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Thread: Trademark violators

  1. #1
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    Default Trademark violators

    Hi Everyone,

    I wonder if you have any thoughts on this. We own a trademark for our site name and we occasionally search for people using the name and tell them to cut it out. Some people are using the name in various ways to try to get random affiliate sales, like by making a youtube video with nothing but our name along with "scam" and then a still graphic saying "To find out more about whether or not this is a scam, click the link below". Then they include an affiliate link to us. How would you recommend dealing with this or would you recommend doing anything at all?

    I hate to spend too much time on it, but even though they are linking to our products with an affiliate link, their tactics are kind of disgusting...

    Also, since they're using affiliate links, I assume there would be no link juice to us (not to mention that most of them have zero views).

    We are supposed to police our trademark, but we also have some leeway to choose our battles...

    Suggestions?

    Thanks!

    Michael

    What do you think?
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    Michael Kellam
    Kellam Media And Publishing, Inc.
    For Frugal Living Tips and Recipes, visit us at
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  2. #2
    Prolific Contributor richardschnur's Avatar
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    Default

    Interesting you bring this up.

    Not sure I can be much help, but I just watched a very long webinar about a product that generates the review sites you mentioned and the vendor was crowing about how you can crank them out in less than 10 minutes each and how the automatic traffic will make you rich quickly. Suuuuuuuuuuuuuure they will.

    I've seen loads of these pollution sites in the SERP's recently.

    I suppose at some level the idea has merit, but a single idea multiplied by the the numbers of the internet I read a quote years ago about how having bad tools only allows you to make scrap faster. And so it is.

    I look forward to seeing how this plays out.
    Regards,

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    Instructor geoffhoff's Avatar
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    Default

    Howdy, Michael,

    I actually have a couple of suggestions. First of all, do you have any type of terms of service for when people sign up as an affiliate? If so, does it mention that you can't use your trademarked name in web addresses, as the names of videos or in PCP ads? If so, and they do i anyway, you can first warn them to pull down the offending video/site/ad. It is a common practice. If they don't pull it down, disable their affiliate account and let them know why you have done so.

    Sometimes, those review sites can actually be good for you. Bill Hibbler used to have a site called the Cory Rudl Review where he very honestly reviewed all of Rudl's products. (That was, of course, before Rudl passed away.) At first Rudl was very upset about it, but then realized it was a good thing and let him continue.

    However, you are the only one who can police your trademark as you said, so you do have to do it.

    Another good trick I've seen used often is the "if you don't take it down, we will take appropriate legal action". Often the simple threat of getting a lawyer involved is sufficient.

    Hope this helps,
    Geoff
    Last edited by geoffhoff; 05-04-2012 at 07:11 PM.
    Geoff Hoff

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    Default

    Hi Guys,

    Thanks for your responses. Yeah, not sure what we think about the dragnet affiliate approach - I don't have a lot of respect for them because they're not really trying -- just hoping for a lottery ticket-- so why pollute the web with so much... Mostly, the ones that include the word "scam" as if they're revealing something are the annoying ones.

    My main concern was about policing the trademark. Apparently, we are required to police the use of the name or we could lose the mark, but we could really go overboard chasing everyone who might not even be a threat. We'd rather do as little as is required unless it is clear that the use is likely to harm our business. I guess we'll have to consult with a lawyer about it. Often when this comes up, it seems like it is more of a timekiller when we might be doing something to improve the income from the business...

    Thanks again for your responses...

    Michael
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    Michael Kellam
    Kellam Media And Publishing, Inc.
    For Frugal Living Tips and Recipes, visit us at
    http://www.LivingOnADime.com

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