Sunday, February 13, 2011

Online Merchant Etiquette

The audacity of some people. I thought I'd share with my blog readers and fellow web merchants the etiquette of working amicably together online, forming relationships, and helping each other be successful without hurting one another's business.

I have some very lovely relationships with fellow online retailers.  I love their success, I love hearing about their success, and I love anything that they wish to share, and tidbits of wisdom to help us all make our businesses a little better. So I'm sharing with you my letter to a fellow web retailer outlining the lessons she is lacking in Online Merchant Etiquette.

Dear (Name protected),

It seems you may need a lesson in online marketing Etiquette. While it would have been a pleasure to get to know you as a fellow online seller, seeing as we have some suppliers in common, it seems you are not versed in how to establish a working relationship among fellow merchants.

I would have been happy to take a customer referral from you for my sterling silver jewelry and in return I would have gladly returned the favor. You have some lovely unique items I would have been thrilled to offer someone inquiring about, the *blank*, monogrammed *blank* or perhaps your lovely monogrammed *blank*.
But emailing me and asking for my supplier so you can serve your customer is simply appalling.  A lot of research, travel, trial and error goes into finding the right supplier and to simply hand it over to an obvious competitor who has done none of the work or made none of the investment is ridiculous.

As it turns out, it looks like you have happened by my supplier by shear dumb luck and are now offering the same items on your web site.  Not only have you found my supplier, but it looks as if you have pilfered my very images off my web site. I know this because I have a hidden watermark on my image and the very same images are on your web site. Not only do you need a lesson in ettiquette, it seems you also need a lesson in the legalities of copyright:
    • What Does Copyright Protect?

      Original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression
      • A person's unique way of expressing something
      • Requires only a minimum amount of creativity
      • Does not protect underlying ideas or facts
    • Copyright infringement protection:
    • Protection is automatic
    • Copyright notice is not required
    • Registration is not required unless copyright owner wishes to bring suit <~ crediting the above aforementioned information.

    While some of the jewelry images are from the supplier, you have free use of these as a distributor, But the ones you lifted from my web site must be removed from your site immediately based on the above terms that my graphic designer has adapted into the images.

    So I have officially made appeal unless you would like to be brought to lawsuit, for copyright infringement and to pay my graphic designer's tab, you will need to remove the images you have stolen from my web site from your web site immediately.

    BTW-Cute Google Adwords Ads, I am sure to click on them whenever I see them. Oh, and You might want to try spell check before publishing your next ad.

    Dawn Crowder
    Owner ~ Designer