CARU Recommends FooMoJo Modify ‘Foo Pets’ Website to Eliminate Undue Sales Pressure, Disclose Membership Requirement

New York, NY – April 6, 2011 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc., has recommended that FooMojo Inc., modify its Website to disclose that memberships are required for full participation and to eliminate undue sales pressure.

 The Website, foopets.com, came to the attention of CARU through a consumer complaint.

 Upon CARU’s initial examination, the Website allowed children to “adopt the world’s cutest online pet.” To enter the adoption center, children were required to enter a username and password. There, they could name a pet of their choice, feed it, walk it and play with it.

 During this time, the child’s virtual pet was housed in a time-limited adoption center, which closed 30 minutes after a visitor logged in.  When the center was closed, visitors were unable to enter the center and interact with pets unless they “re-open[ed] the center right now by joining ClubFoo.”

 Clicking on the words “ClubFoo” brought visitors to a membership package page.  Memberships ranged from $4.99 for one month to $39.99 for one year.

Visitors who did not join ClubFoo received various pop-up messages on their computer screens, telling them to so. One such message stated:  “This cute Husky just got adopted!  If you don’t want someone else to get [your pet’s name], the [pet] you’re playing with, join ClubFoo Now!”

CARU questioned whether the advertiser clearly disclosed that membership was required for the adoption of a pet and whether the advertiser created a sense of undue sales pressure. 

In response to CARU’s inquiry, the operator stated that it would make clear visitors had to buy a ClubFoo membership prior to adopting a pet. The operator further stated that it would eliminate messages that conveyed undue sales pressure such as, “if you don’t want someone else to get [your pet’s name], the [pet] you’re playing with, join ClubFoo Now!”

 In its advertiser’s statement, the company said that it “agrees with this decision and is pleased to be in compliance.”