GREAT ARTICLE

June 28, 2007

iLegal

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“Compliance” as a Sales Tool
by Mark Meckler

When I approach compliance as a lawyer, I am primarily thinking of compliance as a legal issue. That is, what can a company do to assure that they are in compliance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations? This is a defensive posture which will keep you out of trouble, and in the best possible position to defend yourself should a problem arise. But there is an entirely different, proactive and business oriented side to the compliance puzzle.

When quality advertisers go looking for an agency, network or affiliate, more and more they are going to ask about compliance programs. Sophisticated advertisers understand that the online legal environment grows progressively riskier with each passing month, and they want to know what your company is doing to mitigate those risks. When you get asked about this, mumbling something about “industry best practices” won’t get you the account.

What does this mean to you? First it means that you must have compliance programs in place. It also means that you need to be able to articulate those programs to a potential client in a simple, straight forward and confident manner. In the same way that you are expected to be able to explain your advertising programs, you’ll increasingly be asked to explain what you do to protect the online reputation of your clients. And inevitably, part of a prospective client’s decision about who will spend its online advertising dollar will relate to the risk mitigation provided by your compliance programs.

So while “compliance” simply means “following the rules” to some, to others it represents an incredible sales tool. Large, sophisticated web advertisers are generally a cautious bunch; especially if they come from the offline world. And if you have a strong, easily articulated compliance program, you can use that program to sell your potential clients on the relative safety and security of doing business with you. It’s only part of the picture, but it is an increasingly important part.

Often, even sophisticated advertisers have little understanding of what it means to be in “compliance” when advertising on the web, and they’re looking for someone they can lean on in that regard. The law is somewhat uncertain in this area, and the interpretation of regulations changes on an ongoing basis. Like it or not, your clients rely upon you to make sure that what you’re doing on the web on their behalf is not only successful in a business sense, but also that it doesn’t cause them any unwanted legal or publicity issues.

Some companies handle all compliance in-house, and others choose to outsource some components through companies like UnsubCentral (suppression list management) and Lashback (online reputation monitoring). Either way, if you have a program in place, don’t forget to use it as more than just a defensive program. Teaching your sales team to promote an excellent compliance program gives you an excellent tool to differentiate your company when pursuing new business.

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Come back to the iLegal column every week as we get specific about the rules, regulations, laws and trends that affect the online advertising industry. Each week we discuss important legal issues, talk about how to avoid the pitfalls, and cover the breaking legal and regulatory advertising industry news.

Legal Disclaimer: Information conveyed in this column is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. These materials do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Digital Moses, and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct, or up-to-date. The column is provided for “information purposes” only and should not be relied upon as “legal advice.” This information is not intended to substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney. No person should act or rely on any information in this column without seeking the advice of an attorney.

Mark Meckler is the General Counsel for UniqueLeads.com, Inc., and Unique Lists, Inc.

Copyright 2007 Mark J. Meckler


Surviving the Road

June 26, 2007

Ok, so I have to confess…I had a very embarrassing, yet funny experience the last time I went on the road for business. I’ve put up a few posts about the Internet Retailer show, and I’ve been debating if I should blog about this particular experience for a few reasons (you’ll realize why if you keep reading)….so there I was….all sorts of excited for the Internet Retailer show in San Jose.

For a few different reasons while on business we all bunk with a co-worker. Now, at first blush this may seen like a nightmare scenario for some people. What most people don’t realise is that at Azoogleads, we’re like a family…seriously. We’ve all grown very close over the past two years that I’ve been here (for a few reasons). Not the least of which are: Explosive growth, phenomenal success, and lots of really bright, high energy people that are respectful to eachother at all costs. One major factor that has helped keep this company so glued together has been the shared loss of a co-worker and friend (Jai). We’ve learned from that loss, and grown together.

So this time around, I was all set to bunk with Tom Barbaro. Tom is an all star at Azoogleads. Tom happens to be a great friend of mine, so I was looking forward to handing out with Tom at the show. Our first night in California, two other members of the team had flown in from New York Chantelle White, and Karen Aquilino. We all met for a nice dinner, then off to bed to rest up for the busy days ahead (Internet Retailer show starts at 7am!!) so factoring jet lag into that equation made me head straight to bed.

When I got back to the room, Tom had already settled into the room, and was getting ready for bed (he had a later flight in from NY). We set our alarms, and off to bed (I told Tom I would get up a bit earlier so we could stagger our shower taking). I woke up (after hitting snooze a few times)…and hit the showers. I shaved, and started my morning routine. I was ready to go, this was going to be a great show. I had a great team along with me, and had set a big meeting with Netflix to dovetail into my time at the conference. As I was thinking of all these great things, a little thought kept creeping into my head “man, I am so tired…that jetlag is killing me!” as I turned the corner coming out of the shower (shaved, hair combed etc.), I gently said to Tom…hey buddy, time to get up, we’re running a little late…(my clock said 6:30am, and we had to meet the girls in the lobby). Tom sat up, looked at me like I had nine heads and said “It’s only 3:30am!” I stood there in the dark, towel on, shaved, hair combed, clean as a whistle….at 3:30am…..PST…..oh…..my…..GOD…..I forgot to change the time on my Blackberry.

So…red-faced…I crawled back into bed for 2 hours. Much to my relief I was able to get off to sleep quickly, and didn’t really feel that horrible during the show. The only issue was that (since I’m VERY Italian, my normal 5 o’clock shadow would be showing up at an un-godly 2pm that day….oh well…live and learn….

If you can’t laugh at yourself….right?
🙂


Azoogle

June 25, 2007

AzoogleAds, the online marketplace for performance-based solutions.

AzoogleAds, founded in 2000, is a profitable and rapidly growing online marketing solutions provider. A pioneer in the performance-based advertising industry, AzoogleAds generates the highest volumes of quality traffic through its network and its proprietary search technologies. With unparalleled industry expertise, the AzoogleAds team can deliver the most comprehensive and cost-effective strategic online marketing campaigns for advertisers of all sizes and across all industries. For publishers, AzoogleAds provides high-impact campaigns that enable publishers to maximize earnings on their inventory. AzoogleAds offers a complete solution for optimizing campaign performance through innovative technology and unrivaled expertise in search and performance based marketing.

AzoogleAds has offices in New York, Toronto, and San Francisco.


Interactive Agencies

June 25, 2007

While I was out in San Jose for the Internet Retailer show, I spend some time with Zenith Optimedia. We had a great meeting discussing where AzoogleAds may fit into their media buys on behalf of a few different clients. The main theme of the conversation centered around what the media planners had to do in order to make working with Azoogleads make sense for their client. They were intrigued by the fact that everything we do as a company is performance driven.

What does that mean to your advertiser? Essentially what your looking at is a risk free endeavor (hard to believe, I know). But think about it, don’t you agree that this is the direction all online advertising has been heading?

Back when I was at Mediaplex we were selling CPM to large agencies on behalf of their clients. This didn’t work because the media buyers had to show ROI. This was difficult because they couldn’t quantify an impression. There are numerous limitations to tracking impressions as we all know (caching etc). Then there was a move to CPC, and this too had it’s limitations with click fraud etc. The natural progression has led us to CPA advertising, where the “A” can be anything that advertiser wishes it to be. It can be a lead, or it can be a sale. All we have to do is place a pixel on the confirmation page. This way we can track the conversion on behalf of the advertiser.

Sometimes this doesn’t really work for an advertiser. Sometimes the advertiser may have too many SKU’s, and working with us will only make sense if they are using us to drive leads for something promotional, like a sweepstakes.


Content Network Transparency

June 18, 2007

While at Adtech, the SES show, as well as the Internet Retailer show, there was a recurring inquiry that I want to address. How can the advertiser optimize with no transparency into your network?

It’s easy. AzoogleAd’s proven methods will help you easily optimize your offer by passing of affiliate-id’s. Within the URL string we simply enter the following details %%affiliate-id%%

Sub Affiliate-ID passing
AzoogleAds will send all affiliate and sub-affiliate information to be used by our advertisers to assess the Lifetime value of the user

We offer Consistency in optimization.
AzoogleAds can proactively optimize publishers based on reports

Plus, we can ensure that the most sesitive offers can be listed as Private Offers
Based on information shared from the advertiser AzoogleAds will create private offers for specific publishers to further optimize traffic.

So there you have it. Relatively simple way of getting around having optics into which specific affiliate is running your offer.


What types of offers work on the Azoogleads Network?

June 18, 2007

Continuity Programs continue to be some of the best performing offers on our CPA network. They are tailored to convert well, and due to the monthly cost to consumer, each advertiser that may have previously purchased media on a CPM, or CPC basis can now justify a certain amount of money (allowable aquisiton cost) to generate a conversion. They know that they can afford to do so because the quality of the conversions/sales that we generate is unsurpassed. Since the majority of these conversions are happening via search, we’re finding that the advertisers churn rate is low, and therfore they can afford an attractive CPA to our affiliates/publishers.

Continuity Programs – Minimal upfront cost to register, coupled with a monthly subscription model.

Blockbuster
Netflix
Vistaprint
SunRocket
BMG/Columbia house
GE Money


CPA Performance Based Ad Network

June 18, 2007

Recently I’ve been tasked with working with more Branded advertisers, and we’ve had tremendous success. As a company we define “branded” as follows:

Any company the Executive team deems recognizable with critical mass of positive sentiment. The Executive team’s judgment should be in accord with our Board of Directors, Staff, Current and Prospective Clients.

Our current branded advertiser relationships are very strong, and growing daily.

Agencies (or Parent Companies)

Initiative Media
Bausch & Lomb

IAC
Bagsbuy.com
Shoebuy.com
LendingTree
Cursors
Zwinkys
Webfetti
Fun Cards
Smileys

Tranzact

Sirius
New York Times
Prudential

ZenithOptiMedia
HP Snapfish

Direct Relationships:
VistaprintBlockbusterFTD FlowersStamps.comScholastic – Disney and Dr. SeussColumbia House BMGKraft – GevaliaMonster.comSunRocketGE Money
Earthlink – PeoplePCOmaha SteaksWeb.comNetflixNutrisystemDoubleDay Entertainment –ITT

Recently we’ve singed contracts to be Blockbuster’s Search Agency of Record for their search endeavors!