3rd Party Data Deception: Red Light Therapy Intensity Top Offenders
At GembaRed we have held ourselves to a higher standard of truth and transparency. We were the first red light panel company to have 3rd party tested intensity and transparently portray the results on our product page.
The point of 3rd party data is not just to "have" it and still lie about intensity anyway like many companies are doing now. It was about following basic advertising law and delivering the product that is specified on the product page.
It is not a marketing gimmick to be honest in advertising, in fact it is the bare minimum to conduct a legal and ethical business.
- If MitoRed advertises delivering >170mW/cm^2 at 6 inches away but they have 3rd party data that says it emits 73 mW/cm^2 at 6 inches away.
- If RedLightRising advertises delivering 161mW/cm^2 at 15cm away but they have 3rd party data that says it is 65.51mW/cm^2 at 15cm away.
Clearly this is a massive discrepancy of over 2x that should be easily corrected by updating the advertised numbers on the product page as soon as they obtained the 3rd party results. They could have even done it quietly, with no fuss, but they choose not to.
No amount of excuses, using asterisks that contradicts your advertising, using different units, using fine print, links to other documents, or burying the accurate data in supplementary materials; there are clear guidelines and precedents that these are misleading tactics.
If a company does not deliver the product as advertised on the product page, then the consumer has been mislead when shopping and purchasing.
It doesn't matter if the product was measured by a 3rd party, by a calibrated laser power meter, a solar power meter with a correction factor, or if you asked a ouija board for the intensity. What matters is the end result of honest advertising on the product page.
Normally 3rd party testing is only required in industries where you don't trust the companies to begin with, or the equipment and expertise required to do the testing is too expensive. In this industry it is a little bit of both.
Once again, the actions of the "top" brands have left another negative stain on the industry by losing trust in 3rd party testing claims. Many brands "have" 3rd party data, but utilize it as another deception to build trust with the consumer and then lie to them about intensity anyway on their product pages.
Exposing the truth is always a positive experience in the long run, and we believe these companies will eventually do the honourable thing by correcting their advertising and apologizing to their customers. We are just giving them a polite nudge in the correct direction.
Alex Fergus's Testing:
Alex Fergus has done this industry a great service by measuring and comparing so many different brands of panels. However, the industry shouldn't rely on him to "vet" all brands. Each brand should take responsibility to accurately represent their products on their own websites.
Alex has become a crutch for this industry because no one trusts the advertised specifications from red light panel manufacturers.
In 2019, during his review, Alex discovered a grave deception. All of the brands he measured were falsely advertising their intensity by a wide margin.
In 2021, Alex did another big review. Yet again most of the intensity claims were falsely high by a wide margin.
Because of this, Alex has occasionally implied in his content that he does not trust the advertised intensity on any red light panel brand. This includes even his top recommended brands and even GembaRed ourselves.
However, when Alex measured our Reboot panel he emailed us this.
Just finished testing your panel.
A few things:
1) Peak power was 50.1 - that is the absolute highest figure I saw. But 'average' peak would be mid to high 40's. I just looked on your site at the 6 inch reading was 44 mw so that aligns well."
Which may be one of the first panels he had ever measured that his measurements "aligns well" with what is advertised. I wonder what kind of feedback he gives his top paying companies when he observed their websites do not "align well" with his measurements? Did he kindly ask them to correct it so he wouldn't be complicit with endorsing misleading advertising?
Alex's measurement's aligning with our measurements is actually more of a validation of his measurement technique. Since we are advertising the 3rd party measurements, and his tool is not necessarily NIST calibrated or operated by a trained expert in photometrics. So it is a good confirmation that his tool and techniques are relatively accurate if it matches our advertised numbers.
If we had our own ranking, then we would rank honest advertising as #1, since that will have the greatest impact on proper dosing and safety.
So, we have compiled Alex's measurements of intensity and compared it against the advertised intensity measurements.
Ranking of Intensity Discrepancies:
We will be ranking the discrepancies of Alex's 2021/22 peak intensity measurements versus the current advertised intensities on those company websites. We will highlight in RED if there is a discrepancy greater than +/- 30% of the actual value. And GREEN if it is within the +/-30% range.
Alex's measurements were at 6 inches away from the panels. Some companies use Metric where 10-15 cm is the nearest equivalent. Some companies don't mention the distance at all, but we assume the intensity claim is some relevant distance about 6 inches away.
Note that ">100" is not a real number. The symbol ">" means "greater than". This means the actual number could be anywhere from 101 to infinity. So be weary of companies using meaningless ">" symbols.
Yet ironically Joovv is sticking so hard to their false narrative that their panels magically emit the "best" intensity of ">100mW/cm^2" that they are accidentally the 2nd most accurately advertised. As we said it doesn't necessarily matter how it is accomplished, what matters is getting closer to honest advertising.
No surprise that GembaRed is the closest at 12% difference and we are actually advertising a number lower than Alex measured. Unfortunately, most companies are over by 2x (100%+) higher!
Note that Alex is using a Hopoocolor Spectoradiometer. While it isn't a NIST calibrated device, it likely isn't routinely checked for calibration, and Alex is not a professional for taking photometric measurements. So that is why we left a wide range to account for measurement variability, a generous window of 60% (+/-30%).
Any complaints for these measurements can be filed to Alex Fergus directly, we had no involvement with these independent measurements from Alex. We are just reporting these numbers from his review and from companies' own websites. As far as we know no one has publicly disputed the accuracy of validity of Alex's measurements.
3rd Party Data Deception:
If Mito Red Light or RedLightRising were to simply advertise their 3rd party measurements on their actual product pages, then the error percentage would be extremely low and we would have happily highlighted them as Green. But instead they are still advertising false numbers on the product pages that are nearly over 2x the reality of the products that they deliver.
All company product pages were saved to the WayBack Machine on 1/22/2023, which is a part of the Internet Archive so we always have a 3rd party reference for the numbers in this page.
For example, here is the link to RedLightRising's archived page (and they recently edited the page, where we gave them the opportunity to amend it but they choose to add more misleading information). This way even if RedLightRising updates the advertising after this date, we know our numbers were correct at the time of publishing and backed up by an independent reference on the archive.
Notice that RedLightRising's 3rd party test report is dated February 09 2021, so they have been knowingly false advertising on their product pages for nearly 2 years (which means they also have been accidentally false advertising ever since they started their business too)! Joovv and Mito Red Light have had 3rd party data for even longer.
Yet RedLightRising and Mito Red Light think that using asterisks and hyperlinks to other information can outwit basic advertising laws, despite clear precedent that it does not. Advertised product pages must be accurate, even if you have "fine print" that contradicts your advertised specifications.
This begs some obvious questions:
- Is this the behavior of trustworthy experts?
- Can you ever really trust people constantly seeking loopholes to basic advertising laws? That think they have clever excuses rather than being blunt with the hard truth?
- Wouldn't any honourable person update their false advertising the moment they got the 3rd party data?
- Wouldn't a diligent expert notify their existing customers that could be massively miscalculating the dosage for their medical devices based on the new 3rd party data?
- What would be the point of getting 3rd party data in the first place if you weren't going to offer more accurate data transparently to your customers?
- Was "getting 3rd party data" just another meaningless check-in-the-box for marketing because these companies have been mindlessly copying whatever Joovv does? Joovv got 3rd party data and still hides their true intensity, so other companies just copy their marketing tactics from Joovv and think it is fine.
- Imagine thinking you are running a legitimate business but never actually delivering the products as advertised on the product page? For years, despite holding the accurate information in your hands?
- Can you imagine the hubris of someone not only false advertising intensity, and then adding a link to their 3rd party data immediately underneath that completely proves that they are indeed false advertising? Which again, is even more deceptive because merely having the link there will build trust in the product specifications and not every visitor will click on the link to learn the truth. And any advertising expert can tell you that this is misleading advertising tactics of epic proportions.
The science and technology of Red Light Therapy has rapidly evolved over the past decade. Many facts we know now may be obsolete in the near future.
This industry needs brands, scientists, and experts that are brave enough to admit when they made mistakes or that their old statements have been incorrect.
The problem when "marketing experts" run medical businesses is that they never want to admit they made a mistake. Especially if that means consumers would start to ask questions about the validity of their other claims or their status of being a false authority.
Perhaps it was a genuine mistake that most brands used Solar Power Meters to false advertise intensity. Most people can forgive a genuine mistake especially if people are humble enough to admit they were wrong (in a timely manner).
However, it is inexcusable that many brands "have" 3rd party data for years, yet refuse to change the advertised intensity on the product pages or notify their customers of a massive issue with the advertised intensity on their so-called medical devices.
Every single day they don't update their website, they are making a conscious choice to lie to every visitor to their product pages, and deceive purchasers by not delivering the advertised intensity in the actual products.
If companies want to be true leaders of making medical devices, then they need to lead by example by being honest and transparent with the market. If Joovv or any "top" company were to start being more honest, many other companies would follow.
Even the Liver King was wise enough to make a public apology when he was caught red-handed lying. He could have emphatically denied the allegations, and threatened to sue everyone that exposed him. But he knew that would be very negative and actually tarnish his reputation further. He even thanked the guy that exposed him!
The most positive thing anyone can do when they make a mistake is to apologize, correct the advertising, and move on. Even if it seems temporarily negative and a blow to their ego to admit they did something wrong. As well they fear it might hurt their profits and position as an authority in the market.
Being vulnerable actually builds trust with the consumer that companies are honest enough to do the hard things. This is clearly counter-intuitive to the many companies spending a lot of effort trying to cover-up that they made a mistake with misleading intensity claims.