelines, unless there is valid research to support the claim.

Ex. “I made $25,000, in one month with MonaVie, and you can too.” While this statement may be true…the result is not “typical”.  Such statements would be in violation of the current guidelines. Whenever discussing earnings, you should refer to the Income Disclosure Statement and provide the link or the actual document.

2. Distributors must disclose their relationship or identify themselves as a MonaVie independent distributor when making comments in regards to MonaVie or MonaVie products on blogs, websites, message boards, social networking sites (ex. Facebook, Twitter, etc.), etc.

We require all distributors to identify themselves as independent distributors on their blogs and social networking pages. Remember, social networking is about being transparent and authentic. If you are responding to a health article online and are going to say something about MonaVie or simply replying to a friend on Facebook about a new MonaVie product, you should disclose that you are an independent distributor. Posting the disclosure simply on your blog or social networking page is not enough; you must also do so when posting comments.  If you provide an endorsement or testimonial on your blog site that does not comply with these new guidelines, we suggest you take that information down. If you have video testimonials embed into your blog that do not comply with these guidelines, we suggest you take those down.

Within the new guidelines, the FTC has provided several examples of how the new guidelines could be applied. There are very few examples of how it might apply for MonaVie distributors, however here is one example of how distributors who post on message boards or social networking sites should disclose a relationship.

“Example 8: An online message board designated for discussions of new music download technology is frequented by MP3 player enthusiasts. They exchange information about new products, utilities, and the functionality of numerous playback devices. Unbeknownst to the message board community, an employee of a leading playback device manufacturer has been posting messages on the discussion board promoting the manufacturer’s product.

Knowledge of this poster’s employment likely would affect the weight or credibility of her endorsement. Therefore, the poster should clearly and conspicuously disclose her relationship to the manufacturer to members and readers of the message board.”

3. MonaVie AND the distributors can be held liable for failure to comply.

According to the new guidelines “Endorsements must reflect the honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experience of the endorser.  Endorsements may not imply, suggest, or express any representation that may be deceptive. Endorsers and Advertisers are liable for any false or deceptive statements or for failing to conspicuously disclose required information.”

When one becomes a distributor for MonaVie, you are not just representing yourself, but also MonaVie. As such, under the new guidelines both can be held liable for possible violations. While many of our distributors have compelling stories or testimonials of benefits MonaVie products may have provided for them,  as a distributor, these testimonials can be regarded as endorsements and are thus subject to the new guidelines.

If you are not a distributor, then you are free to post about your experiences.

4. The FTC Does NOT Have a Soft Spot for “Health” Companies

There has been some chatter regarding the enforcement of the new guidelines and how the FTC will police the millions of blogs and comments on the Internet. There is some vagueness as how will these new regulations apply specifically to MonaVie and its distributors, and the regulations themselves state they “do not purport to cover every possible use of endorsements in advertising.”

Richard Cleland, FTC assistant director, division of advertising practices, in a recent interview with Fast Company (http://bit.ly/yjcS) commented on enforcement of the new guidelines (emphasis added):

"I realize there are hundreds of thousands of bloggers out there. Enforcement on a case-by-case basis--that's not even a realistic approach. There are other types of enforcement, surfing the Internet, finding companies that are making significant health claims about products, identifying where problems exist. We'd alert Web sites to potential problems and then invite them to contact us about questions of compliance. I don't think it's a matter of the enforcement side being weak but the most cost-effective tool in our arsenal. In this case, we're going to rely more on voluntary compliance than prosecution. That's the most likely source that we'll be able to use to identify a problem, and if we do see a problem at a ground level and then ask the right questions, we'll figure out why there's a problem pretty quickly and go from there." Also, Cleland adds, "Competitors are very quick to turn people in. I've never suffered from a shortage of competitive complaints."

In researching to obtain clarity on this subject, Cleland repeatedly cited “acai berry” sites as making outrageous claims, and even hinted such sites might not receive a warning.

In addition, do not assume just because the FTC may not have the resources to monitor every single blog or social networking site that our competition is not monitoring what you are saying. MonaVie has seen phenomenal success and growth, and there will be many who will want to see us fail. While it is safe to say that the FTC will likely target sites with many followers/subscribers, as opposed to a small personal blog, it is still best to err on the side of caution because you are a part of highly successful and growing company.

5. Ignorance is NOT Bliss

MonaVie will be monitoring the new regulations and will inform distributors as necessary, but we highly suggest distributors take a chance to read the new regulations themselves and help share this advice with other distributors.

The new guidelines can be viewed here:

http://www.ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf

For any other questions about these guidelines contact the compliance team at compliance@monavie.com.

Dec 1, 2009

MonaVie’s Best of 2009 - Countdown to #1

During the month of December we’ll be featuring the Best of 2009, highlighting all the best mentions of MonaVie in the news. These are stories you’ve seen before but they’re good enough they definitely deserve a second look. Let’s close out this year in style!

Nov 30, 2009

Register for MonaVie’s Anaheim Regional and New FTC Guidelines

First MonaVie Regional of 2010

Register today for the MonaVie Regional in Anaheim, California. The event is January 23rd.

Register here: http://www.regmeup.com/monavie/anaheim/

Details will be posted to On the Move and an email will be hitting your inbox today so keep your eyes peeled, which is totally gross to say now that I think about it. Just be watching your inbox for the email with all the details.

FTC Rules to Know – Coming tomorrow!

Tomorrow we’ll be blogging about the new FTC guidelines that will affect us all. What are these you say? I’m talking about the new guidelines that govern the use of endorsements and testimonials when marketing anything. They are in effect December 1, 2009.

Here’s the link: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm

We’ll be touching on this a lot in the next little while, as well as begin discussing more of what you can say when talking about MonaVie and its products. Understandably, the biggest question that comes up after we remind distributors not to make claims is “What can we say?”

Indeed we prefer to be extra careful when talking about our products – and for good reason. We have a responsibility, regardless of the many amazing experiencing people have with the product, to adhere to the policies and procedures. But let's say we all understand why we don't make claims. Let's say we all understand the policies and procedures and why they are important. We might still be left wondering, what is okay, in terms of what we can say, relative to product science and ingredients, etc.

All in all, there are ways to send a powerful message about our products and the company overall without resorting to miracle claims. So, I vote we talk about that. Who’s with me? I believe most of you know the answers to this question, at least in part, so the discussion will mainly come from you. Still, let's get some of our experts, from compliance and product development and legal in on the conversation and see what we can come up with. Fun!

(M)mūn - Official Product Teaser

Lastly, the word on the street (and by street I mean MonaVie headquarters) is that an official product teaser video will be posted to MonaVie TV this week. Um, early this week. How’s that for a hint?

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Shante

MonaVie Chief Blogger

Nov 30, 2009

Social Media Etiquette Tip #7

It’s NOT Vegas! – What happens on your site, or MonaVie sites, for better or worse may not just stay on your site. If you make an outrageous claim or offend one of your contacts, there’s a chance your mistake may just take on a new life on other websites, blogs, and the big Kahuna – Google. Social media sites are not the venue to provide proprietary information, disclose private financial information or post embarrassing comments and pictures of others. If there are ever any questions about MonaVie, their products, or information please refer to the MonaVie website or contact distributor support at distributorsupport@monavie.com or 1-866-217-8455. Product questions go to productquestions@monavie.com.

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Shante

MonaVie Chief Blogger

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