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Hiring an Amateur Could Mean a Potential Lawsuit for Your Business


These days, everyone's looking to save a buck. But if you plan to cut corners by using a fledgling copywriter or marketer, expect to put the money you just saved towards a really good lawyer. Because you may just find yourself in court.

Lawsuits abound in today's world. Lots of people are more than willing to sue at the drop of a hat. No one wants to think that they "know" anyone like this, but the truth is, this planet is crawling with lawsuit-happy consumers who can make your life a living hell. You may think, "Oh, I'm just a small start-up; no one would bother trying to get money out of me!" But do you know this for a fact? Even if you're miniscule now, you want to grow your business. With any luck, one day you'll be earning more than just a comfortable living. The best way to ensure your legal protection in the future is to start practicing caution today.

How does this relate to your advertising, and who you hire to work for you? Every bit of written material put out by your company is a statement issued by you. If you hire someone who has little to no experience in the real world, you'd better be on top of them at all times. You'd better make sure that what they're creating for your company doesn't contain any legal "loopholes" or claims you can't fulfill. Because as soon as your advertising makes a statement about anything, someone will try and hold you responsible. They might even seek legal counsel on the matter. Yes, what you say can and will be held against you in a court of law.

I worked for the "R"Us family of stores for seven years, writing and editing everything from catalog copy to sales promotions to coupons to informative marketing mailers. Nearly everything said in our ads was supported by a legal disclaimer that prevented the company from being held responsible for any "unforseen events" that might occur as an indirect result of our statements. At the time, these legalities posed a great annoyance to our department, slowing down progress and hampering creativity. But today, I'm incredibly grateful for the "extensive legal training" I received while working there.

What are some examples of loose-lipped writing that can land you in legal hot water? What situations might you get yourself into in today's fast-paced, maximum-output world of marketers?

E-books are hot right now. Everyone wants one, and they want it yesterday. But beware the trouble of an untrained eye taking control of your e-book content! Last year, I worked for a small start-up company. They wanted an e-book written fast, so they hired an unpaid intern. Although the e-book served its purpose well, it was riddled with statements that could get us in trouble! Why? Our e-book was for children. In it, we had included a long list of ways kids could spread holiday cheer. One entry was something to the effect of, "Offer to help your neighbor carry in the groceries." Innocuous as it may seem, the end result of this remark could be some parent taking us to court because their child went out and tried to assist some unsavory character, and was abducted in the process! Heaven forbid, but nothing's impossible. In our e-book, we took care to state "Never do anything without first asking permission from your parents" - many times, and in many ways.

Article content: seems like everyone wants it in mass quantities. But how smart is it to hire a wet-behind-the-ears intern to write pages and pages of information and then publish it under your company name? One little slip-up, and guess who's getting a subpoena in the mail. Not the intern! I recently wrote an article on credit card debt elimination. As I was crafting my copy, I kept stumbling over "red flag" statements that could prove troublesome. "Some debt consolidation companies may even be able to erase the interest fees you've accrued." Was that true?? If it wasn't, somebody might be getting an earful down the road. It's difficult to know what information found on the internet is accurate, or just somebody's assertion. If you're not sure - disclaim! Or, simply avoid commenting.

Coupons and limited time offers that aren't properly disclaimed can cost you money. Say you run a sale on your website, but you forget to include start and end dates. If the sale prices are valid in January but you don't tell your customers, someone could very well come along and demand a discount in May! Or what if you post an ad for your business offering 50% off all design jobs but you forget to exclude the really high-end projects? You could find yourself working on an extensive web-design job that's only bringing in five hundred dollars when it could have made you a thousand!

What about your return policy? You want to be known as a company with its customers' best interest in mind - but what if your return policy is so open-ended, it leaves you vulnerable to excessive returns, when in fact there is really nothing wrong with what you offer? I worked for an e-greeting company this summer. How is an e-greeting company supposed to guarantee "customer satisfaction?" It's not possible! So, in such a case, a statement like this has to go. Would a newborn to the industry have the foresight to make such decisions? My guess is no.

Do you sell products via the web? Anything that poses a safety threat should be disclaimed to avoid future legal headaches and thousands of dollars lost. Everything from over-the-counter drugs to children's products to baby clothes to automobile parts to finances must be shielded from potential legal action. Never thought about legal ramifications? Best to get an expert's advice before going forward with your business plan.

Still thinking of hiring a novice to help you run your business? Think again. A little extra money spent now can mean a ton of money saved later. Hire a copywriter or marketer with corporate experience, who will exercise legal caution in your business writing and provide financial security for your future. Who knows... you may never even need that lawyer.

Copyright 2005 Dina Giolitto. All rights reserved.

Dina Giolitto is a New-Jersey based Copywriting Consultant with nine years' industry experience. Her current focus is web content and web marketing for a multitude of products and services although the bulk of her experience lies in retail for big-name companies like Toys"R"Us. Visit http://www.wordfeeder.com for rates and samples


Todays News by officejax free advertising and ad exchange solutionsMORE RESOURCES updated Thu. July / 19 / 2018

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Why Blockchain Could Be The Downfall Of YouTube Advertising - Forbes

Forbes

Why Blockchain Could Be The Downfall Of YouTube Advertising
Forbes
With recent announcements showing that teenagers are now watching an hour a day of YouTube, you might think that this is huge news for the advertising industry. A captive audience stuck between ad breaks should be every advertiser's dream yet instead, ...


Google's eight years of antitrust battles at the European Union - Livemint

Livemint

Google's eight years of antitrust battles at the European Union
Livemint
3 January 2013: The US Federal Trade Commission closes its 20-month antitrust probe of Google's search and advertising practices after the company pledges to change some practices. □ 1 February 2013: Almunia announces Google submitted a full offer ...
Android has created more choice, not less - Google BlogGoogle Blog

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IPG's #HaveHerBack Urges Women in Advertising to Continue Speaking Out on Harassment - Adweek

Adweek

IPG's #HaveHerBack Urges Women in Advertising to Continue Speaking Out on Harassment
Adweek
And because she spoke out prior to #MeToo gaining momentum in the advertising industry, she was forgotten. When she first saw #HaveHerBack encouraging women to speak out against sexual harassment post-#MeToo, Leone said, she contacted the ...


Sun Pacific partners with Premier Outdoor Media to expand advertising outreach - ROI-NJ.com

Sun Pacific partners with Premier Outdoor Media to expand advertising outreach
ROI-NJ.com
Street Smart Outdoor Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Manalapan-based Sun Pacific Holding Corp., announced Tuesday it has partnered with Premier Outdoor Media to expand its advertising outreach program for its outdoor furniture portfolio in the ...


New advertising leader on board - Bolivar Herald-Free Press

Bolivar Herald-Free Press

New advertising leader on board
Bolivar Herald-Free Press
Earlier this decade, Honeycutt was advertising director and eventually publisher for newspapers in the Tulsa area that were under common ownership with the five papers he now joins. He and the advertising executives for the Missouri papers already know ...


Moen Launches New Advertising and Brand Campaign that Answers the Question - Who Designs for Water? - PR Newswire (press release)

Moen Launches New Advertising and Brand Campaign that Answers the Question - Who Designs for Water?
PR Newswire (press release)
Developed by Moen's agency of record, Havas Chicago, the campaign consists of advertising spots and digital content to connect the brand with consumers and present how Moen's smart, stylish products create beautiful and meaningful experiences with ...


Digital Media Solutions Acquires Digital Performance Advertising Network W4 - PR Newswire (press release)

Digital Media Solutions Acquires Digital Performance Advertising Network W4
PR Newswire (press release)
W4 helps advertisers acquire new customers while enabling digital media publishers to monetize traffic on a results-based, cost-per-action (CPA) basis. In addition to a robust technology platform created to manage, track and optimize online response ...

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Aiming to make billboard advertising more programmatic, Adquick raises $2.1 million - TechCrunch

TechCrunch

Aiming to make billboard advertising more programmatic, Adquick raises $2.1 million
TechCrunch
What he was looking for, and what he eventually found in Adquick was a company that had managed to map all of the billboard advertising options available in the U.S. and was offering would-be advertisers a way to digitally distribute their ads and book ...


How do Marketing and Advertising Professionals Feel about the Rapidly Evolving Video Landscape? - MarTech Advisor

How do Marketing and Advertising Professionals Feel about the Rapidly Evolving Video Landscape?
MarTech Advisor
Today's video content landscape is rapidly evolving, and marketing and advertising professionals need to keep up. But how do they feel about the changes, and what effects are they seeing as a result? writes, David Mason, Co-founder and CEO, StudioNow.


Knoxville business owner still waiting for refund from advertising company - WATE 6 On Your Side

WATE 6 On Your Side

Knoxville business owner still waiting for refund from advertising company
WATE 6 On Your Side
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - A young business owner is wondering when she'll receive a refund from a unique advertising company. The New York-based business says it helps do everything from press releases, social media campaigns to radio podcasts.


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