Legal

Double Jeopardy Over State Do-Not-Mail Bills
May 1, 2009

Last year, 12 states had do-not-mail legislation under consideration. But none of the bills were enacted. This year, however, bills already have been refiled in some states, and new bills have been introduced in Connecticut, Florida and New Jersey. With varying enforcement mechanisms, the laws would prohibit mailing unsolicited direct marketing materials to persons who enter their names and addresses to state-maintained registries.

Keep It in Your Domain
February 1, 2009

In the first century B.C., the Roman author Publilius Syrus wrote: “A good reputation is more valuable than money.” More than two millennia later, it remains true that a merchant’s brand, which carries its reputation, is its most valuable asset. Consequently, the piratical misuse of brand names on the Internet is a persistent problem that plagues many online retailers.

Editor’s Take: Watch Your Back This Season
November 1, 2008

Very little PR I get in my inbox grabs my eye, but this one warrants a little attention. A few weeks ago, I was nudged by a Dublin, Ireland-based data management firm called Ethoca, which has developed something across the pond called the Collaborative Fraud Management platform and hosts The Global Fraud Fighting Community. This is a group of European merchants who pool their transaction information to determine and share with other group members those potential transactions that are legit or fraudulent. Now Ethoca has brought its efforts to the U.S., and one of the first merchants it signed up was multichannel computer equipment

Search Marketing and its Legal Risks
October 14, 2008

Search engine marketers today must be mindful of the legal issues surrounding the medium — click fraud, copyright infringements, consumer privacy regulations, to name just a few. While an effective and efficient means for acquiring customers, the vehicle has its perils. In a session at last week’s Search Marketing Expo East conference in New York City, a panel of legal authorities led a session aimed at educating search marketers on the latest legal developments in their industry. When it comes to search today, behavioral targeting and privacy issues dominate the legal landscape. “There’s a general squeamishness about behavioral targeting,” said Mark Rosenberg, counsel at

Warnings and Tips
August 1, 2008

New York law defines the term “resident” very broadly when it comes to affiliates. A “resident” includes not only companies incorporated in New York, but also any company “maintaining a place of business in the state” or “doing business in the state.” The new legislation also provides that contracting with an affiliate network provider for a link on a New York Web site will be treated the same as a direct agreement with the New York Web site owner. Remember, the burden of proof will be on the direct marketer to rebut the “presumption” created by the new law. The retailer must show there’s

State and Local Tax Compliance: 5 Tips to Minimize Exposure and Maximize Revenue
May 20, 2008

With catalogers today marketing their goods through a variety of channels, marketers should carefully evaluate each channel using an internal auditor or an outside tax expert to determine the necessary steps to effectively and fairly calculate and remit sales taxes. Start by asking a few key questions about yourself and your organization: * Are you confident your organization is on top of state and local tax requirements? * Are you concerned about the tax administration and management practices of a company you recently acquired or with which you’ve merged? State and local tax legislatures change frequently. The revenues from tax

New York State of Mind
May 6, 2008

During a Direct Marketing Association seminar last week, marketers alike tried to wrap their arms around just what New York state’s new Internet tax law means for their businesses. Jerry Cerasale, the seminar’s host and senior vice president of government affairs for the DMA, and the organization’s tax counsel, George Isaacson, provided the 85 members in attendance with answers on what this development means for their industry. Here’s a sampling of some of the tips, thoughts and observations gleaned from the event: * “This is very aggressive, nexus-expanding legislation,” Isaacson said, referring to the law which requires out-of-state online retailers to collect sales (or

Show Me the Numbers; Better Yet, I’ll Show You
January 11, 2008

Over the past few months, we at Catalog Success have been hard at work to further develop a hefty well of research data for our readers. In October we launched the Catalog Success Latest Trends Report, a quarterly series of original benchmarking research we’ve been conducting with the multichannel ad agency Ovation Marketing. In the coming months, we’ll also be running a series of mail volume charts provided by several catalog co-op databases. Like the Latest Trends surveys, these will run in the IndustryEye section of our print magazine. And for the past year or so, we’ve been running a regular reader poll.

How to Conduct a Nexus Self-Audit
January 3, 2008

Catalogers can’t reduce their nexus exposure unless they first identify their nexus risks. Many CEOs and CFOs are unaware of their own company’s various affiliate marketing programs, cross-promotion initiatives, vendor drop-ship relationships and other activities that carry a nexus risk. Senior managers also may be lulled into the false belief that a relatively small amount of in-state activity isn’t enough to cross the nexus threshold. Even a very limited physical presence in a state, however, may be sufficient to create a tax-collection obligation on all sales to consumers in that state. Therefore, every cataloger should undertake a nexus self-audit. Attorneys and accountants

Isaacson, DMA Battle Sales Tax Collection Bill
January 2, 2008

Appearing on behalf of the DMA in early December, George Isaacson testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial & Administrative Law in opposition to bill H.R. 3396, the Sales Tax Fairness and Simplification Act. The bill, introduced last August by Rep. William Delahunt (D-Mass.), would make interstate sales tax collection mandatory, regardless of whether the seller has a physical presence or “tax nexus” in the taxing state. Isaacson argued that if enacted, the bill would “seriously jeopardize the continued growth of e-commerce in the U.S.” Referencing the Streamlined Sales Tax Agreement (SSTA) included in the legislation, Isaacson called the bill “fundamentally