I'm Right Again Dot Com
A new commentary every Wednesday — January 6, 2016
FTC SLAMS LUMOSITY BRAIN GAME PROGRAM
"If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." Versions of this homespun dictum has been around for years. It has been used extensively by the Better Business Bureau for decades.
This week, the Federal Trade Commission disappointed up to 25 million subscribers to Lumosity, a supposed "brain training" program, marketed aggressively since 2007 by Lumos Labs, through TV, radio, social media, eMails and every method known collectively as "advertising," but unsupported by scientific fact. The FTC fined Lumosity $2-million dollars intended to redress subscribers' expenses due to "deceptive advertising." Actually a Federal Court order imposed a $50-million judgment on Lumosity, but the FTC decided that this would render Lumosity unable to further function in an effort to recompense subscribers who paid from $15 per month, to as as much as $300 for a "Lifetime Membership."
The FTC alleged that Lumos Labs training with Lumosity would not improve performance on everyday tasks, in school, at work, and in athletics, as well as age-related cognitive impairment, as claimed.
According to the FTC, "Lumosity has no evidence to support claims that activities on its website and applications do anything to enhance brain function or ward-off degenerative brain diseases. Neither Lumos Labs, or its officers: Founder and CEO Kunal Sarker and former Chief Scientific Officer Michael Scanlon, provided the science necessary to back up its advertising claims. The FTC also charged, that "Lumosity purchased Google Adwords related to memory, cognition, dementia and Alzheimer's disease to attract possible membership purchasers." Furthermore, the complaint also charges that "defendants failed to disclose that testimonials gathered through 'contests' promised significant prizes such as iPads and 'trips to San Francisco' to those chosen to testify to the efficacy of the program.
Doggone it, I had been planning on being able to expand on the theory of Quantum Mechanics and exactly what each of those subatomic "Quarks" do.
The problem is that Lumosity spawned a score of imitators, hoping to cash in on Lumos Lab's success. I see that there is an over-the-counter nostrum offering similar claims prominently on TV— none as blatant as that used by Lumos Labs—so maybe I'll give it a try. Else, I'm condemned to forever continue to make numerous errors in spelling and breaking every rule of grammar and punctuation.
If you are or have been a member of the Lumosity program, I suggest you follow up with the Federal Trade Commission and take a number on http://www.ftc.gov
That $2-million will not last long.
-Phil Richardson, Observer of
the human condition and storyteller. "He goes doddering on into his
old age, making a public nuisance of himself." - Joseph L. Menchen
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