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A RADical Ppoint Of View.
Do you find that something astonishing happens to you everyday on the net?
Phil and I are always intrigued by the unexpected twists and turns of life in the netweb
and we never cease to be amazed from one day to the next.
Remember a couple of weeks back we wrote an article about randomizers. Phil had just come
up with a great ways to combine randomizing with real viral advertising and he coined the
word radvertiser to describe it . Oops!
Wouldn't you just know it. Someone's nose got out of joint and a few days later we
received notice from a lawyer that we could not use the word radvertiser on our website or
in our ad campaigns because the word rad was a trademark and this the use of this word was
an alleged infringement of a trademark.
In case you were wondering, there are 5,290,000 websites out there all with the word RAD
in them, but for some reason we got singled out as the ones to go after with this coined
word, radvertiser, that has nothing to do with a rad of any kind, whatever that it is.
At any rate, at first Phil and I thought "surely you must be joking" Our program
is called Instant Cash Magnet and has nothing to do with a rad but, then we realized that
anyone taking the time to hire a lawyer to send a very formal letter regarding a trademark
must have a very radical point of view and may have not assessed the situation clearly.
Why anyone would be threatened by our little old viral advertising randomizer is anyone's
guess, but they were.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU GET A LEGAL NOTICE?
What do you do when you receive a formal notice from an attorney?
Well, the one thing you don't do is ignore it.
Phil and I had two choices. We believed that the people contacting us, we will call them
Bill and Mary, here (fictitious names) didn't have a leg to stand on and so we could have
called in our attorney to do battle to prove the point or we could have found a different
way to handle the situation.
We chose the later.
We did,of course, contact our attorney to advise him of what was going on but before he
could get a word out edge wise, we told him that we had absolutely no stake in pursuing
this with Bill and Mary and that the word radvertiser was not important to us and that we
would make arrangements to remove it from our website and our ad campaigns as quickly as
Why choose this path when, perhaps, you could prove your point and win?
That's simple. We all have a certain amount of time and energy and capital to devote to
our businesses. Fighting over a word on the net especially when it has no real relevance
to the success of your program seems to us to be an exercise in futility and not where we
wanted to place our talents and efforts.
Time is valuable and you don't want to waste it in pointless endeavors. We also have found
that, in business, it is generally better to contact people directly if you have an issue
When attorneys get involved, they often have a nasty little habit of stirring up the pot
and using all those legalese words that serve to make people angry and crazy and do
ridiculous things that they wouldn't ordinarily do without the legal rhetoric. Hey, it
builds the legal bill. The more the clients fight, the more the attorneys make. We love
attorneys but we know how they operate. Try to keep them out of your business whenever you
can. They make great friends and debating partners, but they can entangle your business in
messes you don't want to get into.
Now, what is the most effective way to deal with a legal issue where you're first reaction
is: let's go get these guys and kill um. Here's the secret...
THE SECRET TO SUCCESS
Yep, there is a key to success and it is as old as the hills. What is it? Simple. Use some
humor and get laughing. Here is how Phil dealt with the rad mess when he first read the
attorneys notice regarding the word radvertiser. This is what he said to me...
"Why anyone would feel threatened by us using the term radvertiser seems a little bit
What are they going to target next TKO Radio - next we'll be calling it and "TKO
And can you imagine your politicians talking about radioactive waste disposal and having
to refer to it as "Ioactive waste disposal.
Suppose you wanted to go on a holiday to Russia and visit some of the lager cities, would
anyone understand you if you booked a trip to Lening or staling instead of Leningrad and
Stalingrad. If you wanted to go to Colorado you'd have to book a ticket to
And, God forbid you should have a kid called Conrad, you'd have to start calling him
"Con" and you would never be able to go to his graduation you would go to his
And what about all those little Free Radicals in the human body that are naturally
occurring and an important part of biological functions such as immunity, inflammation,
growth and repair. Will we have to start referring to those as free "icles"?
Never again could you call someone radiant, you will have to refer to them as
Personally, I think the whole thing is a bit radical and radiculous.
THE POINT IS:
When your are involved in any business, either on the net
or in the bricks and mortar world, there will always be legal issues you need to confront
and deal with. You can spend your time and your money chasing legal principals or you can
get on with your business and make it grow. Whenever possible choose the later and spend
you energy where it really counts on your own business.
You can swear your adversaries are wrong. You can punch a
pillow. You can add some humor as Phil does, but don't spin your wheels. Your time is too
valuable and you need to guard it and make the most of it.
Also, never, never miss an advertising opportunity. If
someone borrows a part of your name and coins a word with it or borrows some of your copy
and advertises for you, give them your blessing. Unless, someone is saying harmful things
about your product or service, this is free advertising that you can't buy anywhere at any
price. Run with it.
We'll changes have been made and that's our last word on the subject. Time to move on to
what we do best, helping our members and clients make money.
This article was written by
Phil Basten & Jane Mark of JPE Advertising
Co-Editors of: WebPro Times Ezine
Stars of The Net's First Marketing and Business Sitcom
Joe? Yes, Mable? Are We Rich Yet?
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