FTC FAQs: December 1 Deadline

By | Internet Lawyer | No Comments

ftc-federal-trade-commissionI’ve been getting many questions about the new FTC guidelines that
are changing the way that you can market online.

To save you time, here’s the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Q: When did the guidelines go into effect?

A: December 1, 2009.

Q: Will I have to fix my website because of the new guidelines?

A: If (1) you’re based in the U.S., or (2) you live outside the
United States but sell to U.S. clients, you’re probably going to
have to make some changes to reduce your legal risks.

Q: Is it serious?

A: It’s bad enough that some big info product gurus are retiring
because they don’t want the FTC to come after them under the new
guidelines. Their business models were based on doing things that
can get you into a lot of trouble now.

Q: How much trouble?

A: Depends. Could get away with something. Could get a nasty FTC
letter telling you to stop. Could also get sued, have your assets
frozen, pay a big settlement, and even be barred from online
marketing in the future.

Q: What’s the solution?

A: Ideally, you’d want your Internet lawyer to help you fix things
to reduce risk. If you can’t afford that (typically 4 figures per site),
at least read the new guidelines at ftc.gov and the complimentary
special reports you’ll find on this blog.

Product Pricing: Your Customers Can Afford You

By | Internet Lawyer | No Comments

client-pricingPrice is rarely a disqualifier for your products and services if people want what you have. Notice that I said “want”…not “need.”

Let me give you an example. According to a recent study, I live and work in the wealthiest city per capita in the United States.

Yet even with the wealth, there are plenty of people trying to keep up with the next door neighbors but without the pocketbook to do it. Even though they can’t afford the McMansion, they will buy it on credit. They can’t afford the Mercedes or BMW but they’ll lease it.

If you walked into their homes, you would see rooms that have no furniture. Why? Because public impressions are far more important to them. The wants trump the needs.

Yet if you went to a poor neighborhood in most U.S. cities, you’d see “poor” people driving Mercedes, carrying $1,200 purses, talking on $400 iPhones, and paying $150 per month for premium cable television. Speak of iPhones…as I type this at a local restaurant, there’s a minimum wage employee taking a break and using her iPhone…something that would cost her about a week’s take-home pay.

Again, the wants trump the needs.

If someone tells you that they can’t afford what you’ve got to offer, chances are they’re lying. It isn’t price…so don’t cut yours. Instead, find a market that wants what you have to offer, or change your offer.

Whose Business Brand Are You Promoting?

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basketball-team business brandingMark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is a happy man after his basketball team decisively won last night. At the game, I noticed that Mark did not wear the the jersey of his opponents or a Dallas Cowboys hat for that matter. However, the American Airlines Center was packed with fans who wore Mavericks clothing, painted their faces or bare stomachs in team colors, and cheered almost nonstop throughout the game. Mark’s laughing all the way to the bank because of it.

Don’t get me wrong. I like a good game and enjoyed watching the Mavericks beat the Golden State Warriors. But I’d love to have clients wearing my colors and showing the same team fanaticism for my business.

How about you?

And whose brand do you wear in public?

I can understand Mark Cuban, Dirk Nowitzki, and Jason Kidd wearing Mavericks’ clothing last night. Each has a Read More

Blogging Tips from John Pozadzides at WordCamp 2008

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blogging powerWant to learn how to power up your blog? John Pozadzides is talking to us at WordCamp 2008 as I post this. Fortunately , you won’t have to wait to get my notes to decipher what he has to say. John has just posted to his blog the key content he’s discussing right now. You can find it at the following link.

45 Ways to Power Up Your Blog

If you’re serious about blogging, you’ll read John’s post and apply his recommendations.

Web Lawyer: US Copyright Registry – Beware of this Scam

By | Website Lawyer | No Comments

There’s an organization called the U.S. Copyright Registry (USCR) that is sending out unsolicited commercial e-mails (spam) that looks like the messages come from the U.S. federal government. The e-mails contain repeated references to copyright law and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (which handles patents and trademarks but not copyrights). As a Web lawyer, this type of scam sickens me because of how many good people are duped by it.

It appears that USCR has harvested contact information for domain name registrants from the WHOIS registry. The information is plugged into the official-looking notice to add credibility to the sales pitch.

I have nothing against a company earning a buck or even clever copywriting. However, I do object to spam, particularly when it is designed to fool Internet business owners into thinking they should pay money to this company as part of complying with U.S. law as the company goes out of its way to make itself look like a government agency in its sales pitch.

Here’s a sample e-mail from USCR. Read it for yourself and warn others. If you’ve been deceived by them, have your Web lawyer handle it.

us copyright registry web lawyer

copyright registration notice

For information on how to protect your website’s content using U.S. copyright law, consult with your Internet lawyer to address specific legal issues. If you want to do-it-yourself, go to the U.S. Copyright Office’s website and learn more.

To your success!

-Mike the Web lawyer