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Reducing the Risks of User-Generated Content

Understanding user-generated content and how it can both help and hurt you is a great asset to your business. Social media is a method of connecting with people, meaning providing your own user-generated content to communicate interest, link content and even share business ideas. This article explains the types of risks involved as well as how to protect yourself against negative content. This is important for every successful business online. – WST

By: Jeremy Gislason

User-generated content (or “Participatory Media” as some call it) can be a great way to boost the value of your website, and the traffic that’s driven to it. Many website owners have already found that developing online communities greatly increases their financial bottom lines. Sometimes, as has been the case with YouTube, user-generated content can even be a great business model in itself.

But user-generated content can also be a great source of risk and exposure. Again, there’s probably no better example of this than YouTube. YouTube was sued by the Viacom studio in 2007 for $1 billion in damages, for allegedly distributing Viacom’s copyrighted materials without permission.

If you understand the risks associated with user-generated content, you can take steps to reduce your exposure and protect your online assets, while at the same time increasing the value of your website.

What is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content is a broad term that includes any material that a website user posts on the website for others to see. This can include not only blog comments, but also pictures, videos, articles, or anything else that a user might post in a forum or bulletin board section of your website, or as part of their own personal profile on the website.

What are the Risks with User-Generated Content, and How Can I Address Them?

There are a number of legal issues that you will need to become familiar with if you permit or promote user-generated content on your website.

a. Intellectual property infringement. There are two primary types of intellectual property infringement issues that you should be aware of. The first is copyright infringement. Key elements of liability include knowledge of the infringing activity, inducing or contributing the improper conduct, and attaining a direct financial benefit in the infringing activity when you have the ability to supervise the direct infringer.

Copyright holders generally try to enforce their rights by means of “takedown notices” that are sent in accordance with the requirements a particular Federal law (the Digital Millennium Copyright Act). You’ll have to decide what position to take once you receive takedown notices. Do you evaluate each and respond notice as you feel appropriate? Or do you simply honor all takedown notices immediately? It’s a balance between avoiding legal risk of a lawsuit by those who claim to hold a copyright to the material that someone else posted, versus possibly alienating your users if you aren’t giving any consideration to their “fair use” rights in that content.

Trademark law prevents the use of trademarks of others in a manner that creates a likelihood of confusion about the source of goods or services or in a manner that dilutes the value of the trademark. User-generated content sometimes falls afoul of trademark law.

b. Defamation. You should also be aware that there is potential liability for allowing users to post defamatory statements about others on your website. There is a Federal law (The Communications Decency Act) which can provide some protection against defamation claims based on what your users do on your website, but the scope of the protection is still somewhat uncertain, so you should not ignore the possibility of claims against you based on user generated content.

c. Obscenity and Child Pornography. The Federal laws that provide protections to website owners generally exclude protections for obscene materials that appear on such websites, even if the materials are posted by users themselves.

How Can I Reduce My Risks?

One common technique for a website operator to reduce their risks of legal liability for user generated content is to not actively monitor the user activities on the website. While this may seem counter-intuitive, the relevant Federal laws provide a greater degree of protection (through a so-called “safe harbor”) for passive web services that do not actively manage or supervise user content.

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The Web Success Team’s Solopreneur Package includes a 5-page custom direct response website fully branded and optimized for Search Engines with 6-months of online marketing, social networking, blogging, article marketing and much more. Lock in your special pricing now before the rate goes up! Contact the Web Success Team at 818-222-5643 or email bob@websuccessteam.com. To your web success!

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Filed under: Business Networking, Online Business, Social Media, Uncategorized, Web Content, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Google Local Can Help You Gain Marketshare in Your Business Today

Small businesses need to wake up and get a website and market online.  Even if you don’t have a website or aren’t ready for one, you can still use online marketing to boost your business.  Google Local, also known as Google Maps, is a great way to get started.  Index your business with Google, that way someone in your neighborhood looking for your products and services can easily find you. –  WST

By:  Laura Lake, About.com

When people search for the specialty that your business represents, do you show up in Google? Have you tried Googling either products that you sell or services that you offer lately? Did you show up on the front page of local search within Google? If not, you won’t want to miss this tip.

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When Should You Fire Your Website Designer

A website can be an effective marketing hub, driving traffic and sales to your business.  However, there is much more to a website than a fancy design.  Search engine optimization and marketing are key points for any successful website as well as a comprehensive design that is well branded and easy to use.  You need all of the above to maintain a successful business online. Many web designers do not know how to market the beautiful websites they create.  So be careful when shopping for a web designer. – WST

By Ajay Prasad

Your online business is not a wild crazy idea, but a source of your income. Trust the right people to design your website. Your 17 year old nephew may be able to create your website or you can get a free one from several services…they might even be kind of pretty. In my research and experience, less than 2% of businesses that have websites have planted the seeds to online success. Many of them are your competitors.

The problem is web designers’ focus on the technical aspects of the site. They don’t have a clue how to build a website that makes you a ton of money, drives floods of traffic, and gets you top placement on search engines.

Why Do You Have a Website?

The reason you have a website for your business, no matter what business you are in, is you want to rake in bundles of cash. Maybe not now, but definitely later, it should be bringing returns on your investment.

Your Website is Like Your Business

Make sure that your web designer owns a successful online business and knows how to run it.

Your sole purpose in having a website should be to use it as a marketing and communications tool. It is not there to be pretty. It should not be there to win awards. It is there to make you money. Even if you have a better product or service than your competitor, the one who attracts more prospects and customers – wins! Being the best at marketing is all that matters.

Online Marketing Is Completely Different Than Marketing Offline

All of the tools, techniques, communication, etc. in the online world are different than those offline. A very common mistake is to think because it works offline you can just put it on your website! It’s important to realize the reader of offline copy thinks and processes information in a different way than someone reading online copy. What works offline may be a complete flop online.

They are two different worlds. For example, online marketing REQUIRES you to know how to get your site ranked high, very high, in the search engines like Google and Yahoo….so you routinely appear on the first page for the optimal search terms for your business.

Of course, this assumes you know how to find the optimal words for your business, your marketplace, your niche, etc. Just so you know, the “include all words” strategy has proven to be a total failure.

And, most designers and businesses do not know that SEO (search engine optimization) is not SEM (search engine marketing). If you do one and not the other, you will probably be very disappointed with your results.

Studies have shown that you need to be on the first page of search engine results to get enough people coming to your site. SEO and SEM are not optional for online success – they are mandatory!

Increase your ROI: Only Work with People Who Know Website and Online Marketing Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Direct Response Marketing, Drive Traffic, Search Engine Optimization, Uncategorized, Web Design, Web Development, , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Makeover for Your Un-Sexy Product

Let’s say you are selling a product that should be doing better but instead could be putting people to sleep. How do you create a buzz and revitalize interest and sales? Here are a few “sexy” tips.

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Filed under: Online Branding, Social Marketing, Social Media, Social Profiling, Twitter, Uncategorized, Web Success, , , , , , ,

Happy New Year from the Web Success Team

Brand your company in 2009

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SEO Automatic » Automated SEO Information

Marci Rosenblum found this amazing tool to check your SEO. It gives you a quick overview of your website: Meta Tags, Description, keywords, compression, W3 compliance among others. All you have to do is type the url address and hope that no red alerts appear. Scott Hendison gives you fix suggestions to all your errors. Enjoy!
http://www.seoautomatic.com

Manually looking at certain aspects of your website to determine your “SEO readiness” is really not a complicated task once you know what you’re looking for, but it’s tedious.
No matter their skill level, anyone familiar with SEO would probably look at a few basic elements of your webpage.

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Filed under: Online Marketing, SEO, SEM, Keywords, Direct Response W, Search Engine Optimization, Uncategorized, , , , , ,

Eight Steps to Web Success

Many people ask me, “How do I become successful in a web business?” If you have asked this same question then continue reading. After absorbing and then applying the concepts in this list you won’t have any excuses for not succeeding.

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FREE Report on How to Plan for Your Web Success

Constructing an efficient and well-rounded website requires thought and planning. Otherwise, you will run into many problems with your designers, marketers and even customers. We all want our website (and business) to stand out from the competition and work for us to generate profit and repeat customers. However…

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Web Success Team Receives 2008 Best of Calabasas Award

U.S. Local Business Association’s Award Plaque Honors the Achievement

WASHINGTON D.C., August 17, 2008 — Web Success Team has been selected for the 2008 Best of Calabasas Award in the Graphic Arts category by the U.S. Local Business Association (USLBA).

The USLBA “Best of Local Business” Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USLBA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2008 USLBA Award Program focused on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the USLBA and data provided by third parties.

About U.S. Local Business Association (USLBA)

U.S. Local Business Association (USLBA) is a Washington D.C. based organization funded by local businesses operating in towns, large and small, across America. The purpose of USLBA is to promote local business through public relations, marketing and advertising.

The USLBA was established to recognize the best of local businesses in their community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations, chambers of commerce and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to be an advocate for small and medium size businesses and business entrepreneurs across America.

SOURCE: U.S. Local Business Association

CONTACT:
U.S. Local Business Association
Email: PublicRelations@USLBA.net
URL: http://www.USLBA.net

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TeamWork Builds Web Success

The Web Success Team specializes in building and marketing direct response websites that take full advantage of the latest developments on the Internet. The Team has an arsenal of effective web strategies, online tools and proven techniques to promote your products and services. And we’ll show you ways to increase the amount of qualified traffic to your site through the expanding “social web” and how to convert visitors into buyers at a high rate of return.

Your website can become an effective marketing hub for your business. To learn more about the power of Direct Response Web Marketing, log on to Why Direct Response.

Contact the Team today for a complimentary consultation at Contact Us or email Bob Speyer at bob@websuccessteam.com. To your web success!

Filed under: Uncategorized

Give The Googlebot A Break Already

By Jason Lee Miller
Got one of those nifty calendars on your site that expands month after month with the click of a mouse? Be kind to the Googlebot and slap a nofollow tag on the link—he might just follow it forever!

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