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Why Get A Sales Copy Legal Compliance Review

By Business Lawyer

Whether you’re using sales copy online or offline, you’ll want to make sure it complies with applicable law and regulations.

Of course, this is true whether you’re marketing business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C). And whether you’re selling products, services, or a combination of the two.

Because the wrong sales copy can get you sued, investigated by the government, fined, or in some cases, even arrested!

Now, don’t just rely upon your copywriter to know what can and cannot be said in your sales copy…unless your copywriter also happens to be an experienced lawyer who focuses on this type of legal compliance.

At our firm, Business Attorney Mike Young performs sales copy legal compliance reviews. Not just a lawyer, he also understands marketing (including direct response copywriting).

Naturally, if you want his help, the first step is to set up a phone consultation to discuss what you want reviewed.

Will Ad Blockers Kill Online Publishing?

By Internet Lawyer
online publishing

Will ad blockers affect your advertising or online publishing?

In “Will Ad-Blocking Millennials Destroy Online Publishing Or Save It?,” Forbes Staff Writer Gianni Mascioli discusses the loss of revenues attributable to the use of Internet browsing ad-blocking apps. He concludes that “a shift back to more exclusive, channel-specific and premium ad experiences may be exactly what publishers need to re-leverage some control.”

Regardless of the remedy, what we’re seeing is no different than offline behavior. Humans become accustomed to and willfully ignore certain types of advertising (e.g. 1,000 highway billboards along a daily commute). Unless there’s a specific call to action that is tracked, the advertisers (or their agencies) content themselves that the medium is building “brand awareness” or some other such nonsense.

It’s not just an issue for millennials. Consumers are simply jaded and tune out to information overload. When the tipping point is reached, nonconsensual marketing is going to get the boot first, whether it’s through ad-blocking browser plugins while surfing online content providers or simply changing the TV channel to avoid an irrelevant pitch.

To be sure, there are freebie seekers out there who take advantage of valuable content yet block the advertising that supports Internet publishers.

Even paid subscription services can be legally evaded in some cases in order to access content. For example, one can copy and paste the headline of a premium Wall Street Journal article into Google News search, click on a link, and read the entire article that would otherwise be available to you only as a subscriber.

Of course, that raises the issue of whether the person who performs such a search would ever pay for a subscription in the first place. If tracked, perhaps the stats would reveal that access to the content for free this way will induce a certain percentage to bite the bullet and pay for a subscription in order to save time. In other words, the “free” carrot through the search engines converts to an occasional sale that justifies having the carrot in the first place.

Yet it’s not the reader’s responsibility to ensure the profitability of an online publishing enterprise. This means that Internet content providers supported by advertising must adapt or perish.

Unfortunately, some of the adaptations tread into legally risky areas. These include advertorials that are not identified as such, fake news stories that are nothing more than glorified sales letters for particular products and services, and the like.

For advertisers who depend upon eyeballs reading their online pitches and taking action at an acceptable click-through rate (CTR), it’s a reminder that Internet advertising is just one medium for marketing. A sustainable business model requires multiple means of marketing and advertising to prospects offline and online.

In addition to abandoning cost-per-thousand (CPM) impressions in favor of cost-per-action (CPA) advertising, it’s time to find effective legal and ethical alternatives to the current methods of selling via online publishers that attract prospective customers.

Of course, whether you’re an Internet publisher or an advertiser, whatever course of action you propose to take should be run by your Internet lawyer to ensure you’re complying with applicable ecommerce and advertising laws.

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Website Attorney: How to get rid of time vampires

By Internet Lawyer

Website attorney time vampireAs a Website attorney and entrepreneur with a full plate of things to do from before sunrise until long after the sun sets each day, I installed a prospective client pre-screening device.

Anyone who cold calls my Internet law firm gets patched through by the receptionist to a voice mail that specifically instructs prospects to not leave a message but to use one of the law firm’s website contact forms instead.

Those who follow instructions get a quick response from one of my assistants.

The automatic failure is the prospect who ignores the instructions and leaves a message demanding that I call back. The amusing ones are those who acknowledge they understand the instructions but leave a message any way with a call-back demand as if they are somehow entitled to a response.

Let’s hope none of these non-prospects are holding their breath waiting for that call to happen. Not going to in this lifetime.

Is this mean? Who cares?

It is heartless to steal my irreplaceable time (and yours) – time that can be used instead to deliver quality products and services to those who value them.

What barriers have you set up in your business to disqualify poor prospects?

To your online success!

-Mike the Website attorney

P.S. You want respect as a freelancer? Get my Freelance Protector system.

Vuvuzela: Do you have one in your business?

By Internet Lawyer

If you’re following the 2010 World Cup, you’ve probably seen (and definitely heard) the stadium horn known as the Vuvuzela. Used by South African soccer fans to make noise in support of their teams, the Vuvuzela has reached critical mass at the World Cup so that one can’t hear announcers, officials, etc. They’re running out of supplies of ear plugs because so many fans are buying them in response to the horns.  It’s a case of too much of a good thing become a bad thing.

Do you have your own Vuvuzela in your business?

It could be a marketing strategy or tactic…it could be the way you handle client service or support issues. Don’t assume without testing that something you like in small doses actually benefits your business when implemented as standard operating procedure.

Let me give you an example…

Some businesses teach their sales force to ask “Is this your first time here?” to a prospect who walks in the door. Whether the prospect says yes or no, the salesperson has a prepared response that contains a special offer designed to make a sale. The question is primarily designed to deter salespeople from asking “Can I help you with something?” and getting the standard response, “No, Thanks. I’m just looking.”

And this can be an effective “vuvuzela” for promoting business in some cases.

Yet this same tactic has been misapplied in businesses that sell memberships.

For example, if you walked into a gym for the first time and were asked that question, you wouldn’t mind. In fact, a special offer for first-time visitors might actually convince you to invest in a risk-free trial membership.

But what about the 25th time you walk into the gym as a member? How would you feel if asked every time if it was your first time to the gym?

At this point, that question not only becomes ineffective but downright insulting. You’re a member who visits repeatedly but always treated like a stranger when you walk in the door.

Moral of the story?

Walk through the processes you use for prospects and existing clients. If there is a vuvuzela in the mix, decide when it serves your purpose to toot your own horn.

Donald Trump, Dan Kennedy, Branding, and Third Party Credibility

By Internet Lawyer

Whether you’re doing business online or offline, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Donald Trump. If you’re into direct response marketing, chances are you’ve probably heard of Dan Kennedy too. What do they have in common? Dan Kennedy likes to name drop “Trump” wherever possible to add third party credibility to himself.

If there is a way to refer to Trump in books, newsletters, or even at seminars, Kennedy finds a way to do it. IIRC, that includes having Ivanka Trump and former Apprentice contestants appear at Kennedy events. What Kennedy has cleverly done is associated his name with “Trump” without paying a fortune in licensing fees to do so. This is indirect brand building that implies “Kennedy = Trump.” Trump’s celebrity builds Kennedy’s brand whether or not The Donald wants to help.

Many properties and goods now have the Trump name affixed to them because the owners of such have paid for the right to use the Trump name. In contrast, Dan Kennedy has paid next to nothing.

This may be a good marketing tactic if you can pull it off without getting a cease-and-desist notice from the lawyer of the celebrity or other public figure whose name you are using to promote your business. That’s a big “if.”

However, there is also the risk of tarnishing your brand by associating yourself with the wrong celebrity or public figure. Here are a few related examples.

Right now, Donald Trump is fighting in bankruptcy court trying to retain a 10% stake in the Trump Casinos in Atlantic City. Trump claims that his name on the casinos are worth that amount of equity. However, Carl Icahn and other creditors argue that the “Trump” name is worth little, nothing, or even has a negative value. After all, if “Trump” meant something as a brand, why are the casinos going into bankruptcy repeatedly? It remains to be seen who will win this battle but the point being made by Icahn has some appeal.

Branding something “Trump” doesn’t make it a success. In fact, a Mexican luxury condo development project that licensed the Trump name recently imploded, leading to lawsuits from unhappy people who paid for homes that will never be built. Trump claims that as the licensee he isn’t responsible for the failure…but it is his name/brand associated with the abandoned construction.

Although he may be laughing all of the way to the bank, brand tarnishing is something else that Dan Kennedy should have learned from Donald Trump. When Kennedy sold/licensed many of his ventures to others over the last few years, he gave up at least some control over how his name has been used in those ventures. For example, there have been questionable sales and marketing practices used in Internet sales pages and emails to promote certain “Kennedy” events. Hidden terms, misleading pricing, and other nonsense.

Giving Kennedy the benefit of the doubt, one could assume that the purchasers/licensees of his business ventures did these things without his permission. But it doesn’t matter. It is Dan Kennedy’s name that suffers.

Whether you’re tying yourself to a particular celebrity to elevate your business’ status or thinking about selling your company to someone who will retain the right to use your name, consider the cases of Trump and Kennedy. If you lose your good name, how will you ever recover it?