Green Lights and Red Flags Presentation by Eric Goldman

Eric Goldman
General Counsel, Epinions, Inc.


  • The War for Attention
  • Traffic Acquisition and Associated Regulations
  • The Role of Counsel

The War for Attention

  • Old Days: Buy Traffic
  • Modern Era: Buy Profitable Traffic
  • Keys to Profitability
    • Find free traffic
    • If not, buy targeted traffic
    • Make the most of acquired traffic
  • Keywords as Qualification Tool

Free Search Engine Traffic

  • Old Days: Keyword Stuffing (e.g., metatags)
  • Legal Regulation
    • trademark infringement
    • initial interest confusion
    • trademark dilution
    • But, fair use
  • Modern Era: Google
  • Search Engine Bypass: Spam

Paid Search Engine Traffic

  • What Search Engines Sell
    • Banner ads
    • Text links – ads
    • Text links – editorial (“paid inclusion”)
  • Legal Regulation
    • How does keyword-based sales differ from keyword stuffing?
    • But, Playboy v. Netscape
    • Paid inclusion coming under fire
  • Modern Era: Marketing $ Chase Sources with Best Qualification and Conversion

Other Paid Traffic Sources

  • Banners, Buttons, Sponsorships, Emails
  • Icon Placement
  • Affiliate Programs
    • Affiliates compete with sponsor for traffic
  • Typosquatting/Cybersquatting
    • Just a different form of keyword targeting
    • But, Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act; Uniform Dispute Resolution Procedure; Unfair Practices (along with mousetrapping)
    • Does anyone guess domain names any more?
    • Microsoft and Yahoo seizing 404 traffic

The Role of Counsel

  • Marketing managers’ job – more traffic, faster and cheaper
  • The “everyone is doing it” syndrome
  • Website as liability-inducing marketing material
    • Domain names
    • Search engine-oriented text (metatags, teasers)
    • Website text
    • Plus, search feeds
  • How does the lawyer inculcate common sense and respect?