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FutureNet pays up; faux beanie babies flood the test centre

FutureNet pays up; faux beanie babies flood the test centre

It was encouraging to hear of the $US1 million settlement FutureNet (www.futurenet-online.com) agreed to in order to resolve Federal charges against its "network marketing and multilevel compensation plan" to sell WebTVs which was actually a pyramid scheme. We wrote about FutureNet's questionable business practices almost one year ago.

FutureNet sold its Internet Consultant packages for $US700 and higher. This included a $US300 WebTV and the "opportunity" to recruit friends and family as Internet consultants. We think the company might as well have used the sucker.com domain while they were at it.

A good read

Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission sought a permanent injunction against the company. The modified temporary restraining order barring the company from offering the distributorships is now posted (a condition of the order itself) on FutureNet's site. It is composed of 18 pages of slow-loading ignominy, but it's one of the best reads we've had in a while.

Meanwhile, those 21st century Horatio Algers are still at it, hawking everything from videophones to spot removers. Two products in FutureNet's Clustered Water family caught our eye. Energy Time promises to "restore metabolic efficiency and rehydrate the body's cells", while Emerald Evening is an "all-natural blend of aloe and 72 trace minerals which provides calming, soothing effects to promote relaxation".

At $US35 a bottle, it's cluster-something, that's for sure.

It seems public relations departments are the latest carriers of Beanie Baby fever. We knew the little bean bags were hot, but until now our experience with them has been limited to watching a couple of brisket-lovin' carnies manhandle them on a late-night shop-at-home channel.

But our closet of vendor freebies has been, er, stuffed of late with floppy wildlife of all shapes and colours - Beanies and some even cheaper knockoffs. First came an adorable bulldog from a vendor promoting a security product. Next was a cute pink octopus finger puppet picked up at a Claris party. Apparently, this was how the company decided to spend its last fifty grand.

The mother of all Beanies though had to be the chipmunk in a blue tutu we received, along with a book on the year-2000 issue called Teaching Chipmunks to Dance. Well, what else would you send out to promote it? We haven't read the book yet - year-2000 primers are as prolific around here as critters in a national park - but we highly recommend the Beanie. It's cute as can be.


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